Information from the November 8, 2011 election from the Hamilton County Green Party as well as the Southwest Ohio Green PAC (Political Action Committee)

The following list is in the order it was on the Cincinnati ballots where either the Green Party or the Green PAC took a position: 

Cincinnati City Council: 

The Green endorsed candidate, Christopher Smitherman, was elected by finishing 8 out of 9 in an election where 7 of the 9 winners were Democrats. The only other non Democrat who won, Charles Winburn, often supported the Green Party positions on issues like opposition to the Streetcar proposal and the opposition to the trash tax. 

Here was our suggested course of action for the City Council election.There are 23 candidates (including an official write in) running for the 9 seats on Cincinnati City Council. Currently all 9 seats open up every 2 years and there is a 4 time in a row term limit. Technically this is a nonpartisan race, but many candidates carry political party endorsements. 

You are allowed to vote for 9, but since we were unable to pass proportional representation in the 2009 election, you are in effect voting against your favorite candidate if you vote for both your favorite candidate and your second favorite candidate. If your favorite candidate finishes in 10th place, one vote behind your second favorite candidate and you voted for 2 candidates, your 2nd vote (the one for your second choice) would have have knocked your first choice out of office. You should really only vote for as many candidates as you truly support, not for a whole slate with candidates you really like and some you see as just OK. The less votes you cast the more each one counts towards electing the candidate of your choice. To be effective, you should vote for at least one candidate. 

Both Ham Co Green Party & SWOHG PAC suggest that you cast your single vote for Christopher Smitherman. Mr. Smitherman is running as an independent but strongly supports the Green Party and what we support. He is very concerned about the long term financial stability of the City of Cincinnati and its citizens which is why he is opposed to the street car (48) and the possible trash tax (47). 

Mr. Smitherman believes the budget should be balanced without tricks and that the existing city employees deserve to be treated fairly and honestly and that the pension fund needs to remain viable. He has campaigned for the city to tax exercised stock options as a way to fairly tax the income of the most wealthy people who earn their income within the City of Cincinnati and believes that the property tax abatement program needs to be slowed down to preserve the city property tax base. He would like to see the Cincinnati Government Amnesty Program expanded to bring in more revenue and would work to stop the abuse of the TIFs which reduce funding to the general fund. To save money, he believes that the city must manage all department overtime in a centralized way as well as centralize all purchasing to manage inventory and lower costs. 

Ohio Constitutional Amendments: 

2 – Referendum on SB 5 – the law that would reduce union rights, both Ham Co Green Party & SWOHG PAC – suggest that Ohioans vote NO to reject SB5 The results were what the Green Party & PAC recommended. 

3 – This would remove the insurance mandate from the federal health care law.  The Yes votes won, the Green Party & PAC were not concerned about this result. Here is what we said before the election.Both Ham Co Green Party & SWOHG PAC suggest that people vote NO to reject amendment. We would prefer to see a federal reform that would allow all of us to join Medicare at any age and think that the current insurance mandate is a giveaway to insurance companies but think that repealing this provision in this way would reduce the chances of real health care reform. 

Cincinnati & Hamilton County levies: 

32 – Cincinnati Public Schools 7.95 mill new and permanent capital levy: Ham Co Green Party – has no position on this levy the SWOHG PAC – recommends that you vote NO The results were what the Green PAC recommended. Here is what the SWOHGPac said about this issue before the election:

This is a tricky issue, we never want to have to vote against the schools and so the Hamilton County Green Party chose to not take a position, but on the other hand, the SWOHG PAC is suggesting a no vote thinking this levy is not a good value for the money being asked. 

This levy would represent a permanent approximate 8% increase in city property taxes annually and forever of about $243 for a $100,000 property. This large an increase seems unreasonable in this economic climate where salaries are going down. The levy is supposed to raise $50 million for a student population of 33,000 or $1,515 per child. Currently Cincinnati rates number 5 in Hamilton County in per pupil expenditures and this increase would put them well ahead of all of the school districts in Hamilton County. We are not sure this increase in funding will benefit the students as much as it would cost their parents and the city residents without children. This money could only be used for capital expenditures such as computers and books that are supposed to last 5 years or more. This money cannot be used for salaries or to reduce class sizes. 

Cincinnati voters passed another capital levy a few years ago which was supposed to be used for this same purpose regarding updating the schools, but instead it was used for a very expensive building program in which schools that a more fiscally responsible district would have remodeled were torn down. Money that is used for purchasing computers and books is money leaving Cincinnati since there are no manufactures of either in this city and $1,515 per pupil seems excessive for books and computers each year. Saying NO on this is telling CPS to come back with a more fiscally responsible plan that we can support. 

