Seitz on Urban Renewal:  “The Rats Don’t Stop Running at the County Line.”

By Connor Brown


Ohio State Representative Bill Seitz (R- Cincinnati) has struck again.  He just can’t help himself.


In a recent radio interview, he was ostensibly making a point about the need to invest in the state’s urban centers—a seemingly innocuous proposition and one President Trump made repeatedly on the campaign trail.  But unlike Trump’s arguments about the need to upgrade infrastructure to lift the quality of life for all Americans and make the country “great,” Seitz’s rationale is decidedly more divisive.  In fact, his words smack of disrespect to working class and impoverished communities.  Calling his theory “politically incorrect,” he tells his interviewer that certain investments in the inner ring may be necessary because, quote:


“Rats don’t stop running at the county line.”  At minute 18:25, you hear it in his own voice.


Rats don’t stop running at the county line.  Wow.  Seemingly aware this comment was going to be explosive, he prefaces the remark by saying he heard it from his old “high school teacher,” and then said it was “probably politically incorrect.”


Probably?  Free advice, Bill:  caution is advised when repeating things about struggling urban populations that you heard 40 plus years ago at your high school.


What does he mean, anyway?  Is he referring to the residents of the inner ring as “rats,” to be caged off from the beautiful, leafy Cincinnati suburbs? Or perhaps he is arguing that the primary reason to maintain the inner ring is so that the actual vermin population is controlled, and never migrates to his happy township?  “Hey, let’s put a few bucks into downtown so the rat problem doesn’t make it to Green Township,” he seems to imply.  Lovely.


In 2018, is this a defensible, responsible theory of urban renewal?  “Spend a little on the poor so their rats never make it to Indian Hill!”  Does the modern Republican Party tolerate this attitude?


And ask yourself, why did Seitz feel the need to say it was “politically incorrect?”  After all, there is nothing politically incorrect about controlling rodents.  It’s only “politically incorrect” if he is suggesting something he knows is darker, more inappropriate, is it not?


In any event, it’s become blindingly obvious to anyone paying attention that the Ohio House Republican caucus has a problem on its hands in the reckless Bill Seitz.  From his infamous “joke” about serious sexual harassment involving a fellow legislator at the embarrassing Athletic Club Roast (where he left the podium and promptly fell down a stairwell) to comments like these, he has become a liability.  (And no, “reports” purchased by the House from his old law firm don’t make the issue go away).


This is a problem from a member of Ohio House Republican leadership, and it has only festered and spread.  Indeed as Seitz might say, “the rats don’t stop running at the caucus line.”