Cincinnati mayoral candidates go head-to-head in final televised debate


Marc Kennedy

Cincinnati mayoral candidates Roxanne Qualls (left) and John Cranley (right) shared their viewpoints on several issues at their debate on Oct. 24. This final Cincinnati mayoral debate took place at 12:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom.

The candidates for the position of Cincinnati mayor participated in their final debate Oct. 24 at 12:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom.

John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls gave their viewpoints on issues such as the streetcar project, the parking meter lease, and the increase in homicides in Cincinnati.

The candidates’ views on the streetcar project clashed during the debate.

Cranley said the streetcar project is unaffordable. “It’s way too much money for little benefit,” he said.

Cranley said the track is “only 3.5 miles” and that there is no plan to cover operational costs for the streetcar.  Cranley said there are better ways to spend the money. He also mentioned that the project was started six years ago and still hasn’t been completed.

Roxanne Qualls, a supporter for the streetcar project, said the project would bring jobs to Cincinnati.  Qualls also said the project would increase property values and the tax base.  Qualls said even though the project has been held up twice, it is going to happen. She said track for the streetcar project has already been laid.

Leasing the parking services was another subject that the candidates had opposing views on.

Qualls supports leasing the parking meters.  She said the negative talk surrounding the enforcement of parking and raising parking rates isn’t true.

Cranley does not back the parking meter lease.

“It’s stealing from the future to spend today,” said Cranley.

Cranley said that giving up the revenue to an outside company would allow current politicians to spend money now and add future debt.

“When you’re in a hole and you’re trying get out of it you stop digging,” said Cranley.

Violent crime was another issue that the two candidates addressed.

“Gun violence is particularly a scourge in our neighborhoods,” said Qualls.

Qualls said the community has to come together to lead young people away from the path of gun violence.  She said she supports changing state and federal law.

Cranley said that homicides are up by 50 percent this year alone and it is “a major crisis.” He said more police officers need to be put on the street immediately.

Roxanne Qualls served as Mayor of Cincinnati from 1993 to 1999. She is currently a member of city council where she has served since 2007.

John Cranley is a former city council member, where he served from 2000 to 2009.

The Rotary Club of Cincinnati hosted the debate. Other sponsors included The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cincinnati Business Courier, and WLWT Channel 5.