The heart of my platform, as was the heart of every lesson plan or decision I ever made, is relationships. The heart of my platform is creating environments where all may achieve their true potential. The heart of my platform is written on our city’s flag, Juncta Juvant – “Unity Assists.”
The issues on which I will focus throughout my campaign and fight for once I am voted into a Council seat are:
1. The city’s failing pensions and how to rectify the situation. By 2016 the unfunded liability stands to be $1 billion. When I am elected to City Council, I will propose that we float a bond issue up to $1 billion for 30 years. I will propose that we need to buy out the unfunded liability and switch the city’s pension plan to a defined contribution plan, as opposed to the defined benefits plan that has landed us, and many of America’s largest cities, in this mess.
2. Tax incentives for the city’s big businesses. Procter & Gambles does not have to remain in the city, and all too often we read about how Cincinnati is “not a good place to do business.” We all know that is not true, but our city’s big businesses need a reason to stay here as their presence helps all of us, especially the low-income population, achieve our goals. With better tax incentives, and stronger corporate social responsibility networks, our city could become a model for the rest of our nation’s cities. We are primed for this kind of initiative as we already have very large corporations headquartered right in our city’s core. Furthermore, I would like to see Cincinnati follow New York City’s lead and implement a Social Impact Bonds initiative. We would be the second city in the United States with such a program. Read about the NYC/Goldman Sach’s program here. I have studied Social Impact Bonds at the University of Notre Dame before they came to the USA, and I have the knowledge and management skills to see to it that they would help make Cincinnati better.
3. Education reform. Again, a wider and more attractive tax base for big business will allow us to provide CPS with the funding that they need to help our city’s youth, our future, thrive (again, funds from the parking lease could be used for this initiative). Governor Kasich’s current plan does not allocate appropriate funding for our underserved schools – unlike what he would like us to believe.
4. Lastly – I would like to see better management of our not for profit sector. I would like to see more streamlined and effective services provided to those who need them. We have close to 800 + not for profits in the Greater Cincinnati Area, most of which do excellent work, but there are too many fiefdoms, and, as a result, those who truly need the services never actually receive them – or, if they do, they are subpar.
This is a very brief introduction to the broad issues that I feel need to be addressed to take Cincinnati well into a financially stable and vibrant future.
Regarding the streetcar (which is not a platform issue for me). . . .I support it. I always have, and I always will. The streetcar will help develop Cincinnati’s core and connect it, over time, to its outlying neighborhoods. We are so blessed to have so many unique neighborhoods in Cincinnati – and for them to thrive, the downtown core must be strong. Money from added business revenue in downtown Cincinnati along the streetcar route, combined with that of the parking lease, will allow us on Council to provide for the outlying neighborhoods so that they, too, will experience growth, economic prosperity and community.
Lastly – I propose the creation of a Small Business/Social Service subcommittee on City Council. The development in Over-the-Rhine has brought a new clientele to the area, while dozens of the area’s social services still thrive – all within blocks of one another. It is possible for both of these demographics to coexist, but, to do so, they must collaborate – in so doing; Cincinnati has the potential to become a true model of mixed-income capability for the entire nation. This is something I have fought for and managed on a small scale through Choices Café, WordPlay Cincy and the Drop Inn Center. When I am voted onto City Council, I will bring these small business/social service partners together in a subcommittee that will have a direct line to City Hall. I will also form a Homeless/Low-Income subcommittee similar to the Homeless Congress at the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. This subcommittee will not consist of service providers, but of service receivers. It is time the voiceless truly had a voice.
I look forward to seeing you on the Campaign Trail and talking with you to see what YOU feel is important. I happily await the day when I have the great fortune of representing you on Cincinnati City Council.