Voters Guide

Shaker Heights Municipal Judge

Unexpired term ending: December 31, 2021          Salary: $143,701          Elect: 1

Candidates:

Laura Creed

Anne Walton Keller

Sydney Strickland Saffold

James W. Satola 

For candidate updates, visit vote411.org.

The Shaker Heights Municipal Court District serves Beachwood, Hunting Valley, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, and University Heights.

More information on each candidate including answers to questions can be found online at Vote411.org or Judicial Votes Count.

A candidate forum takes place October 4, presented by the Shaker Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. A video of the forum will be on the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland YouTube channel.

 

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 8:42 AM, 10.02.2021

East Cleveland Board of Education

Attention Voters in the Caledonia Neighborhood

Term: Four years           Salary: $0          Elect: 2

Candidates:  

Bennanaye A. Brooks 

Vernon Robinson

Visit vote411.org for updates 

 

 

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 8:39 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights City Council Candidate Winifred Weizer

Age: 71 

Email: win4uh@gmail.com

Biographical information:

Education: B.A., Urban Studies; Master Public Administration, Concentration in Public Works Management

Current occupation: Associate College Lecturer

Qualifications: I have both management experience in the private sector as well as the training for public sector challenges. I have been actively involved with the city on various committees since 1995. I currently serve as a member of the Finance Advisory Committee of Council and am the Resident representative on the City Beautiful Corp. (Community Improvement Corp. of the City of University Heights). I previously served on council in 2007. I am a member of the Government Finance Officers Association and the American Public Works Association

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?

The Charter assigns the Mayor the administrative duties and the Council the legislative duties, which includes the approval of the budget. This means that both need to work together collaboratively for the betterment of the city. The best relationships happen when both groups are willing to listen and compromise for the betterment of the city. A total of eight individuals bring their skills, knowledge and expertise to the table. Council is working together with the use of their committee structure. This has allowed them to take advantage of the strengths of individual council persons in reviewing and proposing initiatives that are needed. Council also uses the skills of residents with advisory groups like the Finance Advisory Committee.

What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?

I believe we should always strive for a balanced yearly operating budget. That is a budget that addresses the primary services that are provided to meet the health, safety and welfare of our residents. If possible, a set amount should be designated to go into a prudent reserve to provide the funding during times of emergency. The priorities there are police, fire and sanitation services. After those, building and housing and yearly infrastructure needs (road repair etc.) should be addressed as well as ancillary programs like pool, park and senior services. If possible, a set amount should be designated to go into a prudent reserve to provide funding during times of emergency. We also need better performance data for budget evaluation.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

The city has a history of doing this over the past 20 years with some success. Over the past few years, we have merged the police and fire dispatch and are in the process of potentially merging that unit into a larger one to maintain the saving that we generated with the first merger. We continue to make use of joint purchasing power through the state purchasing programs for autos, trucks, and police cars. We also purchase road salt collaboratively to get the best possible price which decreases with volume. We also work collaboratively with other cities to get the best possible cost for dumping our garbage. There are still other opportunities to be explored in areas like recreation and other city services.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

We need to maintain and expand a number of programs that began with discussions during the Infeld administration and came to fruition under the current Mayor. These programs include low interest loans for code violation repair and tax abatement when major renovations are done. There is more that can be done as well. With the rebounding of housing prices, renovators are now more creatively redoing our older housing stock, gutting the interiors to provide open floor plans and modern amenities. We need to encourage this type of renovation work in the community to bring more homes up to code and to make them more desirable.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

Environmental considerations should be something that we all think about and are willing to take action on. We need to acknowledge that the implementation of green policies comes with an additional cost and that will be a factor in the decisions that we make. We also will need individuals with expertise to maintain anything that is installed. Purchasing of supplies, materials and equipment should also reflect a coherent environmental policy. The cost factor will drive a lot of the decisions that are made. If we were to move to an electric vehicle fleet for city cars, these will require an additional cost to install charging stations etc. Planning for the future needs to begin now for the city and its residents.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:53 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights City Council Candidate Sheri Sax

Age: 60 

Email: zeisele@sbcglobal.net

Website: friendsofsherirsax.com

Biographical information:

Education: Case Western Reserve University, B.S., Nutrition

Current occupation: Grants Officer at Jewish Family Service Association

Qualifications: I have a blended family of six grown children and have resided in University Heights for 29 years. I am a licensed dietitian and nursing home administrator  employed as JFSA’s Grants Officer, raising millions annually. Over my career, I has generated $35 million in revenues via operations and grant writing, managed $10 million in budgets, and supervised 300+ employees. I have held leadership roles in top organizations, responsible for program development and implementation to provide responsive services to meet community needs. My success in strategic planning, team building, advocacy and community relations has resulted in distinguished recognition.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?

