Well it’s getting down to the wire for the Cincinnati City Council Race. Since all I talk about is politics, I figured it’s time for me to say who I endorse personally for council and why.
What I look for in a candidate is someone that understands that the role city government has in its relationship with its citizens and within the region. I want people on council that understand and appreciate the financial challenges that Cincinnati faces, and has a plan to get us out of this mess through growth.
The city leaders need to have an understanding that it’s not taxes that will get us out of the financial mess we are in but reforms and growth of the tax base through population and business growth. We need council people that do not look at our poor as criminals or exploit them for votes. I want council people to provide fiscally sound and proven successful avenues to allow them to become successful members of our community. To do this they need to challenge our city schools to not only provide a few select great schools, but to have every school be as successful as a Covedale Elementary or a Walnut Hills High School. They need to bring jobs back to the city, not only will this help our revenue and tax base, this will help uplift those that struggle now, and take the burden off of some of our city services.
With that said here are my endorsements for the 2011 Cincinnati Council Race:
Amy Murray – she is one of the most sensible people on council; I would compare her to Roxanne Qualls in temperament and pragmatic approach to addressing the issues. She has vision and knows how to work with all on council keep city business moving forward.
Leslie Ghiz – she is an outstanding advocate for the citizens of Cincinnati. Her priorities are well placed in making sure our fire fighters and police officers stay on our streets. She has no qualms about calling a spade a spade. While that may rub some including the Enquirer the wrong way, it is refreshing to hear a politician call out others on council that play politics rather than doing what is best for the citizens of Cincinnati.
Catherine Mills – she is young, bright, intelligent, and knows how to articulate her position. She is someone that can help lead this city into the 21st Century.
Chris Bortz – Chris is someone that understands the role government at the city level. He believes in being fiscally sensible He believes that the city needs to invest in itself to attract more people into the city. I think that while public services is the number one priority of city government, number two needs to be to grow, enhance and promote our city. Chris understands this. Being a Charterite he is not tied down to a political agenda of either the Democrats or Republicans.
Roxanne Qualls – Roxanne’s biggest strength is her insight in community and neighborhood development. Her work in community development is welcome in an atmosphere where many neighborhoods within the city are constantly suspicious of each other and of Council. While I don’t agree with her on many other issues, her leadership in community development is something we need on Council.
Kevin Flynn – he is consensus builder, some one that will be able to bring the two parties together to break the grid lock and actually get the agenda moving forward.
Michael Allen – a former Republican, now independent he is currently not tied to a particular party which is a great thing for the citizens of the city. His prior experience as a judge, county prosecutor, and party chairman will be an asset as far as understanding how things get done at multiple levels. He says he doesn’t want to be a leader on council, but he could likely become a strong leader on council quickly.
Wayne Lippert – Wayne is a common sense businessman. He appears to be very pragmatic about his decision making much like Councilwoman Amy Murray. While hasn’t made himself as well known as an appointed Councilperson, he comes across as someone that has a grasp on the issues and knows how to lead. Hopefully he has done enough to get his name out there city wide.
Chris Seelbach – Chris is my surprise pick. Someone I thought I would never vote for. While I know I would disagree with him on many issues, especially at the national level, I find his love and energy for Cincinnati refreshing. I feel like he is already invested in Cincinnati, and wants it to make it better for all. He seems to understand that the key issues is to bring people and business back to Cincinnati as a way to raise tax dollars rather than raising taxes on the current citizens. I think he is a much stronger than people give him credit for. If he follows in the footsteps of his mentor David Crowley then I don’t think the citizens have much to worry about. Like I said while I will disagree with him on many issues, I think he has the passion and temperament to help move the city forward.
The citizens of Cincinnati deserve a Council with a vision and with leadership. We need those on Council that aren’t looking at what they are going to do once they are off Council but what can they do for Cincinnati on Council. We need to bring people and jobs back to Cincinnati. The people don’t care if they are green jobs, blue jobs, or purple jobs, people just want jobs.
In the end I think this was easiest time I have had in a while to come up with nine council people that I would vote for. I think to put this combination on council would finally begin to end the unlimited politicking and grandstand that is currently infested on council. We need a council that is full of leaders and not politicians. This group represent people that I feel have the best interest of the citizens of Cincinnati at heart. I believe and proudly endorse this group as the best group to lead us forward in the next two years.
Leslie Ghiz recently tweeted “The budget looms…Thoughts on ways to raise revenue W/O taxing.” It got me thinking, how can the city balance the budget? I would imagine there are few accounting tricks left in the bag to help balance the budget this time around. Real leadership is going to have to emerge to balance this budget.
