The Enquirer: Charter Committee Endorses Full Slate of 9 for City Council
Matt Woods, Opinion Contributor, March 24, 2021
This year, for the first time in decades, the Charter Committee has endorsed a full slate of nine candidates for Cincinnati City Council. We’ve taken this extraordinary step because we believe this is an extraordinary moment in the history of Cincinnati, one that we believe calls for an accomplished team who can restore ethics, competence and good government to City Hall.
For those who are unaware of Charter’s roots, we were founded nearly a century ago in response to the widespread corruption of the Boss Cox era in city government. Citizens who demanded more from elected officials succeeded in creating a series of momentous changes, and soon Cincinnati was transformed from one of the most corrupt cities in the U.S. to one of the best governed.
Charter believes we stand at a similar crossroads today. Residents and business owners have lost faith in the promise of a city government focused on serving its citizens. They believe that elected officials can be bought, that city functions favor some people over others, that machine politics do not benefit them or their neighborhoods.
Once again, we believe the Charter values of accountability, transparency, equity, fiscal responsibility and independence are the answer to the current crisis. And we believe this can best be accomplished through a team of candidates who may differ on policy but share these values. That’s why our slate of endorsed candidates, who represent a true diversity of experience, backgrounds, communities and political beliefs, are so well-suited to lead the city at this time.
Our call for a return to good governance was met with an overwhelming response, and from a wide pool of potential candidates we chose nine who we believe can work together to accomplish great things. Two of our endorsed candidates serve on City Council now; two are former members; one is a former Hamilton County commissioner; and four have been active on their local neighborhood councils. The group includes Charterites, Democrats, Republicans, and an independent.
Working with our slate of candidates, Charter plans to return to the principles of good government; reform processes that have damaged transparency and accountability; and renew our city by empowering neighborhoods, promoting regional cooperation and modernizing safety services.
It has been a difficult year for those of us who love this city, but out of great difficulties come opportunities. We believe voters have an opportunity this November to once again make Cincinnati the best governed city in the country – by electing a team of nine Charter candidates who will govern in the public’s interest instead of their own.
Matt Woods is president of the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati. Founded in 1924, the Charter Committee is an independent political organization dedicated to good government.
Galen G. Gordon
MAY PRIMARY BALLOT HAS THREE CHARTER AMENDMENTS
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund Charter amendment, if passed, will require the City to put $50M/year into the existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The Trust Fund was established by City Council in December 2018, but no permanent funding source was established. The amendment, sponsored by Cincinnatians for Affordable Housing, Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition will require the use of general operating funds but not allow for a special tax levy to meet the requirement. The Charter Committee opposes this amendment. Read more.
The remaining two charter amendments will establish procedures to suspend a Councilmember charged with a felony if that member does not first resign. Councilmember Sundermann’s amendment would require a vote of seven members of Council to suspend with pay at time of indictment, and/or if convicted, a vote of five to remove from Council. Vice Mayor Smitherman’s proposal will require the hiring of a Special Prosecutor to look into removal of a Councilmember charged with a felony. The Charter Committee supports both of these issues.