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Canned goods for Cincy parking fines rejected; but idea may not be dead

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Sarah Ramsey
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A Cincinnati Council Committee Monday rejected a plan to let people donate ten cans of food to the Freestore Foodbank to erase parking meter fines.  But the “Food for Fines” idea may not be dead yet.  

Council Member Chris Seelbach may use Council rules to force a vote on the issue Wednesday call special sessions later in the week to get it approved.  

He said the plan would not cost the city a lot of money.

“We are giving up a little bit of revenue,” Seelbach said.  “But the purpose of this really is to do something that I think the public will appreciate, that will generate perhaps thousands of canned goods for those that are hungry, and that will hopefully make the public say ‘wow’ this is government that really is working for us.”

It would let people who received two or fewer parking meter tickets this year, pay off one of them by donating canned goods.  The program would apply to about 4,500 people and would be offered for a week starting next Monday.

“These are very difficult times and I think responsible government needs to look for as many ways as possible to be of service to people who often don’t have a voice,” said Council Member Wendell Young, speaking in favor of the proposal.

Six Council members signed a motion in favor of “Food for Fines.”  But only one of them is a member of the Law and Public Safety committee, which is why the item was rejected by the group.  

Seelbach may use Council rules to bring the plan up for a vote by the full council anyway.  That could lead to a conflict with Mayor John Cranley, who's also expressed concerns about the issue.

Lexington, Kentucky, has offered a similar program for parking violations.  But it last for a month and about 2,000 canned goods were collected.