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Charter Challenge: Petitions Submitted for Council Reform

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Politics Charter Challenge: Petitions Submitted for Council Reform

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  • #1084649

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Columbus has grown over the past 100 years, but the Columbus City Council has not, remaining at seven members elected at large since 1916.

    A group of community activists wants to change that, although chances are low that their petition for changes to the city charter will make it to the ballot.

    The Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government submitted a petition on Tuesday that, if passed, would restructure the city council.

    The council would expand to 11 members, with seven from districts drawn by a nonpartisan board and the other four elected at large. Now, all seven serve at large…. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/07/08/petition-seeks-changes-to-city-council.html

    #1084655

    NDaEast
    Participant

    City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer had prepared a memo to council stating his opinion that the petitions violated the charter’s single subject requirement, by containing provisions requiring council to enact a publicly funded campaign finance program and requiring council to allow candidates to access Publicly-owned or operated TV stations during the election season in efforts to lower the costs of elections and allow all candidates to get their messages to the people.

    Pfeiffer’s memo to Council and the Coalition’s two responses detailing why the legal reasoning appears politically-motivated rather than legally sound are here: here.

    The Coalition in a final email urges council to review case law on single subject,which is clear that the rule is to prevent disunity in legislation rather than plurality of topics on the same issue, and reject Rick Pfeiffer’s wrong-headed legal opinion and place the issue on the ballot if sufficient signatures are determined by the Franklin County Board of Elections over the next two weeks.

    #1084668

    roy
    Participant

    The Charter reform initiative is proposed as one single ballot issue?! Oh gee.

    #1084688

    Nancy H
    Participant

    Someone would have to work long and hard to convince me to support this change.

    Maybe I am politically naive, but I have always felt that what is good for Columbus as it city is also good for the various neighborhoods. I like having our council members represent the entire City, rather that a specific area/neighborhood/section. Special interest groups are rarely a good thing in politics.

    According to The National League of Cities “Councils can range in size from 5 to 51 across the nation, although the national average is six.” Is there really much difference between the majority vote among 7 people and the majority vote among 11 people. In most cases, the larger the group involved, the longer it takes to reach a decision.

    But mostly I don’t think you could divide Columbus up into 7 areas that makes any kind of sense. Yes, we have lots of neighborhoods with different characteristics and needs. But we are talking about improving the quality of life for the citizens, not the land mass. The NLoC also reports that Council members in two-thirds of cities are elected at-large, rather than by district.

    Just imagine… Lots of folks on CU are big supporters of councilman Shannon Hardin, who I believe still lives on the south side. He is openly gay as well as black. Does he have to consider moving to a higher percentile gay or black “section” to continue supporting gay and/or black causes in Columbus? Oh my! He is also very involved with our younger voters. Maybe he needs to move to the campus section if he wants to keep doing that.

    #1084692
    hugh59
    hugh59
    Participant

    The challenges faced in getting this type of initiative on the ballot is proof that the system needs changing. Initiatives proposed by the council (or its allies) can break any rule and be named in any way they want and still get on the ballot.

    Just because the city does not appear to be in trouble now does not mean that change is not needed. The current council is plagued by group-think. The council depends on one member, president Ginther, to raise all the money. None of them seem to have much campaign sense. They talk about ideals then make back room deals.

    #1084712

    Nancy H
    Participant

    Columbus voters approved Issues 6, 7 and 8 back in November. They contained 19 changes to the city’s constitution, which lays out how the city is governed. One of those changes was requiring the city to produce templates that petitioners can use for an initiative, referendum, recall or charter amendment. It is unfortunate that the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government started collecting signatures before the ballot issue paperwork (approved by voters in November) was finalized. But, Mr Beard most certainly knew new forms/templates were in the works. He spearheaded opposition to Issue 7, which dealt specifically with changes to the system for circulating petitions for initiatives, referendums, recalls and charter amendments.

    Like hugh59, I am not too thrilled with some of our City Council members. But, in all honesty, I can only really complain about the ones I voted for.

    To me real reform would be City Council members as full time jobs and not the part time gravy train it is currently.

    #1084725

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Someone would have to work long and hard to convince me to support this change.

    Maybe I am politically naive, but I have always felt that what is good for Columbus as it city is also good for the various neighborhoods. I like having our council members represent the entire City, rather that a specific area/neighborhood/section. Special interest groups are rarely a good thing in politics.

    According to The National League of Cities “Councils can range in size from 5 to 51 across the nation, although the national average is six.” Is there really much difference between the majority vote among 7 people and the majority vote among 11 people. In most cases, the larger the group involved, the longer it takes to reach a decision.

