By Dennis Willard
A coalition of workers, small business owners and community members announced their opposition to Issue 3, claiming it is ill-conceived, unaffordable and will hurt the community. The $50 million mandate without a revenue source will kill jobs and inevitably lead to a tax increase, they said.
At a press conference last week attended by several hundred emergency and city service workers and their supporters, the Vote No on Issue 3 campaign outlined the reasons why the City Charter amendment is harmful for Cincinnati.
Matt Alter, president of Cincinnati Fire Fighters Local 48, said, “Issue 3 is harmful for Cincinnati and will lead to a reduction in vital and critical emergency city services meaning less fire houses, and less EMTs to protect and serve the city.
“Cincinnati established the first professional fire department in the country 168 years ago at a time when people had to pay someone to put out fires. Today, regardless of who you are or where you live, fire fighters are there to answer the call. We must vote No on Issue 3 and protect our first responders who protect us everyday.”
Maurice Brown, president of AFSCME Council 8 Local 250, warned of the unintended consequences of Issue 3. “I’m here to ask you to vote No on Issue 3 because I believe it will have dangerous, unintended consequences to workers, citizens and those who do business here in Cincinnati. Programs such as litter, blight and illegal dumping cleanups, pothole repair and general maintenance of over 2900 lane miles of streets will suffer if Issue 3 passes. City residents will be limited to bi-weekly trash collection as well as lose recycling services. We must vote No on Issue 3.”
Gina Pratt, an RN with the Cincinnati Public Health Department, said, “I’ve been a nurse for 18 years, and I work every day with children with chronic medical issues like cystic fibrosis and spina bifida. Issue 3 will cause damaging cuts to public services and make it harder for me to be there for Cincinnati’s most vulnerable children.
“Nurses are also already stretched thin during the COVID pandemic, and we’re putting shots in arms. There’s a smarter, better solution to address affordable housing without making disastrous cuts to important public services. I’m voting No on Issue 3 to protect the services that Cincinnatians rely on.”
Peter McLinden, executive secretary-treasurer of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO, spoke at the conference, too. “Issue 3 is $50 million a year every year in perpetuity. The simple truth is that it is unaffordable,” said McLinden. “That money has to come from somewhere, and unfortunately it’s going to be siphoned out of essential public services and lead to job cuts and tax increases. There is a better way, but we must vote No on Issue 3 and work together to find a solution that won’t hurt the people it intends to help.”