What Can Cincinnati Hope for in the Fall City Council Election?

Jeff Cramerding Executive director of the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati The only hope the fall election will provide is Cincinnati's third choice. Citizens in most U.S. cities do not hav

Jeff Cramerding

Executive director of the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati

The only hope the fall election will provide is Cincinnati's third choice. Citizens in most U.S. cities do not have a third choice. In most cities you can vote for the Republicans — shortsighted, closed minded and divisive — or the Democrats — irresponsible, unscrupulous and power hungry.

But in Cincinnati you have a third choice — the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati. For 80 years the Charter Committee has been running candidates for city council. We've always elected at least one council member and have had a majority on council several times. We don't run career politicians, so our candidates don't go on to run for Congress or President. We just run normal citizens who want to try to make Cincinnati a great place to live. This notion always confuses the national political parties.

In 2003, Charterite candidates include John Schlagetter, Christopher Smitherman and Jim Tarbell.

Our candidates' campaign platform has five points:

· Support the repeal of Article 12.

· Support public funding for the arts. Arts are vital to maintaining a high quality of life in Cincinnati.

· Restore and protect municipal environmental programs, including curbside recycling, urban forestry and air quality programs.

· Exciting and dynamic business districts are the heart of neighborhoods. The city needs to grow these business districts with effective planning and aggressive code enforcement, along with incentives to create new business start-ups and jobs.

· Increased police visibility in our neighborhoods and strong incentives to encourage police officers and firefighters to live in the city.

This platform states what the Charter Committee and our candidates support. It is what we will do if elected to council. Don't forget to ask the national political parties where their platform is, and don't forget to remind them that in Cincinnati we have a third choice.

Charles Tassell

President of Blue Chip Young Republicans

Back to the basics: That's the only glimmer of hope that would make this election worth voting in. Will any candidates get it? For the sake of Cincinnati and the region, we must make them understand.

The first and biggest issue: crime. No one is going to stay where they don't feel safe, and jobs (that means companies) won't go where their employees fear to travel. The police have implemented a variety of "reforms," many based upon social theories with highly suspect numbers, and they need to be supported. Do we all have stories of how we were "offended" by the police? Sure. But with the murder du jour airing to the world and in the process killing our neighborhoods, let the police focus on real problems while we all work on our manners.

Second, we desperately need some real planning. Council has been reacting to every headline or sob story for the past 10 years without focusing on or being dedicated to a long-term plan. Balance the neighborhoods with downtown. Then figure out if the neighborhood needs drug sweeps, potholes filled or new sidewalks — not Band-Aid social programs. Downtown is now a consultant's dream: After five years and $1.5 billion focused on the riverfront, the "new" idea is to focus on Fountain Square and Washington Park. Great, but can we get the last project done before shifting gears?

As for the cacophony of boycotter issues, puuulllleeeeaaassssee. At best, only a half dozen or so of the myriad "demands" could even be addressed by the city, and most of those have been. The infighting has shown the real intentions of the boycott leaders. Now it is time to look at the legitimacy of the remaining issues and deal with them in a reasoned manner.

Cincinnatians need careers, not just jobs. We need to be able to afford our own housing, not just participate in a plan that calls it affordable. To do this, we need to go back to the basics of city government being transparent: taking care of the infrastructure, not to mention the aging sewers, and keeping the streets safe (affordably) so that we can live our lives without government strings, intervention or "support."

David Schaff

President of Hamilton County Young Democrats

Electing the Democratic Party's city council slate of seven is the only hope that we have for this fall's election. By electing the Democratic endorsed candidates, city council will continue the progress that the current Democratic majority has made. Consider a few of the key accomplishments made by the current council Democrats: the Convention Center expansion; resolution of several boycott issues; the opening and expansion of several key arts institutions; Over-the-Rhine is back on its feet and progress continues to be made. The Democratic agenda has turned Cincinnati around for all citizens, and this is just the start.

The values and teamwork that the 2003 Democratic slate will bring to City Hall shows both great promise and vision for our future. We should all hope the following Democrats are elected to city council.

First the non-incumbents: Former State Representative Sam Britton is a community activist from Madisonville who will be helpful in lobbying Columbus. Howard Bond is a longtime small business owner who resides in North Avondale and served as a Cincinnati Public Schools board member. Recently appointed to Paul Booth's council seat, Laketa Cole of Bond Hill continues to champion neighborhood revitalization and is sure to bring excitement as the "Cole Train" travels throughout the city.

The incumbents: Vice Mayor Alicia Reece of Bond Hill has persistently worked for small business development and health care issues. An advocate for police and safety issues, John Cranley of East Price Hill continues to ensure efficiency in basic services. David Crowley, the owner of Crowley's bar in Mount Adams and a resident of East Walnut Hills, has proven to be the strongest voice for progressive causes in Cincinnati. David Pepper of Mount Adams has provided leadership and has lived up to high expectations after becoming council's top vote getter in his first election in 2001.

Each month, CityBeat poses a question to young leaders in the local Democrat and Republican parties as well as a selected third party or independent activist.

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