BY JOE WESSELS
Loveland Local News
LOVELAND, Ohio — The Loveland-Symmes Fire Department’s 9/11 Memorial has taken a partisan bent after the fire department announced a political candidate for sheriff as the event’s main speaker, leaving out his opponent.
Retired Cincinnati Police Lt. Bruce Hoffbauer, who is the Republican-endorsed candidate for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office, has been listed as the event’s guest speaker. That was news to his opponent, former Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department major and Democrat, Charmaine McGuffey, and her campaign. McGuffey’s campaign was unaware of the event until a reporter contacted the campaign. Usually, nonpartisan and government groups shy away from political candidates as speakers during campaign season. The pair’s election is on November 3, just 54 days away.
“To us, it’s all a day of remembrance, and we are not going to make this political at all,” said Mary Carol Melton, McGuffey’s campaign manager. “That’s just not what (9/11) is all about.”
Melton said McGuffey’s day is already full for tomorrow (9/11/2020) and could not attend at this late notice, even if the fire department would extend an invitation now.
The Loveland-Symmes Fire Department’s event is to honor the people killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States will begin at 8 p.m. Friday at the Police and Fire Memorial, at Harrison and Railroad avenues near the Little Miami Scenic Trail in downtown Loveland. Two searchlights will be lit at dusk and a fireworks display will follow the ceremony.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Online fliers posted to the fire department’s and other Facebook Pages direct the public to 200 Harrison Avenue, but that address on Google Maps and Waze indicates the wrong location. Apple Maps takes iOS users to the correct location.
“We’ll spend tomorrow thinking about lives lost and commemorating people, remembering, and (citizens) should be allowed to do that in whatever way makes sense to them. This should not be a day to be marked with politics,” Melton said.
A question seeking comment from the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department was left on their Facebook Page early Friday and was deleted minutes later without a response. An email to the department’s chief, Otto Huber, was not immediately answered.
Messages left for Hoffbauer via his campaign’s email and Facebook Page were not immediately returned.
The Loveland Police Department has also promoted the event on its Facebook page, saying they are “honored to join our LSFD brothers and sisters for this ceremony.”
Emails to City Manager Dave Kennedy and Police Chief Sean Rahe were not immediately returned.