Opinion: City Council Candidates Who Support Safe Rental Housing, Sustainability | Opinion
As students of Bowling Green State University, we often hear the phrase âA public university for the public goodâ. We can think of this as a slogan or a marketing campaign, but in November we will have a great opportunity to champion the public good right here in our community.
We are not just students at a higher education institution. We are important members of a community where people live, work and build lives.
Like any community, we have a responsibility to be engaged and active citizens, and one way to do this is to use our voices to support local election candidates who share our values.
The issues on the table in this election will affect the future of Bowling Green and will also have a huge impact on the way students live and interact with the city. Perhaps the most direct issue affecting students living in Bowling Green is the issue of mandatory rental inspections.
This issue has been debated for decades in Bowling Green, but since At-Large City Councilor Jeff Dennis introduced a bill to require independent rental inspections in April earlier this year, the issue has taken on new energy. .
All students have the option of leaving campus after their second year. This creates a strong demand for rental housing in the city and gives students a simple choice: rent from Bowling Green owners or pay higher prices to continue living on campus.
With most students only needing housing for two to three years at a time, city landlords see high tenant turnover, making it easier for some to justify maintenance standards relaxed and poor living conditions.
These incentives have recently yielded horrific results, as more and more students speak out about their living conditions in off-campus rental housing.
Just look at last semester’s big survey from Falcon Media titled “The Hell Hole” to see the current state of rental housing in Bowling Green. Students living temporarily in cities should not face uncomfortable, often dangerous or unsanitary living conditions, simply because most of us are temporary residents.
It is also a problem of economic inequity. Low-income tenants already have limited housing options and by requesting maintenance of their housing, they can compromise their access to housing. It shouldn’t be the tenant’s responsibility to push their landlord to follow health and safety guidelines, this is something the city can and should guarantee to our neighbors.
This question will be on the ballot indirectly, as candidates for both pro and con inspections and stricter health and safety guidelines run for seats on Bowling Green City Council.
Nick Rubando and Joel O’Dorisio are the candidates on the ballot who have spoken out the most to prioritize owner accountability and student advocacy. Rubando is a candidate for the First Ward, which encompasses the vast majority of off-campus students between Main Street and Thurstin Avenue.
Students have played a leading role in Rubando’s campaign from the start, and for this reason, he has been able to synthesize the concerns of the students with the concerns of longtime BG residents in the neighborhood.
O’Dorisio runs for the Second Ward, which contains apartment developments such as Copper Beech, Campbell Hill, Falcon’s Pointe and The Edge.
Students will include a large number of voters for these two candidates. We have the power to influence their decision-making while they are in office, either to support them when they are on the right side of an issue, or to be critical when they hesitate. Living in rental accommodation myself, I was touched firsthand and through their advocacy they won my support and vote.
The second critical issue for students living in Bowling Green is the issue of sustainability in our community.
Sustainability is a broad issue that contains many different efforts that the city has been considering recently, including downtown parks allowing more outdoor dining spaces, more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, bike lanes in the city. and around the city center and a climate resolution with a goal of zero carbon emissions.
From my experience as a student, and as I talk to friends about these issues, cycle lanes are long overdue in our city. Many students get around campus easily by bicycle, but as soon as you step off the campus trails you will find it difficult, confusing and dangerous to cycle downtown. Many community members have voiced these concerns at city council meetings as well, and students have voiced their concerns via social media.
Our generation cares only about protecting the environment and ensuring a healthy planet for our future. Other initiatives such as the planting of trees in and around the city center, the development of new parks and green spaces, increased support for recycling and community composting and the further development of green energy in the region. are all being considered by city council.
The foundation for global sustainability begins at the local level and implementing actions and policies that make our community more sustainable is the first step to a greener future.
Once again, when it comes to advocating for these issues, there are clear-cut candidates who have put sustainability and accessibility at the heart of their campaigns. O’Dorisio and Rubando have been strong voices outside city council, and Third Ward Councilor Rachel Phipps has been active on council in support of these and other measures.
Our generation has a responsibility to stand up for the values ââwe believe in, and we have a clear choice among our candidates for city council as to who will apply those values ââin our local government.
Early voting begins this week and continues until November 2. Please consider voting if you haven’t already and I hope you will consider these questions when you vote.