MEDINA — City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the passage of Issue 1 in the Nov. 6 general election.
“From a public safety aspect, along with the related crimes that goes along with using drugs —robberies and thefts — this is not the proper method,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.
He said changes of this magnitude are normally done through state legislation instead of a constitutional amendment.
By passing the resolution, Council urges voters to oppose Issue 1.
The resolution came at the recommendation of police Chief Ed Kinney.
Kinney said he was against the constitutional amendment for several reasons, including the proposed reduction of felony drug possession offenses to misdemeanors.
He said that would overwhelm the municipal court.
If Issue 1 is adopted, it would require sentence reductions, except for those convicted of murder, rape or child molestation, by 25 percent if that person participates in rehabilitative, work or educational programming.
It would mandate that criminal offenses of obtaining, possessing or using fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD and other controlled substances cannot be classified as felonies, but as misdemeanors. There would be no jail time until the third offense of obtaining, possessing or using drugs within 24 months.
Kinney said the passage of Issue 1 would adversely impact the quality of life for residents of the city of Medina, who expect to be protected from persons engaging in criminal behavior.
The city of Brunswick passed a similar resolution Monday night. Medina County commissioners also oppose the issue.
Hanwell said almost every law-enforcement agency in the state opposes it.
“The problem I have (if it passes) would be the additional cost to the city,” Council President John Coyne said. “I see some issues arising out of it. It probably is a partisan issue.”
At-Large Councilman Bill Lamb said it might have been proposed as a constitutional amendment because it might not pass through state Legislature.
“The methods we’ve used with incarceration have not been successful,” he said. “We’ve not made much headway with the methods we’ve used.”
Hanwell agreed that major strides have not been made against drugs. At the same time, he said those addicted to drugs “are committing an unusual amount of crime because they need the drug so badly, they are stealing from their parents, their neighbors and their employers.
“We have to protect society from those causing harm and unrest.”
He said Medina County Common Pleas Judges Christopher J. Collier and Joyce V. Kimbler have been successful with their drug courts where those in recovery are tested weekly or monthly.
At-Large Councilman Paul Rose said if things stay the way they are, police will catch the most people.
“Are we going to catch everyone? No,” he said.
In other news
- City Council is accepting applications for Ward 1 councilperson until 4 p.m. Oct. 24. The term will expire Dec. 31, 2021. Applicants must be a registered voter, a resident of the city for at least two years and a resident of Ward 1.
Because Ward 1 Councilwoman Laura Parnell-Cavey, who is stepping down Oct. 22, didn’t complete her term, the person appointed will have to run for election November 2019. Applications are available at city hall or at medinaoh.org.
Residents Suzanne Sharpe and John Wetzel said they will apply for the position.
- The Finance Committee unanimously approved a request to convert the part-time economic development and marketing associate to a full-time economic development and marketing manager.
Barbara Dzur is currently in the position. It will be effective Jan. 1. There will be a salary bump to $45,073.60 a year. It will be paid out of carryforward funds from the Economic Development department. If carryforward funds are exhausted, Joint Economic Development District funds will be used to pay for the position.
If Dzur retires, the position will be reviewed by Council on whether it’s needed.
“It’s currently not in the budget,” Coyne said. “Nor will it be.”
“We’re all not going to be here forever,” Hanwell said.