Friday, October 30, 2009

Poorly written Issue 9 affects roads, rail, sidewalks...EVERYTHING!

Mark Painter of Clifton Heights-Fairview served as a trial and appellate judge for 27 years.

Just when you thought Issue 9 wasn't as broad reaching or deceptive enough, the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting...

"A court might determine that the "last antecedent rule" applies to the amendment. If so, every acquisition of land - for widening a street, building a bridge - would be subject to a popular vote! At the very least, there would be expensive and time-consuming lawsuits. Not to mention making us a laughingstock." - Cincinnati Enquirer October 30, 2009

So now, not only does Issue 9 affect all passenger rail projects no matter what the cost or funding sources, it now affects right-of-way acquisition for everything! Streetcars, sidewalks, roads, etc. Take a look at the Painter article and see for yourself, this Issue would keep Cincinnati in a legal mess for years to come! Whether you support the streetcar or not, this is obviously about much, much more. This amendment is absolutely ridiculous. Click here to read the full article.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Issue 9 would "Maroon" Cincinnati

As the federal government continues to further it's plans to develop high speed rail in America, Issue 9 threatens to leave Cincinnati off the map. Are they really going to sit around and wait for us to vote on every little expenditure while the rest of the nation moves forward? Probably not, which is why the "Cincinnati" stop on the line will be in Sharonville, connecting our northern neighbor with Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus and Cleveland, marooning Cincinnati in a sea of slowly worsening highway systems and air port delays.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Smitherman Says His Own Amendment Deceiving!

Chris Smitherman, Cincinnati NAACP president, and one of the leading members of the "We Demand a Vote" Coalition who worked with Anderson Township lawyer Christopher Finney to author the ballot language of Issue 9 is now calling his own amendment "political corruption."

In a press release dated October 26, 2009, the local NAACP president had this to say:
"The Cincinnati NAACP remains concerned that a Yes vote on Issues 8 & 9 mean No and a No vote on Issues 8 & 9 means Yes. "This is nothing short of madness and political corruption," Smitherman says."
How could it be "corruption," though? Smitherman himself worked with Christopher Finney to author the ballot language. He even told the Cincinnati Enquirer how proud he was of it back in June of this year. Now all of the sudden Smitherman is concerned that the voters will be fooled? Smitherman's press release continues to spiral into his own pool of confusion and self delusion when he says:
"There is no explanation for a Yes meaning No and a No meaning Yes. This is not a tradition but an attempt to trick voters. "
Who is to blame for this "trick," Chris? You helped write the language yourself! Are you being serious? We all know that Chris Smitherman is no stranger to these types of referendums and ballot language. He worked with Finney and Co. on the previous jail tax and red light camera initiatives. Now all of the sudden he's realized that his own ballot language is deceiving? You have got to be kidding me

Smitherman's half truths and exaggerations continue throughout the press release:
"...reject Mayor Mark Mallory's attempt to build a $200 million streetcar while shutting down our bus system, laying off bus drivers, and raising bus fares on the poor and disabled."
Do we have to cover this again? Smitherman has been corrected multiple times that the estimated cost of the streetcar is $128 million, $185 million with the uptown extension, not $200 million. Also, Mayor Mark Mallory is not shutting down the current bus system. Queen City Metro, our bus system operator, has said multiple times that they support the streetcar plan and have even endorsed a "no" vote on Issue 9. These kind of lies and shallow attacks are what we have come to expect from Chris Smitherman ever since he was voted off of city council. I think Bill Cunningham got it right last week when he said: "Smitherman's a clown."

Now Smitherman is confused by his own ballot language! Leaders like Chris Smitherman exercise the exact kind of antiquated, stupid thinking that has kept us "20 years behind the times."


Friday, October 23, 2009

COAST gets desperate, 700 WLW's Bill Cunningham speaks out against Issue 9

As Boss Finney and his gang at COAST start to lose their relevance with the truth being spread that Issue 9 isn't just about the streetcar, it's about all passenger rail, some big names have come out against the ridiculous charter amendment while Finney and friends get desperate trying to smear the other side.

On 10/20/2009, COAST treasurer Mark Miller was a guest on Bill Cunningham's 700 WLW show. At around 7 minutes and 30 seconds into the show, they got on the subject of Issue 9. Click here to download and listen.