Councilwoman Ghiz is right we need to increase revenue without increasing taxes. The problem is that increasing revenue without raising taxes takes time, and planning. This will not fix the budget problem in the short term.
So Cincinnati City Council has two choices, either raise taxes, fees, etc. or cut from the budget. To bridge what is nearly a $35 million dollar gap, I don’t see how council can any longer not make cuts to the Cincinnati Police Department and Fire Department given how much of the budget they take up. Believe me, I agree with the conservative block on council, in that the last thing I want council to do is layoff police officers and fire fighters. I have yet to see how the math adds up without some layoffs. My hope would be to minimize the layoffs to the rank and file by making reductions in administrative and non-police/fire personal and expenditures. An internal look at trying to save money by fixing inefficiencies within the departments would save money and jobs as well.
I think it is time for even the most avid supporter of police and fire to acknowledge that with declining city revenues and a declining city population that real cuts to the police and fire budget have to be made. These cuts should be done with care and with minimal impact to the rank and file, but unless someone has a realistic plan that doesn’t cut police and fire, it must be done.
Councilwoman Ghiz is right we must raise revenue without raising taxes. That comes through getting rid of red tape for businesses, working with our school board and neighborhood councils on making all of our neighborhoods attractive places to live, and investing in our infrastructure. This is where the streetcar comes in. It is a project out of the capital fund, and yes the operating cost will be a net loss for the city. But that doesn’t mean that the increase in property values and in turn property taxes would not offset those losses. The city has for years given multi-million dollar tax breaks to companies that have failed to deliver on promises to add jobs in Cincinnati. I am willing to give the city the chance in this project to invest in itself to attract citizens and business to Cincinnati, and in turn increase the tax base.
To increase revenues and to avoid going down the road when it comes to the budget in future years we must increase the tax base through population and job growth. Cincinnati does this by investing in itself through capital projects. We must make our city an attractive place to live not only through outstanding public safety, but with a great school system, strong neighborhoods, and making this city the easiest place to do business in the Midwest.
What does it say for those thinking to come to Cincinnati, if aren’t willing to invest in ourselves through projects like the streetcar? Councilwoman Ghiz is right we must raise revenues without raising taxes, but hard cuts to all departments including police and fire must happen first to balance the budget in the short term.
Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan wants to change the length of
service on council to four year terms rather than the current two year terms (http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110725/EDIT02/107250328/Guest-column-Change-terms-to-four-years-for-city-council).
Ideally she wants staggered elections every two years, with half the council up
for reelection every two years. She feels this would allow council to make the
tough decisions without facing the pressure of reelections. With all due
respect to Councilwoman Quinlivan, it is council’s job to represent the people
of Cincinnati and they should feel the pressure of reelection if they fail to perform.
Councilwoman Quinlivan has alternative motive for
wanting this change and it’s all political. She knows that in an at large
election in which it is an open field that in an urban city it is likely within
2 to 3 election cycles the city of Cincinnati could very well have a permanent
liberal super majority on Council. Her argument is that all of our “peer”
cities that she list has four year election cycles. What she fails to mention
is that each of them have a council that is elected by districts. Now if
she proposes that we go to districts as well then I would be in favor of it,
but somehow I doubt that is what she has in mind.
The voters of this city deserve to be able to hold
those that serve on council accountable. To do this it is imperative that
either it stay as it is currently with elections every two years or go to a
district or ward system of representation. Councilwoman Quinlivan’s plan in its
current form is completely unacceptable and I hope the current majority on
Council does not fall for this political ploy and power grab by the liberals on
This is going to be a different kind of blog entry. Something that I feel need to do and something I need to say. I am a Born Again Christian. I have been since the age of twelve years old. My step-father was the one that lead me to Christ. I am blessed beyond what I could possibly comprehend in knowing that when I die I will spend eternity in heaven along with the rest of my family.
Does that make me better than anyone else? Absolutely not! I am a sinner and far from perfect. I have committed more sins since I have been saved than I care to have counted or think about. I have said things, acted in ways, done plenty of things that I am ashamed of and that if I had to do would hope that I would not make that same mistake again. I understand the fact that I haven’t been active in the Christian community like I should and that some of my actions would lead some to believe that I am not Christian.
This isn’t meant to excuse things in my past that I have done, but to hopefully let people understand that Christ, while he wants us to be free of sin, understands that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. This is not about what you believe politically or morally. I am not hear to say that all conservatives are going to heaven and all liberals are going to hell, because I know that is not the case. I know one thing and one thing only when it comes to entering heaven and that is what John 3:16 says:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV)
There is no other qualifier for entry into heaven, it doesn’t say you have to be an NRA member or a Republican, it doesn’t say that you can’t believe in global warming, and it doesn’t say you just need to be a “good” person. All it says is that you must believe that Jesus Christ died for you sins.
