AIA Debate Displays Tone of Issue 9 Campaigns + Volunteer Night!

This past Thursday evening, the Cincinnati chapter of the American Institute of Architects held a traditional debate discussing Issue 9. Arguing for Issue 9 was former SORTA board member Stephan Louis, as a representative for the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending & Taxes (COAST). University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees member and Cincinnatians for Progress chairman Rob Richardson argued against Issue 9. UC Professor Terry Grundy acted as moderator, and did a fantastic job in moving the points right along and keeping things official.

Nearly 50 students, professors, architects and concerned citizens filled the lecture hall, each one interested in what the two men had to say for and against Issue 9. Mr. Louis opened the debate stating that Cincinnati had already built three transit failures (the subway, Union Terminal, and Riverfront Transit Center), and pulled out the ever popular phrase “boondoggle.” Sitting calmly up at the front of the room, Mr. Lewis seemed very straightforward and full of “facts,” which were later completely debunked by Gordan Bombay, writing for the Phony Coney (read his fantastically detailed write up here).

Rob Richardson was an entirely different story in practically every way. Hardly had Professor Grundy given him the floor than Richardson was up out of his chair, coming down off the stage to look students in the eye and speak to us directly. He spoke passionately of Cincinnati’s future, stating quite frankly that our fair Queen City will face serious setbacks in practically every way if Issue 9 passes. The language is too broad and too over-reaching. The point of a representative democracy is to elect officials you trust to make decisions, and Mr. Richardson warned the room of what could happen if Cincinnati allowed Issue 9 to convert our current system into a California style government.

There were several excellent questions coming from various people in the audience, directed toward both debaters. Overall it was interesting to note that the general overtone of the “Yes on 9” conversation was incredibly accusatory and negative. Mr. Louis was not able to state how in fact he supported public transit, or what he saw for Cincinnati in the next 5 years concerning rail. He was only able to repeat sound bites intended to affront and astound – warning of the horrors of public money being spent, and even once comparing the streetcar to abortion. It’s okay if you’re confused – I was there and I didn’t quite understand the reference, much less comprehend why he thought it was okay to compare the two in the first place.

The overriding theme of Rob Richardson’s tone and message when voting against Issue 9 was one of hope and promise for Cincinnati. He spoke with conviction on how passenger rail will bring development and retain talent in our community, and how it can only help Cincinnati, not diminish its value. The difference in demeanor and attitude between the two debaters was incredibly palpable, and it’s an important difference.

Choose negativity and fear, or hope for the future. Vote No on Issue 9.

Urban Cincy Volunteer Night!!
Tonight a few of the staffers at UrbanCincy will be gathering at the Cincinnatians for Progress office located on 1344 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. We will be making phone calls from 6pm to 8pm, and tentatively going out to grab a drink and/or food afterwards. Be sure to bring your own phone, or laptop computer (using Skype-$3) from which to make phone calls. If you’re interested in helping but don’t want to do it alone, tomorrow night will be a great opportunity to help this cause and hang out with some like-minded people!

Issue 9 debate photo by David Cole via The Phony Coney

UC’s student government hosting Issue 9 debate tonight

The University of Cincinnati Student Government Association (SGA) will be hosting an on-campus debate on Wednesday, October 21 about Cincinnati’s Issue 9, the Anti-Passenger Rail Amendment, at Tangeman University Center’s (TUC) Mainstreet Cinema at 2pm.

The debate will feature COAST’s Mark Miller and former mayor of Cincinnati and current councilmember Roxanne Qualls. Councilmember Qualls will be arguing for greater transportation choices and against additional red tape, while COAST’s Mark Miller will be arguing against additional transportation choices and for the amendment that would require a vote on any passenger rail expenditures in Cincinnati regardless of their scope.

The debate is free and open to the public, and will coincide with SGA’s Sustainability Day on campus that includes UC’s Climate Action Plan presentation at 12pm and a book signing by UC faculty specializing in sustainability also in the Mainstreet Cinema.


This Week In Soapbox 10/20

This Week in Soapbox (TWIS) you can read about Jean-Robert’s latest restaurant venture, Covington’s new Assistant City Manager, a new innovative funding strategy that will help several center city developments, streetscape and park changes on the way for Clifton Heights, the completion of City Home’s first phase in OTR, and a new authentic Mexican restaurant in Covington.

