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Grandview Mayor candidate questions – Police body cam policy

Published October 13, 2019 by justicewg

police body cam(Update – Kearns won the Nov 5th mayoral race.)

The recent incident with the spiked baseball bat wielding attacker ended with a reported wound to the hand of one of Grandview Height’s police officers. The four officers who were at the scene showed great restraint in their reaction to a suspect who was using a deadly weapon.

Although there was a dash cam showing the outside of the home, there were no body cams on the officers inside the house. If the choice made by the officers were different, and a gun was used to defend the officers, there would have been no video record of the attack. The headlines in the local papers might have been “Grandview police shoot mentally ill man wanted for a traffic violation, in his own home, no cameras were worn.”

Many local police departments now use body cams. In 2015, then Columbus Council president Andrew Ginther proposed the roll-out of body cameras. The department completed its deployment in 2018, and 1,400 officers now wear the cameras.

Whitehall became first Franklin County suburb to equip officers with body cameras in 2018. Westerville and Dublin will have all officers equipped with cams by the end of 2019. Bexley, Grove City, and Reynoldsburg have all tested cameras recently.

(edit – Reynoldsburg was late to answer my question, they now have body cams for all police officers)

My questions for the candidates – should Grandview Heights police now be using body cameras? Are you in favor of at least a test program?

Steve Reynolds – answered in one day.

First, I would echo your comments that GHPD officers showed remarkable restraint and should be applauded for their very professional response. It is my understanding the injured officer sustained multiple bone fractures in his hand and had one of his knuckles impaled by a nail. He may require multiple corrective surgeries and faces months of recovery. I certainly wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

As to the appropriateness of body cams, the department had looked into purchasing them a year or two back, but decided to hold off until implementation in other Central Ohio departments could be observed. While it may sound like a simple program to put in place, there are numerous details and considerations which come into play. The Chief could explain these with a higher level of expertise than I can, but I’ll provide a summary based upon my discussions with him and other law enforcement officers.

In addition to the initial cost of equipment, a substantial amount of expense and labor can be incurred in administering to such a program. Legal considerations such as HIPAA (i.e., personal privacy rights) require extremely careful screening and cataloging of body-cam video. This differs from dash-cam video due, in part, to the likelihood of entering someone’s home as opposed to what is readily observable to the public such as in a traffic stop on the street.

For a small department, taking up officers’ time with proper training and appropriate day-to-day operation can be a considerable allocation of resources. Some larger departments are able to employ civilians to handle some aspects of the program, but that would be especially challenging for a department our size. Long-term, secure storage of the body-cam video is also substantially more voluminous than for dash-cam video in that body cams are active for a much longer portion of an officer’s shift than dash cams.

Finally — after all that background information — I can answer your specific questions. Should the department be using body cams “now”? No, I do not believe that we have a comfort level yet with how such a program should be implemented in our own department. As I alluded to above, it isn’t as simple as just purchasing the cameras and putting them out on the street. That being said, I believe we will (and should) have them in place with GHPD within the next few years after Grandview is better able to study the experiences of local departments, both from a legal and operational perspective. Once the Chief and I are comfortable that we have reached such a point, it would then be appropriate to begin rolling out a test program. – Steve Reynolds

Greta Kearns answered after three days.

I too am grateful for the professionalism of our police officers and the leadership of our Chief of Police in keeping our community safe.

You asked whether body cameras should be used or tested in Grandview Heights Police Department. In my opinion, more information and assessment is needed before taking this step. Body camera programs require operational changes, both in the field and in the office. We are learning from other jurisdictions as they find data storage and staffing solutions to handle the high volume of public records generated by body camera video, while also meeting all legal obligations to protect privacy (minors, domestic violence victims, and personal health information, for example). Any new program needs to fit the scale of our operations and be planned within the context of budget priorities. As Mayor, I would work with my Chief of Police and the community to assess the evolving legal, operational, and technological landscape regarding body cameras and to determine if and when a program is the right step for Grandview. – Greta Kearns

Body cams are standard police gear

If you were like me, you wondered why the police video from the spiked bat incident on the local news only showed some blurry video taken from a police dash cam. Although Grandview likes to think we are “like Mayberry RFD”, we don’t pay our police department like a small town, and have up to date cars.

Whitehall is beating us in the use of modern police equipment?

The studies are out, the research done. Body cams are liked by competent cops, because they back up the word of the police officer who knows his job. The only group of police that are dragging their feet on body cams are the “we hate new tech devices” late adopters – which is where I think we are at with the present Police Chief.

