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OP: Crime won’t cease if rampant gentrification doesn’t

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Mayor Ginther wants to knuckle down on crime. With a startling uptick in homicides highlighting one of the more robust years for criminal activity in recent memory, Ginther has to turn things around, or he’ll spend the remainder of his term bobbing around the local political waters like a wounded porpoise, being feasted upon by hungry barracudas.

Everybody seems mystified by the increase in criminal activity, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the city’s covert endorsement of rampant gentrification has created pockets of extreme poverty. While people in areas favored by abatement-aided development enjoy robust micro economies, access to services, jobs, and a desirable lifestyle, those in the neglected areas are seeing an increase in blight, vacated properties, and crime.

The Administration’s development strategy is like a doctor treating a patient by providing increased care to the healthy parts of the body, while ignoring cancer.

Eventually that cancer is going to spread, and that’s precisely what’s happening with crime in Columbus.  More streetlights and police aren’t enough. The city needs to start supporting its weakest neighborhoods with some tax abatement TLC.

Why are people getting tax breaks on million dollar condos, when middle class people living in Linden or in the long-forsaken Hilltop neighborhoods could use some help? Encourage people to buy homes, and start small businesses in those neighborhoods with much more reasonable abatements, while those living in million dollar condos start paying what they owe.

We keep hearing talk about how the city wants to invest in these areas, but we haven’t seen any action. Meanwhile, developers in the Short North are still getting incentives from the city.

The Short North is so desirable right now, developers would probably pay a luxury tax to build there, cutting them multi-million dollar tax breaks is a crime against the taxpayers of this city.

Meanwhile, the city is sitting on a large tract of land on North Wheatland Avenue. Rather than use tax abatements to encourage a developer to build something that would bring jobs to the area, the city is scheming with an organization that specializes in building cheap housing with federal grants. WODA has already constructed an unappealing apartment for senior citizens on the far north end of this tract, and now wants to build a similar, shoddy structure for low income residents.  This would only further increase the level of poverty on the west side, which would make the area even less desirable to potential business owners who would be inclined to lease property in the retail corridor on West Broad.

If Mayor Ginther is serious about wanting to crack down on crime, he will revisit the city’s development strategy and find a way to balance growth with economic diversity.

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Govt & Politics

Daily double: New legislation calls for huge minimum wage hike

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If new legislation passes, Ohio’s minimum wage could nearly double in the next several years. Two Democratic senators are working to increase hourly pay from $8.55 to $15.

State Senators Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) introduced the legislation Wednesday, reports 10TV.

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The new legislation stipulates a $12 minimum per hour beginning in January 2020 and a $1 yearly increase until 2023 to keep up with inflation.

“We have an obligation to make life better for the people in our state and that includes providing living wages,” said Sen. Thomas, per 10TV. “This increase to the minimum wage will help workers and their families have a better life. And when people have more money, it also benefits the local economy from increased spending in the community.”

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“Speaks to Columbus values,” Council shows support for immigrants in sanctuary

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At Monday night’s City Council meeting, a resolution was passed in support of two women living in sanctuary here in Columbus.

Edith Espinal has been living in sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church for over a year. Miriam Vargas has been living in sanctuary at First English Lutheran Church for over seven months. Both women are waiting to become legal residents of the U.S.

NBC4i reports the resolution based by council is not legally binding, but is an on-the-record show of support by the city.

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“While this resolution doesn’t change federal law, it speaks to Columbus’ values,” wrote City Council President Shannon Hardin on Twitter.

Neither Espinal nor Vargas were in attendance last night due to fear of being detained.

“It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken,” said council member Elizabeth Brown, per NBC4i. “Unfortunately Miriam and Edith are at its mercy.”

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Republicans propose “Heartbeat Bill” in both Ohio House, Senate

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The very controversial “Heartbeat Bill” that would outlaw abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat has been proposed in both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate.

Republican lawmakers in both champers of Legislation introduced the abortion bill this week.

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If approved, it would be among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country, reports 10TV. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, which is early enough that many women may not even know they’re pregnant.

Former Gov. John Kasich voted down the bill twice, saying it would lead to costly and lengthy court battles that would ultimately result it in begin found unconstitutional. However, Gov. Mike DeWine has pledged to sign it.

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