If you’re interested in staying in touch with some of the latest development news in Cincinnati please check out this week’s stories and sign up for the weekly E-Zine sent out by Soapbox Cincinnati. Also be sure to become a fan of Soapbox on Facebook!

Also be sure to check out the fantastic feature article by Casey Coston on why Issue 9, the Anti-Passenger Rail Amendment, is bad news for Cincinnati. See video below for even more Issue 9 coverage.

TWIS 10/20:

  • Jean-Robert’s Table to bring relaxed French cuisine to downtown Cincinnatifull article
  • New innovative funding strategy to help center city developmentsfull article
  • Covington taps OKI planner as new Assistant City Managerfull article
  • Fresh look on the way for Clifton Heights’ business districtfull article
  • Over-the-Rhine leaders celebrate completion of City Home’s first phasefull article
  • Casa Mexico opens in Covington’s Latonia neighborhoodfull article


Defeating Issue 9: How YOU Can Help

Election Day is just 18 days away, and now more than ever, is the time for those of us who are concerned about defeating Issue 9, the Anti-Passenger Rail Amendment, to kick the campaigning into high gear. Odds are, if you’re reading this, you probably know the basics about Issue 9 and are aware of the negative implications it will have on our city in the future. The bottom line is, you don’t need convincing. That’s great!

However, it’s going to take many more votes than there are readers of this blog in order to stop this permanent alteration to our City Charter. One of the biggest obstacles passenger rail proponents have in defeating Issue 9 is eradicating the confusion surrounding the entire subject. Education and information are the keys, as well as putting faces of real people behind the language.

There are 52 neighborhoods in the city of Cincinnati, and Cincinnatians for Progress has been working very hard to get out to as many neighborhood meetings as possible and talk to citizens there. There are certain neighborhoods that are considered “swing” circuits, with a varying mix of demographics. These are the voters that need to be informed and educated.

Did you know that anyone can volunteer? To those of you that live outside Cincinnati city limits, this is THE way to have your voice heard on this issue and make a positive impact. While you may not be able to cast a ballot on November 3, you most definitely can volunteer your time and effort to the cause. Think of it, if you just went into a booth and cast your vote, you are one voice. If you can volunteer just 2 hours of your time and reach 60 voters, you can make a huge impact. To those that border the city limits of Cincinnati, you know how this issue will impact you and your community. Get out and help so that Cincinnatians for Progress can reach as many voters as possible and educate them on the ballot language as well as the issue ahead of November 3.

Cincinnatians for Progress is organizing phone banks during the week and canvassing on weekends. We here at UrbanCincy will be volunteering our time and efforts and we would love to have you come along with us. Keep an eye on the site for dates and times where we will be volunteering so that you can join us!

Also be sure to come on out to the Don’t Be Tricked, Vote No On Issue 9 Party at Neon’s Unplugged on Friday, October 30. The party will run from 7pm to 1am and feature beer from Christian Moerlein, food from Kroeger & Sons Meats, live music, Bocce Ball, and a host of special guests. There is no entry fee and everyone is encouraged to come and go as they please. Beer and food sales will be cash only.

Arts & Entertainment News Politics Transportation

Issue 9 debate tonight at 6pm on UC’s campus

The legendary Terry Grundy will be hosting John Schneider, Rob Richardson and Chris Finney tonight at 6pm to debate Issue 9 (the Anti-Passenger Rail Amendment). The debate will take place in room 5401 inside the College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning on the University of Cincinnati’s main campus.

The debate is free to attend and is a great opportunity to hear both sides of the argument if you haven’t yet already…even better if you’re a student at the University of Cincinnati where the Student Body Government recently voted unanimously to oppose Issue 9 and take a strong stance in support of passenger rail transportation in Cincinnati.

Free parking is available in a limited capacity on surrounding streets, but tons of bicycle parking options exist within a stones throw of the entrance to the building (map). Metro’s #17, 18, 19, 39, 51 and 75x bus routes also will drop you off within two blocks of the building. Plan your trip now using Metro’s Trip Planner.

Image from Hargreaves Associates