Joe Motil

After I exposed Ginther’s habitual hollow phrase, “Our top three priorities are neighborhoods, neighborhoods, neighborhoods” at my press conference on Thursday (Columbus Dispatch, October 27, 2023, “Motil Questions Ginther’s support for neighborhoods; Ginther cites millions invested”), we can all add yet another false claim to the endless growing list. The marketing research firm that Andy paid $97,000 to tell him what important to voters, apparently did not do any research about their client.

Ginther’s dishonest campaign TV ad and mailers falsely present my own positions on excessive use of the police force. This refers to the one night in the Short North when he ordered 150 law enforcement, bicycle and foot patrols, canine units, helicopters, drones, motorcycles, and horses. He quotes me completely out of context. He next, lies about his gun buyback event claiming it “took 300 guns off our streets.” With no evidence at all, the campaign also claims that Andy is a "champion" of “Mental health and addiction treatment.” None of this is true.

In sharp contrast to Andy, I have been hands on advocating for and assisting our city’s far too many homeless people for two years.  As a result, I was arrested and jailed with four others in August 2022 for a single act of peaceful, non-violent, civil disobedience while protesting against Ginther’s lack of policies to address the plight of unhoused across our neighborhoods. For more than seven years, I have advocated for additional mental health and addiction treatment centers. 

It is well known that many of our unhoused suffer from mental health disorders and addiction. In his own media advisory of March 31, 2022 that announced the city’s contribution of $19 million to support human services, Andy stated, “This funding recognizes that housing, health and well-being, and job readiness are central to quality of life and upward mobility. By supporting these organizations and taking into full account the disparate impacts of COVID-19, we are one step closer to ensuring that every resident is stably housed and within reach of the resources they need to achieve their full potential.”

In actual practice, as usual, Andy’s actions contradicted his words. Ginther’s policy to address the unhoused and their encampments is described accurately by homeless advocates as “bulldozer diplomacy” or better known as “sweeps.” This is as wasteful and counter-productive as it is inhumane.

The city has spent more than $200,000 this year on sweeps. There has been at least a dozen sweeps this year alone. There is a waiting list of 400 people to get into our shelters. The shelters themselves are over capacity and understaffed. In Franklin County, at least 300 homeless died from 2021-2022. There have been 61,199 evictions filed since 2020.

If Andy claims to be an advocate for those suffering from mental health and addiction, why is he sweeping encampments that cause residents to move elsewhere and not “ensuring that every resident is stably housed?” Ginther writes checks, throws them across his desk to a non-profit and washes his hands of the problem. He is not an advocate for the people of Columbus, only for the wealthy few who reward him for his service to them.   

The word on the street is that the city is preparing a new sweep not far from the encampment near Williams Road that was swept in June of 2022.  That act of bulldozer diplomacy cost taxpayers just over $40,000. At least 35 residents will be misplaced from this next sweep.    

So Andy, how specifically do you claim to be "championing" mental well-being? Our homeless, who suffer from mental health and addiction, suffer from your decision to bulldoze their encampments, and they have nowhere to go? And with colder, wetter weather here, where are the warming centers Andy? They are not in “neighborhoods, neighborhoods, neighborhoods.”