People outside holding a Yes We Can banner

Maybe City Council’s Elizabeth Brown forgot the Columbus Partnership was paying close attention.

Or maybe, just maybe, she was being genuine and didn’t care what the Columbus Partnership thought. Mrs. Brown on Tuesday night said this to WOSU Public Radio about Yes We Can candidates Joe Motil, Tiffany White and Liliana Rivera Baiman:

“Our opponents in this election are not our opponents in the fight to move this city forward. We have work to do in the city of Columbus. It will take all of us, pushing forward together, to get it done. Together, we can deliver.”

As we can tell, Mrs. Brown not only extended an olive branch but perhaps an invitation to a Yes We Can candidate that they have earned a future appointed seat to City Council. Yes We Can (YWC) did win 1 of 3 votes on Tuesday.

What Mrs. Brown is truly thinking is hard to tell. The Freep has asked to speak with Sherrod Brown’s daughter but we have not heard back.

What we do know is City Council is besieged by special interests such as the Columbus Partnership, the corporate influence that insists on shaping Columbus “Their Way.”

Due to the city’s charter, and before Tuesday, 35 of the last 39 council members were appointed instead of elected. These same appointees then ran as incumbents, and an incumbent hasn’t lost since 1995.

Mind-boggling numbers, as is the $1 million-plus spent by the Franklin County Democratic Party and Elizabeth Brown, Rob Dorans, Shayla Favor and Emmanuel Remy, so they could retain their seats.

An incredible amount to keep the establishment Democrats in control, but it lets us know their true colors (ie, the Columbus Partnership).

So it’s hard to fathom a YWC candidate would ever be appointed. Indeed, YWC candidate Jasmine Ayers was the first runner-up in the 2017 City Council vote but was passed up for an appointment after Zach Klein vacated.

And like Zach Klein, there is a strong possibility that Brown, Dorans, Favor or Remy will vacate their seat for a higher office, and perhaps within the next year.

“My bet is Elizabeth Brown will not be around past the November 2020 election, If not, she won’t serve any more than two years,” says Joe Motil. “Everyone knows that City Council is the first step in advancing one’s political career as long as they do as they are told. Step out of line or think that you have the power to actually enact your own legislation or ideas, and you are kicked to the curb and replaced with a more trustworthy lackey.”

Nevertheless, we asked YWC is it completely out of the realm of possibility that City Hall would ever appoint a former YWC candidate to City Council? YWC activist Amy Harkins had one word for us: “Yes”.

YWC candidates agreed with Harkins.

“Honestly I do not believe that they will be offering me an appointment,” said Tiffany White who was first runner-up on Tuesday. “Transparency and accountability are at the top of my priority list when it comes to how the city currently does things and the impact in which it has on particular communities.”

Motil says the chances of him being appointed are about as good Michigan defeating Ohio State during the Urban Meyer era (Meyer was 7-0 verse Michigan).

“Anyone who truly believes City Council’s appointment process is on the up and up has been drinking too much of the City Council Kool-Aid,” says Motil.

So, what can be done to save Columbus from a City Hall sold-out to corporate interests and high-end developers who have already torn the soul out of several Columbus neighborhoods?

Labor organizer Jeremy Baiman, husband to YWC candidate Liliana Rivera Baiman, said finding a way to get YWC candidates on the sample ballot is critical.

Franklin County Democrat Party’s (FCDP) sample ballot of course lists their endorsed candidates. It is mailed to tens-of-thousands, and on election day, handed out in front of polling places by paid Franklin County Democrat Party employees. Too many voters simply take the sample ballot to their polling place and go down the list.

“The focus is electing folks to the FCDP central committee because central committee races are often tiny and winnable, and central committee controls the sample ballot,” says Baiman. “As we saw in this election, the sample ballot is virtually impossible to overcome.”

Motil says another critical task for YWC is to convince many young working-class Columbus peoples to get off the sidelines and become politically aware.

“I sense a lot of young people who are not politically active enjoy the direction Columbus is going in,” he says. “They seem to wear blinders when it comes to the economic and social impact our local Dems and the Columbus Partnership has on policy decisions. Kind of sad. The less affluent young people who are affected by the negative impact that these decision makers are having on their lives are being ignored by the powers that be.”