Mark Miller was caught clearly lying in the interview when he claimed that the train at the Cincinnati Zoo was not "passenger rail transportation." However, as the Enquirer has already shown us, it clearly is. Cunningham struck down Miller and the COAST backed charter amendment when he said:
" seems to me as of late that referendum and the initiative process is not the way to run a government."
Willie goes on to talk about how elected representatives should be the ones investigating proposals and projects before spending money and not special interest groups who "go out and buy the signatures." Mark Miller agrees with Willie after that, but doesn't realize that Cunningham was criticizing the way special interest groups like COAST operate. Miller continues to stumble over his words throughout the interview before Cunningham declares Issue 9 to be a "stupid idea," and calls Chris Smitherman "a clown."

Meanwhile, other COAST representatives were making up new campaign slogans. Stephan Louis at a debate hosted by the American Association of Architects at the University of Cincinnati compared the referendum process of issue 9 to the act of an "abortion." In the comments section of their blog, COAST supporters have begun adopting this campaign slogan:

Comparing streetcars to abortion and lying about the true effects of Issue 9 is what COAST's campaign has come down to in the final days leading up to the election. Even Bill Cunningham, who "thinks the Over-The-Rhine trolley is a bad idea" has called out Issue 9 for what it really is and stood against it. Let's vote down Issue 9 and do Cincinnati a favor, just as Mark Miller said in his WLW interview: "...then COAST has to shut up and go away."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tom Luken Doesn't Want Anything to Change

Ex-mayor/Congressman exercises typical antiquated, stupid thinking.
While the rest of the nation and world trudge forward into the future, Tom Luken thinks everything here in Cincinnati is just all hunky dory and fine. In fact he wouldn't change a thing. At least that's what the aging COAST spokesperson told citizens at a recent public meeting. To quote the reporting of Enquirer reporter Steve Kemme:

One question was, if you could shape the future of the city, what’s the one thing you would do to change the city?

Luken’s response?

“Nothing. I like it just the way it is. Status quo.”

It's local folklore, and quoted at the top of this blog, that Mark Twain once said: "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati. Because its always twenty years behind the times." With idiots like Tom Luken running around saying things like this and promoting special interest groups like COAST, it's no wonder people think Cincinnati is twenty years behind the times. My question is; if Tom Luken is satisfied with the status quo, why does he want to amend the city charter with a restrictive amendment like Issue 9? I thought everything was just fine "staus quo?"

Reject the antiquated, stupid thinking of Tom Luken, reject special interest groups, reject California style referdum voting and reject lawyers from outside our city trying to bring down Democracy in Cincinnati. Reject Issue 9!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This is Why We Look to Portland

While the folks at COAST may be too lazy or too in denial to properly research the proposed modern streetcar plan (hell, they couldn't even get the right picture on their yard signs!), the folks at Soapbox went all the way to Portland to see just why the streetcar system is so successful. Why does everyone point to Portland? Why do the residents, business owners and commuters of Portland enjoy alternate means of transportation?

Portland Streetcar from on Vimeo.

The Cincinnati Streetcar could help revitalize Cincinnati! It would serve 54% of all jobs in the city and like Portland's system, could be an economic boost at a time when Cincinnati needs it most. The benefits could be used for all Cincinnati neighborhoods. Issue 9 threatens this proposed plan and would keep Cincinnati out of the proposed passenger rail networks connecting it with other major cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus and Cleveland.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Jason Gloyd is a Liar or an Idiot, Whichever Title You Prefer.

The above title is a bold statement, but after reading COAST's blog today I'm inclined to believe that it's true. In a flurry of posts, Jason Gloyd, chairman of COAST, repeatedly showed his ignorance and apathy towards learning the facts on local issues and his true colors as a special interest patsy. You might remember, Gloyd. He was the one who on 700 WLW's Bill Cunningham show tried to tell "Willie" that the streetcars were powered by coal. Even I felt embarrassed for Gloyd when the next caller corrected nearly every one of Jason's fabrications.

From the COAST blog:
“How, exactly, is the public to make its voice heard on passenger rail spending,” said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd"
Jason, you, just like every other citizen had numerous chances to attend public hearings and meetings regarding the issue. Many of the great citizens of this city did and gave their input, both recently when city council held open houses and in the past few years when the project was in the planning stages.
“Some damned fool nameless, faceless bureaucrat decided to build a $60 million subway station on Cincinnati’s Riverfront in 2002,” said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd."
Jason has been told many times, but he still chooses to ignore the real price of the Riverfront Transit Center: $18 Million, according to the Cincinnati Post, $23 Million, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. NOT $60 MILLION! Gloyd also ignores the fact that the operation of the center is contracted out to System Parking and the city of Cincinnati gets a share of the parking revenue from the center and it's adjoining parking lots. The Transit Center has been making money during large events ever since it opened.

