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Ward System for Columbus City Council - News & Updates

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

Viewing 15 posts - 121 through 135 (of 147 total)
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  • #473292

    News
    Participant

    Signatures Questioned On City Council Reform Effort
    July 10, 2012
    by Steve Brown
    89.7 NPR News Morning Anchor

    Local elections officials say an effort to overhaul Columbus City Council was doomed by basic errors. The Franklin County Board of Elections says out of the 26,870 petition signatures handed in by the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government, only 8,471, or 31.5 percent, were ruled valid.

    READ MORE: http://beta.wosu.org/news/2012/07/10/signatures-questioned-on-city-council-reform-effort/

    #473293
    hugh59
    hugh59
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Cool. Thanks for making a suggestion. I think vacant seats until general elections makes a lot of sense. I imagine there would be less mid-term resignation if that were the case.

    I suppose another change would be to have specific seats to run for and not just have the top vote getters win all the seats. You could end up with real races instead of just voting for a slate.

    #473294

    pilsner
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Just that the mid-term appointment process seems like a completely separate issue from the ward/district issue. The messages are getting somewhat blurred here.

    Walker, I think the reform language on the petition would be a big step in the right direction regarding vacant seats even if the existing council continues to appoint someone to vacancies. That person would at least have to reside in the district of the vacancy. The appointee’s election would be less certain if they weren’t working hard for their neighborhoods. It would be more likely that a neighborhood leader in that area could rise up and challenge an appointee and have a chance to unseat them. I agree that the appointment process needs reform no matter what but there’s reason for some blurring of the issues involved.

    #473295
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    pilsner said:
    …there’s reason for some blurring of the issues involved.

    I think that makes it a harder sell to the general public. A very clear and concise message is needed in any sort of campaign.

    #473296

    pilsner
    Participant

    Good point. It’s all about more responsive representation in government.

    #473297

    NDaEast
    Participant

    Funny thing … today Columbus City Council sent a letter indicating the reasons they want everything to stay the same. They said “now that the legal sufficiency of the petition signatures has been determined, we wish to share with you City Council’s opposition to your proposed charter amendment …”

    So …. Council wouldn’t hold any public hearings because they already knew what the answer was, and they didn’t care about representing the views of the public.

    That’s precisely why we need change: we don’t need 7 self-appointed people who think they know everything running a democratic form of government.

    Last night, the Greater Hilltop Area Commission voted to send a letter to City Council indicating the commission’s support for council placing the initiative on the ballot, so the citizens can vote.

    Yesterday, the Ohio Organizing Coalition contacted us to immediately begin an organizing campaign in the neighborhoods (first meeting Tuesday at 5:30 for anyone interested).

    Monday, the Council of Elders (a group of some of the most influential African American leaders in Columbus, all now senior citizens) sent a letter to Council that includes this intergenerational rebuke:

    “as senior citizens and long time residents of this great city we are dismayed with the current state of affairs, especially regarding city council governance. Members of the Council of Elders sacrificed greatly so you and your colleagues may have the opportunities that have availed themselves to you. We know first-hand what American democracy represents; as as one member of the Council of Elders and former Buffalo Soldier said ‘This is not what I fought for.’ Indeed we see a growing concentration of power in the hands of fewer and fewer people, and a growing schism between the people in position of power, and those that elected them.”

    Ouch. Sometimes seniors — especially this civil rights generation — can say things that other people just can’t.

    #473298

    NDaEast
    Participant

    News said:
    Signatures Questioned On City Council Reform Effort

    Yesterday, the Coalition went in to meet with the Board of Elections to look at the suspect petitions. While none of us are handwriting experts and we defer judgment, indeed, it looks like one paid petitioner, who worked for about 3 weeks and scammed us out of about $400 for that “work,” forged a significant number of signatures casting doubt on something like 600 signatures.

    I served as the Notary on her petitions, so when she came in with the petitions I asked her to swear that what she submitted is true and accurate to the best of her knowledge. She said “yes,” then she signed and I notarized. If there are indeed forgeries, she lied to me under oath and potentially committed the 5th degree felony that was printed as a warning on all her affidavit forms.

    I wrote County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien this morning indicating that I had seen the questioned petitions and see cause for concern,and that if an investigation into this circulator’s activities is warranted, he has the Coalition’s full support.

    #473299

    News
    Participant

    Via Email:

    July 17, 2012

    Dear Columbus Resident:

    I’m writing to you today to share important information about the recently proposed charter amendment which would increase the size of Columbus City Council and eliminate your existing right to vote for all members of city council.

    In my view, the proposed charter amendment, initiated by a group of five petitioners, would limit the power of our citizens, disenfranchise our diverse community, and create a dysfunctional form of local government while pitting neighborhood against neighborhood. If enacted, it simply would devastate our collective ability as a community to keep Columbus moving forward.

    Columbus has been recognized among the 20 strongest economies coming out of the recession, the best city in the Midwest for job growth, and the largest city with the lowest unemployment rate in the state. City Council is working hard to maintain that momentum, and to grow the economy through an unprecedented investment in economic development and a renewed focus on small, local businesses.

    Columbus continues to provide great quality of life for residents of all ages and all walks of life. We are a top destination for young adults, a great place to raise children, and an affordable place to retire. This is a tribute to our safe, healthy and strong neighborhoods supported by City Council’s continued investment in neighborhood infrastructure projects, community-based safety initiatives, and important city services like curbside recycling, graffiti removal, our recreation centers and swimming pools.

