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Mayor Ginther: Unopposed and Unindicted

Mayor Andrew Ginther is running unopposed in this year’s election. His major accomplishment in his first term was successfully remaining unindicted in the RedFlex camera scandal.

Ginther perfectly personifies the so-called “Columbus Way,” and that way is pretty straightforward. You suck up to multimillionaire and billionaire developers who don’t live in Columbus and give them massive tax breaks. In return, they fill your coffers for re-election.

Also as part of the Columbus Way, you make it difficult for any oppositional forces to get on the ballot. Municipal election signatures on candidate petitions cannot be gathered until after the November election. You have Thanksgiving, Christmas and then the coldest month of the year in January to try to get signatures. You require 1000 valid signatures for Mayor.

The Mayor with his power of patronage, appointment and abatements can gather a coterie of sycophants looking for favors.

Local Republicans seem incapable of functioning as an oppositional force to the corrupt and incredibly bland Democrats. As for minor parties, the major duopoly is solidly united in kicking them off the ballot whenever possible.

Still, in the city there are certain modestly independent electoral upstarts, most notably Yes We Can, who are trying to reform the Democratic Party from within. Through a realignment strategy, they appear to be trying to move the mainstream Dems left of center, a Herculean task.

The Mayor has, in fact, Gintherized the Party, removing its spine. So while most Democratically controlled cities in the Northeast tend to have progressive Democratic Party members clamoring for “Green New Deals” and democratic socialism, Columbus Dems pride themselves on being Republican-lite – just to the right of center and letting corporate interest groups know they’re open for pay-to-play.

The undemocratic nature of the Ginther- and Coleman machine style of politics is to de-politicize and turn off the electorate by not dealing with the great moral issues of the day.

Uncontested Council and School Board Races

Not only is the Mayor tragically unopposed this year, but there will also be no primary election at all. Only eight people managed to get enough valid signatures for eight positions on Columbus City Council – and no one filed to run against Ginther – making the primary superfluous.

The fact that we have an unopposed Mayor and noncompetitive primary in a major city speaks volumes about the undemocratic nature of monopoly machine politics in Columbus.

In the fall general election, there are a few candidates who matter and aren’t part of the machine: Liliana Baiman who has an admirable track record of grassroots politics and Joe Motil, who has fought for decades to make sure the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes and that the people’s voices are heard.


The SOS fox is guarding the election henhouse

With Trump threatening to unleash paramilitary violence in the United States, calling on the military, cops and bikers to preserve his government – we should pay careful attention to Ohio Senate Bill 52. Although it makes little sense that bikers would give up cooking meth and trafficking women to help support Trump…

SB 52 has had three readings in the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee and soon should be passed out of committee to the House. The bill, heavily supported by Republican Senators and county sheriffs, has a peculiar section dealing with so-called Cyber Reserves.

SB 52 requires Ohio’s governor “to organize and maintain state civilian cyber security reserve forces, to be known as the Ohio Cyber Reserve.” The mission of these Cyber Reserves is “to protect government, critical infrastructure, businesses, and citizens from cyber attacks.”

Curiously, the Bill makes the Reserve part of “the Ohio Organized Militia under the Adjutant General’s department.” In essence, the Reserve will “become a civilian component of the Ohio National Guard.”

The Bill would allow the governor to “requisition equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense and make available state armory facilities, equipment, and other premises and property.”

Thrown into the middle of the Bill, the Ohio Secretary of State is made a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council in the Department of Public Safety. The Bill also requires the Secretary of State (SOS) to appoint a Chief Information Security Officer to advise the SOS on matters of information security.

Election audits are prescribed in SB 52 as well. The Bill also mandates that Boards of Elections conduct official audits after every election. These new audits must establish “risk-limiting audit protocol or a percentage-based audit protocol.” And on a positive note the Bill requires the audits “be open to observers appointed under the election law, the media and members of the public.”

We’ll have to pay careful attention to what the SOS is up to. In the past, Secretary of States like Ken Blackwell and Jon Husted were far more likely to manipulate election results than any Russians. Watch this Bill. If it passes, it gives the people most likely to rig an election in the past, now have the power to set up the audit procedures that are supposed to reveal electronic election theft. 


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