37 – Health & Hospitalization

– Both Ham Co Green Party & SWOHG PAC – recommend YES vote The results were what the Green Party & PAC recommended. 

38 – Children’s Services

– – Both Ham Co Green Party & SWOHG PAC – recommend YES vote The results were what the Green Party & PAC recommended. 

44 – Electric Aggregation

– Ham Co Green Party – no position but SWOHG PAC – recommends NO

45 – Gas Aggregation

– Ham Co Green Party – no position but SWOHG PAC – recommends NO

The concerns SWOHGP has with the aggregation is that the City of Cincinnati has not clearly stated which department would be responsible for these negotiations and what the goals are for the program. The city could negotiate a favorable rate (or free like the water) for itself in exchange for making it the city preferred program and this lower cost would remove the economic incentive for energy conservation programs that reduce green house gasses and other emissions. The city had planned to get Duke to put the cost of moving the utilities for the proposed Streetcar on the Duke bills, but Duke refused; would a utility refuse a city a request like this under aggregation? The SWOHGPac is not opposed to the concept of aggregation, only to going forward with it without knowing what the rules will be. 

The results were not what the Green PAC hoped for. As an individual homeowner, to avoid being stuck in a gas or electric contract not of your choosing, you can sign up with the wind power option through Cincinnati Bell. You can also get your gas through Cincinnati Bell as well. Your bill would still be coming from Duke, but your gas and electric would be supplied through a third party. 

Cincinnati Charter Amendments: 

46 – Cincinnati campaign finance

– Ham Co Green Party – no position SWOHG PAC – recommends a YES vote

This proposal would get rid of the extra reporting requirements for the city campaign finance and just have the standard reporting requirements as for all other candidates through out the state. These extra Cincinnati City Council candidate requirements came as a result of the public financing program that was passed by the voters, but the funding was removed. This proposal was written with good intentions but it has a lot of problems and has not really delivered any measurable results except to confuse the PAC treasures as to what to report when.  The results were what the Green PAC recommended. 

47 – Trash Tax 

– – Both Ham Co Green Party & SWOHG PAC – recommend a YES vote to ensure that the City cannot put a rider on individuals water bill for trash pick up. This measure as proposed in 2010 would have been a one size fits all rider that would charge people the same whether they put out a gallon of trash or 100 gallons of trash and if not paid could cause a household to have their water shut off.  The results were what the Green Party & PAC recommended. 

48 – Street Car

– Both Ham Co Green Party & SWOHG PAC – recommend a YES vote to stop the Streetcar. 

The results were NOT what the Green Party & PAC recommended and as a result we are very concerned about the financial health of the City of Cincinnati if this unnecessary and very expensive project were built. We are likely to join in any efforts that continue to oppose this Boondoggle project.

Here is what we had to say about this before the election: This is not a measure about true light rail transportation, it was not written to be about light rail transit and the petition circulators were only interested in stopping the streetcar proposal. In spite of the fact that the supporters of the streetcar, including the normally credible League of Women Voters, keep trying to pretend this is about Light Rail, which it is not. The lawyer who drafted the petition (with Green Party and other input) has said that if 32 passes and a true light rail transportation project was able to be brought to the city, they would not sue under this measure. Please review the link on the WWW.SWOHGP.Org web page, on the Activities Page under the Action Needed link for more information and to see a copy of the original petition language. 

The federal government has allocated about $40 million for the Cincinnati proposal but this comes with the strings that successful or not the streetcar would need to be operated for the next 30 or so years. The conservative cost of the modified streetcar system was over $100 million, not including the moving of utilities which the city tried to put off on the Duke rate payers. The interest costs of paying the bonds back to building the streetcar could come out of the operating budget for the City of Cincinnati and therefore compete with police, fire, health care, recreation, parks and all city services and these bond costs and interest payments would need to be paid first. The most common reason for current U.S. city defaults is when the city undertakes a capital program that is too expensive and does not bring in the revenue expected as happened in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Currently the Cincinnati employee pension fund, the one that all city workers were forced to pay into from their paychecks, is in danger of not being able to deliver on its employee paid for retirement benefits due to the city not paying its promised share over the years. Cincinnati budget is on the edge and the Green Party is very concerned that this frivolous and very expensive streetcar program could lead to the city financial collapse and in this economic environment. We recommend a YES vote to stop this streetcar plan.

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