    All of this – and so much more – has been possible because of the effective partnership between City Council, Mayor Coleman, Auditor Dorrian, City Attorney Pfeiffer, and the hundreds of Columbus residents who volunteer their time, energy and talent on our area commissions and in our civic and business associations. Columbus works because we work together.

    I’ve included a link to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to provide you with detailed facts about the citizen-initiated petition process over the past several months and Council’s role as defined by city charter. In short, the petition failed to meet the minimum requirements for a charter amendment to be placed on the ballot, which is 19,164 valid signatures, representing 10 percent of the electors in the last preceding municipal election. Upon review, the Franklin County Board of Elections determined the petitions contained only 8,471 valid signatures. Therefore, City Council concluded the process by voting unanimously not to place the proposed charter amendment on the November ballot.

    Now that the petition process is over, my Council colleagues and I will continue our focus on creating jobs and building healthy, safe and strong neighborhoods working side by side with citizens. That’s what we’ve been elected to do, knowing that we are accountable to every citizen, neighborhood, and area of our city.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew J. Ginther, President
    Columbus City Council

    #473300

    JeepGirl
    Participant

    Yes, in other words Columbus City Council confirms that it is disregarding the validated request of at least 8,471 residents to allow an opportunity for all to have a say so on their form of city government.

    Just like they avoided any citizen input or discussion regarding the Nationwide Arena purchase.

    Yet Ginther claims in the last paragraph that council works side-by-side with citizens.

    What a load of crap from your council president.

    #473301

    cheap
    Member

    Now that the petition process is over, my Council colleagues and I will continue our focus on creating jobs and building healthy [b]downtown[/b], working side by side with [b]devellopers[/b]. That’s what we’ve been elected to do, knowing that we are accountable to [b]everybody but you[/b]

    #473302

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    JeepGirl said:
    Yes, in other words Columbus City Council confirms that it is disregarding the validated request of at least 8,471 residents to allow an opportunity for all to have a say so on their form of city government.

    Disappointing indeed. Does anyone know if there will be another effort planned to obtain the necessary signatures?

    #473303

    NDaEast
    Participant

    lizless said:
    Disappointing indeed. Does anyone know if there will be another effort planned to obtain the necessary signatures?

    Yes, we are actually creating a more comprehensive reform petition, that will include Districts as before, but also include provisions to address the 28 year abuse of the appointment process to circumvent voters, creating an independent apportionment board (rather than one where Council has the final say), adding term limits, and creating a campaign finance reform system.

    We had the first organizational meeting on Tuesday at Zanzibar Brews, and will be building a neighborhood-based effort to get signatures door-to-door from registered voters. We seek 100 people, each of whom would commit to getting 100 signatures off a list of registered voters we would give them.

    I would note that in addition to the 8,471 validated signatures, there were another 5,731 signatures from registered voters who signed their current address on the petition, rather than the address they are registered to vote at. Those signatures with a mis-matched address do not count from a petition-gathering standpoint, but they clearly indicate that over 14,202 registered voters signed petitions seeking a vote.

    The Council continues to be tone-deaf, and not understand its role in a representative democracy. It is not council’s job to be the decider on if the current, or a proposed changed form of, government is good or bad — that role is 100% up to the citizens. Council should not have an opinion other than the peoples’ opinion, but they refused to hold hearings, schedule meetings, or do anything to ascertain the problems people are having and the opportunities people see with change. They arrived at a reflexive defensive position to maintain their power, without any consideration of public argument. They have assumed a dictatorial role, rather than a democratic role.

    All we ask is for council to open up the easiest pathway to the ballot — which is voting by a 2/3rds majority to allow the people to vote. Instead, this council has clamped down on the ballot, and made the citizens take the hard way — the way that has never been done before — by getting signature petitions. Council putting this on the ballot doesn’t cost a dime, and takes about 20 minutes to do.

    They did that when they wanted to legalize their past illegal practice of making council appointments in closed door meetings (and did not need a single signature to do so), and they should certainly facilitate the wishes of 14,200 Columbus voters who are calling for the opportunity to vote on a proposed restructuring of government. The structure of government is the people’s perogative.

    In closing the door to the ballot, a recall petition effort is now underway, to remove these undemocratic council members from office. Starting the recall effort takes 1,000 signatures under the City Charter, which is far easier than the 19,000 needed simply to put an issue on the ballot through that same Charter. If the people currently in office won’t faciliate the people voting on their form of government, its time to vote on whether to remove those people from office. This is a democracy, and we will play by the rules … all the rules.

    #473304

    NDaEast
    Participant
    #473305

    News
    Participant

    Council comes out against ward measure
    By GARY SEMAN JR.
    ThisWeek Community News
    Wednesday July 25, 2012 10:23 AM

    Columbus City Council finally has responded to the matter of ward representation, shortly after the latest petition drive failed to put the issue on the November ballot.

    Council President Andy Ginther, in a recent letter, said the proposed charter amendment that would have created a system of ward and at-large positions on council would “limit the power of our citizens, disenfranchise our diverse community and create a dysfunctional form of local government while pitting neighborhood against neighborhood.”

    READ MORE: http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/2012/07/25/council-comes-out-against-ward-measure.html

    #1125930

    Good editorial in today’s Dispatch and, as usual, Jonathan Beard’s on-line comments are spot-on. Also, see Mark Dillon’s comments following Friday’s editorial “Taxpayers soaked on parking garage”. Glad some people see through the machine’s corruptly-financed misinformation campaigns. There’s hope, I hope.

Viewing 15 posts - 121 through 135 (of 147 total)

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