With that said, I know that Christ died for my all my sins along with everyone elses. I do not have to worry about where I will spend eternity.
I want to share my testimony because I have felt in my heart that we are in the last days, and that Christ will come soon to take those that are saved from this earth, and that those left behind will apart of something far worse than any of us could possibly fathom. I hope and pray that if you are reading this that you will chose not to be left behind
I want to share this with family and friends and those that are willing to take the time to read this for several reasons. For those that are saved, but struggle like I do to be a witness to others and in my personal walk with God, I hope that this provides encouragement and gives you strength.
For those that aren’t saved I want to share my testimony in way that will not make you uncomfortable, or make you feel like this is an in your face lecture, but to provide with something that hopefully will lead you to Christ.
I am sure some would say that who do you think you are for bringing this up? I am no one. This isn’t about some political argument, or that I am trying to say that I am better than you. I want to share what I believe because I want see as many people as possible in heaven when my time on Earth is done. How could I possibly be a good steward for God if I haven’t at least shared something that feel as so important, at least once with those that I call family, friends, and even those that I have causal contact with?
This isn’t something I will likely write about on a consistent basis on this blog because that isn’t what this blog is about, and if I do I will create a separate blog site to share more. But it is something that I want to share now because I feel that it is important for me to share.
For those that are interest on where to read specifically in the bible about salvation I would point you to John Chapter 3 and Romans Chapters, 3, 5, 6, and 10 in the New Testament. Please feel free to discuss this with me publically or privately but I have no expectations of either from anyone.
Like many people that were affected by 9/11 today was a day that we have been looking forward to for almost 10 years. While I didn’t lose anybody 9/11, I was directly affected because I worked for Comair Airlines and was at the Cincinnati Airport when it happened. I remember watching planes land a park anywhere there was an open gate at the airport, it didn’t matter what airline it was. I can recall the airport being evacuated and bomb stiffing dogs going throughout the airport. The once the American skies reopened I wondered how many people would fly again and if I would be laid off again just like I was when the Comair pilots went on strike
The events changed the way America looked at the world. For the first time, many Americans felt vulnerable to terrorism within the United States. Much like we associated Stalin with communism and Hitler with the Holocaust, the face of terrorism was Osama Bin Laden. Until the towers came down I don’t think the average American, or those within our own government understood what we were up against.
Enough of rehashing the past, we all know the story, and that isn’t the point of the blog. May 1, 2011 should go down as a day of celebration, and reflection, much like Memorial Day. We celebrate the death of an evil and vile man. We also should take time to reflect and give thanks to the men and women that served our country and worked hard over the last ten plus years to kill this man.
We must also give thanks to President Bush. His leadership and his willingness to the fight terrorism relentlessly, and unapologetically, helped us get to the point that we had the ability to kill Bin Laden. Finally President Obama must be given his due. No matter your political leaning, President Obama did something that Bill Clinton refused to do before 9/11 and that was he was will to put his neck on the line when he had solid intelligence as to where Bin Laden.
President Obama had the courage to send troops into Pakistan, which was extremely risky given the current state of relations and the chance of the mission being a failure. The President should be commended for taking such action, and authorizing this military mission. Of course though our President and the rest of the country owes and debt of gratitude to those that were directly involved in executing this mission with such precision and professionalism.
May 1, 2011 will not be the day that ended terrorism unfortunately. There are still plenty out there that want to destroy America because of their intolerant and radical views. What this date symbolizes, is that America has the resolved, the will, and the resources to destroy those that seek to destroy us. Throughout our history, whether it was England during the Revolutionary War, Japan during World War II, Russia during the Cold War or Al Qaida during the war on terror, there has been one theme throughout American History. You make knock us down, but by the grace of God, America will get back up dust ourselves off and we will unleash the entire force of the American military to hunt you down and if need be kill you.
This is going to be the beginning of a series of blogs about issues that are facing Cincinnati. These issues must be addressed to turn our city into a vibrant urban area. Some of these issues will no doubt overlap but in the interest of not writing one large diatribe I will break this off into several parts.
The first issue I am going to address is population growth. This issue has been brought to the forefront with the recent census numbers that have been released. Currently the number of residents is officially under 300k. This is a continuation of a downward trend since the 1970’s. City leaders must come up with a plan that will finally turn this around. Population growth, especially middle class population growth will equal an increase in tax dollars that Cincinnati desperately needs. I have been ranting about this since 2009; finally it appears that those on council are beginning to take this issue seriously.
