Misrepresenting Election Outcomes

In the Dispatch editorial Well done, Mr. Mayor published on December 31st, they referred to “a 2009 ballot issue, in which city residents agreed to raise their income taxes to 2.5 percent from 2 percent”.

While it is true that the 7.3% of voting aged city residents raised their own taxes, they also raised the taxes of the 92.7% of voting aged Columbus residents who did not vote to support the measure – as well as the taxes of tens of thousands of residents who are now taxed under this scheme but were not old enough to vote at the time.

It is important to remember, that one does not need to vote to contribute more money to the City – anyone may give voluntarily. A vote is only required to force your neighbors to pay for the things that you value and they do not.

Saying that “city residents agreed” when only 7.3% did is misleading, careless, and results in continued electoral injustice.

Update: The first calculations were back of a napkin estimates… I’ve tried to make them a little concrete using a spreadsheet based on the election data with 2010 census data to fill the gaps.  Below is a chart of the percentages from that process.

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“It’s awesome. We’re rebels!”

A pay-walled article in the Columbus Dispatch this morning described a stand-off between students and the Ohio State University Police who had expressed a desire to exclude non-OSU students from taking part in the annual plunge on the eve of the Ohio State v. Michigan rivalry football game

Fortunately, The Lantern, OSU’s newspaper also offers a detailed account.


Credit:  The Lantern, Kristen Mitchell / Editor-in-chief

Reddit users offered a summary of events, along with commentary:

Some random dude gave the Braveheart speech to approximately 50 students and then we all pretty much walked/ran in. (and then someone pushed down the fence too) The cops didn’t do anything. – /u/ffball/

Rather than subject themselves to arbitrary authority, students moved the Tuesday jump to Monday.  It’s unclear if there will be a second jump tonight for people who missed the first jump and would like to do so cattle-style with tacit, wrist-banded, fenced-in approval of the police.

As Redditor /u/werd713/ put it, “Go Bucks! Beat Pneumonia!

Columbus Law Overlooked in Criticism of Despotic Foreign Regimes

On the drive in this morning, I heard that Egypt is cracking down on protesting again. By reporting on the story, it seems that the local and national media view such laws as violations of human rights. That’s heartening, because they are. Here’s how the Los Angeles Times summarized the new law:

Egypt’s interim president on Sunday banned public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior government approval

It went on to explain:

Rights groups and activists immediately denounced it, saying it aims to stifle opposition, allow repressive police practices and keep security officials largely unaccountable for possible abuses.

“The law is giving a cover to justify repression by all means,” said Bahy Eddin Hassan, head of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, one of the local groups that had campaigned against the law.

The thing that puzzles me though is that we have the same kind of law right here in Columbus, Ohio.

Here’s the law right out of the Columbus City Code:

919.06 Permits.
(A) No person, in any park, shall participate in any meeting, parade or other organized activity involving more than ten (10) persons without a permit issued by tile director.
(B) No person shall fail to comply with the fee requirements or other terms and conditions of any such permit issued under the provisions of this chapter.
(C) All permits issued by the director must be exhibited in a clear and conspicuous location and produced upon the demand of any law enforcement officer.
(Ord. 1648-91.)

Go ahead, check out the source link. I’ll wait while you verify that this is actually the law in Columbus, Ohio.

The fact is that in Columbus you can’t play baseball – you can’t play football – you can’t play basketball – without a permit.

No exception is made for political protest in these public spaces.

Why do we have this law?

Same reason the tyrants in Egypt have theirs.

The law is giving a cover to justify repression by all means,

It’s great that the media think that this kind of law deserves attention. But how about we focus some of that attention at ourselves?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had freedom in the land of the free?

And by letting such laws stand here, don’t we give backward foreign regimes cover?