Heimlich and Pepper Tangle in Live Webcast Debate

Hamilton County Commission candidate David Pepper and incumbent Commissioner Phil Heimlich argued police and population loss Tuesday night in a debate at Xavier University's Cintas Center.

Heimlich and Pepper spent much of the debate attacking each other's leadership on a variety of issues, with Heimlich pointing out problems the City of Cincinnati had during Pepper's time on City Council, and Pepper blaming Heimlich for the uncompleted Banks project and for lack of a new jail.

At one point the candidates used props. Pepper pulled out a Jim Borgman cartoon depicting Northern Kentucky riverfront development as a racehorse while Cincinnati is drawn as a snail.

A few minutes later, Heimlich reviewed a transcript of the latest Pepper ad which accuses Heimlich of supporting various taxes, ending with the upcoming proposal for a sales tax for a new jail. Heimlich said Pepper surely had to have had second thoughts about attacking him for supporting the jail tax, when Pepper also supports the tax.

Each candidate tried to demonstrate better support for police, reiterating issues that have dominated the recent commericals, especially the consequences of the 2001 riots.

The subject of the county's continuing population loss came up several times. Heimlich said he is working on a plan to make it easier for developers to get sewer service so that more new homes can built in the county, and people moving out of the city aren't forced to completely leave the county for new homes.

Pepper countered that people in the undeveloped areas of the county, especially the west side, don't want lots of new development, and that the county should concentrate on rebuilding core areas like the city and the inner-ring suburbs.

The debate was moderated by FOX19's Jack Atherton and was streamed live on FOX19.com. A recording of the program will remain on the website through election day.