"The referendum petition for Hamilton County, Ohio is the check and balance in a democratic society."
Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP
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Request Volunteer Kit

Questions About the Campaign?
Including All Media Inquires contact:
Mark Miller, Chairman
513-617-2263
Treasurer@GoCoast.org

Mail Completed Petitions or request materials from::
WeDemandAVote.com 
c/o  Dan Regenold
225 Northland Blvd
Cincinnati, OH  45246
513-544-9014
dregenold@wedemandavote.com


The Citizens of Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati, Ohio
Thank You for your help!



Errors and Omissions
We want everything on this web site to be accurate. If you see something on wedemandavote.com that

**NEW**Toledo Red Lights
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Cincinnati Red Lights
Archive Click Here

Hamilton County
Issue 27
Archive Click Here

Why the Charter Amendment?
Watch Mark Miller's YouTube Video
on the Subject. Click Below:

Mark Miller - Charter Amendment VideoMark Miller - Charter Amendment Video


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We Demand Partners submit
Petitions to City of Cincinnati
to place Trolley measure on Ballot. 

On August 3, 2009 we formally issued our demand for a vote on passenger rail transportation to Cincinnati City Council. Hundreds of petition forms containing 11,530 signatures were officially transmitted to the Clerk of Council, who will have them verified according to the statutory procedure, eventually causing the anti-boondoggle charter amendment to be placed on the November 3rd ballot.

The entire WeDemandAVote.com coalition, comprised of the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP, COAST, Southwestern Ohio Green Party, and Cincinnati Libertarian Party, would like to thank the many volunteers who circulated the petition.

We would especially like to thank the thousands of citizens who participated in the democratic process by either signing our petition, or by listening with open minds to the merits of our case. Widespread common sense and vigorous debate leave us more convinced than ever that voters should decide passenger rail transportation matters, not politicians.

A few notes from the field:
  • We expected to find more support in far-flung neighborhoods than along the planned route. Neighborhood anger at the ridiculous trolley plan was as expected, but we were pleasantly surprised at how productive signature gathering efforts were at Findlay Market and Fountain Square. City leaders noticed too, and forced us to sue them in Federal Court to halt their harassment. 1st amendment wins again.

  • Some of COAST's LGBT members had been telling us how prevalent fiscal conservatism is among their community, so we made a concerted effort to saturate the Pride Parade and Northside 4th of July Parade. We certainly weren't disappointed. These two events out-produced many church festivals. We had no luck recruiting LGBT leaders to "come out" in support of our cause, but community members were some of the most knowledgeable and budget-savvy voters we encountered. Thanks, let's find more ways to work together.

  • Special thanks goes out to Councilmember Roxanne Qualls. Her insistence that uptown be included on the route introduced tremendous uncertainty into the proposal. City planners scrambled to figure out how, and indeed if they could get up the hill, and struggled with a near-doubling of the cost. All of that gave us the time we needed to conduct a rather relaxed signature drive. If not for that, the streetcar might be underway by now.

  • The biggest boon to petition production, however, was Mayor Mallory. His mishandling of the budget, frequent junkets, and utter obliviousness to the plight of the beleaguered taxpayer engendered a rage among the electorate that had people yanking petitions out of our hands to sign them.

Today the campaign also enters the second phase. Now we have an opponent. Cincinnatians for Progress will try to convince voters to trust city leaders to do their thinking for them. They'll ridicule the act of voting. And in their heart of hearts, they'll be thinking, "These rubes aren't smart enough to decide whether this is a good plan." The CFP message reflects the attitude of the current administration. To them, "progress" is condescending contempt for voters.

This November, voters will say, "right back at you."
Submitted by Mark Miller, WeDemand Event Chairman
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     Trolley Folly
          
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WHY THE TROLLEY SHOULD BE OPPOSED
         This project is opposed by the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, Hamilton County Business Owners, and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes. These groups form the WeDemandAVote.com coalition and are gathering signatures on an initiative petition to require voter approval prior to spending taxpayer dollars on rolling stock or right-of-way acquisition. However city officials continue to force this project down citizens' throats despite widespread public opposition.

         100% of the area proposed for streetcar coverage is presently served by taxpayer subsidized municipal buses. In fact, most of the proposed streetcar route directly overlaps existing bus routes, further congesting downtown streets. No plans for integration between bus and streetcar systems have been proposed.

         The route conspicuously avoids vast sections of the urban core, providing poor transportation coverage. Proponents tout the economic development potential of streetcars in other cities, but have confined the proposed route solely to portions of the urban core that are already fully developed. This plan is not "shovel-ready" because the route needs to be reworked in order to provide full transportation coverage, and full economic development coverage before it can be viable.

