Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cincinnatians for Progress has new website, endorsements; WeDemandAVote.com two-thirds of way to ballot

Cincinnatians for Progress (CFP) has launched a new website as part of its attempt to stop what it calls "the proposed Anti-Progress Charter amendment".

Mayor Mark Mallory will serve as chairman of the organization, and all City council members except Chris Monzel have endorsed the effort, the group says.

"I am proud to be the Chairman of Cincinnatians for Progress," Mallory says. "Along with thousands of supporters from neighborhoods across the City, we are leading the drive to defeat the proposed Charter amendment that would put up a roadblock to future progress and hurt future economic growth in our city."

"Mayor Mallory has been the chief cheerleader for the streetcar," says Mark Miller, chairman of WeDemandAVote.com, a coalition that counts among its supporters the Cincinnati NAACP, COAST, and the local Green and Libertarian parties. "He's put it ahead of public safety, fiscal responsibility, and the health and welfare of Cincinnatians. Eight of the council members are just as drunk on the streetcar Kool-Aid, and could care less if most of their constituents think it's a ridiculous plan. Monzel seems to be the sole sane, sober, solid, sensible soul at City Hall."

But CFP argues that the amendment's language would put the City at a competitive disadvantage and erect barriers to job creation and economic development by requiring a public vote for all passenger rail projects, including local light rail, the proposed 3-C Corridor high-speed rail plan, and future connections to Midwest and East Coast rail networks.

"The naysayers in our community want to put a stop to that progress and leave our city in the past," Mallory says. "Their latest effort would ban all forms of passenger rail transit in the city, including trains and light rail. In Cincinnati, we have a proud tradition of thinking big and tackling innovative projects that transform our city and benefit future generations."

Miller says that the coalition isn't trying to kill the streetcar plan, or any passenger rail plan that might be proposed – they're only making sure that there's a consensus.

"The essence of CFP's message is that voting is an obstacle to progress and that taxpayers are too stupid to decide what's best for their own city," he says. "We're glad to see they're raising funds; hopefully they'll make some major media buys with it. Because the longer and louder they proclaim that arrogant message, the more overwhelming our victory will be."

Over 4,000 petitions have been certified by the Hamilton County Board of Elections, Miller says, nearly two-thirds of the way to the 6,150 signatures required to place the charter amendment on the ballot.

WeDemandAVote.com must have all of those signatures certified by September 4.

Cincinnatians for Progress is hosting a "Rally for Progress" from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on June 11 at the Verdin Bell Center, 444 Reading Road, to raise funds and awareness for its campaign.

Previous reading on BC:
Give Back Cincinnati sessions to focus on streetcars (1/29/09)
City will issue RFP for Uptown streetcar route analysis (1/26/09)
Corryville homeowner says Kroger redevelopment would hinder streetcar (8/6/08)
Streetcar: W Clifton or Vine? (7/29/08)
Cincinnati streetcar vote possible today (4/23/08)