Letters To The Editor

Why I'm running for municipal court judge

To the Editor:

I am running for Judge of Cleveland Heights Municipal Court to inspire people to reach their greatest potential.

The court serves as a mechanism to dispense justice with firmness and fairness. However, I believe the court should have a role in uplifting and empowering the community as well. I would institute these programs to ensure people are receiving services that empower them to lead productive lives, stay out the legal system and make the community safer and stronger:

I would establish a drug and mental health court or build partnerships with other local courts that offer programming and treatment to address those with substance abuse and other issues.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 10:41 AM, 07.17.2017

CTDA supports FutureHeights as CDC

To the Editor:

As president of the Cedar Taylor Development Association Board of Directors, I want to offer my full support for recognizing FutureHeights as the official Community Development Corporation (CDC) of Cleveland Heights. 

All of the strong neighborhoods of the city of Cleveland have CDCs, and as an inner-ring suburb, we share similar issues with our neighbor to the west (deteriorating housing stock, exurban flight, challenging business climate, etc.).

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 12:49 PM, 06.29.2017

Why we chose ARTFUL at the Coventry School building

To the Editor:

When we moved (back) to Cleveland after 15 years in Florida and a six-month artist residency in Italy, our search for permanent studio space in Cleveland was influenced by two unexpected factors: gentrification and accessibility.

Many Cleveland buildings that had been homes to artists' studios were being converted to "upscale" locations for "respectable" tenants. And 27 years after the ADA, it was still impossible to find a studio space that would work for a wheelchair-using artist. 

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 12:04 PM, 06.29.2017

Exploring cohousing in the Heights

To the Editor:

A Cleveland Heights group is looking into starting a cohousing community. Cohousing offers a way to downsize, live actively engaged, and raise children in a safe, supportive neighborhood.  

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 12:02 PM, 06.29.2017

It is time for FutureHeights to be the CDC for Cleveland Heights

To the Editor:

As an architect, and an involved and concerned resident of Cleveland Heights, I fully support the efforts of FutureHeights to serve as the city’s Community Development Corporation (CDC). The creation of a CDC for Cleveland Heights is long overdue.

In the work of my firm, City Architecture, the involvement of a CDC is paramount. We have worked in many Cleveland neighborhoods (Detroit Shoreway, Ohio City, Downtown, Glenville, MidTown, St. Clair Superior, etc.), the inner-ring suburb of Lakewood, and Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood. In each case, a strong CDC has aided the city or neighborhood in realizing impactful economic development projects.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 1:21 PM, 05.31.2017

Letter: Heights Arts urges support for FutureHeights as CH's CDC

To the Editor:

Just after the turn of the millennium, two grassroots organizations formed in Cleveland Heights, each with a mission to help the Heights area thrive by making the most of the unique attributes of our area. One of those groups was Heights Arts (of which I am the second executive director); the other FutureHeights.

While Heights Arts set about leveraging the community’s unusually rich resources in the arts to enhance the quality of life here, FutureHeights concerned itself with promoting a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights through innovative ideas and civic engagement, with special attention to commercial and residential districts and community planning. Our two organizations have often worked closely together on projects ranging from public art, to neighborhood music offerings, to streetscape design, even a pop-up holiday store featuring local artists—an idea which would evolve into the current Heights Arts Gallery.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:36 AM, 05.30.2017

Letter: County re-values demolished Heights property

To the Editor,

My letter to the Observer, published in the January 2017 issue, helped get the County to correct its error in valuing a demolished property on Desota Avenue at $97,200.

The County Fiscal Officer's website now shows that the property, 3249 Desota Ave., is valued at $21,200, for the 2016 and 2017 tax years. I met with Fiscal Officer Dennis Kennedy about this matter in late November. Mr Kennedy, I believe, also helped right the wrong.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 11:08 AM, 05.03.2017

Teachers deserve to be well-paid

To the Editor:

I attended the school board meeting March 7 to clarify some information I had read. I asked for confirmation of the contracts offered to Superintendent Dixon and Treasurer Gainer. These contracts total $2.5 million for the next 5 years. No one could or would answer my question. [Board of Education President] Register replied that he did not have the figures in front of him, and asked for me to contact him further. I did the next day. He responded with a phone call requesting me to put my request in writing and submit it to Mr. Gainer. I did this also. I left a letter for Mr. Gainer on Monday, March 13. No response as of yet.

