Tim Fulton  00:10

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. We are a weekly Columbus centric podcast focusing on the civics, lifestyle, entertainment, and people of our city. I’m your host, Tim Fulton. This week. In anticipation of this fall’s election, the confluence cast is endeavoring to introduce Columbus voters to the 12 Council and two mayoral candidates in their own words. Today, as an introduction, I sat down with Columbus underground to discuss the interviews, what listeners can expect, and offer a preview of the through lines for how candidates think about the future of Columbus. You can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast.com. Enjoy the interview. Sitting down here with Walker Evans, the editor, CEO and co founder of Columbus underground Walker, how are you?

Walker Evans  01:08

I’m good. How are you? Tim?

Tim Fulton  01:09

Good. We are on the tail end of 15, no 14 interviews.

Walker Evans  01:17

All 12 closed city council candidates, the two mayoral candidates that will be on the ballot. And we’re just basically here to do a Here’s what’s coming. Here’s what’s coming down the pike. Yeah, and when you say tail end, do you mean you just finished the last one I five minutes ago, Mayor Gunther left eight minutes ago? Yes. He’s just not getting into his car. Yes. Downstairs. We’re all done. Yeah. Nice. Congrats. It’s I know, oh, more work for you than it was for me. Well, thank you for the use of your office. Thank you for my brand new sign

Tim Fulton  01:51

that your wife lovingly did say could you please send me a receipt? We do indeed. Want to pay for that. Yes. So what’s coming now? Yeah. All 14 of those interviews coming up over the course of the next month? Yes. So my thinking and I’ve run this past few beforehand, is to Well, first of all, let me let’s talk about how we conducted the interviews. Yeah. So for the council candidates, so of the 12 council candidates, there are six of them, that are currently holding elected office, they’re currently seated as Columbus city council members, there are three that are going are attempting to be council members that are considered, quote, unquote, endorsed by the Democratic Party by the Democratic Party. There’s some nuance there about the fact that they weren’t actually endorsed by the party fully before they announced the candidacy. But that’s a whole separate kitten caboodle. And then there are three folks who are additionally running. Yes, for those nine seats, I realized that that’s a little confusing. The only point there is that in the interest of fairness, I drafted a slate of questions that, that I shared basic, high level overviews with each of the candidates and I asked them all the same questions, right. I asked them about their background and what brings them to their candidacy. I asked them what issues they felt Columbus faced. I asked them how they felt about the new reading about the new districting process. And then I asked them why people should vote for them.

Walker Evans  03:33

Nice. I haven’t read through any of the transcripts yet. Okay. I didn’t sit in with you on any of these interviews. Correct.

Tim Fulton  03:40

Who’s gonna win? No, no.

Walker Evans  03:43

Were there themes that came about when you asked them, you know, what, what are the most important topics? Were everyone? Were they all kind of talking about the same things? They’re

Tim Fulton  03:51

all unified. Most of the common themes were around the second issue, what is Columbus facing? Okay. And that was I think 90% of the candidates all said, some variation on growth. Okay, that I was gonna make a guess. Okay. housing, housing as part of that growth,

Walker Evans  04:13

affordable housing specifically? Absolutely. Transportation infrastructure. Probably came up a lot. policing and safety probably came up a lot.

Tim Fulton  04:23

You’d be surprised from whom? That’s sure.

Walker Evans  04:26

No, yeah. I just meant kind of broadly. Yeah. In general. Yeah. Yeah. The big things, the big things.

Tim Fulton  04:32

Yeah, absolutely. And the. So I guess what I’m trying to like impart to people is these may be some of my most boring interviews I’ve ever done in that I was trying to be not necessarily even equitable, but truly equal with each of the candidates. So people will hear you saying the same thing. They will hear me saying the same thing and they even say Tim would normally step in at a Stitcher and don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t just here quiet the whole time. Yeah. But I did try to not challenge things that folks said. Because the idea is to give them basically similar to what the dispatch does and just gives folks a questionnaire. There’s no back and forth there. Right. Right. Right. And if this is the method for folks to learn about candidates in their individual district, yeah, sorry, they’re all everybody’s voting at large. But to learn about the candidates in general, I wanted the candidates to have the opportunity to give it Yeah,

Walker Evans  05:37

I’m sure it’s still an interesting Listen, just see what everyone had to say about things. Absolutely. Were there any thing? Any like little nuggets? You remember? Because it’s been going on for weeks now at this point? Yeah, sure. It’s a little hazy, thinking back to the originals. The first couple, were there anything, any little moments that jumped out to you is like surprising, like, Oh, I didn’t think this person was going to talk about that.

