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Green Party endorses public financing and end to the Nationwide Arena tax bailout

March 27, 2013

Contact: Bob Fitrakis

Green Party endorses public financing and end to the Nationwide Arena tax bailout in Columbus
The Franklin County Green Party officially and unanimously endorsed the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government’s initiatives to end the tax bailout for the Nationwide Arena and to create public financing for Columbus city elections on March 21, 2013.
Franklin County Green Party Co-Chair Bob Fitrakis stated “It’s about time we end the public subsidies and wealthfare checks to four of the richest families in the Columbus area.” Columbus voters have five times rejected public money bailouts of private sports teams and arenas. “This current scheme to funnel money to the rich happened after only a 15-minute debate at Columbus City Council. The one-party machine that runs Columbus City Hall is fundamentally corrupt and compromised,” said Fitrakis.
The current at-large system requires at least a quarter of a million dollars to run an electoral campaign city-wide. “There is no candidates other than the one-party incumbents, who traffic in political favors, that can raise that kind of money to run in a city-wide election,” explained Fitrakis, “The public campaign financing will take the tainted special interest money out and replace it with public matching funds.”
The Green Party, whose 2012 presidential candidate Jill Stein qualified for federal matching campaign funds, is a long-time supporter of removing private interest money from the campaign process. The Franklin County Green Party calls upon the citizens of Columbus to participate in the petition drive to place the initiatives on the ballot this November.
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Columbus City Council call-in campaign next two weeks (July 7-20)

Please step up and join the City Council call-in campaign going on the next two weeks (July 7-20). Call and encourage City Council members to allow the citizen’s initiative from the recent city charter change petition to go on this year’s November ballot.

The Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government submitted 31,000 signatures on June 25 to put on the November ballot the opportunity for voters to vote for a city charter change — the one that would open up Columbus City Council to have 11 members with 7 from districts. This will result in a more democratic, more representative Columbus City Council.

They are using everything in their arsenal to fight this and prevent it from happening.

We need citizens of Columbus to make as many phone calls as possible to Council this week. Every day, if possible. Over and over again. And get everyone you know to do it too. Only with this kind of pressure will this succeed. In the past, they have crumbled when faced with a relentless calling campaign. You can even call after hours and leave messages so they have to retrieve them in the morning.

Possible script:
“I am a Columbus citizen and I am calling Councilwoman “—” to encourage her to support the recent citizen initiative to put a city charter change on this November’s ballot. 31,000 signatures were recently submitted from citizens like me, who want more representation on Columbus City Council and more democratic representation from the city’s districts. Please tell Councilwoman “—” to support this initiative.”

“My name is “—-” and you can return my call at “—”

Here are the City Council phone numbers:
Andrew Ginther (President) 645-2931
Herschel Craig 645-7379
Zach Klein 645-5346
Troy Miller 645-2013
Michele Mills 645-5344
Eileen Paley 645-2010
Priscilla Tyson 645-2933

Why do we need a more democratic Columbus City Council?
– They recently voted to give away the casino to the four wealthiest families in the city to subsidize their losses at the Arena.
– They continue to appoint new members between elections, no one has been outright elected by the people to Columbus City Council for over 15 years.
– They continue to make their deals behind closed doors, closing out the public and public opinion – and changed the city charter in 2010 to make even more decisions out of the public eye.
– The time for public speaking at Council meetings has been decreased, as well as the number of people speaking, subjects they are allowed to speak on and procedures to get on the speaking agenda made inconvenient.
– They are trying to change the amount of time one can get a city permit – clearly to prevent Occupy Columbus from continuing
– They are gentrifying people on the near east side, Poindexter Village – and moving poor people out to unfamiliar suburbs
– Each one is at large, not beholden to any particular city neighborhood
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