|-Richardson and Lewis prepare to square off in a debate on Issue 9 at the University of Cincinnati on October 15, 2009.|
The debate would end that night with a polling of the audience. Every audience member but one raised their hands for a "no" vote, while the sole "yes" vote was cast by a COAST member in the audience. Despite the overwhelming support for the "no" argument, many against Issue 9 wondered if the real election's results would yield a similar outcome just a few days down the road. Even I will admit, I left that debate skeptical of whether or not Issue 9 would be defeated.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, last Friday, October 30, 2009. The Famous Neon's Unplugged hosts a "No on 9" party. Despite the rain, many turn out to show their support for defeating the charter amendment.
As the rain steadily trickled down from the sky, it seemed as if there was a sense of "Queen City revitalization" in the air. Attendees sipped Hudepohl, Burger and Moerlin and spoke of all the new developments and progress Cincinnati was working towards. There was a positive attitude in the air towards the Tri-State's urban center.
"Mr. Cincinnati" himself, Jim Tarbell, even came out to support the "No on 9" cause:
The atmosphere and crowd at Neon's was great. That place will certainly be quite the downtown destination once it has it's official "grand opening" this coming spring. Despite the optimistic look towards Tuesday's election, many were still left wondering what the end result would be. Cincinnati had a reputation of being "behind the times," would the same reputation prove true once again?
Tuesday came. Like many, I went out and did my civic duty of voting, returning to my hometown of Fairfield, Ohio where I am registered. I am very proud to say I had the opportunity to vote against the COAST endorsed team of Arnold Engel, Erik Rivera and Tony Steer, all of whom lost. That evening, Arnold's on 8th St. was chosen to be the place for what would hopefully be a "victory" party for the Cincinnatians for Progress.
Many from the various groups that had endorsed the "no" vote came out to the party, Tairy Greene of "CAAST" even made an appearance as he passed out stickers:
The results started to update and with only 30 precincts reporting, the crowd cheered to see that "no" was ahead of "yes."
Skepticism still ran rampant through the crowd as people made comments like "We still don't know which precincts are reporting, we could still lose." The doubt slowly dissipated though as the results continued to pour in, with the "no" vote's lead growing larger with each precinct report. Soon the crowd began to realize victory was on the horizon.
The "yes" vote never mounted it's comeback and never got within reach as the results were updated on the screen. Finally months of waiting and tireless campaigning came to a halt.
After finding that it was mathematically impossible for the opposition's "yes" vote to win, the leader's of Cincinnatians for Progress declared "victory" for the "no on 9" team as the large crowd throughout the rooms at Arnold's let out a loud cry.
The leaders of "Cincinnatians for Progress" took the stage.
The campaign had been won. Whether you are or aren't a streetcar supporter, a passenger rail supporter, a democrat, a republican, an independent or whatever, it didn't matter. People from all different backgrounds, walks of life, political leanings and persuasions came out to defeat this bogus and ridiculous charter amendment and to stand up for proper democracy in Cincinnati. In terms of the willingness of all these different viewpoints to work together, Bobby Mally said it best: "This really says something about our community." With this victory and demonstration of comradery between citizens, Cincinnati is heading in a good direction.
While the good folks at Cincinnatians for Progress, The Famouns Neon's Unplugged, Arnold's, all the old and new friends who "high fived" and hugged each other in celebration and all the organizations and supporters of the "No on 9" campaign deserve a big pat on the back, one man stands out above the rest:
John Schneider of the Alliance for Regional Transit has worked tirelessly throughout the years to push for new transit options in the Tri-State area. With this recent victory, maybe we will finally start to see some of the plans for improved transit that John has worked so hard to promote. John, tonight's article and tonight's victory are dedicated to you.
I promise this is the last "political" post for awhile, stay tuned for another new update later in the week.