Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chris Smitherman's Plan to Bankrupt the City

Chris Smitherman, laughable idiot and president of the local NAACP chapter as well as a former city councilman who wasn't re-elected, is known for his goofy press releases. You know, the ones that he writes himself and then quotes himself, but phrases it as if he's a reporter interviewing himself. Sounds to me like he's just talking to himself, which is probably true since I don't think anyone really takes this guy seriously.

In his latest press release, Smitherman calls for a bailout of Cincinnati and likens the budget situation at city hall to that of the recent economic crisis in Greece. Kind of ironic that a local COAST supporter is calling for a "bailout." Then again this is the guy that Mark Miller of COAST called a "Great American," to which 700 WLW radio host Bill Cunningham simply replied by laughing at Miller.

In case you forgot, this is the same guy that called Issue 9 "deceiving," even though he's the guy who wrote it. Read about that here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Brent Spence Bridgedoggle

New Bridge to cost nearly $3 Billion! We could've avoided this...

In 2007, the Brent Spence Bridge, a bridge designed to carry 85,000 motor vehicles daily, was carrying 155,000 vehicles on a daily basis. A replacement or alternative for the Brent Spence has been long over due. Progressive ideas such as light and commuter rail have been consistently been talked down by groups like COAST. The taxpayers, whom COAST claims to defend, are about to be stuck with a $2.6 Billion bill for the construction of a new Brent Spence Bridge. Meanwhile, had we invested in Metro Moves back in 2002, we could've been working to reduce highway congestion for the tri-state's commuters and maybe we wouldn't be replacing the aging bridge so quickly.

Brent Spence stands upon the recently completed bridge named after him upon its completion in 1963. Image credit: The Phony Coney

As if $2.6 Billion didn't sound bad enough, consider that construction isn't slated to start until 2015, assuming there are no more delays in planning and design. By then, construction costs will have risen even higher and the current aged bridge will be carrying more traffic than ever before. By 2013, two years before construction is supposed to start, the Brent Spence Bridge is estimated to be carrying 200,000 vehicles daily, 115,000 more vehicles than it was originally designed for.

My personal favorite of the new bridge designs. The new bridge will surely look nice, but boy will it cost us!

As the cost continues to pile up for a bridge replacement, other cities and states are investing in rail projects. Not only does rail reduce highway congestion, reduce pollution, have a higher capacity for transporting people and goods all while making better use of land and space, but it costs less!

"What? No, Tairy! That can't be!" -- It's true! A single bridge will cost more than the ten most expensive rail transit projects we've seen across the world in this past decade!

- It cost $1.4 Billion to build a 20 mile commuter light rail line in Phoenix that links multiple destinations and carries over 30,000 people per day (far exceeding initial expectations). Meanwhile, here in the Tri-State it will cost us $2.6 Billion to replace just one bridge.


1. San Juan Tren Urbano - This urban rail line in San Juan, Puerto Rico, completed in 2004, cost an estimated $2.6 Billion in 2009 dollars, roughly the same cost as the Brent Spence Bridge replacement (whose costs might rise by 2015). The difference: this rail line connects thousands and provides transportation across the city while our new bridge is just that...a new bridge.

2. Seattle Central Link- Recently completed, this light rail commuter system connects thousands from the suburbs all the way to downtown Seattle. Initial ridership is already above expectations. Cost: $2.4 Billion.

3. New Jersey Hudson - Bergen Light Rail - Connecting thousands between New Jersey and Manhattan. Cost: $2 Billion.

4. Vancouver Canada Line - Carry's over 100,000 people daily between the city's airport and downtown (sounds like a familiar idea Cincinnati once had). Cost: $2 Billion.

5. Phase 3 of the LA Red Line - Completed six months ahead of schedule and under budget, this commuter rail line saved LA from having to spend billions to create highways through and around the Santa Monica Mountains. Cost: $1.3 Billion.

6. San Francisco BART Airport extension - 8.7 mile line connects airport to downtown and surrounding suburbs. Reduces commuter congestion (again an idea we had in Cincinnati that the naysayers shot down). Cost: $1.73 Billion.

7. Phoenix Metro Rail - 20 miles of light rail line for $1.4 Billion with ridership estimates far exceeding expectations. Meanwhile, we're spending $2.6 Billion to replace a bridge strictly for automobiles.

