Last year, Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Bortz asked the Ohio Ethics Commission whether his family's property interests on and around the proposed streetcar route posed a conflict of interest that could prevent him from voting on the issue.
The answer that came back was an unequivocal yes, with a state ethics attorney advising Bortz to not vote on the streetcar project or even discuss it with city officials. The Enquirer obtained the letter Tuesday.
Yet last week, when a council committee recommended that $2.6 million be spent on streetcar planning - the biggest commitment of local dollars to date - Bortz sided with the majority in the 6-2 vote.
At Wednesday's council meeting, Bortz intends to not only vote for that $2.58 million allocation, but also to push for Cincinnati to proceed with plans to issue $64 million in bonds for the streetcar, provided the city secures about the same amount in state and federal funds needed to complete the project's $128 million first phase.
In doing so, Bortz is relying on a city solicitor's opinion that finds no conflict and that clears him, at this stage, to participate in streetcar decisions.
By the way, Bortz is a Charterite, basically a "progressive" democrat with a cooler name.
Wow a politician lining his pockets with taxpayer money! Now that's "progressive"!