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City Council is Public Enemy: "Yeah boyeee!"

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Politics City Council is Public Enemy: "Yeah boyeee!"

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)
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  • #1088183

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Interested in comments to my article in this edition of the Columbus Free Press:

    Under the state constitution and the Columbus City Charter, everyday citizens have the right to propose legislation using the citizen initiatives process. In short, if citizens can collect 10 percent of valid signatures from registered Columbus voters, the Columbus City Council is required to put the question on the ballot for a vote. Two groups have recently sought to use those provisions. In a tough year for citizen initiatives, both have failed for lack of sufficient signatures – but those failures exposed apparent manipulations of city government seemingly designed to make the process even more arduous – if not impossible for citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.

    City Council President and Mayoral Candidate Andrew Ginther is leading the chorus of citizen suppression, with City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer serving as hype man for the new band, launching “yeah boyyyeeee” whenever Ginther clamps down more on local democracy. Pfeiffer has provided legal ammunition to keep citizen initiatives off the ballot and has tried to strengthen Ginther’s claims that he was not bribed as a Redflex executive said in her federal guilty plea.
    To mix metaphors, the question for Council is how much longer they will act like Jim Jones’s followers, and continue to drink the Ginther Kool Aid, which is alienating citizens and would seem to inevitably lead to political suicide.

    City Council Fights Citizen Initiatives

    #1088190

    Analogue Kid
    Participant

    You don’t like how the sausage is made, but does it actually taste bad?

    https://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-ranked-8-us-city-for-economic-growth

    #1088209

    NDaEast
    Participant

    You don’t like how the sausage is made, but does it actually taste bad?

    https://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-ranked-8-us-city-for-economic-growth

    I believe we also applied for, and were rated, a “Most Intelligent City” for 2015, which means we probably have a fair number of citizens who look beyond the self-promotional headlines. If I had any thought that the 7 people on City Council had anything at all to do with our economic growth, I might drink the “we’re so great” Columbus Kook Aid. But I know that our city’s growth despite Ohio’s stagnation has come about largely because the state legislature named this formerly unplatted area the state capital in 1812; then, pursuant to Congress passing the Morrell Act, in 1870 the state legislature created Ohio State University; and in the 1950’s the Sensenbrenner administration created growth corridors for the city by limiting suburban annexation by restricting water and sewer services which allowed the city’s boundaries to continue to expand to capture “suburban” growth on the fringes. None of those have anything to do with the current city council, and I am not o.k. with this council manipulating constitutional rights away from the people.

    As an African American with our unique American political history, and an undergraduate political science major, the primary role of citizens over their government is incredibly interesting and very important to me, and I abhor any situation where those elected to serve us position themselves as rulers, rather than representatives, of the people. And I despise corruption in politics by any party and by any person. This type of community dialogue is why I posted – thanks for sharing. You o.k. with that?

    #1088235

    People outside of Columbus are highly entertained, when I tell them about your efforts to get issues on the ballot. You’ve delivered I-don’t-know-how-many signatures downtown (30,000 this last one, right?), and every single time: rejected based on trivial minutia.

    It’s unflattering for a city to so very stubbornly rip opportunities away from voters. It’s not like your petitions create laws, they just let voters decide things.

    So, you come off like a folk hero. Elected officials come across as unethical. (This perception holds especially in a town with better public schools, a $4 zoo with free parking, a $4 waterpark and lots of nice public amenities all with lower taxes).

    #1088239

    WJT
    Participant

    People outside of Columbus are highly entertained, when I tell them about your efforts to get issues on the ballot. You’ve delivered I-don’t-know-how-many signatures downtown (30,000 this last one, right?), and every single time: rejected based on trivial minutia.

    It’s unflattering for a city to so very stubbornly rip opportunities away from voters. It’s not like your petitions create laws, they just let voters decide things.

    So, you come off like a folk hero. Elected officials come across as unethical. (This perception holds especially in a town with better public schools, a $4 zoo with free parking, a $4 waterpark and lots of nice public amenities all with lower taxes).

    And what town might that be?

    #1088267

    Nancy H
    Participant

    You don’t like how the sausage is made, but does it actually taste bad?

    You brought back memories of my mother who always said “whole hog sausage is everything but the squeal.”

    #1088486
    Hilltopian
    Hilltopian
    Participant

    The Free Press does a great job of covering our city hall and mayor, thanks! I’m in favor of every one of the proposals you’ve made for changing our city council, but it did seem like a lot of changes for just one proposal. I can see where someone might want public funding of council elections, but not want the “ward” system. Maybe some people like all of your proposals except for the term limits.

    #1088521

    NDaEast
    Participant

    The Free Press does a great job of covering our city hall and mayor, thanks! I’m in favor of every one of the proposals you’ve made for changing our city council, but it did seem like a lot of changes for just one proposal. I can see where someone might want public funding of council elections, but not want the “ward” system. Maybe some people like all of your proposals except for the term limits.

