There are a lot of myths flying around about Issue 9 as we approach the election. It seems every stage of the process has been designed to confuse and deceive voters. I thought the use of "deceive" was a little harsh until I heard COAST defending their wording of the ballot issue, now I feel very comfortable with it.
Now I am not saying I have heard all these myths from COAST. Some are only implied in their rhetoric, and some I have heard from others. I am also sure you can add more in the comments, please feel free.
MYTH: Issue 9 is only about the Streetcar
FACT: Issue 9 will affect a much broader range of projects
I don't think we need to belabor this point. We have already covered COAST's use of the "Queen's English" (their term for technical legal latin abbreviations) that make the wording appear to focus on streetcars and trollies, while covering any light passenger rail. I know COAST likes to mock the issue of it affecting the train at the Zoo (even though it would). I am more concerned of the impact on passenger rail systems like the proposed high-speed rail connection in Ohio. If I really wanted to be more conspiracy minded I would pursue the fact that most of COAST's members live in the burbs, and the effect of this issue could cause the rail to stop in one of those communities rather then go into the city. All in all, if you are against the Streetcar, voting Yes on 9 is like going after a fly with a sledge hammer.
MYTH: Voting Yes on Issue 9 will stop the Streetcar
FACT: Voting Yes on Issue 9 will require another vote to stop the Streetcar
Here is the Yes on 9 sign:
It's kind of your worst work-realted nightmare. The meeting to determine when we need a meeting. The only thing a Yes vote guarantees is that we will have a vote if the city wants to build a Streetcar, or use public funds to bring high-speed rail into the city, or expand the train at the Zoo. Seems silly, doesn't it. Now to be fair, "For Cincy Jobs" seems a bit of a stretch for the No on 9 signs, but Yes on 9 will not stop the streetcar.
MYTH: Voting Yes on Issue 9 is a vote for democracy
FACT: Voting on Issue 9 is democracy already
I find it amusing that they wrap this issue in the concept that Yes is about democracy. "We Demand a Vote". Well, we have a vote. It's called representative democracy. We vote representatives into office, and they make decisions. If we don't like those decisions, we vote them out. We do this because a majority rule on every single detail of public issue is truly counter-productive. It is not because people are too dumb to vote on it, it is because people don't have enough time to fully educate themselves on every project. Rail is going to require a big-picture perspective on things. It is going to require that the decision makers balance a number of issues. It does not work well in a sound-bite popular vote. We can already see how folks are trying to deceive voters.
MYTH: Voting Yes will slow down those hasty politicians
FACT: Seriously? The problem in Cincinnati is we move too FAST on things?
It will slow down the process by creating extra hurdles, but is Cincinnati's problem that we move too fast, or we move too slow? We all know the apocryphal Twain quote. And wow, Fountain Square west moved SO fast. And that Bank's project... if we could have only slowed that down.
MYTH: Vote Yes because the government shouldn't be making these decisions without a vote
FACT: Why are we starting this now? The government already makes these decisions
You remember when we all voted for the Fort Washington Way project? And on the proposed expansion of 75? When are we voting on the Brent-Spence Bridge? Oh wait, we don't. The government heavily subsidizes the road system. I'm glad they do, but the gas tax isn't paying for all of the cost associated with the system. Frankly I could care less about the 75 expansion, I don't need to ride that section of 75. So why don't we vote on that? Because we need folks to look at the big picture, and make planning decisions that benefit the whole region, not just me.
MYTH: If you are against the Streetcar you should vote Yes on 9
FACT: A LOT of anti-streetcar folks are voting No on 9
Have we mentioned the scope is beyond streetcars. Even Bill Cunningham expressed dismay over the wording of Issue 9. Listen to the audio. He thought it was a bad issue (though he said he won't be voting on it since he lives out of the city). And he cannot stand the streetcar. There are a lot of council members and candidates who are against the streetcar, who are very much against Issue 9.
What kills me, is the GoCoast Twitter account twittered this:
More Half-truths. Willy DID say we should stop the ridiculous trolley, but he also said Issue 9 was bad. This is yet another purposefully misleading statement from COAST.
So, in my opinion, whether you are for the streetcar or not, you should vote No on 9. It is a bad piece of law we don't want in our City's charter.