Issue 1 would weaken city

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Columbus Dispatch on July 3rd.

Issue 1 would weaken city

As an avid follower of city politics, I was aware from the beginning that a petition-gathering effort by a group of residents would make the Columbus city council a larger, costlier endeavor. When those petitions were submitted, the proposal became Issue 1.

Issue 1 would be a terrible mistake that would diminish the ability of Columbus to progress and maintain our community’s competitive edge.

My first concern is the high cost to taxpayers. Estimates show that Issue 1 would eventually cost $6 million a year — $75,000 a year per new council member. That is $6 million that could be allocated to paving roads, investing in renewable energy, or adding to economic development to create good-paying jobs for our residents.

Secondly, Columbus has remarkable growth projections in terms of population and economics. We won the Smart City Challenge, and are ranked as one of the most technologically savvy cities. Issue 1 would inject a large city council into our politics, plagued by unhealthy division and infighting. We should be focused on how to make the city better, not scaling back its progress.

Finally, at-large council members serve the city as a whole; they are focused daily on guiding the city toward success in a very competitive national marketplace. Our current council has done this with great success. A 25-member, divided council, however, would focus on each member’s own interests. They would compete among themselves for limited resources, instead of looking after the well-being of the whole city.

Issue 1 is plagued by costly implementation, would harm the managerial success of the city, and inject partisanship and infighting into city business. If residents are concerned that the size of council is too small, then add two new positions, but don’t scrap a system that works well.

Erik Clarke

Columbus

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