It's practically election eve in Clintonville.
It's practically election eve in Clintonville.
With early in-person voting for three of the Clintonville Area Commission's nine districts set from 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 2 in the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the two candidates in each race were asked to explain why they are running, the issues they believe the community faces and how they would deal with them, and why they feel residents should choose them.
In District 4, incumbent Mike Folmar opted not to seek another term. Olentangy Boulevard resident Joe Barylak and Daniel Miller of East Torrence Road both submitted enough signatures to be on the ballot as his replacement.
Incumbent Nick Cipiti of North High Street is being challenged by Dana K.J. Bagwell, also a North High Street resident, for the District 5 post.
The District 7 race pits Jason Meek of Glenmont Avenue against current commission representative Dave Southan, who lives on Fairoaks Drive.
These are their responses, in part, to the questionnaire:District 4
Barylak: "I arrived at the decision to run after retiring from full-time work in January and learning the District 4 incumbent would not seek another term. I purchased my first house in Clintonville in 1978 and have a vested interest in maintaining the quality of life in this community.
"I view our issues more as long-term challenges, i.e. maintaining and enhancing the quality and value of residential and commercial properties, sustaining our outstanding parks, other green spaces, multipurpose trails and recreational facilities (and) building on successes such as the Farmers Market and Share the Road initiative that have made High Street a vibrant destination for leisure, shopping and dining.
"The single chief reason to vote for Joe Barylak is that I will always represent the interests and preferences of the residents of District 4 and all of Clintonville. I will aggressively communicate with my District 4 neighbors to be sure I understand their positions related to issues that impact them."
Miller: "I believe that over the past few years the Clintonville Area Commission has not lived up to the standards the community expects and deserves. I decided to run to represent District 4 because I am confident that I can work collaboratively with the commissioners, as well as members of the community, to get the commission back on the right track ...
"The commission should be focused primarily on serving all of Clintonville. The major issue for Clintonville in general is the development of local businesses that add value to the neighborhood while not losing the charm of Clintonville that drew my family here like so many other families.
"I am open, honest and fair. I have an unwavering moral compass, and I have no interest in being on the Clintonville Area Commission other than serving as a voice for my neighbors and Clintonville as a whole."District 5
Bagwell: "The CAC is clearly not operating as productively, smoothly or respectfully as it could or should be. The commissioners volunteered to be in their current positions, as I am volunteering to become a part of it. They owe it to their respective districts to act with conviction, honesty and respect, not only for each of the residents, but for each other as well. The level of disrespect that is shown, both publicly and privately, is baffling to me. I decided to run because I am a firm believer in actions speaking louder than words.
"I feel the current commission has lost its way. They are no longer listening to the community as a whole. They are allowing themselves to be bullied into votes that they may or may not believe in, and the people's voice is no longer being heard.
"The North Broadway discussion, for example, has done nothing to enhance the image of Clintonville. A lot of money was spent to study the intersection. A vote was taken, an election took place, and then all of a sudden another vote was taken with the direct intention to flip the vote. That is not the way a democracy works.
"I have a vested interest in Clintonville. It is my home, and I want to continue to see it grow while maintaining the charm that draws people in and makes them want to be part of it."
Cipiti: "Having served as secretary, vice chair, co-chair of planning and development and on the variance and zoning committee, I have seen the CAC improve in efficiency and effectiveness in recent years. While we still have a way to go before we are running perfectly smoothly, I want to be a part of the team that continues the improvements.
"The major issues affecting all of Clintonville include the density and parking issues that come with the overlays. Over time, the general design plan for High Street and Indianola known as the Urban Commercial Overlay and the Community Commercial Overlay will allow greater concentration of buildings and residents, while reducing the minimum required parking spaces.
"The CAC must manage this very carefully and the overlays should be reviewed from time to time.
"I will utilize my experience on the CAC to continue to work for positive growth and the preservation of above-average property values that we enjoy in Clintonville."District 7
Meek: "I have followed the activity of the CAC over the years and became especially interested last fall after attending a community forum on crime. It was in that meeting that I recognized the challenges and opportunities that the CAC has in its task to represent the nearly 30,000 residents of our community.
"When I learned that my district representative was running unopposed, I decided that it was important to participate.
"As mentioned, crime is certainly an issue that our residents, businesses, city leaders and police officers are working to address. Other things, like the responsible use of our various resources and maintaining the unique characteristics and rich history of our area, are also important.
"I am mostly concerned about the voice of our community no longer being heard by our city leaders. The environment that seems to have developed in the CAC appears to have become more of a burden than a blessing to our city leaders. I feel that the CAC should serve to unite the various organizations and groups in our area rather than compete and cause division.
"I am finding that there are not many voters. It seems that most residents do not understand what the CAC is or they just don't care enough to vote. I have also been doing a great deal of listening. Asking people what is important to them and how they think our community can improve has led to some great conversations.
"I believe that I will serve District 7, the CAC and the Clintonville area well because of my personal, professional and educational experience as it relates to communication, community building and leadership."
Southan: "(I would like) to continue with the projects that I've started in the past, such as working with the adjacent commissions and civic associations combating neighborhood crime and graffiti. Being retired from UPS, I have ample time to complete this position.
"Henderson and High corner construction and completion will create two vacant buildings at Fifth Third Bank. Now we will have to monitor what they are going to be used for. Future occupants will need to work with both the CAC and community for a good relationship and will surely create new jobs for our community.
"I need my district to support me with their votes so I can continue working on many neighborhood projects such as crime, graffiti, parking situations, street repair and code enforcement violations.
"I will continue working with the new Columbus police liaison in starting new block watches and looking forward to the Cooke Road ramp beautification upcoming. These accomplishments over the past seven and a half years are my main reason for seeking re-election."