December 2, 2007
Lima 1st Ward City Councilman Ray Magnus has demonstrated time and again that he doesnít believe the rules apply to him. The city administration apparently has decided to remind Magnus they do ó but Magnus again will embarrass the city.Magnus was in the news ó again ó last week for flouting the rules, in this case, state law. Magnus didnít follow state law when building a roof over a smoking patio at his Lima bar, Rayís Place. In July, an inspector from the Lima Building Department ó which enforces the stateís building laws in the city ó noticed a shelter that was built at Rayís Place without a building permit, The Lima News reported. State law requires a building permit for commercial construction, the logic being that the safety of the public that gathers there is at stake.Magnus responded by turning in a building permit application, which included a drawing with handwritten measurements. The city halted its inspection because state law requires commercial building plans to be prepared and sealed by a licensed architect or engineer. The city issued a violation in July and another in September. The cityís next step, according to building inspector Bill Brown, is to get a legal order requiring Magnus to submit plans and to seek a penalty in court. Magnus has a right to appeal.Letís put this in context: The city administration could be in court asking for a fine from a city lawmaker for violating a state law. Thatís embarrassing. We agree with Magnus that the building permitting process is burdensome. We believe state lawmakers should make it easier to do business in Ohio. However, Magnus and others who donít like it should work to change the law rather than ignoring its existence.Magnus previously went way past the bounds of common sense, but he hadnít broken any laws. That appears to have changed. Should Magnus help pass a law others find too burdensome or just plain dumb, will he support those people when they violate that law? Why is he above the law but those who elected and pay him are not?The residents of Lima and Magnusí fellow councilors deserve better than what Magnus is giving them as a member of city government.