Grandview City

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Reynolds adds some drama to council meeting about kid’s helmets

Published June 19, 2017 by justicewg

Council 6-5-17Have you been following the city council as they debated a new law to require helmets for kids on bikes? Did you express you opinion to a council member? According to city council member Steve Reynolds, the process to explore new rules has been rushed through the council law making process, leading to a proposed law that has not been given enough thought.

If your kid gets a proposed ticket for riding a bike without a helmet, are you ready to spend some time attending the Mayor’s court with your child, at which you will be lectured and fined some amount of money?

The new law as read by Reynolds says that the bike of an offending child can be seized by the ticketing police officer. Do you think it is a good idea to have police snatching away kid’s bikes for failure to wear a simple helmet? Is it a good use of police time to deal with taking away bikes, storing them, and arranging for the return of them after a fine has been paid?

The 9/11 of council drama

Reynolds said the council president didn’t follow her own promise to hold off on writing down a proposed law. Reynolds added some hyperbole to the debate by saying that there was a perception that the council make laws outside the council chamber, and that rushing this law “is throwing jet fuel onto that”. He didn’t feel that any positive reinforcement (cops giving treats to kids who wear helmets) could be done now that the law punishing kids for no helmets has been written.

The above video will start at the point where Reynolds begins his complaint (if it doesn’t in your app skip to 40:20). Skip forward to 1:23:55 for Panzera’s heated reply to Steve.

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Live YouTube videos of city council meetings now available

Published May 31, 2017 by justicewg

The city council has begun a new chapter in responsiveness to Grandview Heights residents with live video posted to YT as the meetings are in progress. The council has recorded the last four council meetings, with variable quality, but the effort shown is a big step up in opening up meetings and improving responsiveness for the city.

Councilwoman Keeler, as chair of the Communications & Technology Committee, was most responsible for bringing the camera to the council meetings. According to her, the city did look into how some other cities use video to record meetings, but had no special request from the any visitor to the council meetings to start offering live meetings on YT.

The video feed has some rough recording issues, mostly with the audio. Some council members sit back and make it difficult to hear their voices. The worst problem is microphone “thump”, caused by council members shuffling papers or taping the desk, it is magnified by the desktop and gets really annoying when a low “boom” makes listening to quiet voices painful.

They could improve the quality of the sound by placing something soft, like a mouse pad, under each mike.

The video was in low quality 240P resolution for some of the first meetings, but now is at an acceptable 720P HD. The video could be improved by the use of two cameras so that the members with their backs to the camera could be seen better, but that would require a person to be operating a switch live, activating the camera that is pointing at the current speaker.

The real advantage for the residents of the city is to allow us to see how easy it is to get your voice heard before the council. The example above, from the May 15, 2017 Council Meeting, shows how the council spent a full 30 minutes listening to residents proposing a new law that required children to wear helmets while bike riding. The council was not enthusiastic about adding a new law that stacked more work on the city police, but the issue got a full hearing and will probably be under more discussion at future meetings. This level of attention to issues that residents bring before the council is not often seen in larger cities.

If you have not gone before the city council and voiced your concerns about problems on your street, you are missing out on a big part of what makes this a democracy.

Don’t expect video from the school board

Grandview is a city of contrasts, no where so much as the attitudes of the board when compared to the council. The board doesn’t want you to speak, is probably not going to give you answers, and will be sending pigs into space before they volunteer to make video recordings of their meetings.

Board president Jessie Truett has this to say when requested to make audio recordings:

“Today’s (special) meeting was not recorded and as in the past, we do not intend to record future work sessions. “ – Jessie Truett

I don’t think video recordings will be made at board meetings unless a real change happens in the next election.

The push polling for building new schools has begun

Published May 7, 2017 by justicewg

I mentioned in the last post that I was told a PR firm was doing paid focus groups and polling on the schools here in Grandview, at which they are probably doing Push Polling, a standard method for political groups to influence public opinion. I don’t have proof this is happening with that PR firm.

I do have access to the online poll the school has created, and was a little surprised at the blatant push polling in that survey.

Out of all the options the board wants to build, the moving of the K to 3rd grade out of Stevenson and into a building on the present Middle school location seems to be mentioned the most. It is in the 3A, 3B, and 3C options. The master plan doesn’t say what will happen to the building. “Evaluate  future  use  of  Stevenson  Elementary” is what they say on the option list.

The online Poll that the school wants us to fill out has a very different thing to say about Stevenson school:

 “If Stevenson Elementary was converted to a community center for the city, would you favor or oppose moving the kindergarten through 3rd grade students into a new building on the high school/middle school campus?” – from the online poll.

Nobody from the city has said a word about using Stevenson as a “community center”. This is completely from the school board, used as a method of confusing the options on closing down Stevenson, a move that will be stridently opposed by all the parents on the east end of the city.

What kind of “community center” could even be built in that building? No way a Rec Center is going to fit into the many small classrooms. The auditorium is way too small for any adult ball courts or community swimming pool.

