13 May 2011

Observations from Special Session of Council

The session lasted 2.5 hrs. THE EXORCIST started it off, announcing he had a list of 25 questions. He first asked the City Manager to explain what legislative authority (granted by Council) the administration had to use the funds to pay for the streetcar. Mr. Dohoney then listed the ordinances, motions and resolutions which did this. This irked me because this information is online and THE EXORCIST could have saved time by looking it up himself. It’s almost as he was more interested in egotistical grandstanding than anything else. Imagine that.

THE EXORCIST gave me a chuckle, though, when he stated that motions have no legal authority and are “friv-yoo-lous.” He said it again later in the meeting.

Leslie Ghiz played with her phone a lot and voiced concern about whether this was the right time to fund a streetcar system. As I understood her, she is not opposed to a streetcar, she is just opposed to voting for a streetcar. Then she left for about 20 min, came back for another 20 min, then got up and walked around back and forth, finally sat down again for a few more minutes and then left for good about halfway through the meeting.

Lately I’ve been describing Ghiz as the epitome of “phoning it in” and she couldn’t have done a better job of reinforcing that notion if she had a SIM card implanted in her head.

I think Wendell Young was there but I’m not sure, that might have been the furniture. Oh, yes, he was there… I remember he was playing with his tablet PC for a while. I could see the screen and it kind of looked like he was shopping for another tablet.

Wayne Lippert stated he was focused on the worst-case scenario of Detroit. He asked why the projections did not include a worst-case scenario. Dohoney answered that the projections were meant to be realistic, not worst-case. Lippert also voiced concern that the project may not get the full $25m in federal money. Lippert stated he previously worked in Congress and knew how this particular funding works.

What struck me most was what Lippert did NOT say. He did not say that he would do whatever he could to secure those funds. He did not say that he would be part of the solution. How nice would it be if we had elected officials who looked for solutions... who looked for ways to overcome obstacles, instead of just pointing them out... who are leaders and not just nattering nabobs of negativism?

And Lippert wasn’t the only one. His fellow newcomer, Amy Murray, did the same thing. She questioned the “stealing” of Banks TIF monies to use for building Phase I of the route which does not include the Banks (planned for Phase II). But she did not say she would do everything possible to make sure Phase II goes forward. No solutions. No leadership.

About halfway through, Quinlivan proposed that they proceed to the public comment portion of the meeting. THE EXORCIST was pissed off about this and called it a “stunt.” Oh, the irony. In any case, Quinlivan managed to shut off Winburn’s ego spigot and if I ever run into her, I’ll buy her a delicious lunch at Tacqueria Mercado, where I recently tried the tripe taco and thought it was pretty good.

The public comment had two notable aspects: First, the speakers were overwhelmingly in support of the streetcar. Given that this whole meeting was a Charlie Winburn joint and that he rounded up the crazies of WBDZ, NAACP and COAST and was still totally outnumbered (by 9 to 1, I understand), this has to be regarded as an epic FAIL.

Second, ALL the speakers who opposed the streetcar yelled into the mic and they ALL talked past their allotted time. Every one of them. One demanded an illegal transfer of funds and another got in a tussle with security.


(1) If Council's GOP faction spent as much time & energy solving problems as it does finding them, Cincinnati would benefit.

(2) There seems to be a direct correlation between the vehemence of one's opposition and (a) problems with anger management, and also (b) lack of factual knowledge.

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