         Costs for the project (capital and operating) will be shouldered by all 330,000+ city residents. But the project will only serve perhaps 20,000 citizens in the urban core. Excitement among the few beneficiaries of the system is, of course, very high. However loathing for this latest political boondoggle is even greater among the much larger number of taxpayers who receive no benefit from it at all.

         Tax increment financing is well established in the project area, but provides minimal funding, due to poor route selection explained above. This is the primary source of the vast disparity between payers and beneficiaries. Proper route selection would allow most project costs to be paid for out of real property appreciation in the area served, the residents of which are also the primary beneficiaries. The current proposal cannibalizes existing infrastructure budgets in non-served areas.

         It's estimated that 40 permanent jobs will be created as part of the streetcar program. They include 15 drivers for the seven planned cars, 10 maintenance workers, 5 managers, and 10 office and clerical staff. That's about $4.5 million per job for a $183 million capital project.

         This project requires another year of public hearings and reengineering before it will be a viable infrastructure project, therefore it is not "shovel-ready." This project is confined to a tiny portion of the Cincinnati metropolitan area which is already fully developed, so the stimulus effect will be negligible. Long term jobs created by this project are far too costly to justify. Therefore, this project is not suitable for inclusion in the pending stimulus bill.

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This is a YouTube Video.
This Video is not associated with
WeDemandAVote.com
Click Here


Photo Enforcement Defeated at the Ballot Box in Texas & Ohio
Voters in College Station, Texas as well as Chillicothe and Heath, Ohio vote to ban automated ticketing machines. TheNewspaper.com
Posted: 04 Nov 2009 12:01 AM PST

Voters in three cities sent a clear message to local lawmakers yesterday by adopting charter amendments that ban photo enforcement. In addition to kicking two camera supporters from the city council, 72 percent of those voting in Chillicothe, Ohio approved a total prohibition on the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. In College Station, Texas the vote was much closer, but at the end of the night 52 percent wanted the red light cameras to come down. In Heath, Ohio 51 percent voted against the cameras. A total of nine cities nationwide have used the initiative process to ban camera enforcement since 1991, with camera proponents never having won a public vote.

The triple defeat for the photo enforcement industry came despite a well-funded public relations effort in each of the cities. In Chillicothe, Redflex Traffic Systems sent a glossy mailer to every voter while the mayor demanded that the Ohio Supreme Court ban the public from even voting on the issue -- a move high court justices swiftly rejected. Citizens Against Photo Enforcement (CAPE), the group responsible for the ballot measure, claimed an additional victory as voters elected camera opponent Bruce Arnold, who won the seat of council president, Jeremy Siberell, who won the fifth ward and Dustin Proehl, the only incumbent to have voted against cameras. CAPE leader Rebecca Valentich told TheNewspaper that she was thrilled with the outcome.

"We came together as individuals, and we united as a community," Valentich said. "The people have spoken, and very clearly. Our voices have been heard and thanks to the people and their strong voices, the cameras will be coming down. It is a huge victory, and one that we can all be proud of. And although our mayor has gone on record saying that he will fight the will of the people, his fight against the rights of the people will only bring a stronger united front from the community."

In College Station, Texas the city's automated ticketing vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) bankrolled a front group to conduct mass mailings and push polling in an effort to save the program that would have earned the company more than $11 million over the life of the contract. The ATS-funded group reported raising $71,240 in contributions, but not one dollar came from anyone living in the local community. To supplement the vendor's effort, the city allocated taxpayer money to send red light camera promotional material to every voter. College Station activist Jim Ash, who led the fight to put the issue on the ballot, watched the results with a large group of supporters.

"It has been nothing but celebration here," Ash told TheNewspaper minutes after the results became final.

In Heath, voters were bombarded with the same advertisements from Redflex, but they failed to persuade a majority. Voters also defeated Mayor Richard Waugh who had introduced photo enforcement as the signature issue of his administration.

"You can fight city hall and win, when you have a passion for what you believe in," We Demand a Vote spokesman Lori Lyons said in a statement.

Yesterday's results are consistent with previous public votes on the topic. In April, eighty-six percent of the votes in Sulphur, Louisiana rejected speed cameras. In 2008, residents in Cincinnati, Ohio rejected red light cameras. Seventy-six percent of Steubenville, Ohio voters rejected photo radar in 2006. In the mid-1990s, speed cameras lost by a two-to-one margin in Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois. In 1997, voters in Anchorage, Alaska banned cameras even after the local authorities had removed them. In 2003, 64 percent of voters in Arlington, Texas voted down "traffic management cameras" that opponents at the time said could be converted into ticketing cameras.