    But mostly I don’t think you could divide Columbus up into 7 areas that makes any kind of sense. Yes, we have lots of neighborhoods with different characteristics and needs. But we are talking about improving the quality of life for the citizens, not the land mass. The NLoC also reports that Council members in two-thirds of cities are elected at-large, rather than by district.

    Just imagine… Lots of folks on CU are big supporters of councilman Shannon Hardin, who I believe still lives on the south side. He is openly gay as well as black. Does he have to consider moving to a higher percentile gay or black “section” to continue supporting gay and/or black causes in Columbus? Oh my! He is also very involved with our younger voters. Maybe he needs to move to the campus section if he wants to keep doing that.

    I won’t expect to convince anyone in a post, but there will hopefully be a campaign and both sides can be fairly heard. For now I’ll give some reasons why it is a good idea. The average city council for the largest 50 cities in America is 13: 11 elected from Districts and 2 At Large. This is not “special interests” — this is citizen representation. Detroit, Austin, and Seattle were the most recent (last) big cities to abandon all At Large systems, leaving Columbus as the largest (Portland, #29 is the only top 50 city with all At Large governance).

    At Large elections are designed to secure the advantages of the wealthy and the existing elites. They were first promoted in the early late 1800’s/1900s by big business industrialists concerned about losing political power to German, Polish, Slovakian, and Italian immigrants who were coming to America, settling into ethnic enclaves, and developing political power. The solution: a big business model of top down governance — a small group of tight-knit elites direct the masses of citizens. (Attorney Hugh Huntington chaired Columbus’s first charter committee in 1914.) The second round of At Large promotion happened across the Deep South after the voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed. In 1982, Congress declared it to be an unlawful voter dilution strategy in communities with a history of racially polarized elections.

    At Large elections are expensive (ie., running across 225 square miles vs. some fraction thereof), which limits competition to those who have kissed enough party a$$ or are viewed as sufficiently weak and pliable to be manipulated by the powerful. They may be good and competent people, but without outside support, they are weak citywide candidates.

    For Black candidates, Andy Ginther has funded from 73% – 90% of their campaigns in the last two cycles — which is one reason many of us don’t feel like our community’s interests are well represented downtown. It is why council could do 0.54% of its business with female and minority businesses in 2013, a similar amount in 2012 (though up to 10% in 2014) and nobody says anything. It is why the city can support displacing 1,300 Black families on the Near East Side without a peep of objection from a single member of council. It is how stupid issues like Issue 6 and Issue 50 — both rejected by 70% of voters — make it to the ballot with 100% political support. It is how voter intent is thwarted by council overturning 5 votes on no public funding for professional sports arenas, but then without a vote buys Nationwide Arena, so the public takes the financial loss instead of the billionaire owners (Nationwide had profits of $1.6 BILLION in the year of the bailout). It is why government does not have to listen to citizens, because the seats are so expensive to run for that there is no competition.

    Under our proposal there would be 11 counclmembers, 4 AtLarge and 7 from Districts. To answer your question, Shannon could run for an At Large seat, or he could stand for election in any district in which he had lived for more than a year before nomination.

    We also reform the appointment process, so that District representatives are nominated by their neighborhoods and merely appointed by council, rather than (as is the current case) every one of the council members being initially appointed, then standing before voters for the first time as an incumbent with truck loads of party and council president money. This is one reason why Andy Ginther is now being accused of taking bribes — he had to fund the citywide campaigns of incumbents who could not afford their own elections.

    We also require council to enact a program of public funding of campaigns. They are our elections (the people of Columbus) and our seats they sit in — not the seats of the wealthiest contributors — and we want them back to work for us. We deserve 11 minds on council who are willing and able to debate issues to the benefit of their neighbor/constituents. You are right: different people bring different ideas and that requires a little more discussion and a little more negotiation — the essence of legislating. What stinks is the current 7 members seemingly sharing one mind (whoever has the money– regardless of whether the peoples’ interests are being served) because all appear concerned about getting cut from the gravy train. When did public debate and a little competition become bad in America?

    #1084730

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Columbus voters approved Issues 6, 7 and 8 back in November. They contained 19 changes to the city’s constitution, which lays out how the city is governed. One of those changes was requiring the city to produce templates that petitioners can use for an initiative, referendum, recall or charter amendment. It is unfortunate that the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government started collecting signatures before the ballot issue paperwork (approved by voters in November) was finalized. But, Mr Beard most certainly knew new forms/templates were in the works. He spearheaded opposition to Issue 7, which dealt specifically with changes to the system for circulating petitions for initiatives, referendums, recalls and charter amendments.

