Council wards proposal meets organized opposition
Battle lines have been clearly drawn over a change in the representative structure on Columbus City Council.
Keep Columbus Strong, a newly formed citizens group, says it has “watched with great concern” an attempt to put a charter amendment on the ballot that would create ward representation in addition to the current at-large system on council.
The group took its message to the steps of City Hall Thursday, June 27 – two days after the Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government submitted 31,000 signatures to get the charter change on the fall ballot. It needs 19,164 valid signatures to qualify for the general election. The charter amendment specifically calls for a total of 11 members of council – seven wards and four at-large positions. The council currently has seven at-large members.
The coalition, on its web site, maintains that there “can be no expectation that seven council members elected at-large can sufficiently represent the diversity of neighborhoods and interests spread over our large and complex city.”
Dave Paul, spokesman for Keep Columbus Strong, said ward systems lead to divisiveness and would reduce the effectiveness of the city’s area commissions and civic associations.