Tim Fulton  05:57

I think the districting thing was the most surprising in and I encourage everyone to go back to our rant slash explanation of districting. But surprising how differently folks understood it. Not so much the mechanics of how it’s about to work, but how it will work going forward. And that specifically around constituent services. And whether folks will have additional sort of like, accountability to their constituents within their district like

Walker Evans  06:39

are is trash pickup going to vary district by district like, well, and yeah, is that like levels, what you’re talking about that shouldn’t write, like a big concern about that sort

Tim Fulton  06:51

of concern about that sort of thing? I guess more like, we were just talking about my brother in law that he wants speed bumps on the street. And it’s and who does he call for that? Yeah. And my answer was, well, you could talk to your area Commission, or you could talk to or you can call the mayor’s 311 line. Sure, yeah. Is there going to be another lot basically, line of defense that, hey, I can call my district person? Or does it immediately fall on? Whereas previously would just fall on the committee’s?

Walker Evans  07:27

Yeah, right, I would think there wouldn’t be a lot changing. I mean, because services run under the sort of executive branch of the government cheese, they’ll be continued to run by the services, right? You wouldn’t call up your city council person, to let them know that like your yard wasting, get picked up

Tim Fulton  07:43

my counter example there is I would call my Congress person, my Congress person, if I knew about your yard waste if I needed something in Veterans Affairs. Like that is literally the person you’re supposed to go to, in order to like, hey, this isn’t working out for me. How can I get something? If it’s

Walker Evans  08:00

not? Yeah, I mean, if something you needed, some you should call Veterans Affairs. Right.

Tim Fulton  08:05

But you the example I’m making is if government isn’t working for me, who do I call Gotcha. In order to hold accountable? Yeah, yeah.

Walker Evans  08:13

I would just argue that I want a speed bump on my street. Isn’t government not working? For me? It might write might just be this isn’t the kind of road for that you don’t get but a speed bump anywhere you want one? Just because you want one? Yeah.

Tim Fulton  08:25

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So that being said about the interview structure of the council candidates, one of them, I treated a little bit differently. It was Shannon Hardin, council president Shannon Hardin for I think a couple of reasons. One he’s running unopposed to I interviewed him last year. So it’s like, again, just give you all the

Walker Evans  08:51

same question. Right. Yeah. Background as the

Tim Fulton  08:54

unopposed part. It’s just sort of like, you don’t need to make a pitch. Yeah, here.

Walker Evans  08:59

Well, and just to recap, and we’ve said this before, but six of them are running unopposed.

Tim Fulton  09:05

Yeah. And I think only one of the non currently seated ones is being challenged. It’s Nancy de aka our

Walker Evans  09:16

right. Remi is running against someone new.

Tim Fulton  09:19

No, sorry. So among Chris YH, Melissa green, Nancy de aka our Yeah, oh, of the three, three non sitting. Yeah. Correct. I believe that’s correct. Yeah. Yeah, I’m almost positive because

Walker Evans  09:34

the other two that are being challenged that have have an opponent for their district are Remy and Bankston, who are both correct. Currently, counsel,

Tim Fulton  09:42

correct. Yes, yes. We’ll draw a map or something. I asked you for a graphic but I just got this poster.

Walker Evans  09:49

Was it on the budget?

