Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Sky is not falling

Cincinnati City Solicitor John Curp, in his best imitation of Chicken Little declaring the "Sky is Falling," has repeatedly decried Judge Bob Winkler's decision interpreting the City Charter as allowing referendum on every ordinance passed by the Council.  According to Curp, the inability to enact legislation that is exempt from referendum is fatal to the City's ability to conduct business, primarily on development projects with private partners.

But yesterday's Business Courier sets the records straight on one aspect of that issue, the City's ability to amend its Charter to provide for the type of Emergency legislation that Curp seeks -- legislation that is expressly exempt from referendum.  That can be implemented into the Charter, by express language added to that effect, in this November's election.  Read that piece here.

And beyond that easy fix, note that in the past thirty years, there has been only the Parking Plot referendum and perhaps one or two others on municipal legislation.  Referendum is not at all common.  And that is so because it is very difficult to accomplish -- getting 9,000 signatures in 30 days.  It took the Shock and Awe coalition 315 volunteers and countless hours to gather the 19,803 signatures to put the Parking Plot on the ballot.  It will be only the most outrageous legislative enactment that can be stopped with a citizen-based referendum.

So, when John Curp tells Cincinnati voters that the sky is falling, let's step back and see how much of what he says might be true.

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