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thomasbw

Cincinnati Streetcar / Cincinnati Bell Connector News

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With the push to contact CEOs, has anyone tried contacting Jim Koch of Samuel Adams/Boston Beer Company? With the Sam Adams Brewery near the streetcar line, he is clearly a stakeholder. Appears that, despite his company carrying the Boston banner, he has some affection for his home town (and OTR). Having chosen Boston and lived there so long now, he likely has a strong sense of the benefits of public transit.

 

I tried looking for his email or social media profiles, to no avail. I emailed Mallory & Qualls, thinking they might have a way of reaching him. But I want to throw it out there for you people, too. He could potentially be a strong ally, and he's not chained down by any BS local political games which might silence locally-based CEOs.

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^Another possible avenue could be from Greg Hardman (owner of Christian Moerlein). Despite being competitors, I'm sure they have a relationship and they could possibly co-author an opinion piece in the enquirer or something.

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Dear Sir,

 

I dont  live in Cincinnati (Miamisburg, Ohio), but I believe that I love Cincinnati almost as much as you; and I want to see Cincy progress as much as you do. The streetcar project  is exciting, forward-looking and will encourage development along the route. It is only the beginning of, hopefully, a much longer system. I believe it will more than pay for itself, but for some reason it does not, it will in the long run benefit the city.

People who say it will not benefit them are somewhat short-sighted and selfish. Interstate I-74 may not benefit directly some who live in eastern Cincinnati, but this region would not be the same for many people and trucking companies who carry goods to Cincy from Indianapolis. AND we all pay indirectly for maintaining this interstate!

If the streetcar is cancelled the country will know that Cincinnati is still conservative                        - a city that cancelled a subway, and now a streetcar system a system that many cities are willing to take a reasonable risk in building a streetcar system. There will be in the future little if any chance of getting funds for future transportation projects.

Please rethink your position on the streetcar. Have the courage to change your mind!

                                                                                                        Best!

                                                                                                        Jack W. Geis

 

                                                                                                        jmgeis@woh.rr.com

 

SENT TO SITTENFELD

 

Jack - "Conservative" Is not a four letter word. There is nothing wrong with being conservative and in many areas it is a good thing. I consider myself a progressive conservative who is for the streetcar because I see a lot of value in it. I think it is good for the region and there are a lot of intangible benefits that stem from it. That being said, while I am in favor of it, this does not mean it gets a blank check. If costs rose to $500 million for phase 1, then I do not believe it is a great investment As of now, I think it is worth going forward and hope the project continues.    The other issue I take with your letter to Cranley is that while you may be a Stakeholder who is interested in the region, you are not a tax payer so really your opinion does not count as much as someone who has skin in the game. If Cranley were reading your letter, he would probably think that I don't really care what this guy thinks because he cant vote for me and pays no taxes toward the streetcar either. So while it is nice you are supportive of the streetcar, your letter will carry little weight since you have no skin in the game.   

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^^Add to that the owners of Rhinegeist, who are about as pro-OTR as they come. Maybe some sort of brewers' coalition could weigh in with support for this.

 

Awesome idea!

 

I know Greg Hardman and the Rhinegeist people are already very much on board with the streetcar cause.

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Look for Cranley streetcar vote soon after Dec. 1

 

Shortly after he’s sworn in Dec. 1, Mayor-elect John Cranley plans to call for a vote of council to pause the $133 million project while its financial implications are studied.

 

But does he have to have a vote? Jay Kincaid, Cranley’s campaign chief who’s moving to City Hall with him, said Monday they’d have to look into whether they technically needed a vote or if Cranley could just halt the work himself.

 

“But I think the plan is to have a vote to stop spending money.” Kincaid said, “so that there can be a full accounting of the project.”

 

Cont


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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The Case For Streetcars!

 

This graphic is making the rounds on the web today. Allow it to fully open and run through the entire sequence....

 

10934269404_74650c58cc_o.gif


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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WCPO News just reported that Cranley's December 3rd meeting in D.C. with transportation officials has been postponed due to scheduling conflicts on his side.


