Email City Council NOW

Even though I was watching for the posting of the agenda for today’s Budget & Finance Committee, it never happened.  At least not as of Saturday night..

Here’s the message I just got from a trusted source:

Budget & Finance voting on giving $6 million to Oakley station to build a free garage that the developer will own at the end of a $1 per year lease. $0 in transit upgrades to the car-centric location.  Email or call council IMMEDIATELY telling them what you think about this.
Citycouncil@cincinnati-oh.gov

This is the email I sent:

Members of Council – as you vote on economic development issues, I ask you to stand-up for the democratic process.  Those of us who have tried to be a part of this conversation were ready for the late additions to the agenda.  But as of Saturday night they were never posted.  There wasn’t even time to contact our elected representatives before Monday’s vote in Budget & Finance.  The former city solicitor has informed me that this process is indeed legal.  But I don’t understand how it can be  – except that powerful people who benefit financially from these votes have been successful in changing the law so it works for them.  To give away these kind of tax-payer dollars with absolutely no possibility for public input is a travesty of what this country represents.

Beyond any specific vote, your primary responsibility is to uphold the democratic process.  Please do the job you were elected to do.
Kathy Holwadel
This is about so much more than one stupid garage. It’s about whether or not we really have a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
Please do whatever you can to make this vote as difficult as possible.
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7 thoughts on “Email City Council NOW

  1. Peter

    Thanks for keeping an eye–especially if it’s from Italy–on the agendas. I believe you let them off the hook by saying you “were ready for late additions to the agenda.” You are condoning the practice of late notices and no posting of agenda items or packets. It may very well be legal, but it’s not right in a democracy.

    Reply
    1. executivedreamer Post author

      You caught me, Peter. There’s some piece of me that must still believe I shouldn’t question authority figures. — But don’t worry, at 59-years-old, I’ve just about got it licked.

      Reply
  2. Thurman Wenzl

    Here’s the response I got from Cranley:
    Dear Mr. Wenzl:

    Thank you for writing me about the Oakley Station Parking Garage. I have received a few emails on this subject, and I’d like to take a moment to clear up some misconceptions about the project and share with you why I support it.

    Oakley Station is a 74-acre redevelopment of the former Milacron factory site in Oakley which is planned to contain 200 apartments, 250,000 square feet of office space, a movie theatre, and 350,000 square feet of retail space. The garage is a 383-space garage and will cost $6.2 million to construct. The developer, Vandercar Holdings, is contributing the land, valued at $700,000.
    The developer will have an option to purchase the garage from the City for the cost of construction, less depreciation. The developer will lease and manage the garage for 35 years and has the option to purchase the garage at the end of the 35-year term for $1, when it is fully depreciated.

    During the term of the lease, the developer will be responsible for all operating and maintenance costs. Construction of the garage will allow for additional office density at Oakley Station. The developer is proposing to construct 300,000 square feet of office space, which is an increase of 50,000 over the original development plan.

    I support this project for one big reason: It will create jobs and economic growth in Oakley.

    As you may know, I am a proponent of the City investing in all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods – not just a select few – and the Oakley Station Garage will do just that. According to an economic impact study done by the University of Cincinnati, development of the Anthem office building and parking garage will support 82 new jobs during construction, and Anthem employees will bring annual purchasing power of $4 million to area restaurants and retail. Through our agreement, Anthem must retain at least 400 jobs in the City with $15 million in payroll. Construction of the office building is expected to create 111 construction jobs with an annual payroll of $4 million during construction.

    Again, thank you for writing me about this important issue. I always enjoy hearing from thoughtful, engaged citizens like you. Please feel free to contact my office if I may ever be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,
    John Cranley
    Mayor, City of Cincinnati

    Reply
  3. executivedreamer Post author

    Isn’t that interesting? John Cranley wrote the exact same one to me, too. — Tomorrow’s post is my response. There are a few facts that need to be clarified. (Thanks for taking the time to write City Hall, Thurman. I really appreciate it.)

    Reply
  4. executivedreamer Post author

    Step 1: Stop the use of Emergency Ordinances on TIFs – Lawyers have tried suing. It failed. This needs to be a matter of relentless public pressure, the more outraged the better.

    Step 2: Implement Community Benefit Agreements as a prerequisite for any vote before Council on Tax Increment Financing related projects. (30+ years of tax abatement)

    This isn’t that hard to change, Peter. It isn’t poverty. The answers don’t require big dollars or anything super tricky. But we are up against an entrenched system of the most powerful men in Cincinnati. We need organization. We need commitment. We need a newly engaged electorate that never gives up. — We’ll do it. This will be a major issue in the council race in 2017.

    Wanna help?

    Reply

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