Cincinnati’s future got a lot brighter last night, with the defeat of Issue 48 and the election of a pro-streetcar supermajority to City Council.
Issue 48, which would have outlawed any form of passenger rail in Cincinnati for the next ten years, was defeated by voters 51.5% to 48.5%. It’s a little closer than I would’ve liked, but I’ll take it. This is the second time in two years that Cincinnati voters have rejected deceptive charter amendments pushed by fringe groups that would put a stranglehold on the development of rail transit in the city.
If the Issue 48 results were a little too close for comfort, there was nothing ambiguous about the City Council results. Cincinnati’s city council is a nine-member body whose members are elected at-large. The nine candidates who receive the most votes are elected to office.
The Enquirer sums it up nicely:
Voters ousted four incumbent Republicans from Cincinnati City Council on Tuesday night, choosing instead seven Democrats, a majority of African-Americans, the first openly gay candidate and enough support to move forward with the streetcar project.
Pro-streetcar council members will soon form a 6-3 supermajority on City Council. Together with the defeat of Issue 48, this ensures the streetcar project will move forward. Streetcar opponents have vowed to continue trying to kill the project, but at this point their options for doing so are limited.
The most disappointing news of the evening was anti-streetcar zealot Christopher Smitherman winning a seat on council, while solid candidates like Kevin Flynn and Jason Riveiro didn’t quite make the cut. But Smitherman will be completely marginalized and I suspect his tenure in City Hall will be a short one, and I doubt we’ve heard the last of Flynn or Riveiro.
UrbanCincy has more.