Cincinnati Dems, GOP, Charter Committee, oppose housing construction change

Politically speaking, these are divisive times, but Democrats, Republicans, and Charterites have found at least one thing in common in Cincinnati.

Issue 3.

They do not like it.

The Hamilton County Republican Party, the Cincinnati Democratic Committee and the Greater Cincinnati Charter Committee have all opposed the amendment to the Affordable Housing Charter, which will be on the ballot on May 4th.

The GOP called it “a crude steal of power and money”. The Charter Committee said it had concerns about the “language of the proposal”. And the Cincinnati Democrats voted 67% to 33% against the change on Friday.

Clock:Enquirer will host the virtual debate on Issue 3 on Thursday

Issue 3:Everything you need to know about Cincinnati’s affordable housing

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Issue 3 is an amendment to the statutes that requires the city to provide at least $ 50 million a year for affordable housing, with the amount increasing every year with inflation. There is no set funding mechanism for the change, which is perhaps the biggest sticking point for the opposition.

Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and a major proponent of the amendment, said he wasn’t at all surprised that each of the three political parties are against Issue 3, Spring, who has been asking for help for years, said, “So it’s not It was a surprise that the people we had these conversations with would still fail to answer the call. “

“The big message for Cincinnati voters is, let’s just trust our own experience,” said Spring. “Let’s just trust what we see around us. And do we trust our own eyes, our own experience, or do we trust what the political parties and the town hall have to say to us? “

The “suburbs” of Hyde Park and Pleasant Ridge?

The Hamilton County’s GOP sent out a long email last week asking people to vote against Issue 3. The to-fund-it solution is irresponsible. “

The email asked what the real need for affordable housing in the city was – the frequently cited shortage of 28,000 housing units or the shortage of 8,000 housing units recently found in a study by a professor at the University of Cincinnati – and it is said that the change would destroy the city budget, leading to layoffs and cuts.

Then there is a section of the email entitled “WHERE DOES THE CHEAP APARTMENT GO?”

“Affordable Housing Advocates’ website needs to have” affordable housing available in all 52 boroughs of Cincinnati, “the email said.” This extends well beyond the city itself and into suburbs like Hyde Park, Mount Lookout, Pleasant Ridge and Oakley. “

These neighborhoods are all within the city limits, not in the suburbs, and they are all richer and have a higher percentage of white residents than the city as a whole, according to census data.

City council candidate Cam Hardy, who is black, called the language on Facebook a “dog whistle” and said the GOP is doing “everything it can to link this proposal to poor people.” Hardy is a democrat.

Former Covington Commissioner Steve Megerle, a Republican, said on Twitter that he was ashamed of the language. “Sounds like something out of a red-lining manual from the 1950s / 1960s,” wrote Megerle.

Spring, with the Coalition of Homeless People, said it was “more of the same”.

“For years, and it wasn’t just Republicans, the talk about affordable housing in town hall was, ‘We can’t bring these people here or we can’t bring these people there,” Spring said.

“It’s the idea, ‘When this is over, city services will be cut and these people, these unsavory characters, will move into your neighborhood and disrupt your life. It’s a different fear tactic that isn’t based on reality, just trying to make us fear each other. “

Hamilton County’s GOP chairman Alex Triantafilou responded to a query from the investigator that the allegations of racism were “unfounded,” although he failed to explain what the GOP intended with that section of the email.

“Unsubstantiated allegations of racism are being made here by a small handful of political enemies of the GOP on Twitter and they are bizarre and false,” Triantafilou said. “We join the local Democratic Party, police officers, firefighters, local trade unions, and almost every responsible community leader, regardless of race, and we oppose Issue 3.”

Why do the Charterites reject issue 3?

The Charter Committee supports the idea of ​​increasing affordable housing in the city, but is careful with the language of the proposed change, saying that it “contains too much potential for corruption, with the possibility that board members or their employees benefit from board decisions. ”

If Issue 3 is successful, the amendment calls for a new Cincinnati Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board to oversee the money. The board would be responsible for establishing rules for how the money is used and approving and rejecting proposals.

The board would have 11 unpaid members, many of whom would be appointed by the same housing attorneys who are behind Issue 3.

The Charter Committee does not argue with corrupt intentions from supporters of amendments – only that while the amendment is being written, there are not enough safeguards in place to protect taxpayers’ money.

“The Charter Committee is supposed to ensure that the city’s charter supports ethical governance and prevents potential corruption,” said Charter President Matt Woods in a press release, explaining the party’s stance. “We believe the proposed change, as written, does not provide enough protection for the trust fund to deserve our support.”

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Why are the Cincy Dems rejecting issue 3?

In a session on Friday, the Cincinnati Democratic Committee heard from those for and against Issue 3, according to an email that was subsequently sent to members.

After a question and answer session, there was a motion to reject the amendment and 67% of those present voted against the amendment.

“Nobody disagreed that affordable housing was an important issue to be addressed, (but) there were concerns about the source of funding and the possible ramifications for the city’s operating budget if this issue were resolved,” the e- Mail.

“Regardless of the outcome of the May 4th elections, both sides agreed to work together on affordable housing.”

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