Damned, nameless fools Jason? Are you serious? As someone who is the chairman of a special interest political group, you'd think you would've taken the time to get acquainted with the names of your local politicians who approved the building of the Transit Center along with the reconstruction of Ft. Washington Way.

Jason has also allowed his special interest group to distribute these misleading yard signs:

But, as CAAST pointed out the other day, Issue 9 wouldn't just stop the streetcar, it would reject ALL PASSENGER RAIL projects. Keeping Cincinnati further and further behind other major cities. Further promoting the "20 years behind the times" stereotype. Wonder why Jason and his boys at COAST didn't put "STOP PASSENGER RAIL" on their sign and tell the truth? Why does the truth come so hard for Jason and COAST?

Maybe this sign would work better:

Warning: This sign has been modified for truthfulness!


Friday, October 9, 2009

What Else You're Rejecting

While our friends at COAST were too busy looking up Playhouse Disney videos on youtube, we, the citizens against antiquated, stupid thinking, were thinking over the broad reaching effects and consequences of Issue 9. Even if you're not in favor of the streetcar plan, you should be opposed to Issue 9. Why? Because Issue 9 affects ALL passenger rail in Cincinnati, not just the streetcar. While COAST continues to try and mislead voters into thinking this charter amendment would "reject the streetcar" as they say, CAAST would like to show you what else you would be "rejecting:"

- The proposed American high speed rail network, currently undergoing preliminary planning and research by the Federal Government. This would link Cincinnati in a hub with Chicago, Columbus, Indianapolis, Cleveland and other major cities. Not if you vote 'yes' on 9 though!

- The proposed "3C corridor" linking Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland would give these cities a head start on high speed rail and create jobs as seen in the chart below. Not if you vote 'yes' though! Yes on 9, means NO on jobs.

- The Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments has called passenger rail transit an "absolute necessity" for improving our current transportation needs. At the center of their proposed 2030 plan, Cincinnati. If Issue 9 were to pass though, the whole project would be stalled throughout all states, counties, municipalities etc. while Cincinnati holds a taxpayer funded special election to determine whether or not to spend money on the project, regardless of where that money comes fro, whether it be federal, state or local funds. The city of Cincinnati would have veto power over stalling an entire regional rail plan like the one seen below.

- The never completed Cincinnati Subway would be an integral part of the above OKI regional rail plan. In 2008 a study by the URS corporation found these tunnels to be in a "good" condition and suitable for use by light rail. If the plan were to go forward, utilizing these tunnels could save millions upon millions in construction and tunneling costs. However, if Issue 9 passes, these tunnels could remain empty, never fufilling their intended purpose.

- The Riverfront Transit Center below 2nd. Street was built during the reconstruction of Fort Washington Way. Currently, the center is only open to house charter buses during large downtown events. If fully activated, the transit center would serve as the central hub for regional rail and could easily be modified to accomidate all types of commuter rail, again like the subway, saving millions up millions in construction costs. The resources are already there! A vote of 'yes' on 9 means yes on wasting taxpayer money by never fully utilizing our own resources to their vast potential.

- The ballot language of Issue 9 prohibits the "construction of improvements for passenger rail transportation" So if the city wanted to improve the handicapped access of Union Terminal, which is the current station for our Amtrak Cardinal Line passenger rail, they would have to tell handicapped citizens to wait until a tax payer funded special election is held on the issue or for the next election day to roll around.

- Lastly, you might think we're joking. Unfortunatley we're not. The train at the Cincinnati Zoo would even fall under the broad language of the Issue 9 ammendment. Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Barry Horstman was the first to bring this to light, and if you don't believe it, you can read COAST's own ballot language for yourself. Yes, even the children's train at the zoo would be affected!

As you can see, while COAST may claim that a vote of 'yes' on Issue 9 is a vote to 'reject the streetcar,' you're really being tricked into voting for a rejection on all passenger rail, keeping Cincinnati out of important regional and national projects. The Cincinnati Enquirer even called Issue 9 a "Poison Pill" for Cincinnati. Democrats, Independents, Republicans, the AFL-CIO, the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board and many, many more have all come out and endorssed "Cincinnatians For Progress," in opposition of Issue 9.