8. Philadelphia Market-Frankford Reconstruction - The complete replacement of this rapid transit line now allows SEPTA to carry 180,000 users daily and thats just one line. Imagine how much that reduces highway congestion. Cost: $1.3 Billion.

9. New Jersey River Line - For the cost of $1.26 Billion, Light Rail diesel vehicles carry roughly 7300 commuters every day across 34 miles. Cincinnati could've had a similar plan to this with Metro Moves, linking the East Side and eliminating a need to expand and rebuild OH-32. Instead, we'll be expanding that highway too and tearing down even more homes and businesses.

10. Washington Branch Ave. Metrorail Extension - The completion of five new stations on this line has lead to economic development and put the Washington Metro at 103 miles of total service. Cost: $1.10 Billion.


One bridge will cost us $2.6 Billion dollars alone!

That's assuming construction is underway by 2015, costs haven't risen, or the project doesn't run over budget. That also doesn't account for the billions taxpayers will spend widening and re-doing I-75 from downtown all the way to I-275!

Why not invest in light rail transit and reduce the congestion and stress put on our highways? Why are we going to spend billions when we could spend far less to make a better investment in our future? More importantly, why is a group who claims to watch out for "additional spending" remaining so quiet on this issue? COAST has no problem trying to stop the City of Cincinnati (a city in which the majority of their members DO NOT live in) from building a $128 Million streetcar line, but remains eerily silent as the state prepares to waste billions upon billions on highway infrastructure?

COAST failed to derail the $128 Million streetcar project, but has done nothing to try and stop or suggest cost saving alternatives for the $2.6 Billion Brent Spence Bridge Replacement.

My father and grandfather taught me that a true conservative realizes a good investment and works against wasteful spending. The folks at COAST are not conservatives, they are merely special interest pawns who do not have the taxpayers best interest at heart.

So while COAST likes to label every project they're against as a "boondoggle." We'll call this Brent Spence replacement plan...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

COAST Declares Premature Victory While Leader Faces Foreclosure. The Streetcar Battle is Far From Over.

Today it was announced that the city of Cincinnati would not be receiving any federal TIGER stimulus funds for its proposed Modern Streetcar project. Meanwhile, the cities of Tuscon, Arizona and Dallas, Texas received federal stimulus dollars for their projects. Out of 1457 projects that applied for funding, only 51 had their requests met in some fashion. Does this mean the death of the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar? Not by a long shot. The project has applied for other grants and the word will be out on those in the future. Is this a setback? Yes. However, unlike COAST would like to believe, this not the death of the project and this is certainly not a victory for the Anderson Township based fringe group.

Check out this tweet where COASTer Mark Miller (yeah, that guy who made fun of a dead American combat veteran) declares victory:

I don't think the brilliant minds at COAST are aware that this was not the only funding grant the streetcar project had applied for, nor is this set back an imminent threat to the project as shown here. Maybe the boys at COAST should brush up on a little bit of their history of assumed premature victories:

Meanwhile, in other COAST news: While COAST chairman Jason Gloyd was busy fighting red light cameras in Cleveland and declaring premature victory in the Cincinnati Business Courier, he wasn't busy paying his mortgage. As City Beat has reported: the COAST leader faces a foreclosure on his home.

Image provided by the boys at COAST.

One has to wonder why a man who can't take care of his own finances feels so inclined to lecture others on how to properly spend their money. Maybe Jason should get the court case set against him by Hamilton County in order first before he declares victory for COAST. We wish the best for Jason and his family through this tough time.

Just as there are no TIGER funds for streetcar, there will be no TIGER funds for Gloyd's mortgage.

Monday, February 15, 2010

10 Years of COAST. What do They Have to Show for it?

In case you haven't heard, our good friends at the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) recently celebrated their tenth anniversary. A happy new year/anniversary post on their blog encouraged their readers to "Leave your many fond recollections of COAST in the comments." The only person who commented was me, who reminded them of the fond memories I have when we defeated their Issue 9. So in honor of COAST's 10th Anniversary let's take a look back at what they have to show for the past decade...

- Members of the local fringe group, COAST.


2009 -- COAST's proportional representation campaign fails and out of 17 politicians and issues endorsed in the November election, ALL FAILED, EXCEPT FIVE. Issue 9, a deceptive campaign started by COAST and the NAACP, aimed at stopping the Cincinnati streetcar project , IS DEFEATED BY VOTERS 56% - 44%.

