Stronger language restored to Canal Winchester’s anti-racism resolution

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
Canal Winchester municipal offices

A resolution outlining Canal Winchester’s “commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity” has undergone more revisions after complaints about City Council’s change to the original language. 

Nearly two dozen residents submitted public comments for council’s Feb. 16 meeting, most of them related to a recent draft of the anti-racism resolution that “discourages” racism and discrimination “in all forms” as opposed to “condemns,” which appeared in a previous version. 

“Your washing-down of the language against racism is very telling,” Heather Shankle wrote. “It doesn’t seem as if you care or want progress in this city that has been riddled with individual racism and systemic racism, especially with what has happened within the past couple of years nationwide. Do better.” 

Andrew Iacoboni wrote: “It is never enough to only discourage it. I don’t want to live in a city that does not feel strongly enough about it to condemn it. You should not, either. Do better. Fix it!” 

More:Revised anti-racism resolution on Canal Winchester City Council’s Feb. 16 agenda

More:Canal Winchester anti-racism resolution awaits residents’ comment

In response, the resolution again states that City Council “condemns” racism and discrimination in all forms, and that Canal Winchester residents “have seen firsthand the evil nature of racism.” 

Council members Jill Amos, Chuck Milliken and Pat Lynch have been working on the resolution language. 

“This was not an attempt to dilute or water down anything,” Milliken said. “This was an attempt to try and use positive verbiage. We felt ‘condemn’ had a negative feel to it. That being said, it took one email for us all to see where we were mistaken in that language.” 

Council again postponed a vote on the resolution after residents complained about not being able to find it on the city’s website, canalwinchesterohio.gov

The resolution had been available as part of council’s meeting agenda notices on the city’s website. It now appears on the homepage under the “News” section. 

“We’ve spent four months working on it, week after week after week, and it’s just this past week that people just started voicing their concern about it,” Lynch said. “I’ve told people that it’s been out there and their reply was … ‘We were having a tough time finding it.’” 

Council also discussed rewording a pledge to send a liaison to Franklin County Public Health’s Community Health Action Team (CHAT). The initiative is a partnership between the health department and county residents aimed at building healthier communities. 

Council Vice President Mike Coolman said it’s difficult for council members to attend all the meetings they should now. 

Council President Mike Walker suggested amending the resolution language to say that a city representative would attend CHAT meetings. 

The resolution also says council “believes that it would be beneficial to its residents that the city administration and elected officials seek out or continue to attend annual inclusion and/or diversity training.”    

Parking code could change 

Also Feb. 16, council heard the first reading of an ordinance that could change city law on parking trailers and “non-motor vehicles generally” on public streets or public rights of way. 

If approved, those who violate the new rules be charged with a minor misdemeanor. 

Assistant Law Director Thaddeus M. Boggs said the proposed change was prompted by complaints from residents. 

“The complaints have related to flatbed trailers where there are materials stored on the trailers, and the trailers stay on the street for indefinite periods of time,” he said. “This new section … is really targeted at that.” 

City code permits commercial vehicles to be parked on public streets if they are associated with a legally established home occupation; have a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds; or if the vehicle is required to respond on an emergency basis “for the public health, safety and welfare, and which has received a certificate of exemption from the director of public service.” 

Parking recreational equipment is not permitted other than for loading and unloading. 

“When parked on a public street for the purpose of loading or unloading, travel trailers, motor homes, boats or boat trailers, and other recreational vehicles shall not exceed a loading or unloading time of 72 consecutive hours,” city code states.

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