I attended the Jan. 4 CAC meeting, and I couldn't disagree more with District 5 representative Matthew Cull's assertion that Columbus is a "well-run city," during discussion of potential ward representation on Columbus City Council.
If you evaluate Columbus' success on how many new upscale condominiums, high-rent apartments and fashionable retail establishments and restaurants have been springing up for the last five to 10 years, then maybe so.
But rather than look at the millions of taxpayer dollars being poured into the High Street corridor from Lane Avenue through Downtown and millions of dollars in tax abatements handed out to developers in these and other risk-free development areas such as Easton, Polaris and Rickenbacker, I would suggest that Cull and other commissioners take a Saturday drive through the neighborhoods of Linden, the Hilltop, and the east and south sides of Columbus and see how the other half lives.
Who represents these neighborhoods at City Hall? And why aren't they sharing the same opportunities and prosperity as the Short North, German Village, Clintonville and other neighborhoods?
Columbus is shamefully reported as the second-most economically segregated city in America. We have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S and it is 2.5 times higher for non-Hispanic black babies. One out of five residents are considered to be in poverty. Most of the jobs that have been created during this so-called economic recovery are low-wage service, retail, logistics and warehouse jobs that pay $15 per hour or less to 35 percent of Columbus residents. We recently broke the record for the most homicides in one year, and we're amid an opioid epidemic that contributes to Ohio claiming the second-highest number of deaths in America. A well-run city? For who?
Ward-based city councils work for 48 out of the largest 50 cities in America, and they can succeed here, too.