Revolutionizing how decision makers learn from their communities.

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"I can promise you this is going to be implemented at City Hall."

Progress comes in many forms. 


Last week at our second annual Policy Pitch Night, progress was a group of families from all over Cincinnati coming together to hear six thoughtful citizens “pitch” their ideas to improve our city in front of three City Council Members. At least one idea - ending the practice of screening for past marijuana misdemeanors in City hiring practices - is already on its way to becoming City policy, and more are likely to follow. 


It was a beautiful display of what our civic spaces can look like: elected officials, citizens, neighbors, exchanging ideas that would make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives, and having a good time doing it. 


Sometimes progress requires drawn-out, knock-down fights. Sometimes, however, we can transform our communities by listening to and learning from other peoples’ ideas in a way that builds connections and deepens trust. 


The five PPN finalists were absolutely incredible (you can read more about them here) but believe us when we say it was hard to choose just five! 


Today, we’re sharing ALL of the dozens of excellent policy idea submissions we received (the five finalists’ ideas are italicized at the beginning). 


Let us know your favorite!


Eliminating Screening for Marijuana Misdemeanors

The city should not screen for marijuana misdemeanors in their background check policies.


Abatements for Residents in Newly-Desirable Communities


Cincinnati ought to provide "abatements" for residents who have lived in newly desirable communities for years. 


Establishment of Lactation Accommodations in City-Owned Buildings


The City of Cincinnati should create a bill, similar to the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act passed in 2017, requiring all city owned or leased buildings to provide designated private and hygienic spaces other than a bathroom for nursing mothers. 


Raise Crosswalks within One Mile of CBDs and Schools

Cincinnati should require that all crosswalks within one mile of a Community Benefit District (CBD) or school be raised. Turning each crosswalk into a "speed table" could reduce speeding by 50% and save pedestrian lives.


Granting All Tenants Facing Eviction Access to Legal Counsel


The city of Cincinnati should require, by law, that every tenant facing eviction has access to legal counsel, regardless of ability to pay.


Establishment of Needle Exchange Program


Cincinnati should establish a needle exchange program through the Health Department, designed to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other infections associated with needle-sharing among injection drug users.


Task Force to Improve Mental Health


Cincinnati should create a task force for population mental health, tasked with assessing mental health in the city and opportunities for proactive population-level interventions to promote social connectedness and build mental health equity. 


Requirement of CPD Officers to Carry and Distribute Information Cards


Cincinnati's Police Officers should be required to carry and distribute — upon introduction — information cards stating their name, badge number, district and supervisor, and station contact information, fostering trust and transparency. 


Freedom Summer Festival to Promote Civic Engagement


Cincinnati should host a Freedom Summer Festival with fun music and creative events, based on the history of freedom summers, with a focus on civic engagement and voter registration.


Incentivizing Reduction or Elimination of Single-Use Plastic and Other Products


Cincinnati should create a policy to drastically reduce the use of single-plastic in our city. "The Last Straw Cincy" would require that businesses ask customers before automatically including single-use plastic in their orders, as well as offer incentives to businesses who adopt more sustainable practices.


Service Hour Requirement for Elected Officials


All elected officials within the City of Cincinnati be required to complete sixty hours of community service each year they are in office. Their volunteering must be on the front lines of no more than three local nonprofits, conducted without a media presence.


More Effective Schedule for Street Sweeping


Cincinnati should develop a more effective street sweeping schedule with signage that tells residents when to move cars, helping to keep roads clean, control dust and decrease pollution.


Lowering the Voting Age to 16


Cincinnati should lower the voting age to 16 through a multi-faceted process including poll voters’ thoughts on lowering age and mandating civic education classes in middle school. 


Greenery Policy for Parking Lots


Every new parking lot, whether an 8-story garage or a surface parking lot, should have a grass/other greenery surface on the top, and existing parking establishments would have three years to make the transition to make Cincinnati more environmentally friendly.


Organizing a City-Focused Re-Entry Task Force


Create a re-entry task force that examines sustainable re-entry policies and programs for the City of Cincinnati that cycle of incarceration, re-entry and recidivism.


Taxpayer Investment Report


All requests for tax abatements, zoning changes, city land purchases/eminent domain, CDBG and HSF grants must provide a simple, standard form with an expected Return on Investment calculation prior to a vote by the decision-making body.


Initiative to End Food Waste in the City


Cincinnati should require food service operators, holding contracts in city-owned properties, to donate and/or compost excess food as opposed to throwing it away. 


Removal of "Rush Hour" Traffic Lanes


Cincinnati should remove "rush hour" traffic lanes, especially in the Urban Core, which is bad for walkability and small businesses, and reduces meter revenue. 


Community Spaces in All New Residential Developments


Any new residential construction or development that receives city money should be required to include some type of community space to benefit the neighborhood. 


Establishing Kindergarten Savings Accounts throughout CPS


Establish a public-private partnership, “Kindergarten to Success" program, that would give every Cincinnati Public School (CPS) kindergartner a savings account with a "seed" deposit of $50.


Preventing Displacement of People of Color from Developing Neighborhoods


Create a policy to ensure that longtime residents of historically black neighborhoods who are on a fixed income are protected from increased property taxes. 


Volunteer-Led Tutoring Program at CRCs


Cincinnati Recreation Centers should open up free space for volunteer-led programming for tutoring in math and reading.


Leverage of NBDIP Funding


Leverage the City’s Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program funding to incentivize more urban-friendly zoning.


Development of a LOS Measurement


Develop a Pedestrian Level of Service measurement that would describe the expected wait for a pedestrian to receive enough time to safely cross the street.


Safety Tape Requirement for Consumer Protection


Require all prepared food delivery products to be sealed with a safety strip or tape for the safety of customers who utilize the rapidly delivery growing services. 


Thanks for stopping by our blog! In case we haven’t met yet, we’re Cohear, a community engagement and strategy company based in Cincinnati. Want to learn more? Visit us on Facebook to stay up to date or contact us via email!