Two men getting arrested

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime community advocate who has begun circulating petitions to run for Mayor in the 2023 May primary election states, “On the eve of the 59th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 'I Have a Dream Speech' an act of civil disobedience took place in the front yards of Council President Shannon Hardin, City Attorney Zach Klein and Councilwoman Shayla Favor’s homes. Reverend Gary Witte and I peacefully protested the failure of city policy to address our rising homeless crisis in Columbus. We established camp in the front yard of Mr. Hardin’s far east side home.  Three other advocates for the homeless camped in the front yard of City Attorney Zach Klein and two others at the residence of Councilwoman Shayla Favor.”

"Shannon Hardin is a graduate of Morehouse College. This is the same college that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended and graduated, and where he practiced his skills as a champion of civil of civil rights and civil disobedience. It appears that Hardin finds Dr. King’s faith, philosophy and acts of civil disobedience unlawful and distasteful.”

Motil continued, “Shannon Hardin refused to have any dialogue with  Reverend Witte and I in his front yard with respect to the scheduled bulldozing of the Camp Shameless homeless encampment on September 14th, and the  lack of city policy for homelessness. Instead Mr. Hardin stated, 'This is not how I engage in business. Get off my property or I am calling the police.'”

Motil responded to Hardin: “Meetings with you are like talking to a wall. They are waste of time because the results are nothing more than lip service. You don’t have the courage to enact policy on your own unless you are given the blessing from those who control you and city policy.” Hardin has stated publicly that the City of Columbus “does not invest in camps for the homeless, nor any other social supports for them."    

Motil added, “Reverend Witte and I were both arrested last night at 7:40pm along with three others who were at City Attorney Zach Kleins yard. Four of us were released from the Jackson Pike jail this morning around 9:15am and another protestor who is paralyzed but who protested at Klein’s home was released from Grant Hospital. 

Motil concluded,“ Mayor Ginther and Council President Hardin claim that they are addressing the issue of homelessness by handing out millions of taxpayer dollars to favored non-profit corporations who in turn are not held accountable for how they spend our tax dollars, or disclose reputable data and metrics on the success and effectiveness of their programs.”

“Along with spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for an environmental remediation contractor to bulldoze homeless camps from a Universal Term contract. City Council approved $875,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds for three luxury downtown public restrooms. But not one dime of the city's $187 million of American Rescue Plan funds is spent for truly affordable or transitional housing for  the homeless.”

“Article VIII, Section 16 of the Ohio Constitution states that it is in the public's best interest and a proper public purpose for the state and its political subdivisions to provide or assist financially, housing, including shelters to provide temporary housing. If our elected officials and departmental staff spent even a fraction of their time learning about housing initiatives for the poor and homeless, in contrast to months and months enacting tax abatement policies in exchange for a handful of overly priced set aside units for their campaign- contributing luxury real estate developers, Columbus could provide hope for our fellow citizens in acute need of decent housing.”