Greg Lashutka

Joe Motil submitted this letter to The Columbus Dispatch recently in response to former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka's letter in opposition to the District-at-large City Council Issue. The Dispatch did not print it. Turning down a letter from one of Central Ohio’s most active and intelligent progressives is damn-near unconscionable considering how many passionate progressives are active in this community’s affairs. We’re proudly running it here:

In response to former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka, “Voters should oppose charter change”

Former Columbus Mayor Greg Lashutka’s opposition and his reasoning not to support the District-At-Large Columbus City Council proposal are not at all surprising. While he cites his combined 16 years of experience as a Columbus Mayor and City Attorney, my 30 years of experience as a neighborhood community leader in dealing with his, past and current Mayors and City Council members tells me this proposal is long overdue.

The former mayor is a recipient of a system that rewards those who take care of the rich and powerful of this city. He was in fact part of a plan to deceive the public into providing a public handout for a private enterprise. For example his cheerleading as mayor during the failed attempt to convince the voters of Columbus to pony up a half cent sales tax increase in 1997 to pay for a privately owned soccer stadium and arena on the old Ohio Penitentiary site, landed him a six figure job with Nationwide Mutual Insurance when he left office. Mayor Lashutka and others repeatedly stated that if the voters did not pass the sales tax increase there was not a Plan B to pay for it. Amazingly though just weeks after the election, Nationwide mysteriously came forth and announced that it would fund 90 percent of the cost to build what is now Nationwide Arena.

His unconvincing arguments and those from the One Columbus Pac that is being funded by the controlling power brokers of Columbus, always refer to Chicago as an example of how Districts can have a negative impact on city policy. As we all know Chicago has a long and unique history of mob influenced politics dating back to when Prohibition was law and such a comparison is nothing more than a weak attempt to deceive people. Why not compare this proposal to other cities that have a District-At-large City Council? Atlanta, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Boston, Indianapolis and Charlotte for example? Are thesecities crumbling and suffering due to infighting from district representation? Of course not.

And Mr. Lashutka’s claiming that civic associations and area commissions’ input on city policy would be stifled couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a City Council member that represents and understands the needs of their geographical area and works directly with them would finally give neighborhoods a voice at City Hall which has been lacking for decades. And finally the argument about additional taxpayer cost is laughable when you look at the ongoing waste and added bureaucracy that has been created at City Hall over the years and especially by the use of the additional .5 percent city income tax slush fund that was added in 2009.

I would urge Columbus voters not to be fooled by the misguided deception by those who do not wish to relinquish their power and control over the governing and policy making decisions of our city. It is time the people had a say at the table and not just the affluent who fill the campaign coffers of our elected officials and receive tax abatements and other generous handouts at the expense of our neighborhoods and quality of life. Vote Yes on August 2nd.

Clintonville residentJoe Motilis one of Central Ohio’s most noteworthy and recognizable progressive activists. The former City Council candidate is best described in his own words: “I have fought side by side for the past 30 years with concerned citizens across the City of Columbus for Fairness and Equality. Experience Matters!”




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