Reynolds seemed to get it – the cameras are inevitable, the Grandview Police will either use them soon or be required to use them. But he shouldn’t have added “if the chief is comfortable”, we need a Mayor that is the boss, and does what is needed to keep the police department up to date, even if the Chief is uncomfortable.

Kearns was way too wishy-washy on body cams, her “if and when we use them” holds out the option of saying no to cams. That just isn’t an option that makes any sense. If she can’t tell the Chief what his job requires, she doesn’t need to be in the Mayor’s office.

Previously – Candidates set positions on the future of the Mayor

More Previously – Candidates for Mayor set positions on scooters.

Questions for the Grandview Mayoral candidates – the future of the Mayor

Published October 8, 2019 by justicewg
by rob nguyen

by rob nguyen

(Update – Kearns won the Nov 5th mayoral race.)

We can learn some things about the candidates for Mayor by asking them what they intend to do once in office, and what they would like to see happen to the Mayor in the future.

Full Time Mayor

In my post about the salary of the Mayor in Grandview Heights, I gave a short discussion of the possibility for change in the way the Mayor’s office could work in the future.

Right now, the Mayor is considered a part time job. The amount of time an office holder works is up to the individual who is the Mayor, but there are no fixed duties that require full time work.

I asked the candidates if Mayor should become a full time job, with an increase in pay that reflects the hours and duties of a full time Mayor?

I asked if that full time Mayor would be taking over some or all of the tasks of Pat Bowman?

Switch to a professional city manager appointed by city council?

Other cities in Franklin Co. (Hilliard in 2018) have been switching to a professional city manager instead of a Mayor. The idea is that unlike a Mayor who might come into the position from any background, a professional city manager would be trained (at least a Master of Public Administration degree) and experienced enough to quickly fit into the job. The manager would be updated with the educational programs specifically aimed at city managers, and be focused on doing the job the city council needed to have done, without worrying about running for office every four years.

I asked – should Grandview consider switching to a professional city manager appointed by council?

Steve Reynolds answered after two days.

Full Time Mayor
Over the past two decades, the job description for Grandview’s mayor has changed considerably. The duties and responsibilities of the position require more day-to-day attention to details and a much broader knowledge base than in years past.  With that perspective in mind, it is more than appropriate to reevaluate the community’s expectations for the role of mayor. I will examine the feasibility of folding the position of Director of Administration back into the mayor’s duties. Such a consolidation would flatten the management structure, increase operating efficiency, and result in cost savings. Regardless of this potential change, we need someone who is willing and able to make an “all-in” commitment, which is exactly what I intend to do as mayor.

Administrator instead of Mayor
The Charter Review Commission has explored such possibilities numerous times, including the most-recent review last year.  I agree with their findings (as approved by our voters) that such changes are not appropriate at the present time.  For me, the independence of Mayor and Council is a good thing.  It provides at least the opportunity for checks and balances in our local government. – Steve Reynolds

Greta Kearns answered after four days.

Full Time Mayor
For me, serving Grandview Heights is public service, not a profession. Mayor DeGraw also treated the role this way and you agree that he has served our community well. I have served on Council since 2014 and do not expect to get paid commensurate with the hours that I put into the job. I doubt any city manager would be motivated to spend the time I have spent since last year going door to door as a candidate, listening to the concerns of residents. A Mayor is an independently elected chief executive and, therefore, directly accountable to residents. Unlike a city manager appointed by Council, a mayor must stand up for her record every 4 years.
You mention “gray hairs” and Mayor DeGraw’s experience, something neither candidate possesses. But Mayor DeGraw did not possess all his experience and wisdom on his first day of the job in 2004. He, like I, brought a wealth of life experience and professional capabilities from non-government work and as a parent. I disagree that learning on the job is a negative characteristic of an elected executive that can be somehow avoided by hiring a professional trained in public administration; Mayor DeGraw, in fact, became a better mayor by learning on the job. He gained experience facing the challenges and working with Council and residents to solve problems.

Administrator instead of Mayor
A weak mayor/city manager form of government would require a charter change. Last year, our Charter Review Commission, a group of nine appointed electors, evaluated a potential change and determined, as had prior Charter Review Commissions, that our current strong mayor form of government was continuing to meet our needs. Thus, the version of the charter they recommended and that was affirmed at the ballot in November kept our current form of government intact. I concur with this decision. – Greta Kearns

Notes on the answers

Reynolds was in favor of a full time Mayor. He said he was “all-in”. Kearns, although she seemed to be committed to doing the work, did not say she was going to be a full time Mayor, or that she would support changing the office to full time.

