Cincinnati City Council

Jay Hanselman/WVXU

Democrat Cecil Thomas made official today what he told WVXU two months ago – that he will resign from Cincinnati City Council, have his wife, Pam Thomas, appointed to replace him, and run for the Ohio Senate in 2014.


His resignation will take effect after Wednesday’s council meeting.
 

Thomas, in a press conference this morning at the law office of Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke, said that his wife would be sworn in after the Wednesday meeting.
 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Opponents of Cincinnati's parking lease deal turned in more than 19,000 petition signatures Thursday. That means it's likely the the issue will be on the November ballot. They need 8,522 valid signatures.

Former council woman Amy Murray thanked those who signed and circulated petitions.

"The people have the right to ask for this, to have a referendum," says Murray. "And it's something that people feel so passionate about. It will have a huge impact on our business districts."

www.cincystpatsparade.com

People were outraged last week when the group that puts on the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade said a gay rights group couldn't march. Now at least seven Cincinnati Council members (two hadn't responded as of Friday afternoon) are prepared to approve a motion making sure that doesn't happen again.

Councilman Chris Seelbach's motion would require all parades receiving a financial subsidy from the city - and there are four - must agree in writing to adhere to the city's non-discrimination policy.

Michael Keating / WVXU

Cincinnati is going to federal court to try to overturn a Hamilton County judge's temporary restraining order on the city's parking lease plan. 

Hamilton County Judge Robert Winkler issued his order Wednesday, just minutes after city council approved the parking lease agreement by a five-four vote. 

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati officials and Avondale residents will likely have a chance to meet next week with the firm that wants to buy nearly 750 units of HUD-supported Section 8 housing in the neighborhood.  

City Council was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a resolution opposing the sale.  But the item was held because of the planned meeting.  

Kathy Schwab is with the Greater Cincinnati Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Hamilton County Commissioners feel they were left in the dark as the city and the Port Authority worked out Cincinnati's proposed parking outsourcing plan. They're drafting a letter to the city to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Commission President Chris Monzel says, "Making sure there's no risk exposure on the county's part for  what the Port's doing with the city and vice versa if we go off and do something with the county, could that hurt the city in any way. Those type of things, I think, need to be figured out in the future."

City of Cincinnati website

Cincinnati City Council member Cecil Thomas, who can't run for re-election this year because of the city's term limits law, told WVXU this morning he plans to leave council "within a month or two" and wants his wife, Pam Thomas, appointed to replace him.

"If (Pam Thomas) wants it, I would absolutely back that,'' said Thomas, a Democrat and former Cincinnati police officer.

Pam Thomas ran for Hamilton County clerk of courts last fall, winning 48 percent of the vote against Republican incumbent Tracy Winkler. She won the city vote overwhelmingly.

Michael Keating

The ongoing dispute between Cincinnati and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority about the use of the city’s transit fund is still dragging on. 

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls spoke during a special Budget and Finance Committee meeting Tuesday.

"Members of the committee may remember that we passed a one-month budget for SORTA a number weeks ago," Qualls said.  "This is another one month budget for the period of February."

The city argues the fund can be used for any transit purpose. 

Slowly but surely, the 2013 race for Cincinnati City Council – the first in which council members will be elected for four years terms – is taking shape.


Not that there is any hurry. The filing deadline for council candidates is not until August.
 

But the city’s three political parties – and the candidates themselves – can’t wait that long to get campaigns up and running.
 

A Cincinnati City Council election is a non-partisan election – meaning that no party designations appear on the ballot next to candidates’ names.
 

Amy Murray - who served as an appointed Cincinnati City Council member in 2011 before losing her seat in that year's election - has become the first non-incumbent Republican to declare her council candidacy.

Murray, of Hyde Park, will kick off her campaign Wednesday with a 7 p.m. gathering at Price Hill Chili at 4920 Glenway Ave.

She first ran for council in 2009, failing to win one of the nine spots on council. But, in January 2011, after then-council member Chris Monzel became a Hamilton County commissioner, Murray was appointed to his council seat.

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