Effective working relationships are key to a functional government, let alone any business or organization. Proactive, honest, timely communication in a spirit of mutual respect and responsiveness are critical to avoid misunderstandings and to accomplish objectives and goals. Collaboration with and accessibility to the Mayor and members of Council are essential to benefit University Heights’ citizens. As such, I reached out to the Mayor and members of Council before opting to run, making my decision after receiving a majority of endorsements. I am also making the effort to introduce myself to the other candidates to lay the groundwork for collaboration.

What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?

A priority is to keep a balanced budget as Council has achieved in recent years. Since the City has a defined area with few immediate prospects for commercial growth, it is critical to maintain the occupancy of businesses and homes at 100% to the greatest extent. I would encourage and support City departments to think of creative ways to attract commerce and residents resulting in increased revenue. Also, in this era of acceptability and desirability to work-from-home, University Heights should recruit a large organization employing a mass of virtual employees to expand our city’s tax base. Finally, University Square is in the process of engaging a condo developer to generate revenue. These ideas alone or combined can enhance city revenue.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

Organizations and businesses join forces to reduce overhead and duplication of efforts by combining “back room” services. In this spirit, regionalism may be applied to centralize training of city staff, safety services, and administrative personnel. Due to the challenges common to neighboring cities regarding hiring building department staff, coordinating efforts would improve responsiveness and reduced costs. Additionally, many UH Seniors have been reliable taxpayers for decades. Retirees living on fixed incomes have limited options to engage in meaningful social activities. Collaboration with nearby senior services in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Community Partnership on Aging, etc. could provide them support to age in place.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

Throughout UH, residents point to unkempt homes – many are rentals. Maintaining property values benefits everyone. I propose legislating ordinance(s) and creating a handbook outlining the division of owners’ and renters’ responsibilities, e.g., trash disposal, yard care, exterior work, snow removal, etc., maintenance frequency, and consequences when failing to comply. Input from stakeholders, e.g., city officials, renter’s association, JCU, homeowners, etc., is important to this process. Once in place for rentals, it may be applied to private homes. A corps of high school/college students hired and trained to maintain properties would improve job skills while helping residents. Fee-for-service or subsidies via grants would fund this program.         

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

Environmental considerations are important to our daily lives. As I introduce myself to residents, trash collection and recycling are frequently mentioned. The current system of backyard trash collection is a city service benefitting UH homeowners who pay one of the highest property taxes in Ohio. Whatever decision is made about how to collect solid waste, consideration of recycling models and incentives must be a priority. Another idea is to award homes with pollinating gardens and rain barrels as “Beautiful Home(s) of the Year,” promoting an effort to bring back pollinators and recycle rainwater – both of which are important to the environment. Finally, protected bike lanes would promote safety while benefitting the environment.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:50 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights City Council Candidate Katie Nelson Moody

Age: 36 

Email: moody4uh@gmail.com

Biographical information:

Education: M.S., Community and School Counseling, Winona State University; B.A., German, minor in management, Hope College; Upper Arlington High School

Current occupation: Mental Health Therapist

Qualifications: In my work as a mental health therapist, I have the privilege of getting to know and understand people and the systems in which individuals and families learn, work, worship, and live in community. While I am new to government, my passion for equity and justice are long-standing. I care about people and want to ensure that each member of the University Heights community (especially folks who have been historically excluded from participation in government and other systems) has a voice and an opportunity to participate in the functioning of our government. I value respectful and open communication, and I know the importance of asking and working through difficult questions and situations.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?

Productive, healthy relationships require honesty, communication, and transparency, both within the city government and with the public in accordance with Ohio's Sunshine Law. When disagreements occur (as they will and should!), the Mayor and Council members will benefit from taking a humble learning stance, which includes approaching differing opinions with curiosity to understand the basis for a person's perspective. As representatives of University Heights, the Mayor and Council have a responsibility to be actively engaged in regular meetings and community activities. Council committees should meet regularly, as that is how work gets done and we are able to meet the needs of UH residents.

What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?

In our city, there are residents who face food and housing insecurity, and I want to ensure that these folks know they can approach their local government in times of need. While some of these services are outside the scope of UH, we can make space to meet identified needs locally. The City's infrastructure (roads, sewers, signage, etc.) is an ongoing expense, and the budget must include adequate funds for upkeep and improvement. Our police, firefighters, and the service department deserve a fair living wage with competitive benefits and continuing education (including mental health training and de-escalation techniques).