[Editor’s note: This letter was submitted on March 14; as of March 23, the letter writer said she had not received a response. On March 23, Scott Gainer said in an e-mail that a response was sent “to her home address by mail earlier this week.”]

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 7:21 PM, 03.30.2017

Letter writer was 'nauseated and surprised'

To the Editor:

No thanks for the letter you printed titled "Democracy Day was entertaining, and informative" [March 2017 issue]. It was mean-spirited from the start. The writer began by slinging mud on the good intentions of good people. He stated that they were there [at the annual Democracy Day hearing] to restrict the first amendment. Untrue.

He follows this with two bad analogies. One about the inner workings of the minds of the judges. At the same time insulting the intelligence of anyone there by doubting that any of them had read the decision. Maybe he read it maybe not.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 7:19 PM, 03.30.2017

Letter: Bodega is a hidden gem

To the Editor:

Several years ago we first ate at the Bodega restaurant on Coventry to take advantage of the Tuesday night offer of half-price tapas, a variety of small plate dishes. We discovered outstanding cuisine.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 2:52 PM, 02.28.2017

Letter: Democracy Day hearing was entertaining and informative

To the Editor:

I was both entertained and informed by the Democracy Day at CH City Hall on Jan. 25. Underlying this event are the modified-free speech activists of Move to Amend, [who want] to restrict the First Amendment because even a court of nine Bader Ginsburgs would never agree with their objective. I didn't ask, but I doubt anyone there has actually read the Citizens United (itself a nonprofit) decision, because even the justices in the minority agree that corporations are an assembly of people and have First Amendment rights. The minority could not convince another justice why General Electric would have free speech by virtue of owning NBC, but not the media-light Ford Motor Company, for example.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 2:42 PM, 02.28.2017

Letter: Top of the Hill is a tremendous opportunity worthy of discussion

To the Editor:

By now, most of us who live, work, or recreate in the City of Cleveland Heights are probably aware of the redevelopment proposal for the Top of the Hill property in the Cedar Fairmount District. A developer has been selected, negotiations are underway, and highly anticipated planning and economic development details should soon be available for public view.

FutureHeights supports a mixed-use development project at Top of the Hill. Development of underutilized properties in Cleveland Heights will increase population, add to the tax base, and decrease the tax burden among current residents. A high-quality mixed-use development at the top of Cedar Hill will also enhance the reputation of the city, appropriately increase density to support existing businesses, and improve the quality of life for existing residents by providing goods and services that they need, including the addition of new for-rent and for-sale housing options.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 1:10 PM, 02.06.2017

Suggestion for a conversation to have with your kids

To the Editor:

Have you ever had little conversations with your kids about perspective on life? Have you ever shared the realization that their K–12 education is the largest free gift they will ever receive in life, other than perhaps from their family?

You can have any number of perspectives on how good or bad the education is, but the dollars spent and the number of people spending lots of hours caring about them will never happen again in their life.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:10 PM, 01.31.2017

County values demolished CH residence at $97,200

To the Editor:

The Cuyahoga County Board of Revision recently valued the property at 3249 Desota Ave. at $97,200. The property had been improved with a two-family home that was demolished in the summer of 2015, after having been declared a nuisance by the city [of Cleveland Heights].

In so valuing the property, the board of revision ignored an Ohio Supreme Court decision directing the county to value the property in light of its decision that an adjacent property should be valued at $5,000. The board of revision also ignored its own appraisal of the property valuing same at $30,000.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 11:53 AM, 01.03.2017

Shop local this holiday season

To the Editor:

2016 has been a very unusual year. The grim reaper has unfortunately taken so many from us. The uncertainty following the presidential election continues to twist and turn, almost on a daily basis. The economy is not robust. A first snow storm wreaked havoc on local businesses, during what is, normally, the second-busiest retail sales weekend of the year. And then there is online sales.

