Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are You Smarter Than a "Progresser"?

Photo credit: Kaye Mastin Mallory / English-Zone.ComIn one of the most bizarre political stunts of this election season, "Progress" supporters claimed that the anti-boondoggle charter amendment petition was somehow defective because three of the 11,500 signatories failed to understand it, but signed it anyway.

One of those invoking the stupidity defense was Minette Cooper, City Council Member from 1995-2003. While on council, she chaired the Finance Committee, The Health, Children and Social Service Committee, and the Economic Development Committee, and served as Vice Mayor from 1997-2001.

Another Progresser claiming cluelessness was Barbara Howard, who is a lawyer and President of the Ohio State Bar Association. She is also past president of the Cincinnati Bar Association, serves on the Board of the Cincinnati Bar Foundation as well as the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor. She has served in the American Bar Association House of Delegates since 1986, and is currently serving as a member of the Board of Editors of the ABA Journal.

Enquirer Politics Extra blogger Barry Horstman captured the essence of the failed stunt:
"Cooper and the two other regretful petition signers asked the elections board to rescind their signatures, but were told there is no mechanism for doing so. Moreover, proponents gathered more than twice the 6,150 signatures of registered voters needed, so the potential loss of a few names is both politically and statistically insignificant.

The few sentences on the petitions clearly stated that the measure would require public approval of expenditures “for right-of-way acquisition or construction of improvements” for streetcars and other passenger rail systems. So perhaps a better question for those at the press conference is whether they are in the habit of signing things without reading them.

Cooper at least earned some points for political candor in admitting that what the event was really about was publicity."
Over at the CincyStreetcar Blog, trolley supporters touted the 29th grade reading level of the petition language to reinforce the implication that voting on passenger rail transportation is somehow beyond the intelligence of the average citizen.

Interestingly, the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution has nearly the same reading level. Click below and see if you find it too overwhelming.

Cincinnatians for Progress will stoop to any depth to prevent you from voting on passenger rail transportation. They think you're too stupid, and don't trust you to get it right. Tell them how you feel about that this November by passing the pro-vote charter amendment.


  1. You all called it the streetcar petition, the anti-boondoggle petition....

    months and month of misrepresentation and the media followed blindly. Now the other side wants to clarify what the petition is/was about and is forced to stoop to the ridiculously low level set my COAST.

    What it comes down to is that you know you have been purposely misleading people...plain and simple.

    Again, which COAST reps live within the city limits of Cincinnati? The reason I ask is that I want to be sure that your group is doing what's best for Cincinnati...and when you have no affiliation with the city, then I have a hard time believing that is what's happeneing.

  2. ^Anon, can't speak for Chris Finney, Jason Gloyd etc, but I do believe COAST member Mark Miller is a resident of Hyde Park.

    I will agree with the above poster, even if the three who came forward are pulling some political stunt, there have been numerous reports about how your petitioners mislead people at Findlay Market and other locations. It's not that "progressers" think voters are stupid, they're just not happy you felt you had to mislead petition signers. It's not a "trolley" amendment, it's not a "streetcar" amendment, it's not a "pro vote" amendment and it's not a "boondoggle" amendment. It's a passenger rail amendment.

    Even the Enquirer stands firmly against your charter amendment calling it a 'poison pill' for the city:

  3. This "political stunt" pales in comparison to the "political stunt" of a so called conservative group teaming up with Chris Smitherman.

  4. Here is a nice article from Youngstown that spells out how important is for the state, let alone Cincinnati:

    COAST isn't being up front about how damaging this amendment is.

    Also, might want to give credit to the copyright owner of the Homer Simpson X-Ray image:
    Kaye Mastin Mallory
    (just a thought)

  5. Anonymous,
    Thanks for the name. We certainly want to give credit where it's due.

    Didn't see much explanation in that article for why Ohio needs passenger rail, other than:
    1. We haven't spent money on it in a while.
    2. Other states around us are spending money on it.
    3. Feds might give us some money to spend on it.
    None of these seem particularly compelling. Where's the pent-up demand waiting to use trains? People are getting around OK now by other means. How do we know anybody will ride the 3C?

