ISSUES

Cincinnati has tremendous potential - if we only imagine & build a city with Equitable Opportunity. On City Council, Mark will focus on:

Fueling a vibrant, growing economy with good-paying jobs

Cities are either growing or dying.  And equitable growth and equitable opportunity is critical: A good-paying job provides the resources to support a family.  If you work hard then this should be a city where you should be able to earn a good wage, afford a nice roof over your head and take care of your children.

As a corporate leader and entrepreneur, Mark understands what it takes to grow businesses, and as a union laborer, he also understands the role that skilled trades play in creating opportunity.

On City Council he will: 

  • Immediately expand outdoor dining across the 52 neighborhoods to protect jobs during the pandemic & build a more vibrant city longer-term;
  • Attract Cincinnatians who work in jobs that are now remote in other cities back to Cincinnati to expand our tax base and tech jobs.
  • Invest in minority entrepreneurship to spur innovation.
  • Make Cincinnati the Arts Capital of the Heartland by supporting the arts as an economic engine.

Let’s imagine & build it together!

Getting Cincinnatians to Jobs via Affordable Transportation

A robust transportation system is about equitable opportunity.  That means that if you live in Westwood and your job is in Madisonville that you have a direct bus to get there with a regular schedule and that it’s as easy and safe to bike to work as it is to drive – so you don’t need a $30,000 car but can get there with a $100 bike.  That infrastructure not only supports working families in getting to jobs, but also attracts companies and talent.   

As an elected trustee on a neighborhood council, in partnership with key stakeholders, Mark imagined and is building some of that bike infrastructure already on Clifton Avenue and Ludlow Avenue.  As the founder of a wellness non-profit, in partnership with neighborhood leaders, he imagined and built walking routes in neighborhoods ranging from Avondale to Mt Washington.  

On City Council, Mark will:

  • Expand bike infrastructure such as the Crown trail system and making walking safer.
  • Partner with the county & federal government to fund the Western Hills Viaduct and other critical infrastructure projects.
  • Develop innovative partnerships to advance eBike adoption that make biking in a hilly city easier and more irresistible.

Let’s imagine & build it together!

Transforming Cincinnati into the Greenest City in America

Sustainability is not just about a better planet. It intersects with jobs, public health, and socio-economic justice. Green jobs are well-paying ones that will bring employers to Cincinnati and last well into the future. We can’t just create jobs: we need to break barriers to getting them. To work you need to be healthy, and Cincinnati having some of the worst air quality in the country is a threat to people’s health. That is a barrier. Environmental issues disproportionately affect communities of color. That is another barrier. In the climate crisis, we are dually tasked with preventing future harm to our planet and righting harm that has already been done. Cincinnati is not only up to that challenge but can become the Greenest City in America.

On City Council, Mark will:

  • Implement all 88 recommendations of the Green Cincinnati Plan and carefully track progress with a quarterly report and creation of a new standing Committee on Environment and Sustainability
  • Set the more aggressive goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2040 rather than 2050
  • Build up green infrastructure including 100 miles of protected bike lanes, 2,000 bike parking spaces, switching 100% of City of Cincinnati to LED, and eliminating 100% of lead piping
  • Address issues specific to disadvantaged communities by funding air quality monitoring and eliminating the 10°F disparity between neighborhoods by achieving 50% canopy coverage throughout the city

Let’s imagine & build it together!

Enabling a Healthier Cincinnati

The pandemic has shown a bright light on our health issues as a city including health disparities.  Our city is less healthy than many others, which must change.

As someone who founded a wellness non-profit, in partnership with neighborhood councils, Mark has energized thousands of Cincinnatians to walk.  On the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, he has supported a focus on neighborhood parks to make Cincinnatians healthier.  On Clifton Town Meeting, he has worked to make our streets safer to walk; he has also imagined protected bike lanes and is building them in partnership with key stakeholders.

On City Council, Mark will:

  • Support funding initiatives like Cradle Cincinnati
  • Explore innovative models to reduce racial disparities in health care (like the Northpoint Health Center in Minneapolis)
  • Support our parks & recreations centers as enablers to healthy behaviors including building equitable tree canopy coverage in all neighborhoods
  • Energize the city to take up walking – including challenging other cities (Pittsburgh)  to a city-wide walking challenge similar to the go Vibrant Million Step Neighborhood Challenge. 

Let’s imagine & build it together!

Expanding Access to Affordable Housing

As someone who spent three quarters of his life as a renter, Mark understands what a challenge it is to find housing that is affordable. There is a severe housing shortage in Cincinnati that is damaging people’s lives. The failure of the Housing Charter Amendment does not give an excuse for City Hall to continually kick the can down the road. Rather, anyone who voted against Issue 3 is morally obligated to propose and fight for a better alternative: a collaborative plan that combines short and long-term solutions and addresses the regional aspect of the issue. The work done previously on preschool and transportation proves there is a precedent for the broader community coming together to fix this problem.

On City Council, Mark will:

  • Allocate more money to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, including $50M from the American Rescue Plan
  • Incentivize home ownership via a rent-to-own/dividend housing initiative, expanded access to lending products, and a property tax rollback
  • Build more housing units through comprehensive zoning reform and altering tax abatements to better assist lower-income neighborhoods
  • Implement a housing court to keep negligent landlords accountable

Let’s imagine & build it together!

Building Stronger, Safer Neighborhoods

Our 52 neighborhoods are the core of who we are, and neighborhood councils are critical partners in building stronger and safer neighborhoods.

Mark serves on a neighborhood council so he recognizes the important role they play in building neighborhood plans block-by-block and in facilitating community engagement.  It’s the approach go Vibrant took through his leadership – designing walking routes in collaboration with 21 neighborhoods.

On City Council, Mark will:

  • Pilot programs like CAHOOTS in Eugene, OR: safer streets by deploying a team of paramedics & social workers to mental health calls; proven to work and save $
  • Support funding for longer-term community plans & for community councils the incubators of ideas
  • Developing a housing strategy urgently to build the affordable housing we need & bring more quality housing as well as home ownership into neighborhoods
  • Continuing to improve the walkability of neighborhoods. 

Let’s imagine & build it together!

Empowering Working Families to Thrive

About 25% of our fellow Cincinnatians live below the poverty line – top 5 in the country – and 40% of children.   When a quarter of a city’s population is not reaching their full potential that does not enable a city to thrive. Working families living below the poverty line are unable to buy a home, invest in their children’s education or start small businesses which are engines of wealth creation. Companies are also reluctant to invest in a city where this level of disparity exists. 

Mark’s passion for this issue is based on his lived experience growing up working poor along with his experience starting companies, and working at one of Cincinnati’s leading employers.  Mark recognizes that there are no simple solutions to tackling this challenge, and a lot of great work is already underway.  We know this: we don’t need studies, but experimentation with business community, non-profit, neighborhood leadership, and leadership in the faith community to build solutions based on trust.

On City Council, Mark will:

  • Bring his start-up spirit of continuous experimentation to tackle this challenge. He has already started to build the right relationships in the faith community and with community leaders to make this happen.
  • Focus on strategies to build wealth – ensuring entrepreneurs of color in particular have access to capital
  • Build solutions focused on the 40% of children in poverty (2x higher than the national average).

It will take hard work and time in order to make progress, but Mark will not shy away from tackling it.  Mark did not pull the ladder up from behind when he had support to succeed and he’s not going to start now.  Let’s imagine & build it together!