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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I did not send my e -mail to Cranley. I realize my comments don't carry much "weight,"  because I live 50 miles away in Dayton, but my arguments in favor of the streetcar still are valid. I never should have put my address in the e-mail.

BTW, I was using "conservative" in the old way of Cincinnati  being afraid to explore new ideas, and  with some lack of imagination, and with some risk. That is  no longer true of Cincinnati. 

 

Feel free to send your own e-mail to Council members!

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WCPO News just reported that Cranley's December 3rd meeting in D.C. with transportation officials has been postponed due to scheduling conflicts on his side.

 

He must have a meeting scheduled with GM, Firestone and Gulf that day.

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They look amazing in person. I really, REALLY hope we'll actually see them used.

 

Out of curiosity, do they plan on redoing all of the other pavers? Because the rest of Elm street is kind of a wreck. The new pavers are nice and flat and even and the other part of the road is lumpy, has random patches of tarmac, etc.

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Yeah, they're planning to redo the rest of the street. Originally we were told that the Elm St. tracks were going to be placed in tinted concrete, but there's no way that could have looked as good as this. 

 

>and seems to just fit in like it was always there in Cincinnati

 

As well as many of the well-done reconstructions of stone retaining walls (especially the W. Clifton wall) and the increased use of stone in medians like Central Parkway at 12th and Columbia Parkway near Delta Ave.

 

 

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Enquirer looking for more page clicks...

 

Streetcar alternative: Cranley likes the idea of a trolley bus

Hop On Cincinnati would save millions in startup costs; rail supporters aren't on board with the proposal

 

bilde?Site=AB&Date=20131119&Category=NEWS01&ArtNo=311190009&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Streetcar-alternative-Cranley-likes-idea-trolley-bus

 

If not the streetcar, then how about this: a rubber-tired “trolley” bus system that goes where the streetcar is planning to go – and well beyond for a fraction of the cost?

 

Mayor-elect John Cranley favors an idea called Hop On Cincinnati as an alternative to the controversial streetcar project he has promised to stop after taking over at City Hall next month.

 

Cranley plans to form a committee during his first 100 days in office to study the costs and benefits of Hop On Cincinnati – an idea hatched three years ago by friends and Downtown real estate professionals Gregg Fusaro and Tom Powers out of concern for the streetcar’s price tag.

 

Cont


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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I would really appreciate it if a group would do a DoS attack on the Enquirer and shut them down for a week. They are a worthless organization. I really want them to go out of business...

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A hop-on trolley is what a city does when it has a fear of commitment to transit. It's like having a friend with benefits. A streetcar is marriage.


"Your community is your commodity, my commodity & everyone's commodity." -- borrowing on silly slogans in Cleveland's Ohio City

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^The real question is why does the anti-streetcar crowd want a bus circulator that they themselves costs as much to operate as the streetcar?  If your main argument against the streetcar is that no one will ride it, why do you honestly believe anyone will ride this?  If your response is that this goes to more places, how do you respond to the fact that the streetcar's route would have gone to more places had Kasich not pulled discretionary Ohio funds from it, violating the standards by which those funds were to be allocated?

 

Oh course, the answer to all this is that these folks aren't interested in anything except killing rail transit.  You search in vain for honesty in their professed reasons.

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PG's 9 Streetcar Determining Questions (supposedly asked to and answered by JDeatrick this morning):

 

Are the federal funds fungible/transferrable?

1) To date, what are the separate buckets of already spent money?

2) What would be the concrete steps - legal, logistical, legislative, etc -  for scrapping the project? And what are the most up-to-date projections for close-out costs if the project were canceled?

3) What's the best guess of what law suits would ensue if the  project were scrapped, and how they would play out over what time line?

4) What are the separate buckets of remaining expenses, and what are the specified sources for funding those expenses?

5) What is the most up-to-date projection for annual operating expenses  (based on what assumption of ridership, ticket prices, etc.)

6) Are there any numbers for how much money a Special Improvement District (self-taxing zone around streetcar) could raise for the project?

7) What efforts, led by whom and when, have there been to engage the private sector, and with what results?