    This whole ruckus about the amendment affecting the 3C project was cooked up by politicians to throw sand in voters' eyes. Trolley plan is hugely unpopular, would never survive a public vote, and they know it. So they have to change the subject.

    Charter amendment would be a city law. 3C would be federal dollars spent by the state. City laws only constrain city officials, and they aren't involved. Feds & state can do whatever they want without city permission.

    This amendment simply requires a vote before the city spends money on passenger rail. Nothing more, nothing less. We've been very candid about that.

  6. COAST - thanks for your name as well

  7. The fact that Minette Cooper, a former City Council member and Vice Mayor, couldn't be bothered to read the petition she was signing to get the details of the issue shows exactly why we can't leave important issues like this in the hands of a few elected officials and government bureaucrats.

    Thank you Minette for highlighting how lacking our elected officials are. Thank god the people will have a say.

  8. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the people are too stupid to deserve a vote on the streetcar or any other public transit issue. Even a fine, distinguished woman like Minette Cooper is too stupid to know how to vote.

    We must leave these issues in the hands of our intelligent City Councilman. Chaos will reign if all the stupid people get to vote.

  9. "People are getting around OK now by other means. "

    Getting around ok? Yeah, it's great going downtown and constantly having to go back to my car, move it, pay to park again and again and again just to enjoy attractions, dining, events downtown.

  10. Gordon -
    Buses run through downtown all day every day on tons of routes, including the route of the proposed streetcar line. Are you too good to ride a bus?

  11. Smarts? Chris Smitherman?

  12. Why Bris, yes I do. I ride both TANK and METRO regularly. Great services, but a streetcar would be even better. The METRO service is also incredibly unreliable later in the evening, now a fixed rail line with quicker headway's would be much better.

  13. Hey anon,
    Relax. He was thanking you for giving him the name of the owner of the Homer Simpson x-ray image. Your reading comprehension skills are about as good as Minette Cooper's

  14. Don't assume each anonymous is the same person.

  15. Regardless of which anonymous poster it was they were clearly misinterpreting the thank you post by COAST, and therefore share a reading comprehension deficiency with Minette Cooper.

  16. Get over yourselves COAST. The only thing you guys are good at is picking fights where there is no problem and then keeping the defendants of an invented problem on the defensive.

    You pretend to be defenders of democracy, when in fact you are abusing the hell out of it. No other group has abused the charter amendment process like you guys have -- it's a tactic you've resorted to because none of your people can get elected fair and square.

    You're taking advantage of this community because people here want to trust one another. You're exploiting that trust like Bob Bedinghaus did or like a preacher getting rich off his flock.

  17. Sir Walter Blunt - Get over yourself.

    You're right about one thing though. Trust is a huge issue.
    COAST trusts the people to make this decision for themselves.

    The streetcar advocates do not believe the voters are capable of deciding the future of their city and instead put their trust in government bureaucrats and elected officials that continually prove their incompetance.

  18. >elected officials that continually prove their incompetance

    You misspelled incompetEnce. COAST seem to think the same voters who elected these incompetents should have to vote on every passenger rail project, no matter how small, but but no road projects, no matter how large.

    Why again should this matter be put to a vote, when the Brent Spence Bridge augmentation, a project 10X's as expensive, and one that's questionable given in the inevitable depletion of cheap oil before the end of its lifespan, is breezing through with no direct voter input?

  19. Provost,
    As you well know, the federal government does not have a forum for voters to use to approve or disapprove of capital projects like the Brent Spence Bridge.

    We've been over this dozens of times on this blog. If YOU don't like the Brent Spence project, or highway construction then YOU go ahead and try to do something about it. You won't because you are either
    A - too lazy
    B - aware that there is no voter approval process for those projects.

    I'll spend MY time working on issues where I can actually make a difference.

    Bfrent Spence = Red Herring


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