Columbus City Council member Rob Dorans says Tuesday's election is about growth.
“Columbus is at a critical moment in its history," he says. "We’ve seen our city have a tremendous amount growth over the past 10-15 years. How does that growth translate to our neighborhoods?”
Dorans is one of four incumbents in Tuesday's election trying to fend off a challenge from the progressive activist group Yes We Can, which has gone to great lengths lengths to make the election a referendum on property tax abatements and affordable housing.
Dorans says that the city's fast growth doesn't mean it can rest on its laurels, hence the need for tax abatements.
“We’re competing against cities like Nashville and Chicago and Austin, Texas, to make sure we have the ability to really get the economic progress we need to have in our community,” he says.
Criticism persists, though, not just about the diversion of property taxes from schools but also about the Crew stadium deal. First came the revelation that the city’s contribution to the new stadium would be about twice the amount of initial estimates.
Then, news broke last week that the affordable housing requirements in the deal were no longer mandatory.
Dorans says the way the deal was set up limited the city’s ability to impose requirements.
“We’re focused on making the people involved in that deal have a good faith effort to make sure people are creating the kind of opportunities across the city that we need,” Dorans says.
Tuesday is the first time on the ballot for Dorans, who took office in March after Columbus Council appointed him to replace Michael Stinziano. Like Dorans, 35 of the last 39 members were appointed, making them incumbents by election time.
That appointment system is precisely what Yes We Can hopes to disrupt in Tuesday’s election.