According to their website, Represent Columbus’s proposed charter amendment will empower “everyday citizens” to “take back” their “government from big business and monied special interests.” Their plan to achieve this goal: convert Columbus’s council system with seven at-large seats to a ward system with ten districts and three at-large seats.
What the website doesn’t tell is that two of the key players in the push for a ward system are a failed former Republican candidate for Columbus mayor, and a current Republican candidate for state rep, both of whom have very tenuous ties to Columbus.
Republican Lawyer Bill Todd moved to Columbus in 2005 from Powell so he could run against Michael Coleman for mayor of Ohio’s capital city. After losing, Todd moved to Bexley, where he still resides today.
The bulk of Todd’s mayoral campaign money came from White Hat charter school millionaire David Brennan. Todd’s ties to Brennan and other bad actors in Ohio Republican politics are long and deep.
When Brennan illegally funneled money to Republican candidates in Ohio, Bill Todd defended him. When Ohio Right To Life wanted to run illegal “issue ads” supporting Republican candidates, Bill Todd was there to help.
Bill Todd is the guy “monied special interests” call when they need someone to defend their shady dealings. If he is supporting and helping raise money for this cause, I guarantee it has nothing to do with empowering “everyday citizens” and everything to do with wrenching power away from Democrats in order to push his own right-leaning agenda.
Speaking of Republicans from outside Columbus who are involved in the ward system proposal for their own self interest, meet Whitney Ellen Smith, co-chair of Represent Columbus and Republican candidate for Ohio’s 18th district, which covers a large swath of Columbus.
Until recently, the 30-year old Smith lived with her parents in their Westerville home (not in the 18th). She is now supposedly living in a two bedroom house on S. 4th St. in Columbus. According to auditor records, the home is still occupied by the owner, who is receiving a tax credit for living in the house.
Documents submitted to the city clerk by Represent Columbus on May 3rd, 2016 show Smith was payed $6,571 to collect signatures and the check was mailed to her Westerville address. However her signed circulator statement claims she lives on S. 4th St. Falsifying a circulator statement is a fifth degree felony.
While it is unclear if Smith actually lives in the district she is running to represent, it is painfully clear that her ties to Columbus, Ohio are extremely limited, very recent and, like Bill Todd, very self-serving.