They say arsonists like to watch the fires they set.
Chris Finney, the one-man wrecking crew who has concocted one crisis after another for the past 20 years, lurked outside Tuesday night's No on 48 party at Arnold's.
Finney was the author of the Issue 48 ballot language, the charter amendment that promised to kill the modern streetcar and all other transit or passenger rail efforts until 2020. With the exception of their October 3 fundraiser at Mecklenburg Gardens, which I reported only drew about 15 people but nevertheless attracted TV coverage, their campaign consisted only of Mark Miller's insane tweets, which might put the Hyde Park bum behind bars, and endless free publicity provided by the leg humpers at 700 WLW and The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Unlike 2009's Issue 9, Finney and COAST had no election night party (if you remember The Enquirer's photos from that "event" two years ago, it consisted of Finney, Chris Smitherman, and maybe two other people sitting in an empty Pleasant Ridge bar). Instead, the group's Tuesday night activities consisted entirely of Chris Finney, alone, mugging for the media that gathered for the No on 48 event:
What is so frightening about it all is that Issue 48 came so close to passing, with the pro-campaign having raised under $200. It's safe to say that without the efforts of 100 volunteers, and Cincinnatians for Progress having raised tens of thousands of dollars, the charter amendment would have passed.
So this near-miss means that Finney will almost certainly launch a third charter amendment ballot issue to kill the streetcar project in 2012. AND he will word it in such a way as to affect all other passenger rail. AND although Cincinnati city council saw significant turnover, the local media will be the same local media, and will keep humping Finney's leg.
If Smitherman's inexplicable election to council means an end to the NAACP infrastructure that had allowed Finney to lob four charter amendments onto city ballots in the past24 months, he will surely busy himself with lawsuit after lawsuit aimed at blocking the streetcar project, when he's not filing frivolous lawsuits against streetcar supporters themselves.
No doubt Finney took notice of Chris Seelbach's election to city council last night -- Seelbach's entrance into local political affairs was the successful 2004 campaign to overturn the 1993 Finney-authored Article XII charter amendment. Finney's outrageous activities have caused many others -- including myself -- who formerly watched civic affairs from the sidelines to get involved.
That it takes a loose network of 100 people and tens of thousands of dollars annually to contain this man is testament to the total absence of a functioning media in this town.