Home Politics History set to repeat itself with 2013 city council elections

History set to repeat itself with 2013 city council elections

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With city council elections drawing closer, democratic candidates are facing little rebuttal, which is not rare for Athens voters. Only one out of the three At-Large candidates is of a different party.

The last Republican to hold office was Garry Hunter, who ran unopposed in 2003 for City Director of Law. Hunter held this position until 2007, when Democrat Patrick Lang ran against him and won.

“One party rule is a dictatorship. You have to have alternative positions,” said Pete Couladis, chairman of the Republican Party of Athens.

“But there are not that many Republicans in the city anymore.”

Couladis says the Democratic party’s agenda in city council is hindering the revenue of Athens.

“Democrats are pandering to their political base and making promises with other peoples’ paychecks,” he said.

Many of the Ohio University students are and have been able to vote in the city council elections; however, most of what they are able to vote on does not affect them financially.

“It annoys a lot of people here,” Couladis said. “Someone comes and lives here for one, two, four years and votes for taxes that people living here have to pay.”

The population of Athens nearly doubles when the school year begins, from 24,000 to around 40,000.

Democrat Nancy Bain, former Athens City councilwoman, disagrees that the student population is costing Athens citizens money.

“Young people have a way of keeping your mind open and sort of flexible,” Bain said. “There are all these opportunities. Their participation makes Athens what it is.”

The former councilwoman spent 28 years in office. Bain was one of the few Democrats on council when she was first elected. But she felt that was and still is not a very important factor for the position.

“Council is generally not political. There is nothing controversial about fire trucks. Land management and infrastructure are what councils main focus is.”

According to the summary of the general elections of 2003-11, the last four elections have seen only one listed Republican running for election each year. Only ten years ago, in 2003, did more than one Republican candidate run for office, and the only victor was the unopposed Garry Hunter.

“People vote straight party and complain about what the city is doing. We need to step forward and support our candidates,” Couladis said.

However, Couladis does have some hopes about the current candidates. “There seems to be a couple that are OK. They have common sense and business sense.”

Bain believes that managing revenue and public funding has been and will continue to be the biggest issue facing council. But looking back on her 28 years creating Athens history, she says she is proud.

“We’ve created a heck of a great place here.”

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