Candidate for Cleveland Heights Council - Jeff Coryell
3316 Clarendon road Cleveland Heights 44118 Age: 55
Education:: Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude, Carleton College; Juris Doctor, New York University; Master of Fine Arts, Northwestern University
Occupation: Artist/small business owner
Qualifications:: Assistant U.S. Attorney; Assistant Attorney General; Adjunct Professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, and Youngstown State University; New Media Director for U.S. Senate Campaign.
Community : President, Secretary and Trustee, Cleveland Heights Democrats. Central and Executive Committee Member, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. The most important thing: Our city must combat population decline and grow our tax base by attracting and retaining new residents and businesses, particularly engaged younger residents and high tech and creative enterprises. I will help modernize and improve the marketing of our tremendous assets as a place to live and do business; strengthen our ties with CWRU and University Circle to spur community development; work with our school officials to help improve our public schools and publicize our progress; facilitate establishing a business incubator; and help create a Cleveland Heights Arts District to promote our arts and culture community.
2. Regionalism: Regional collaboration is already helping Cleveland Heights provide excellent services at lower cost, as with shared police and fire dispatch, joining the Regional Income Tax Agency, and joint bidding on road resurfacing supplies. More regional planning and collaboration is urgently needed. To best serve our residents, our city should assume a leadership role in this process by seeking research grants, developing proposals, consulting with the county and nonprofit organizations, and initiating talks with other municipalities.
3. Housing market: The city should accelerate its program of purchasing vacant houses for demolition or repair and resale. Close cooperation with the County Land Bank and continued support for the Home Repair Resource Center are essential. Creative uses must be developed for vacant lots, such as community gardens, pocket parks, and walk-throughs. Loan opportunities for home improvements and energy retrofits need to be expanded. The city should work with Heights Arts to investigate grant opportunities to help artists acquire live/work space. City officials should meet regularly with real estate professionals to assess market conditions and address issues inhibiting sales and rentals.
4. CH-UH levy: I support the levy because quality public education is essential to a strong and prosperous community. Unfortunately, Ohio’s school funding laws make school levies necessary every few years. Our district has been frugal, trimming $6 million in costs and securing a two-year pay freeze from all employees. This levy is a year later than expected and is the smallest in twenty years. It’s the bare minimum needed to avoid drastic cuts that will hurt education.
5. Confidence: Cleveland Heights has a proud tradition of citizen engagement and overcoming difficult challenges. Organizations like Heights Community Congress, FutureHeights and Reaching Heights are a testament to that history. I will work hard to renew our legacy of leadership and innovation by promoting policies and programs to respond to today’s new challenges. I will reach out to the community to develop a shared vision for making Cleveland Heights a leader in sustainability, economic development, neighborhood restoration, and promotion of the arts and creative enterprises. I will strive for accessibility and transparency in government and encourage citizen participation in civic affairs.
6. Increase revenue: Grants from federal, state, county, and nonprofit sources for specific projects and initiatives can help make up for cuts to general funding. For example, Cleveland Heights received grants to pay for installing more efficient lighting in the Community Center and renovating the Cumberland Pool parking lot to reduce water runoff. I want Cleveland Heights to hire a sustainability officer to identify additional cost-saving sustainability improvements and research and apply for grants to implement them. Revenue can also come from service contracts between cities, such as University Heights’ recently announced contract with Cleveland Heights for solid waste transfer and disposal.