For most of us, Amazon is our arch nemesis. It's like an Evil Empire that continues to grow and suck the life out of local independent businesses. It's our Kryptonite. Amazon has made it so easy for you to stay at home and shop. Free shipping . . . 2-day delivery . . . generous return policy . . . thousands of items and, did I forget to mention, great prices. How can you not like it?

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 6:40 PM, 12.19.2016

Why I'm voting 'no' on Issue 109

To the Editor:

The following facts are reported on the Ohio Dept. of Education website at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Finance-and-Funding/Finance-Related-Data/Education-Fiscal-Data-Project which measures the CH-UH school district versus the other districts in Cuyahoga County (and statewide averages):

  1. Total expenditure per pupil: CH-UH $19,671.49 vs. $14,445 average for all other districts in Cuyahoga county;
  2. Classroom teachers average salary: CH-UH is $73,708 vs. $68,848 for other Cuyahoga County districts;
  3. K–12 pupil-to-teacher ratio: CH-UH 11.6 vs. Cuyahoga County average of 14.7 pupils per teacher.


What emerges from this report is a picture of a school system plagued by out-of-control spending, excessive overstaffing, and overpaid faculty.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 2:53 PM, 11.07.2016

CH-UH superintendent thanks community for passing Issue 109

To the Editor:

I first want to say a heartfelt thank you to the CH-UH community for supporting our schools. We are obviously thrilled with the result of Issue 109, and we appreciate the trust that the voters have in our public schools.

The work doesn't stop here, however. We must continue to earn the support and the trust of our community and strive toward our goal of academic excellence for each and every student. Our five-year strategic plan clearly sets us on this path to success—we have seen improvements in district operations already and expect to realize even more positive results moving forward.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 6:08 PM, 12.01.2016

Steering committee member thanks community for supporting schools

To the Editor:

I would like to personally thank every single person who volunteered their time and energy to campaign with Citizens for Our Heights Schools on behalf of the school levy. Your passion and your faith in our district made an enormous difference to residents.

And I would like to thank every single person who voted in favor of Issue 109. This victory allows the district to continue offering a high-quality, well-rounded education to our community's children, and sends a clear message about the value we place on opportunity and access. 

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 6:07 PM, 12.01.2016

Taking ownership of what schools don't do well enough

To the Editor:

I was at a joint meeting of University Heights City Council and the CH-UH school board on Sept. 14. Superintendent Dixon said at the meeting (paraphrased):

  1. Our district's administration owns up to the reality that too many of our students are not achieving to a level essential for their future life success.
  2. Teaching for mastery in each subject is the way for us to change that, no matter what state tests look like.

I have seen no school leader openly state this strategic awareness in my 30-plus years of watching our district. I can only take my hat off to such clarity.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 1:09 PM, 11.01.2016

Private school families support CH-UH schools and Issue 109

To the Editor:

We are writing as parents of school-aged children living in Cleveland Heights or University Heights. As East Siders, we are blessed with a wealth of options in deciding where our children will be educated. While each of us has chosen to send our own children to independent or parochial schools (or to home-school)—for reasons that include instilling religious values, maintaining family traditions or meeting the specific social or educational needs of our children—we nonetheless recognize the vital role a strong public school system plays in our community.

Heights schools have a challenging mission—to provide enriching academic, artistic and athletic programs for all students, regardless of background or ability; to provide a meaningful learning experience for students with disabilities; and to provide effective interventions and appropriate programming to maximize the potential of an at-risk population.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 1:06 PM, 11.01.2016

Reasons not to vote for school levy

To the Editor:

Recently an article in the Heights Observer explain[ed] a new food giveaway program for Heights residen[ts]. Evidently a substantial [number] of friends and neighbors can’t afford to feed their own families.  

There are an increasing number of residents who are becoming tax delinquent because of our increasingly higher tax rate.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to sell homes in the area for fair market value.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:43 PM, 11.01.2016

Parent wants all children to have more opportunities

To the Editor:

It’s one of those parenting clichés that we all want our children to have better lives and greater opportunities than we had ourselves. My children already have.

