Reimagining Public Safety Town Halls

[Columbus, OH] Today, City Council announced a series of town hall discussions to gain further insight into reimagining safety in the capital City. Each forum features subject-matter experts leading the conversation and opportunities for public dialogue.

“These town halls are designed to hear from national subject-matter experts as well as local residents who are experts on our City and what will keep them safe,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “In 2020, we saw the deadliest year on record when it comes to homicides in Columbus. We saw two unarmed residents gunned down by law enforcement in December. Council is committed to pushing forward an operating budget that reimagines safety.”

In 2020, Council began the initial phase of reform with the passage of a comprehensive legislative safety package, which included independent investigations into lethal force, demilitarization of police, limiting no-knock raids and instituting background checks for hate-group affiliation. This series continues the ongoing deliberations of the City’s Operating Budget.

Each session focuses on one of the three pillars, which are the backbone of Council’s efforts moving forward to reimagining safety. They are investing in accountability and a better Division of Police, establishing alternative crisis response models and investing in violence prevention. 

“Achieving real change that protects the safety of every person in our city will take fierce dedication and the willpower of all of us working together,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “These town halls will help direct our efforts as we continue working to reimagine public safety through the operating budget and other city programs. We have heard the calls from across our city that the status quo is unacceptable, and it is our duty as elected officials to respond.”

Any resident seeking to provide written or live testimony via WebEx during the virtual hearing must submit their intention using the following LINK HERE. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event. Ten speakers will be heard per town hall, with remarks limited to three minutes or less. There will be audience engagement activities during the town hall events. 

  • Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Establishing Alternative Public Safety Crisis Response, led by Council President Shannon G. Hardin
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 969 1521
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Investing in Violence Prevention, led by Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 507 9073
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Investing in Accountability and a Better Division of Police, led by Councilmember Rob Dorans
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 774 8384
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Establishing Alternative Public Safety Crisis Response, led by Councilmember Shayla Favor
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 419 5906
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 4pm
    Investing in Violence Prevention, led by President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 151 7461
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Investing in Accountability and a Better Division of Police, hosted by Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 405 0178
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.


The town halls will be streamed on Council’s Facebook page and the City of Columbus YouTube channel

Invitation

The City of Columbus is interested in our community’s opinion on their draft Climate Action Plan. They want to understand the potential positive and negative consequences of these actions on our neighborhood.

These are intended to be small groups of about 10 people to encourage a robust discussion. If you are interested in participating in such a discussion, email northwestcivic@gmail.com.

I will be facilitating one or more of these sometime in January depending on response. You would not be committed until there are dates and times.

Please also pass this invitation on to anyone in the Northwest area who might be interested. These conversations will be happening in other neighborhoods as well.

Cheryl Grossman, President NWCA

Announcement on Formation of Civilian Review Board

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, along with City Council President Shannon J. Hardin, accepted the recommendations from the Civilian Review Board Work Group. The Work Group was charged with developing the framework for a Civilian Police Review Board to provide oversight of the Columbus Division of Police. In November, Columbus voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the city charter to establish a civilian police review board and Inspector General for the Division of Police.

“Columbus is the only major metropolitan area without any kind of civilian oversight of law enforcement, which continues to erode trust between the community and police,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “With the passage of Issue 2 in November and the recommendations from the Work Group, we are well positioned to make it a reality in 2021.”

“Rebuilding trust and improving accountability in the Division of Police is a critical component to reimagining safety in Columbus,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “Council appreciates the Civilian Review Working Group for providing recommendations on structural questions for how the Review Board should operate. Council will engage in a deliberative process to review these recommendations and work with Mayor Ginther to stand up the Civilian Review Board in 2021.”

The work group comprised of community members representing diverse backgrounds, experiences, ages, races and skill sets worked for several months to review best practices from other cities and to recommend what would work best for Columbus. Their recommendations include:

  • A nine-member Civilian Review Board, with staggered three-year terms
  • Board appointments by Mayor Ginther in consultation with Columbus City Council
  • Board diversity in race, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, and a majority of its members must live in the city of Columbus.
  • Board will receive ongoing training in police tactics, constitutional law, de-escalation, implicit bias, and other important subject matters
  • The Board should be given broad investigative powers, including subpoena powers.
  • The minimum qualifications for the new inspector general will be set by the board.

