CINCINNATI -- Lawyer and vocal streetcar opponent John Cranley beat Roxanne Qualls Tuesday to become the next mayor of Cincinnati.
Cranley, 39, won 58 percent of the votes and didn't skip a beat by imploring city leaders to immediately stop streetcar spending until he can take office December 1.
"They should stop spending right away," a jubilant Cranley said, who was with his wife at the Banks celebrating his victory.
Cranley garnered 32,716 votes. Qualls captured 23,675 votes. About 29 percent of voters turned out to cast their ballots. The results are unofficial.
"We're going to work on reuniting this city…we're going to work in a bipartisan fashion," Cranley said in his acceptance speech.
Cranley, 39, paused for a moment in his speech to pay respect to Qualls for her work to improve Cincinnati.
"I honor deeply the service my opponent Roxanne Qualls has given to this city," he said.
Cranley is an attorney with the Keating Muething & Klekamp law firm. He lives in Mount Lookout with his wife, Dena, and their son, Joseph, 4.
Cranley served on City Council from 2000-2009. Facing term limits, Cranley resigned from council in January 2009, with 11 months left on his last term, to work on a private development project to create a restaurant and condominiums in East Price Hill.
His departure occurred after he asked the Ohio Ethics Commission for advice about seeking a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for the land. The commission recommended he either resign from council or sever ties with the company.
Cranley and opponent Qualls served together on City Council from September 2007 to January 2009. During that time, they voted the same way on issues more than 95 percent of the time.
In his campaigning, Cranley made it clear he opposes the $133 million streetcar project. Although Cranley said he supports mass transit generally, he thinks the benefit from the streetcar project will be too limited. He wants to cancel the project.
"We're going to get out of the streetcar project, which is too expensive," Cranley told the crowd during his acceptance speech. "We're going to find an alternative."
After Gov. Kasich rescinded $51.8 million in state funding for the project in early 2011, Cranley has said the local share of financing the project is too large, saddling the city with too much debt.
Cranley also opposes a lease of the city’s parking meters and garages, which was approved by City Council in a 5-4 vote in March. He thinks the deal – which will give the city a $105 million upfront payment and about $3 million annually afterward – undervalues the parking asset. He also thinks the lease lessens local control over parking rates and enforcement, which will harm small businesses.
In his speech Tuesday, Cranley added that he wants to reduce the poverty in Cincinnati in the next five years and hopes to reduce crime. He also has plans to help the city financially.
"We're going to balance the budget in a real way," he said. "We're going to keep our resources"