August 30, 2009
City Council is back in session this week, Wednesday, September 2, 2009. Councilwoman Ghiz started the summer break with Twitter attacks on Councilwoman Cole, but has not produced any feasible economic solutions to the City's looming budget crisis. Council Member Berding introduced a motion during the summer break to tax poor people who beg for money. Council Members Bortz, Berding, Ghiz, and Monzell rolled out a plan to take $2.5 million from Cincinnati Public School (CPS) children, but failed to ask the School Board for the loan before announcing it to the media. After hearing media reports, the School Board held an emergency meeting and agreed to communicate to the Council that they expect to receive their funds in October as scheduled by contract. Even if the School Board allowed this public financial brainstorm, City Council would only be extending the overall deficit to $30.5 million with such a loan. "I thought the idea of balancing a budget was to lower the deficit," Smitherman says, president of the Cincinnati NAACP branch.
The motivation of the CPS money grab was to temporarily avoid the 138 police officer layoffs on September 7, 2009. Council seems to care nothing about saving the jobs of the other 162 City workers who will be fired on September 7, 2009. However, the School Board held its ground on taking the children's money which brings Council right back to "nothing-has-changed" other than Council now has less time (four months) to close the $28.5 million deficit. The choices for City Council become much more radical with the December balanced budget deadline approaching.
Council really only has one solution for the budget deficit: a $200 million streetcar for five miles of downtown Cincinnati. This solution is MORE spending, HIGHER taxes, and FEWER City services. The same cast of characters is using the same strategy of confusion that was used to get the new Bengals Stadium. Jeff Berding, Roxanne Qualls, now Chris Bortz want to get citizens talking about the petition language regarding the streetcar, not Bortz's conflict of interest of owning property on the proposed streetcar route. The stadium deal is the cause of Hamilton County's budget woes resulting in downsizing in the Sheriff's Dept., the Prosecutor's Office, and Jobs and Family Services. The media does not report the history of who pushed the Bengals Stadium, Jeff Berding---Bengals employee, and who supported it, Roxanne Qualls--mayor at the time. These officials used a lot of money and a tricky campaign to confuse you once with a bad deal; shame on them. If you allow them to confuse you again using the same tactics to get a bad streetcar deal and sell your water resource, shame on you.
"At the Cincinnati City Council meeting on September 2nd, Council is required by law to vote to place both of our issues--the selling of our water and the streetcar--on the November ballot. The Cincinnati NAACP and its partners turned in approximately 27,000 signatures. This will be our first opportunity to see the language that the City lawyers wrote for our ballot issues. The Cincinnati NAACP will have 24 hours to respond to the language, yet City Hall calls changing original petition language that 27,000 citizens signed democracy." said Smitherman.