Sunday as I put my daughter to bed, I looked at her and pondered the fact that she will enter a school system that is overcrowded and underfunded. It’s not her fault she is being born in Delaware, Ohio, and entering this school system. I look to her future and what is to come and start to cringe at the fact that overcrowding of the school system could have been prevented by our city council and their decisions.
While Delaware grows, it isn’t her fault or mine, that developments are being approved a dime a dozen. We read in the paper each week about a new development coming in on the west side, on Park, or the east side. It’s not my daughters fault these developments are being approved. But it is my job to give voice to her, the students, and residents this is affecting.
I started to become curious about these developments and where they are coming from and why they are getting approval, with not one objection from city council. The great thing about election financing is it is all public record.
Mayor Riggle has said, which I admire, that she will abstain from voting on those who contribute to her campaign or whom she does business with. I respect her for this. However, this isn’t the case for everyone on city council.
Vice Mayor Shafer seems to get contributions from developers as well as construction companies that receive approval from city council for developments. Ronald Sabatino, founder of T&R Properties, just gave $500 on 6/21/2023 to Vice Mayor Shafer, who then voted in favor of the Flats at Suger Run, of Park Street, on 11/13/2023. This raises the question of, was this donation a payment for a “yes” vote for Mr. Sabatino’s development? These are not the only donations that Vice Mayor Shafer has received from Mr. Sabatino. He also received $2,000 on 7/8/2019 from Ron Sabatino. I now question how Vice Mayor Shafer plans to vote on the Addison developments given he received a donation on 6/27/2023 from J.A. Friedman Capital LLC. Jason A. Friedman is president of Addison Properties.
Maybe it is time those on city council start to hold each other responsible. Is it ethical for a sitting vice mayor to vote on developments from those he has received contributions from? Are contributions a payment for votes received? There are many questions that come to mind when reading Vice Mayor Shafer’s contributions. As a city, and as taxpayers, should we continue to allow this to happen? Is it time for the city to vote on term limits for council members?
Note, all these contributions are public record on the Delaware County Board of Elections website.