It’s time to put an end to the campaign falsehoods

New data released by the Ohio Department of Health says that state’s four-year-old, voter-enacted, smoking ban is not in fact negatively impacting Ohio businesses. The analysis goes completely against the claims made by those originally opposed to the idea of a public smoking ban, and highlights how campaign rhetoric is often left unquestioned.

In 2005, Cincinnatians heard over and over how the $48.9 million ($4M public funds, $44.9M private funds) renovation of Fountain Square and its underground parking garage would end up as a waste of scarce public resources. Since its renovation, public activity, private investments and the number of businesses in the area have gone up, and crime has gone down. Furthermore, you could argue that the renovation of Fountain Square was the initial force that sparked the urban renaissance currently taking place in Cincinnati.

A crowd gathers for a fashion show and concert on Fountain Square in August 2011. Photograph by Thadd Fiala for UrbanCincy.

The trend continues in 2011 as transit opponents wage yet another battle against the Cincinnati Streetcar and the future of rail transit in the Queen City. It was less than two years ago that this same group of opponents asked voters if they would like to hold a public vote on all rail transit expenditures in Cincinnati. The voters rejected that proposal and yet in 2011 Cincinnatians are being asked to vote on the first rail transit expenditure to come about since November 2009.

Rigorous public debate should take place in America, that is, in part, what makes the nation so unique. The problem is that voters seem to have a short memory, and the media often has no interest in reminding them of the false rhetoric put forth by the same parties in the past.

Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) is not a new group, and does not include new political players. The small group of well-connected men running COAST have been around Cincinnati politics for some time.

These are the same people who, under the auspice of Citizens for Community Values (CCV), amended the City’s charter to legalize discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, which was terrible for the city and later repealed. These are the same people that called the renovation of Fountain Square a guaranteed boondoggle. And these are the same people that continue to beat the boondoggle drum in regards to the Cincinnati Streetcar project.

This group has perpetuated falsehoods for too long. Cincinnatians, and reality, continue to reject their special interest ideologies focused on holding the city back, but yet, it is time once more to entertain their tired antics. This November I look forward to Cincinnatians voting against this group’s proposed anti-rail transit Charter amendment, and sending them a bit further into the depths of irrelevancy.

  • Agreed. Thanks for the post. The word needs to get out that this amendment is against ALL rail – not just the streetcar and I think Urban Cincy will play a critical part in relaying that message. I hope this is the start of more frequent posts on this very important topic.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    In other cities these types of people are paid to shut up or in extreme cases are sent to exile in suburban Texas (Kwame Kilpatrck), but In Cincinnati the local media humps their legs.

    COAST and Smitherman have been guests on 700WLW over 100 times in the past four years in their endless campaign against the streetcar. John Schneider and other pro-streetcar guest(s?) (Joe Sprengard is the only one I can think of) have been featured maybe 5 times. The streetcar is attacked day after day, year after year by Brian Thomas on his WKRC morning show.

    The Enquirer portrays Tom Luken as a hero of the people when he’s one of the worst 10 citizens in Cincinnati’s 200-year history. He was on council, served as mayor, then as a local congressman while the city lost 200,000 residents. Instead of saving Cincinnati from Tom Luken, The Enquirer gives him a prominent forum to kick the city one more time.

    Then there’s Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, who milks his past as a music promotor (he recently took a victory lap when Paul McCartney came to town, reliving his Beatles-booking glory days) to get baby boomer cool points, when anyone who has ever been in the music business knows that it’s the home of the sleaziest people alive. So for 20 years we’ve had some sleazy guy in the county auditor’s office, preaching his gospel of “common sense”.

  • Hmm…

    It seems far too often in life that those bearing the truth and common sense are not always followed, but instead it is those with the loudest voices.

    Where COAST and Smitherman have succeeded is in reaching out to the “people” through repeated rhetoric and obedient media. Streetcar supporters can do the same–and I feel they are starting to–if the campaign becomes outwardly instead of inwardly focused. (In other words, media, flyer, and door-to-door campaigns are needed to get the real facts to the “people.”)

    It shouldn’t be too hard, as I feel few in this city truly want to ban rail for the next decade. It’s just going to take some convincing of why voters should take a stance against the issue.

  • Matt Jacob

    “It seems far too often in life that those bearing the truth and common sense are not always followed, but instead it is those with the loudest voices.”

    The sad truth about democracy. The funny part is that the media are supposed to be the ones who shine light onto these lies and the Enquirer has all but failed this city.

    UrbanCincy has been a breathe of fresh air for those of us who want to make something positive happen. And I echo Greg’s comment that “I think Urban Cincy will play a critical part in relaying that message. I hope this is the start of more frequent posts on this very important topic.” I fear that the recent drop off in posts on this site will be to the detriment of these positive causes that have gained traction yet face some final tests like the streetcar.

    This amendment is about killing all rail projects in Cincinnati and handcuffing us in the future. NO WAY

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    Who remembers in 2009 when The Enquirer called the streetcar plan a “pig in a poke”? Well, two years later, the public STILL doesn’t know the facts of the plan, not because they haven’t been presented publicly on the city’s website the whole time, but because The Enquirer decided years ago to create a false controversy by giving ink to the crack pots who are leading the effort against this.

  • Speaking of poor, untruthful campaigns, did anyone see what was posted on COAST’s Twitter feed yesterday?

  • Cate

    Great story – I completely agree. I hope the casino is also successful for downtown, and will quiet the naysayers who were oppposed to constructing a casino in Cincinnati’s urban core, as opposed to a site out in the suburbs.

  • @Matt Jacob: There is no plan to end UrbanCincy any time soon. Recent months have been challenging with the departure of some of our regular contributors, and with me being located overseas (in Korea) for the past five months. We are constantly trying to work out the kinks so that we can produce a consistently high quality product for our readers. Thanks for being patient.

  • These smoking ban commies and street car libs running the city is a complete joke. Maybe they should worry more about arresting these corrupt obamanites for committing voter fraud and do something productive before this city becomes Detroit