Several weeks ago, I wrote an article about the state of the local Green Party, drawing attention to their endorsement of John Cranley for Mayor in the upcoming elections. In a response, Don Rucknagel, co-chair of the Green Party, called the piece and uniformed attack.
Throughout his reponse, Don suggests that my presumed lack of knowledge of current economic realities in the city cloud my view of the election. I’ll let that assumption stand, because I am not overly concerned with being forced to prove something I never claimed to have knowledge of in the first piece, since that wasn’t the intention. I think it’s important to first say that my piece was less about the actual endorsements than it was about party politics, which is why I talked at length about Kshama Sawant and her campaign for Seattle council, running on the Socialist Alternative ticket. My original piece was not meant to be an attack on Gwen Marshall, but rather, what I perceived to be a local manifestation of the shortfall in the way that the party has functioned nationally since I have been politically aware.
Never-the-less, I will take on key point in Don’s response that, I think, illustrates that the Greens see this election as a zero sum game, like they have for so many elections before.
Several weeks ago, I wrote a piece questioning the Local Green Party‘s endorsement of John Cranley for Mayor, and offered some thoughts on the way forward for third parties in this period, using Kshama Sawant’s inspiring council run in Seattle as an example. Don Rucknagel, co-chair of the party, responded. This piece was published in Streetvibes, along with my rebuttal on Friday, October 25.
As Co-chair of the Hamilton County Green Party, I feel obliged to respond to Ben Stockwell’s uninformed attack on Gwen Marshall, my co-chair. There are some relevant facts that Stockwell seems not to understand. First, times are tough, revenues are down, and the City Council is striving to forestall bankruptcy. We have an $850 million unfunded pension liability that needs addressing. The major issue in this election is that the predominantly Democratic City Council, lead by Democratic Mayor Mark Malory and Democratic Mayoral realtor hopeful Roxanne Qualls want to blow $150 million on a vanity streetcar. The original proposal was for the Streetcar to run from Downtown up Vine Street to University Heights. But when the Governor withdrew his offer of $50 million, the project was scaled back to go to approximately Findlay Market.
The original route was problematical, because it is not clear that there are enough people downtown who will want to ride a streetcar to the stores on University Heights (likewise to Findlay Market), especially if the fare is more expensive than the buses that already go there. Ah, but it may allow people to walk to the University Medical Center (ten blocks from University Plaza rain or shine), or to the University of Cincinnati proper (3 to 9 blocks, depending upon destination) its proponents say. Because they need money to fund it, they are also flirting with a proposal to lease the City’s profitable parking meters($8 million/year) to Xerox in return for a $53 million loan for thirty years. The city would then be at the mercy of a national corporation, despite the proposed high tech nature of the parking meters . The situation may be even more complex than this, because the Port Authority may also be involved. Then there is the question of operating expenses. Qualls is eying Casino revenues. Neither Qualls nor Cranley are addressing the pension problem. Out of sight, out of mind.