8) What are the costs per month to delay the project, and please break down exactly how/where that number comes from? (Regarding Question 8, it seems Feds might see any delay as grounds for asking for their $ back).

9) Aside from economic develop projections for private investment, are there numbers for how much increased revenue from the increased development would end up in city coffers (add'l property taxes; earnings taxes from new jobs created, etc)?

 

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I think all of PG's questions are great and fair. And, in fact, I feel that the responses will be in the supporters' favors.

 

Can't wait to hear/read the answers and PG's analysis.

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I'm glad PG is seriously looking into this. If he changes his mind to support continuation, I think he has the ability to influence Flynn and Mann. The biggest thing I think we can do is to pressure those three into agreeing to continue the project and have them take the lead on crafting a sustainable operating source/plan to prevent it from affecting the general operating funds. They might see this as a chance to score political points with pro and anti streetcar crowds at the same time.

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8. What are the costs per month to delay the project, and please break down exactly how/where that number comes from? (Regarding Question 8, it seems Feds might see any delay as grounds for asking for their $ back).

 

 

That is a question that I would hope every single council member would ask before voting to pause construction and reconsider. Even Winburn, Slitherman, and Murray should want to know that. I would imagine the "standby" costs are over $10,000 a day, if not $15,000.  Council would be wasting almost as much as the average Cincinnatians annual income every day they halt construction to “reconsider.”  I don't know how anyone could think the streetcar is a waste of money but that isn't.

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I've never voted for PG, but I at least give him credit for at least giving this decision serious consideration rather than just automatically be against it (a la Winburn, Smitherman, etc.).

 

I do agree that PG is the key piece in holding this project together.  Each council member is welcome to form their own decision, but hopefully each member will consider the response to each of these questions before voting yes/no.

 

 

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8. What are the costs per month to delay the project, and please break down exactly how/where that number comes from? (Regarding Question 8, it seems Feds might see any delay as grounds for asking for their $ back).

 

 

That is a question that I would hope every single council member would ask before voting to pause construction and reconsider. Even Winburn, Slitherman, and Murray should want to know that. I would imagine the "standby" costs are over $10,000 a day, if not $15,000.  Council would be wasting almost as much as the average Cincinnatians annual income every day they halt construction to “reconsider.”  I don't know how anyone could think the streetcar is a waste of money but that isn't.

 

This is a very good question.  And the thing is, it's not like the companies (M-P-D and their subs) are just going to have their employees that are currently working on this project sit on the sidelines until this thing plays out.  Each company is going to have to move these employees to other jobs, and depending on how long a delay drags out, it's going to become a burden to remove that employee from their relocated job to come back onto the streetcar project.  If I'm one of M-P-D's subs, you can darn well bet I'm going to be asking for additional fees to compensate me for the inefficiencies of having to re-assign employees to other projects and then back.  And for any of you familiar with the construction business, in change order situations like this, all power is in the hands of the contractor, and the city should brace themselves for getting the raw end of this deal.

 

And the same goes for the steel makers and other vendors.  If you're the steel fabricator and you've planned on "X" hours per week for the next 18 months of steel fabrication for this project, it if goes on hold, the steel fabricator is going to have to find other work to fill the void.  If this project is delayed by 4-6 weeks and then re-started, good luck trying to get the steel fabricator back on sale (or else be prepared to pay $$$ to cover their overtime). 

 

 

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6) Are there any numbers for how much money a Special Improvement District (self-taxing zone around streetcar) could raise for the project?

 

This question is the most interesting, simply because if it is possible for a Special Improvement District to be implemented around the streetcar route it should be done regardless.  I thought that a TIF worked in the way that you are able to get present value out of present input based on expected future value, so perhaps this would be the same thing.  But, if it is possible, there should be a locally assessed property tax along the route which is gradiated by proximity $x for properties adjacent to the line; $y for properties one block away; $z for properties 2 blocks away, for example.

