Saturday, June 8, 2013

Finally, the Enquirer calls Council majority, Mayor liars on Parking Plot

The way it's supposed to work is that our system of government is a series of checks and balances.  And in that system, everyone has a job to do.  The executive, the judicial, the legislative, the business community, the labor unions, the religious and non-profit community, the good government advocates and the media.  The yin and yang, the tug and pull, the inherent adversarial nature of the system is supposed to act as a check on any one of the elements of the system getting too abusive of their powers.

That's the way it's supposed to work.

But, as Abraham Lincoln famously said, "you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time."

In Cincinnati, where everything can get a little too cozy from time to time, occasionally (as with the Super Sized Jail Tax) almost all of the establishment organs of our community occasionally unite behind a bad idea,  dissent is suppressed and bad ideas are not effectively challenged.  This is an example of powerful people trying an end-around to fool "all of the people," at least every now and then.

And on the theme of "fooling some of the people all of the time," under Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan's Enquirer (what's it been, 10-15 years now?), the only newspaper of record for greater Cincinnati has all but abandoned its role as a contrarian to challenge the powers that be at City Hall.  Rather, day after day they simply print the press releases that Meg Olberding (City Hall spokesperson) puts out, without ever questioning (even after proven untrue) the factual assertions she spits out.  The television stations are almost as reluctant to challenge City Hall orthodoxy.

In Cincinnati that leaves talk radio, Brian Thomas on 55 WKRC and the lineup of independent thinkers at 700 WLW to do the heavy lifting of spurring true community debate on issue after issue.  It is really pathetic, when you analyze it, and realize that they don't care to get the truth, or even try to get ratings.  Day after day they just regurgitate what the press flak (there's only one) and politicians at City Hall spew forth.  Hey, it's easy.

Let's analyze the Parking Plot as a shining example of that failure of the Cincinnati news media to challenge the claptrap that emanates from City Hall.

Initially, the City rolled out its parking plan to jeers from across Cincinnati.  It was wildly unpopular, but the powers that be at City Hall did not want to do the hard work to bring Cincinnati's budget in line without the extra $92 million it would bring over two years.

So, after a pause of about six weeks, on February 22, the City rolled out a new plan promising a shiny new condominium building, a grocery store, an early launch for the new MLK interchange off of I-71, an eastside bike path, and a host of other goodies for almost everyone whose hand was in the cookie jar.  Read here how the Enquirer slobbered all over itself in what everyone understood (although almost no one reported) was a cynical and dramatic attempt to resuscitate the moribund parking plot.

Then, as the referendum petition drive got the green light from Judge Bob Winkler and gathered steam in signature collection, the threats began.  Hundreds of police officers and firefighters are going to be laid off, we were told.  If the citizens had the temerity to sign the petition demanding a vote on the failed plan, the Mayor and Council members threatened, the layoffs were all their fault and they would be signing a pink slip for a policeman and a fireman.  And the media reported that dutifully, as it plays the same script for addressing important public issues over and over.  The COAST blog brings you that here and here.

And on top of that, the Mayor and Council member Laure Quinlivan lied, the City parking revenues, under an illogical straightjacket of state legislation, could not be used for operating fund purposes, so "magically" by contracting out the parking system we convert dollars that can only be used for parking capital improvements into monies that could be used for operations.  That lie, exposed by COAST here, has NEVER been reported by anyone in the Cincinnati news media.

So, finally, after a law suit, a referendum petition drive, and the forced play-out of the City budget process without the $92 million, the fact was made clear that that every single word uttered by politicians and administrators at City Hall about the Parking Plot was conclusively proved untrue.

Finally, today, the Enquirer shines light on many of those lies.  Read that here.

But, as you will see, the tone of the article is yet another apologia, offering refuge for liars who attempt to escape their repeated and affirmative misrepresentations that remain remarkably fresh to the citizenry.  But, you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

As it is, as it always will be!

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