Columbus set to hold public vote on defaulting on Blue Jackets arena bonds (but won’t actually do it regardless)

I don’t even know where to start with this:

A citizens group trying to change Columbus politics has turned in petitions seeking a ballot initiative to stop the city from paying on its purchase contract for Nationwide Arena.

The Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government submitted 17,200 signatures to the Columbus city clerk’s office yesterday to amend the purchase ordinance and stop payments to buy the arena by 2016.

While it’s a nice idea to try to undo a money-losing public bailout deal for the Blue Jackets from 2011, um, no, residents of a city can’t just vote to refuse to make good on contracts that the city already entered into. Or rather, they can apparently vote on it — if the petitions hold up, the referendum would be held — but it’s not going to stop the city from being obligated to make those payments. Or else I could suggest some other things we might vote to stop paying for.

The Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government is … well, the group is still rebuilding its website after it was hacked (in August, wha?), but it looks like it’s mostly dedicated to improving transparency in local government — one of its primary goals is “We support the return of public access television to the people.” (Its Facebook page features a cartoon of, man, I have no idea what’s going on there.) I’d cite the arena petition itself, but that page directs to an unrelated petition on district governance — curse you, hackers! — so it’s hard to say much more.

Except that clearly, enough people in Columbus are ticked off about the arena bailout that they’ll sign anything opposed to it, no matter who’s waving it in their faces and whether it will actually do anything. This is going to be the funnest ballot measure ever!

3 comments on “Columbus set to hold public vote on defaulting on Blue Jackets arena bonds (but won’t actually do it regardless)

  1. In completely not-stadium kudos, I’d like to see them redouble their efforts on the district-based elections at local government. Before November, Columbus was one of the 3 in the “top 50 cities” without district elections….. Seattle passed our measure 66% to 34%.

    Stadium-related – the Seattle NBA fans were rallying for an avowed Marxist (and former Occupy leader/extreme participant) who was talking about taking over the Boeing factory (in the city of Renton) to have the public make buses. It’ll be interesting to see what voters in her district think of her being their representative (in two years) and if they embrace the “vibrancy” that pushed her through defeating a long-time, but far less flashy, incumbent.

  2. People’s skybuses notwithstanding… I am intrigued by this. Is the coalition for nonresponsive government appropriately named? I mean, is the government of the city of Columbus completely nonresponsive? Can it fog a mirror? Or has it ceased to be? Run down the flag and joined the choir invisible? Shuffled off this mortal coil?

    How bad does the Blue Jackets welfare deal (which is absolutely what it is) have to be for “someone” to have hacked a community coalition’s website?

    In a nutshell, this is a major problem (but far from the only one) with our present democratic system: If you don’t get the answer you want in a vote (not that there was a vote, of course… just endless non-arms length lobbying by paid advocates who’s invoices are, happily enough, tax deductible for the corporations seeking to sink their mouthparts into the taxpayer’s bloodstream) you just keep asking and keep amending the question to be ever more deceptive and unclear until whomever you have to convince actually says yes. Then you quickly enter into binding agreements that, no matter how flawed or deceptive they may be, cannot be quashed even with a unanimous vote.

    Pretty sure this isn’t what the founding fathers had in mind… then again, they seemed more interested in protecting themselves from taxation by foreign nation than in the plight of their, um, employees….

  3. Chefjoe: In the current climate (political and economic), I’m thinking that it’s more likely that people who make medicines, medical equipment and those who run soup kitchens will be conscripted into making the machinery of war rather than the other way around.

    #Ploughshares & food stamps into swords