From: Tom Vujovich
Character, integrity and credibility — three traits of leadership that have never been more important to our community than in the upcoming primary election. Claiming them for oneself is not the same as demonstrating them through actions. To justify unprecedented community divisiveness as a mandate from the voters for change is a careless misreading of election results. Equally disturbing is the inability of our mayor to express even a small amount of gratitude for the service of previous administrations whose collective actions contributed to the benefits now being claimed as unprecedented, including record employment and budget surpluses.
Humility might suggest acknowledging that the accomplishments of today result from the ongoing effort to improve upon the decisions and actions of others. Sadly, Mayor Kristen Brown believes her “mandate to change the way City Hall operates” requires her to diminish or destroy anything or anyone with ties to Columbus’ past accomplishments.
As a former president of the Columbus Redevelopment Commission, I was party to the actions that Brown has worked so hard to discredit. During that time, the community did see unprecedented growth and development in the downtown — what Mayor Bob Stewart referred to as “everyone’s neighborhood.” Over $150 million of public and private investment was put into this area in order to bring economic vitality and growth back to the heart of our city. Brown was given the opportunity to improve on what was accomplished and make it better. What we have received in return is no growth, the loss of development momentum, loss of downtown tenants, loss of rental income conveniently blamed on others and the message to the development community that City Hall cannot be trusted.
It was an honor to serve the community in Mayor Fred Armstrong’s administration, just as it was a privilege to be involved in the administrations of Max Andress, Nancy Ann Brown and Stewart. These mayors built on the accomplishments of their predecessors and valued the contribution of citizen volunteers. As our current mayor took office, my hope was that she, too, would choose to be a builder. Instead, she continues to run against the past administration while distorting the truth and legality of its accomplishments. Ironically, she has no problem claiming as accomplishments the actions and commitments of others, such as the renovation of Hamilton Center and implementation of the recycling program.
Since there is no announced Democratic candidate for mayor, the primary election may be by default the mayoral election. The stakes could not be higher. We need to return to the best traditions of community representation and service. Only one candidate has a demonstrated record of character, integrity and credibility. That is why I will be requesting a Republican ballot and voting for Jim Lienhoop for mayor.