I’d like to hear one of the city council members comment on this – they have never said a word about it that I know, and I don’t think they would support closing down Stevenson (unless they are looking to get booted off the council by the voters).

(Edit – I confirmed with Council President Kearns, no one from the board has ever talked to them about a “community center” at Stevenson, no plans have been discussed by the council about any alternate use of the building.)

After some thought, I’m not sure if push polling is the correct label for what the board did. There was not even the slightest establishment of the possibility of the school building being turned into a community center. That makes it more a flat out lie from the school board, intentionally done to deceive the voters of Grandview

Keep an eye out for the push polling, I’m sure we will be exposed to all sorts of assertions in the polls that are just fantasy created by the board to manipulate public opinion on their plans. Read the rest of this entry →

City addresses long term plans for Goodale Blvd.

Published April 28, 2017 by justicewg

Brexton BldgConstruction of a five-story building on the former reTAGit site on Goodale, as well as street work and the nearing completion of the pool, has focused attention on the area. A TVN story gives the latest news on the city’s long term plans.

I think the parking and flooding issues are the main challenges the city must confront in developing the street. Although past work on the floodwalls has improved the classification of some of the area, there are still lots that might end up under water.

“Because the property sits in the flood plain, federal, state and city regulations limit the cost of renovation to being no more than 50 percent of the property value … The high cost of flood insurance also required the first floor (of the five story building) be used for covered parking rather than the retail or office use desired, Galvin said. “

Patrik Bowman, the city’s director of administration, recounted past efforts to work with the city of Columbus to build flood flap gates across the train tracks that would hold back flooding, but that never worked out. He mentioned a possibility of a re-calculation because of a lowering of the Olentangy River , but didn’t put much hope in that occurring.

The small size of the lots on Goodale makes any future tall buildings difficult to plan because of a lack of parking. The use of the first floor for parking is a serious strike on the profitability of any future construction, the utility of the first floor for retail businesses is a key to the income for most developers.

Bowman predicted that future re-development on Goodale would be limited to renovation of existing structures, rather than tall new buildings.

The newspaper article ended with a odd quote:

Galvin said he is concerned that property values on Goodale could lead some developers to seek approval of higher density, residential development along Goodale. He said he would rather see smaller development involving office or retail use.

The Galvin who is quoted in this part of the article is the CEO of Brexton, the developer of the five story building. I’m not sure why his wishes for the future are of importance for a story about the long term plans from the city of Grandview. (Edit) I was reminded that Galvin was a city council member from June 2014 – January 2016, but was not re-elected. His opinion on development for Goodale might be well informed, but he is no longer a office holder, so his wishes for the future of the city are not as important as the current council and city director of administration. The story would have been improved with their comments.

More Bozos on the bus

Grandview doesn’t need to look far to find examples of small towns that were overwhelmed by new housing. Powell, Ohio shows what can happen when too many residents turn the streets into gridlock and government services stretched too thin leads to unhappiness.

New residential housing on Goodale would cause the least disruption on inner street traffic for rush hours, out of any other location in Grandview. However, choke points like the intersection of Goodale and Grandview Ave. will become worse.

Allowing more development without careful city planning is a sure fire way to turn Grandview into Powell. Careful watch of the city council members is needed to prevent pro-development boosters taking the city the wrong direction.

Bomb threat at PNC Bank closed 1st Ave, schools locked down (with update on suspect)

Published January 31, 2017 by justicewg

first-closed-bombA bomb threat at the PNC Bank on First Ave. caused the closing of the street and lockdowns at all the school buildings in Grandview Heights this afternoon.

The schools were put in lockdown at 1:45 PM, the robbery must have occurred shortly before. The Columbus bomb squad was on the scene to determine if a bag left at the scene contained a bomb (the debris from a ripped apart bag was seen in front of the bank, I assume that means that it was a false alarm).pnc-bank-bomb

The school called off the lockdown at 3:45 PM, allowing a late return of kids from the schools to their homes.

From CH10 TV – “Police described the suspect as a white male who walked into the bank demanding money and said he had a bomb. The suspect then left a bag at the bank.”

Ch28 has photos of the suspect who robbed the bank then left a bag.

More info posted on the Grandview City blog.

Feb 14 update

The Grandview Heights police announced they have a suspect in custody. Karl Schlenker, 60, of Cranford, New Jersey, was arrested at his home without incident.

Lots of questions about this guy remaining – why travel all the way to Grandview? He doesn’t fit the profile of your average bank robber (most are younger), if the quick search I did was correct, he used to have a  Senior Sales and Marketing Leadership Position at IBM Corporation. How did he get found so quickly? My guess – he drove a car to Columbus, then parked it somewhere east of the bank (he was reported to be heading east). Possibly he walked past a surveillance camera on Grandview Ave. with his hat off and no sun glasses, and they got enough of a picture to match him on some database. Maybe he parked wrong (any parking east of Grandview Ave. is permit only), and someone took notice of his out of state license. More to come on the grey-haired bank robber.

karl-schlenker

I searched and found a Karl R Schlenker, 60, of Cranford, New Jersey, who is listed as the owner of the house at 818 Springfield Ave. I may be wrong, but I think this is his home, as of 2015 on Google maps.

schlenker-home

A very nice home, in a good neighborhood, any of the homes on this street would fit into Grandview with no problem.