    Like hugh59, I am not too thrilled with some of our City Council members. But, in all honesty, I can only really complain about the ones I voted for.

    To me real reform would be City Council members as full time jobs and not the part time gravy train it is currently.

    Columbus voters approved Issues 6, 7 and 8 back in November. They contained 19 changes to the city’s constitution, which lays out how the city is governed. One of those changes was requiring the city to produce templates that petitioners can use for an initiative, referendum, recall or charter amendment. It is unfortunate that the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government started collecting signatures before the ballot issue paperwork (approved by voters in November) was finalized. But, Mr Beard most certainly knew new forms/templates were in the works. He spearheaded opposition to Issue 7, which dealt specifically with changes to the system for circulating petitions for initiatives, referendums, recalls and charter amendments.

    Like hugh59, I am not too thrilled with some of our City Council members. But, in all honesty, I can only really complain about the ones I voted for.

    To me real reform would be City Council members as full time jobs and not the part time gravy train it is currently.

    The petition template issue is not an issue we are concerned about: our submitted petitions’ circulator statements are correct. To the contrary, so citizens are supposed to wait until the city decides to get the forms together and watch the petition-gathering season wind down while we wait for forms from people who are apparently in no hurry to provide them?!? We took a calculated risk on that item, and it did not hurt us at the end of the day — and that is not our concern.

    Our concern is in the city attorney’s seemingly arbitrary decision that we violated the single subject rule. We’ve met with two election law firms –one of which called his opinion curious and not well-founded, and the other called it “bullshit.” (Read the case law in our letter to city council, posted to our webpage per the link in an earlier post.)

    The first thing we have to do is qualify with enough valid signatures– and that is a pretty high hurdle. And if we do that, then we don’t want to be subject to a city attorney and council that approved 19 different issues for the 3 city-sponsored charter amendments last fall, but refuses to allow citizens to legislate on the single issue of our council representation. We don’t want to go to court, but we will litigate, if needed, to preserve our access to the ballot if enough signatures are validated.

    Our current system is a cesspool. Anytime the majority of council members have to get more than half their campaign funding from the council president who initially appointed them, something is seriously broken, and it is up to the people to take hold of our democracy and fix it. We can’t expect fixes from those gaming the system — we have to do it ourselves, and I hope a majority of voters join in the effort (assuming it makes it to the ballot).

    #1084732

    NDaEast
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Nancy H wrote:</div>
    Columbus voters approved Issues 6, 7 and 8 back in November. They contained 19 changes to the city’s constitution, which lays out how the city is governed. One of those changes was requiring the city to produce templates that petitioners can use for an initiative, referendum, recall or charter amendment. It is unfortunate that the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government started collecting signatures before the ballot issue paperwork (approved by voters in November) was finalized. But, Mr Beard most certainly knew new forms/templates were in the works. He spearheaded opposition to Issue 7, which dealt specifically with changes to the system for circulating petitions for initiatives, referendums, recalls and charter amendments.

    Like hugh59, I am not too thrilled with some of our City Council members. But, in all honesty, I can only really complain about the ones I voted for.

    To me real reform would be City Council members as full time jobs and not the part time gravy train it is currently.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Nancy H wrote:</div>
    Columbus voters approved Issues 6, 7 and 8 back in November. They contained 19 changes to the city’s constitution, which lays out how the city is governed. One of those changes was requiring the city to produce templates that petitioners can use for an initiative, referendum, recall or charter amendment. It is unfortunate that the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government started collecting signatures before the ballot issue paperwork (approved by voters in November) was finalized. But, Mr Beard most certainly knew new forms/templates were in the works. He spearheaded opposition to Issue 7, which dealt specifically with changes to the system for circulating petitions for initiatives, referendums, recalls and charter amendments.

    Like hugh59, I am not too thrilled with some of our City Council members. But, in all honesty, I can only really complain about the ones I voted for.

    To me real reform would be City Council members as full time jobs and not the part time gravy train it is currently.

    The petition template issue is not an issue we are concerned about: our submitted petitions’ circulator statements are correct. To the contrary, so citizens are supposed to wait until the city decides to get the forms together and watch the petition-gathering season wind down while we wait for forms from people who are apparently in no hurry to provide them?!? We took a calculated risk on that item, and it did not hurt us at the end of the day — and that is not our concern.

