Letter: Voters must support ‘cathedral builders’ with vote

From: Joe Lohmeyer


I have known Jim Lienhoop for the 61 years God has graced my life on earth. Through that time period of grade school, high school, college and professional life here in Columbus, I have enjoyed numerous opportunities to work with him on various committees and boards. I have always seen him as a person who is respectful of other people’s opinions, listens well, is a person of integrity, offers sage advice and has a deep commitment to his Lord and to this community.

Lienhoop embodies the same great characteristics of leadership Columbus has enjoyed over the years. Historically, our leaders have learned from the past and have been figurative “cathedral builders” and relationship builders, visioning, building and sacrificing for the future generations. This is the opposite of our current mayor, who seems to enjoy tearing down those elected individuals, volunteers and other professionals who have given of their time, and in many cases money, to make this community the one we enjoy today.

Years ago, I had the opportunity to serve on the Columbus Utility Board during a tenuous time of annexation of a significant portion of the county. There was a great deal of angst in the areas being annexed because of the disruption of yards and streets to run municipal water and sewer service to people’s homes. Mayor Bob Stewart visited our board and communicated to us he was having a fair amount of discourse with the citizens of our community who were upset with the whole process.

Stewart communicated to us that he was thankful for our service on the board and that we were a smart group of people, but the community deserved for us to do better. Most notably he did not berate us, did not micromanage us, did not threaten to replace us, but exhorted us to do a better job for the citizens. This was leadership.

What I have witnessed during the few years of Mayor Kristen Brown’s administration is a period of divisiveness, trying to create the illusion of an “old boys club,” denigrating the work of past administrations and volunteers, and very much creating a culture of hate toward anyone who speaks up against any idea or action emanating from the current mayor.

Interestingly, some folks believe paving roads or “free recycling” justifies this behavior. Paving every street in America could never justify the Saturday night dismissal of Ben Wagner without any prior discussion with his immediate supervisor, the Parks Board, and the resulting mass resignation of the Parks Board.

The public-private partnership Columbus has enjoyed for so many years needs not be bullied out of existence. This is the time for citizens of this community to step up and do what is right. Please support the “cathedral builders” of the past and the future, as we continue the legacy of Columbus being a great place to work, raise a family and enjoy our later years. Please vote for and support Jim Lienhoop.