Wednesday, September 30, 2009

COAST 2009 Sample Ballot

COAST hereby issues its 2009 candidate and issue endorsements, enthusiastically backing Brad Wenstrup to be our next Mayor, Chris Monzel and Charlie Winburn to be re-elected to City Council. We wholeheartedly endorse Charlie Norman for re-election to Treasurer of Cheviot, John Banner and Christopher McDowell for CPS school board, Arnold Engel, Victor Erik Rivera and Tony Steer for the Board of Fairfield City Schools, Jennifer Miller for re-election to the Mason School Board, and Shannon Hartkemeyer and Jeremy Furniss for Fairfield Township Trustee. Our suggested sample ballot is listed below.

Mayor of Cincinnati - Brad Wenstrup
Wenstrup was instrumental in cleaning up the Abu Ghraib mess in Iraq. He won the praises of his adversaries at an enemy prison in the middle of a hot war zone. That's the kind of leadership we need! Wenstrup has also pledged not to raise taxes or fees during his term. The man he'll replace has made an enemy of his own police force and labor unions, and brought at least one beleaguered neighborhood to the brink of secession. This choice is a no-brainer.

Cincinnati City Council - Chris Monzel, Charlie Winburn
Both have taken strong public positions to advance responsible spending, and have pledged not to raise taxes or fees. They also strongly advocate that the people should have a right to vote on any sale of the Water Works, or major passenger rail purchase. Other candidates who have pledged not to raise taxes or fees, but who have not affirmed our right to vote on expensive, long term public policy issues are Leslie Ghiz, Amy Murray, LaMarque Ward, and George Zamary.

Cheviot Treasurer - Charlie Norman
Charlie is a COAST Board Member, and a very strong fiscal conservative. As a lifelong Cheviot resident and former City Council Member, he has the qualifications and credentials to continue leading Cheviot to even better financial health. Norman has been an unwavering taxpayer watchdog, and a consistent advocate for responsible government.

Cincinnati School Board - John Banner, Christopher McDowell
John is a proud member of COAST who embodies the ideals of fiscal restraint and excellence in education. Both will be strong voices on the board to make sure that taxpayers receive value for their investment in public education.

Fairfield School Board - Arnold Engel, Victor Rivera, Tony Steer*
All three candidates promote excellent education, accountability and balanced budgets. Incumbent Arnold Engel has proposed 33 ideas that could save or generate over $10,000,000 for the district. They deserve your vote.

Mason School Board - Jennifer Miller
Mason has grown a lot, and spent a lot. But they enjoy some of the highest education rankings in Ohio. Clearly they are doing a lot of things right, and Jennifer Miller has been a key ingredient in that success. Often she is the lone voice advocating fiscal restraint and accountability. And she's just as demanding on educational excellence. She doesn't back down from uncomfortable situations, and that vigor has led Mason to new heights. Voters are lucky to have her, and would be wise to return her to the board.

Fairfield Twp Trustee - Shannon Hartkemeyer, Jeremy Furniss**
Shannon believes in conservative values such as fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets. She has worked in the private sector as an industrial engineer and with The Cincinnati Tea Party. Her experience would be beneficial to the township. Jeremy is also active in the 9/12 and Tea Party movements. He beleives in fiscal conservative values, and also deserves your vote

Issue 7, Public Library - AGAINST THE TAX LEVY
Saves the owner of a $100,000 home about $31 a year if it fails. The library has shown no willingness whatsoever to reduce its costs or economize its operations. Click here for full story. The state reduced the overall library budget by 15%. We recommend giving them a year to adjust to the new funding level to see how much they really need.

Issue 8, Water Works Charter Amendment - Yes
Requires the city to get voter approval before selling or otherwise disposing of our 170 year old, award-winning Water Works utility. Once it's gone, it's gone forever. This decision is too far-reaching to entrust solely to a group of two and four year elected officials. The public owns it, and must be consulted prior to any change in ownership.