2008 -- COAST sues to stop use of City Hall facilities for pro-tax purposes AND THEN THE USES CITY HALL FACILITIES TO ADVOCATE THEIR OWN AGENDA, KINDA HYPOCRITICAL, NO?

2008 -- COAST passes a ban in Cincinnati on the use of red light and speeding cameras WORSENING OUR BUDGET AND HURTING OUR PUBLIC SAFETY.

2007 -- Commissioners impose 1/2 ¢ sales tax increase without a vote. COAST joined WeDemandAVote.Com Coalition to collect 56,000 signatures and to defeat the hated tax, WORSENING OUR BUDGET AND HURTING OUR PUBLIC SAFETY.

2007 -- COAST attempted to sue in order to stop taxpayer funding of Commissioner David Pepper's girlfriend's Greater Cincinnati Film Commission, which works to bring jobs and promote the tri-state area. COAST FAILED. COMMISSION STILL FUNDED BY GOVERNOR STRICKLAND'S TAX INCENTIVES. AND WHY DO THEY HATE DAVID PEPPER SO MUCH? THEY REALLY HATE DAVID PEPPER.

2007 -- COAST launches efforts to stop taxpayer funding of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. FAILURE. CENTER STILL RECEIVES FUNDING.

2005 -- COAST arranged for legal representation for woman in Loveland criminally charged with owing $1.16 in income tax, resulting in a dismissal of the charges. THIS IS ONE OF ONLY TWO ACTUAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS ON THE LIST.

2004 -- North COAST formed to aid in the fight against excessive taxes and spending in Butler and Warren Counties. NOT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT, JUST WAIT FOR NORTH CAAST TO FORM AGAINST THEM.

2003 -- passed a Charter Amendment in Cincinnati preventing the use of tax dollars to campaign for tax increases ACTUALLY THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, BUT WAS ALREADY PROHIBITED BY STATE LAW O.R.C. 9.03(C)(1)(E)

2003 -- joined a coalition called ALRT to defeat a 1 ¢ sales tax increase for a light rail transit system (since the defeat of this tax increase, COAST has done NOTHING to step up against tax increases and additional spending on highways and roads). WRONG YEAR AND IF YOUR ONLY ACCOMPLISHMENT IS DESTROYING THE WORK OF OTHERS, I GUESS ARSONISTS ARE PRETTY ACCOMPLISHED TOO.

2002 -- A COAST lawsuit prevents Cincinnati Public Schools from abusing tax dollars to advocate for political causes such as tax increases. SEE ABOVE (THIS WAS ALREADY A LAW).

2001 -- defeated an effort to fund the "Regional Coltural Alliance" with $500,000 in tax dollars. THEY MAY HAVE JUST MADE THIS ONE UP; A SEARCH OF "COLTURAL" IN THE CITY AND COUNTY LEGISLATIVE ARCHIVES PRODUCES NO RESULTS.

2001 -- Brought the property tax rollback to Cincinnati that continues to this day WORSENING OUR BUDGET AND HURTING OUR PUBLIC SAFETY.

2000 -- Defeated funding by the City of Cincinnati for an effort to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to Cincinnati. YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT? THE OLYMPICS BRINGING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO OUR REGION, LIKE IT DID IN BEIJING, VANCOUVER, SYDNEY, and SALT LAKE CITY!

1999 -- defeated the zoo tax levy. WE HAVE ONE OF THE TOP ZOO'S IN THE NATION, LET'S KEEP IT THAT WAY.

1999 -- defeated the police communications levy HURTING OUR PUBLIC SAFETY.


10 years. An entire decade and what does COAST have to show for it? A staunch record of saying "no," huge budget deficits within the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and a record of opposing public safety programs. Their only real accomplishments were prohibiting public funds to used to potentially influence elections, however, this was already a state law, and a minor criminal defense matter that could've been handled by any competent lawyer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Callousness of COAST

In case you haven't heard, Congressman John Murtha passed away yesterday after complications due to a recent gall bladder surgery he had. While I was certainly not always a fan of Murtha's politics, America has lost not only a statesman respected by both parties, but a combat veteran who proudly served his country in the Vietnam war.

However, the head honchos at COAST don't see that. We've seen COAST stoop low, but never this low. Check out what COAST treasurer Mark Miller, who authors the COAST Twitter account, had to say about this war veterans death:

Is there any behavior above COAST? We already knew that lying, calling people slang words for sexual organs, intentionally deceiving voters, and inflating actual numbers were things that the folks had COAST never had no problem doing, but now Mark Miller thinks its appropriate to make fun of dead combat veterans and politicians?

