Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Utter contempt for the voters

Roxanne Qualls shows contempt for the voters

Oblivious that this is an election year, and oblivious that the referendum and lawsuit on the Parking Plot was a thundering rejection by the electorate of the secretive and underhanded tactics of the Mallory administration of the City, the City Manager today undertook a new low municipal governance.

Let us visit the events of the past 75 days:

  1. On February 8, the City finally received bids on the installation of tracks and other improvements for the Cincinnati Streetcar.  They learned they were over-budget by some $26 million to $43 million.  They tried to hide them from the media and COAST for days, until they could decide upon their P.R. spin on the bad news.
  2. One week later, Cincinnati Vice Mayor, Finance Committee Chairman, and Mayoral candidate Roxanne Qualls announced that it is time to "step back and put the project through intensive" review to bring costs "back into line" and told the City Manager "While a council majority has continued to support the project, council has not given the administration a ‘blank check."
  3. On April 17, Roxanne Qualls announced the public hearing for last night to "to step back and have a robust and transparent public discussion about the best way to move forward.”  Qualls said "we also have a responsibility to understand the full financial impact of proceeding with or canceling the streetcar project.”
  4. After about 70 days of "intensive review" the City Manager was able to "value engineer" the claimed cost overruns down to $17.4 million (we know they will be much more than that).
  5. Last night, hundreds of speakers showed up and thousands more tuned in to the great Streetcar hearings finally called by Qualls.
  6. At the hearing, the City Manager had utterly no answers to the question as to how the Streetcar cost overruns were to be paid.
  7. Then today, after the hearings had concluded, the City Manager issued this memo detailing his recommendations for paying for the cost overruns.  They entail raiding funds set aside for improvements around the Casino and Music Hall, issuing yet another $4.6 million of "General Capital Debt" (which means a tax increase) and reallocating monies set aside for traffic signal replacement and water main replacement.
In other words, the entire "robust and transparent public discussion about the best way to move forward" that was to transpire last night and the discussion that we have been having for the past 75 days was nothing more than a pep rally for the Streetcar, and once that celebration was concluded the City only then got down to the brass tacks of a "public discussion" about the financing of the project.

The very public discussion was a sham.  The entire purpose of the exercise was to avoid talking about the problem and the solutions, and simply rush the new Mallory/Qualls plan to a vote.

We have no expectation that the Enquirer editorial page or other mainstream media outlets will speak out against this contemptuous approach to governance this administration finds preferable.  But we note that we have never, ever, seen this level of contempt for the electorate in our years of involvement in the "game" at City Hall.


  1. ...and yet somehow the incompetent city manager Milton Donuts was given a raise by the majority on city council.

    Could we be witnessing the worst mayor and council in our city's illustrious history?

  2. We would have been cautious about so declaring even maybe 90 days ago. They are bad, really bad, but the worst?

    Well, the recent scramble to spend like their's no tomorrow indeed convinces us that this is the worst Council and Mayor EVER. But, just when you imagine we have hit rock bottom, this bunch thinks of a new low to explore.

    I guess when people on Council start being charged with graft and bribery it will be official "worse," but in terms of incompetence and malfeasance, this bunch takes the cake.


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