Issue 9, Trolley or Streetcar Charter Amendment - Yes
Requires the city to get voter approval before spending money on the two most expensive aspects of a passenger rail transportation system. In 93 years the city has undertaken three major passenger rail projects. All were complete failures costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. All signs indicate that the proposed streetcar plan will be the fourth such expensive failure. A vote will allow the public to speak with one voice to either accept or reject such a plan, and the massive long term debt that goes with it.

Issue 52, Cincinnati School Levy - AGAINST THE TAX LEVY
Saves the owner of a $100,000 home about $279 a year if it fails. Over the last several years enrollment has declined by over 20%, but their tax levy has remained virtually the same. In fact, this proposed levy remains the same as the one it replaces. Failure of this levy would reduce their overall budget by about 15%. Now would be an ideal time to help them make the necessary adjustment.

*2009-10-01 Correction: Engel, Rivera & Steer are running as a slate.
**2009-10-09 Addition: Furniss requested and received COAST endorsement.

24 comments:

  1. So what's up with Charlie Winburn making Robo-Calls containing out and out lies ?
    This doesn't bother you guys ?

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  2. What about Issue 3, the casino initiative?

    Surprisingly, I agree with some of the recommendations COAST has made here. Arnold Engel though, has done nothing for the city of Fairfield and has help run that school system even further into the ground each year.

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  3. Let it be noted to anyone reading this that Issue 9 affects more than just the proposed streetcar plan, it would affect all forms of expenditures on any kinds of passenger rail transportation or any kind of improvements to our existing passenger rail stations and infrastructure. It would also affect any form of funding whether it be capital funds, tax dollars, private donations, not matter how big or how small. Don't forget, the money currently slated to build the streetcar CAN NOT be used to pay for the city's current operating budget such as firemen and police services.

    Issue 9 is a broadly worded charter amendment written by a lawyer from Anderson Township who doesn't even live within the city limits of Cincinnati, why is he dictating our transit future?

    Issue 9 is absurd.

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  4. Let it be noted to anyone reading this that the streetcar advocates' own plan shows that it will operate at at least a $2 million operating loss each year. That money will have to be pulled from the already strained General Fund where it will be taken away from other things like police and fire. The City cannot afford to add to an continually ballooning $51 million deficit.

    Vote YES on Issue 9 to stop the streetcar. Support public safety in the City of Cincinnati.

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  5. Let it be known to anyone reading this that outsiders are making serious attempts to destroy the great city of Cincinnati (e.g.). Ask yourself this question: Why are they trying to intervene and dictate policy in communities that they don't live in?

    Even conservatives agree that passing Issue 9 would give Cincinnati a scary leap forward to the likes of a California-style government, which end up costing taxpayers Additional Spending and Taxes (what COAST pretends to be against) and hold all future projects captive.

    Don't be fooled by their malicious, hypocritical doublespeak. And don't be swayed by random, anonymous posters too afraid to tie their strong opinions to their real identity.

    Help remind COAST what they really stand for. VOTE NO ON ISSUE 9. VOTE NO ON ISSUE 3.

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  6. Quim,
    It's a busy time for candidates and Charlie probably recorded that a week or two ago for later release. Tell his campaign office and I'm sure they'll fix it.

    Gordon,
    COAST Board couldn't reach consensus on Issue 3. We had a lot of opposition and a few in favor. But neither position had majority support, so we don't endorse either way.

    CAAST,
    Issue 9 only affects 2 kinds of expenditures (ROW & construction), and doesn't affect funding at all. It's all about giving the people a vote on passenger rail to avoid the kind of mammoth boondoggles we've had in the past.

    Other than $11 million from the Blue Ash Airport sale, there is no money currently slated to build the streetcar. Which is why the city will have to raid the operating budget, compromising public safety in the process, to find matching funds to pay for the streetcar. Either that, or raise taxes.