My daughter Amber, a senior at Heights High, is currently taking a full course load at Cleveland State University while simultaneously attending classes at Heights. She will finish high school with her entire freshman year of college under her belt. I cannot even begin to describe what this means to me financially and emotionally. For her to start college without the worry of being burdened by crippling debt is a huge weight off my shoulders.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:35 PM, 11.01.2016

Vote 'yes' to invest in our community

To the Editor,

By now, readers are likely to be aware of these basic facts about the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school budget and levy: The requested tax increase is the smallest ask in about 30 years; our district has lost about 33 percent of its state funding due to EdChoice and charter school programs, and this loss has been increasing every year; once inflation is taken into account, teachers are working for less pay than they did five years ago; the district has not gone this long without a levy passing for at least 20 years; the district cut more than 50 teaching positions this spring.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:32 PM, 11.01.2016

How we chose the public schools

To the Editor:

In 2012, choosing an elementary school for our daughter felt like a matter of subtraction. We aren't Catholic, so we crossed religious schools off our list. I was working part time as a community college English professor, so we crossed the more expensive private schools off our list. I knew my patience limit enough to know that home-schooling was never on the list. After all of these subtractions, the local public school was the only one left.

But school choice isn't a subtraction problem where the public school is the last answer. After four years in the public schools, I understand that our choice was actually a matter of addition.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:30 PM, 11.01.2016

Fourth-generation Heights family supports school levy

To the Editor:

I am voting for the CH-UH school levy this November.

In the past few months, I visited two schools, including the high school, and met with a variety of school administrators and teachers. I witnessed schools that were well-run even after years of cuts in operating expenses, limited payroll increases, teacher layoffs and the elimination of teacher and staff positions.  

One of the primary concerns for me and for many in the community is the graduation rate.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:28 PM, 11.01.2016

This parent will vote with pride for Issue 109

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district spends a lot of money on its students. Some people point to this as a reason not to support public education. I actually think it’s a fact about which we should all be proud.

We spend this money because our community values opportunity, equity and access. We believe that children should be introduced to foreign languages in elementary school. We believe that fourth-graders should have the chance to learn musical instruments, regardless of their parents’ ability to afford private lessons.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:25 PM, 11.01.2016

Clarifying the amount of school levy, Issue 109

To the editor:

We have gotten some questions from voters about the amount of the Issue 109 CH-UH levy and we want to clear up some confusion caused by an oddity of Ohio law. The ballot describes the levy as "5.5 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to 55 cents for each one hundred dollars of valuation." What the ballot does NOT explain, however, is that in Ohio, the "valuation" applied to tax levies is only 35 percent of the market value of your home--the law requires this.

The Cuyahoga County treasurer explains it like this:

"Property tax bills are calculated on the assessed value of property, which equals 35 percent of the Fiscal Officer's appraised value. For instance, a home with an appraised value of $100,000 will be taxed on a value of $35,000."

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 1:23 PM, 10.25.2016

Please vote against the school levy, excess and opaqueness

To the Editor,

Cleveland Heights, University Heights and South Euclid voters should vote against the school levy that will be on the ballot on Nov. 8, 2016.

I support this statement with the following data from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Comprehensive Annual Financial Report For The Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2015.

The district and the levy campaign will fail to mention these, as they are, as always, putting all responsibility for another tax increase on HB 920:

  • Between 2006 and 2015
    • General Fund Expenditures increased by 32.3 percent.
    • Student Enrollment decreased 13.5 percent.
    • The Cost per Student per Year increased 53 percent, to $20,534.
  • Between 2006 and 2013, the Graduation Rate decreased by 17 percent.
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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 11:53 AM, 09.30.2016

Voting yes for the CH-UH school levy makes 'cents'

To the Editor:

In November, there will be a levy on the ballot for Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools. As opposed to the school levy passed in 2013, which can only be used for renovations, this levy is only for school operations. 

It is a fair question to ask why the CH-UH Board [of Education] periodically turns to voters asking for more money for our schools’ operating expenses. In 1976, HB 920 was passed in Ohio. Under this law, the dollar amount of taxes collected by a school district can only increase with the passage of a levy. When a levy passes, the dollar amount (NOT the tax rate) is frozen until a new levy is approved.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 11:42 AM, 09.01.2016

Zagara's thanks the community for its support after power outage

To the Editor:

Thank you to those who helped organize this unforgettable day. Thank you to everyone who visited, shopped and offered hugs and good luck wishes to me, my family and my employees. Thank you to my employees who work hard every day to make sure Zagara’s Marketplace serves our community as best it can.