Applications for the Civilian Review Board are being accepted now through Jan. 15, 2021.

Next Meeting on January 6, 2021

Our next meeting will take place (via Zoom) on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 7:00 PM. If you would like to join us, the information with be posted here a day or so before the meeting. If you would like to get an email with logon information and other announcements from NWCA, sign up here.

Our speaker will be Betty Blockinger, the Volunteer Services Manager for Columbus Recreation and Parks. She coordinates volunteers who help with park beautifications throughout the city as well as volunteer coaches, tutors and mentors. She will talk to us about how we can set up a volunteer group to help keep the new Sheep Farm park on Case Road in good shape.

Agenda

We have two zoning/variance hearings:

  • 1674 Ramblewood Ave. – Variance to keep an existing fence over a sewer easement.
  • 6051 Sawmill Rd. (Chick-fil-A) – Update site plan to extend the building along with installation of two free-standing canopies over the drive-thru.

It’s also time to begin or renew your membership in NWCA. It’s only $15.00 ($30.00 for associate memberships). All memberships are for the calendar year. Only members vote on trustees during our annual meeting in late Spring.

More information about membership.

Application form.

Topic: January 2021 NWCA Meeting
Time: Jan 6, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
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Next Meeting on December 2nd

Our next meeting will take place on December 2, 2020 at 7:00 PM via Zoom. The Zoom link will be posted here a day or two before the meeting. We have one variance to hear.

LinkUS and the Northwest CorridorJustin Goodwin will discuss current planning for transportation and traffic needs along the Northwest Corridor. It’s not too late to take the survey.

Agenda

Cheryl Grossman is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Northwest Civic Association meeting
Time: Dec 2, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Every month on the First Wed, until Mar 3, 2021, 4 occurrence(s)
Dec 2, 2020 07:00 PM
Jan 6, 2021 07:00 PM
Feb 3, 2021 07:00 PM
Mar 3, 2021 07:00 PM
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.
Monthly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZIqfuuorj0qG9zsYEICk1q7_11-SBgFmdNP/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGuqTIoGtSTsBiPRpwAB4r4a_TziCFfjfpHjybAKgNYMxKhCbMTf4FdF_7d

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 867 9200 6018
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Meeting ID: 867 9200 6018
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/keAN8uU6YX

Rental/Mortgage/Utilities Help

Central Ohio community has been deeply impacted by COVID 19 and IMPACT Community Action has served as an essential service to many with emergency needs.  Thanks to generous funding from the City of Columbus and other Hope Fund partners; IMPACT has distributed over $5.5 Million to 2,040 residents to assist them in maintaining their housing. If people applied before October 2nd, we continue to work with partner agencies to get applications processed on our 1st round of Hope Funds. 

Governor Mike DeWine announced the Development Services Agency has provided additional assistance to Ohioans with rent, water or sewer. The additional funding from the Home Relief Fund will help with outstanding rent or mortgages, water shutoff or to avoid foreclosure or eviction.  Those in need APPLY HEREIMPACT Community Action is one of 48 Community Action Agencies to receive funding. Franklin County households behind on bills and are at or below 200% of the federal poverty line will be eligible for aid, for a family of four that is an annual income of $52,400. 

In order to keep our clients safe, we have gone live with an online portal TODAY to allow clients to see if they qualify through a questionnaire; where we will capture name, email, phone, and requested assistance amounts for rent, mortgage, water, and fees.

After that, applicants will receive a wait list number and a message letting them know we will notify them when the portal is open and ready to accept their application. We encourage applicants to gather materials needed to apply before November 9th and to contact their landlord to ensure they know our team will be reaching out.