One important way to retain and attract people to live in Cincinnati is to continue to provide what I would consider quality of life services within the city. These quality of life services would be anything from reducing crime to working to keep the city pools open. We have to be a city that is accessible to all income groups. Cincinnati cannot pay lip service to the poor and succeed.
Councilwoman Amy Murray did this by staring her pothole repairing initiative. This was great idea because this can improve the quality of life for all citizens no matter what your social economic status is. Fixing the potholes faster will likely lead to less car repairs for those that use city streets, which include city owned vehicles (police cars, fire trucks…etc.) and metro buses. This in turn will likely save citizens thousands of dollars in car repairs; it will save the city of Cincinnati thousands of dollars as well, which may help offset our overruns in the city fuel budget.
Another area that will encourage population growth is by identifying neighborhoods and groups that are working to attract and retain residents to their neighborhood. This is why I implore City Council to work with the Covedale Neighborhood Association and recognize Covedale as an official neighborhood. The facts show this is what the residents want and that this will stabilize neighborhood, increase the value, and the profile of the neighborhood. This will help retain current residents and help attract new residents as well.
Being on Cincinnati City Council has never been a tougher job or as important a job as it is now. The last thing Cincinnati needs is a councilperson that is all about show but has very little in the ability to lead a diverse population. Cincinnati needs to evaluate its’ council candidates not as Democrats or Republicans but determine who has the leadership qualities, fiscal values and is confident enough to handle the pressure that comes with leading Cincinnati through this challenging time.
This is an issue that I have been heavily involved with for the last several years. I believe that not only is it best for the residents of Covedale and West Price Hill, I believe it is in the best interest of the City of Cincinnati to recognized Covedale a separate, stand alone neighborhood within the city of Cincinnati. I am going to give you a very brief History of Covedale and then get into the reasons why I feel that in is best for Covedale to be a separate neighborhood within the city of Cincinnati.
In 1930 Covedale was annexed in to the city of Cincinnati. It was not annexed into West Price Hill, just into the City of Cincinnati. The debate prior to 1930 was if Covedale would become a village or become part of Cincinnati. Long story short Covedale became part of the city. Through the years, the Covedale identity has become muddled and full of controversy. This is due to the way the city recognizes “official” neighborhoods and the Price Hill Civic Club actively stretching the neighborhood boundaries to include Covedale through the years.
The residents of Covedale , including myself, are demanding equal recognition because the identity of Covedale as a separate neighborhood in Cincinnati is what is best for the neighborhood that we live in, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the City of Cincinnati. This is about continuing the success that Covedale has seen through years, improving our position in the city, and in the region, as an affordable community within the city limits that provides a variety of amenities including the arts (Covedale Theater), location to downtown( less than 15min), location to public transportation, and retail locations as well. This isn’t a move we are making because we think we are better than anyone else. We feel this is necessary because we have different needs than our neighbors in West Price Hill.
The fact is that the Westside suffers from neighborhoods that are too large and have become unmanageable, including the West Price Hill neighborhood. When you have “neighborhoods” over 20,000 residents ran by community council’s that are attended by an average of less than 50 people and the same people are elected over and over again, you have neighborhoods that become stale and council’s that become too political and that lack leadership.
There is little doubt that the lack of leadership in West Price Hill has hurt the community. The focus is fragmented into trying to build up the Covedale area, while trying to fight the crime and “Section 8 issues” that plagues the rest of West Price Hill. This lack of focus has hampered the development of both neighborhoods.
What is needed is a comprehensive strategy for both neighborhoods. For Covedale the goal would be to enhance our image as the gateway to Cincinnati from the western suburbs. We need a plan that continues to grow our Theater District as a unique and vibrant area. Enhancing our housing stock and value by promoting such areas as the Covedale Garden District and Overlook Heights as communities within Covedale, is key not only growing our neighborhood but improving surrounding neighborhoods in the process.
The neighborhoods that thrive in Cincinnati are the ones that have the residents engaged and strong leadership. In Covedale we have wonderful residents that want Covedale to succeed as a vibrant neighborhood that is part of Cincinnati. New leaders are emerging, some that are 3rd and 4th generation Westside residents, along with some that have moved to Covedale from other neighborhoods and other states. In the end, we want one thing, and that is for Covedale to become a separate neighborhood as it was before 1930. This is the best result for those that live in Covedale and for the city of Cincinnati.