Councilman attends latest NWCA event

By Kevin Parks ThisWeek Community News: Northwest News

As of last week, Michael Stinziano had been a member of Columbus City Council for exactly 62 days.

"It has been a wonderful whirlwind," the former state representative said last week during a guest appearance at the Northwest Civic Association Board of Trustees meeting.

With no zoning or graphics issues on the agenda and nothing especially pressing in the way of new or old business, the councilman was pretty much the star of the show for the monthly session.

NWCA Board President John Ehlers indicated he plans to invite other members of council to future meetings as a way to familiarize them with the issues and concerns of Northwest Side residents.

Stinziano, grew up in the University District and makes his home there now with his wife, Caroline McNamee Stinziano, a certified public accountant, and their two young children.

He told the trustees that when he was 18 he "wanted to move south and never come back."

He got as far as the University of Richmond in Virginia and later got his master's degree at George Washington University in the nation's capital.

He started law school there, but finished at Ohio State University.

Stinziano succeeded Dan Stewart as the representative of the old 25th District in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2011.

When Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman announced he would not be seeking another term, meaning that most likely Council President Andrew J. Ginther would seek to succeed him, Stinziano said he jumped at the chance to move from the Statehouse to Columbus City Hall.

In the former post, Stinziano said he represented about 116,000 people.

As a councilman, he represents more than 800,000.

And, Stinziano admitted, he's been doing some on-the-job learning in his first two months.

"I definitely have stubbed my toe a couple of times, but really have enjoyed becoming engaged," he said.

When he opened it up to questions from trustees and members of the audience, Stinziano was asked by both Ehlers and Trustee Julie Schlosser why other neighborhoods in the city got welcome signs as part of the bicentennial observances, but the Northwest Side did not.

He vowed to look into it.

"It took me a while to get business cards," Stinziano said.

As chairman of council's public utilities committee, Stinziano was asked about water quality issues.

He said he expects this area to improve locally, but overall issues of problems with the water supply will have to be addressed at the Statehouse level, and they haven't been.

"We aren't getting the traction we need," he said.

Finally, Ehlers told Stinziano of issues the trustees have had with the City Graphics Commission.

Unlike the Development Commission, Ehlers said the graphics panel's rulings are not subject to any review at the council level, something he said should be changed.

"I love new ideas," Stinziano replied.