- The man behind the tweets. COAST treasurer, Mark Miller.
"[John Murtha] Should've died in prison." "Good Riddance bad egg."

This isn't the first time CAAST has been alerted of Miller's nonsense on Twitter. A few months ago we pointed out how he resorted, on two occasions, to calling his opponents "pussies" in the wake of political defeat. You can read about those incidents here and here. On top of that, the Cincinnati Blog showed us how COAST has been editing other peoples tweets to bolster fake support for themselves! Read about that here.

Miller and COAST did not stop with the Murtha tweets though. Yep, you guessed it, there's more. Check out this other tweet from @GOCOAST:

Ironically, in this tweet, we see COAST complaining that the downtown Riverfront Transit Center is "empty." It's ironic because for starters it is not empty. The Center is used multiple times throughout the year to house charter buses for large scale events downtown. System Parking operates it and has a contract with the city, allowing the city to bring in some profit from the event parking. By calling it "empty" COAST is referring to how it has never been used for light rail purposes. Why hasn't it? Because COAST worked to defeat Metro Moves in 2002 which would've put the transit center to good use and made it the center for light rail activity in the heart of downtown. They have no one to blame but themselves for it being "empty."

You may remember recently, I challenged COAST to answer why they continue to intentionally lie about rail transit. My challenge went unanswered, COAST even blocked me from following their Twitter account (guess they can't take criticism backed by factual evidence). As COAST continues to complain about the 3C Rail Corridor throughout Ohio, they offer no alternative. The group is wiling to turn down $400 Million in federal funding that would provide a new transportation option for Ohio residents and be a step towards high speed rail. That $400 Million would just go to another state, it couldn't be used anywhere else here. So what's the alternative? What is COAST's plan for the future?

It's simple, they don't have one. COAST has proven time and time again that immature behavior and name calling is their standard operating procedure. They offer no solutions or alternatives while mocking the dead. Maybe someone should get Mark Miller and his buddies a one way ticket to Colorado Springs.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

COASTers celebrate the Christmas Season and losing records, both of their organization and the Cleveland Browns.

COASTer Brad Wenstrup (center) poses with other COAST members at COAST's annual Christmas Party held at Slatt's Pub in Blue Ash. Wenstrup was recently defeated in his run for mayor of Cincinnati. Photo courtesy of COAST'.

Ah, tiss the holiday season! To all of our loyal readers, fans and haters, the folks here at CAAST would to extend our warmest holiday wishes to you. Thank you for your support and we hope you had a wonderful holiday season. We'd even like to extend a very, yet belated, Merry Christmas to our buddies at COAST. Speaking of which, our friends recently were "simply having a wonderful Christmas time."

Not surprisingly, COAST held their annual holiday party at a suburban bar outside of the city limits of Cincinnati, a city whose politics they love to interfere with yet very few of their members actually live in. Anderson Township COAST leaders Chris Finney and Jason Gloyd were seen rubbing elbows with their failed mayoral candidate, Brad Wenstrup, at Slatt's Pub in Blue Ash, Ohio.

Slatt's Pub was a good choice for COAST to hold their holiday party. According to Slatt's website, their establishment is the official "Brown Backers bar of Greater Cincinnati." Slatt's shows all Cleveland Browns games and offers discounts to registered fans of the Cleveland Browns football team, arch-rivals of our own Cincinnati Bengals. So why is this perfect for COAST? Well, it works out great:

Slatt's doesn't support the hometown team, rather their rivals.
- COAST doesn't support Cincinnati, rather tries to interfere in it's politics despite the fact the majority of their group is located in the suburbs.

The Cleveland Browns have a losing record.
- COAST has a losing record!

The Cleveland Browns lost 11 games this season, winning only five. Coincidentally COAST only had five victories as well. Out of 17 COAST endorsed candidates and issues, all failed except five.

So as displaced Browns fans from the greater Cincinnati area gathered at Slatt's to mourn the team's abysmal season (Cincinnati defeated Cleveland twice) and losing record, the COASTers gathered to celebrate theirs.

- COASTer Brad Wenstrup (left) was defeated in the recent mayoral election by Mayor Mark Mallory %54 - %46. Photo credit: COAST