If you’d like to be involved in planning or participating in the celebration caravan, please fill this out and we’ll be in contact with you shortly.
The Caravan will take place on May 23rd, and will start at 5:00pm. Participation is free and open to all class of 2020 seniors, especially the Westpoint graduates from Hilliard and the Westland Graduates.
This is not affiliated with Prairie Township or with the school districts. It is being organized by a group of residents and community members. Participation is at your own liability.
Safety is the highest priority, so by agreeing to participate you’re agreeing to follow traffic laws and by respecting social distancing.
For the last 12 or more years, the residents of Lincoln Village have been dealing with extreme water prices. During the 2019 Township Trustee Race, this issue was front and center. Last night, during the live-streamed trustee business meeting (which lasted only 15 minutes), Township Administrator, Rob Peters stated that he had received questions about if the water deal were completed and he stated it was not completed and he cited that the COVID shutdowns were responsible for the delay. This is dishonest at best, and it’s very important that the facts are brought to light.
In September and October, when Doug Stormont was running for reelection for his 5th term, he primarily ran on this specific issue, stating that there would be a deal that the City of Columbus would take over the water services from Franklin County and then the Lincoln Village Residents would have their water rates cut by 40% and that would take effect in April of 2020. During Mr. Stormont’s reelection campaign he sent out 2 mailers to all township households and discussed this April date on his website. In multiple trustee meetings, Rob Peters and Trustee Steve Kennedy both reiterated this April timeline.
Mr. Stormont was reelected to his 5th term on November 5th 2019 in a 4-way race. Full disclosure, I was one of the opposing candidates. Mr. Kennedy posted in the NextDoor app on November 7th 2019, (only a couple of days after the 2019 election) reiterating that the goal was April of 2020 and reiterated the 40% savings.
Between March 14th to the end of March of 2020, due to COVID 19, School, restaurants, bars, gyms, and anything deemed “nonessential” was closed down and safe at home / shelter in place orders were signed. Mid April of 2020, Lincoln Village residents received their water bills for January to March of 2020 and discussions on social media confirmed that these bills here over-all, higher than ever. Residents felt frustrated and betrayed by the lack of communication, by feeling like they had been lied to.
On May 6th, in a virtual Trustee Meeting livestreamed to the Township’s FaceBook page, Rob Peters announced that the deal with Franklin County and the City of Columbus was not completed, stating that it was due to the COVID shutdowns. Respectfully, the board of trustees had many years to get the Lincoln Village had multiple terms in office to reach a deal to fix the water prices but it has never happened. Currently, the most recent rounds of promises started again in September of 2019, leaving 7 months to get the deal completed. The shutdowns starting on March 14th came in the final 2 weeks before the target start date. To state that the COVID shutdowns are the cause of the delay in getting the water deal completed is disingenuous at best and wholly dishonest in reality.
Shame on the two trustees who have been in office for 12 and 16 years respectively for using backbreaking utility prices as a way to get reelected. These families are paying, in many cases, the cost of a second mortgage every third month for water, and they aren’t watering their yards or filling their pools if they have them. If the needs of the residents were truly the highest priority, residents would have never been placed in this situation.
It was March 14th when the first public health order came out regarding the COVID Pandemic and it March 17th was when the in-person primary was set to occur. The March 14th orders limited access to visiting Nursing homes and closed K-12 schools. March 15th brought an order that closed all Restaurants and Bars.
It was not until late in the afternoon on March 16th when it was announced that Dr. Acton had signed a public health order closing all in-person polling locations. As a poll worker who was scheduled to work the polls for the primary, here is my perspective on what transpired in the afternoon / evening of March 16th. I watched the briefing announcing the closure of the polling locations and watched the early evening news and it seemed that the polling locations were indeed closed. Later in the evening I received an email and text alert sent out to poll workers saying that we were to report as scheduled at 5:30am the following morning. It was around 10:00pm when another alert went out stating that the polling locations were closed. Online I found out that it was to be around Midnight there would be a final answer from Ohio Supreme Court.
It was not until a week later approximately, that the plan was finalized that the primary would be finished by absentee / Mail-In ballot only, with ballots to be postmarked on / before April 28th. The final result of this decision was that Franklin County had less than a 20% turnout rate, and in a briefing only 2 business days before the ballot deadline, Lt. Governor Husted announced that nearly 700,000 absentee ballots were still not returned. What saddend and frustrated me the most was personal stories I heard from friends and neighbors who stated that they either had to apply for an absentee ballot multiple times before they ever received it, absentee ballots that were not ever received after being requested, and ballots that were turned well before the deadline, but were not listed as “accepted for processing” until the last minute, which would not have allowed enough time to request another ballot if it had been lost.
While some people have stated that they believe having a whole month of early in-person voting and another 6 weeks of absentee voting should have allowed ample opportunity to vote, even for a primary election, 19.4% turnout absolutely reflects a scenario where not all voters who wanted to, or planned to were actually able to cast their ballot.
My point is this: The closing of the polls was mismanaged. It may have been necessary in light of what we knew the week of the primary about the COVID virus and how to treat it, but it could have been handled differently. For example, if schools, nursing homes and restaurants were closed by March 14th and 15th, the announcement could have been made at that same time, so there wasn’t mass confusion the evening before polls were supposed to be open. Another way that it could have been handled is that all of the early voting locations could have closed 3/16 and 3/17, machines spaced farther apart and social distancing marks taped to floors and allowed in-person voting to be staggered over 2 weeks by last name in addition to allowing the 4/28 deadline for absentee ballots.