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Akron Council opposes ‘stand your ground’ law

10/3/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Akron City Council voted Sept. 30 to approve a resolution presented by Councilwoman Linda Omobien (D-at large) that states opposition to Ohio House Bill 203, which proposes a “stand your ground” self-defense law.

Omobien said the proposed law would be detrimental in Ohio because it would expand the circumstances under which a person would have no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.

“There are so many pieces about this pending law that are so disturbing,” she said. “I think it’s going down a dangerous path.”

She said a group from Akron was slated to travel to Columbus Oct. 2 to protest the bill.

Police officers, especially those who practice community policing, such as in Akron, are sufficient in deterring crime, she said.

Councilman Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9) noted that Ohio’s castle doctrine, under which a person is not legally required to retreat before defending his or her home or vehicle against a person who has entered unlawfully with intent to harm, would remain intact even if House Bill 203 — which currently is pending in committee — does not pass.

“This resolution tonight does not affect castle doctrine whatsoever,” he stressed.

Councilmen Jeff Fusco (D-at large) and Bruce Kilby (D-Ward 2) were absent from the meeting. All of the remaining Council members voted in favor of the resolution.

[For more information on House Bill 203, see the related “Law You Can Use” column on Page 19.]

In other business, Council passed a handful of budgetary items. Council authorized the issuance and sale of notes, in anticipation of the issuance of bonds, to pay costs for various improvement projects that already have been completed in the city: $1.2 million for parks and recreation projects; $3.5 million for economic development projects; and $11 million for street and sidewalk improvements.

Also approved was the issuance and sale of notes in the amount of $13.5 million to pay the property owners’ portion of the 2013 street cleaning and street lighting program. Council also authorized the issuance of a new note — due to uncertainty in the current bond market, according to city finance officials — to retire a $10.5 million note issued for various improvement projects.

Also at the meeting, Council placed on next week’s consent agenda an ordinance authorizing the city to advertise for bids for the 2014 fire department clothing allowance in the amount of $252,700, which is $700 for each of the 361 fire medics in the department.

The next Council meeting will take place Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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