After ‘Communist country’ comment, Monroe councilman says: ‘I didn’t mean to offend anybody’

Monroe Councilman Tom Callahan has been criticized for comments he made at the July 14 council meeting during a spirited discussion on an ordinance requiring people to wear masks. While most of the emails opposed his comments, he also received a number of comments praising him for speaking his opinion. FILE PHOTO
Monroe Councilman Tom Callahan has been criticized for comments he made at the July 14 council meeting during a spirited discussion on an ordinance requiring people to wear masks. While most of the emails opposed his comments, he also received a number of comments praising him for speaking his opinion. FILE PHOTO

After a Monroe resident said she was disappointed that a Monroe City Council member referred to not wanting to live in a Communist country when talking about an ordinance, he apologized for the comment during Tuesday’s meeting.

At last month’s meeting, when Monroe City Council members discussed adding “grass clippings” to an ordinance about disposing of items, Councilman Tom Callahan said he was against the measure because “we have too much government.”

Later in the conversation, Callahan told his fellow members, “I don’t want to live in a Communist country.”

During citizens comments Tuesday, resident Jennifer Rogers said she voted for Callahan and added, “I’m sorry I did.”

“I didn’t mean to offend anybody,” Callahan said during Tuesday’s meeting, the first since his comments were made public in a Journal-News article.

“You did offend me,” Rogers told him.

The ordinance passed 4-2 with Mayor Jason Frentzel, council members Todd Hickman, Christina McElfresh and Anna Hale voting for the change and council members Robert “Bob” Routson and Callahan voting against the ordinance. Vice Mayor Keith Funk was absent.

The ordinance prohibits persons from placing or knowingly dropping upon any part of a highway, lane, road, street or alley any tacks, bottles, wire, glass, nails or other articles that may damage or injure any person, vehicle, or animal traveling along or upon the highway.

Monroe became the first Ohio city to pass such a law.

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