Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Action Alert - Blue Ash Council Poised to Advance Cincinnati Streetcar


Thursday evening Blue Ash Council will meet to vote on changes the City of Cincinnati has proposed to the Blue Ash Airport sale.  These changes are intended to allow Cincinnati to use the proceeds of the sale to fund the Streetcar.

The City of Cincinnati seeks to essentially un-do the 2006 sale of the Airport to the City of Blue Ash so that Cincinnati can close the Airport, then re-do the sale to Blue Ash.

This process will allow Cincinnati Council to avoid FAA rules against using the proceeds of the sale for any purpose other than running an airport.  You see, if the sale (which has already occurred) was done after the airport was closed, then technically Cincinnati isn't selling Blue Ash an airport, so the FAA rules don't apply. Problem is, the sale already happened, SIX YEARS AGO!

Blue Ash gets nothing out of this deal other than to help Cincinnati's City Council in its never ending quest to build the Streetcar Boondoggle.  It makes absolutely no sense for Blue Ash to go along with this charade.  Even still, the Blue Ash Council has announced its intention to support this trick.

Make no mistake.  Cincinnati's City Council is hijacking the sale of the Blue Ash Airport to fund their boondoggle.  And if Blue Ash's Council doesn't stand firm, this will be the just the first time Blue Ash's pockets are picked for the Streetcar.  

At every turn, Cincinnati's Council has been thwarted in their efforts to fund this boondoggle: Governor Kasich withdrew state funding, Hamilton County Commissioners Monzel and Hartman made sure that County funds could not be used for this, and Congressman Steve Chabot is working to end federal outlays. Cincinnati City Council is desperate for funds for this lunacy and this is their latest money grab.

At best, this scam will get Cincinnati roughly $11 Million toward their $150 +/- Million streetcar.  If these funds become available, the next piece of the puzzle will be an additional line item on your Duke Energy bill.  Cincinnati's Council has not given up on countywide funding for this ridiculous streetcar to nowhere.

As noted above, this is a definitive issue for Republicans.  Republicans at every level have been resolute against this waste of taxpayer dollars.  Now it is time for the Republicans on Blue Ash City Council to hold the line.

Vice Mayor Lee Czerwonka is reported to have said that Cincinnati is "blackmailing" Blue Ash into agreeing to these changes; that Cincinnati is threatening litigation if the changes don't go through.  However, Blue Ash owns the property through a warranty deed.  This means that the seller (Cincinnati) will indemnify the buyer (Blue Ash) against any issues of  title to the Airport Property. So, even if Cincinnati did bring a lawsuit against Blue Ash, Cincinnati would have to pay all of Blue Ash's costs.  In short, Mr. Czerwonka's excuse rings hollow.

There is simply no fiscally responsible justification for allowing Cincinnati to bully Blue Ash in this way.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO

1: Email Blue Ash Council and let them know that you stand firmly against the Streetcar and against making changes to the terms of the sale.
2: Call Blue Ash City Council and let them know where you stand. (513) 936-0001 (oops wrong number originally) 745-8500.
3: Listen to Scott Meyer on the 550 KRC with Brian Thomas at 7:40 a.m. on Wednesday.
4: Attend the Council hearing.  The hearing is Thursday night at 7 p.m. at 4343 Cooper Road.  Click here for a map.
5: Keep track of how your council members vote on this issue and pledge only to support those who oppose this unnecessary and wasteful change.  COAST will follow this issue and keep you informed of the votes.
6: Forward this email to your family and friends and make sure they too join the fight against this bullying.

COAST will continue the fight against this reckless assault on the taxpayers.

8 comments:

  1. "Hello, hello, this is what the NAACP, COAST, the FOP, the Baptist Ministers, the Homeless Coalition, Westwood Concern, the Firefighters Union, the CODE Labor Union, Christopher Smitherman, and others have been saying for the entire five years"


    Hello, hello, These groups you mention DO NOT MATTER!


    The people who do are the

    38,645 Cincinnatian's who elected Mayor Mallory in 2009
    38,132 Cincinnatian's who defeated Issue 9
    37,462 Cincinnatian's who defeated Issue 48

    We are also know as... THE MAJORITY!

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK, so on that participatory democracy thing, we will just crawl in a hole and ignore the intentional bankrupting of a City.

    You won. Good for you. Why after five freaking years is the first inch of track not laid yet? Maybe because your precious Mayor and Council don't have a viable plan yet.