Tim Fulton  09:52

With Shannon and I, I was I told him all that before. I was like, hey, everybody else they all got the same questions. We just talked last year. Can we just talk? Yeah. And so we just talked, and it was, I think, a really fruitful conversation. Cool. Yeah. In terms of how we release these over the next couple of weeks. I’m gonna do Shannon first. And then just each other council member individually. Probably Monday, Wednesday, Friday, over the council candidate, council candidate. Yeah. What did I say council members? Each? Yeah, each council candidate. And then as a bonus at the end, we have the interviews with both Mayor Gunther and his challenger, Joe Moats. All right. So those will be there. Maybe you and I will sit down over the course of this month. And talk more do a little recap. Sure. Because I do you want? I guess I don’t want to reveal a whole lot of like, this person said this, or this? Oh, yeah. And also, you weren’t in the room. So I want you to be able to like challenge it a little bit. Yeah. But yeah, so that’s what the confluence cast newly launched Confluence cast is going to look like over the next month or so. We do have some exciting interviews coming up after that throughout the rest of the year. But as always, I think folks should feel free to reach out, pitch their ideas or just say, What do you know about this? You and I have talked about doing maybe a recurring news thing where don’t let you get a word in edgewise to,

Walker Evans  11:33

I’ll interrupt. But um, yeah, I think that could be fun.

Tim Fulton  11:38

Yeah, I do. Yeah, I’d like what folks, it’s been easy to sort of create buckets that get filled like we have to our hearts bucket, our politics bucket or development bucket? Yeah.

Walker Evans  11:50

I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff that happens in passing that would not require a full episode to be devoted to that individual topic. Yeah. But like, on a Thursday or Friday, if we sit down and like what happened the past week? Yeah, there’s a lot of things, a lot of like little nuggets and tidbits, and maybe five minutes on that topic and six minutes on that topic. And there’s a lot to talk about. Absolutely. Yeah. And sometimes it’s, you know, what, what was the reaction to the thing or? Yeah, I think it could be fun. Like the Greyhound

Tim Fulton  12:19

station? Yes. Nobody talked about the Greyhound station. So if you’re waiting for that,

Walker Evans  12:25

yeah. I’m working on an opinion piece about what we should do with the old site. Go because it’s been two years and there’s been no movement. Okay. You know, my heartache. Yeah, we should rebuild the Central Market exactly the way that it was.

Tim Fulton  12:42

Oh, I hope you have historical photographs too. Sure. I’m

Walker Evans  12:45

sure they could take up blueprints and all that sort of stuff. But like, what a, like, same materials, same like, like, do it as perfectly as possible.

Tim Fulton  12:55

Okay. Like that would be I guess, I don’t know enough about the central market for that to be like, yeah. Oh, that’s interesting.

Walker Evans  13:03

I mean, it’s an old market. It was a blanket building. It’s a very unique looking building. You look at it, you’re like, oh, yeah, that looks like an old timey market building. Whereas the North Market, the building the North markets, and has it’s only been in that building for like, 30 years. Okay, original market market building. It’s an old warehouse that it’s in. This looks like a market that you would see in like, Oh, you got to downtown Pittsburgh, and they still have a market you know? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So,

Tim Fulton  13:27

who owns the land?

Walker Evans  13:29

Kota? Okay, yeah, Kota bought it off of greyhounds two years ago. And they said they’re gonna do something there. But also, like, the central market didn’t take up the entire footprint of that block. And so they could do that. Plus, it could be a yes. And they could do that and then also build like a skyscraper next to it or whatever else they want to do, but I think from a like historic preservation, restoration, like when when cities do weird, crazy stuff like that, like hey, we lost this history 60 years ago, we’re gonna bring it back. Yeah, like that’s kind of cool. And yeah, well, it works. Yeah, it probably won’t happen but that’s my I like your heartache. Thanks. That’s my opinion. Yeah, yeah.

Tim Fulton  14:09

Thank you for your time. Yeah, anything else you wanted to get off your chest?

Walker Evans  14:13

No, no, let’s let’s keep keep this going. I’m looking forward to listening to what all these folks had to tell you.

Tim Fulton  14:18

Gets a lot. Yeah, it’s a lot. All right. Thanks, Walker, no problem. Thank you for listening to the confluence cast presented by Columbus underground. Again, you can get more information on what we discussed today in the show notes for this episode at the confluence cast.com Please rate subscribe, share this episode of The confluence cast with your friends, family, contacts, enemies, your favorite historian. If you’re interested in sponsoring the confluence cast, get in touch with us. We can be reached by email at info at the confluence cast.com Our theme music was composed by Benji Robinson. Our producer is Philip Cogley. I’m your host, Tim Fulton. Have a great week.