Sunday, May 5, 2013

Showdown at the Court of Appeals

COAST attorney Chris Finney appears Monday morning before the First District Court of Appeals representing Cincinnati residents Lisa McQueen, Pete Witte and others to vindicate the right of referendum in the Parking Plot.

The City is fighting furiously in Court to suppress the vote of the people, because this Council does not want to face the voters' judgment of the decision to lease for 30 years the City's parking assets and to privatize the law enforcement function (i.e., ticketing and enforcement of fines and collection).  More than 19,803 citizens signed petitions to place the issue before the voters, 2.3 times the minimum number needed for ballot access.

The City's position is that the Ordinance was properly enacted as an "Emergency" and thus automatically exempt from referendum.  (The emergency being the budget crisis they themselves created by refusing to cut spending, and waiting until the last minute to sell this asset to generate a mere two years of revenue.)  Council member Chris Seelbach provided the 6th vote for the ordinance that they claim gave them the right to avoid a public vote on the issue.

The Plaintiffs' position is that the City Charter unambiguously states that all ordinances are subject to referendum, and the term "all" means all, including the Parking Plot ordinance.

We will report soon on how the oral argument goes, and advise as soon as a decision is issued.

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