Letter: Mayor needs to move on, act like leader

From: Phil Swaim


It amazes me what gets printed in the paper that misses entire elements of an event such as a Columbus City Council meeting. While Mayor Lienhoop’s statement gets excerpted and then a full print, petitioner and citizen comments go largely ignored.

As a witness and attendee to the meeting on Oct. 18, I saw residents address their government with respectful criticism, asking for clarifications and even corrections to how the budget and tax rate are being represented.

The point was made several times that many of the items in Lienhoop’s “Findings of Fact” were not relevant to the budget or the proceedings of this administration. Instead, Lienhoop chose to use his official capacity as the MAYOR of Columbus to criticize the petitioners and the previous administration. This was completely irrelevant and had no bearing on the discussion except to take yet another pot shot, continuing the never-ending acrimony and politics of personal destruction that he used to get elected.

The mayor many times that evening, with supporting cries from City Attorney Alan Whitted and a city council member, called attendees of the meeting “out of order” for questioning the process and meaning of votes that were on the floor.

Is this the openness Mayor Lienhoop was talking about? I do not recall in my attending city council meetings with two different mayors presiding, being called out of order for asking a question about a vote or its process.

But as Jim Lienhoop said during his campaign, “the tone starts at the top.”

It certainly does. And the resounding tone heard by myself and I am sure by others who were there was, “If you criticize this administration, I will make a statement publicly ridiculing you for doing such. You will be disregarded as unimportant, and it will be demanded of you to stop giving your opinion.”

This mayor speaks of openness and transparency, but in the same breath seethes contempt for those who rightfully expect it.

The election is over. Jim Lienhoop is the one who needs to move on and start acting like a mayor. He is not above questions, criticism, and opinion given by residents he is supposed to serve.