It was a simple question, and I think the city deserves a simple answer, not a lawyer’s side-step of the issue.

Neither wanted a city manager type head of the administration. Maybe I’m biased because I took half of the coursework for a masters degree in Public Administration (long story), but I think a City Administrator would be the better way for a small city to fill the head of the administration office.

We might get lucky, and always have a person who is both a politician who is good at running for office, and running a city. If we get unlucky, it can be a terrible fate for a city. Do we need to look far for an example of someone who can get elected, but has no clue how to run the office they were supposed to fill?

Mayoral candidate story in the TVN (where everyone “mulls” the answers to questions).

Previously – Candidates for Mayor set positions on scooters.

Grandview Mayor candidate questions – Police body cam policy

Mayor DeGraw was paid $40K a year

Published August 23, 2019 by justicewg

An ordinance passed back in 2013 set the base pay for the Mayor of Grandview Heights. At that time Ray DeGraw was earning $30K per year for a part-time position. With the knowledge that the Grandview Yard development would add to the complexity of the position, and the increasing number of constituents ringing his phone and sending him email, the council boosted the pay up to $36K, followed by annual increases to $40K as he ends his term.

Ray always joked that he was being paid peanuts compared to the workload the Mayor position demands. He must oversee the spending of the city, create new budgets, manage all the employees, respond to the many contacts with residents, and run the Mayor’s court. Add in the complex negotiations needed to oversee the Yard and the follow on SOG development – then throw in the Grandview Crossing development on 33 – and it becomes almost ridiculous the he would be paid so little, given the high stakes.

And don’t forget – a part-time Mayor must also work a regular job.

The city council voted to give some boosts to the Mayor’s salary, starting in 2020 it will be $48K, increasing to $52K by 2023.

But facts can’t be bent – Grandview is the smallest city in Franklin County. Our tax base is increasing, but still small enough that the Mayor position must be part time, given the resources of the city.

With an annual budget of only $15 Million (similar to Canal Winchester), it would be extravagant to pay for a full time Mayor.

Switch to a professional city manager appointed by city council?

Other cities in Franklin Co. (Hilliard in 2018) have been switching to a professional city manager instead of a Mayor. The idea is that unlike a Mayor who might come into the position from any background, a professional city manager would be trained (at least a Master of Public Administration degree) and experienced enough to quickly fit into the job. The manager would be updated with the educational programs specifically aimed at city managers, and be focused on doing the job the city council needed to have done, without worrying about running for office every four years.

Grandview does have a Director of Administration, but as Pat Bowman is already working in that position, and as head of development, his job is as stretched as DeGraw’s. Finding a replacement for him may only make sense with a professional manager who could wear both the hat of the Mayor and the work that Bowman currently does.

Gray heads have more time for the workload

Ray DeGraw has long experience as Mayor, but it must be noted that he has reached the age at which he is not forced to chose between kids and the work (and Ray has often said that he wishes he had more time for his wife). That long experience – and the focus he has on the work – will be nearly impossible to replace, given the wide skill set needed for his position.

Neither of the candidates for the Mayor’s office have the gray hair that would be better for the position.

I am aware that pointing out which candidate has kids makes me open for accusations of sexism – but I hold that I would be pointing out the kids of the male candidate too (if he had any). I just don’t understand why anyone would take on the workload that DeGraw strained under, for only $48K a year – and then added raising a family, and working a second job.

I think that Grandview Heights would be better served if it went with a professional manager. You might get lucky and find a person with the talent of a DeGraw, and that person might want to run for office. What happens to that person if they don’t get re-elected to the Mayor term after four years, and have to re-start a full time career?

I don’t think either of the current candidates will measure up to Ray. I think the best long term choice is to hire a person with the talent for the job.

More to come on this issue – I will contact the candidates about switching to a professional manager, or folding the Director of Administration into the Mayor’s duties and turning it into a full time position.

Candidates for Mayor set positions on scooters

Published August 16, 2019 by justicewg

Quad scooters(Update – Kearns won the Nov 5th mayoral race.)

Too bad we can’t chose the winner of the mayoral race by staging a scooter race, I’m sure that we would all have more fun and maybe do no worse in choosing the correct person for the office.

I asked each candidate to give their positions on the issue of scooter rental (“sharing” in the lingo of the scooter companies, I fail to understand how the word share is accurately applied to the financial deal to use their scooters). The issue of rental scooters is of low importance for the future of the city, but the process that each candidate uses to explore and involve the residents of our town in plans for transportation is instructive.

