“unity assists”

a city of immigrants, veterans and

abolitionists

sitting quietly on the bank of

the ohio,

in ohio,

with gridded streets and hills on guard –

first step to freedom or work

and the promises of new life

for those who came

from

the farms –

ravaged by war, then floods,

and dry taps

in the ’20s –

prevailing;

with a flag screaming,

“unity assists!’

and icons of commerce, wisdom, justice

& water –

the city, today,

booms with commerce

led by those

with entrepreneurial hearts;

justice

led by those unafraid of bigotry & fear;

wisdom

led by those with courage to do what is

right

in the face of misinformation and

reactionary ideologies –

the city is no longer quiet –

the city screams, as it did in the past,

“unity assists!”

screams for its neighbors to get what they deserve;

screams for progress to build its reach;

screams for the room to be what it can –

the city was once called a “queen” by a poet

much more esteemed

than me,

just a casual visitor along its sleepy bank –

i visited and stayed and call this city

“home” –

‘and this street called vine –

this city of mine –

the business & the progress shall deliver –

to the queen of the west –

in her future dressed –

on the banks of the beautiful river’ –

with apologies to longfellow –

and love to those who bellow –

for those who feel we missed,

our calling of

“unity assists” –

it is for you who the veterans fought

for you why the immigrants sought

brighter shores

and for you who the abolitionists taught,

jeopardizing their lives at lane seminary

to do what’s right –

there is a history here on this noisy bank,

a history and a guide

showing us

the traditions of who we are and what we are called

to be –

uncover your ears!

open your eyes!

it’s here!  it’s time!  it’s now!

we, too, will be remembered –

not for what we thought, but for what we did

& who we were –

i want to be remembered for

caring

trying

doing;

for

“unity assists”

 

The “S” Word

When people approach me to talk about the campaign, they immediately go to one of two topics – parking, or the “S” word.

I feel that I have made my stance on the parking lease perfectly clear, so here’s my two cents on the “S” word.

Yes, I am of course talking about the Streetcar.

It amazes me that people get so angry about the Streetcar, but not nearly as angry about our city’s terrible childhood poverty rate, or the fact that attorneys can sue our city on “behalf” of taxpayers & make millions off of it with no kickback FOR the taxpayers, or the fact that spousal abuse is a simple misdemeanor and possession of a joint is a FOURTH degree misdemeanor.  But I digress.  Like it or not, I must accept that the Streetcar makes people angry.  Or happy.  No in between.

The Streetcar doesn’t make me angry OR happy.  That is because well-funded public education makes me happy, lower recidivism rates make me happy, time matching the crime makes me happy, and effective utilization of resources makes me happy.  As I have said before on this site, I have to choose my battles.

The Streetcar is not a battle for me.  However, the revenue that will come to our city as a RESULT of the Streetcar IS a battle for me.  And Streetcars are proven to raise revenue for cities.

Young professionals are moving back into cities.  Cincinnati was recently ranked in Forbes Magazine’s “Top 15 US Cities’ Emerging Downtowns.”  Young professionals are moving into Cincinnati with a vengeance.  One thing young professionals want in a city?  Public transit.  The ability to get around without a car.

The Streetcar is an INVESTMENT in our future.  No one invests in an emerging market expecting to earn a 17% return the next day.  If you do, then chances are you are not investing wisely.  The Streetcar is Step 1 of an entire process to connect our city core.  True, this initial phase does not go all the way to Clifton – which many naysayers use as a reason to say the Streetcar is pointless – but these naysayers may remember that the ORIGINAL plan DID extend up to Clifton and that plan got shot down.  So, we are where we are and we have to begin somewhere.

Many other people say that we should invest in light rail instead.  I say we begin with the Streetcar and strategically develop a plan to not only add to the Streetcar tracks, but to invest in light rail as well.  The problem?  John Kasich has said “no way” to light rail.  If you are a proponent of light rail, and are dissatisfied that Cincinnati doesn’t have plans for it, please send Governor Kasich a note here.

A few “fun facts” before we go any further.

1)  Cincinnati garners 70% of its city revenue from income tax.

2)  91% of other cities actualize that same percentage of their revenue stream from property tax.