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  7. COAST, I'd like to remind you that if you're going to lie to people, at least keep your lies straight. Your own lawyer who helped write the charter amendment even said it himself: "any means any," in that Issue 9 DOES IN FACT AFFECT SPENDING, no matter where it comes from.

    See:
    http://caast-usa.blogspot.com/2009/09/coast-caught-confused-and-contradicting.html
    - Where you were called out before on misleading voters about your own charter amendment.

    And:
    http://www.building-cincinnati.com/2009/09/ballot-language-requiring-rail-vote.html
    - Once again Mr. Finney reminds us that Issue 9 affects "any" funding sources.

    And let's take a look at your own ballot language:
    "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"

    Clearly, it says it right there: improvements.

    When even COAST can't understand their own ballot language written by a special interest lawyer who doesn't live in the city of Cincinnati, why is this going on the ballot?

    Smells like deception. No on 9.

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  8. Let it be known to anyone reading this that racist YP Progressers are trying to paint the opposition to the streetcar as a right-wing kook movement. YP Progressers are making a serious attempt to destroy this great City by bankrupting the City to pay for their hip new all-white trolley.

    Even liberals agree (http://deblite.blogspot.com/2009/09/chris-bortz-lost-in-translation.html) that defeating Issue 9 would give Cincinnati a leaps towards insolvency and a generation of big government boondogglery which will bankrupt our City and force us to lay off police and firemen and force an end valuable public safety programs.

    Vote for a positive future for Cincinnati. Vote yes on Issue 9 to defeat the Streetcar!!!

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  9. ^Meanwhile, COAST supporters with nowhere else to turn in their anti-passenger rail campaign feel they need to label all those against Issue 9 as "white racists." Classy.

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  10. COAST, just curious, why couldn't a consensus be reached on Issue 3? What was the reasoning to oppose it? A lot of your members claim to be conservatives. Were they opposing based on fiscal reasons or moral reasons? Last year when I was covering the McCain rally at Lunken, most of the people I talked to seemed to oppose the 2008 casino initiative based on moral reasons, i.e. they felt gambling was wrong. Just curious as to why the COAST board was against it.

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  11. Gordon,
    I'll answer that one since I was one of those opposed. I personally don't have any moral objection to gambling, but neither do I think it's a particularly noble way to earn money.

    If this were about people's freedom to spend their money as they see fit, I would back it, but it's not. This plan is just another scheme to rake in cash so the state can put off dealing with its overspending problem.

    The proposed law reads like a mafia business plan. It lists who is to be bought-off with how much money, how the exclusive "turf" will be divided and protected from competition. I think Ohio should focus on earning money by providing value to its citizens through efficient basic governmental services.

    I just don't see this as a plan Ohioans can take pride in. I'll be voting "NO" on Issue 3.

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  12. Mark, thanks for responding.

    Personally, I'm in favor of issue 3, but I've always wondered why they didn't just do a statewide allowance of gambling.

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  13. Tony, many COAST supporters have have had so many of their exaggerated "facts" refuted time and time again that the only campaign avenue they've been left to turn to has been to somehow try and accuse streetcar advocates of being racist.

    One of the arguments the streetcar supporters make is that building the streetcar will attract new riders who do not use our current transit system, Queen City Metro. Somehow COAST supporters like Bris Chortz equate this to wanting a "whites only" or "separate but equal" transit system. In the idiocy of his arguments, Bris Chortz even went on to call African Americans "unwashed masses" in the last COAST post ( http://coast-usa.blogspot.com/2009/09/its-okay-to-vote-against-tax-levies.html ).

    The truth is, many who currently come downtown just use their cars to get around, not the bus system. Some believe that having the streetcar will attract those who wouldn't take the bus to take public transit. Anyone who tries to go down to Government Square and navigate where the buses go, especially someone not familiar with downtown, would be thoroughly confused. The streetcar route, however, would be clearly defined. Many people aren't using the current system now, not because they're "racist," but because they don't understand how it operates or where it goes.

