Woot Woot!!! The AAATA Transit Millage passed!
The organizers of the More Buses Campaign did a fantastic job and deserve a million kudos for all their hard work. I am quite pleased, as I know many of you are.
However, tonight I was sitting and watching one of my favorite shows on MSNBC and saw a story, that if it happened here, could have affected the vote.
On Chris Hayes 8pm show “All In” he ran a story about the billionaire Koch brothers getting involved in the Columbus Zoo tax levy, a small tax increase to fund expansion and maintenance at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The Tax Levy went down by a margin of 70% to 30% due in part to a flyer produced by the Americans for Prosperity Ohio chapter that falsely claimed that the tax levy would raise their property tax 105% if passed.
Why on earth are the billionaire Koch Brothers getting involved in such a small issue? They are doing this because it is a trial balloon to see what they can get away with IMO. Next they will get involved in local races and try to control local governments. That they choose to get involved in such a small issue is very troubling. It’s a zoo after all. 70% said no? How controversial could this zoo tax actually be?
Watch this 5 minute video to hear the story for yourself.
In the video, Mayor Michael Coleman says it clearly:
“This is incredible that the Koch brothers are interested in a zoo levy. What that tells me is that they’re going to be involved in our school board races. They’re going to be involved in our city council races. They are going to get involved in every tax issue that comes before the voters in the City of Columbus. And they are going to be telling us how we should be deciding how we govern ourselves.”
And this is not the first time the Koch brothers have gotten involved in small local issues. In Iron County, Wisconsin the American’s for Prosperity Wisconsin chapter, put up challengers for local county seats that were typically unchallenged in the past and were usually won with only a few hundred votes. The issue… iron mining. Read a Daily Beast article about it here.
Can you imagine if this happened here? If unlimited dollars were thrown into the opposition campaign? We may have had a different result. That the Better Transit Now opposition group raised so little funds was a tell-tale sign that the residents did not back their opposition to the transit millage. We, the local residents, wanted to expand our transit system. Would it be right for an outside interest group to come in take that away from us?
In Wisconsin, the Kock brothers and the Americans for Prosperity group were not successful with their attempt to buy the elections, but they were successful with the zoo levy.
Just something to think about. Keep an eye on this issue. You never know when it can happen here.