Letter: Landlords ordinance overreach by government

From: Russell Poling Sr.


On. Jan. 16, the City of Columbus at its regularly scheduled city council meeting discussed and then passed an ordinance that establishes a rental property registration.

Each landlord that owns property within the city limits will be required to provide contact information to the city and must pay a $5 fee per property owned.

The city administration offered up many reasons for why they wanted to do this, but in my opinion some of those reasons didn’t justify this. I feel this ordinance is an overreach by the government.

What really got my dander up was how one member of the city council responded to the assembled audience. Mayor Lienhoop gave every citizen who wanted to speak the opportunity to do so.

The room was packed and many folks had to stand in the hallway. Quite a few people took the time to speak up.

Some were for this and some were against. In my opinion every speaker, regardless of position, was well spoken, articulated their position well and were respectful to the city council and the mayor.

After we had our say it was the council’s turn to deliberate. One council member seemed to be taken aback about all of the people that were against this proposal. In his mind this proposal was nothing to be upset, about so why were we being antagonistic toward the council and the administration.

He actually used the word antagonistic. It is disappointing when an elected official takes offense to the people having the audacity to express their opinion to their representatives.

It is not his nor any council member’s place to determine what we the people can be upset or concerned about. That is our business. This council member in particular likes to forget that the people put him there and that he works for the people.

So, I feel the need to remind our elected officials that the citizens have a right to show up and say whatever we want about proposed legislation. That right is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Indiana Constitution.

U.S. Constitution Amendment 1, ratified in 1791: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

We were petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

Indiana Constitution as amended in 2016, Article 1 Section 31: “No law shall restrain any of the inhabitants of the State from assembling together in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good; nor from instructing their representatives; nor for applying to the General Assembly for a redress of grievances.”

We were instructing our representatives.

I wish to applaud my fellow citizens that showed up Tuesday night and spoke out either for or against this ordinance. No one has the right to tell you to sit down and be quiet.