Why I'm running for UH mayor
My name is Phil Atkin. I am running for mayor of University Heights.
I have lived here 30 years amidst a sea of beautiful family homes. I am not a politician.
All those years I watched major issues remain unaddressed, only worsen. We have one of the highest property tax rates in the country. We support a failing public school system at a cost that is over twice the state average, and growing.
Miraculously, four years ago the state inaugurated the voucher program for failing school systems. Everything changed. People started moving here to take advantage of the program. I saw houses being enlarged, upgraded, even re-built. Home values appreciated. Businesses opened. Neighborhoods filled with children. A growing majority of residents send children to private schools.
Even with all this change, there was still no involvement by the mayor or council.
When the education committee of the Ohio Senate held hearings on vouchers this past spring, they came under attack by teachers’ unions and public school advocates. Where were our elected leaders touting the enormous benefits of the vouchers on our city and how there would be even greater benefits if educational choices were expanded?
No one is advocating programs for the children mired in the failing school system. No one demands better financial control of schooling, as we watch our tax rates soar. No one advocates that empty schools be used by packed parochial schools, who don’t have room to accept more students.
The residents own the city, not the office holders or the school system. Residents needs come first! The mayor’s job is to fight for the needs and rights of residents.
There are other city issues to address—support of police and emergency services, and working with staff to enhance services.
I have a master’s in urban and regional planning and went to architecture school. I worked as a senior planner for the Buffalo regional planning board, was director of urban design services for a large engineering firm, was consultant for municipalities in western New York, and the Seneca Nation of Indians. I have been an award-winning builder in New York and Ohio. I designed and built the Chabad Center in Beachwood, condos in the Heights, renovations in Ohio City, and more.
Mayor and council need to respond to resident’s needs, turning difficulties into opportunities.
My website is https://philatkin4uh.com, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philip Atkin is a builder, a resident of University Heights, and a candidate for mayor of the city.