Charlotte/Mecklenburg is not a single county, Louisville KY is.<quoted text>
Apples and oranges again that will probably take too long to explain in this thread. Bottom line is that Indiana has always been comparatively a poor sister to Ohio. Columbus has always been more more educated and bookish than Indianapolis. Indianapolis was more blue collar and therefore used to have higher incomes.
Sensenbrenner (a populist Democrat in the mold of Lausche) is responsible for the annexation policy which has mostly been sound. Modest housing in Columbus proper, with nicer stuff in the suburbs gives Columbus an overall nicer character than most city-county merged governments like Indy. Charlotte is the only successful city-county government merger, but check back 30 years from now and I bet Columbus will be considered the nicer city because we have suburbs (and suburbs take care of their territories better) and Charlotte has just one government.
Rhodes' biggest positive quality is that he wasn't a green eye-shade "conservative", Wall Street type of Republican. He came from modest roots in Southern Ohio and he was the type of Republican who believed in doing great things for a long-term benefit to the state. If you look at the things he did, I think you would be hard-pressed to name a more successful governor in terms of accomplishing big things for the state.
This is my beef with conservatives, by the way. If Rhodes were a "conservative", we would have the type of highways you see in PA or South Carolina. Government spending is not inherently evil when it builds assets that can be used for generations.
As regarding conservatism, I agree in part with you. My beef is mainly that government is wasteful with its spending and uses it to reward clients.
I'm not opposed to High Speed Rail, but I want the exact same thing the French have without the rent seeking. The slow trains were actually slower than driving.