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Qualls, Cranley at odds over mayoral debates

On the same day, mayoral candidate John Cranley proposed a debate soon over the issue of privatizing parking meters, his opponent, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, proposed a series of five post-primary debates - after council has acted on the parking issue.

Cranley, a former city council member, opposes the plan - which has yet to be formally introduced in Cincinnati City Council - while Qualls is a supporter.

Qualls' call for five debates presumes that she and Cranley will be the two top vote-getters in the Sept. 10 primary and face each other in the fall. Jim Berns, a Libertarian, has already filed petitions to run for mayor, and others may join before the June filing deadline.

Qualls, in a letter to Cranley from her campaign manager, Jens Sutmoller, proposed a series of five debates "organized by neutral civil organizations and local network affiliates." At least three should be held in three different regions of the city.

Sutmoller told Cranley in his letter that "few are served by a debate on a singular issue that you claim to oppose even before the actual proposal, including all the facts and details, are known."

Cranley said he had no objection to post-primary debates, but said "it is a little presumptuous. I don't make the presumption that we are going to win the primary. I think there will be a vigorous primary."  

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.