Household Hazardous Waste Event

Household Hazardous Waste Event 
November 14 – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Please check swaco.org for location
Open to central Ohio residents 

Now that winter is approaching, many people are cleaning out their garages and basements and trying to figure out what to do with household hazardous waste materials like motor oil, gasoline, lighter fluid and propane tanks. If you’d like to get rid of these or other hazardous waste items, you can stop by Dublin’s “Household Waste Collection Day” on November 14. It’s open to all Franklin County residents. For a list of accepted items, visit our website.

By adopting proper disposal methods, we can all make a positive impact on our environment and our community’s overall health.

Follow-up on Sawmill Athletic Club (3111 Hayden Rd.)

The Development Commission of the City of Columbus will hold a public hearing on 3111 Hayden Rd on Thursday, November 12, 2020, after 7:00 PM by WebEx virtual meeting (due to Covid-19). To join the meeting, send an email to the assigned planner listed on the agenda item at least one day before the meeting for an invitation link. You can also monitor the hearing through the City of Columbus YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/cityofcolumbus.

Further information may be obtained by visiting the City of Columbus Zoning Office website at http://www.columbus.gov/bzs/zoning/Development-Commission or by calling the Department of
Building and Zoning Services, Council Activities Section at 614-645-4522.

APPLICATION: Z20-057
Location: 3111 HAYDEN RD. (43235), being 5.37± acres located on the south
side of Hayden Road, 500± feet east of Riverside Drive (590-173371;
Northwest Civic Association).

Existing Zoning: PUD-8, Planned Unit Development District.
Request: L-AR-1, Limited Apartment Residential District (H-35).
Proposed Use: Multi-unit residential development.
Applicant(s): Metro Development LLC; c/o Jill Tangeman, Atty.; 52 East Gay Street; Columbus, OH 43215.

Property Owner(s): Sawmill Athletic Club LLC; 470 Olde Worthington Road, Suite 100; Westerville, OH 43082.

Planner: Kelsey Priebe; 614-645-1341; krpriebe@columbus.gov

Columbus Public Health Update

Here are the latest updates on COVID-19 and Columbus Public Health’s response.

Situation Update

As of October 26, 2020, there are 24,953 cases of COVID-19 and 489 deaths in Columbus Public Health’s jurisdiction. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 case numbers in Columbus and Worthington, view the case summary report or follow Columbus Public Health on social media.

Other News to Know

New CDC Guidance

The CDC issued new guidance that expands the pool of people considered at risk of getting COVID-19 by changing the definition of who is a “close contact” of an infected individual. The CDC had previously defined a “close contact” as someone who spent at least 15 minutes within six feet of a person with COVID-19. The updated guidance now defines a close contact as someone who was within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Several months ago, the Ohio Department of Health clarified that the 15 minutes are cumulative and do not need to be consecutive, which is consistent with the new CDC guidance. The time frame of 15 minutes within 24 hours is new guidance which Columbus Public Health has now implemented in evaluation of close contacts.

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing at Columbus Public Health has moved to the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair Celeste Center at 717 E. 17th Ave. Testing is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through a partnership with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, OhioHealth and Mt. Carmel Health System. To make an appointment to get tested, call 614-645-1519.

Flu Shot Clinics

Getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year to protect health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Columbus Public Health is offering drive-thru clinics to get a flu shot at no cost. Visit www.columbus.gov/flu to see a list of clinic dates and locations. Flu vaccines also are available by appointment through the Immunization Clinic at Columbus Public Health, and at many health care providers and retail pharmacy outlets.

Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 cases are going up across the state. Please help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Always wear a face covering in public.
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart from others.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid gatherings and large groups.

Learn More about COVID-19

Please use only credible and reliable sources for information and updates on COVID-19. See the latest here:

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
October 24 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
13 locations in and around Columbus

SWACO is a proud supporter of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of unwanted prescription drugs in ways that keep our environment safe while also educating the community about the potential for prescription drug abuse. We partner with local law enforcement, communities and private partners across Franklin County to host these important events.

Please note that only pills will be accepted at all of these locations unless otherwise noted. For more information on ways to safely dispose of prescription pills or for tips on how to talk to your kids about prescription drug misuse, visit dontliveindenial.org.