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City Council Ward Proposal Untimely, Expensive, Opponents Say

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega City Council Ward Proposal Untimely, Expensive, Opponents SayColumbus City Hall — Photo by Walker Evans.
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  • Sumo

One Columbus is a group standing on the other side of the ward issue that has been put before the city. In opposition to creating district positions for council members, the group hopes to spread the ‘no’ vote for the August 2nd special election.

Issue 1, headed and promoted by Represent Columbus, would change the current seven-member council to a 13-member council with 10 from specific districts and three elected at large. More members would be added as the city’s population increases.

Opponents of the proposal say there are questions that have yet to be answered about the specifics of the plan.

“I asked one of the co-chairs ‘When will this be implemented by?’ And it was, ‘By 2019, but maybe 2017,’” said Council Member Michael Stinziano. “The concern is the filing for candidates is before the map would be drawn, and the way I read this language, it would be implemented in 2017. The response I got later was ‘Well, we’ll figure it out.’”

Stinziano said he doesn’t take a public position on the issue but is worried about the timeline, and is also worried about five to seven percent of the city’s population making decisions for the rest of Columbus.

“The question is not whether or not wards are right for Columbus,” said Bryan Clark, Campaign Manager for One Columbus and former Campaign Manager for Mayor Andrew Ginther. “The question is whether or not this proposal is right for Columbus.”

Clark said the plan proposed by Represent Columbus is poorly timed, expensive and regressive.

“We believe that this is a flawed proposal that will really do a lot of harm to the city of Columbus. For the first time in 100 years, partisan politics will be injected back into our city,” Clark said. “Under this, for the first time in over 100 years, political parties would be the deciding factor for who gets to draw the ward lines. And by the way, people will not know what these lines look like before they’re asked to vote on August 2nd.”

Creating a ward system would set the city back to the 1800s and would ultimately cultivate a corrupt council like those in Chicago and Detroit, Clark added. It would also cost the city $75,000 more every year for each person that is added to the council over time.

“By growing to 25 council members, it’s going to cost taxpayers over $6 million a year,” he said. “That’s $6 million that can’t be spent on police and firefighters, can’t be spent on vacant and abandoned properties or economic development here in our city.”

For more information, visit onecolumb.us.


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