Next Cincinnati City Council will have different agenda

Majority opposes streetcar, parking lease

CINCINNATI -- Perhaps the biggest surprise in Tuesday’s elections was the outcome of the Cincinnati City Council race, and what likely will be a major shift in direction when the new group takes office next month.

Three newcomers will join the group Dec. 1. They are Democrat David Mann, Charterite Kevin Flynn and Republican Amy Murray.

The trio will replace three Democrats: Roxanne Qualls, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor; and Laure Quinlivan and Pamula Thomas, who lost reelection bids.

The shift now gives City Council a six-person majority that favors cancelling the $133 million streetcar project, which is under construction in downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

The same majority also has indicated it wants to end a lease of the city’s parking meters and garages with the Port Authority.

Less than one-third of registered voters turned out at the polls in Hamilton County.

According to the unofficial results, Mann finished in third place, behind Democrat P.G. Sittenfeld (first) and Republican Charlie Winburn (second).

Yvette Simpson, a Democrat who is cross-endorsed by the Charter Committee, finished in fourth place. She was followed by Democrat Chris Seelbach (fifth) and independent Christopher Smitherman (sixth).

Rounding out the group are Democrat Wendell Young (seventh), Flynn (eighth) and Murray (ninth).

Quinlivan finished in 10th place, getting 900 fewer votes than Murray.

Thomas finished in 13th place, getting 3,480 fewer votes than Murray. Thomas was appointed to council in April to replace her husband, Cecil Thomas, who was facing term limits.

Democrat John Cranley, who was elected mayor Tuesday, said he is confident he can work cooperatively with the new City Council.

"I know them all well,” Cranley said. “We agree on many of the issues facing the city.”

Asked whom he will appoint as vice mayor, Cranley replied, “I have not made any decisions.”

Smitherman thinks the next council will conduct more of its decision-making in public, and stop what critics have termed behind-the-scenes deal making.

“We have a new majority on council and a new mayor, who will be focused on getting the basics right,” Smitherman said.

“December is going to be incredibly exciting," he added. "I am hopeful we will have a council that works together and is more transparent. It doesn’t mean we’re always going to get along, but no one will be shut out on the next council. That culture is dead.”

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