    Our concern is in the city attorney’s seemingly arbitrary decision that we violated the single subject rule. We’ve met with two election law firms –one of which said his opinion was curious and did not appear to be well-founded, and the other called it “bullshit.” (Read the case law in our letter to city council, attached to this post and posted to our webpage per the link in an earlier post. In short, single subject rules prohibit disjointed issues with no logical connection, but do allow a plurality of related issues and comprehensive legislation.) So, why could city council pass charter amendment legislation with 19 different issues (including Issue 8 where one provision indexes their own salaries to inflation is rolled in with issues related to electronic records and other ministerial details of City Hall), but our single issue about council elections gets treated so differently by the city attorney — that is the unlawful arrogance of a political system that believes it is untouchable (again, illustrating a need for reform if the city attorney’s position is then adopted by council as a reason to not put it on the ballot).

    But the first thing we have to do is qualify with enough valid signatures – and that is a pretty high hurdle in itself. But if/when we do that, then we don’t want to be subject to a city attorney and council that approved 19 different issues for the 3 city-sponsored charter amendments last fall, but refuses to allow citizens to propose a single issue of our council representation. We don’t want to go to court, but we will litigate, if needed, to preserve our access to the ballot if enough signatures are validated.

    Our current system is a cesspool. Anytime the majority of council members have to get more than half their campaign funding from the council president who initially appointed them, something is seriously broken, and it is up to the people to take hold of our democracy and fix it. We can’t expect fixes from those gaming the system — we have to do it ourselves, and I hope a majority of voters join in the effort (assuming it makes it to the ballot).

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    #1084734

    rory
    Participant

    The only reason Columbus has an at-large system is to cut out the neighborhoods having a voice. Initially, those pesky wards that voted Socialist in the 1911 election. That’s what prompted the bi-partisan effort for the 1912 Columbus City Charter. It also disenfranchised the African American vote until the 1930s in Columbus which came in handy when instituting segregative practices in the 1920s. An at-large system also made it that much easier for Ohio State’s William Oxley Thompson to segregate the Columbus Public Schools as school board president. No overt political pressure from city government. A ward system might be messy but it does force the city to come to a consensus rather than getting a mandate from an at-large council. I think a lot of Columbus neighborhoods might be better off today if there had been adequate representation and airing of various neighborhood concerns in the past. But the bottom line is that the current at-large council system was specifically designed to disenfranchise the disaffected and those outside the established power structure and it continues to do its job. Try complaining to a council member about a neighborhood concern.

    #1084740

    Cbussmallbiz
    Participant

    The council and Gunther have ZERO respect for Columbus voters. The tricks to appoint members without having to run in an election is disgraceful. When you have federal prosecutors and the FBI leaking trail balloons it’s a sign (hopefully) that we have reached peak corruption. I know everyone is so excited about the downtown revitilazion…. The only problem is the rest of the city has a ton of issues and many stake holders feel voiceless. Have you ever been asked why you just don’t move by a CPD cop in response to quality of life issues you called about? Have you ever been asked the same thing by a judge? I’m 2 for 2 on those. Have you wondered why the Vassor Village sign a Woodrow and parson had a weed covering it for 2 years. Maybe it’s because it’s happening slowly that people are not noticing the failing ability of the city to maintain its self in ALL areas. The power structure lives in a fantasy land. created and enforced by themselves.

    #1084741

    Nancy H
    Participant

    NDaEast wrote “At Large elections are designed to secure the advantages of the wealthy and the existing elites.” Can you quote me something a little more recent and relevant to support that statement. Say something in the last 50 years – after we all got a bit smarter about women’s rights, racial equality, gay marriage, etc.

    NDaEast wrote “At Large elections are expensive (ie., running across 225 square miles vs. some fraction thereof)…” If you are talking about serious campaigns, with TV ads and such, the last time I looked we did not have TV spots broken down by neighborhoods. If you run an ad on the 11PM news everybody sees it, not just your neighborhood, so it costs the same no matter what. Running for office means talking to a lot of people and kissing a lot of butts as well as babies. Who said it should be easy. If it was that easy every moron in the city would run for public office. Some days it feels like they have. If someone from your area is running for public office, and you believe in them — support them with your wallet and your words. That is how elections are won.

    NDaEast wrote “We also require council to enact a program of public funding of campaigns. They are our elections (the people of Columbus) and our seats they sit in — not the seats of the wealthiest contributors — and we want them back to work for us.” There are some campaign contributions disclosure components coming from the November election and Issue 7. There are lots of ways to hide campaign contributions, so that might be a moot point. I don’t object to the citizens paying for political campaigns IF we gave them a chunk of money and said “that is it – that is all you get to spend.” Just handing everybody who wants to run for public office a check does not level the playing field.