    So tell you what, Ace. You keep on gloating and we will keep doing our job as an accountability watchdog. And may the best man win, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  3. COAST, you are off on quite a few facts:

    * You hammer Mallory for spending the proceeds on the streetcar instead of a neighborhood endowment. If you read the document, Mallory underestimated the worth of the 130-acre airport property...but the amount he promised to the endowment program is equal to or less than what they could get now. Of the $37M+ in sale proceeds, only $11M is pledged to the streetcar project. That leaves $26M for other City projects, which could include the endowment.

    * You assert that the City wants to rework the arrangement so that it can close the airport. Closing the airport is independent of the agreement. Blue Ash was offered the opportunity to purchase the relocated airport (on an adjacent 98 acres), but declined to do so because it wasn't financially feasible.

    * "Blue Ash gets nothing out of the [renegotiated] deal." Well, yes they do. They still get the 130-acre property, and can continue work on the City park on which voters approved a 0.25 percent earnings tax increase in November 2006. Blue Ash has already issued a RFP for Phase I. Where were you when Blue Ash raised their taxes, watchdogs?

    * Cincinnati is not threatening a lawsuit against Blue Ash. The City of Cincinnati, the City of Blue Ash, and the FAA have been negotiating for months. Cincinnati has no claim against Blue Ash. If anything, they could go to court against the FAA, but that's not likely. I'm not a lawyer, but what possible claim could Cincinnati have against Blue Ash? Both parties have fulfilled their obligations so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Blue Ash gets nothing out of the [renegotiated] deal."

      They get an extra $250,000.00

      Delete
    2. Kevin:
      1: Mallory Promised $20k per year in interest to each of 52 neighborhoods. He assumed 5% interest! Try maybe 2%. At 2% interest Cincinnati would need a pot of $52 Million to generate $20k per year in interest for each of 52 neighborhoods. So, his "underestimate" on the principal was more than made up for by his over-estimate of the interest rate...So yes, if this latest scam goes through, Mallory will be short changing the neighborhood funds. - Just like we said.

      2: Yes, the City wants to rescind the contract so that they can close the airport. That way they get out from under FAA regulations about the sale of an AIRPORT. Whether or not Blue Ash wants to buy an airport is irrelevant to the issue. Read the authorization passed by Cincinnati Council last week. It is clear, the only reason they are doing this is to close the airport "before" selling the property they've already sold. This isn't about whether or not Blue Ash wants to own an operating airport, this is about what the purpose of this rescission is.

      3: Blue Ash gets the same deal they already have. The idea of a contract is to get a bargained for legal exchange...What is Blue Ash gaining?? Title to 130+/- acres? They already have title to those 130+/- acres. So yes, we stand by our statement, Blue Ash gets nothing out of the deal. And, to go one further, if the contract is rescinded Cincinnati could sell the property to someone else and Blue Ash would have no legal right to stop them. So this deal is not good for Blue Ash.

      4: Cincinnati is threatening litigation which Blue Ash fears would tie up the land in limbo for years. We did not say they are threatening to sue Blue Ash, we said "EVEN IF Cincinnati did bring a lawsuit against Blue Ash..." It is our understanding that the current threat is that Cincinnati would sue the FAA which Cincinnati wants Blue Ash to believe would cause Blue Ash problems.

      5: As to the question of where were we in 2006 when Blue Ash increased their earnings tax: We're sorry, we must have been distracted with other issues. We note that Hamilton County had a sales and use tax increase on the ballot that was defeated in that election. That probably took up a lot of our attention. Usually we get people angry at us for being omnipresent, and now we're being attacked for not being around enough. I guess you can't please everybody.

      Everything we said is verifiably true. We're sorry you disagree with our position on this issue; but we are glad that we are able to disagree agreeably.

      Delete
    3. Blue Ash gets an "extra" $250,000?

      We'll expect to see that properly accounted for in the ever-growing list of streetcar expenses.

      Delete
    4. Kevin LeMaster's DUI convictionNovember 26, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Kevin's opinion is irrelevant. He doesn't even live in the City of Cincinnati, as referenced in his recent DUI conviction. (http://www.courtclerk.org/case_summary.asp?casenumber=C/12/TRC/44407)

      We were told nonstop for YEARS that only people who were Cincinnati residents were allowed to offer an opinion on the issue (except for pro-streetcar snobs like Bobby Maly). So keep your opinions to yourself Kevin, you OUTSIDER!

      Delete
  4. "We'll expect to see that properly accounted for in the ever-growing list of streetcar expenses."

    It's about the equivalent amount of taxpayers dollars spent to put your two referendums on the ballot. You remember those? Oh, that's right, you poo poo on that participatory democracy thing when you believe the voters are ignoring the intentional bankrupting of a City. COAST watchdogs are smarter than the voters!

    You elitist!

    ReplyDelete

We follow the "living room" rule. Exhibit the same courtesy you would show guests in your home.