1.) Finance Committed voted 5-2 in favor to approve $800,000 for preliminary studies required for federal funding applications. The studies would include the Uptown-downtown link. Motion moves to the full City Council for a vote on Wednesday. It should be clear that Qualls and Cranley voted against the measure.
2.) In addition, a motion to place the question of building the streetcar on this November's ballot was drafted by Council Member Chris Monzel (and co-signed by John Cranley) and forwarded to the City administration for a report.
I have a few thoughts regarding what happened . . .
1.) If Qualls and Cranley say they are pro-streetcar, they are liars. Unless I am mistaken, they previously said they were not against the streetcar, just that it should include Uptown in the Phase I. They voted against studies that included the Uptown link. The additional studies would be ultimately required to get the Uptown portion funded so why not vote for the measure? Clearly, getting the streetcar to Uptown is not their priority.
2.) Monzel, in pushing for a referendum, said, "I want to be the voice of reason," according to the Enquirer. What is clear is he the voice of stalling, ineffectiveness, and dare I say treason, not reason. Cecil Thomas was the voice of clarity saying, "This council was put in place to make decisions." What Cecil Thomas understands is this council cannot afford to get bogged down in politics and move beyond a perception that we cannot get anything done. It is a big decision with a large financial impact but Council does not need a referendum to move forward. Are we going to have referendums on all large capital projects like Broadway Commons, 3CDC funding, and "Go Cincinnati" initiatives, etc.? Calling for a referendum is like voting against this city. I do not dispute the public’s ability to call for one if they choose, but city leaders should not initiate it in this case. Think big and act like leaders.
3.) I will remember these actions by this Council and our Mayor come election time. And I will do whatever I can to make sure others remember as well if you are running for council or other elected office.