City council member addresses criticism

Sometimes it’s better to walk away, but others, it’s better to clarify misinformation. After reading (Roger) Kalter’s letter to the editor admonishing many, here is my response as a member of the Planning, Zoning and Annexation Committee. I, too, attended the same meeting which Kalter did. No one in my lifetime has ever accused me of being quiet. … It was discovered in college that I have a few auditory problems perceiving tones.

But even with that slight hearing deficiency, what I heard during the meeting was far different than Kalter. What astounds me is that some of the very same mechanisms that existed and could have been utilized (but were not) during the letter writer’s term as Planning, Zoning and Annexation Chair are now being utilized by other councilors via creative thinking to clean up the city.

Rather, here’s what I heard during the meeting:

¯ A prioritized list of top 10 houses to resolve.

¯ A commitment from the law director to file suit on Eighth Street home.

¯ A suggestion from Councilman McCauley to set up a fund to allow citizens to donate to blight related causes — I heard every councilor agree this was a good idea.

¯ A suggestion from Councilor Scales to use enterprise funds to demolish building on Seventh and Putnam because collapse of the building may impact our water/sewer system — saw many other councilors nod in agreement (this existed during letter writer’s term) — new idea on a way to utilize these funds!

¯ Follow up suggestion from Oxender on using CDBG monies to help with blighted and dangerous trees (this mechanism also existed six years ago) discussed — again, more nods of support from others — it was exciting to suggest this new way to use CDBG funds.

¯ Councilor Oxender mentions of Fearing Street demo and re-sale being put towards blight (this was discussed at greater length the next day at committee) — previous idea being put into practice.

¯ Councilor Schenkel leads discussion of upcoming land bank seminar in late August which will be facilitated by Wayne Rinehart — a code enforcement officer which was hired a little over a year ago.

Although no-one believes that things are moving as quickly as they wish, everyone agrees that much more is being done than in previous years (a house in my neighborhood still isn’t where everyone wants it to be — but it’s better through the efforts of code officer). And, although I don’t agree with all my fellow councilors on every single issue, each are committed to resolving this long-term issue and creating a system which “fits” Marietta versus a cookie cutter solution that tramples others’ rights. I believe each councilor serving their constituents wants the very best for the citizens they serve.

In summation — not sure that my hearing is so much better than the negative letter writer — it seems the rest of us are simply more willing to listen to the positive.

Cindy Oxender

Marietta City Council

Chair – Lands, Buildings & Parks

Tree Commission and Technology Rep,

Committees of: Police & Fire, Planning,

Zoning & Annexation, Special Utilities