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Young challenger vies for city council seat

At 26 years old, Eddie Pauline is the youngest candidate running for Columbus city council. At the news conference Pauline tried to use visuals to get his point across.

He stood next to about 15 cardboard cutouts of police officers, firefighters and garbage collectors. In a scene that could typify the plight of a first time challenger the cutouts kept blowing over. Volunteers first tried sandbags, then duct tape, and then ended up holding them.

Pauline says the cut outs illustrate what the city needs.

When we're going door to door throughout this campaign we're hearing about big issues again like crime and the city has done nothing to help solve that problem.

Pauline says Mayor Michael Coleman and city council have funded some administration positions to continue to exist when they really are not necessary.

We have an environmental steward. If we had the perfect city it'd be nice to focus a lot of attention towards that initiative but right now given that people are leaving the city because of high crime and bad schools doesn't seem like that should be a priority. You know we have a chief of staff at city hall right now that makes $158,000 and according to our numbers here that could fund 4.1 police officers.

But City Councilwoman Mary Jo Hudson who is running for re-election says she's surprised by Pauline's remarks.

I find that those remarks demonstrate a real lack of understanding of how the city works and also a real lack of vision for the future.

Hudson says the city council has supported Columbus's safety forces by providing them with additional equipment like radios and cruisers. But she says the only way to get more police officers on the streets is to increase the city's workforce.

The way that we put more police on the street and the way we keep our rec centers open and help improve payment for our basic city services is to get more people working here. Two-thirds of our city revenue comes from income tax revenues so we need to make sure that our tax base is strong, but more importantly we make sure people are working here.

Eddie Pauline, Alisia Clark and Phil Harmon are three challengers seeking the seats of Kevin Boyce, Mary Jo Hudson and Maryellen O'Shaughnessy in next week's election.