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OP: Less than 25% of Columbus voted, really?

614now

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 [su_testimonial photo=”http://614now.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/croyle-thumb1.jpg”]By Steve Croyle[/su_testimonial]

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.

COMMENT BELOW…


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.


These are opinions, dude!
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of 614Now, 614 Mediagroup or its employees. Take a deep breath… it’s just one man’s opinion. If you want your voice heard beyond the comments section, we invite you to send us your thoughts HERE.
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Govt & Politics

Op-Ed: We won battle with Heartbeat Bill block, war continues

Caitlin Horwatt

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Ohio’s controversial “Heartbeat Bill” has been ​blocked by a federal court​, just days before it was slated to go into enforcement on July 11. The ruling is a temporary win for pro-reproductive rights activists and Planned Parenthood, ensuring that abortion clinics in the state of Ohio can stay open. But, the war over a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy is only ramping up.

The law would have banned abortions in the state of Ohio after six weeks, the earliest time in a pregnancy when a fetal heartbeat may be detected and well before many women know they are pregnant. There were to be no exceptions for rape or incest, although there would be exceptions when the life of the mother was in danger. The law would have classified violations as fifth-degree felonies, carrying up to one year in jail time and up to $2,500 in fines as a sentence.

The ​halt was ordered ​by Judge Michael Barrett of the Southern District of Ohio U.S. District Court. Barrett pointed out that the bill placed an “undue burden” on a woman seeking to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy. The law was on its face unconstitutional, a blatant attempt to overturn the federal government’s long standing decision to give women the right to the decisions regarding their bodies. Conservatives have tried to limit bodily autonomy well before women had the right to abortions; however, they fail to attack problems like infant poverty and child hunger with the same veracity.

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The bill was part of a larger strategy that’s occurred nationwide at the hands of Republican lawmakers. The right to an abortion will stand nationally as long as Supreme Court rulings, including ​Roe v. Wade,​ remain in effect. By hammering out heartbeat bills nationwide, conservatives increase their chances of getting a ruling appealed up to the Supreme Court and from there the conservative-leaning court overturning ​Roe​.

Abortions are not only justified in the case of rape or incest, which has been a clickbait-inducing theme around this controversy. Abortion is a part of reproductive healthcare, a procedure nearly one in four women​ have before the age of 45. If lawmakers are so concerned about decreasing abortion rates, presumably because of a concern for the lives of the fetuses, they should fund comprehensize sex education ​and support for impoverished children already in this country.

The right to an abortion goes further than an outright ban. Strict regulations are a backdoor way to limit abortions, claiming to regulate the abortion providers for safety purposes. The state of Missouri​ famously has just one embattled abortion clinic ​still open and providing procedures, with the fight to keep the clinic licensed and running regularly boiling down to the wire in the past several months.

It is easy to move on from this debate when a new shocking headline runs about the state of politics or the crisis at the border. Wins like this, though important, cannot be accepted as permanent. As long as conservative lawmakers are proposing bills and regulations that limit abortion care, there is a battle to be fought, because we won’t go back.

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: Heartbeat Bill will likely affect 11yo Ohio rape victim

Caitlin Horwatt

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The passage of Ohio’s recent “heartbeat bill,” signed by Governor DeWine, marks a massive and distressing win in the conservative quest to outright ban abortion. All parties supporting the bill—from DeWine to legislators and lobbyists—are well aware that the action will be blocked by courts as they uphold Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion until 24 weeks gestation. We should be frightened as we explore whether their big picture goal is to get Roe v. Wade overturned by the decidedly conservative Court.

By banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected, the law prohibits abortion as early as eight weeks, well before many women know they are pregnant. Add in the already mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period between first appointment and procedure, and the likelihood of legal abortion for even a pregnancy detected early seems slim. The law is an blatant attempt to ban women’s right to choose.

The Guttmacher Institute found that ​1 in 4 women​ has had an abortion before age 45. The Pew Research Center found that ​58% of Americans support legal abortion ​in all or most cases, with polarizing views against abortion coming mostly from Republican and religious Americans. These statistics fail to depict, though, how traumatic the impact can be for women forced to carry a child to term when she does not have the means or support to do so. The law is meant to protect the fetus at a term that is far earlier than the 22 to 24 weeks at which it is viable, all at the cost of the mother.

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The bill notably does not give exceptions for cases of rape and incest, only allowing exceptions for medical necessity to save the mother’s life. This means an ​11 year-old rape victim from Massillon​ will likely have to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

Heartbeat bills do not ban abortion; they ban legal abortion. I think of a sign I saw during the 2017 Women’s March: a metal coat hanger with the words “WE WON’T GO BACK” scrawled below. The passage of this recent law achingly raises questions of whether or not we will go back.

Women who now find themselves pregnant could have their lives forever changed. Even if they choose to surrender the baby after birth, the cost of a pregnancy is astronomical and healthcare is far from a certainty in this country. If the pregnancy was caused by rape, the potential for trauma only escalates. Women will have few places to turn, with the most vulnerable unable to seek safe healthcare and the potential high for maternal deaths as part of botched abortions.

The ACLU and other organizations are already moving to challenge the ban in court. I can’t shake the looming feeling that these challenges will only play into the hands of those anti-abortion supporters, and that we may be entering the most important fight of our generation in this fight for a woman’s right to choose.

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: ‘Red flag’ is far cry from where Ohio gun law should be

Joanne Strasser

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Last weekend, a man entered a synagogue in Poway, California armed with a rifle. The Washington Post reports that prior to him entering the place of worship, the accused shooter wrote a 7-page letter about his hatred for Jewish people. He believed killing them would “glorify God.” Below is an op-ed from one Columbus mother who believes Ohio should be taking a stronger stance against guns following of the Poway tragedy.

Even in light of this past weekend’s synagogue shooting, DeWine is still unwilling to change Ohio’s gun laws. He is, however, advocating for Ohio to pass a red flag law, which would allow law enforcement to seize guns from individuals deemed a societal risk.

This isn’t the first time the red flag law was floated in the Ohio Legislature.  In the wake of last year’s Parkland High School shooting in Florida, former Gov. Kasich backed the proposed law, which ultimately failed to gain support.

Opposition to the legislation stems from Republican lawmakers’ belief that it infringes on the constitution rights to bear arms and proper due process of law. However, 14 other states have already implemented the red flag law.

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Moms Demand Action, a national gun control organization, notes that 42% of attackers exhibit warning signs before shootings occur. And although this legislation would only be a small step in the right direction, it could help save lives.

But ultimately, statistics don’t matter to politicians, who are dependent on dollars from the gun lobby.  And until our elected officials decide that Ohioans‘ safety comes first, any measure, regardless of how small and sensible, will fail. 

Ohio Republicans need to take a long hard look at their agenda and ask themselves if it truly serves our needs. Which is more important: our children feeling safe at school or campaign contributions? 

The red flag law is a common-sense measure, and while it’s a far cry from where Ohio gun restriction needs to be, it’s certainly a start.

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