Our City Online

Messageboard - General Columbus Discussion

NOTE: You are viewing an archived version of the Columbus Underground forums/messageboard. As of 05/22/16 they have been closed to new comments and replies, but will remain accessible for archived searches and reference. For more information CLICK HERE

Ward System for Columbus City Council - News & Updates

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Ward System for Columbus City Council – News & Updates

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 147 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #473262

    NDaEast
    Participant

    I think when you have a system that can be legitimately riduculed in the manner of Jeff Long’s column, you’ve got a system that has lost any credibility. Certainly I’m not supporting the notion of trained chimps, but the notion of it being an “undemocratic” council is almost undebatable … the notion of it being “hermetically sealed” due to the abuse of the appointment/incumbent dynamic … the notion that it eschews any controversy or difference of opinion … the notion that any self-respecting polity would churn up some type of protest at such a blatently rigged game … all those things are almost unarguable.

    And to prove the point … we’re having a big community debate right now, and what is Council’s position? What is the position of any individual council member? I can tell you that behind-the-scenes, Andy Ginther is running around trying to get support for the status quo. He is calling other elected officials and community leaders to see if they will support him — some do, and some call me.

    The whole point should be that we can discuss these issues, pros and cons, and then have a vote. That’s as American as apple pie. We disagree with the Dispatch’s statement that the number of signatures will determine if this issue goes on the ballot.

    We believe the +/-28,000 signatures of people who want to debate and then have a vote on this issue can not be ignored. Council can (and has), for the past 98 years, put Charter amendments on the ballot by passing an issue onto the ballot with a simple 2/3rds majority. Certainly 5 of the 7 council members should see this as an issue worth a community discussion and a vote, and Council can (and should) put this on the ballot if the signature count comes up short.

    In fact, to the best of our research, this 2/3rds vote is the ONLY way the charter has been amended on the 69 occasions since 1914. The citizens have NEVER before initiated a Charter amendment — all Charter amendments have been initiated by Council.

    Most recently, in 2010, Council used its 2/3rds vote Charter Amendment process to put on the ballot a self-serving Issue 12, which (with the voters’ consent) made lawful the previously used but unlawful secret meetings by which Council made its appointments to Council vacancies. You may remember, Council appointed two members through nonpublic meetings, then had to reverse those appointments, and make the decision to re-appoint them in a public meeting.

    If Council can be that self-serving about preserving its secrecy without gathering any signatures, that surely Council can and should place this issue on the ballot if the 28,000 signatures come up short.

    #473263

    MRipley
    Participant

    Wait…. Dave Paul is concerned that Jonathan Beard hasn’t visited enough community “leaders” to gauge opinion in the neighborhoods, but apparently overlooks the fact that they have 30,000+ signatures supporting this effort.

    #473264

    NDaEast
    Participant

    NEOBuckeye <a Okaaaay. So let’s gamble with the future of a city and region, totally naive and uninformed about the potential consequences.

    Sounds like a real winning strategy.

    Pollyanna much?

    NEO … you are stuck in love with an archaic political system that was developed before women had the right to vote in Ohio. Between 1912 and 1919, Ohio voters (men only) turned down women’s suffrage on three occasions during the same time period this repressive At Large system was developed. The At Large system was developed for power and control — to keep those pesky Italians, Cheks, and Pols from developing political power in their political wards … to keep those pesky workers’ rights folks from unionizing.

    Then, after the Voting Rights Act was passed, At Large was implemented (along with annexation) all across the south to keep those pesky Blacks from gaining any political power. At Large was formed to consolidate power and control and keep that power away from any little “splinter group” of citizens that might develop and want to share in that power (women, minorities, labor, etc.). The Department of Justice filed more than 300 lawsuits against At Large governments in the south because of the illegal effect of voter dilution.

    You disregard more than 200 years of American political history by suggesting that At Large is a preferred governance model. It is not. It is the “go to” form of governance in reactionary and repressive times. We have Congressional Representatives in Congressional Districts, we have State Representatives in House Districts, and in almost every big city in America except Columbus we have Council members in Council Districts.

    If you want to get all “political sciency” on it … the true “reform” model for an At Large system is a Council-Manager form of government — not a Strong Mayor form of government. Other than sentimentality, there are few good reasons to be in love with this system that does not do a good job of representing everyday citizens.

    #473265

    MRipley
    Participant

    #473266

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Jeff Long’s blog from The Other Paper …

    Over the TOP: Can’t council even pretend to give a shit?
    Posted on June 28, 2012

    I was going to have some fun at Columbus City Council’s expense this week anyway. But then a story about council going to a ward system dropped into my lap Tuesday morning.

    READ MORE: http://www.theotherpaper.com/blogs/over_the_top/article_2fdf30f6-c166-11e1-a336-0019bb2963f4.html

    #473267
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    MRipley said:
    A great reason to maintain the status quo?

    I’m hardly advocating for the status quo here. Just questioning cheap’s desire to change to a ward system when he says that he doesn’t know what the outcome would be.

    There’s been a lot of problems brought up with city council, and every time I’ve asked if a ward system will fix this, the answer is either “possibly” or “no”.

