Candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council Unexpired Term Josie Moore
Cleveland Heights Age: 46
Education: Metropolitan State University of Denver - English & Philosophy, BA University at Buffalo - Literature, MA
Current occupation: Communications - copywriting, branding and messaging
Qualifications: My professional work is in communications—developing branding messaging and effective content. When I became involved in political work, I expanded my skills to include community building and outreach. I quickly rose to positions of leadership, and in this capacity, I: managed multiple simultaneous and complex projects to reach our overall goals; directed diverse teams, with varying skill sets, experience levels, and availability; formed coalitions and facilitated coordination with other organizations to align our work and increase our impact; and mediated challenging dialogues and found opportunities for compromise that opened pathways to progress.
Do you think our business districts are healthy and successful? If not, what would you do to change that? Please discuss specific districts, such as Noble and Severance.
To varying degrees and in different ways, our business districts are struggling. Our council, mayor, and area organizations, such as our CDCs and SIDs, each have a role to play in growing our local economy. And we all need to work together collaboratively to support this. Where our business districts need the greatest help, such as Noble and Severance, we need to develop programs to offer current businesses support and advocacy. As a legislative body, council needs to spearhead reviewing our codes and regulations to ensure they support innovation and local businesses. I will also work to strengthen efforts to help our local entrepreneurs start their own businesses, paying particular attention to minority- and women-owned startups.
What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?
The environmental crisis is a result of unsustainable practices that are codified, habituated, and unquestioned in every facet of our society. To become sustainable, we must: (1) reform or remove codes and regulations that perpetuate environmentally destructive policies and add legislation that support sustainable and regenerative practices; (2) oppose practices that continue environmental destruction; (3) work with neighboring municipalities and area organizations to build scale and momentum for sustainability regionally; (4) develop programs to make sustainable and regenerative choices easier and more affordable for individuals and small businesses; and (5) continually engage in shifting our local culture to embrace sustainable practices.
How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?
If a seat is vacated between 90 and 150 days from the next general election, where we can put the unexpired term on the ballot without depriving council of a full body for too long, then it should go to the voters to decide. If the vacancy occurs either too close or too far from an upcoming general election, then council should appoint someone within 60 days to fill the seat, and if they are unable to reach consensus within that time, then the mayor will have 30 days to appoint a new council member. The appointee will then hold that seat until the next general election, at which time the voters will elect who should either finish term or begin a new term, depending on the timing of the term and that election.
What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?
The challenges that do not stop at our city borders are best suited for regional collaboration, coordination, and building scale. Some areas we should be reaching out to neighboring municipalities on include: (1) finding ways to make both public transit as well as broadband more affordable, accessible, and to improve quality; (2) addressing poverty and helping low-income households achieve financial stability; (3) tackling sewer and water infrastructure needs; (4) building a regional environmental sustainability plan of action; and (5) developing a program similar to Cleveland’s Co-Responder Program, in which police and social workers work together in response to mental health and substance abuse needs in our community.
What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?
In general—and this is not everyone’s experience—residents feel frustrated when they reach out for assistance, answers, or resources and get no or unhelpful responses. Everyone at City Hall needs to work together to create a culture of responsiveness and service to our residents. This needs to begin with outreach, in which elected officials and staff see our communications role as more proactive and truly engaged with our community. As elected representatives, we need to continually nurture dialogue and build trust through outreach and thoughtful responsiveness. Council should also discuss how we can best ensure that everyone feels represented and advocated for, including exploring the possibility of creating ward council positions.