    If COAST took the time to go down to Government Square or if any of it's members actually took public transit like Queen City Metro they'd see that many of our fine citizens of all colors, cultural backgrounds and income levels take the bus system.

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  14. Wow - the incredibly scared COAST supporter hiding behind the name "Bris Chortz" would be kind of funny if he wasn't so incredibly racist.

    It shouldn't surprise anyone that a bunch of suburbanites wrote the charter amendment - they haven't been downtown... seemingly, EVER: They think only white people live & work downtown, in OTR, and Clifton - which would be the only explanation as to why they think only white people would use public transit.

    COAST is so incredibly demeaning to the people that support them (e.g. NAACP), it's shocking that they haven't been run out of town, uh... I mean, the suburbs.

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  15. Absurd, shallow and literally incredible series of endorsements.

    Name ONE THING Jennifer Miller has done for Mason schools. ONE THING.

    And as for voting against the public library levy? How can you write THIS line: "The library has shown no willingness whatsoever to reduce its costs or economize its operations", and actually claim it's true? It is a LIE. A bald-faced lie. How is cutting back the hours a library is open NOT considered cutting costs or economizing (just as ONE example of the changes they've been forced to institute)?

    You should be ashamed of such idiotic statements, endorsements and claims. (Wenstrup is the right choice for mayor of Cincinnati BECAUSE he "was instrumental in cleaning up the Abu Ghraib mess in Iraq"? PLEASE explain to Cincinnati's voters how you make that connection!)

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  16. For what it's worth, Quim has the absolute best Issue 2 analysis I've seen so far. His take on Issue 3 was pretty good too.

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  17. CAAST -
    "Unwashed masses" is satirical language used to point out the inherent racism in the streetcar advocates' argument.

    - It's racist of Streetcar Progressors to gentrify OTR.
    - It's racist to prefer choice riders (white urban professionals like Chris Bortz) to those who MUST use mass transit to survive (the underpriviliged and poor, many of whom are minorities).
    - It's racist to imply that a black man, Christopher Smitherman, is incapable of having independent thougths of his own without being told what to do by Chris Finney.

    By the way, I'm a dues-paying member of one the largest civil rights group in the Country, the NAACP. Are you?

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  18. Ha, Bris, keep digging yourself into a hole there buddy...

    "- It's racist of Streetcar Progressors to gentrify OTR."

    How so? The renovation and redevelopment going on in OTR benefits all citizens regardless of their skin color. Maybe if you actually spent time there you'd see there are people of all skin colors and cultural backgrounds living within the confines of Over-The-Rhine. Urban professionals aren't just white guys Bris.

    "- It's racist to prefer choice riders (white urban professionals like Chris Bortz) to those who MUST use mass transit to survive (the underpriviliged and poor, many of whom are minorities)."

    So Chris Bortz is a racist just because he pointed out that the streetcar would attract new ridership? It's been proven time and time again that improved transit options bolster ridership on the existing transit options. We've seen it in Portland, Seattle and most recently Charlotte. Bortz isn't preferring anyone, he's pointing out the benefit of attracting new ridership. Many people don't use the current system because many people don't understand how it works or can't navigate where it goes. METRO is even in support of the streetcar, having said they'd work with the streetcar operator.

    So let me get this straight. Councilman Bortz wants to build a streetcar system that would create increased transit options and theoretically bolster economic development like it has in other cities. Queen City Metro, the operator of our current bus transit system, has said they'd work in conjunction with said streetcar operator and would find the streetcar beneficial to their current service (http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20090830/NEWS01/908300420/). In other cities we've seen that new rail transit attracts new riders to both the new system and existing systems. So new riders come in, discover our existing options on top of new ones and in turn both transit systems could potentially reap benefits from this and no one (especially those who rely on public transportation) loses options, but in fact has increased options.