    If we’re going to make a change, it should be for a good reason, and should be solving a problem.

    #473268
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    NDaEast said:
    I think when you have a system that can be legitimately riduculed in the manner of Jeff Long’s column, you’ve got a system that has lost any credibility.

    TOP can ridicule anything. ;) I don’t think that’s much of a qualifier.

    NDaEast said:
    The whole point should be that we can discuss these issues, pros and cons, and then have a vote. That’s as American as apple pie.

    Agreed.

    #473269

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Walker <a There’s been a lot of problems brought up with city council, and every time I’ve asked if a ward system will fix this, the answer is either “possibly” or “no”. If we’re going to make a change, it should be for a good reason, and should be solving a problem.

    Problem: We have an unresponsive and unaccountable City Council that appoints itself, removes itself from neighborhood issues, and is insulated from competition.

    Solution: “District elections are more likely to represent the whole community and to make the council more accountable to the electorate.” Susan Welch and Timothy Bledsoe. Urban Reform and Its Consequences: A Study in Representation. The University of Chicago Press, 1988. [Note: this is the Cadillac of studies of Council representation … in addition to its own research, it analyzed the results of more than 200 studies on council representation.]

    #473270

    NEOBuckeye
    Participant

    NDaEast said:
    NEO … you are stuck in love with an archaic political system that was developed before women had the right to vote in Ohio. Between 1912 and 1919, Ohio voters (men only) turned down women’s suffrage on three occasions during the same time period this repressive At Large system was developed. The At Large system was developed for power and control — to keep those pesky Italians, Cheks, and Pols from developing political power in their political wards … to keep those pesky workers’ rights folks from unionizing.

    Then, after the Voting Rights Act was passed, At Large was implemented (along with annexation) all across the south to keep those pesky Blacks from gaining any political power. At Large was formed to consolidate power and control and keep that power away from any little “splinter group” of citizens that might develop and want to share in that power (women, minorities, labor, etc.). The Department of Justice filed more than 300 lawsuits against At Large governments in the south because of the illegal effect of voter dilution.

    You disregard more than 200 years of American political history by suggesting that At Large is a preferred governance model. It is not. It is the “go to” form of governance in reactionary and repressive times. We have Congressional Representatives in Congressional Districts, we have State Representatives in House Districts, and in almost every big city in America except Columbus we have Council members in Council Districts.

    If you want to get all “political sciency” on it … the true “reform” model for an At Large system is a Council-Manager form of government — not a Strong Mayor form of government. Other than sentimentality, there are few good reasons to be in love with this system that does not do a good job of representing everyday citizens.

    NDaEast,

    Whatever my stance or position is here, believe me, it has no bearing whatsoever on my affections or lack thereof for the current model of government in place in Columbus. Further, I appreciate but really don’t need the refresher course on government being used to exclude people as I am quite aware of and deeply attuned to the thread of control and exclusion that runs through the history of this nation and its predecessors.

    I do respect what I interpret to be your well-meaning and thoughtful efforts to bring, as you say, reform, to governance in Columbus. But quite frankly, sir, I think you are misguided if not flat out naive if you truly believe that your solution as proposed is going to make any kind of lasting and meaningful positive difference for this city.

    If you think the ship of city is sinking or even just listing, this ballot measure, if successful, will be akin to rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. Wards or Districts won’t end or prevent corruption. If anything, they will spread it somewhat more evenly throughout the city, and may actually reveal it in places heretofore unrecognized for it. Minorities, Republicans, and other parties/individuals have proven time and again to be just as corrupt, useless and ineffectual when in office as Democrats, the racial//ethnic majority, or whoever is currently holding the reigns. But this being the case, I think it suggests a deeper underlying issue that superficial deck-shuffling proposals like Ward/District reform won’t even scratch.

    I must say though, I am quite amused that you cite the state and congressional houses of representatives as if they are some kind of model of effective and meaningful representation and governance! Just how is that Republican majority in the Ohio General Assembly with its virtually permanent lock on the Ohio Senate working out for us, anyway? How about Congress and all of its ridiculously gerrymandered districts, perpetual fundraising, and servitude to special interests? Need I continue?

    Bottom line: What you are in fact proposing is to replace one archaic political system model with another archaic political system model. That, to me at least, seems like an incredibly pointless, if not totally asinine, waste of time, money and energy, for you and the entire city. At best, that’s unfortunate. At worst, it’s just flat out lame.

    Why not go all out for genuine, creative reform? Something that really would have the potential to increase public input and voice and reduce corruption, like proportional multi-representative districts? Think and act outside of the box, rather than just change its packaging.

    #473271

    NDaEast
    Participant

    NEOBuckeye said:
    NDaEast,

    I must say though, I am quite amused that you cite the state and congressional houses of representatives as if they are some kind of model of effective and meaningful representation and governance […]Bottom line: What you are in fact proposing is to replace one archaic political system model with another archaic political system model. That, to me at least, seems like an incredibly pointless, if not totally asinine, waste of time, money and energy, for you and the entire city. At best, that’s unfortunate. At worst, it’s just flat out lame. Why not go all out for genuine, creative reform? Something that really would have the potential to increase public input and voice and reduce corruption, like proportional multi-representative districts? Think and act outside of the box, rather than just change its packaging.

