To the Editor:

In 2019, will Athens Mayor Patterson finally alert the state to dredge the Hocking River that flooded East State Street last year? The “islands” in the riverbed have reduced the volume of water the river carries up to 25 percent – which is why East State Street floods.

Will the mayor finally enforce our 1985 garbage law rule that restricts the volume of garbage cans to 30 gallons? Throughout town, there are many larger cans being used. Some of them dump up to 60 percent more trash into our landfill than the legal 30-gallon can, but their owners are not charged for their extra trash. That means 30-gallon users are forced to subsidize the larger users, which is another incidence of unconstitutional selective enforcement.

Will City Council stop its ground water from Miller Street that, after 35 years, continues to run down into three of our properties on lower Brown Avenue? To date here, the city runoff has damaged six properties, but the city has not paid compensation to any of us for taking our property to drain the city’s ground water. That violates the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as noted: “No person shall be... deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

So, taxpayers, what compensation shall the city owe us six property owners for taking our property without our permission to drain the city’s ground water from Miller Street above us?

One thing for sure: we cannot depend on Kent Butler, who supposedly represents us in the First Ward. Butler, along with Chris Knisely and Mayor Patterson (when he was at-large council member) have inspected our properties, but none is willing to perform their duty to stop the runoff, remove the 50-foot landslide it has created since 1984, and compensate us for damages and losses from the continuing runoff. Appeals to the city law director about City Council’s negligence go unanswered.

In other words, Athens city government needs to be replaced as soon as possible. 

John Spofforth


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