Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chris Seelbach Running for Cincinnati City Council

I'll preface this by saying that Chris and I are dear friends.

And I'll say that I've been begging him to let me write a blog post about his campaign for weeks. The fact is, Chris has been hesitant to seek any press at all. He finally agreed to let me pen something when I convinced him that enough people know about his aspirations by now, and that someone is going to write something about it sooner or later.

A friend might get an opportunity to break it, right?

Now that I've revealed the nature of my relationship, some of you may very well dismiss my post. But the things I'm going to share about Chris aren't personal or rose-colored, they're the kinds of things that people from a variety of political perspectives can admire - and do.

So. Yes. Chris Seelbach is running for City Council.

What does that mean? Who is Chris?

An Over-the-Rhine homeowner, I've had the pleasure of witnessing Chris's passion for local politics during our work together on CincyPAC. Through it all, Chris is committed to making the best Cincinnati this city has seen in years.

He's dedicated to creating a community that draws people who want to live here, work here and raise families here.

Chris says he wants to make changes to Cincinnati's current zoning policies to ensure we can enjoy livable neighborhoods that once again allow for a better mixed use of retail and residential offerings. Don't you enjoy the way Hyde Park allows neighbors to walk to a square full of shops, restaurants and other businesses?

Cincinnati's current zoning laws wouldn't allow the city to develop a similar community. Chris wants to change that, and he's already teaming up with Vice-Mayor Roxanne Qualls to learn how other cities are executing this kind of reform.

Most city residents are aware of the Queen City's budget woes. Tough choices have to be made. Still, Chris wants to champion elements that are so important to citizens.

Can you imagine a Cincinnati without a Reds Opening Day Parade? Chris wants to preserve that strong tradition for years to come.

He also is concerned about Cincinnati's future, and knows recycling is a responsible way each resident can do his or her part to help protect and improve the environment.

Another vital city resource that Chris wants to protect - our community centers, which offer so many programs that help our seniors stay active and healthy.

Some of you might be wondering, what about crime? If Chris makes it to council, what's he going to do about safety?

He and I have both discussed our shared interest in and support of the city's CIRV (Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence) program, which aims to rehabilitate offenders and help make neighborhoods safer without adding more police to the streets and accruing overtime costs.

My favorite thing about Chris is that he is passionate, and cares deeply about his neighborhood. A proud OtR resident, he has long championed improved transportation offerings, as well as incentives that help local businesses take root and thrive in the city. Chris and his partner Craig's hospitality has convinced me I should move to Over-the-Rhine and be part of the energy in this emerging neighborhood.

So I am.

I am so proud of Chris for running for office. If elected, Chris would be the first openly gay member of Cincinnati's City Council. This is a great triumph in itself, but it doesn't overshadow the many ideas and passions Chris brings to the table.

Chris is a good friend, but more importantly, he's a great neighbor for our community, and I trust he'll make the best decisions for Cincinnati.
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