Friday, July 17, 2009

Newsbreak: Governor Concerned Charter Amendment Could "Exclude Cincinnati."

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland

Ben Fischer of the Cincinnati Enquirer did a great job blogging about the Governors recent speech in Loveland, Ohio. Strickland, When asked about the charter amendment ballot initiative being pushed by COAST and the NAACP, Strickland had this to say: “I think Cincinnati and Cincinnatians would have to obviously make the decision if they want to be excluded from a system that will be interconnective, not only with Columbus and Dayton and Cleveland, but Chicago and other major, major cities as well."

Acknowledging the people's right to vote on the issue if and when the petition is verified, Strickland also added that he hopes voters in Cincinnati realize the COAST/NAACP charter amendment could "potentially have a detrimental effect upon the city." Strickland also acknowledged he "would have to look at the legal implications" of the amendment, but let's take a look at the current ballot language: 
The City, and its various Boards and Commissions, may not spend any monies for right-of-way acquisition or construction of improvements for passenger rail transportation (e.g., a trolley or streetcar) within the city limits without first submitting the question of approval of such expenditure to a vote of the electorate of the City and receiving a majority affirmative vote for the same.
With that kind of ballot language, Cincinnati could be delayed from or potentially kept out of consideration for not only the proposed Ohio "3C" High Speed Rail project, but a national high speed rail network connecting it to other major cities. Even if Cincinnati was featured in those networks, an amendment to the city's charter like this could further complicate and delay Cincinnati's involvement in maintaining and improving the project, making other cities and locations nearby better candidates. Apparently this charter amendment isn't just about the streetcar, it affects all passenger rail projects. Maybe we should heed the Governor's warning and take a good hard look at the legal implications?

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