Joe's City Council Testimony
The following is from Joe's testimony to City Council, May 22, 2023.
This MOU is one more display of the inequality and disproportionate spending of taxpayer dollars for public safety by the mayor. And now he wants to pay officers double time instead of time and half. We already have a depleted police force due to the mayor's $20 million buyout of 100 officers, officers retiring early due to the mayor's lack of support for them, and his inability to recruit enough qualified officers to properly maintain an adequate number to protect our citizens, their property, and our neighborhoods.
So because the mayor, who takes no responsibility for crime and homicides that have gotten out of control across the city, and more recently in the Short North, Ginther’s Short North developer and business associates who dictate his every move, ordered him to provide an unwarranted and excessive law enforcement presence in the Short North this past weekend. And I personally spent about an hour down there experiencing it Friday evening. This overkill included motorcycles, horses, bikes, drones, canine units and helicopters. The helicopter noise drew complaints from a majority of residents. Some Columbus residents regarded the excessive presence of law enforcement as the appearance of a police state. And with Columbus hosting the Conference of Mayors convention at the neighboring Convention Center in two weeks, Ginther could ill afford the potential for national embarrassment if another shooting took place in the Short North while the visiting mayors and other conventioneers from around the country shopped, ate, and drank in the Short North. He is more concerned about his image than the safety of Columbus residents.
So the FOP, or any Union negotiating team for that matter, knows when their bargaining partner, who happens to be the mayor in this case, is on the hot seat and his choices are limited and his hands are tied. So the FOP takes advantage of the situation and demands double time because they can’t get enough officers to work overtime for time and a half.
And how many officers will be getting off their 8-hour shifts to take advantage of making roughly $100 an hour or more and possibly even doing it two days in a row, 16 hours each day? Is it safe for a police officer to work their 8-hour shift along with 8 hours of overtime? And is it safe for the public?
Is this “City Special Operation for 2023” going to help with the crime and gun violence in and around Sullivant Avenue on the Hilltop? Cleveland Avenue in the Linden area? Parsons Avenue on the Southside? And other neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades?
And how is that abandoned cars that have sat on the streets of the Hilltop, Southside and elsewhere for months, and haven’t been towed to the impound lot because last week the city said it was full, yet 107 cars were towed from North Hight Street in the Short North and by some miracle, room was found for those 107 cars at an impound lot. Apparently your zip code, median income level, political clout, and voter turnout determines a neighborhood's public safety resources and code enforcement action.
In closing, The fact that the food truck vendors were mandated to shut down at midnight and restaurants and bars were not, shouldn’t surprise anyone. The food truck vendors, many of whom are minorities and immigrants, are blue collar working stiffs who have no political clout and are being used as scapegoats for the rise in crime in the Short North by Ginther. This is a perfect example of 21st century class warfare. Rather than pick on food vendors, there should be more consideration about the removal of liquor licenses from bars that have a history of trouble.