Steve Reynolds was the first to respond, his reply follows:

I am not ready for an all-out ban of scooters. In the right context, they can be useful. In fact, conventional transit providers — including COTA — are specifically incorporating scooters as a “first-mile/last-mile” option within their strategic planning decisions.

That being said, I would not be in favor of staging them in typical residential settings. There simply is not room for them on most residential sidewalks and right-of-ways.

We need to get input from citizens in Grandview Heights to find out how many residents actually use, or would use, scooters as an alternative to other means of transportation. If, for example, we discovered that folks in Grandview Yard find them to be of value in getting around, there are a variety of places where staging them might be appropriate. We really need to have the discussion and spent some time weighing the benefits and risks.

As for riding them on the sidewalk, I am in favor of strict enforcement of prohibiting it. It simply is not safe for pedestrians.

Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions or comments.

Thanks,
Steve Reynolds

A few days later I receive this email from Greta Kearns:

It is evident from your personal experience and anecdotes from Grandview residents that more enforcement and education are needed to improve safety. As a member of Grandview Heights City Council, I have heard complaints about reckless operation and scooters blocking rights-of-way and detracting from the character of the neighborhoods.

Because scooters play a role as “last-mile” transportation, they can pair well with public transportation and reduce auto traffic and parking headaches. When operated on the roads as legally required, scooters pose relatively low risk to others in the community. The shared mobility model is particularly popular in a high-amenity location such as Grandview Heights, which has many younger residents, and is compact and convenient to downtown and Ohio State. Like COTA and CoGo, scooters offer benefits such as low cost, convenience, and reductions in automobile traffic, parking and congestion.

Nevertheless, I believe scooters should be operated more safely than they are now, which can be accomplished through a combination of contractual, regulatory, and enforcement efforts, including community education on safe operation and regulations regarding where scooters can be parked.

Grandview Heights has an opportunity to formalize transportation and mobility policy when we implement our Comprehensive Plan beginning next year. Specifically, the plan recommends developing a city policy regarding scooters, including designating clear parking areas for scooters in high traffic areas. Contractual arrangements with the rental companies would also give us more control over scooter operation. One of the challenges is planning for the future as transportation models evolve. Last year there were two rental companies, this year there are apparently four, and next year may bring different operators and technologies entirely.

Mayor DeGraw has established a Transportation Advisory Group with community representation. Scooters are on the group’s radar, and recommendations are likely to emerge that are complementary to the Community Plan. If elected Mayor in November, you can expect Grandview Heights to act on the scooter issue next year.

It remains to be seen whether scooters will be a permanent part of the landscape, but many millennials embrace a lifestyle free of car ownership. You can see scooters parked in front of popular establishments on weekends, which takes cars off the road and frees up parking spaces.

Thank you for contacting me on this matter. I look forward to continuing to address Grandview Heights’ transportation policies, including scooters and other shared mobility models.

Greta Kearns

Thinking about the candidate replies

There is much similarity in the replies as far as viewpoints of the safety of the devices. Both candidates are against use of the scooters on sidewalks, but think that there may be some future way to incorporate them into “first-mile/last-mile” options.

“When operated as legally required” is the major sticking point for the scooters, they are scary to use with traffic on the street, so they are very often used on the sidewalk. The laws are clear on the state and local level – no scooters on the sidewalk. I have read that some people think there could be technological solutions that don’t allow the use on the sidewalk, but I think the Jetson flying cars will be here before scooters that can’t run people down on sidewalks are built.

Both wanted to see input from residents of the city on the use of scooters. If we go by the word of Mayor DeGraw, he had no emails that asked for the inclusion of staging areas for scooters in the city. The Comprehensive Plan (a committee that looked at many issues in Grandview) may have commented on the devices, but I assume there will be a more specific comment period before new rules for scooters are implemented.

While I understand “many millennials embrace a lifestyle” that would like to include scooters in it, I don’t want the rest of us to become forced to leap out of the way while walking on the sidewalks. I only read one candidate that asks for “strict enforcement of prohibiting” them on sidewalks. We all get plenty of education when we learn to drive a car, being pulled over and ticketed is how we internalize the laws. All rental scooters have rules printed on them that educates the drivers to stay off the sidewalk, you can see how well that works.

