My name is Jeff Brown and I am running as a write-in candidate for Mayor of Columbus. Yes, I’m that guy.
I ran for Mayor four years ago because I wanted to bring attention to the hiring practices of the Columbus City Schools. CCS has a policy that is an absolute bar to employment based on criminal record. This applies to any position in the district and is pretty much all-inclusive, even including misdemeanors or minor drug offenses. This applies to any position, even those that have no contact with children such as warehouse workers, vehicle mechanics and central office staff. This policy applies to current employees with decades of service and spotless employment records.
I am running today because this is still the policy of Columbus City Schools.
For decades, using criminal records as an absolute bar to employment has been considered a violation of Title VII. Because minorities have a far higher arrest and conviction rate, using arrest and conviction records was seen to have a disparate effect on minorities, and therefore a violation of Title VII. To be compliant with Title VII, an employer must show that such a policy is a legitimate business necessity or that each applicant was considered on a case-by-case basis, and consider the nature and seriousness of the offense, the time elapsed, and the relation to the job sought.
As Mayor, I will insure that the labor practices of the City of Columbus, including Columbus City Schools are compliant with Federal law. My other priorities are as follows:
There are too many people that have too many criminal convictions on their record. This has to do with over policing, but also has to do with our entire legal system from the police to the prosecutors and judges as well as City Hall and the Statehouse. We need some common sense reforms that will bring the police and the rest of our legal system under citizen control:
- Form a citizen review board for police complaints
- Purchase body cameras for police
- Buy inexpensive video cameras to distribute to the population and encourage them to video police interactions with the public
- Stop unconstitutional checkpoints
- Stop enforcing marijuana laws in Columbus
- Stop charging people with “resisting arrest”
- Form another public defenders office funded by the City of Columbus
- End undercover policing
- Disband S.W.A.T. teams
- Any military equipment owned by the city should be broken up by sledgehammers and sold for scrap
- Reduce the number of police assigned to community events
- Get rid of the mobile guard tower
- End the practice of having a police officer on duty every time a utility company wants to dig a hole in the ground
- Eliminate fines for criminal offenses, incarceration only
- Focus on diversion rather than criminal convictions
The idea behind these reforms is to reduce the number of interactions between the police and the citizens, with the goal being zero. If we follow these reforms then I will pledge to:
Cut the size of the police force in half.
Currently the budget for the police is over 300 million dollars. We can cut 150 million to use to support low income neighborhoods as well as other priorities.
The City of Columbus has hundreds of properties in its land bank. The properties that have structures should be brought up to code and made available to the homeless. Empty lots can be used to build tiny houses or inexpensive remodeled shipping containers until every person in Columbus has an address. We need to bring back the dollar home lottery.
Reduce energy consumption.
The City of Columbus has its own energy company. They function primarily as an energy reseller. We should be in the business of being an energy producer. We should join with the good tradesmen of IBEW and expand the Division of Power and aggressively compete for customers against AEP, including residential and commercial customers. We need to be able to sell, install and maintain solar and renewable energy systems. We can install these systems with no upfront costs to the consumer. We can spread the costs of the system into monthly bills so that in seven to ten years the system will pay for itself. After that, the homeowner or business will enjoy substantially reduced energy costs.
This system should be designed so that the City will make a modest profit so that we will be creating jobs that will be paying for themselves while driving down the cost of energy and substantially reducing our carbon footprint.
Get Fluoride out of our water.
Look to the Future.
Already, outsourcing, globalization and the assault on labor unions have reduced pay and benefits to the average worker to the point where the majority of jobs in this country aren’t worth working. We have created a cycle of dependency on jobs and employers and the corporations, while at the same time those employers and our politicians have created a climate where people are so desperate that they are willing to do anything for nothing.
For centuries, the private sector has made their money from slave labor, child labor, prison labor, sweat shops and forced labor. They don’t believe in the minimum wage, let alone a living wage, they hate their employees and don’t believe they deserve job security or benefits or health care and see them only as a cost of doing business. And yet, we’re told we have to rely on them for our survival. Now we have technology threatening to displace a large number of jobs. Email and online bill pay have strangled revenue to the post office, cashiers are an endangered species, manufacturing and agriculture have become much more automated requiring significantly fewer man hours to produce the same goods. Online downloads and streaming services have reduced the number of record and video stores. We’re even automating the military with satellites and drones. This process is just beginning. Sooner than you think, our packages will be delivered by autonomous vehicles and flying drones. These technologies are expressly intended to displace jobs so there is no answer in job training. The number of jobs will be reduced at the same time our population will continue to grow. And of course another economic collapse like 2008 is inevitable. The Great Depression was less that a hundred years ago. That is twice we had a total collapse of the system in the last century and a number of recessions in between, its part of the system. Then you can safely assume things like water and oil and certain minerals are going to run out, we don’t know for sure what the effects of global warming are going to be, but we do know our monetary system is the worlds greatest Ponzi scheme.
The point is this, the private sector will not be able to support the population, it has no interest in doing so. The City of Columbus needs to prepare for the inevitable. As a population, we need to re-examine our three job at a time lifestyle and mentally prepare for a more leisurely future, and the city needs to prepare to provide food, housing and energy to its residents.
Write-in Jeff Brown for Mayor.
If you’ve never written in a candidate before, you should, its fun and we can make Columbus more user friendly.