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Two CAC incumbents won't seek re-election

Blazer, Kangas won't run for new terms on commission

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Two of the three incumbent Clintonville Area Commission members up for election have opted to sit this one out.

Neither Jennifer Kangas of District 6 nor District 3 representative James R. Blazer II were among the candidate names announced last week by election committee Chairwoman Sarah Snyder.

Only District 8's Kristopher Keller, who gained the post in a special election in October to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Chairman John DeFourny, chose to seek another term. He will run unopposed.

"I feel as if I'm just getting my feet wet," Keller said at last week's monthly meeting. "I'd like to have another couple of years to get it right."

Barring an unprecedented write-in campaign, Victor R. Ketchum will replace Kangas in District 6.

Voters in District 3 will choose between former CAC member Clare Balombin and Elizabeth "Libby" Wetherholt as Blazer's successor.

"It's time to move on," Blazer said the day after the monthly meeting, during which he resigned his post as treasurer.

Jason Meek of District 7 volunteered to serve as treasurer.

In a letter sent to his constituents explaining the decision, Blazer wrote:

"While there have been times the city has refused to listen to the neighborhood and chosen their own agenda above ours, I am hopeful that we can continue to improve our community through thoughtful development that does not destroy one neighborhood or street in order to accomplish the goals of a few misinformed individuals. Decisions being made by these few will affect all of us who have chosen to live here. The actions over the last year to continuously divide the commission and the community have been unfortunate and unnecessary."

"I am writing to let you know that I will not be seeking re-election to the District 6 Clintonville Area Commission post, the term of which is up this June," Kangas wrote to residents of her sector. "My fiance recently bought a fabulous condo downtown, and while I'll still be living in my Clintonville home, I'm already spending lots of time downtown, and will continue to do so. District 6 deserves nothing less than a full-time commissioner, and I would never want to be less than that, or to be perceived as less than that."

In a statement she read at the meeting, East North Broadway resident Wetherholt said:

"Two weeks ago (March 21) at a special meeting, five members of the commission, who are not affected by the resolution, chose to pit neighborhood against neighborhood with a decision that will damage one neighborhood and is not guaranteed to solve the problem that the other neighborhood claims to be having. It is unconscionable that this should happen in Clintonville. We should be working together to solve our problems and make sure that one problem's solution does not harm someone else."

Blazer and Wetherholt were referring to the vote taken at the special session in which a majority decided to once again back construction of a left-turn lane at North High Street from westbound East North Broadway.

"I applaud the current members of the CAC for moving beyond vocal special interests to consider the good of the greater Clintonville community," Balombin, who was not at the meeting, wrote in an email. "As commissioner, the good of the community was, and will be, my guiding principle, while honoring the needs of individuals.

"The unwarranted false claims of a few individuals must continually be debunked, especially as these have no purpose but to spread fear and divide the community. The city, and the CAC, have no plans to widen East North Broadway east to Indianola."

Ketchum described himself as a 33-year resident of Clintonville, with degrees in journalism and a long career in public relations that he said make him an effective communicator.

Early in-person voting will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. April 30 at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Snyder said.

The regular election will be at the same location from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 4, she said.

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