Saturday, October 24, 2009

Interview with Laure Quinlivan, Democratic Candidate for Cincinnati City Council

Laure Quinlivan is a Democrat running for Cincinnati City Council. She is a former I-Team Reporter with Channel 9 and currently describes herself as a mother and a new small business owner. Quinlivan is endorsed my Mayor Mark Mallory, U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, several current City Council members and various organizations such as CincyPac, Equality Cincinnati and the AFLCIO.

CB: On your website you state: "My experience as a watchdog for taxpayers will pay off for you. If you liked me on the I-Team, you’ll love me on City Council, and this time, I’ll be reporting directly to you." As a reporter, there is a certain level of trust that you must establish with the public so that they can believe the information that they receive is accurate and trustworthy. What measures of transparency will you establish so that the public can trust you as a "watchdog" who has their best interests at heart?

LQ: I would be in favor of posting online as much of our Cincinnati government budget items and expenses as possible, so the public can see what government is doing with tax dollars.

Another plan I have is to report directly to citizens through my web site, with stories and videos on important issues. For example, right now on, people can watch my in-depth video report on Streetcars. It shows what I found visiting Portland and some German cities with streetcars. I produced an animation of the proposed Cincinnati streetcar route so people can see where it’s going to go, because everyone I speak with wants to know detail like this.

CB: Do you support the proposed Streetcar plan? Why or why not?

LQ: I strongly support the streetcar plan because I think it’s the best thing we can do to repopulate downtown and OTR and grow our tax base who we have more revenue. The streetcar investment will bring us more than a billion dollars in private investment. I base this on my research and interviews with Portland’s Mayor and streetcar riders, and my transportation experts I met in Portland and Germany on my trips to investigate streetcars.

In addition, streetcars will be our first step in modern public transportation which we desperately need in this city. Transportation was the #1 priority identified by the thousands of people who participated in Agenda 360. Finally, streetcars will help our environment by getting people out of cars, the top source of pollution in Cincinnati.

CB: Would you support the implementation of a Domestic Partnership registry for the City of Cincinnati, as has been done in places like Toledo and Cleveland? Why or why not?

LQ: Yes, I think it’s the right thing to do. I believe in equal rights for everyone.

CB: On your website, you state that you will continue to make Cincinnati "green" by "creating more urban farms, community gardens, bike paths and green space." What will your first priority be to continue to "green" Cincinnati if you are elected to office?

LQ: Getting involved in the Banks project to ensure bike paths and public green spaces are part of the plan, I will talk to our city/county transportation and planning folks about how we can create more bike paths whenever we re-do a road.

I will also use my reporting skills to highlight the good “green” projects by neighborhoods and groups to help inspire and encourage other people and businesses to do the same.

CB: On your website you mention the importance of creating more public spaces in Cincinnati. Currently, 3CDC has taken more control in the operation of Fountain Square downtown. Are you worried about the influence of corporate interests on public spaces? If so, how would you work to ensure that people would be able to freely gather to express their opinions within newly created public spaces?

LQ: I am really not worried about that right now, because I think 3CDC’s changes to Fountain Square have been a major improvement. Many, many more people gather at FS than they did before. That said,I will always be in favor of ensuring people’s right to gather and express their opinions in public spaces.

CB: What is your position on ordinance 910-23, Cincinnati’s “anti-marijuana ordinance”? Should it stay on the books, or be repealed—and why?

LQ: If the ordinance has not produced good results for citizens and in fact, is a drain on resources, I’ll be in favor of repealing it. Iwant to talk to more involved parties before making a final decision, including police officers.

CB: GOP Mayoral Candidate Brad Wenstrup wants undercover outside agents to spy on Cincinnati police to monitor their behavior. Do you think this a good idea? Why or why not?

LQ: I’m not familiar with his plan. However, as a former I-Team reporter, I did undercover investigations which sometimes involved police. For example, a few years ago the I-Team partnered with ABC’s 20/20 to test several police agencies in our region, to get police reaction when a citizen asks about how to file a citizen complaint against police. We conducted this undercover test at more than 15 local police stations. A couple police officers from departments outside the city were very rude and intimidating to our citizen tester, but the Cincinnati Police district officers reacted very professionally. I’m not against undercover work, but it all depends on the proposal and the credibility of who’s doing the undercover work..

CB: In your experience as a reporter you have been privy to many of the inner-workings of the City of Cincinnati over the years. What is the biggest lesson that you have learned about politics in this City and how will that lesson shape your actions if you are elected to Council?

LQ: The lesson is: government is not efficient, open and responsive to citizens. I think it should be. Citizens (and journalists) find it hard to get through all the red tape, and service is slow. I’ve learned we need to put incentives in place to encourage city employees to help us find solutions, save money, and achieve excellence in our government. It would be money well spent.

This interview is cross posted here.

Above Photo Courtesy of here.

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