(11-23-21) The 3rd and final reading of the ordinance ‘Sanctary City For The Unborn‘ was defeated 4-3 by the Celina City Council on Monday night. Celina and Mercer County, with a strong conservative view over the years, have supported the Republican party. The make-up of elected officials include the Mayor, the Council President and four councilmen (out o seven) are all a part of the GOP.

Sovinski and Buxton

That makes the defeat of the ordinance even more of a surprise that it failed, the vote included two of the four Republican members (Sovinski and Buxton) voting against the ordinance.

NOTE: We requested a statement on Messenger from Mayor Jeff Hazel (R) on the ordinance several times, before and after the 3rd vote. The first time he sent a response, but before we could copy it down he hit the unsent (delete) button.

Two councilmen, June Scott (D) and Mike Sovinski (R) did not seem interested in passing the ordinance and instead side-stepped the issue.

Councilman June Scott (D), a long time educator in the Celina City School system said he received numerous texts and emails urging him to –

“vote for caring for children.”

Scott’s reply during Monday night’s council meeting was-

“Ladies and gentlemen, after 42 years of teaching if I don’t care for children now I never the hell will so I’m just telling you that, please don’t put that on me. You can blame me for a lot of different things but do not blame me for not caring for children.”

Councilman Mike Sovinski (R) told WCSM he feels that a possible referendum on the issue will take place –

‘I do not doubt that probably will be a successful movement. At least the people of Celina will make that decision not just seven people sitting here’.

The vote to many was surprising when you consider that two Republican councilmen voted against the ordinance.

In a statement to the Outlook local Republican Party Chairman and Mercer County Commissioner Greg Homan said:

Throughout the readings held at Celina City Council, local residents voiced strong support of the “Sanctuary for the Unborn Ordinance.” The Mercer County Republican Party stands for the Right to Life and is disappointed in the final vote denying this ordinance.

Council President Jason King (R) responded to the Outlook’s request on the recent ordinance and vote –

Monday night Celina city Council voted down an ordinance to make Celina a sanctuary city for the unborn.  Although the results are disappointing, given the conservative Pro-Life area that we live in, the fight to save the unborn is far from over in Mercer County. When the idea originated it seemed reasonable that it would pass given the fact that 6 of the 7 Council members claim to be Pro-Life. 
From the month of May until late August the concept was discussed several times in committee. On August 23 City Council voted 5-2 to bring legislation in ordinance form to a Regular Meeting if City Council at a future date.

The first reading on October 25 permitted anyone who wished to address council to do so. Exactly 50 people spoke, most of which were from Celina or Mercer County. A few from as far as Cleveland and Columbus also participated.

Security had to be heightened for the second and third reading as it was discovered that a women’s restroom in the city administration building was vandalized during the first reading. Second and third readings only permitted Celina area residents to speak before Council. In those two meetings 64 residents shared their thoughts and feelings about Celina becoming a sanctuary city, of which 52 were in favor. 
The greatest disappointment is that when over 81% of the constituents do not have their will represented then maybe we aren’t listening.

Despite the fact that one Council member alleged that Council rules were being broken and parliamentary procedures were not followed, all votes and procedure followed the Ohio Revised Code, our own Council Rules, and was consistent with all past voting procedures. 

We want to thank our citizens for respectfully addressing City Council and for following meeting protocols and honoring Council decorum during the process. Only on a couple of occasions did a member of the audience or a member of Council rudely break these stated protocols and Council Rules, which made for very civil discourse at each meeting.