By Steve Croyle
Don’t like the political system? Look in the mirror
TOPIC: Local voting
The vast majority of Columbus voters decided against participating in Yesterday’s election. Granted, it wasn’t a very sexy election. Statewide, we had to vote on two confusing issues that had little impact on the average citizen. Locally, however, there were city council, and school board seats at stake. With less than 25% of registered voters participating, Columbus opted for Status Quo on both counts.
It’s worth noting that Shannon Hardin, Priscilla Tyson, and Mitchell Brown are three of the more complicit city council members when it comes to the city handing out tax incentives that have been determined to be unnecessary by independent development analysts. These are also council members with ties to the corrupt Coleman administration that took bribes from companies like Redflex.
The City of Columbus has been failing miserably on promises to revitalize Linden, and the Westside, despite taking in a rather impressive amount of revenue, compared to other cities in Ohio. The Columbus Public Schools is one of the most well-funded urban school districts in the country, and yet they are always claiming poverty. We’re not that far removed from a board that turned a blind eye to felonious acts of academic fraud. Our current Mayor was on that board at the time, by the way. But he didn’t know what was going on. Probably because he was lining up bribes, which he took as a council member, but he conveniently didn’t know they were bribes.
The Franklin County Democratic Party is corrupt, and has been for a long while. Mike Coleman won a power struggle back in the late 1990s to seize control over the local party, and it’s been a den of iniquity ever since. We all know it. Liberal voters have been putting up with it for years, but the city is being sold out to well-heeled developers so brazenly, that even liberals have had enough.
Apparently not enough, however, to get out yesterday and vote.
One would be inclined to give Republicans a pass when it comes to local politics because the democrats have beaten them into submission and there are never any compelling Republicans available at the local level. However, when voter turnout struggles to crack the 20% threshold, it wouldn’t be hard to rally around one firebrand and stage an election day coup. Just one voice of opposition on City Council would be a refreshing change. With City Council meetings being closed, you’d have at least one person waiting to run out and expose the chicanery.
Liberals or Progressives or whatever we’re supposed to call ourselves, however, just served themselves a big fat order of shut your stinking pie hole. There’s a consensus among the left leaning citizenry that the City’s modus operandi is unfairly taking a toll on the city’s less affluent residents. When developers don’t have to pay those taxes that normally fund the schools, and people who live in million dollar condos keep getting their generous tax abatements renewed, the schools ask for more exorbitant levies, those levies end up hurting the retired, and underemployed homeowners in poorer neighborhoods. That has a negative impact on those neighborhoods, and only fuels the cycle of blight. While shiny new homes are built downtown, the houses near downtown fall into disrepair because those people can’t afford to foot the bill.
It made sense to prime the pump and offer initial incentives to boost downtown residency, but when you’re renewing those same incentives, and offering even more to newer developments 20 years later, that’s not priming the pump, it’s subsidizing a group of people who really don’t need to be subsidized.
This election offered the voters a chance to slap the hands of the City’s government. Though liberal, the Yes We Can candidates stood for fiscal responsibility, and recommitting the city to distribute its resources evenly to all residents, not just the handful of people living it up downtown. To that end, even Republicans could have gotten on board.
2016 was a contentious election, and millions of progressive voter were upset over what has now been confirmed as a rigged game. Bernie Sanders offered a truly progressive approach to reforming our government. Some of his ideas were out there, but he was a diligent, hard-working, bulldog of a man from Vermont who knew how to forge compromises. He wouldn’t have accomplished most of his goals, but he did offer a chance for us to change the dialogue.
Despite all of Hillary’s noted shortcomings, and her horrible campaign strategy that combined vanity, hubris, cheating, and negativity, a lot of progressives who saw little difference between Hillary and Trump were shamed and bullied into supporting her. Shamed and bullied by the lazy, uninformed liberal voters who didn’t show up yesterday.
25% of the voters is basically friends and families of the people running, and the shady profiteers who pull the strings of the winners.
We had less than 25%. That means many of the social media warriors who shamed third party supporters, Millennials, and the mythical “Bernie Bros” are full of hot air.
These are the elections that shape the battles at the top. When you show up in force and vote for City Council, you teach those fledgling politicians that voters matter. Then you use their performance at the lower levels to weed them out. If they’re always out of town, like Shannon Hardin was so often last year, you just stop voting for them and they have to leave politics and get a real job. You teach them to work hard, and be available, and then advance them to the next rung on the ladder. As long as you stay engaged as voters, the candidates will stay beholden to you.
The reason politicians are up for sale is because most people only show up to vote in presidential elections and then, they don’t do any work, the voters just respond to commercials and sound bites. Politicians sell out because money buys the best commercials, and hires the best speech writers to come up with those sound bites. Voters don’t matter because they’re just a bunch of dummies who hibernate from the political process for three out of every four years.
Tuesday, the Citizens of Columbus, Ohio proved themselves to be willing sheep, who love their masters. If you didn’t vote, you’re not just part of the problem, you are the problem in its entirety.
QUICK TAKE I
Be fair, Mayor
Topic: Mayor Ginther & Zach Klein
With Zach Klein, who spent most of his tenure in City Council posing for pictures, moving up to the City Attorney’s office, Mayor Ginther and the City Council have to appoint another member. Given the fact that we just had an election and Yes We Can candidate Jasmine Ayres finished fourth, it would make sense to appoint her, as that seems to have the most support of the voters.
After all, if Zach had done the right thing and resigned ahead of the election, we would have had four seats open, and Ayres would be in. It’s not exactly ethical for Zach to call dibs on a seat he didn’t really want, just to ensure that the administration can hand pick a lackey to replace him.
The Coleman administration was masterful at this process. So many council members got their start as an appointment, and then had to defend their seat as an incumbent. That’s a huge advantage, and it’s a big part of the reason our city government is dirty.
If you want to prove that you’re not a slimeball, Mayor Ginther, supporting the will of the voters is the right thing to do.
QUICK TAKE II
Guns are part of the problem
Topic: Gun laws
Guns don’t kill people. They just make it really easy to kill people, and they are readily available. Millions of guns change hands every year in legal transactions that are not documented. No background checks, no registration, no bill of sale.
If you buy a brand new firearm from a federally licensed dealer, they have to adhere to the Brady Bill, but there are thousands of sellers who don’t need an FFL. In most states, including Ohio, you can sell a gun, and ammo, at a yard sale. There are no regulation outlining any process for documenting a private transaction. Guns are not titled like cars, boats, trailers, or even mopeds. You can sell or trade a gun to anybody.
This, as you can imagine, pretty much circumvents all existing gun regulations. The ATF estimates that 3-4 million guns change hands in private sales every year. It ensures that gun matriculate readily into the hands of criminals, while providing the original documented owner with the plausible deniability of saying “I don’t know how that gun got there.”
This is not a “black market”. These sales are legal, and they are at the very core of this country’s gun problem. It’s time to address this issue, and take one more avenue of armament away from the bad guys. No, it won’t stop all shootings, but it gives us a chance to prevent some of them, and that’s all we need.