In early September, the Columbus Metropolitan Club informed Joe Motil that they would not be hosting their customary city of Columbus mayoral debate
Joe Motil and Mayor Ginther

Press release from Joe Motil’s campaign

Andy Ginther’s refusal to discuss the state of the city with a legitimate Democratic challenger, long-time, highly respected, and well-known civic leader is indeed a blatant sign of disrespect for the people of Columbus. It is also an insult to the democratic electoral process.

Ginther displays his daily lack of knowledge of the city for which he receives an undeserved salary.

Spewing no more than empty slogans, always placing blame on others, never accepting accountability or responsibility, and presenting a record of failure, he must be afraid to meet Joe Motil in public to debate the pressing issues that challenge the daily lives of Columbus residents and the neighborhoods they live in.

Instead, he spends his $1.2 million payoffs from those who write checks to his campaign. They, who are his partners in this city’s pay-to-play system of politics, provide Ginther the money to spew the same fraudulent election year campaign rhetoric and promises on daily television ads.

An October 2, 2022, Columbus Dispatch editorial board opinion piece stated in part, “As our society becomes an increasingly closed off echo chamber, we need more conversation across political ideologies and more thoughtful debate and discussion, not less.”

“Debates are the equivalent of a job interview for candidates running for office.”

“Candidates who say no to debates shirk this responsibility and set a dangerous precedent in refusing to even engage with the other side. This is a move away from the tradition of civic debate and dissent and, therefore, a move away from democratic norms that form the bedrock of our nation.”

This editorial was signed by all editorial boards of the USA TODAY Network Ohio, which includes the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal, Canton Repository and 17 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

We must also criticize the Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC). In early September, they informed Joe Motil that they would not be hosting their customary city of Columbus mayoral debate. In a phone conversation with CMC Vice President of Programming, Dave Buchanan, stated the CMC did not have space on their schedule for a debate. When Joe Motil brought up the fact that their web site shows their October schedule was empty, Buchanan confirmed Motil was correct. Keep in mind CMC’s mantra is, “Everyone has a seat at the table during this day of community-wide conversation!”

“I continued that there was plenty of time to schedule a debate and questioned their decision not to host a debate. The CMC joins in Ginther’s rejection of democracy in Columbus,” said Motil.  

In a podcast interview between Columbus Dispatch opinion editor Amelia Robinson and CMC CEO and President Sophia Fifner on May 31, 2023, Ms. Fifner stated, “I am the biggest ambassador for everything that is happening here in Central Ohio. I am incredibly passionate about civic engagement and helping individuals connect to issues that matters most to them in a meaningful way. And the opportunity to serve as the president of the organization that does exactly that every single week was a dream come true. Information should not be limited to a specific class or a specific group. They wanted to make sure it was accessible to everyone.”

Fifner’s words only apply to those of her choosing.

Ginther has avoided the last two public candidate forums. One which hosted by the Central Ohio African-American Chamber of Commerce and the other was Tuesday’s Columbus Metropolitan League of Women Voters forum that was held at the south ends Community Development for All People.

The LWV forum candidate rules do not allow for “open seat debates.” Thus, since Ginther was a no show, and Motil was not permitted to fully participate. But yet six Columbus City Council candidates, who are running unopposed who fall under the same LWV “open seat” debate rule were permitted to participate in the forum.

Can democracy be found anywhere in Columbus?