Zagara’s Marketplace experienced an unforgettable day on Saturday, Aug. 20. The sun shone bright. Customers smiled wide. Big hugs were offered. Hearty handshakes were given. And a few tears welled up in some eyes, including mine.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:07 AM, 08.23.2016

Teachers need leaders in tough times

To the Editor:

In the June Heights Observer, Ari Klein (“We must retain and attract school district employees”) and Susie Kaeser (“Intrinsic motivation, not accountability, produces excellence”) spoke to difficulties facing teachers. While I am inclined to their perspective, the helpless tone was discouraging to me.

Both articles concerned themselves with a portrayal of what is happening to teachers as though they were unwilling or unable to do anything to influence their own future. The authors wrote from the perspective “this is what is happening to us,” as though constraints and requirements fully explained teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom, and determined their satisfaction with work.

By omission, the authors implied that teachers either cannot or will not work to influence outcomes in the classroom, and that they have little responsibility for results.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 6:42 PM, 07.28.2016

Democracy (not!) in Cleveland Heights

To the Editor:

For 90 years, Cleveland Heights council elections were open affairs. That changed four years ago. Since then, [CH City] Council chose three of our council representatives using a now-abused section of our city charter that empowers it to fill empty council seats. Intriguingly, all three appointees are close friends and/or cohorts of [Mayor] Cheryl Stephens.

It is no surprise [to] this observer of council activities that these appointments took place behind closed doors—no meeting minutes reflect any discussion or weeding out of applicants who would be our representative.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:46 AM, 05.30.2016

A CH-UH district parent's view of Ohio EdChoice

To the Editor:

In the ongoing dialogue concerning the use of public funds for private education, incoming FutureHeights board member Matthew Wilson recently argued in favor of this practice. Mr. Wilson contends that there are many private-public partnerships for which taxpayer dollars are allocated. While this may be true, that does not necessarily make it right. I object to the use of public funds for private education on several grounds. However, here is my main objection: private schools are not obliged to enroll everyone.

Private schools admit and dismiss children from their schools based on behavioral issues, academic ability and special needs. Public schools cannot do so. Public schools must educate everyone.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:45 AM, 05.30.2016

Parent advocates for school choice

To the Editor:

We're lucky to have people like [Ari] Klein in our city and in our school system. His passion for education is evident. However, as a parent who opted out of the public system, I see a few details differently.

My view is that, in general, parents are the best advocates for their children. Parents that opt out are not draining resources, or "starving children," in Mr. Klein's dramatic words [Heights Observer April 2016 issue]. They're being conscientious parents! Without these [opt-out] programs, when parents aren't satisfied, the only other choice might be to move away.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 5:06 PM, 04.29.2016

Retired teacher seeks answers from BOE

To the Editor:

I felt the need to write after attending the CH-UH school board meeting of April 5. The board was voting on proposed cuts for the next school year. 

I listened to all of the people who spoke before the board and thought each and every one of them spoke thoughtfully and with passion. The commitment of this community to its schools was on full display that evening.

That is why I was astonished that Superintendent Dixon did not take a minute to thank those who spoke [of] their concerns. This district has students who speak eloquently of their teachers and classes, teachers who live and work dedicatedly here for many years, and parents who value and want to safeguard their children's fine education.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:09 PM, 04.12.2016

CH should reject Vandemar rezoning application

To the Editor:

I write to urge that Cleveland Heights City Council reject Circle K’s application to rezone two residential properties on Vandemar Street to enable yet another gas station—this one with 16 pumps and a convenience store that will clearly encroach on a residential neighborhood, likely with lights and traffic well into evening hours. I have lived in this community long enough to remember when you could not come out of the parking lot with a rental movie and make a right hand turn onto Vandemar. It is a residential street after all. Let’s keep it that way!

