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Ginther poured cold water on charter reform plan

By , August 11, 2012 | 4:48 pm | 1 Comments

Ginther poured cold water on charter reform plan

ONUMBA.COM – Initially, Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther was taciturn over the raging debate concerning the proposal to amend the City charter and swap the current ‘at-large’ method of electing members of the City Council with a blended system that would incorporate elements of ‘at-large and ward’ systems.

But recently, he weighed in with a bray and caviling posture about the simmering hubbub. 

Simply put, there would be no changes to the charter, he declared.

The “petition” is “over.”

But the bad news for the leaders of Columbus Coalition for Responsive Government, the cabal rabidly seeking to reform the city charter, is not really that Ginther is fiercely opposed to their plan.

Rather, their official waterloo is that not enough petitions were submitted to advance their cause, meaning that they failed to meet a cardinal requirement for amending the city charter.

Ginther, whose opposition to the plan certainly doesn’t help, elaborated further in a letter he sent to the citizens of Columbus last week.

“In short, the petition failed to meet the minimum requirements for a charter amendment to be placed on the ballot, which is 19,164 valid signatures, representing 10 percent of the electors in the last preceding municipal election,” said Ginther, adding, “Upon review, the Franklin County Board of Elections determined the petitions contained only 8,471 valid signatures.  Therefore, City Council concluded the process by voting unanimously not to place the proposed charter amendment on the November ballot.”

The cabal of reformists is seeking to place the issue on the November ballot for residents to decide. In a June 16th letter to Ginther, the group proposed a radical overhaul to the process of electing members of the city council, decrying the status quo as startlingly “archaic” and staggeringly “inadequate.”

Currently, the city maintains an at-large system where council members are elected to serve, represent and be accountable to the entire city. The coalition is pushing to change a system it describes as antediluvian that doesn’t serve the city well. It argues that the current system, which was crafted in 1914 when the city had a population of 181,000, is no longer adequate for a sprawling metropolis of 787,000 ethnically-diverse populations.

In their eyes, it all sum up to a need for change.

And their clarion call for reform embraces an approach that would combine the current at-large method and ward/district system for the city. That plan would expand the council membership from seven to eleven, to consist of four at large members and seven ward/district members.

But it is plan that would be implemented over the dead body of another group ferociously opposing it.  That group, ‘Keep Columbus Strong,’ was recently formed for the sole purpose of undermining and ultimately kiboshing this plan.

Leaders of ‘Keep Columbus Strong’ simply like things the way they are, meaning they favor retaining the current at-large system of electing city council members, arguing that it works because they represent the entire city of Columbus and are accountable to all residents.

Opponents of the plan argue that the coalition’s proposal would create a bifurcated city and encourage a detrimental culture of “horse-trading” pitting one section of the city against another.  They fear it could lead to dangerous intra-city tiff over resources and city projects. They also maintain that the current system has served the city well, and therefore see absolutely no reason to mess with it.

Ginther agreed.

In his view, the coalition’s plan will be bad for the city on a number of fronts, including, his argument that the “proposed charter amendment would limit the power of our citizens, disenfranchise our diverse community, and create a dysfunctional form of local government while pitting neighborhood against neighborhood.”

He concluded: “If enacted, it simply would devastate our collective ability as a community to keep Columbus moving forward.”

Ginther lauded the city’s economic growth, affordable living, and safe, strong and healthy communities, and credited the current government, its charter and structure for the exemplary status and ranking it now enjoys among other major cities in the country.

He said that “Columbus works because we work together.”

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com / Copyright 2012 Onumba.com.

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Man who slammed son to pavement charged with murder

By , December 5, 2010 | 7:37 am | 0 Comment

Man who slammed son to pavement charged with murder

ONUMBA.COM – It’s the kind of tragedy that’s mind-numbingly hard to imagine. 

How in the world could a father take his rage this far? It certainly hammers home the point that domestic fights between grown folks, which are terrible enough for all involved, should never, ever involve kids. 

Just keep them out of it.

Sadly, it’s an advise that’s too late for little Jayden who was thrown into a ghastly saga that played out in a Columbus family last week.  The 3-month old baby wasn’t just involved in a grown up fight; he perished in it.

And it wasn’t even an accident.

Rather, it was pure rage unleashed on an innocent baby by his father. 

Quindell Sherman was involved in a fight with his girlfriend Sonia Mitchell outside of 1121 E. 16th Ave. in the Linden community on the Northeast side.  It happened on Nov. 16th at about 9:45 p.m. after a melee quickly escalated to the cusp of a fatal tragedy.

“I’m going to take my (expletive) son,” said Sherman, about the child he had with Mitchell.

In the midst of the fracas, he took the child.  But no one knew he was going to do the unthinkable.

After striking both Mitchell and the baby’s great-grandmother Carolynne Holmes, Sherman picked up the child and slammed him to the pavement, multiple times.

The baby’s great-grandmother quickly called 911 to report the incident.

“He threw him on the ground.  He threw him out on the street.  He threw him like he was throwing a piece of trash.  He’s killed hi baby.”

That wasn’t even the end of Sherman’s rampage.

He then scooped up the baby from the floor and scooted off to a nearby trash bin where he dumped the child and hid inside the bin.

By this time, police had arrived.  Officers searched the area and found both Sherman and the battered baby inside the trash bin.

The little boy was rushed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he died at 10:39 p.m.

It was a chilling incident.

“The young man involved in the domestic dispute ended up grabbing the young child and during the course of the dispute, he threw the young child to the ground,” said Columbus police Det. James Day.

A horrified neighbor who witnessed the grisly incident recounted what she saw. 

“When I looked around I saw him grab the baby, probably for the second time, and toss the baby on the pavers over there on the road,” said the neighbor.

“Head first and then dangle the baby with one arm in the air.”

Both Sherman and Mitchell are 20-years old.  They met about a year ago.

The baby’s grandmother kind of saw this coming.

“He was very controlling,” she said, of Sherman, whose address was listed as 1503 Woodspath Lane on the East Side of Columbus. 

On the night of the fight, “he flipped,” said Holmes, who recalled that things boiled over after the baby’s mother told him to leave the house, which he refused, then later insisted that he would leave as long as he took the baby with him.

In the end, he did neither, succeeding only in killing a precious child in a rampage that’s painful for all involved.

Sherman is facing murder charges. 

Mgbatogu is a freelance writer and editor of Onumba.com based in Columbus.  He can be reached by email at: Onumbamedia@yahoo.com

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