Newark City Council members spar over circus comments

NEWARK – One Newark City Council member took another member to task over comments that led to a local event being canceled.

During Wednesday’s council meeting, Michael Mangus, D-4th Ward, chastised Mark Fraizer, R-at large, for comments he made about circuses during council’s finance committee meeting June 26.

“The statements made at the finance committee were inappropriate,” Mangus said. “Many of them were factually wrong. Even worse, they belittled a wonderful organization, the Heath Kiwanis, that contributes thousands of dollars each year to organizations in our city.”

During the committee meeting Fraizer voiced strong opposition to Carson and Barnes Circus that was slated to visit Newark in August as a fundraiser for the Heath Moundbuilders Kiwanis Club. Because of animal abuse allegations, Fraizer said he could not support waiving a licensing fee for the circus, and would bring forward legislation to ban circuses from operating in the city.

The Kiwanis Club has since canceled the circus, which was expected to raise between $6,000 and $8,000 for the club to give to organizations such as the Salvation Army, YES Club, and the Veterans Alliance.

More: Carson and Barnes circus cancelled after council member’s opposition

Mangus said as a history professor at the Ohio State University at Newark, he teaches his students to not believe every claim they hear and to verify information with the proper sources.

“Frankly, I think that one of us on city council failed to do this at the last finance committee meeting,” he said. “Even worse, the Heath Kiwanis was ambushed, was belittled for supposedly not doing research on the issue of animal abuse.”

Mangus said the animal rights activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, which Fraizer was citing, has an agenda.

Fraizer has promised to bring legislation forward to ban circuses from visiting Newark. Mangus said he would not support such legislation.

“If we are now going to ban business that receive citations but are in good standing with the appropriate regulatory agency, we will have to ban public education because our schools have received a fire code violation,” he said. “We’ll have to shut down most restaurants and grocery stores in our city because they have received a violation or citation from the health department.”

Mangus said council should apologize to the Kiwanis club.

“I would encourage all of us to make a monetary contribution out of our own pockets to rectify the financial loss suffered by this organization,” he said.

Earlier in the meeting Fraizer addressed Ed Ware, secretary of the Kiwanis club who attended the meeting, and said the club can do a different event using animals from local sources.

“You have the opportunity to redesign your fundraiser that is both educational and opportunistic for your community,” he said. “Instead of having the circus that takes the money and goes back to Oklahoma, we could give the money to farmers, veterinarians and people to invest back into our community.”

Fraizer said he supported the work of Kiwanis and offered to help them organize a new event.

But Ware said Thursday the group will not take him up on his offer.

“I (mouthed) to him at the end of the meeting when the meeting adjourned we don’t want your help,” he said.

Ware said the club had a meeting planned for Thursday evening to start planning another event for later this year.

The club has other fundraisers that were previously planned, such as parking cars during races at the National Trail Raceway and a car show in October.

Ware said people have approached the club with different ideas and the club members are open to suggestions.

“We’ve tried to stay calm and not worry about it knowing that somehow along the way we’ll raise whatever funds we need and move on,” he said.


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