From: Deborah Perr
“Parks department ‘chess match’’’ was the recent headline in The Republic. The paper reported that Councilman Jim Lienhoop described the City Council’s actions as being part of a “chess match.”
Clearly, Mayor Kristen Brown does not consider the operation of this city to be a game. Despite intense scrutiny, she consistently steps forward as a steadfast custodian of the interests of the citizens of Columbus. Of great significance, as she stated in 2013, “We are at our constitutional limit on our debt on the city side.”
Her determination to make fiscal responsibility and public safety top priorities was immediately apparent in the wake of her election when the city was faced with the lack of funding for necessary ice water rescue equipment. She sacrificed one of her own job benefits, the use of a city-owned vehicle, and she sold the vehicle to pay for the necessary equipment.
Also, when she assumed office, she initiated the process of addressing the deferred maintenance of our parks system and recommended to City Council the allocation of nearly $4 million toward repairs, including major repairs to Hamilton and Donner centers, which they approved.
Brown’s campaign pledge to dismantle CDI, a corporation structured to cloak transparency of negotiations of city-owned real estate, was one of the reasons voters turned out to elect her into office with a landslide 2-1 margin of victory. She fulfilled her campaign promise, and, needless to say, some are displeased with her dismantling of the status quo and her persistent refusal to allow “politics as usual” to sway her decisions.
The disgruntlement of the few rose to a new high recently when she demoted an employee whom she felt had not acted as a steward to the city’s interest. The Republic published an explosive series of articles lambasting Brown, all written beneath a 3-inch headline, “Turmoil at City Hall,” similar to a headline one would expect after a major disaster.
On the morning the paper was delivered, I had guests in from other cities, and as they filed down for breakfast, one-by-one their eyes were drawn to the alarming headlines. They read the paper, and a discussion ensued. One person asked, “Why is your mayor being attacked by your newspaper and your City Council?” To outsiders, especially to an Army officer preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, it all seemed completely absurd.
Politics, the struggle for control and heated emotions often impair good judgment. The irrational behavior and the distorted, tabloid-style reporting of The Republic are tainting the image of our city.
Brown is delivering on her promise to be fiscally responsible, and she is working very closely with fire, police and all city departments, as well as concerned residents, to make our city safer. She has worked diligently to repair our parks, and employment in Columbus recently reached an all-time high ranking of fifth in the nation. Her accomplishments speak louder than negative words, even if they are written in 3-inch headlines.