Civics Update: New City Council Member, Residents Host Town Hall on Shutdown, and more
Council Selects Replacement for Jaiza Page
Columbus City Council has selected Shayla Favor, Assistant City Attorney, to fill the seat vacated by former member Jaiza Page.
“We are very pleased to have Favor join our team and look forward to the unique perspective she has to offer,” said Council President Shannon Hardin in a press release. “Favor has been a transformative figure in the realm of housing and neighborhood blight in Columbus. She is a civic leader with a deep understanding of what the community needs.”
As Assistant City Attorney, Favor specializes in zoning and has made it a priority to address nuisance properties around the city.
“I am humbled and excited to continue my service to the community,” Favor said. “I am ready to get to work for the people of Columbus as your Councilmember.”
Page was appointed to City Council in January of 2015, filling the seat left by Hearcel Craig, who was elected to the House of Representatives. Page ran as an incumbent in the general election later that year and kept her seat. During the midterm election in 2018, Page was elected as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
Favor’s appointment is one of two that Council will make this year. Council President Pro Tem Michael Stinziano also won his midterm election and will move on as County Auditor. On Feb. 21, Council will hold a public hearing on the other 14 finalists they selected in December. They expect to fill Stinziano’s seat by Monday, Feb. 25.
City Proposes Bond Package for Capital Improvements, Affordable Housing
The City of Columbus wants voters to back a $1.03 billion bond package to finance capital improvements around the city, including public service, fixing roads and highways, refuse collection, improving sanitary and water systems, and bikeway and greenway updates.
Mayor Andrew Ginther has proposed that $50 million from the bond package be used for affordable housing.
“Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing the city today,” Ginther said in a press release. “These funds would be used over several years in partnership with other private and public entities to construct new or renovate existing properties and alleviate some of the existing gap in affordable housing.”
A bond package is not a tax increase, but guarantees the lowest cost of borrowing for the city, “potentially saving the city millions of dollars over the course of the borrowing,” says City Auditor Megan Kilgore.
Residents will vote on the bond package during the primary election on May 7.
Prior to the vote, the City is holding four community meetings on the package, held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the following dates: Wednesday, Jan. 16 at the Linden Community Recreation Center; Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Glenwood Community Recreation Center; Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the Driving Park Community Recreation Center; and Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Marion Franklin Community Recreation Center.
Board of Education Replaces Mary Jo Hudson
The Columbus Board of Education has selected Jennifer Adair, Equal Opportunity Program Manager at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, as the newest member. Adair is also the Chair of the North Linden Area Commission and a parent of a Columbus City Schools student.
“We interviewed six great community leaders this evening, each with a voice that would have been a valuable benefit to the leadership of this District,” said Board President Gary L. Baker, II in a press release. “In the end, our decision to select Ms. Adair was rooted in her knowledge of this Board’s important work, lengthy involvement in the community, and her commitment to the future of our city and the children of this District.”
The Board of Education began looking for a new member in December, after Mary Jo Hudson announced her resignation. In a letter to her colleagues, Hudson expressed that working outside of the system would be the best way for her to facilitate the change she’d like to see.
Read the full letter here.
Social Justice Park Tagged
This week, the Washington Gladden Social Justice Park on East Broad Street was tagged with the words “Justice for Julius + Masonique,” and “CPD kills kids.” The Social Justice park opened in October of 2018 to highlight significant events and people of early social justice history in central Ohio.
The graffiti references 16-year-old Julius Tate Jr., who was killed by Columbus police on Dec. 7, 2018, and his girlfriend Masonique Saunders, who they’re charging with Tate’s murder. Columbus police were executing an undercover operation that night after a series of robberies had taken place around the city. Officers arranged a meeting with Tate through social media, where Tate had offered an item for sale.
At the meeting, Tate allegedly pulled a gun in an attempt to rob the undercover agent. At that time, SWAT team member Eric Richard shot the teen, who was later pronounced dead. Saunders, who was also at the scene, has been charged with the murder of Tate, as well as aggravated robbery. Per the Ohio Revised Code, a person can be charged with murder if the death is “a proximate result of the offender’s committing or attempting to commit an offense of violence that is a felony of the first or second degree.”
Residents Address the Government Shutdown
The government shutdown is entering its 26th day as of Wednesday, Jan. 16, constituting the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Roughly 800,000 impacted federal employees did not receive a paycheck last Friday, and other government services have halted. In response, local residents are gathering to discuss and address the shutdown’s local impact.
Church and Community Development for All People will host a town hall conversation on Jan. 16 at their headquarters on Parsons Avenue. The non-profit has also committed to work alongside families to “navigate the effects” of the shutdown, as assistance programs that many rely on are either delaying or refusing benefits.
The discussion will start at 11:30 a.m. at 946 Parsons Ave.
Other news from around the state:
Mike DeWine and Jon Husted Sworn in as Governor, Lt. Governor
On Monday, Jan. 14, former attorney general Mike DeWine and former Secretary of State Jon Husted were sworn in as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio. They succeed John Kasich and Mary Taylor.
DeWine was given the oath of office by his son, Ohio Supreme Court Justice R. Patrick DeWine. DeWine took the oath with his hand on nine family bibles.
On his first day, DeWine issued six executive orders: Creating the Governor’s RecoveryOhio Initiative; Creating the Governor’s Children’s Initiative; Establishing Ohio as a Disability Inclusion State and Model Employer of Individuals with Disabilities; Elevating Foster Care Priorities in Ohio; Anti-Discrimination Policy in State Government; and Elevating Prevention within the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Medical Marijuana Sales Start Today
For those who have time to travel, medical marijuana is now available in Ohio. Five dispensaries have announced that they’ll open on Wednesday, Jan. 16, out of a total of 56 dispensaries that received licenses in June of 2018. Limited product types and supplies should be expected, as well as delayed implementation for the rest of the state.
The following dispensaries will open on Jan. 16:
The Botanist — 3840 Greentree Ave. NW, Canton
The Botanist — 30133 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe
CY+ — 180 Main St., Wintersville
The Forest Sandusky — 1651 Tiffin Ave., Sandusky
Ohio Valley Natural Relief — 840 Canton Rd., Wintersville
Last year, physicians recommended 4,440 patients for medical marijuana, of which the state approved 3,036. Those dealing with any of the 21 approved conditions are eligible for recommendation by their doctors.
More information can be found at medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov.
Former Governor Moves on to CNN
CNN announced this week that former Ohio governor John Kasich will be the newest commentator on the network, appearing in several of its programs. His first appearance was on “Cuomo Prime Time” on Tuesday.
According to an article by CNN, Kasich signed with talent agency UTA to explore TV opportunities after leaving the governor’s office. He’ll be one of three politicians signing onto the network as commentators, along with Republican Mia Love, of Utah, and Democrat Luis Gutierrez, of Illinois.