    Thanks for the feedback. We have taken your comment to heart and had long discussions on the subject. We disagree with City Attorney Pfeiffer’s position that there were an unlawful number of issues in the proposal, as the courts have ruled time and time again that comprehensive legislation addressing multiple components of the same general subject is permissible within the single subject framework; but tactically we will be taking a different approach going forward (less comprehensive/more narrow) for the very reasons you cite.

    One of my comments about why Issue 50 (the school levy) failed was that “there was somethnig in there for everybody to hate,” and I think our more comprehensive approach would have left us open to the same fate at the ballot box. As a result, we will not be putting public financing of campaigns in the version now being drafted, though we will retain term limits. Extended tenures on council have not been a recent problem and gross longevityon council is not necessary for a member’s success, but we think everybody in community leadership should know that new leadership is inevitably coming. We need to do a much better job of developing political leaders, which I think is illustrated in the following: 1) despite our city’s size and prominence we produce almost no statewide leaders, and 2) I kept hearing second hand of discussions in the Democratic Party about who would replace Andy Ginther on the ballot if he was indicted (I think the deadline for naming a replacement is 4:00 today), and it is a very small number of people I hear under consideration — some with marginal city experience and no executive experience. This is because the nature of the appointment process yields loyalty before excellence, appointees who are less well-qualified or politically weaker then the appointers who may fear being overshadowed, and a “wait your turn” mentality. If appointee term limits are shorter than elected terms, as we propose, we incentivize elections over appointments (and as a result, independent-minded elected officials over sheep), people with their own bases of power, and thus more competition for the higher offices. And competition is good. So your point is well-taken … although we were willing to sue for our right to propose comprehensive legislation, we have made a tactical decision to focus on simplifying the messaging/proposal for the end goal of ballot box success and be more narrowly focused on the council district issue this time around. There is another group that is working on public financing of campaigns — and I wish them luck (the last time we proposed that as stand alone legislatoin, the council refused to have the signatures counted because we filed our precirculation copy with the clerk instead of t he auditor –even though the city had previously allowed petitions filed that way to move forward). Thanks again for the feedback.

    #1088750
    Hilltopian
    Hilltopian
    Participant

    Thanks for considering my comments. It’s frustrating for us to watch you work so hard to do the right thing and then see your efforts get shot down by the downtown plutocrats. I hope you play their game by their rules so you can get some reforms on the ballot for us to vote on.

    It’s surprising to see how little debate there is at council meetings. Every council member is obviously cut from the same cloth and all the real dealing is done behind closed doors.

    I come at this from the point of view of a poor person that lives in a poor neighborhood. When I check out CU or The Dispatch, it feels like I’m reading a novel about some mythical urban utopia somewhere and not about the Columbus I live in.

    In my neighborhood, the few people we have that want to be involved spend their time on crime issues, trying to get vacant houses boarded up and the grass cut, and picking up trash. There’s no time for parades and parties.

    In my neighborhood poverty rates have doubled, median incomes cut in half, and our owner occupied housing has gone from over 60% to below 40%. This has all happened during the last 10 to 12 years. There’s been no economic recovery in my neighborhood!

    Over this same time, city council has basically ignored these problems and turned their attention to downtown development, expecting these efforts to somehow trickle down to the neighborhoods.

    Poor neighborhoods need extra help, not less help. The pay to play mentality lands the hardest on those of us who can’t pay and finally morphs into the type of criminal activity we are just beginning to see.

    I don’t see any new ideas coming out of city council. They do announce and fund new programs that are supposed to help poor areas, but most of this money goes to older established nonprofits who have long ago given up grassroots programs that might really help. You’d be surprised how many phony and ineffective charities we have in Columbus! The agreement these non profits have with city council is that they get money if they keep their mouths shut about the real problems happening in their service areas.

    Without real leadership in city council, it’s easy for Columbus to forget about all the neighborhoods that have been left behind. We need a more equal distribution of resources and more democratic decision-making.

    #1088755

    Cbussmallbiz
    Participant

    Hilltopian absolutely great summary. Hopefully people wake the F up. Im still dumbfounded that people defend this madness. It is embarrassing in the extreme. Analogue Kid actually tries to defend the corruption is his sausage comments….are you kidding me. I noticed on Ginther Facebook page the CU is one of the first likes. How can any thinking person support the outright subversion of the rights of the citizens?
    Perhaps the fools that defend Ginther and Coleman and the others are afraid of change. That tells me they are receiving benefits from the corruption either actual or imagined (access to power and glad handing).

    #1088787
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    I noticed on Ginther Facebook page the CU is one of the first likes.

    The more people/pages who like CU on Facebook, the better.

    #1088789

    Analogue Kid
    Participant

    In my neighborhood poverty rates have doubled, median incomes cut in half, and our owner occupied housing has gone from over 60% to below 40%. This has all happened during the last 10 to 12 years. There’s been no economic recovery in my neighborhood!

    Over this same time, city council has basically ignored these problems and turned their attention to downtown development, expecting these efforts to somehow trickle down to the neighborhoods.

    Show me an example of another large American city where this fate was avoided for lower income neighborhoods during that time. We’re dealing with macroeconomic changes in the US that are far beyond the scope of any city council or mayor to fix. Columbus has been successful as a 21st century American city. Unfortunately, that success doesn’t translate into decent jobs for low skilled workers anywhere.

