Issue 1: Breaking the One Party System in Columbus, Ohio
With all the struggles this presidential election of getting Gary Johnson eligible to take part in the debates, we can easily become lost in the miasma of the federal elections. It had happened to me, until I noticed a post last week from my previous professor Dr. Robert Fitrakis. Dr. Fitrakis was always one of my favorite teachers to have discussions with, as well as the professor I credit the most for providing the tools I employ to analyze political media, thanks to his “Politics and the Media” course. He and I would have long discussions while smoking our briar tobacco pipes outside of the school building jokingly referring to ourselves as “pipe smoking intellectuals.”
Dr. Fitrakis has a long and impressive curriculum vitae, and he is currently running for Franklin County Prosecutor under the Green Party’s banner. Dr. Fitrakis has been known to fight against fraud and corruption in my area. He has the websites Fraudbusterbob as well as the Columbus Free Press. When news of a scandal here in Columbus, Ohio is broken to the public, it has often been Dr. Fitrakis shining his flashlight on the crony cockroaches leeching off of the system.
Columbus has had its fair share of cronyism and corruption. I experienced this first hand when my best friend and I were volunteering for Ibrahima Sow, who was running as a Republican city councilman in my city. In Columbus it’s not a two party issue; we live in a city under the single party control of corrupt Democrats.
When the votes were tallied for Ibrahima Sow, he lost tremendously, despite a lot of hard work. We kept thinking, “What did we do wrong?” Well, apparently we didn’t do anything wrong at all; the system was rigged from the start. Democrats here have been appointing their successors who are basically handed the election every year in a landslide, no matter how scandal ridden the previous candidate was. For example the numerous scandals regarding former Mayor Michael Coleman such as the FBI Investigating him for his real estate dealing, or the infamous RedFlex Red light camera scandal. The Red light camera scandal was so bad, that it reached the state supreme court. Now in Ohio, for a red light camera to operate, a police officer must be there to actually issue the ticket. We also had a scandal with the city council getting box office seats to a Buckeye game. The city council is so corrupt it apparently took a mere 15 minutes to debate a bill from the taxpayers to build a casino, which has a legal monopoly from any competition, according to Dr. Fitrakis. Despite there being a casino in Ohio now, no one else may run any gambling operations. In fact, Ohio recently cracked down on internet cafes suspected of operating gambling operations.
With Mayor Coleman gone, who basically picked Andrew Ginther as his replacement, we have to ask the fair question: should we expect just more of the same?
Enter Issue 1, our hero to defend us from the corruption we have come to see over the past couple decades in my city. Issue 1 was created by disgruntled Democrats and the Green party who felt their voices were not being heard. This is a truly grass roots movement by the people to have their voices heard by their local government. They are seeking to make the local elections more fair than they currently are. However, according to Dr. Fitrakis, they are facing some lies and mistruths from the establishment Democrats. Advertisements against Issue 1 on the radio, TV, internet, and mailers have stated there is Koch money involved, it’s a Republican plot to take over the council, that it’s endorsed by Trump, and some other silly stuff.
“I am not sure if Trump really knows about what is even going on in Columbus,” Dr. Fitrakis said. He believes opposition to Issue 1 is manifested as fear sown by establishment Democrats. Dr. Fitrakis also notes, “it’s rather Orwellian…Here this establishment is telling us they know better for us.”
A pattern of cronyism has also appeared in how the establishment prefers to redraw district lines. “The rich areas of German Village, Short North, Clintonville and such will be far better represented than the poor areas such as the east side near Whitehall, the west side near the Hilltop area, as well as many areas like that,” Dr. Fitrakis said.
Some other misinformation being spread is that Issue 1 would “add 25 members” to the city council, effectively packing it. This is blatantly false. Issue 1 would only add six new additional council members. Further to the point of the misinformation Columbus city law has one district added per every 85,000 residents, according to Dr. Fitrakis.
All in all we can see this has been one large issue of misdirection from the establishment Democrats to hold on tight to their power. Despite us having elections in Ohio, you might as well call it what it truly is: the American local government version of the North Korean one party system. This will continue until we have a solution like Issue 1 pass.
Democrats in Columbus, Ohio think they know what’s good for you, better than you do. Let them know how you feel about that this special election, August 2nd 2016.
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