Reject the fear of voters

The current “NO on 26” campaign delivers a single message: “Don’t trust the voters.”

This distrust and fear of the voters was actually the genesis of the council-manager form of local government in the early 20th century, when establishment leaders reacted with horror to the prospect of universal suffrage.  It was a brilliant way to dilute the power of the electorate and keep those pesky voters away from government as much as possible.

I think a balance of power between the executive and legislative bodies in Cleveland Heights will be good for the city. Why? It corrects the concentration of power that is now vested in a single branch of government—the legislature.

There is ample evidence that our part-time city council members, though doing the best they can, just can’t accomplish what is needed. In addition to their legislative function, they must also oversee the city manager and municipal operations, while providing a vision and a path for our future. It’s too much to expect from them. Nor can seven individuals be a leader in any meaningful way.

We need a full-time mayor [as well as a] full-time administrator, in addition to a great legislative branch of dedicated citizens serving in their part-time positions.

I don’t think we need to fear the voters: after all, this is Cleveland Heights, with lots of residents who will vet all candidates, for both city council and mayor.

I’m reminded of the old expression: If we continue to do the same things, we should not be surprised when we get the same (mediocre and disappointing) results.

Let’s reject fear of voters, win the Issue 26 charter amendment, and give ourselves the opportunity to create a better future for our community.

Join me in voting YES on Issue 26.

Len Friedson

Cleveland Heights resident and Heights High graduate Len Friedson is treasurer of Citizens for an Elected Mayor.

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 6:53 PM, 10.30.2019