Columbus' current mayor is running for reelection against no one. Let democracy – and pizza embargos – rule the day with this writer's proposed platform.
Watching last night’s Democratic Presidential debate and the 12 candidates still running for president (which is about eight too many), I was struck by how different the elections next month will be here in Columbus.
Our longstanding Bermuda Triangle of anti-democracy — by which I mean the don’t-bother-voting zone of City Council — is perplexing enough, with its oligarchical playbook of Council installing whomever it wants and having the person campaign for votes a year after they’ve already had the job (35 of the last 39 members were appointed, not elected).
Making matters worse, the highest profile job in the city — mayor — has one candidate. Incumbent Mayor Andrew Ginther is running completely unopposed. There isn’t even a whacked-out outlier without a chance in hell vying for the free beer at campaign fundraisers.
For a Democratic Party, it sure doesn’t like using the value system for which it's named.Get The Other Columbus delivered direct to your inbox every Wednesday: Sign up for our daily newsletter
Despite my better angels, I was inspired after watching something resembling democracy last night. Sure, it’s a ridiculous and antiquated popularity contest that’s more gaffe combine than political tool, but at least there was sport. In fact, I was moved to come up with a platform for a mayoral bid. Nothing fancy. Just some things I think the people of Columbus wouldn’t mind seeing become a reality.
If you’re so inclined (or hung over), you can write me in on the ballot with full confidence that, should I be elected, I will endeavor to engage the following items in earnest:
I promise to eject every member of the existing board, make everyone run again, plus whoever else wants a shot, and then add an education czar who has to approve of every major expenditure and decision of the board. The czar will be a parent of three whose kids all go to public school and who has been forced to shop at a trash-riddled convenience store in the last 12 months. Also, school plays at all grade levels are now mandatory. #ColumbusMakesArt is about to get generationally institutionalized.
I’m about to free up a bunch of seats on the school board, so there are several jobs right there. Also, there have got to be 1,000 full-time jobs in patching up all of these raggedy roads. Also, a moratorium on the next five new builds in the Downtown area unless they are multilevel parking garages.
We’re going to make affordable housing real by putting a czar of affordable housing on top of the land bank. The czar will be someone who has lived in either Linden, King-Lincoln, east of Parsons or on the East Side for longer than 30 years and who hasn’t had a photo-op with a political candidate in that time. Preferably someone who has been harassed by companies trying to buy their homes.
Columbus has more than enough resources to not only survive, but sustain at a fine quality of life. So no more tax abatements for development. If you want to build in this city, you got to pay. If you’d rather pay a one-time fee, fine, but it’s going to be a number so staggering that every public school student will feel it come lunchtime. If we get to a point where we need that kind of money again, I’ll turn on the taps like Immortan Joe in "Mad Max: Fury Road." Also, job opportunity: building and installing 50-foot taps on the side of City Hall for this express purpose.
Mikey’s Late Night Slice is heretofore forbidden from placing another restaurant within two miles of Downtown.
The Short North
Segregate it from the city as a township and charge the neighborhood a billion dollars a year to keep accessing city resources, and then watch the rich eat themselves as they price gouge themselves into a black hole, upon which we will build much-needed parking.
If we’ve learned nothing in the last several years of notable police killings, it is that mayors have no control over the police organizations in their cities. That said, I would have some say in a new chief. As it turns out, we currently have an opening. Surprising exactly no one, I’d be looking to install someone who isn’t a current member of the force, or any force. My pool of candidates would consist entirely of the family currently putting up those signs on freeway overpasses reminding everyone to love themselves.
I used to love meetings. I believed anything could happen at a meeting. Unless a City Council member has a note from their doctor or their mother, they have to sit for the entire meeting at which the public is present.
Hope to see you all on Nov. 5. That is, if you believe in freedom and pizza embargoes.