COAST's special interest trick is just absurd. Don't be fooled into thinking that Issue 9 is just about the streetcar project, it's about much, much more. It's broadly worded language features a whole swath of consequences as seen here.

In 20 days, on November 3., say NO to special interest controlling our city and say NO TO ISSUE 9!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Following my experiences here, I truly believe in the idea of a Cincinnati streetcar..."

Cincinnati native shares his thoughts on why he believes a modern streetcar system would benefit the Queen City after experiencing rail transit in Dublin, Ireland.

Chris Powers, a Cincinnati native and junior majoring in Organizational Communications at Cedarville Christian University, is currently studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland where a modern streetcar system similar to the one proposed for Cincinnati currently operates.
As summer was drawing to a close, my friend Chris and I attended a Reds game at Great American Ballpark just a few days prior to when he would be departing to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland. The subject of the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar came up. Chirs, who has been a Cincinnati resident all of his life, seemed skeptical of the idea judging by what he had previously heard from other people. After the game, I enthusiastically drove him around the proposed streetcar route; showing him exactly where the streetcar would go, the things it would connect and the potential it had. I didn't know if I had made a believer out of him or not, but in this recent email which Chris has asked me to share with you all, Chris seems convinced that the construction of a modern streetcar would be beneficial to Cincinnati after he experienced the LUAS (Dublin Irleland's modern streetcar and light rail system).

The following text and photographs come from Chris Powers, 10/5/2009:

My story begins with my studying in Ireland for a semester this fall and the wonderful opportunity to live in the Dublin area. As a Cincinnati native I was excited to experience a different sort of city life in a European setting.

I’ve also always however had a strong passion for the city of Cincinnati and longed to continue to see it get redeveloped and have a much more successful commercial district along not only the riverfront, but also into the downtown district including areas that are in a much needed rejuvenation such as Over-the-Rhine. With the construction of 'The Banks' project in full swing, the city has once again proposed a new form of public transportation in the form of a light rail system that will run through the city and provide a connection between the riverfront, fountain square, the University of Cincinnati and even passing through Over-the-Rhine.

You’re probably wondering what connection my experiences in Dublin could possibly have with the Queen City. Well, Dublin has many different forms of public transportation including a light rail system of their own or a streetcar as it will be called in Cincy. As a man who was curious about the effectiveness of a streetcar in getting people around and how much of an affect it would have on traffic it was a prime opportunity for me to see firsthand if the Cincinnati street car was a system that could truly benefit the city. Well I’m very pleased to assure you that if Cincinnati does in fact chose to install the street car that it will definitely be a great benefit to the city and the people of city.

Here are a few reasons why:
    1. The rail system is extremely efficient and is also very modern in the way it operates. The trains come frequently and run extremely close to their pre planned schedule. The sit many people comfortably and have plenty of standing room as well
    2. Another concern for me is how well a light rail system could actually fit into a cityscape, especially a difficult historical one such as Dublin’s. However the street car really looks fantastic in Dublin with its historical surroundings and I can only imagine that it would look even better in a modern city landscape. In fact the street car in a way almost gives the areas it’s in a bit more character.
    3. One of the primary reasons that the street car has been pushed is its role in helping re-develop the rougher parts of cincy that it runs through including Over The Rhine. A similar idea was apart of the planning of the LUAS as it runs right through the north side of Dublin where many underdeveloped areas have historically been located. The LUAS since its installation has brought a significant amount of new development to the streets it runs through including a lot of tourist development.
    4. Safety is always a concern when considering any type of public transport and this was a heavy concern of mine as well. The LUAS has proved to me however that the system is certainly safe. The citizens of Dublin are careful and mindful of the LUAS as it passes through the crowded streets of Dublin and traffic systems have helped prevent any serious accidents from occurring.
After spending a little over a month using the light rail system here in Dublin, I can't help but hope that the people of my beloved Cincinnati decide to support thier own streetcar system. Following my experiences here, I truely believe in the idea of a Cincinnati streetcar in that it could help create a more commercially successful Cincinnati and at the same time provide a great new source of public transportation for the people of the Queen City.

- Photographs and text courtesy of Chris Powers.

Meanwhile, here in Cincinnati, the list of reputable individuals, groups and organizations coming out in opposition of Issue 9, continues to grow! Democrats, Republicans, Independents, environmentalists, labor unions and so many, many more have stepped up to remind you to:


Thursday, October 1, 2009