(Previous post on DeGraw’s position on scooters)

Grandview Mayor candidate questions – Police body cam policy

The future of the Mayor

The city has posted near complete Community Planning Documents

Published March 20, 2019 by justicewg

The city of Grandview Heights has been running planning meetings to gather feedback from residents in a comprehensive city planning process that started back in April 2018. This process was intended to be a full review of all aspects of the city’s housing, commercial developments, recreational and transportation, civic spaces, and almost anything else that might become an issue the city council and administration could see for the future.

 

 

(Video from the meeting March 26, 2019)

The Draft doc

https://www.grandviewheights.org/DocumentCenter/View/3513/Comp-Plan-Template-v-031319

There was a meeting March 26th in the Middle School Commons to accept public feedback as the plans moved towards completion.

First impressions

I didn’t spend a lot of time reading the doc, but this is what jumped out.

The suggestions for residential areas are to follow the present building standards for height and density, and not approve developments that are big jumps in size (like the building already approved on First on the site of the funeral home).

Mixed residential and commercial development is also to be limited to match the existing size and number of floors. Demolition of present buildings to build larger, taller buildings is discouraged.

The present commercial areas are to be preserved inside the limits of existing development.

The only area I see allowed to build high is on the south side of Goodale, where there already are new multi-story buildings.

Municipal campus on the site of the service center

After the city service center has moved their truck barns and equipment to a new space on McKinley, the area behind the senior center is now being presented as the potential location of a large municipal campus. This area will house new Police and Fire buildings, as well as city offices. Essentially everything now located up the Grandview hill will be rebuilt in a bigger and better campus.

This included an “event/recreation” area, which will be built on the site of the senior center (and presumably the senior center will go into the municipal building). This area will be large enough the host festivals and farmer’s markets.

I don’t see this plan for a municipal campus in the Community Planning Document linked above, but the city website has the plans in the mayor’s blog.

http://www.grandviewheights.org/Blog.aspx?IID=254

Municipal Campus

More info to be posted as the documents are reviewed.

Councilman is opposed to appeal of Green Space ordinance

Published August 27, 2018 by justicewg

UPDATE!  Secretary Husted broke the Board of Elections’ tie vote in favor of putting the Proposed Ordinance on the November 2018 ballot. If you want to read a post that practically has the winning lawyer doing a victory dance in front of the city administration, read the post on the Join Grandview website.

What happens next is up to the city, but they really need to understand that the time for legal fighting is over. They can organize opposition to the vote, but can’t spend any city money.

 

I try to stay neutral in political issues in Grandview, unless it appears there is a clear reason to side with some position in a local dispute. I’ve looked at all the arguments over the Green Space initiative, and I have to agree with them at least on the process – they have done everything by the book. They should have their ordinance on the ballot. Read the reasoning for allowing the voters to decide the issue in this post on their website

https://joingrandview.com/2018/08/22/the-trouble-with-the-citys-protest-of-the-proposed-ordinance/

I emailed the Mayor and all of the council members with my opinion on the Green Space ordinance appeal, and at this point have one response, from Steve Reynolds. My email is after the jump, first the email from Reynolds.

Thanks for your feedback.  I can’t express an opinion as to the initiative itself.  I also cannot speak for my fellow Councilmembers; however, I can say I am disappointed that tax dollars are being spent to “protect” residents from voting on the matter.  The legal maneuvering is not an action that has been voted on by Council.  It is being brought forth by the Mayor, the City Attorney, and the other attorneys who were hired to wage this battle. – SReynolds@grandviewheights.org

I’m a little unclear on Reynold’s claim that he can’t express an opinion on the initiative, Ohio law says the city should not be spending money to oppose the ordinance, but they still have the right to express their opinion. I guess if you count using the city email system to answer questions as spending money, that makes sense, but in a technical and not practical way.

His opposition to the Mayor spending city money on further appeals is the correct function for a council member, the Mayor holds administrative control of city funds, but the council is the final arbiter over the use of those public funds. I think if the city council had a majority belief that the city should stop spending money on appeals, and voted to direct the Mayor to let the vote be held in November, the Mayor will have to stop all court actions.

Let all the council members, and the Mayor, know what you think about the Green Space Ordinance.

Council@grandviewheights.org, rdegraw@grandviewheights.org

(Update) Council president Kearns is backing the Mayor.

What is so bad about the Elmwood house?

The reason that the Green Space initiative was inspired was because the locals wanted to keep the area looking the same as it has for many years. As I understand the dispute, it wasn’t so much that the Elmwood property was split, but that the house the owner wanted to build was so out of place in the area. An important aid in making that decision was the renderings of the plans for the house (or would have been if they were presented to the BZA).

