Friday, March 29, 2013

Two Steps Forward ...
Government is frequently chided for not being more businesslike. Cities & states vie for private business investment in their borders. One of the things city governments did about 100 years ago was establish city managers in an effort to take politics out of the nuts & bolts managing of the city. It was seen as an excellent idea at the time and when Cincinnati adopted such an organization, it was widely hailed as a well governed city.
Now, another thing that private businesses do is make fast decisions. In the city of Cincinnati, an ordinance doesn't go into effect til 30 days after it's passed. That's fine if you are raising fines or littering or something along those lines but when you are dealing with businesses you can't wait 30 days. You might recall the hubbub when the Skyline in Oakley wanted a zoning variance. Republican appointees clamored on about the slow moving city and sought immediate relief for the store. Now, bear in mind, the store was in Oakley and not in Murray's & Lippert's home neighborhood of Hyde Park where their heads would have been mounted on stakes at Madison Road & Erie Avenue if they had tried to ram through a zoning variance.
Anyway, this is where the "Emergency Clause" has been an invaluable tool in Cincinnati governance. It makes the city more nimble and more businesslike. Most of the decisions the city council makes are business oriented and not policy issues so the emergency clause is used a lot. Indeed, mayoral candidate John Cranley has voted for emergency clauses frequently while on council.
Judge Robert Winkler R, in response to a suit filed by, presumably, business oriented, small government Republicans tossed that option out the other day, however, putting the city of Cincinnati at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring cities and similarly sized cities for years to come.

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