(Feb 16 update) Schlenker was returned to Franklin Co.,  posted bond, and has been released. Normally someone who is released from serious charges is required to stay in the area, so Schlenker may be walking the streets of Grandview.

karl-schlenker-indited(Feb 23) Karl Schlenker was indicted on two counts of robbery and inducing panic. That stare into the camera – is he saying, “yea, I robbed yus bank, so what?” (trying for a New Jersey accent).

Thieves stealing Grandview car wheels in daylight

Published January 19, 2017 by justicewg

Police in Grandview have reported that thieves stole the wheels from 5 vehicles in the past week. What makes these thefts unusual is that most happened in full daylight, on streets and parking lots that were open and in view of any passing car. I have some theories about how the tire heists were done, but first a solution that will keep your wheels safe (probably).

Wheel Locking Lugs are inexpensive

wheel-locksThe cheapest way to secure your wheels is a set of locking lugs, $20 to $30 will provide moderate security (if thieves want your expensive rims, they will find a way). The lugs are easy to install by yourself, just remove one nut from each wheel, slip the locking key on top of the replacement lug, and tighten to specs. for your car. You will need to keep the security key in a safe place (not the glove compartment, thieves know to look inside). You will also need to use the key to remove the wheel if you break down on the side of the road, so don’t lose it!

Guessing the M.O.

The news reports listed some similarities in all of the thefts, this gives us some clues to understand how they got away with these bold tire ripoffs.

Both wheels on one side of the vehicle were taken. There were bricks or blocks left under the cars. And the daylight thefts would have required speed – they probably had the wheels off and were thrown into the getaway car within a few minutes. I’m not an expert, but I have changed enough tires to make some good guesses.

The getaway vehicle was driven up to the side of the target car, and parked. They could have used a van, and opened the side door, to have quick access to the tools. Parking close to the target gave them some cover, and blocked the view for 180 degrees.

The first guy pulled a floor jack out and placed it under the side of the car, centered between the wheels. This allowed him to lift the whole side of the car in one motion, and allowed the removal of both wheels on one side.

The second man was working on the first tire while the car was being jacked up, popping off the hub caps and loosening the nuts. He probably used a battery powered impact driver, which could have the nuts off within a minute (something like the air wrenches used in garages, but quieter). As the jack man finished, the wrench man moved down to the second wheel and started on that set of nuts. Meanwhile, the other guy was finishing removal of the tire and throws it into the van. The nut removal guy finishes the second wheel, and moves it out of the way. The jack man has been placing blocks under the exposed brakes. They throw the second tire inside, drop the car onto the blocks, and slide the jack out and into the van.

Total time might be no more than 5 minutes for a well practiced couple of thieves.

I’m not too sure how they avoided setting off car alarms, most of them contain tilt sensors that are triggered by lifting the car. Possibly the thieves check for alarms before they start? And how can they avoid being seen by passing cars? Somebody is going to see something, and report to the police the make and model of the getaway vehicle. I’m guessing by that time the crew will have moved on to the next city.

No matter if these guys are caught, you need locking nuts to protect your car, if you don’t want to walk out one morning and find your wheels missing.

(April 11 update) GHPD caught a tire thief in the act, he had already removed the tires from one car and was in the process on a second when the police caught him. I’m surprised this was one person, he must have been really good at removing wheels to get away with it by himself.

(April 27 update) The same guy was allegedly dragging a cop while he attempted to flee in his car, and was shot and killed by the officer.

Top Watching Grandview stories of 2016

Published December 30, 2016 by justicewg

Although there is some correlation between the number of hits on a story on this blog and the importance to the future of the city, it isn’t always a good match. This year the hits and the importance paralleled. Here are the top stories, followed by some thoughts about “fake news” and how we can fight it here in Grandview.

School board breaks with Harrison Planning Group

board-meeting-10-18-16-special-morningIt wasn’t just the two-faced way that the school board handled the end of the relationship with Harrison Planning Group, tearing him to pieces in a school board meeting, while praising him in later emails to the community. It was the attempt to sneak this scandal past the public with a special morning meeting, while the board had a regular meeting the same day. They knew that the special meetings are not recorded, and rarely attended by anyone, so the board acted like three year olds and tried to hide their mess.

No explanation or apology has been offered since the split with HPG. Although there were two community members who spoke up at the special meeting, critical of the board for attempting to hide the important news with the morning meeting, the only response from the chair of the meeting was a comment from Jessie Truett that he didn’t think criticism of the board is good decorum at the board meetings. The board has never apologized – the board has never made apologies for any mistake they make.

There is no question about what was said at the board meeting, I made a video recording. I had a good number of views of this YouTube video, but I think many of the views might be from HPG’s lawyers in preparation for a lawsuit against the school board. If you have any interest at all in the schools at Grandview Heights, please take the time to watch the video.

The followup post about the replacement for the facility consultant continues this story.

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