In this week’s Porkopolis column, I wondered how Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls felt about “being continually used as a human shield” by City Councilman Chris Bortz on an issue of a potential conflict of interest.
Apparently, the answer is, “Not too good.”
That didn’t take long.
Less than 48 hours after it was revealed that the Ohio Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion last year stating Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Bortz shouldn’t take part in decisions about a proposed streetcar project, a formal complaint has been filed with the commission.
In the heated debate over budget cuts at City Hall, several groups are alleging Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding is “two-faced” and told various individuals during his 2009 campaign that he would end his support for the proposed streetcar project.
Cincinnatians for Progress is hosting a fund-raiser and rally tonight for the planned Cincinnati streetcar system from 5:30 to 7:30 at Grammer's, 1140 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine. The event kicks off what the group calls "our campaign in support of economic development, preserving transportation choices, good governance and progress in Cincinnati."
Suggested donation is $35, and donations are also being accepted at the group's web site. Further information is available from the fine folks at Cincinnati Streetcar, with lots of discussion about streetcars on their excellent blog.
Cincinnati’s long-discussed streetcar system is a bit closer to reality today after City Council approved spending $2.58 million on the project.
The money will be used for planning and design work for the system. Its first phase would be a loop through downtown and Over-the-Rhine, with a later segment built to the uptown area near the University of Cincinnati and local hospitals.
Greater Cincinnati made the list of the Top 10 cities in the United States with the easiest and most affordable commutes.
In a ranking complied by Kiplinger.com and released today, the Cincinnati-Middletown Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked no. 7. To make the list, an area had to have a population of at least 1 million people and a low congestion cost, which the site defines as a measurement of wasted time and fuel calculated by the Texas Transportation Institute.
As additional information becomes known, an allegedly impartial poll about Cincinnati's streetcar project touted by The Enquirer becomes more suspect. A person who took the poll says the questions seemed like “propaganda,” while the pollster violated the accepted standards of the polling industry.
A labor impasse between managers of Greater Cincinnati's Metro bus system and its transit workers appears to be near an end.
Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 627 voted Tuesday to accept a new three-year labor contract with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA). The final tally was 409-49.