Friday, October 30, 2009

Issue 9 Ensures That Citizens' Voices Be Heard

The follwing op-ed was written by Mark Miller and appears in today's Enquirer:

Voting YES ON ISSUE 9 will give Cincinnatians the opportunity to vote on city spending for passenger rail like the streetcar or trolley.

Right now, only the Cincinnati mayor and City Council members decide these things.

A majority of those elected officials have already promised to spend a couple hundred million taxpayer dollars on a streetcar that we don't want and can't afford. A majority of council candidates have promised to do likewise. The only way for citizens to have their voices heard on the streetcar is to vote YES ON ISSUE 9.

Issue 9 requires Council to get public approval before spending our money on right-of-way acquisition (buying land) or constructing improvements (laying track, hanging trolley wires) on such land.

These are the most expensive components of a rail project, and occur late in the overall project schedule.

Typically three or four years are required to design, plan, engineer and fund a rail project, so there's plenty of time to vote in a normal election.

There are miles of subway tunnels under Cincinnati streets. It took us 50 years to pay them off, yet they've never transported a single passenger.

We bought Union Terminal from bankrupt railroaders and left it vacant for 30 years. The county finally transformed it into today's Museum Center.

The riverfront transit center was supposed to be the main rail station for the city. It remains largely vacant to this day, and the 3C corridor project can't even use it.

Hundreds of millions of our dollars were wasted, and we have zero rails or trains to show for it.

Now city leaders want the latest rail fad, a trolley. Our track record demands that we make sure people want it before putting our children in debt to pay for it.

We demand a vote, and YES ON ISSUE 9 will give it to us.

A vote allows our entire community to speak with one voice and go on record for or against the trolley. The current controversy should convince you that this is a worthwhile and vital step.

Voting doesn't hinder progress, it facilitates it. Voters must bear the long-term costs, and live with the long-term results.

Politicians are here for a few years and then move on to their next office. Therefore the people, not politicians, should have final approval.

YES ON ISSUE 9 accomplishes that.

If you want the opportunity to vote on rail projects like the streetcar, then vote YES ON ISSUE 9.


  1. the writing is on the wall COAST. Nobody supports this. No the city, not the county, not the state. Nobody. Just you and the NAACP (and as I typed this - hell froze over and pigs flew)

  2. The worst part about Issue 9 is that it will do nothing but create lawsuits for years and make our city look like a laughingstock:

    I hate the streetcar, but there's no way I'm supporting this nonsense...especially if Chris Smitherman is involved.

  3. The worst part about the no on 9 stance is that we'll have an empty streetcar line, fewer police on the streets, and budget deficits as far as the eye can see and our City will look like a laughingstock.

    That's why I have to vote for Issue 9... especially if Mark Mallory is involved.

  4. Atleast Mallory has done something with his life, that's more than Chris Smitherman can say. What a loser.

  5. COAST: Coalition Organized Against Straightforward Thinking

  6. "At least Mallory has done something with his life, that's more than Chris Smitherman can say. What a loser."

    Yeah, Smitherman built up a business in his 20's, got elected to Council in his 30's, and now is the leader of perhaps the most effective civil organization in Cincinnati. Along the way raising a family with his wife and kids.

    Mark Mallory worked as a library aide, before he ventured off on "his own" by following his daddy into all his jobs. Yeah, that Mallory is sure running circles around Smitherman.

  7. Bris Chortz there will be fewer police on the street with or without the streetcar. The streetcar money is not from the operating budget which pays for police.

    Issue 9 has no effect on the police.

    If anything the streetcar gives the police some help in fighting OTR crime. Criminals hate having people around, they're very paranoid, so they will move elsewhere.

  8. Matthew, the streetcar will have to be "operated."
    Paid for with money from the...
    "OPERATING BUDGET" which could otherwise be used to pay for police officers.

    That is how the streetcar directly affects police protection. Not in the namby pamby world you live in where a rolling buffet line of would be victims somehow scares away the criminals.

    No, in the real world, an empty streetcar running off of the operating budget money that self serving politicians piss away on some pie in the sky fantasy takes money away from the core mission of all governments: to protect its citizens.

    Got it?

  9. I guess one of my objections has been taken away: roads aren't given any preference, so we'll have to vote on all right-of-way acquisitions. I think COAST may have a point: it is important that we vote every time that the City of Cincinnati wants to widen a road, buy an alley, or anything else to do with roads. It is especially important that we amend our charter to do that. /sarcasm

    It isn't like Mark Painter is a big-time liberal, COAST. I'm pretty sure that Mark Painter knows of what he speaks, since he is probably the most prolific judge in Ohio as far as writing about the law.

    "Hundreds of millions of our dollars were wasted, and we have zero rails or trains to show for it."

    Why? Because of people like you who want to give our tax dollars to big box stores like Wal-Mart, suburban jurisdictions, and the car companies. Those are people that benefit from the sprawl that comes when there are no density-creating rail options.

  10. Cincinnatians for ProgressOctober 31, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    But we don't want citizens' voices heard! We don't want pro-Issue 9's voices heard either. That's why we ambushed your press conference, then physically assaulted one of your people.

    That is how we do business in Mark Mallory's Cincinnati. Either agree with us or we'll shut you up good.

  11. Sorry Chris - Mark Painter is universally disliked in Republican circles. Why do you think there was no fight to keep him on the Court of Appeals when his new job opened up. What was that job again? Wasn't it with the super-duper conservative United Nations? HAHA. Take 10 minutes and look at his judicial record. He is on the losing end of more 2-1 votes on an appeals court than ANY judge in the State of Ohio.

  12. Wow, Bris, an ad hominem attack in which you focused on one sentence of my long post. How shocking. As far as Painter being universally disliked by Republicans, that may not be universal. I know of a large number of attorneys and judge of both parties who greatly respect Painter's judgment and like him personally.

    Is your implication that Judge Painter is lying? That would be quite a charge to level at him.

    Issue 9 is a poorly-written joke of a Charter amendment. It will set the city back millions of dollars in legal fees and further ballot initiatives. It is bad for Cincinnati's small businesses, bad for Cincinnati families, and bad for Cincinnati's neighborhoods. Vote No on 9: stop the suburbanization and big boxing of Cincinnati.

  13. Mark Painter is an elitist snob, and it showed in his article. He used so much jargon that he could have written it in Chinese and it would have made just as much sense. I hope his stay with the UN is a long one, because he's not missed around here.

  14. "Is your implication that Judge Painter is lying?"

    No Chris, let me be perfectly clear. I'm not implicating anything. I'm outright stating that Painter is not a good judge. He's not well thought of in the legal community. He is a conceited elitist, who was routinely outvoted on his own court by judges with better legal minds and superior judicial temperament.

    Vote YES on 9. Stop the streetcar!

  15. "He's not well thought of in the legal community."

    Are you even in the legal community? Because I am, and I hear almost universally good things about Judge Painter, and have since law school.

  16. Yes Chris, I am. You are not the only person in the City that works in the legal community. I don't know who you are talking to about Painter, but they must be smoking crack.


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