Make sense?  If it does, then it should be clear that for our city to maintain a constant source of revenue, then it needs to attract JOBS and BUSINESS.  The Streetcar is not the sole answer, but it IS part of the solution.

Streetcars boost small business development.  That’s another fun fact.  Streetcars also cost lots of money.  That is a not-so-fun-fact.  That said, anything worth investing in takes some upfront capital to get moving.  The Streetcar may very well be the best example of this in our city’s modern history.

So – to recap – young professionals want to live in cities with numerous options for public transit – young professionals bring money and entrepreneurship to cities – the Streetcar is proven to catalyze business development – employees of businesses in Downtown Cincinnati pay a 2.1% income tax – Cincinnati’s major form of revenue comes from income tax.  Streetcar + business development/retention = more money for the city government to invest in its neighborhoods, further asset development, and a sustainable future for our children.

The “S” Word becomes “success” in this context.

I will repeat, I do NOT believe that the Streetcar is the answer to all of the city’s problems.  In fact, I don’t think anyone does.  If they do, they are as wrong as folks who think that the Streetcar is a bad investment.  The fact is that cities, like families, need money to survive.  It would be great if they didn’t, but they do.  And cities, like families, have to invest wisely.  The Streetcar is a wise investment and has been thoroughly researched.  Here is a link to one such piece that Laure Quinlivan made after much research and numerous trips around the globe to investigate the Streetcar’s viability.

The Streetcar will help Cincinnati move forward.  The excitement is tangible downtown, and for some reason that seems to threaten many who do not want change.  Well, if we are to be good stewards of the future for our children living in poverty, then we better hurry up and find ways to fill our coffers so that we can get busy doing the work that truly matters – neighborhood development, education reform, and lowering our city’s rate of recidivism.  There is one thing that helps accomplish ALL of those goals – The “J” Word.

Jobs.

Streetcars promote job development.  It’s a step in the right direction.

Time to look forward.

Open Mike Night

There has been a lot of talk recently on Twitter, Facebook, and this website regarding “Open Mike Nights.”  So, what are they?

Open Mike Nights are fun and free ways to meet me, ask me questions, be heard, and get to know more about my platform.  They are NOT fundraisers.  They are NOT political rallies.  The are NOT stump speeches.  No, they are one hour opportunities to come out to some awesome places and chat.  For me, they are opportunities to learn and listen (two of my favorite things to do).

Open Mike Nights will be held at locally owned and operated small businesses and nonprofits.  I feel that these two types of establishments not only reflect who I am as a person and my entire professional career, but that they are the KEY to stabilizing our city’s economic and cultural future.  As many of you who read this site know, I am in the process of developing a small business/nonprofit subcommittee for City Hall.  Once elected, I will launch this subcommittee and bring our nonprofit and small business leaders to the table regarding significant policy and economic decisions.  I have managed these kinds of relationships on a smaller scale through my work at Choices Cafe, the Drop Inn Center, and WordPlay Cincy, but it is time to bring these voices to Plum Street.

I am blessed to be working on my small business/nonprofit subcommittee proposal with Roxanne Spillett, former CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  I am also blessed to have so many relationships with those who own small businesses and those who run nonprofits.  They are serving as my true guide as I develop my proposal.

So far, the following Open Mike Nights have been confirmed:

March 29th at Park + Vine – 6 to 7 pm (Final Friday!)

April 5th at The Sanctuary at Lower Price Hill Community School – 5:30 to 6:30 pm

April 17th at Aquarius Star/Om Cafe – 5:30 to 6:30 pm

April 25th at Milton’s (upper room) – 6 to 7 pm

April 26th at WordPlay Cincy – 5:30 to 6:30 pm

May 3rd at The Banks (in the Club Room) – 6 to 7 pm

Dana Gardens (TBA)

Gaslight Cafe (TBA)

The best part about Open Mike Nights?  You get to visit our city’s coolest and best nonprofits, shops, bars, and restaurants.  I look forward to meeting all of you soon!

Tidal Wave

Wow.

