BY ANNE MICHAUD
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Marilyn Hyland, a candidate for Hamilton County commissioner, came out against the Broadway Commons ballot initiative Tuesday, distancing herself from the very issue that gave rise to her candidacy.
She said she will vote against Issue 11, the Reds stadium location question, but stopped short of recommending that for other voters.
"If (voters) feel they want to make a statement for Broadway Commons, go ahead and vote for it," Ms. Hyland said.
"For those who are concerned they are going to lose something, don't vote for it, vote for me."
The "something" that voters might lose is the independence of smaller governments within the county, she said.
Ms. Hyland explained that the ballot question is flawed because it couples the stadium question with creation of a county government charter.
If elected, she would still vote for Broadway Commons, she said, making it the choice of the majority of the three county commissioners.
"I support Broadway Commons, but nobody has been able to assure me that the county charter change doesn't change the county form of government," Ms. Hyland said.
"I've been morally supportive of the Broadway Commons group because I support their objective, but I don't support the route to their objective."
Her opponent, incumbent Tom Neyer Jr., who favors baseball on the riverfront, welcomed the news.
"I'll have to swing by and put a "vote no' sign in her yard," he said. "She's always been a strong supporter of Broadway Commons. This is a surprising development."
Cincinnati Councilman Jim Tarbell, a leader of the Issue 11 campaign, said Ms. Hyland's new position is "nutty."
"I think it will hurt her," he said. "She is trying to win the support of townships or those people in the townships who might have some paranoia about the charter. She cannot have her cake and eat it, too."
Mr. Tarbell and other Broadway Commons supporters argue Issue 11 would change nothing about county government but the baseball stadium decision.
In July, commissioners announced a riverfront location that they endorsed 2-1. The ballot question creates a county charter, but then nullifies its effect. It is merely a vehicle to allow a countywide vote, supporters have said.
Bill Seitz, a leader of the Issue 11 opposition, claims it's not that simple. He has vowed to challenge the issue in court if it wins.
He welcomed Ms. Hyland's announcement.
Charter government "has a way of morphing into more centralized county control," said Mr. Seitz, a Green Township trustee. He noted officials from all 12 Hamilton County townships oppose the issue.
That Issue 11 and Ms. Hyland ended up on the same ballot represented a schism among local Democrats. The ballot initiative stole her No. 1 campaign issue.
She has tried to mold a broader statement about citizens feeling shut out of decisions made by county commissioners, saying the baseball stadium vote is just a prominent example of a longstanding problem.
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