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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Referendum petition on parking lease successful

Sarah Ramsey

Opponents of Cincinnati's parking lease plan have enough valid signatures to place the city ordinance on the November ballot.

Hamilton County Board of Elections director Amy Searcy said election officials have checked about two-thirds of the 19,803 signatures submitted by opponents of the plan to outsource Cincinnati parking meters and garages and 8,727 signatures were from registered Cincinnati voters.

Opponents of the parking lease needed 8,522 signatures to place the ordinance on the ballot.

City council previously passed the measure on a 5-4 vote. Opponents of the plan, which would mean a $92 million up front payment to the city from private companies brought on to run the parking system, went to court, where Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Winkler issued a permanent injunction preventing the city from implementing the plan.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. have said that, without the lease of the parking system, the city will be forced to plug a budget hole by laying off workers, including police and firefighters.

The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), the NAACP, and numerous individual citizens circulated the petitions.

Searcy said the board of elections is required to check the rest of the signatures and will finish the job early next week.

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