Friday, April 09, 1999

'Strong-mayor' backers open fire via radio

Spot boosting reform heard on 5 stations

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The committee promoting Issue 4, the Cincinnati charter amendment that would revamp city government, has begun airing a 60-second radio spot as the first shot in what is expected to be an extensive media ad campaign.

        Coming Together for Cincinnati, the pro-Issue 4 campaign, began running the ads Wednesdy on five radio stations reaching diverse audiences — WIZF (with a primarily African-American audience), WVAE (jazz), WKRC (news and talk), WGRR (rock oldies) and WUBE (sports).

        In the last weeks before the May 4 primary election, the pro-Issue 4 committee is expected to follow up with a six-figure TV advertising campaign.

        The message in the radio ad — read by former TV anchor Jon Esther, now a campaign consultant — is that Issue 4 is about “democracy” and “accountability.”

        The ballot issue would set up a direct election of Cincinnati's mayor, with a non-partisan primary followed by a run-off of the top two candidates.

        The mayor would also have increased powers, including the power to veto council legislation (subject to council override), and the power to appoint council committee chairs. The mayor, though, would not be a member of council.

        “With Issue 4, the mayor we elect will be accountable to all of us to bring city council together on a vision for the city's future,” the radio ad says.

        The ad also says the charter amendment would preserve the city manager's office and points to the fact that the leaders of Cincinnati's three political parties — Democrat, Republican and Charter — have endorsed the plan.

        The committee has also placed a full-page ad in today's Enquirer and Cincinnati Post asking supporters to contribute $4 each to the campaign.

        The campaign is also expected to raise a substantial amount of money from Cincinnati businesses, which can give money directly to issue campaigns.

        The campaign committee opposing Issue 4, headed by Democratic Councilman Tyrone Yates, does not expect to match the pro-Issue 4 campaign in fund-raising, but does hope to have enough to advertise on radio and through direct mail.


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