Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Historic charter decision one week away

Cincinnati voters to decide on electing mayor

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It has been generations since Cincinnatians made a fundamental change in the way their city is governed.

        Calvin Coolidge was president when voters approved a city charter calling for a council-manager form of government to replace a corrupt and incompetent Republican political machine.

        One week from today, Cincinnati voters will be asked to make major changes in the charter again.

        Issue 4 would redefine the role of the mayor. For more than 70 years, the mayor has had no particular power to wield; he or she has been just another member of council.

        Under the charter amend ment, the mayor would:

        • Be directly elected through a nonpartisan primary followed by a runoff between the top two vote-getters.

        • Not be a member of the nine-member council, but would have veto power over council legislation, subject to override by six council members.

        • Appoint all council committee chairmen and initiate the hiring and firing of the city manager, subject to approval by council.

        Zane Miller, a history professor at the University of Cincinnati who has written exten sively on Cincinnati's political history, said proponents' best argument is that politics in Cincinnati has become “more chaotic and less disciplined” in recent decades.

        “Party discipline doesn't exist anymore, either with the voters on the politicians,” Mr. Miller said. “The question then becomes if this is the way to fix it.”

        On Monday, Coming Together For Cincinnati, the pro-Issue 4 committee, began a week- long, $80,000 TV ad campaign with a 30-second spot on news broadcasts.

        The anti-Issue 4 campaign doesn't have enough money for a TV ad campaign, but is targeting African-American voters with a radio ad featuring Councilwoman Minette Cooper and the Rev. Donald Jones of the Baptist Ministers Conference that will run on one black-oriented station.

- Historic charter decision one week away
Issue 4: The good and the bad
Questions and answers on Issue 4

Call-up order may be today
Federal grants denied after tornado
Eight religious groups in the Tristate extend welcoming hand and help
Tristate traveler: Littleton 'broken'
City teachers are being laid off
Deaths called murder, suicide
Drug attacks brain tumors
Extras for highway may cost
Lawmakers urging thorough investigation of UC research
Lawyer: Were reports true?
Open-meetings issue hot topic for Lebanon
Placing blame for massacre in Colorado
Spurned woman kills self, ex-lover
Hofbrauhaus deal brewing
Chernobyl virus not a problem locally
County needs to find $1.6M to cover over-budget cost of riverfront sewers
Driver admits 2nd DUI-related death
Fernald waste heads to Utah
Half-dozen books cover other bases
Man disappears in Great Miami River
Partial skull uncovered in wildlife area
Vevay's stock in history
Was 1998 baseball's greatest season?
500 pick up school vouchers
FBI investigating threatening e-mail
Kehoe's jailmates from Lebanon can testify in Ark. trial
Lebanon aims to get noticed
Many touched by angels, writer says
Miami U Hamilton showcases fine arts
Mother no help in rape cases
Norwood's safety chief starts work
Tables turned on do-gooders