Monday, August 27, 2001

Fuller names 7 city priorities

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati mayoral candidate Courtis Fuller will announce a seven-point “covenant with voters” platform this week that includes repeal of the anti-gay rights amendment to the city charter and subpoena power for the Citizens Police Review Panel.

        Mr. Fuller said he would release his plan at a news conference today or Tuesday, but he gave a preview Sunday to a small group of supporters in Avondale.

        The platform includes:

        • A Queen City Neighborhoods Initiative, previously announced, that would tear down blighted buildings and allow special taxing districts to give neighborhood business districts the ability to pay for improvements.

        • A “safe streets” plan that includes subpoena pow er for the citizens review panel. It's a proposal pushed by many civil rights leaders but resisted by police, who say they already have to answer to seven separate investigations since a police shooting death in April.

        • The repeal of Issue 3, the 1993 charter amendment that prohibits specific legal protection to homosex uals.

        • A cultural commission that would support the arts.

        • A yet-to-be-announced plan to restore Cincinnati's national reputation since the riots.

        • A downtown plan that supports a convention center expansion.

        • A focus on education, including free tuition to Ohio state colleges for any Cincinnati student who maintains a B average or better from the sixth grade on.

        Mr. Fuller's aides compare the pledge to the “Contract with America” that the GOP used in 1994 to take control of the House of Representatives, though Mr. Fuller himself prefers the more solemn word “covenant.”

        As mayor, he said he won't be able to guarantee passage of all of his proposals, but promised to bring them before City Council during his first 18 months.

        Mayor Charlie Luken, Mr. Fuller's chief adversary in Cincinnati's first direct mayoral election since 1925, said he also supports the repeal of Issue 3, but prefers that gay-rights activists do it the same way their opponents did in 1993: Get enough signatures to put it on the ballot.

        Mr. Luken has not taken a position on subpoena power for the citizens review panel, saying he will wait for the Justice Department investigation of the police division to be completed.

        But Mr. Luken said Sunday night that his biggest problem with Mr. Fuller's platform is its cost.

        “All of these things — light rail, free college, neighborhood development — there is a theme here that I think voters should be very leery about,” he said. “With what a college education is worth today you could just as easily give people a free home.”


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