Liverpool lining up against Issue 1

EAST LIVERPOOL — City council was asked Monday to consider coming out in opposition of state Issue 1, a state constitutional amendment that would make offenses related to drug possession misdemeanors.

Mayor Ryan Stovall addressed council about the matter, asking members to “look over” the November ballot issue, saying, “I’ll be coming out opposed, and I would like council to put out a statement opposing it.”

The issue was designed to reduce the number of people in state prisons for low-level, non-violent crimes such as drug possession and would make the possession or use of drugs a misdemeanor.

The maximum sentence would be 180 days and a $1,000 fine, but first and second offenses would be subject only to probation.

Calling the initiative “very bad,” Stovall — who is also a police officer — said, “It covers all drugs, including fentanyl and carfentanil, which have been killing people. It needs to go down and send a message. We’ve worked hard to clean up our streets here. It’s not going to be a deterrent if all they get is a slap on the wrist.”

Stovall encouraged council to review the ballot issue and consider passing a resolution in opposition. Council made no comment.

Among other organizations that have come out in opposition of Issue I, according to ballotpedia.com, are the Ohio Prosecutor Attorney Association, Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association, Ohio Bar Association, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and Ohio Crime Victims Justice Center.

The same search indicated the issue has gained support from gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Justice & Policy Center, Ohio Transformation Fund, Alliance for Safety and Justice and Open Society Policy Center.

In legislative matters Monday, council approved legislation to purchase a 2019 dump truck from International for $85,389 and a bed from Cross Truck Equipment for $30,070 for the sewage department, which will replace an old truck used for hauling sludge to the landfill. It will be purchased through the state purchasing program.

Also approved was an ordinance adjusting appropriations and one to pay vendors, which had been reviewed and recommended by council’s finance committee.

President of Council John Torma commended Service-Safety Director Brian Allen and Stovall for getting Lisbon Street reopened in time for the first day of school, and Allen said the credit goes to city employees in the street, refuse and utilities departments, who worked together with local contractors to get the work done quickly.

The key was getting the manholes repaired, according to Allen, who said the local company “jumped in with both feet and got it repaired.”

He pointed out that, among the work done was pouring 50 yards of concrete, which he likened to the size of a school bus, underneath the roadway.

Allen said he had received “quite a few” complaints about the project taking too long, but said the important thing was no one got hurt by the roadway caving in.

He emphasized that work is still pending on Walker Way as part of the project, with Councilman Brian Kerr pondering, “Can we abandon Walker Way?”

Allen said it is a “necessity,” and said, “For what it’s going to cost to repair, it is well worth it.”

An estimate of $280,000 had been received from a contractor for doing the entire project, and Allen said by using local contractors and city employees, he expects the total cost to be $100,000 or less.

Auditor Marilyn Bosco offered her thanks during the meeting to donors who have given $3,043 toward the cat spay and neuter program that has been underway in the city in an effort to alleviate the stray cat problem. She said 42 cats have been sterilized to date.

jgilbert@mojonews.com

COMMENTS