 

The streetcar project should go forward because the funding is already in place and the ROI is good (the same reasons it has always been a good project).  But it would be an even better project if the operating costs were met by those who were most likely to benefit from it, and a specific levy on land that will benefit from it would be the most efficient and fairest means to do it.  If they could get it to meet the projected cost of operations, that would be perfect.  It wouldn't settle the concerns of the antis who hate the project for secret reasons, but it would be the best way to cover the operating expenses.

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I've never voted for PG, but I at least give him credit for at least giving this decision serious consideration rather than just automatically be against it (a la Winburn, Smitherman, etc.).

 

I do agree that PG is the key piece in holding this project together.  Each council member is welcome to form their own decision, but hopefully each member will consider the response to each of these questions before voting yes/no.

 

 

 

I'm in agreement with this^

 

I think If PG can show the leadership here to get Flynn and Mann on board with continuing the project. this will allow Cranley to save face, and honestly will make me a huge PG supporter going forward with what ever he plans to do Politically. 

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I did not send my e -mail to Cranley. I realize my comments don't carry much "weight,"  because I live 50 miles away in Dayton, but my arguments in favor of the streetcar still are valid. I never should have put my address in the e-mail.

BTW, I was using "conservative" in the old way of Cincinnati  being afraid to explore new ideas, and  with some lack of imagination, and with some risk. That is  no longer true of Cincinnati. 

 

Feel free to send your own e-mail to Council members!

 

I do admire your ambition. I don't live in the city anymore either though, so my thoughts do not carry as much weight

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Also I don't believe Cincinnati has a recall procedure for mayor or council. They can only be ousted for ethics, through the next election, or voluntarily I believe.

 

Not Cincinnati, the State of Ohio:

 

codes.ohio.gov/orc/705.92

 

"705.92 Procedure for removal of elective officer by recall.

 

Any elective officer of a municipal corporation may be removed from office by the qualified voters of such municipal corporation. The procedure to effect such removal shall be:

 

(A) A petition signed by qualified electors equal in number to at least fifteen per cent of the total votes cast at the most recent regular municipal election, and demanding the election of a successor to the person sought to be removed, shall be filed with the board of elections. Such petition shall contain a general statement in not more than two hundred words of the grounds upon which the removal of such person is sought. The form, sufficiency, and regularity of any such petition shall be determined as provided in the general election laws."

 

 

Given the dismal turnout on 11/05, signatures totaling 15% of the votes cast should be attainable.

 

Since we are a Charter government this section does not apply.

 

Source: http://www.leagle.com/decision/197633745OhioSt2d292_1280

If it's not in the charter then the statutory procedure alone is insufficient.

 

So, I took the time to read the entire City Charter last night...:

 

http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/council/references-resources/

 

Section 3 of Article III (pages 15 and 16) has several paragraphs that begin with "In the event of the death, removal or resignation of the mayor", so clearly removal is a possibility, although no specific mechanism is defined for doing so.

 

I'm no lawyer, but this implies to me that the procedure specified by the State of Ohio is what is being referred to.  Can anyone with a legal background weigh in on this?  If this is true, we may be be to start procedures for a recall based on damage done to the city by the new mayor.  If this is not true, we can start with a petition to update the charter to include a recall mechanism.  Either of these approaches should catch the mayor-elect's attention.

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So, I took the time to read the entire City Charter last night...:

 

http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/council/references-resources/

 

Section 3 of Article III (pages 15 and 16) has several paragraphs that begin with "In the event of the death, removal or resignation of the mayor", so clearly removal is a possibility, although no specific mechanism is defined for doing so.

 

I'm no lawyer, but this implies to me that the procedure specified by the State of Ohio is what is being referred to.  Can anyone with a legal background weigh in on this?  If this is true, we may be be to start procedures for a recall based on damage done to the city by the new mayor.  If this is not true, we can start with a petition to update the charter to include a recall mechanism.  Either of these approaches should catch the mayor-elect's attention.

 

That seems to leave a window, although I'm not a lawyer either. If that doesn't work, it should be pretty easy to pass a petition to allow the state recall rules to apply to Cincinnati's elected officials, in light of the Rob Ford/Toronto situation.

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