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Media Release from
Cincinnati NAACP
August 21, 2009
The Hamilton County Board of Elections has certified the Streetcar and Water petitions.  Total signatures required for each petitions was 6,150 valid signatures. The Streetcar petition signature count was actually 7,515 good signatures. The Water petition met the count 6,150 threshold. The Hamilton County Board of Elections is deciding whether to count the additional 3,500 signatures that were collected for Water. Smitherman says, " This is great news for all groups which spent a large part of the year collecting signatures. This is a giant step for Democracy which translates to citizen ownership in the ballot."
 
The Cincinnati NAACP remains concerned that the Mayor and City Council will write confusing language for ballot. The Cincinnati NAACP does not write the language that citizens will see on the November 2009 ballot. The Mayor and City Council support the $200 million Streetcar proposal and sale of Cincinnati Water Works. Now, City Officials are faced with the reality that both issues will be decided by voters their last chance to undermine democracy is to direct their lawyers to write confusing language for the ballot. Smitherman says,  " The Mayor and City Council must leave their Ivory Towers to run a convincing campaign that Cincinnati needs a $200 million streetcar and to sell their Water assets while laying off 300 city workers and while accumulating an unfunded city pension plan liability of $1.3 billion."
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OPINIONS--July 19, 2009

Put Streetcar Project on hold!
Click Here to Read Details
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Auditor Dusty Rhodes says the following about the Streetcar Plan:
"The City of Cincinnati Trolley proposal is another "pie in the sky" dream which would cost taxpayers untold millions with no apparent benefit beyond allowing some local "visionaries" to fantasize they are in Portland, Oregon."
                                         (Click to read full article)

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County Recorder Wayne Coates adds the following:
I would have to agree with Auditor Rhodes' assessment that our county needs to get back to common sense governance.
(Click to read full statement here)
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Petitioner Stephan Louis "Takes the Bus" while Petitioning to Allow Cincinnati Voters to Vote in November on the NOW $220 Million Trolley Plan!

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Read News Stories about the recent News Conference
"We're 1/2 way there"
Cincinnati Enquirer Story
Click Here
Channel 5 News Story Click Here

Tom Luken Named Honarary Chair of Campaign

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WeDemandAVote.Com formally launches Trolley Petition Drive
Press Conference May 21, 1:30 PM

Signature totals, coalition members and campaign leadership to be announced
(Surprise announcements to be included!)
On Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 1:30 PM at Ollie's Trolley at the intersection of Central and Liberty Avenues in Cincnnati, Ohio the WeDemandAVote.Com coalition will formally launch the petition drive to stop the wasteful $200 million trolley planned by Cincinnati City Council.  At that time, signature collection totals to date will be announced, and coalition members and campaign leadership will be introduced.

The Trolley petition drive is the fourth petition drive for the WeDemendaVote.Com coalition.  In 2007, it placed the Super-Sized Jail Tax on the ballot with 56,951 signatures.  In 2008, it placed the Red Light Camera ban and the the Proportional Representation system of electing Council on the ballot.  Despite being massively outspent by their opponents, the Coalition has prevailed at the ballot box in two of the three efforts.

In 2007, the WeDemandaVote.Com coalition won the prestigous "Modern Day Sam Adams" Award and its top prize of $10,000 from the Sam Adams Alliance in Chicago for their community-based organizing against the Super-Sized Jail Tax.   The Trolley petition needs 6,150 signatures.  The formal filing deadline is September 3, but petition organizers expect to complete their work and submit their signatures much earlier than that.
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Download Trolley Petition NOW!
Click Here


Download Instructions for Trolley Petition--Click Here
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Click Here to Read Smitherman's Letter
__________________________________________

This is a YouTube Video.
This Video is not associated with
WeDemandAVote.com
Click Here

     
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Click Here for Complete Archive

Final Total 56,951
Click Here To Read The Press Release

WeDemandAVote.com Chairman, Daniel Regenold and NAACP President Christopher Smitherman announced Friday, July 13, 2007 that they have received a total of 56,951 Signatures out of 28,750 needed to place the Sales Tax issue on the Ballot in November."Our partnership of 7 organizations has worked hard to make this happen for the Voters of Hamilton County. The voters need a chance to review this $900 million Sales Tax Increase and vote on it!" said Regenold and Smitherman. The petitions now go to Hamilton County Auditor Dustry Rhodes for 10 days for public inspection then on to the Board of Elections for 10 days where signatures will be reviewed against Voter Signatures Cards. A final decision on the number of signatures approved should come around August 10, 2007.

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Read About What the Green Party of Southwestern Ohio Thinks About the Cincinnati Streetcar Plan
Click Here

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Cincinnati City
Councilman
Chris Monzel
endorses our
petition drive.

Click here for Press Release

 

 

 

ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE JOINED THIS EFFORT


Green Party
of Ohio