Cincy mayoral candidate John Cranley proposes parking debate - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Mayoral candidate proposes parking debate

Cincinnati mayoral candidate John Cranley Cincinnati mayoral candidate John Cranley

City of Cincinnati mayoral candidate John Cranley is challenging Vice Mayor and mayoral candidate Roxanne Qualls to a debate over the city's proposal to privatize its parking.

Under the proposal the city would maintain ownership and a share of the profits. The company that wins the bid would operate and maintain all of the city's parking meters and most of the city's five downtown parking garages and three surface lots.

Supporters argue the city can lease its parking facilities for an up-front fee which can be used to fill next year's budget gap and prevent layoffs.

On the flip side, some fear those operators would jack up parking prices and hurt businesses in the process.

"It's really just a loan and we're all going to be paying it back with interest to that company with higher meters and more aggressive enforcement," Cranley argued. "I think it's a bad deal."

Mayor candidate John Cranley argues council's vote could tie the hands of the next mayor and therefore feels, as a candidate, his voice should be heard.

"I believe that it's going to have such a profound impact on the city, in my opinion, in a bad way," Cranley argued. "Given the profound impact it's going to have for the next 30 years on the city I think everyone would be better off if the two mayoral candidates Roxanne Qualls and myself debated the pros and cons. I'm against it, she's for it, and let the people decide what they think is best."

On the other side of the election, Roxanne Quall's campaign manager responded to Cranley by saying:

"Vice Mayor Qualls believes the citizens of Cincinnati deserve a robust series of public debates between the two final 2013 Mayoral candidates. She looks forward to articulating her optimistic vision of Cincinnati's future and the investments we need to make in our neighborhoods and city to achieve a welcoming city of opportunity for all our citizens."

"As for your proposed parking debate, few are served by a debate on a singular issue that you claim to oppose even before the actual proposal, including all the facts and details, are known. Once the City Manager releases his actual recommendation, you may find that you will have wished you had waited on expressing your opposition." 

Qualls is calling for the campaigns to work together to organize a series of debates. Vice Mayor Qualls would like to see a minimum of five debates organized by neutral civic organizations and local network affiliates. She also wants at least three of those to be held in different regions of the city.

"We know what the broad parameters are based on the RFP which is why I'm opposed to the plan, but obviously we've got to see what's in the final plan," acknowledged Cranley Friday.

"Nobody's going to pay attention this early," UC assistant political science professor Patrick Miller said. "The people who care enough this early to tune in are going to be the people who are the regular, local politics aficionados."

Miller says while raising the issue might garner financial and campaign support, it is likely too early to get votes.

"We really need to see how this plays out though to see if it is really about the issue or the image," Miller said.

Cincinnati's administration is expected to present a recommendation on the parking partnership to council by the end of the month.

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