There’s Something Missing in Cincinnati Politics: Accountability

What do the Metropolitan Sewer District, City Council, and countless other local political boards all have in common? They’re all lacking serious oversight, transparency, and accountability.

Just yesterday, I was talking with one of my constituents, Gregory¬†Tewksbury, about his concerns regarding a recent Hyde Park “flood” that resulted from backed up sewers. The result? Millions of dollars in property damage. One local art gallery owner even lost priceless pieces during the flooding; pieces of history that cannot be restored. While the MSD did set aside $16 Million to fix the damages for store owners and residents across the city, many of whom cannot get flood insurance in that location, there hasn’t been anything done to address actually solving the issue at hand. This means that if another torrential downpour comes our way, there may be another catastrophic blow to the properties in the area.

This isn’t an isolated event, though. The MSD hasn’t been held accountable by any measure of late. They’ve been spending hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars without oversight; making deals with contractors without negotiation. Everyone loses when there’s no accountability. The longer we keep letting this open wound bleed out, the longer we allow our city’s quality of life to depreciate.

This lack of accountability doesn’t stop at the MSD, though. It spreads throughout our entire city’s infrastructure. If our $25.1 Million dollar budget deficit, despite the city’s recent economic development, doesn’t spell it out for us, then nothing will. The system that keeps tabs of spending is aloof, not very taxpayer-friendly, and never showcases the completed project. How can we expect to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable if we can’t even easily access the information? We can rarely tell who ordered the execution of a project and even more rarely see the direct impact the city’s investments have had. We deserve better.

As a member of Cincinnati City Council, I will bring all of the issues to the forefront. I won’t bail on community council meetings for donor events, because informing the voters of this city is what every elected official owes the people whom vote for them. I will not pander for your vote during election years and then disappear. I’ll be everywhere, and you’ll always get the bottom line. I will make sure that a new system uses better data to track our city’s projects and expenditures so that every voter will know exactly what they should. I will not waver in this dedication to transparency and accountability, and you should expect it from everyone you vote for.

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