Indefinite benefits, like indirect benefits, are often not dealt with
by ethics codes, and this means that they can cause confusion and controversy. This is one reason I
tend to speak in terms of "possible conflicts," because possible
conflicts based on indefinite benefits can be just as injurious to the
public trust as certain conflicts based on certain benefits.
In the current situation in Cincinnati, it is not certain whether the
streetcar project will benefit the council member's family firm, nor is
it even certain that the streetcar route will run by or near the family
firm's property, as the council member pointed out in his
to the editor
. However, the great likelihood, based on other such
projects and the intent of this project, is that it will benefit all
nearby properties and businesses.