Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Would Issue 9 Affect the Children's Train at the Zoo? All You Have to do is Read the Ballot Language!

COAST lawyer Christopher Finney was quick to answer with:
"Our opponents want people to believe this would have all kinds of draconian effects," said Finney, who crafted the wording that will appear on the ballot. "They're trying to drum up hysteria rather than talk about what's actually on the ballot - the merits of the streetcar and passenger-rail transportation."
However, I think it's a legitimate question. Let's take a look at the ballot language proposed by COAST:
"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."
A "yes" vote on Issue 9 would place that vague, far reaching paragraph on the city's charter, but would it affect the little children's train at the zoo? Let's have a look.

The city of Cincinnati purchased the zoo in 1932 and run's it through the board of park commissioners. According to the COAST ballot language it seems that the zoo would fall under "The City, and its various Boards and Commissions." As seen in the above photo the train obviously carries passengers making it "passenger rail transportation." So what if the city/board of park commissioners wanted to expand or "improve" this "passenger rail transportation?" Well, according to this ballot language, since it is within the city limits of Cincinnati and owned and operated by "the city, and it's various Boards and Commissions," no money could be spent on improving the children's choo-choo train without first submitting a vote to the city electorate.

Now, Mr. Finney, if as you say this is all just "hysteria," please point out how my assessment is incorrect and how the charter amendment would not affect the zoo train. I'd like to think that this is all pretty ridiculous, but your charter amendment is so vague and far reaching that even the children's train at the zoo is affected! I'm just going off your own words here Chris. The Charter amendment is nothing but a vague paragraph. As we see thanks to Horstman's article, it's effects are far reaching and there are no details or provisions really outlining the affects of the amendment.

What if a private company such as P&G donated money to the zoo as they've often done? Could that money be used to expand the children's train which would be affected by the charter amendment? Nope, as Chris Finney told us a couple weeks ago; "any means any," no matter the funding source, a vote must be held.

Why would we ever allow something so vague and so ridiculous to become law here in our fair city? You don't have to, vote "No on 9" on Nov. 3!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure the zoo could get by with an amusement ride classification for any theoretical project, but I'd anticipate push back from COAST in that case because they've stated the streetcar was nothing but an amusement. :D

    I think this finally fits the threshold of the silliness that COAST has been claiming about other concerns like the 3-C, but still quite amusing none the less.