Under Mark Mallory, the committee that made decisions about real estate and development related issues was called the Strategic Growth Committee. In November of 2013, these were the members of city council assigned to that committee:
When Mayor Cranley took over City Hall, the name of that committee was changed to Economic Growth & Infrastructure, with these members of Council assigned to spearhead those decisions:
Amy Murray (Ms. Murray is also the Council representative assigned to the Planning Commission.)
Readers: please note, I got this post right up to this point, then my interpretation gets off the absolute truth-track – and I had to post a correction. Click here for nothing but the truth according to reliable sources at City Hall after I started getting links to the City Charter from the mayor’s office.
By the time any piece of legislation reaches City Council for a full vote of all members, most decisions have already been made and it is a very rare occurrence when actual debate occurs that might lead to significant changes in committee recommendations – especially on complicated issues related to development that involve millions of public dollars of incentives. Every single vote on abatement and development deals that I have been able to identify for as far back as there are records, has been presented by the City Manager to Council as an Emergency Ordinance – which by its very definition precludes any conversation at all. – So we better love, love, love what Smitherman, Winburn, and Murray are agreeing to at a Committee level because that’s the end of that discussion.
Readers: please note that while the mayor can use his discretion as to which committee to use for legislation, abatement issues usually go before Budget & Finance, where all members serve. See my correction for all the facts as I know them now.
In a fantastic article that appeared in the Business Courier on October 28, 2011 reporter, Lucy May, explained how Emergency Ordinances work.
“Under Ohio law and the city of Cincinnati’s charter, an ordinance must have three readings before council votes on it, which means a standard ordinance would take an average of three weeks to work through the city’s legislative process.
But council often votes to waive those three readings, which it can do if a super-majority of three-fourths of the council votes in favor of that. Then it takes a two-thirds majority of council to consider an ordinance an emergency. By reducing the number of weeks a measure is considered, and eliminating the chance for a referendum, council effectively limits the voice of the citizens, [former city solicitor] Curp said. It’s not that the city breaks the law, he said. Council passes the laws legitimately, and the city requires the super-majorities.”
Readers: the above is ALL correct as it was borrowed from a professional journalist at a trustworthy publication with editors.
We have to get Council to stop rubber-stamping these decisions. This committee is always stacked to eliminate dissenting opinions no matter who is mayor and these big, expensive deals that we are going to live with for generations demand legitimate public debate.
Regardless of which committee does what, we still need to get Council to stop rubber-stamping real estate deals. No correction.