Sunday, October 5, 2014

SORTA uses public funds for tax hike survey, and yet refuses to release the results to -- the taxpayers

Gosh, this is sleazy.  SORTA is seeking a tax increase, spent your tax dollars to do a public opinion survey to advance that cause, and yet refuses to release the survey results to the taxpayers who paid for it!  

Just make it stop!

First, the background on this.  In December of last year, SORTA released this bombshell (read more here):

The Board of Trustees of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority has volunteered to assume responsibility for streetcar operating costs -- possibly paving the way for the streetcar to be completed.
"SORTA’s willingness is based upon assurances from the Cincinnati business and philanthropic communities that they will work with SORTA in public-private partnership to secure the funds required," the agency said in a release.
Now, nearly one year later, there are no contributions from the "Cincinnati business and philanthropic communities" and there is no "public-private partnership," SORTA is broke, the City is broke, and the hipsters have no earthly idea how they re going to fund the Streetcar operating losses.

So, with no dinero with which to fund the Streetcar operating losses, SORTA needs cash.

That's the set-up.

Then, a few weeks ago, a COAST Board member received a telephone survey gauging public support for a tax increase for SORTA, one might say a "Streetcar tax."  We wanted to see a copy of the survey and the results.

William Desmond from SORTA sent us a response, here, that basically says that SORTA took public dollars and paid for a public opinion survey, copy here.  He then went on to share with us the contract with Vehr Communications, here and here, through which they legally justify hiding the survey results.  It is simply sleazy and wrong. 

The Enquirer explores the COAST exposure of the situation here.

COAST intends to pursue with political and legal tools available to it a copy of the survey results.  

This is fun!

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