    If you want to make a difference, you need to look beyond downtown. Try going further east over the mountains and down near the mouth of the Potomac River.

    #1088801

    Cbussmallbiz
    Participant

    Analogue Kid those are fluff talking points with no relevance to the governance of Columbus. Columbus is another progressive delusion. A city controlled by liberal fascists that actually embark on worsening the gap between the poor and rich all while claiming to be the champions of the poor. The only saving grace for Columbus is the strength of the businesses and institutions likeBattelle and OSU. Look at how pathetic and grubby these politicians are! Crashing your career for buckeye tickets??? Really not a savvy group of people, arrogant yes, entitled yes.
    So again the corruption in the city, the abandonment of whole neighborhoods to petty crime and the failures of the schools are in fact the fault of Ginther and Coleman and Mills etc… NOT WASHINGTON DC.

    If a democratic controlled justice department is on a tear against a bunch of local democrats, that right there should tell you how very stupid, greedy and corrupt things have become.

    #1088821

    Cbussmallbiz: Well said. If older neighborhoods had the resources to employ lobbyists to supply the “success fees” necessary to get the attention of city hall, things would have been very different. But residents there are just barely scraping by and that has become much more difficult during the last decade.

    People like to argue that Columbus is doing so much better than, say, Cleveland or Cincinnati. But those are not fair comparisons. Sixty or seventy years ago, Mayor Sensenbrenner saw to it that Columbus would not be completely surrounded in by suburbs, so Columbus includes much more outlying, newer growth areas (like Polaris) than those two other Ohio cities. Columbus is over 220 square miles, while the other two are around 80 square miles each. If you compare the most central 80 square miles of Columbus to Cincy and Cleveland you’ll see that we’re in as bad shape there as they are and our older neighborhoods’ residents are suffering similarly.

    #1088829
    Hilltopian
    Hilltopian
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Hilltopian wrote:</div>
    In my neighborhood poverty rates have doubled, median incomes cut in half, and our owner occupied housing has gone from over 60% to below 40%. This has all happened during the last 10 to 12 years. There’s been no economic recovery in my neighborhood!

    Over this same time, city council has basically ignored these problems and turned their attention to downtown development, expecting these efforts to somehow trickle down to the neighborhoods.

    Show me an example of another large American city where this fate was avoided for lower income neighborhoods during that time. We’re dealing with macroeconomic changes in the US that are far beyond the scope of any city council or mayor to fix. Columbus has been successful as a 21st century American city. Unfortunately, that success doesn’t translate into decent jobs for low skilled workers anywhere.

    If you want to make a difference, you need to look beyond downtown. Try going further east over the mountains and down near the mouth of the Potomac River.

    I agree with much of what you are saying and I certainly don’t blame the mayor and city council for global economic pressures, but I am concerned about how many of us have reacted to these pressures.

    It’s all up to what you value! I think the guy that cleans the toilets on the top floor of the Nationwide building should have as fulfilling a life as the guy that works in the office on the top floor of the Nationwide building.

    In Columbus, some people want to ignore these poor folks. Because Columbus is so economically segregated, it’s easy for many people to avoid the poor neighborhoods. Out of sight, out of mind! It’s understandable and part of human nature, but it’s also the source of many problems. Look folks, we have so many people in this city that are having problems, it can’t be fixed with a twenty dollar donation to the Open Shelter or city council giving some ineffective charity another $100,000.

    I think the biggest scandal in Columbus is it’s housing policies that have caused us to be the second most economically segregated city in the nation. It’s only a matter of time before HUD and the justice department start focusing on Columbus and our tale of two cities. A recent HUD rule change on “affirmatively furthering fair housing” and a supreme court ruling on “disparate impact” guarantee Columbus and its housing policies will soon be under the gun.

    The number of vacant houses in Columbus has held steady at around 6000 since a few years after the housing bubble burst. These properties pass through the city and county land banks to developers, non profits, and slum lords. The city of Columbus is in control of more houses, vacant lots, and commercial buildings than any other single land owner.

    Many sweetheart deals for these properties have been made by Columbus leaders to benefit developers. Lots of contributions have gone from developers to politicians in CBus. Follow the money!

    What do these sweetheart deals get my neighborhood? Our community development corporation(Homes on the Hill) is building 39 new low income rental homes in an area with a nearly 60% poverty rate. These new residents will have limited resources. These folks will probably have special needs and require other supportive services. How much time and resources do you think they will have to participate in community building ? It’s very difficult to have a stable healthy community with all poor folks. We have done our fair share of taking in poor families, shouldn’t some other areas do their fair share?

    It really is the big guy picking on the little guy. Our area struggles to have functioning civic groups. Our area commission is a corrupt joke. It’s easy for sleazy players to take advantage of our weaknesses. In my neighborhood, valuable properties are given away to wealthy developers to build low income housing, much of it built with tax dollars. In return, donations are made to Columbus politicians.

    For most o you reading this, I now return you to your life along High Street. Forget about it and enjoy the bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be out back chasing some heroin addicts out of the vacant garage.

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