Development News Politics Transportation

Fight the hypocrisy

The local media outlets have never been shy of notifying the public on how long it has taken to get things going on The Banks, nor have they been hesitant to smear every person/agency related to the project – attributing said delay to them. At the same time the many local naysayers and/or skeptics have been openly critical of politicians, government, non-profits, and even those who support reinvestment in our region’s core. These same people and entities have not hesitated in questioning $25M in City money for a streetcar system in our region’s core.

I do not have a problem with people who wish to keep things in check and/or question authority, but what I do hope is that these same people place the same amount of scrutiny on other things. If we are going to question $25M of public dollars for streetcars, then I surely hope that we question the $2.5B that will be spent on roadway projects this year alone. These roadway projects are not subject to public vote and are simply funded with little public debate or dialog.

Additionally as we all know, The Banks has been 9 years in the making…and the local media has had no qualms with pitting Nky v. Cincinnati in the past, so I hope this same level of scrutiny is passed along to another comparable project in Nky – Newport Ovation.

I applaud local leaders for their dedicated work on The Banks and the Cincinnati Streetcar project. These types of projects are not easily done and often times take many years to accomplish. Keep up the good work.

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer/Gary Landers

News Politics Transportation

A challenge for those who demand better

Are you tired of the same old stall, do-nothing politics? Do you yearn for a day where Cincinnati is a leader and doesn’t wait for something to catch mass appeal before it takes that particular path? Can Cincinnati shed the Mark Twain complex that is seemingly as tied to Cincinnati as Skyline Chili, Pete Rose, or WKRP?

Cincinnati has been working on the development of a streetcar system for the city. The necessary steps have been taken, stakeholders approached and funding outlined. This process started years ago by the quiet and often unnoticed efforts of many individuals. The process has reached a critical point and has the majority support of city council, Mayor Mallory, City Manager Milton Dohoney and scores of residents across this fair city.

It should be noted though that this process has been stagnant now since October 24, 2007. It has been five months since any real action has been made by city council or the finance committee. In terms of inflationary costs alone this inaction has cost taxpayers roughly $2.12 million. John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls have been working very hard to keep this process from moving forward, and they have succeeded now for five months.

I urge you to demand change from our local leaders and let Cranley/Qualls know that you do not stand for the same old stall and do-nothing politics of old. These actions are costing the taxpayers money, city staff time and exhausting the many pro-bono efforts that have been made by local citizens.

If you stand for change let them know and share this message with as many people as possible. Let the politicians know that they aren’t going to grandstand/posture on the taxpayer’s dime. Let them know that the time for politicking is over, and most importantly, let them know that your support hinges upon this.

Roxanne Qualls
801 Plum St. Rm 352
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1979
Phone: (513) 352-3604
Fax: (513) 352-3621

John Cranley
801 Plum St. Rm 356
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1979

Phone: (513) 352-5303
Fax: (513) 352-4657

Development News Politics Transportation

Cincinnati’s Mark Twain complex

Is Cincinnati ready to shed the Mark Twain complex? That infamous quote seems to rear its ugly head too often, and unfortunately is seemingly reinforced by the moves/actions of local politicians, businesses and residents.

I’ve been called “viciously optimistic” about Cincinnati before, but I know when to call a duck a duck. The Banks is going to happen and it will be sooner rather than later, but it has taken us a decade to get this far. Cincinnati finally told Eagle Realty to take a walk after wasting years of time with the valuable 5th & Race location.

Cincinnati is on the cusp of a vote on the Cincinnati Streetcar proposal. This is something that many cities are looking into, but we are one of the furthest along in the development process. Cincinnati, yes CINCINNATI has the opportunity to do something that cities like Atlanta, Washington D.C., Portland and Columbus (to name a few) are all trying or have done the modern streetcar push.

Well what do you know…a couple of weeks before the Finance Committee is to vote on the proposal John Cranley publicized a 9-page list of questions – questions that have been answered by city staff and City Manager Milton Dohoney. These answers will be presented at the Finance Committee hearing on February 25th…however it seems VERY unlikely that it will budge Cranley on his views one bit.

To throw another wrench in the works, Roxanne Qualls suggests that another route altogether might be a better idea. You know nothing is more productive than waiting until 5 days before the hearing and suggesting that we start from scratch.

I won’t bore you with why the current proposal is solid, and why I think these politicians are simply employing stall tactics…but rather I will make the bold statement that Cincinnati shed this Mark Twain complex and start proving to our citizens that we can do big things, and we can do them quickly/efficiently.

Image Credit:
Twain With Pipe from the Kingwood College Library

Development News Politics Transportation

Mayor Mallory’s State of the City Address

The Mayor delivered his state of the city address to a capacity crowd at the Playhouse in the Park.  Many more attempted to make reservations, but were placed on a waiting list.  Overall the Mayor used the speech to recap the year’s developments and progress rather than propose any new legislation or initiatives.  

Among the highlights:

“Build a Streetcar System that connects Downtown to Uptown.”
“Which brings me to what may be an uncomfortable conversation for some.  But as a city, we have to take on tough issues. And, ex-offender employment is one of those tough issues.  I told you earlier that employment is the number one request from the people that CIRV has engaged.  If we are going to truly grow our economy, we have to give opportunity to all citizens. Too many people are being excluded from employment because of mistakes in their past.  This may be unpopular, but I am telling you, this has to happen.  By opening the doors of economic opportunity to more citizens we will make our community safer and healthier.”

“Youth employment is a top priority of my administration.  Through our Jobs and Opportunities Fair and the City’s Youth Employment Program, we have provided thousands of young people the opportunity to find employment.  In fact, our program was presented as a best practice at the US Conference of Mayors and at the Mayors Innovation Project in Washington DC.  Our program has been so successful that I am proposing that we increase the funding for the Cincinnati Youth Employment Program to $2 million dollars a year in the next city budget. “

Two years ago, I told you that we were going to develop a program to focus city services on individual neighborhoods.  Last year, we launched the Neighborhood Enhancement Program.  It concentrates city services in targeted neighborhoods for 90 days.  Last year, the program targeted Price Hill, Avondale and Northside.  This year, we’re focusing on Clifton Heights, University Heights, Fairview, Westwood, and Evanston.  With this new approach, we’re focusing on concentrated building code enforcement, tearing down problem buildings, and addressing crime hot-spots.  And in partnership with the community, we are developing neighborhood assets.  The program is transforming neighborhoods throughout the city. “

“Which brings me to one of the most important opportunities that we have in Cincinnati: the 2010 Census.  We know that census numbers matter.  What you may not know is that 170 Federal Programs use Census Data to make funding decisions.  In order for Cincinnati to receive our fair share, we must have the most accurate Census count possible.  So, we must begin planning now for 2010.”

At the end of the speech inspirational music started playing over the Mayor’s closing remarks.  Those in attendance thought it odd, but it may have worked on television.

News Politics Transportation

Ohio Hub Plan Advocacy

Like the idea of regional rail transportation in Ohio? Well there are a few things you could do to be more impactful when it comes to making this goal a reality.

All Aboard Ohio is the statewide advocacy group for regional high-speed rail, and they have now introduced a new online petition. Their goal with this is to, “forward the link to this online petition to every email address in Ohio leading up to our LegislativeSummit on April 30th.” Primarily what they’re advocating for is the development of the Ohio Hub Plan.

Another thing you could do is write letters to your congressional representative and/or your related member in Senate. We need to bind together and work towards accomplishing this goal. Sign the petition, it literally takes about 30 seconds.

Image Credit:
Ohio Department of Transportation