Columbus City Attorney

Democrat Zach Klein, the Columbus City Council president, is running against Republican Don Kline, a local lawyer, to replace longtime City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr.Read more:It’s Klein vs. Kline in race for Columbus city attorneyCandidates spar over experience, enforcing immigration lawsDispatch endorsement
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    Zach Klein Columbus City Council President

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    Don Kline Attorney

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Biographical Information

What is your plan to improve safety in Columbus?

How would you work with police to decrease the homicide rates?

How would you work with police to decrease crime in Columbus neighborhoods?

Why are you the best-qualified candidate for this position?

What else would you like to say to voters?

Age 38
Education Graduate of The Ohio State University and Capital Law School.
Experience President Columbus City Council Deputy Chief of Legal Services for Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. Deputy Director of Management and Administration for Vice President Joe Biden.
Family I live in Clintonville with my wife and two kids.
Religion Catholic
Campaign website
Campaign email
Twitter @zmklein
At the heart of improving safety is building trust between the community and the police. Trust can be regained in a myriad of ways, ranging from improved dialogue to police/community interaction to full implementation of police body cameras. As city attorney, there are two particular areas where the office can affect and improve public safety. The first is being the prosecutor in municipal court. I'm a firm believer that advocating for and implementing real criminal justice reform initiatives - including effective diversion programs, bail reform, and expanding the specialty dockets - can drive down recidivism rates, make our neighborhoods safer, and improve trust in the system. The second is being the lawyer for the police department, which means training our law enforcement personnel on the bounds of the law under the US Constitution and working with the Mayor on policies that improve policing, safety, and protecting the lives of public safety personnel.
The Columbus City Attorney is the lawyer for the Columbus Division of Police, which means the office is responsible for training our law enforcement personnel on the bounds of the law under the US Constitution and working with the Mayor and his administration on forging and implementing polices that improve policing, neighborhood safety, and protecting the lives of our public safety personnel. Moreover, we must improve the trust and relationship between the community and those that police them. I am optimistic that we can do this through improved dialogue, communication, interaction, and transparency. Improved trust can have a direct impact on the crime rate, regardless of the crime committed, because the community and the police can share information in preventing crime and also solving crime. As city attorney, I will be ready to play the appropriate active role to make all of Columbus' neighborhoods safe.
Increased trust between the community and the police will have a direct impact on successful policing efforts in our neighborhoods. The more trust, the more likely the community is willing to share information with law enforcement personnel that can prevent future crime but also solve crimes. As the lawyer for the City of Columbus, including the Columbus Division of Police, the city attorney can play an effective role in improving that relationship, whether that's training police on the bounds of the law under the US Constitution or working Mayor Ginther and his team to devise and implement effective polices and procedures that can improve policing and safety in our neighborhoods. Further, through the office's successful zone initiative, the office can work with police to identify and shut down nuisance properties that have plagued neighborhoods. As city attorney, I plan on expanding those efforts to decrease crime rates and improve quality of life standards in our neighborhoods.
I am proud of the work that we have done together during my seven year tenure on Columbus City Council. Whether it was creating the graffiti abatement program to clean up neighborhoods, devising a permitting process to more quickly shut down motels acting as criminal enterprises, identifying new resources to tear down the worst vacant and abandoned houses in our community, protecting civil rights for all citizens, or creating and implementing the police body camera program to protect the police and the community, we have have accomplished a lot to make a Columbus a better place to live, work, and raise a family. I hope to have that same spirit of collaboration and partnership as the next Columbus City Attorney because we have more work to do. I'm proud of our record together, and I am confident we can make a significant positive impact in the city attorney's office.
Thank you. For the past seven years as a council member and as the Council President, Columbus has supported our efforts to improve the quality of life for all families in all neighborhoods. I know we have more work to do, but I am optimistic about Columbus' future if we work together - like we always do - to solve the complex problems facing us as a city. I respectfully ask for your vote this November so that we can continue the terrific work of current City Attorney Richard C Pfeiffer.
Age 42
Education Ohio University B.S. 1998, Thomas Cooley Law School J.D. 2002
Experience Private Practice 13 Years, (Federal Court, Common Pleas Court, Municipal Court, Domestic Court, and Juvenile Court Experience)
Family Married for 12 Years and have 2 daughters, 8 and 9 year old
Religion United Methodist
Twitter @DonKline4CBUS
The safety of Columbus is a top priority of mine! The city attorney’s office will actively seek partnerships for safety in our city and surrounding communities. Safety in our community is not the responsibility of any one agency but the responsibility of our entire community. We will need to help and support one another as a united front against crime and threats of harm. Law enforcement, city government, county government, and the citizens of our city will need to build better channels of communication and cooperation with the overriding goal of reducing crime.

Under my leadership and with the partners of our community we will be tough on crime in Columbus. At the same time, it is imperative to build relationships with offenders that will support rehabilitation and integration back into the community as productive members of society.
I am endorsed by the Fraternal Order of the Police and I have a respectable working relationship with all branches of law enforcement. I will use my office as an education training tool to assist law enforcement and educators in presenting ways to avoid increasing homicide rates. For example, our young citizens in middle school through high school are most likely to be involved in a homicide as a part of a gang or criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking or home invasions and we need to concentrate our efforts as community partners with education, prevention, and the avoidance of activities that are likely to lead to a homicide.

We can no longer say “it’s not my school or my kid”! All of our children are at risk and we need to educate ourselves and our children of the risks and dangers of drugs, guns, gangs, and criminal activities and behaviors. We must educate and equip our children with the tools necessary to make the right choice when faced with criminal activities.
Communication between myself and acting as a liaison between community members and the Columbus Police department is the key to decreasing crime. Improving neighborhoods, such as creating positive community activities and programs for adolescents to spend their free time and increased presence in the neighborhoods with community leaders, the Columbus Police Department and the Columbus City Prosecutor’s Office. Educating and partnering with schools to teach children the tools necessary to make the right choices when faced with peer pressure, drugs and criminal activities. Exercising the, if you see something, say something, methodology throughout our neighborhoods. A combination of the community working together networking, educating, organizing and communicating will have a huge impact on our city. Trust your local law enforcement and contact them in an emergency situation.

I have been in private practice for 13 years. I have practiced in Federal Court, Common Pleas Court, Municipal Court, Juvenile Court, and Domestic Court. My practice areas include Criminal Law, Federal Criminal Law, Traffic, OMVI, DUI, Felonies, Misdemeanors, Juvenile Law, Domestic, and Personal Injuries. I started my private practice in 2004 and have served/represented thousands of individuals with varying social economic backgrounds. Additionally, I have assisted many of my clients as they entered non-punitive programs such as drug court, diversion, C.A.T.C.H. Court, and Vivitrol (Heroin) Court. As a member of my church and community I have promoted fairness and justice for all persons and have been active with families as they navigate the daunting legal justice system individually and as family members of defendants.
I am in good standing in the Municipal, State, and Federal courts and have represented clients in each. I have represented my clients as their Attorney and advocate. My experience within the Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, and Domestic Relations courts allows me to cross-represent my clients in several judicial arenas with an eye on how each outcome may affect the other. I practice in several Central Ohio courts and have established good professional relationships in Franklin and contiguous counties. I work closely with law enforcement as an Attorney and respect their position and responsibilities while at the same zealously representing the interests of my clients.

As City Attorney, I will utilize my on-the-job experience as an Attorney while I serve the citizens of Columbus in all matters involving the city including and not limited to Criminal, Environmental, and Civil matters.
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