• Thu. Jun 24th, 2021

Aftab Pureval, David Mann advance in Cincinnati mayoral primary; Issue 3 fails

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald

Aftab Pureval, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, and David Mann, Cincinnati City Councilman, advanced in Cincinnati mayoral primary election Tuesday, running ahead of four other candidates to challenge each other for the city’s top position in the November 2 General Election City Election. Issue 3, which would have funded a city affordable housing fund in the amount of $50 million each year, failed.

Candidate Aftab Pureval is serving as Hamilton County Clerk of Courts since 2017. Councilman David Mann served as mayor on two occasions (1980-1982 and 1991) and served on the City Council from 1974-1992 before returning to office in 2013.

In Cincinnati, only 15 percent of the voters turned out for the May 4 primary. Voters could only vote for one mayoral candidate.

Mayor John Cranley was not able to file for re-election in 2021 due to term limits.

Also on the primary ballot was Cincinnati Issue 3, an affordable housing amendment to the City’s Charter.

The amendment would have required a permanent $50 million annual contribution of city funds to an affordable housing trust fund to provide for new construction, renovation of vacant property, renovation of existing affordable units, operation costs of affordable housing and direct services. It also would have provided for a managing board for the affordable housing fund.

While providing affordable housing is a popular need in Cincinnati, the initiative was opposed early on by groups and individuals concerned about the impact the proposal would have on City employee cuts in services, such as police, fire, waste pickup, human services, and in other areas. The city annually runs up against budget deficits, which officials struggle to address.

A simple majority was required for the approval of Issue 3.

Other issues on the May 4 ballot, which grew out of the federal bribery charges against three City Council members (Tamaya Dennard, Jeff Pastor and P.G. Sittenfeld) in 2020, were:

  • 1 Proposed Charter Amendment: Successor Designation (City of Cincinnati). This amendment would prohibit council members from revising their successor designation certificates after being indicted for a felony or after the filing of certain criminal charges against them;
  • require the City Solicitor to appoint a special prosecutor to prosecute an action under Ohio Revised Code Section 733.72 or its successor to remove a member of Council where a member of council has been indicted for a felony or a criminal complaint has been filed against a member for charges relating to official conduct.
  • 2 Proposed Charter Amendment: Pre-Conviction Suspension (City of Cincinnati). This amendment provides for a pre-conviction suspension of council members indicted for state or federal felonies related to the council member’s duties, where the council member shall be suspended from official duties but shall receive a salary during the suspension that may be recovered by the city upon the member’s conviction; 
  • provide for the removal of council members upon conviction of or guilty plea to said crime; 
  • require ethics training for council members within 60 days of taking the oath of office; 
  • prohibit council members from revising their successor designation certificates after being indicted for a state or federal felony related to the council member’s conduct in council duties; 
  • clarify details regarding successor designation certificates.
  • 8 Proposed Tax Levy (Additional): Winton Woods City School District. Passes.

In the Silverton City Election, Mayor John Smith defeated Franklin Wilson. Both are Democrats

Josh Spring, president of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, said following the defeat of Issue3 Tuesday that, “Today, we have taken big steps forward on our journey to housing justice. While we lost at the polls, we know we will eventually win.  We are a movement of people who know every person in this city needs access to a home they can afford. 

“Cincinnati Action for Housing Now is proud our campaign for Issue 3 put our need for affordable housing at the top of community conversation.  Every candidate in the mayoral primary has said they believe we need to fund affordable housing development.  Those who opposed us said repeatedly they support affordable housing and will join us in our work to get it funded. 

“We remain convinced that it is within the people of this city where the strength lies to finally make affordable housing development a significantly funded priority.”

On the same Issue 3, community activist Brian Garry, added, “Although we lost, we won. This election has brought the issue of affordable housing forward. It is something everyone now sees they can get behind. We just need more collaboration, and we are meeting tomorrow to bring collaborative leadership together so all voices are heard. We are going to have affordable housing in our city.”

City Councilman David Mann said Issue 3 had brought about a lot conversation about affordable housing; it’s how to go about it. Issue 3 had a lot of problems in that it would have taken too much money from funds that support city services and the governing board that would have been created would not be accountable in issuing money.

Mann added the City Council has passed a resolution that would move $44 million from federal HUD funding to the City’s development fund to create a revolving affordable housing fund. A board of elected officials would oversee that fund.

In regard to the passage of Issues 1 and 2, City Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, who supported the two issues, said, “Voters are telling us loud and clear that they want a clean up of the corruption that occurred over the past year at City Hall. “They want trust their restored trust and no more corruption. They want someone to be mayor who is not seeking personal gain.’’