An elected mayor will be accountable
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, I will vote "Yes" on Issue 26 in support of an elected mayor for Cleveland Heights.
A mayoral candidate will speak directly to our citizens, public and private stakeholders, and declare “as mayor I will . . . .” That candidate will be forced to listen to all segments of our community—demographically and geographically—hearing our joys and frustrations alike. A mayoral candidate will be charged with articulating a vision that speaks at once to young people we want to attract, elders we want to retain, and everybody in between. A mayoral candidate will have to listen to our businesses while they describe what the city can reasonably do so that they can be as productive as they know they can be. Mayoral candidates will have to describe how they will manage the significant challenges in our commercial districts, and vacant properties in our neighborhoods.
An elected mayor will be explicitly accountable to voters, and the community at large. An elected mayor will govern with an urgency to show consistent progress on stated initiatives, or be voted out in the next election. The old phrase “the buck stops here” will apply clearly and pragmatically. The mayor will have to work with council, not in title only, as the president of council, but as an elected official equally accountable to the same electorate—as the face of our city, vested with full executive authority. And we, the voters, will hold that mayor accountable.
“As mayor I will” and “the buck stops here” are more than pithy clichés. They are indicators of bold vision and accountability.
When I look at older Midwest cities that have pivoted, adapted, rebounded, and even grown, over the past two decades, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Columbus are good examples of how bold vision and accountability can create opportunities and prosperity even in the face of steep challenges and skeptics. Closer to home we have the oft-given and worthy examples of Shaker Heights, South Euclid and Lakewood. These cities are all different, but the thing they have in common, in addition to their revitalized communities, broadened economies and elevated national profiles, is that they all have elected mayor-council forms of government.
On Nov. 5, I hope you will also vote “Yes" on 26.
Judith Elaine Walker Miles
Judith Elaine Walker Miles is a Cleveland Heights resident.