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Cincinnatians for Progress head into final weeks of campaign

The group dedicated to stopping the over-reaching, poorly worded and potentially debilitating piece of anti-rail legislation known (this year) as Issue 48 has mere weeks before the city’s population heads to the ballot box to decide the future of job growth, innovation, and progress in Cincinnati.

Cincinnatians for Progress has been working tirelessly to raise money and get the word out about Issue 48. If passed, the legislation would ban ANY money – both public and private – from being spent for rail transportation in the city of Cincinnati until the year 2020. After a similar issue was defeated in 2009, anti-rail forces outside the city are attempting to keep Cincinnati in the dark ages once again.

One big difference this year is the endorsement of two widely respected members of the NAACP- and both named Greatest Living Cincinnatians – Milton Hinton, a former Cincinnati NAACP president, and Judge Nathaniel Jones, former counsel of the national NAACP. Both men have publicly made a stand against Issue 48 and believe that the proposal will further discriminate against minorities.

Judge Jones spoke about his experience with racial discrimination and civil rights, particularly as they related to rail and the interstate commerce clause, saying,”Minorities need to be ever vigilant against back door efforts to take away their rights, including efforts to inhibit rail such as this…Transportation by rail is a key way for those who have been victimized in the past to take advantage of economic opportunities.”

This comes in stark contrast to Chris Smitherman, former president of the NAACP who has relinquished his seat temporarily to run for City Council. Smitherman is one of the architects of both Issue 48 and Issue 9 in 2009, and has been very vocal in his opposition to the Cincinnati Streetcar project. Despite the National Chapter of the NAACP encouraging passage of job growth legislation including public transportation, Smitherman has attempted to rally his base to block rail transportation projects that would put many back to work.

At a press conference this morning, Dr. Hinton said, “[defeating Issue 48 is] all about the availability of jobs… Issue 48 is self-defeating and the antithesis of job creation. Minorities have always had to fight to get a piece of the pie…with 48, there won’t be a pie to get a piece of.”

How You Can Help

If you feel that Cincinnati deserves to move forward with the rest of the country by establishing rail transportation systems, Cincinnatians for Progress needs your help in these last days of the campaign.

* Thursday night a Finish Line fundraiser will be held at Japp’s from 5.30-8.30 pm. $20 entry, $100 to be a host.

* You can donate online to Cincinnatians for Progress – your money is going to radio spots, direct mail, and yard signs and banners to help spread the word.

* Phone banking and canvassing will begin this weekend. CFP is looking for phone bank volunteers Tuesday through Thursdays from 6-8pm, and canvass volunteers on Saturdays and Sundays. Please email to sign up. UrbanCincy will be holding a phone bank night if you don’t want to go by yourself – keep tabs on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more details.

* Pick up yard signs and banners at local businesses. Currently Park+Vine and Coffee Emporium downtown have signs for you to display.

* Last but not least, word of mouth and spreading information is easily the best way you can help the campaign. Tell all your friends, coworkers and relatives who live in Cincinnati about Issue 48 and how debilitating it will be for our city. You can research talking points and learn more at the CFP info page.

Councilman Cecil Thomas put it pretty succinctly this morning: “This [issue] is not about the “now.” It’s about the growth of the city….the future of the city.”

Issue 48 picture by Noel Prows.
Casey Coston contributed to this article.