Monday, September 14, 2009

Stand up for Cincinnati, say "NO ON 9!"

To the Voters and Citizens of Cincinnati:

The time has come. This is the final stretch. Both sides of the debate continue to preach their message. For the voting citizens of Cincinnati, Issue 9, if passed, would amend the city's charter so that a public vote would be required for any money that would be spent on passenger rail transportation regardless of funding sources. That means, even if the city of Cincinnati wanted to research the construction or feasibility of any form of passenger rail, we would have to wait a year or have a tax payer funded special election just to vote any time a single cent was spent on anything involving passenger rail transportation, regardless of where the money comes from whether it be local, state or federal dollars. This process severely hinders and slows down the political process and is meant to discourage our elected officials from researching any new methods of transportation that could help this region grow.
No other major metropolitan city has legislation such as this. Typically votes are held on passenger rail issues when taxes are being raised to pay for them, in the case of the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar, your taxes are not being raised!

The charter amendment severely hinders the power of our elected officials to do their job and is meant to indirectly discourage our local government from seeking to improve our transportation options. If passed, the amendment could keep Cincinnati out of consideration for federal stimulus dollars to build it's streetcar line (making an even greater cost to the city), out of consideration for the 3C corridor connecting Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati and out of consideration for the proposed high speed rail network being pushed by the federal government. Charter amendments like this one are deceptive and dangerous, even if you're against the streetcar, say NO to Issue 9 to keep special interest groups like suburban based COAST from dictating our transit options and our transit future.

Are You Registered to Vote?

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it's your job as a citizen to get educated about the issue and represent yourself by voting. UC Students, the streetcar would link uptown and downtown, providing a new, reliable, higher capacity transportation option for yourself and future students alike. Recently, the University of Cincinnati Student Government Association declared their support of the "No on 9" campaign. If you are a UC student currently living in Cincinnati, you have a say in the election. Here's how to make sure you're registered to vote:

To confirm if you're registered to vote in Hamilton County, click here:

To register to vote in Hamilton County, follow the instructions here:

Are You Unsure of Where You Stand on Issue 9 or the Streetcar?

While the charter amendment proposed on Issue 9 affects any and all kind of passenger rail construction, development, research and planning, the construction of a proposed modern streetcar line is at the forefront of the issue. There are many websites, such as this one, making their case for or against the streetcar. Political rhetoric is thrown around quite a bit. If you're interested in learning more about the exact details of the the streetcar plan, your city officials are holding open houses on the following dates:

5-7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown.

6-8 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Bond Hill Recreation Center, 1501 Elizabeth Place.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 28 on Fountain Square, Downtown.

5-7 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 800 Vine St., Downtown.

6-8 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Oakley Recreation Center, 3882 Paxton Ave. (in Hyde Park Plaza)

6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the College Hill Recreation Center, 5545 Belmont Ave.

6-8 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Corryville Recreation Center, 2823 Eden Ave.

6-8 p.m. Nov. 4 at the LeBlond Recreation Center, 2335 Riverside Drive, East End.

5-7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Cincinnati City Hall, Room 115, 801 Plum St., Downtown.

630-8:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Price Hill Recreation Center, 959 Hawthorne Ave.

As said before, even if you're against the streetcar proposal, Issue 9 is about much more than that. It severely restricts our city government from doing the things they're elected to do. It will hinder Cincinnati out of consideration for state and national projects while the rest of the country moves ahead. The amendment is deceptive and dangerous to our city's future. It is unprecedented and no other major city has any kind of similar, ridiculous legislation. Don't keep Cincinnati "20 years behind the times," vote NO on Issue 9!

To all those visiting Oktoberfest this weekend, have a safe and wonderful visit downtown, remember:

Stand up for Cincinnati! Vote 'nein' on Issue Nine!
(Cartoon by Nicholas Sweeny)


  1. By your flagrant falsehoods, you forever forfeit your right to criticize COAST. Your intentional untruths are right up there with the great lightbulb lie.

    Read the language again:
    "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."

    The charter amendment covers two things only:
    1. right-of-way acquisition
    2. construction of improvements.

    These being the two big ticket aspects of any passenger rail project. The charter amendment intentionally does not cover studies, engineering, marketing, grant application, operations or maintenance. In fact they're going to have to do a first-rate study, and actually invest in some engineering, so that they have a solid proposal to present to voters. This is in stark contrast to the "let's just wing it" approach the city is taking with the current trolley proposal.

    You are also very much aware that Austin, TX operates under nearly identical constraints. And you will be hearing more about similar voting requirements from San Diego and Washington State.

    It's a shame too. We had grown used to shrill apocalyptic chicken-littlism from other trolley proponents. But CAAST was a such worthy and formidible opponent precisely because they were always honest. Now this too has passed.

    Oh well it was nice while it lasted. We'll be waiting for you at the finish line.

  2. Dear COAST, maybe if you took the time to come out of your suburban stronghold and down to City Hall last week (Mark Miller came, but was late) you would've heard your lawyer Christopher Finney answer some questions put forward to him by council. One of them concerned the research and studies of said passenger rail proposals. Mr. Finney was quick to answer that even these items would be covered by your charter amendment.

    You also failed to realize that the Austin Texas legistlation is IN NO WAY similar to the joke that you're proposing. Starting with it was actually written by politicians with specific details, rules and guidelines to passenger rail spending. It's written like an actual law with certain provisions and rules, it's not some bogus, vague paragraph written by a lawyer and ex-councilman. The Austin legistlation points out specifics and details while your ammendment is so generalized that even you guys don't understand the scope of it. Remember, you (COAST) said it would "Not affect the 3c Corridor." Yet your own lawyer went before city council saying "any means any," contradicting you. Even you guys don't understand your own charter amendment.

    It's a shame, at one point your group could've posed as a true conservative group that was concerned about spending, taxes and had the public's best interest at heart. Instead, you ignore even bigger examples of spending abuse to only focus your attention on a broad charter amendment and to pair up with a disdainful character such as Chris Smitherman. You claim to be all about public safety and in support of the police department, yet your own Mark Miller and Chris Smitherman have no problem standing up and accusing those brave men and women of being racists.

    Time's up COAST, on Nov. 3 people will say NO on Issue 9.

  3. "In fact they're going to have to do a first-rate study, and actually invest in some engineering, so that they have a solid proposal to present to voters."

    By the way, they've already done this: - Main feasbility study

    In addition to that, there are other studies listed here:

    You could've taken the time to read these or do some basic researching yourself, but that's probably too much work for COAST. You were already too busy ignoring the fact that even the traditionally conservative Cincinnati Enquirer called your charter amendment a 'posion pill.'