Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Berding lies about Fire Dept. contract expense

Following up Monday's story, COAST again wonders, "are we paying our safety personnel too much?"

What we found is that Cincinnati is already getting amazing “bang for our bucks” when compared to other cities.

The top chart shows our fire service offers the second highest ratio of first responders to population. We are very well protected indeed.

Some other cities elect not to maintain such a high staffing ratio. Those cities use overtime instead to compensate for lack of permanent staff. Unfortunately, this skews their budgets higher.

The bottom chart shows that Cincinnati is 4th lowest in terms of the amount of money we spend per firefighter. These figures are total budget divided by firefighters, including taxes, benefits, training, and department issued gear. Take home pay is much less.

Berding & Council spent the last 2 years buying new windows for City Hall for $5 million, radio recycle bins for $6 million, and “streetcar preparations” for $2.8 million.

Jeff Berding likes to spend your tax money. And he thinks your safety is more frivolous than those things. Tell Jeff to slither back to “the real world.”


  1. I'm wondering where the Cincinnati population figure of 368,000 came from. Our population is about 333,000. In 2000 it was 331,000. In 1990 it was 364,000.

  2. Brad,
    Don't know. We noticed that too and ran the numbers both ways. Either way we're still 2nd place, so we elected to stick with the figures they published.

  3. Cincinnati has lost 150,000 residents since Tom Luken entered city government in 1965. Tom Luken accepted the federal money to build 100 miles of expressways that killed city neighborhoods but fought all attempts at federal funding for mass transit that would have mitigated that phenomenon, beginning with the Urban Mass Transit Act of 1970.

    Instead of getting money to improve our bus system and build a rail system, because of Luken and his ilk CINCINNATIANS PAID FOR THESE ITEMS TO BE BUILT IN OTHER CITIES WHICH HAVE SINCE LEFT US IN THE DUST.

    Cincinnati could have gotten the money in the early 1970's that Atlanta got for MARTA but Luken was too busy picking a fight with the Cincinnati Transit Company -- looking financially prudent to the same idiots who still fall for his schtick. Atlanta got the Olympics because they had MARTA and our application was dead on arrival because we didn't.

    Fast-forward 40 years and Tom Luken is still fighting to divert federal funds for public transportation away from Cincinnati and to other cities. This federal and state streetcar money is going to be spent somewhere -- let's make it here, where it will make more of a difference than in any other city.

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  5. Jake,
    Not sure why you introduce olympics when it drastically undercuts your arguement. LA won the '84 summer olympics with no mass transit to speak of. Every city who hosted the olympics in the last quarter century incurred massive financial losses as a result. Cincinnati dodged a bullet by not getting them.

    You seem to operate from the premise that mass transit systems are the cause of any city's greatness. Our observation is that cities become great or not by other merits. Once great, they grow. Somewhere in their growth, it makes fiscal sense for them to start moving people around en masse with rail or buses. If you really look at Portland, Mississauga, DFW, and many other successful cities with successful transit systems, you'll find transit lagged their success, not led it.

    Cincinnati and others who put the transit cart before the growth horse find themselves perpetually sucking wind. The streetcar simply repeats this problem. It gives us big city transit costs while we still have small city revenues, and that is why it will ultimately fail.

  6. Please read up on the history of the 1984 Olympics, and how LA came to be the host city because nobody else wanted it:

    And don't come back with some smart remark about how New York didn't win -- everyone knows that with the exception of Madison Square Garden there is no major sports venue in Manhattan, that the rest of the New York area's sports venues famously have poor transit access esp the Meadowlands, that they had no existing stadium for track & field as did Los Angeles, and that there are no colleges with big sports facilities in the NYC area unlike LA.

    No city today can submit a viable bid for the summer Olympics without a significant rail transit system in place. 1984 was an odd event that won't be repeated. Another disastrous post by COAST.

  7. Montreal’s 1976 Olympics left the city with $2.7 billion of debt that it finally paid off IN 2005.

    Barcelona took on $6.1 Nillion idn debt for the 92 Olympics.

    Atlanta only broke even, and saw no significant increase in hotel occupancy, retail sales, or airport traffic.

    When Athens won the right to host the 2004 games in 1997, its budget was $1.6 billion. The final public cost is estimated to be around $16 billion — 10 times the original budget!

    Another failed disastrous epic mega-boondoggle supported by Jake Mecklenborg.

  8. In COAST's world, transit taxes send people scurrying for the unincorporated boondocks. But in the real world, Fulton County alone has seen a population increase from 600,000 in 1970 when the MARTA 1% sales tax began to over 1,000,000 in 2010. Meanwhile the entire Atlanta metro area has increased from 3,000,000 to 5,600,000. So for 40 years the MARTA counties have produced jobs, jobs, and more jobs despite the 1% sales tax.

    Why? The big difference between Atlanta and here is that 40 years ago their big players took on an aggressive growth strategy and paid the nay-sayers to go away. So is that what COAST and Smitherman are doing? Be big enough irritations that they eventually are cut checks to just shut up?

  9. The recent census numbers also show that the States with the fastest population growth are ones with NO INCOME TAX. I guess judging by your last post you'd then agree to get rid of Ohio's income tax in order to promote growth. Or are you just cherrypicking numbers that fit your socialist high tax agenda?
    Yet another epic logic fail by high tax trolley mecklenborg.

  10. Funny you mention that...Dallas has a 1% transit sales tax just like Atlanta...they just opened more than 20 miles of rail three weeks ago:

    And Houston is building 4 light rail lines by 2012:

    This leaves Cincinnati as the second-biggest US city without rail excepting Detroit, so COAST sees Detroit as a model city.

  11. Interestingly enough, in the 1970's Atlanta (city and MSA) was roughly the same population as Cincinnati's at that time. In the subsequent decades, Cincinnati's MSA saw very muted growth while the city shed it's population. Conversely, following the construction of MARTA (which didn't finish until 1979, with full service and related development actually in place around the mid-1980's), Atlanta saw its population boom (especially the metropolitan population, which is also largely served by rail transit), and especially saw its commercial core downtown blossom.

  12. As to Detroit, they have a Woodward Ave (M-1) light rail system planned for 2013 to connect to their already in-place elevated people mover system (similar to the one in Miami). They also have a plan for a Commuter Rail line named SEMCOG that would be similar to the proposals made for our Eastern Corridor.

    So... soon Cincinnati will actually be the largest Metro region (which I think is what Jake meant when he said "city") without rail transit in the USA --- and that title has done absolutely nothing good for us.


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