    NDaEast wrote “We also reform the appointment process, so that District representatives are nominated by their neighborhoods and merely appointed by council, rather than (as is the current case) every one of the council members being initially appointed, then standing before voters for the first time as an incumbent with truck loads of party and council president money.” That did not make sense to me even after rereading it several times. You also said “Anytime the majority of council members have to get more than half their campaign funding from the council president who initially appointed them…” You make it sound like every current member of City Council was appointed rather than elected. I don’t object to changing how we fill vacancies. I am not thrilled with applying State law (as voted on last November), since our City Council is non-partisan, or supposed to be.

    NDaEast wrote “Our concern is in the city attorney’s seemingly arbitrary decision that we violated the single subject rule.” I am not an attorney or a mathematician but a petition that wants to change the number of council seats, how they are elected, creates public funding for elections, and requires televised candidate debates is far from a SINGLE ISSUE petition.

    rory wrote “The only reason Columbus has an at-large system is to cut out the neighborhoods having a voice.” I love my neighbors (well most of them) but I don’t always agree with them. My little voice tells me I have a bigger voice, via voting for 7 council members, than the proposed system of voting for 1 from my district and 4 at large.

    I post very little on CU and basically abhor politics. Not sure how/why I got involved in this thread, but exiting stage left.

    #1084788

    Cbussmallbiz
    Participant
    #1084799

    NDaEast
    Participant

    NDaEast wrote “At Large elections are designed to secure the advantages of the wealthy and the existing elites.” Can you quote me something a little more recent and relevant to support that statement. Say something in the last 50 years – after we all got a bit smarter about women’s rights, racial equality, gay marriage, etc.

    I can only say with certainty that “after we got a little bit smarter” people and communities started abandoning the At Large systems, and Congress in 1982 voting rights act amendments made electoral moves to At Large subject to federal review in areas with historically racially polarized voting.

    NDaEast wrote “At Large elections are expensive (ie., running across 225 square miles vs. some fraction thereof)…” If you are talking about serious campaigns, with TV ads and such, the last time I looked we did not have TV spots broken down by neighborhoods. If you run an ad on the 11PM news everybody sees it, not just your neighborhood, so it costs the same no matter what. Running for office means talking to a lot of people and kissing a lot of butts as well as babies. Who said it should be easy. If it was that easy every moron in the city would run for public office. Some days it feels like they have. If someone from your area is running for public office, and you believe in them — support them with your wallet and your words. That is how elections are won.

    Citywide elections require expensive television by necessity. In a district, a person’s body of work in the area could be known, and politicians could knock on doors, flyer, attend HS football/soccer games, neighborhood meetings/forums, and do other low-cost retail campaigning –they could actually know and be known to the people who would elect them. I disagree that whoever has money from the business community and can buy the most (worthless) 30-second ads is the best qualified candidate for my neighborhood and my interests.

    NDaEast wrote “We also require council to enact a program of public funding of campaigns. They are our elections (the people of Columbus) and our seats they sit in — not the seats of the wealthiest contributors — and we want them back to work for us.” There are some campaign contributions disclosure components coming from the November election and Issue 7. There are lots of ways to hide campaign contributions, so that might be a moot point.And we are reading about one ofthem with the allegations of Redflex bribes to current council president Ginther that were laundered through the Ohio Democratic Party I don’t object to the citizens paying for political campaigns IF we gave them a chunk of money and said “that is it – that is all you get to spend.” Just handing everybody who wants to run for public office a check does not level the playing field.

    Glad to hear you are not necessarily against public funding of campaigns. Disclosure is not the same as financing of campaigns. Disclosure is often used as a “political hit list” by the winning politician or group. Campaigns for election are for the benefit of the public– so we can learn more about candidates than that they want good jobs, strong neighborhoods, and support police officers and fire fighters — the typical contents of a 30-second commercial. They do need campaign staff, mailers/door hangers, and collateral materials — and those things realistically cost money. To have one side be able to flood the airwaves and another side unable to respond is pointless for the informed civil debates citizens should want and expect for our elections.

