You all know about the kerfuffle surrounding Councilmember Chris Bortz's decision to ignore advice from the Ohio Ethics Commission to abstain from votes regarding the streetcar. I have no opinion regarding whether a conflict of interest actually exists. From what I've read, there are cogent arguments on both sides.
(Interestingly, the same streetcar opponents who claim that the streetcar will not spur economic development or prosperity claim that Bortz operates under a conflict because the streetcar will spur economic development and prosperity. But that's probably another post.)
But I do have a strong opinion that Chris Bortz is in need of an IQ- or drug-test. How could he be so short-sighted, particularly regarding an issue that he believes is so vital to the city? Two questions are raised:
1. Why ask for an OEC opinion if you're going to ignore it if you don't get the answer you want?
2. Once you've got the opinion, why continue to participate, particularly since your vote hasn't been needed for passage? Even without Bortz, the streetcar has five votes (Qualls, Quinlivan, Cole, Thomas, and Berding).
Bortz has permitted--begged for, even--a controversy to be manufactured. Of course someone was going to file an ethics complaint. Of course certain people would use this to detract from a debate on the merits of the streetcar.
Chris Bortz has displayed an appalling lack of judgment in this matter, and everyone should be disappointed in him. Streetcar advocates should be angry with him for hurting their cause, regardless of the existence of an actual conflict. And streetcar opponents are upset that he ignored the opinion of the OEC after asking for it. He needs to start doing better by the citizens he represents.