Johnson clarifies his view on litter laws

By Frank Lewis -

First Ward City Councilman, and candidate for Scioto County Commissioner, Kevin W. Johnson says it has never been his intention to fine anyone in his attempt to strengthen the city’s litter laws. The original section of the City Charter dealing with that issue is 521.06 and the original language reads – “No owner or occupant of abutting lands shall fail to keep the sidewalks, curbs or gutters in repair and free from snow, ice or any nuisance.” The end of the section reads – “Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.”

Johnson said the misdemeanor status is a moot point to begin with since the city has never enforced the law to begin with.

“We have never cited anyone with a misdemeanor for not keeping their curbs clean,” Johnson said. “And that is certainly not my intention either. The intention is to keep things clean.”

Johnson was adamant the point of such legislation is never to punish, it is to encourage people to aspire to something better.

“It’s already on the books that businesses are required to keep their gutters, their sidewalks (clear),” Johnson said. “I’m simply adding that businesses add a trash receptacle for cigarettes.

Johnson said, the part of the ordinance he wanted to add had nothing to do with prosecuting or fining anyone. He said what he is introducing is – “simply that businesses have a receptacle to handle cigarette butts, so they are no longer on our streets.”

Johnson said when you visit other cities you don’t see cigarette butts littering the streets. The businesses have containers in front of their stores. He said, while some of the local businesses have such containers, the great majority of them don’t.

“As a consequence, we have cigarette butts everywhere,” Johnson said. “You add that to the fact that Scioto County has one of the highest rates of smoking in the nation, so downtown looks trashy. We don’t need that.”

Johnson has devoted a large portion of his political career to beautification projects and attempting to get the downtown litter free is part of that agenda

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.