    As screwed up as our state and federal political system is, with the gerrymandering you cite, at the end of the day, people do lose their seats in competitive elections and at both the federal and state levels both Houses have changed hands and incumbents have been voted out. Sometimes it is an intra-party challenge — such as the Tea Party candidates against Republican establishment candidates — and sometimes it is interparty, such as the ones that has flipped political control of the House of Representatives (and the Ohio House of Representatives) twice in the last ten years. Having said that, I am certainly no champion for what is going on in our political system right now, and my support for Columbus Council Districts is not an endorsement of the dysfunction in American politics.

    One of the things we do to help mitigate political abuse in the proposed Columbus Charter change is set up an Apportionment Board to propose District boundaries, with the specification that no more than 3 members of the 9 member board may be from any one political party. Is it a perfect solution? — no, but it recognizes and responds to the fact that politicians manipulate any system and attempts to remove raw political calculation from the line-drawing process.

    This is one way we seek to get the raw partisanship out of district drawing and gerrymandering for political gain. We also mandate public meetings and allow citizens or citizen groups to submit proposed plans — something done in Arizona effectively, as 3 redistricting plans have been selected that were drawn by citizens using mapping/demographic software provided by the apportionment board on-line for public use.

    Other systems (primarily in California and Texas) have created purely independent apportionment boards that have the power to set the boundaries themselves without have the self-interested legislative body be the final decider. But we chose a form that continues to recognize Council and allows Councl to make the final selection from among up to 3 plans submitted by the Apportionment Board. Our goal is not to disembowel Council, but to create a more representative system of governance.

    There are lots of options, but no perfect system.

    Our 1914 charter called for “Mary Jane” voting, which is a type of preference/weighting voting system, for all local public offices except Council. It was a reform that was abandoned in short order, in part because it made the ballot long and confusing. Both Cleveland and Cincinnati had proportional voting in the early 20th century, and both abandoned them. Some cities have super-districts where some council members represent more than one district, other cities have multi-member Districts.

    Sure, there are lots of options, and you have more options if you are the one in power and in control of the agenda… but for a group of citizens trying to make a change — you’ve got to keep it simple. We stuck with something that is a straight-forward and incremental change that at least decentralizes power and puts move voices at the table. It does away with the “block voting” and “group think” that political science research shows At Large forms of government create.

    If people struggle to understand the benefits of Districts, people will fail to understand the various voting schemes that have been tried throughout the years and in different countries.

    The bottom line is that there is one reform on the table right now in Columbus — we are not seeking alternatives, we simply seek a chance for the residents to hear the arguments and vote “up” or “down.” Whether people vote in support, or in opposition, is beyond our control — and we respect the wishes of the citizens. But to deny the citizens a ballot on District representation — when the current form of government is so clearly dysfunctional — is unconscionable.

    #473272

    NDaEast
    Participant

    At-large City Council elections and the suppression of free speech in Columbus, by Joe Sommer, July 2, 2012

    An excellent article on the relationship between money, media and the market place of political ideas in Columbus. Published in The Free Press.

    #473273

    I think a ward system is better for the representation of the people. Politics will be politics, and crooks will be crooks, but I feel better being represented by the crook I know. I never understood at large elections, especially when major parts of the city are being ignored.

    #473274

    News
    Participant

    Press Release:
    City Council To Take Action On Citizen Initiated Charter Amendment
    Monday, July 9, 2012 5:00 pm

    The Columbus City Council, having received a report from the Franklin County Board of Elections as to the validity of signatures gathered in a recently completed Citizen Initiated Charter Amendment petition, will take action at the beginning of City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on an ordinance in the Council’s Rules and Reference Committee, as required by the Columbus City Charter, Section 234 and the Ohio Constitution, Article 18, Section 9.

    #473275

    News
    Participant

    City Council ward petition fails
    By Lucas Sullivan
    The Columbus Dispatch
    Monday July 9, 2012 4:48 PM

    A group seeking to add ward representatives to Columbus City Council failed to collect enough signatures to get the issue on the November ballot, according to a review by the Franklin County Board of Elections.

    The Coalition for Responsive Government collected just 8,471 of the 19,164 signatures needed to put the issue on the November ballot, Dana Walch, deputy director for the Franklin County Board of Elections told Columbus City Council members in a letter today. In the letter, Walsh also said that 650 signatures collected by four circulators raised suspicions of fraud.

    READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/07/09/city-council-ward-petition-fails.html

    #473276
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    Um.

    How does “City Council To Take Action On Citizen Initiated Charter Amendment” match up with “City Council ward petition fails”?

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 147 total)

The forum ‘General Columbus Discussion’ is closed to new topics and replies.

URBAN LIVING TOUR 2020

This year’s Urban Living Tour event has been postponed due to COVID-19, but will be returning later this summer!

CLICK HERE to sign up to be notified when tickets go on sale!