Those renderings are now up on the Join Grandview website. Check them out and make your own judgement on the proposed home.

Read the rest of this entry →

Mayor has new plans for Wallace Gardens, Grandview Crossing

Published April 12, 2016 by justicewg

A suggestion for anyone in the city or school administration – don’t schedule public meetings to answer questions from the residents at 6 PM. People are eating, and they don’t want to show up late, so you end up with one person attending your meeting (the same thing happened years ago when O’Reilly tried a 6 PM public meeting). Hopefully there will be a few more people at the Wyman Woods shelter on April 13th at 8:30 AM for the next public meeting.

Grandview Crossing may have plans by this summer

The Wagenbrenner owned Grandview Crossing development was promoted as a long term project that could have taken until 2025 to finish the fill with dirt and compaction (to cover the landfill that was under this area). According to the Mayor the work has gone much faster than expected, and Wagenbrenner may have plans ready to present before the city council this summer.

Nothing new in the plans for Grandview Crossing so far – mostly retail, some office, no residential. No new announcements since last summer when they said they had plans for “junior big-box” stores, similar to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Remember, most of the area is inside Columbus, so although Grandview gets to approve its part, we have no way to say what will be inside Grandview – if they want big parking lots on our side of the development, we lose potential tax income. A few years ago that would have been a big deal, after all the development going into the Yard, the G.C. seems almost unimportant. Traffic remains a potential big issue.

Wallace Gardens improvements

The Mayor had some renderings of new plans for Wallace Gardens, the area between Grandview Ave. and the plots will have new landscaping and a large Gazebo type building with room for picnic tables. The area behind the gardens (between the tracks and the houses) has potential to become play area for kids, essentially extending the McKinley park back into the area that is now woods. I got the impression that a lot of this depends on an anonymous benefactor who may be funding a lot of the potential million dollar improvements, but no money has changed hands yet * (read below).

(Later) The benefactor has been announced in plans presented before the council, it is the The Mirolo Charitable Foundation.

(Even Later) The city council put the Wallace Garden project on the shelf, and might lose the grant.

City Employees are not expanding

As the new Yard development gets under way, I was expecting the city to start hiring police, fire, and service employees to deal with the additions to the city. According to DeGraw there is no big need for many new people. Nationwide already had its own security patrolling the area around the construction, when the campus is complete there will be more private security, and the city will have minimal need for new employees. The campus will do its own service work – a few more streets need plowed in the winter.

The Mayor thought the expectations for new city services – more recreation buildings, etc., would be increasing in the future as the money from the Yard starts to build up. More than anything, the composition of the city residents is changing – more high income professionals – who see those sort of city services as expectations to be provided by any city that has the high reputation of Grandview.

Storm water diversion plans

Last summer’s flooding caused a lot of water in basements, and although it has been years since that sort of flooding has happened, the service work that the city has in the planning stage may help somewhat.

Interesting to learn that there is a major waste water line that travels from the area north (U.A. and 5xNW), then burrows under Grandview. Some of the water that back-flows after long heavy rain is coming from outside the city. There are plans for a Fifth ave diversion project that will take some of that water and turn it east to the river. All this has to happen in Columbus, so it isn’t our planning, but we can cross our fingers and hope for an end of the water in the basements.

Don’t mess with the trees

The Mayor heard you loud and clear on the trees cut down for the First and NW Boulevard work. New trees are in the plans for other areas of the city.

Can’t give money away without trouble

I was told that there is quite a story behind the donation of money for the Wallace Gardens improvements. Someone wanted to give Upper Arlington a donation for the parks, and it kicked off an epic battle between various factions over the correct use of the money and the  plans for construction. At some point the person making the donation said “Enough! I’ll just go somewhere else to make my donation”. And so Grandview got offered the money.

My suggestion – let’s start an epic battle here in Grandview! Are we going to let U.A. beat us in the race to tick off people looking to donate money?

(Later) Huh. Is it possible the UA fight over park spending, which resulted in a recall election for four council members, was the factor that pushed the Grandview council to spike the Wallace Gardens project?

City employees doing two jobs

Another point the Mayor made has stuck with me – so many of the city employees are wearing two hats, as a result of long ago cuts in funding. The fire chief is also the computer systems tech guy and website updater. Patrik Bowman is both Director of Administration and head of Economic Development. There is no H.R. department at the city, the Mayor mostly does that. It is possible we will find people who can do two jobs when those people retire, but it is not likely they can do both of them well. At some point the city will need specialists who do one job, and hire more administration staff.