We Demand a Vote

I read John Fox's editorial regarding the jail tax with interest ("New Jail a Taxing Problem," issue of June 6). I thought he did a good job of putting a lot of the difficult issues together into on

Jun 13, 2007 at 2:06 pm

I read John Fox's editorial regarding the jail tax with interest ("New Jail a Taxing Problem," issue of June 6). I thought he did a good job of putting a lot of the difficult issues together into one column.

Like him, I'm in favor of some type of jail with new beds, etc. Yet I can't reconcile the thought of two Hamilton County commissioners trying to do this without the voters. Another important issue is that this sales tax increase will total $900 million over its life, with only $200 million going to the jail. Wow, that's a lot of money.

Because I'm a businessman concerned about Hamilton County becoming more and more uncompetitive, I've joined the wedemandavote.com campaign.

— Daniel Regenold, Springdale

Where's the Jail?
If I hadn't agreed to circulate a referendum petition to "allow the public to vote on the jail tax," I would have never known that the resolution adopted by the Hamilton County commissioners on May 30 doesn't actually say the increased sales tax money will be used to build a jail. It says that the money "shall be used for the purpose of supporting criminal and administrative justice services."

According to this resolution, half a percent of the current Hamilton County sales tax already currently goes to the above listed purpose.

The commissioners voted for a 100 percent increase in this budget item by their vote on May 30. This increase in the sales tax will start on Oct. 1 unless we can collect enough signatures to put this back on the ballot in November.

In collecting signatures this past weekend, I found a variety of people who wanted to sign the petition: those opposed to building a new jail; those opposed to increasing the sales tax; those opposed to having a tax imposed on them after the public clearly voted against this tax this past year; those who think they have a right to vote on new taxes; and, most telling of all, those whose primary reason for signing the petition was their opposition to doubling the portion of the sales tax that benefits Sheriff Simon Leis' budget.

— Gwen Marshall, Northside

Downtown Streetcar Will Be a Waste
I read with amusement yet another article ("Getting There," issue of June 6) promoting the positives of a streetcar system proposed for Over-the-Rhine and downtown. I've spent time in all of the cities referenced in the article and utilized their streetcar/subway systems. I find them very convenient and cost-effective.

What people have to realize is that in Washington D.C., Chicago, Portland, Boston, New York, Atlanta and other cities, there are places that one actually wants to go to. This is Cincinnati.

Downtown is dying a slow death — jewelry stores are the latest casualties — and is not coming back, much to my disappointment. Over-the-Rhine, with the exception of a wonderful Findlay Market, crumbled years ago.

These areas aren't coming back to any level near to their peak, and it's time to realize that. Do they really think people are going to live in and travel on a streetcar in an area they don't feel safe driving in?

Let's get on with an approach to civic planning that might actually work. The greatest potential for growth in the city is in the outlying districts that border the suburbs. Let's concentrate our efforts there. Imagine taking a streetcar from your house to Biggs/Kroger in Hyde Park, then hop back on to Hyde Park Square for a drink, back for dinner in Oakley and then head for home.

Let's be honest here: How many of these proposed new residents of downtown and Over-the-Rhine will really want to shop at Kroger on Vine Street? How many would feel safe in a streetcar traveling through Over-the-Rhine stopping every two blocks?

If we're going to spend $100 million, let's be smart and rational about it and stop the comparisons to other cities that we just aren't.

— Patrick Garland, Mount Adams