Blog

Pencilstorm Interview: Francis "Kip" Greenhill for UA Council

There are eight candidates running for four seats on Upper Arlington City Council.  Pencilstorm asked each of the candidates five specific questions centered around issues that impacted Upper Arlington residents and questions that were being raised by fellow voters.  Pencilstorm will be posting their complete and unedited answers individually throughout October and reposting all their answers together in the first week of November. Answers will be posted in order they're received. Our third candidate, Francis "Kip" Greenhill, is featured below. Note: while he's commonly known by his nickname, Kip, he will be listed on the ballot at Francis Greenhill.

Francis "Kip" Greenhill
http://greenhillforcitycouncil.com/

If the election were today, would you vote for or against the school levy and why?
I enthusiastically support the school tax levy.  I served as the principal at Upper Arlington High School for 17 years, and I have first hand knowledge of the inadequacies of the current building.  The list of the building's shortcomings is lengthy, but two of the most notable include:

A. Science laboratories that are small, which means that fewer students can be scheduled into the labs each period.  This results in a need for more sections of science being offered which means more teachers and greater cost to the district.
B. One of the most effective teaching strategies is for students to work in groups to discuss what they have read or been taught.  Many of the classrooms are so small there is not room for students to get out of their seats and move around to form discussion groups.

Any visitor to our schools will notice the shortcomings of our facilities.  I firmly believe in a quote from the Shaker Heights School District near Cleveland, "a community is known by the schools it keeps."  Upper Arlington is a great and special community, and we need to make sure our schools hold to that standard.

What qualifies you to be on Upper Arlington City Council?
Over the past ten years or so, Upper Arlington has become increasingly divided over numerous issues.  I believe I am qualified to serve on Council because I have a track record of bringing people together, finding common ground to form a vision, and then working with all of the stakeholders to implement the vision.  For example, when I became principal of UAHS in 1995, "Columbus Monthly" in their ranking of all of the central Ohio high schools, stated that the school was good, but was not living up to its potential.  We pulled teachers, students and parents, in sometimes contentious meetings, to eventually develop a consensus around a vision for the school.  All major decisions were then based upon that vision, but the creation of the vision eventually unified the stakeholders.  It was hard work, but the result was five years later, "Columbus Monthly" named UAHS the top school in all of central Ohio and said that it "set the gold standard for other schools."  In addition, "US News" and "Newsweek" rated the school as one of the top high schools in America.  I have the experience to bring unity to UA in a similar fashion.

If you had a magic wand and an unlimited budget, what infrastructure project you would implement?
If money was not an issue, I first would update all of our roadways, water lines, and sewers because those are primary responsibilities of the city to ensure the health and safety of all residents.  I would then focus on implementing infrastructure that promotes more healthy and active living, and that also helps to protect our environment and conserve our natural resources.  I would make our city streets and sidewalks more accommodating and safer for all generations to move about the city using fewer cars.  We would have travel ways to go in all directions and to all possible destinations in our city by bike, by running or walking, or by roller blading.  These travel routes would be well lighted for safety by using sustainable energy sources such as solar energy.  Eventually, I would like to see rental stations for bicycles (which we are currently implementing) and driverless cars that would reduce the number of cars in the city and reduce the amount of land devoted to parking.  We would be a model city of healthy living by encouraging more physical activity and we would also reduce our consumption of precious resources.

Looking around Central Ohio, give an example of a community you think is doing it right and one that’s doing it wrong. What could Upper Arlington could learn from both? 
Buckeye Lake is clearly a community that is doing many things right.  When they were faced with a crisis in the closing of the lake for recreational purposes because of a likely break in their dam, the community came together.  Buckeye Lake has great socio-economic diversity, but they all joined together in community wide discussions to develop a consensus for a vision of what they wanted their community to become.  They got their residents to sign their names in support of their vision.  They are now in the process of working with their county government, the state of Ohio, and private developers to implement their community vision.  Upper Arlington should be doing this same type of consensus building to create a vision for the future, to tap into public and private funding sources, and to bring our community together behind a common vision.

I do not have a particular community in mind that is not doing the right things, but I have seen numerous school districts that have taken a sense of entitlement in regards to asking for additional funding.  The Upper Arlington School Board and their superintendent,  have done extensive community outreach to try to develop a vision for the future of the district, and the types of buildings that will be required to support learning in the future.  Instead of a sense of entitlement that money is needed to keep pace with inflation, UA Schools are giving all interested community members the opportunity to have a stake in the schools' future, what the schools will look like, and how our students are educated.  Schools across the state can look to UA in how to engage a community before asking for tax increases.

At Pencilstorm, we all have a love of music. In that vein, what's your favorite album and why?
My favorite all time album would be Motown 1's, which is a compilation of Motown artists' number one songs.  I grew up in Toledo, Ohio, less than an hour from Detroit during the tumultuous 60s.  My favorite radio station was CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, which featured Motown music, and I listened every day to such great stars as The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye to name just a few.  The Motown artists, and their producer Berry Gordy, were pioneers in music and in shining the spot light on African American talent.  While the country, and Detroit in particular, were torn by race riots during this time period, Motown helped integrate America by bringing great music into the homes of African Americans and whites, and the music helped bring great talent out of the shadows of prejudice.  I still love the music and admire what it did for our country.

Pencilstorm would like to thank Francis "Kip" Greenhill for taking the time to answer our questions.  Learn more about Kip at his website: http://greenhillforcitycouncil.com/. Look for responses from future candidates in the coming days. Pencilstorm is an independent news source and does not endorse any individual candidate.

Local UA Politics coverage provided by Wal Ozello. You can email him at Pencilstormstory@gmail.com or try to catch him at Colin's Coffee. 

Check out coverage of all the candidates we've received responses from by clicking here.