    That makes Mr. Bortz a racist?

    "- It's racist to imply that a black man, Christopher Smitherman, is incapable of having independent thougths of his own without being told what to do by Chris Finney. "

    How is that racist? I've called out Jason Gloyd and Mark Miller for their work with Finney too, guess that makes me racist against white folks as well?

    "By the way, I'm a dues-paying member of one the largest civil rights group in the Country, the NAACP. Are you?"

    Again, one of the great thing about anonymity is; who knows if you really are a member or not. Truthfully, even if you are, who cares? Just because you're a member of the NAACP that gives you the right to determine and label others as racist?

    Please!

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  19. "The renovation and redevelopment going on in OTR benefits all citizens regardless of their skin color."
    - Yeah, except for the poor people living in OTR who won't be able to afford $250,000 condos, and will be pushed out of their neighborhoods to make way for well-to-do urban professionals.

    "So Chris Bortz is a racist just because he pointed out that the streetcar would attract new ridership?"
    - No, he's a racist because he prefers "choice riders" to the poor and minority population that uses transit in OTR.

    "Many people don't use the current system because many people don't understand how it works or can't navigate where it goes."
    - If a poor person in OTR can figure out how to use a bus and where it will take them, then surely a well-to-do urban professional who had the benefits of a quality education can figure it out. What a dumb thing to say. If they can't figure out a bus schedule then I'm not sure this is the kind of people I want to rely on to revitalize (gentrify) OTR.

    "So let me get this straight. Councilman Bortz wants to build a streetcar system that would create increased transit options and theoretically bolster economic development..."
    - I'm glad you finally admit that the streetcar economic development promises are "theoretical". The promised operating losses are not "theoretical", but real-world. The need to pull money from the general fund to cover streetcar operating losses will be real-world. The need to have to lay off more police, close fire houses, and pull money from beneficial existing programs that benefit the poor community on OTR like our local health clinics is real-world.

    "Truthfully, even if you are, who cares? Just because you're a member of the NAACP that gives you the right to determine and label others as racist?"
    - So then I guess your answer is that you are NOT a member of the largest advocate organization for African Americans in the Country. Thanks for clarifying. I am. For the record, we accept well-to-do white urban professionals into our organization as well, but we STRONGLY oppose the trolley.

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  20. Bris, you're flawed logic and reverse racism would be comical if I didn't think you were being serious. It's a shame you come off on these boards as being a COAST supporter/sympathizer. Even while I disagree with members of COAST, I've had the pleasure of meeting Jason Gloyd and Mark Miller before, both of whom would never stoop to the level you have. You are just ridiculous.

    Councilman Bortz is not a racist and he has never said anything against any residents of Over-the-Rhine or any of the minority members of our community. That's just outright fabrication on your part and it speaks to your character. What Bortz did say was that the streetcar would attract a new kind of rider and that an increase in new ridership could benefit the existing transit system. Even METRO officials agreed.

    The streetcar predictions are just that, predictions. The projected $2 Million operating cost is just that, projected. Just as the $1.4 Billion in economic development along Cincinnati's streetcar line is projected. What is 'real-world,' as you say, is that the streetcar will affect the city's operating budget. However, you go off into more fabrication with your accusation that the streetcar will be directly responsible for the closing of police stations, fire houses and health clinics. No official has ever said these things would occur if the streetcar was built. Nice scare tactic on your part though.

    You did get one thing right, I'm not a member of the NAACP. Just because you are though, does not give you the right to go off labeling council members as "racists" and to refer to African Americans as "unwashed masses."

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  21. Choice riders = White people

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  22. CAAST, when did we meet? Not saying we haven't, I just don't recall or perhaps just didn't know who you were. I was looking forward to that potato salad yesterday, luckily another fine COASTer brought some since you didn't make it to the picnic.

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  23. What about issue 4? It is a sham.

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