My objection to this project goes beyond the obvious impact on the residential neighborhood. Cleveland Heights needs economic development, for sure, but a 16-pump gas station within feet of another gas station is not my idea of the kind of development that will jump-start this community and strengthen the area north of Mayfield Road, that suffered most from the predatory lending/foreclosure crisis which has resulted in vacant, deteriorated properties and deteriorating property values in these neighborhoods.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 11:59 AM, 03.01.2016

Those planning Severance's future should read book by Kunstler

To the Editor:

The people involved with planning the future of Severance Center might want to read The Geography of Nowhere: the Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape, by James Howard Kunstler.

To quote from the back of the paperback: the book ”traces America’s evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots.”

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:19 AM, 01.29.2016

Liberty Oaks tree markers merit explanation

To the Editor:

Re: the Liberty Oaks—a few years ago the Observer published an article that answered my question about the markers at the base of trees that surround Horseshoe Lake. Though I don’t recall them being called Liberty Oaks, the article said they were planted and labeled in honor of WWI soldiers who had lost their lives. A lovely memorial, but one with no explanation, not even a date, just a person’s name. I hope when they put signage up, as mentioned in the current article [Heights Observer, December 2015], they will remember the trees around Horseshoe Lake.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:28 AM, 12.31.2015

City should consider fewer parking restrictions to attract more visitors

To the Editor:

Those of us that live in the Cleveland Heights/University Heights area know what wonderful restaurants and "mom and pop" stores are available here. I love telling people of all the places we have within walking distance of almost every area in the two cities.

We want to attract people from outside our area, and make shopping and eating here available to all. So what do we do—put in parking meters that only accept quarters and have paid parking from morning through evening.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:53 AM, 12.07.2015

Cedar Lee restaurants seek fast-track approval for parking plan

To the Editor:

As owner of Tavern Company and an active member of the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District, I’m particularly interested in the economic sustainability of the Cedar Lee Business District. After observing the area and analyzing online reviews placed by visitors to Cedar Lee, it has become clear that parking during the weekend is a major concern. If visitors experience difficulty or are unable to find parking, they are inclined to keep driving and patronize another businesses district elsewhere.

I and several other Cedar Lee business owners have developed a plan to improve the visitor experience on Lee Road through the addition of a valet parking zone along the street.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 1:39 PM, 11.17.2015

Article failed to mention Lee Road businesses that have opened

To the Editor:

I am perplexed by the article [in the October issue] which spelled out the businesses that have closed on Lee Road.

The article did not mention that new and interesting businesses have opened up.

  • The sandwich shop Black Box Fix replaced Sweetie Fry.
  • Momo's Kebab replaced Phiner Bistro.
  • Joey’s Italian Bistro replaced Jimmy O’Neal’s Pub.
  • In addition, the Buddhist Center is occupying a large space that has long been an eyesore since the pet store left.
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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 11:40 AM, 10.30.2015

Candidates should follow law on political sign placement

To the Editor:

I recently concluded attendance at the Cleveland Heights Citizen’s Police Academy. What a wonderful learning opportunity this experience was. My mind was stretched as I gained an understanding of the work of our police department.

At the first class of the academy, we were taught the definition of “crime.” A crime is anything that breaks a law. Things are legal or they are not legal, based on statutes in the criminal code and ordinances.

Citizens are held to the standard of following laws. One does not need to know specific legality of an issue to be required to obey all laws. Laws are created in
response to a specific situation. Once a law is written, compliance is mandatory.

This brings me to the issue of political signs in Cleveland Heights. The statute addressing temporary signs states in part “. . . All yard signs must be placed parallel to the street adjoining the yard upon which they are placed and must be set back at least 20 feet from the nearest edge of the sidewalk . . .”

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:16 PM, 10.26.2015

CH City Council candidate Julie Love deserves consideration

To the Editor:

I’ve been a Cleveland Heights resident for over 35 years, and this year is the first time that I’ve noticed such general interest in a city council race. I would like to thank all of the candidates who are offering to serve our city. I’ve attended several events where candidates offered their views on how to advance Cleveland Heights. We are indeed fortunate to have so many candidates devoted to our city. 

