- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

CINCINNATI (AP) - The chairman of Ohio’s Democratic Party is calling on current Cincinnati council members to focus on a solution for the city’s recent crime spike.

David Pepper, also a former city councilman, told The Cincinnati Enquirer (https://cin.ci/1CGfU9n ) that the increase in crime is a crisis. He said Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who’s running for U.S. Senate, should put in the time to make a difference in the community.

“It’s a missed opportunity to make a difference in a community that needs it,” Pepper said. “In hindsight, people will say this is a case study of moving too quickly.”

Sittenfeld has served three years as a councilman. He is opposing former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who has the backing of state party leaders, in the primary to face Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

Pepper said it’s hard to focus on crime and run a campaign at the same time.

“The reality is when you’re running statewide and have to worry about the next fundraising quarter, it’s hard to be all in,” Pepper said, referring to Sittenfeld. “The most important thing (Sittenfeld) could do is focus on crime. This city needs leadership.”

The city hopes to add 15 officers to the next police recruit class and has invested $2 million into improving cruiser technology.

But it’s not just Sittenfeld’s responsibility to come up with ideas to fight crime, Pepper said; it’s all of City Council’s responsibility.

“We need real ideas, not just ones from term papers, but concrete ideas,” he said.

Sittenfeld said the chairman is wrong on the facts and that he’s “absolutely” focused on public safety. He noted he is planning to attend an upcoming neighborhood block watch.

Sittenfeld said he’s also energizing voters who don’t usually participate in primaries.

“I’m the only candidate in this race who is giving major policy speeches that address important issues.”

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, https://www.enquirer.com

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