    NDaEast wrote “We also reform the appointment process, so that District representatives are nominated by their neighborhoods and merely appointed by council, rather than (as is the current case) every one of the council members being initially appointed, then standing before voters for the first time as an incumbent with truck loads of party and council president money.” That did not make sense to me even after rereading it several times. You also said “Anytime the majority of council members have to get more than half their campaign funding from the council president who initially appointed them…” You make it sound like every current member of City Council was appointed rather than elected. I don’t object to changing how we fill vacancies. I am not thrilled with applying State law (as voted on last November), since our City Council is non-partisan, or supposed to be.

    Every single current member of council was initially appointed, then ran for election for the first time as an (appointed) incumbent. In the 2013 election, challengers raised $16K, and incumbents $375K. In 2011, $275K challengers vs. 758K incumbents. Further, the percentage of incumbent money from Friends for Ginther in the 2011 and 2013 campaigns for each councilmember was Klein (52%), Paley (57%), Mills (72%), Tyson (72%), Craig (84%), and Miller (90%). Thus, Andy appointed and largely funded the campaigns of almost every council member — thus, their debt of gratitude/obligation is seemingly to him and not to the people of Columbus.

    NDaEast wrote “Our concern is in the city attorney’s seemingly arbitrary decision that we violated the single subject rule.” I am not an attorney or a mathematician but a petition that wants to change the number of council seats, how they are elected, creates public funding for elections, and requires televised candidate debates is far from a SINGLE ISSUE petition.

    I’m not a lawyer either, but I listened closely to two sets of election lawyers, then posted a response (also attached to this message) that outlines how Ohio case law defines single subject: that disunity of subjects creates a single subject a legal issue, but having a plurality of topics on the same subject is not an issue. The court further explicitly says that the single subject rule does not prohibit comprehensive legislation on a subject, but its goal is to avoid legislators jamming (“log-rolling”) unrelated items that could not pass on their own merits into a bill that acquires support because it has unrelated popular items in it. The people are legislating because the council will not, and we’re not going to allow Rick Pfeiffer to stretch his interpretation of the law to exclude what we think needs a vote.

    So when council passed Issue 8 included a compensaion commission to set salaries of elected officials (i.e., themselves) and that those salaries be linked to inflation within the context of a bill with other ministerial concerns (electronic records, etc.), THAT is probably a log-rolled item that Rick Pfeiffer should have objected to. If THAT was a single subject approved by Rick and council, then multifaceted election reform is absolutely a single subject.

    rory wrote “The only reason Columbus has an at-large system is to cut out the neighborhoods having a voice.” I love my neighbors (well most of them) but I don’t always agree with them. My little voice tells me I have a bigger voice, via voting for 7 council members, than the proposed system of voting for 1 from my district and 4 at large.

    You certainly have a bigger voice if you and your neighbors agree with the lock-step majority (7-0 decisions on everything), and if all your issues are being addressed by that 7 member cabal. If you don’t agree or your issues never make it to the table, then you and your neighbors have no voice. The point of a legislature is to have public debates and negotiated solutions — not to be able to simply run over opposition. I’d rather know one councilmember well and have him/her know me as well,then present my issue to 7 blank faces. I’ll bet you most Columbus residents couldn’t name a majority of the council members– let alone all 7. But if they had a councilmember,they would know who he/she is [I still remember the name of my councilman from my childhood in Cleveland (Jeff Johnson). After my father's stroke, he showed up at our house to ask if there was anything he could do to help while we were dealing with our family crisis -- we knew him casually and my dad knew him occupationally, but he was not a "family friend". In contract, the coalition dropped off informational packets at council member's houses (after getting no replies to letters and phone calls to City Hall) and Andy Ginther wrote a letter, copying the Chief of Police and City Attorney, warning us to not do that again].

    I post very little on CU and basically abhor politics. Not sure how/why I got involved in this thread, but exiting stage left.

    Good to have you involved. Stay involved –we need discussion in this town, instead of studiously ignoring issues as we sometimes do. This is outof character for me, too, but I feel so often like screaming “somebody has to say or do something,” and realized “somebody” needs to be me.

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    #1084981

    The current system is not working. Corruption is rampant in city hall and has been for years. Poverty has increased dramatically during the Coleman years and our neighborhoods (except downtown, of course) are deteriorating with crime, homelessness and blight. City hall politicians bailed out super rich arena investors with our dollars after voters voted no on public funding. There’s literally no public debate on issues of great importance because the city hall machine severely punishes any loyal opposition. Meanwhile arrogance, i.e. “swagger,” leads the politicians to believe they’re untouchable and they become totally unresponsive while using pay-to-play profits to live luxuriously and to fool the voters into believing that they care about them.

    WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO LOSE???????

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