I conclude that candidate Julie Love more than deserves our serious consideration. She analyzed CH financial statements and recommended a different choice for voters. Using her training as a certified public accountant, she offers us a viewpoint that is unique. Unlike all of the other candidates (or existing council members), she opposes an income tax increase at this time. She has taken a courageous stand, since it will be CH voters who will make the final decision in November, not city council. I agree with her that a tax increase will not be effective at “protecting” the city, as some people have argued.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 11:39 AM, 10.21.2015

Citizens share concerns about council candidate Julie Love

The voters of Cleveland Heights tend to be an educated bunch. We like to move beyond political slogans and yard signs, dig deeper, and find out what a candidate really stands for. Over the past week, the blog of city council hopeful Julie Love was circulated widely over social media. Residents were initially taken aback by both its provocative name, "Redneck Rants: A country girl with two children shares her views on life in the inner-city," and its equally provocative domain address: redneckmominthehood.blogspot.com.

Voters, hoping to move past Ms. Love’s broadly appealing message of lower taxes, decided to see for themselves who this woman really is and what she stands for. As more and more residents visited her site and then expressed their shock and concern on Facebook and Twitter, Ms. Love began slowly removing her most controversial posts, hiding her words from the public instead of owning up to them.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:21 AM, 10.16.2015

LWV endorses Cleveland Heights tax increase

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Greater Cleveland has voted to endorse the quarter percent income tax increase that Cleveland Heights voters will consider on Election Day.

If you are a budget follower, you have probably noted that Cleveland Heights has kept its operating budget basically the same since 1998. It has become increasingly difficult to do this.

The state used to distribute a substantial portion of its tax revenues back to the municipalities in the form of local government funds. In recent years, however, the state has been keeping a larger and larger share of those funds in state coffers, forcing cities and towns to cut services or find other ways to pay for them.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 10:24 AM, 10.12.2015

Council Member Seren's comments intentionally taken out of context

To the Editor:

To those residents who are “shocked and inflamed” by CH Council Member Kahlil Seren’s comment at The Wine Spot’s candidate forum, you are entitled to your opinion, but don’t distort what he actually said.

When asked how he would attract non-residents who choose not to live in Cleveland Heights because of our current tax levels, he replied that he isn’t sure that it is worth it to him to attract people who don’t think our city’s assets and quality services are worth contributing to. Blindly offering tax incentives to business doesn’t help a city remain strong; offering whatever it would take to attract people who choose their home based on tax levels is also unsustainable for our city.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:02 AM, 09.29.2015

CH council member's comment to taxpayers was out of line

To the Editor:

As most Cleveland Heights residents know, there are Whistlestop meetings being held at The Wine Spot on Lee Road to discuss the issues that affect Cleveland Heights residents. I have watched the video from Whistlestop #3 a few times and, more specifically, the remarks made by Cleveland Heights Council Member Kahlil Seren.

It is incomprehensible to me that a person who was appointed to council to fill a vacant seat and who is now running for council on his own merits would make the statement that if anyone [does] not like the proposed income tax increase he does not feel that he wants them or needs them living here.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:04 AM, 09.22.2015

Seren's comment on taxpayers offends

To the Editor:

I am concerned about comments made by a candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council. At at a recent candidates night presentation known as the Whistlestop, Kahlil Seren stated that he is not entirely sure that he wants people opposed to high taxes to move into this community and that "we don't need them." I find Mr. Seren's comments shocking and inflammatory! As a 41-year taxpaying homeowner in Cleveland Heights, I feel that I have paid more than my fair share of taxes and greatly resent Mr. Seren's statement!

Kahlil Seren was appointed to his current position on city council by our council members and now is seeking an elected full term, making important decisions about our city.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:42 PM, 09.14.2015

CH-UH district's transportation appeal process yields no results

To the Editor:

In May, we submitted a transportation appeal for our daughter. I cannot be more unimpressed, dissatisfied and frustrated over the process and the outcome. We received a letter within a week to tell us that we would hear the result in 30 days. By the first week of August, we had heard nothing. I contacted the CH-UH City School District Transportation Department and was told the committee would be having the meeting in two days and I would be notified. If I hadn’t contacted them, would my appeal ever have been heard? In fact, was my appeal actually considered or was the “denied” form letter simply sent?