The Campaign Kickoff was such a HUGE success. It was so overwhelming to be surrounded by so many excellent people who support our campaign. Family & Friends abounded, volunteers were certainly not in short supply, and the community came out in FORCE to support what is shaping up to be quite a tidal wave in this year’s campaign season.

When we started out, I was told how difficult it would be to get the Democratic Endorsement. I realized that I was flooding an already large group of non-incumbents seeking the democratic endorsement. I realized that I was a last minute addition and seen, in many ways, as a “dark horse.” I realized that I may very well not get the endorsement. I do not feel that way anymore. I sincerely believe that I will win, and so does my team. Furthermore, I feel people are beginning to realize that our campaign is not some fly-by-night, spur-of-the-moment organization. They are beginning to realize that there is a community of support behind us. We may not have as much money as other candidates, but our relationships are deep, and $30 from a former student who is a freshman at Purcell Marian means the world to me and shows a kind of love that is lost in today’s political arena.

At the kickoff we had Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We had representatives from Councilmembers Seelbach & Young’s office. Yvette Simpson came out to show her support and love. Representatives from Lower Price Hill Community School, WordPlay, the Drop Inn Center, The Respite Center (including the former President of the National Healthcare for the Homeless Board), Park + Vine, Neyer Properties, Orange Leaf, Starfire U, and many others came out on March 20th to encourage our “Voice for the Voiceless” campaign. Even seniors from Purcell Marian’s Marianist Urban Students Program showed up to support their former Dean. It was beautiful.

And, of course, I was introduced as a candidate by my brother, Mike Rogers, and my mentor, Laure Quinlivan. Mike & Laure – while from very different walks of life – both spoke to my character and willingness to work hard for those who many have forgotten, with no expectation of reward. Mike has taught me to always be myself, no matter what – to always stand up for what is right, even when others are against me. Laure has taught me to stand by my convictions and make difficult decisions even if it jeopardizes election or re-election. I could not have asked for two better people to stand by my side at the podium that evening than Mike & Laure.

One of the most fun and humbling parts of the evening was when Alexis Gregory (granddaughter of “The Ribs King,” ted Gregory, and proprietor at The Montgomery Inn Boathouse) asked if Katie and I would sign one of my “Moroski” Reds jerseys so that they could hang it in the “Hope Room.”

All of this is to say that I am so grateful for all of the support. It is also to say that it is clear to me that people are ready for a fresh face in politics. Many excellent candidates bring political clout to this year’s race. I bring relational clout. I bring connections to those we have left behind AND those who make the big decisions in our city. I bring a network of people in the Team Moroski camp whose relationships extend far and wide. I bring years of trust and leadership. Most significantly, I bring integrity and the courage to do what’s right.

It is time to take a stand on behalf of all of us on the local level. It is time to let the State know that Cincinnati is strong and helping to carry Ohio forward. It is time to bring our locally owned & operated small business and nonprofit leaders to the table to help guide us on our journey of becoming the nation’s FIRST truly mixed income reality. It is time, and I am the person to serve as the catalyst and leader.

“I love people.” That is the very first thing I ever wrote for this website many, many months ago. I love people so much that the love keeps me up at night thinking of better, more effective ways to spread the love economically, systematically and programmatically to those in our city core & outlying neighborhoods. I love people so much that I cry when I see injustice of even the smallest kind. I love people so much that I am willing to jeopardize my own “things” to see to it that others thrive. I have shown this time and time again, and I will show it in a big way once I am sitting in a seat on Plum Street.

As I’ve said on this site – “don’t take it from me” – ask around – get to know me – attend an Open Mike Night – do a “Google” search – contact me through this website. I take this political thing very seriously. I take decision-making that impacts others very seriously. I take earning the respect of the voting populous very seriously – not so I can simply win, but so I earn a position that will afford me the opportunity to enable OTHERS to win through courageous policy changes.

The kickoff was just the beginning. Now the long road to November begins. Stay tuned to our “Events” page for details on Open Mike Nights, house parties, fundraisers, and the soon to be unveiled VIP Rock Star Reds Game in The Pilot House at Great American Ballpark.

I WILL change things to ensure our future viability as one of the nation’s most attractive, mixed-income cities in which to live. Watch closely, you wouldn’t want to miss it.