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:17 AM, 09.03.2015

Why the levy failed: finding reasons closer to home

I found Sarah West’s piece, “The Inequity of Social Spaces in the CH-UH School Community,” (published in the June 2015 Heights Observer), disturbing—not for its descent into academic nomenclature or its application of cookie-cutter sociological concepts onto one section of our community—but for the lack of research about pre-existing conditions, local conditions and other contributing factors.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:41 PM, 06.29.2015

A correction to Motorcars article in June issue

To the Editor,

For the sake of accuracy, Motorcars is the largest private-sector employer in Cleveland Heights. The City of Cleveland Heights is the largest employer in the city, with more than 300 full-time employees. If you include seasonal and part-time, the city employees more than 400 people.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:34 PM, 06.29.2015

Bob Cheshier brought Little Free Libraries to Cleveland

To the Editor:

I was quite pleased to see the article regarding the Little Free Library in the June 2015 issue, but was dismayed that mention was not made of the late Bob Cheshier, who was responsible for bringing the Little Free Libraries to the Cleveland area. Bob was an ardent advocate for the advancement of libraries and associated reading skills. I know Bob would have been very pleased to see yet another Little Free Library.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:33 PM, 06.29.2015

Thank you from Coventry P.E.A.C.E.

To the Editor:

The Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Playground and Gardens work day on May 16 was a partial success in some ways and a great success in all other ways.

The great success shown that day was the dedication of community volunteers who came to help repair the playground equipment and spruce up the beautiful gardens.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:31 PM, 06.29.2015

Zagara's event raised funds for food bank

To the Editor:

The efforts and generosity of Zagara's patrons and employees are to be applauded as the results of the Harvest for Hunger at Zagara's Marketplace, during the month of March, are revealed:

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 1:59 PM, 05.29.2015

City should invest in renewable energy

To the Editor,

As a proud citizen of Cleveland Heights, I love the culture of social and environmental consciousness which the city holds dear; however, I believe we can do better. We have made strides in recycling, support of local business, locally grown foods, and so on, but one aspect where we've neglected to pay much attention is renewable energy. Cleveland has been making progress in this important area and has gotten good publicity for it, but now I think it's time we join in to be a more eco-friendly, sustainable community.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 1:57 PM, 05.29.2015

Remembering Bill Lahman, former CH city manager

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights lost a longtime resident at the beginning of February—William C. Lahman. He had been city manager from 1964 to 1975. I first heard of Bill when our family moved here in 1965; I didn't meet him then, but felt that he was an excellent city manager. He left to become secretary-treasurer of RTA and, in 1981, became its general manager. When he retired in 1985, I still had not met him but, because I was a regular RTA rider, I was aware of some of his accomplishments.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 1:22 PM, 05.01.2015

I will vote 'yes' on school levy

To the Editor,

I am writing to support the levy for the CH-UH schools. 

Our district:

  • Has waited four years between operating levies instead of the usual three. 
  • Has cut $3 million in spending, in addition to the $2 million cut by the state.
  • Agreed to give only minimal cost of living increases to all staff and administrators.
  • Is asking for the smallest increase for an operational levy in decades.
  • Plans to cut an additional $500,000 from its budget no matter what.
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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 11:34 AM, 04.29.2015

LWV endorses May ballot Issue 2

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland (LWV) has voted to endorse Issue 2, the 5.9 mill operating levy for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District. The district has consistently been recognized for its careful stewardship of taxpayer money.

The LWV’s positions support the role of the local community in levying local taxes to assume a reasonable share of the financial burden to support local public schools.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 11:12 AM, 04.21.2015

Neighbors and businesses grateful for restored Coventry library hours

To the Editor:

On behalf of the many loyal patrons of Coventry Village Library we extend heartfelt thanks to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Board of Directors and administration for their Feb. 16 decision to restore Friday hours to the library's schedule.

Combined with the recent restoration of Sunday hours to all branches, the Coventry Village Library will now be able to serve the community on a daily basis. This is good news for residents and also good news for the Coventry retail district, as the library plays an important role in attracting people to our neighborhood businesses.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 4:56 PM, 02.22.2015