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

I support University Heights merging our dispatch center with the Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center to handle 9-1-1 calls directly. Our local government will benefit from continued collaboration with the CHUH school district to make new use of existing sites (like the Wiley building) to ensure that UH buildings are accessible for all residents.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

"The City of Beautiful Homes" needs continued assessment and accountability for our residents. At the same time, residents need communication and transparency to access government supports already in place to maintain safe housing. I support restoration of the Property Maintenance Grant Program, an income-based program that supports residents in correcting housing violations identified by the city. The Council declined to fund this program in 2021, and I will vote to fund it in 2022.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

University Heights should invest in programs supporting renewable energy installations, including solar panels on homes and charging stations for electric vehicles. Our recycling program needs improvement, and the Mayor and Council need to work together to overcome identified barriers--from relying on blue plastic bagged recycling to ensuring that senior residents or folks with mobility issues are able to take care of their recycling. A possible solution would be to look into loose recycling bins, like those used in Shaker Heights (backyard) or Beachwood (curbside).

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:46 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights City Council Candidate Paul Miller

Age: 79 

Email: paulmiller42@gmail.com

Website: miller4uh.com

Facebook: Paul Miller Candidate

Biographical information:

Education: Suffolk University Law School, Boston, J.D.; University of Miami, B.A., Communications

Current occupation: Sales & Management, Retired

Qualifications: Substitute teacher in the Cleveland Heights/University Heights school system post retirement led to a greater understanding of problems with our schools. Developed excellent communication skills from working as a Trainer to teaching public speaking. Board Member of various organizations gives me an excellent understanding of what it takes to prepare & execute a budget. Being a chairperson of numerous committees, I understand the dynamics of individuals working together. Weekly deliveries of donated food gave me a new appreciation of our population in great need.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?

An effective relationship between the Mayor and members of Council must include the following: a mutual respect for the positions, a clear understanding of the definition of powers, a give and take between the Mayor and Council with the overriding thought: Is it in the best interest of our city and our residents. Our responsibility to the electorate is to work together because only then can we accomplish the greater good. An effective working relationship among members of Council must include the following: a mutual respect for each other and each other’s opinions. In the end, Council must present itself as a unified body, always keeping in mind that we are all working for the betterment of the city.

What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?

The priorities of a city budget should be to include being balanced and creating a rainy day fund. Deficit spending is not an option. Our citizens demand and expect us to be fiscally responsible. Spending more than what we have or borrowing money is not prudent or sound monetarily. My number one priority is to have a strong Police and Fire Department. As an elected official my responsibility is to keep our residents safe. It is important that our streets, sidewalks and curbs are well maintained in order to keep our residents safe. The next priority is maintaining our garbage pick-up. Additionally, we need to have a comprehensive study done regarding the different roles of personnel of the city to ensure all the city’s needs are being met.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

John Donne said, "No man is an island." University Heights needs to work with the four surrounding cities that bring different strengths to the table. We must look into regional cooperation so that existing expenditures can be minimized. The opportunities for cooperation are: 1. Technology and Information. 2. Maintaining our streets, sidewalks and curbs, many of which are in dangerous condition to residents. 3. Asset Management. 4. Human Resource Management. 5. Administrative Functions. Before any decisions are made, input from the residents is crucial. We do not want to lose our unique community identity.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

The city needs to do a complete assessment of all homes in order to find out the present condition. This would provide a current picture to Council. Unfortunately, there are abandoned homes that we may not be aware of causing our neighborhoods to suffer. Caring about the quality of our housing is important for the following reasons: 1. It adds to the physical attractiveness of our city. 2. It increases property values. 3. It increases pride in each neighborhood. We must work with homeowners to address violations. We need to investigate grant programs and low interest loans to help those homeowners to remedy their violations. In addition, we must have a strong Housing Department.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

University Heights should take into serious consideration the role of the environment. I want to preserve and enhance our quality of life by researching the following areas: electric/hydrogen vehicles, bicycle lanes, solar power, paper free policies, environmentally friendly paper products. With regards to electric/hydrogen vehicles, I would work towards installing free charging stations in the city, for the use of residents. This has been met with great success in other cities. Budget constraints will always play a key part in our decision making process. As a city, we should encourage our residents to pursue whatever options are available. Our city needs to reflect important quality of life issues for our health and environment.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:43 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights City Council Candidate Brian J. King

Age: 44

Email: Brian@King4UH.com

Website: King4UH.com

Facebook: King4UH

Biographical information: 

Education: Studied History at University of Toledo

Current occupation: IT Engineer Leads, Progressive Insurance

Qualifications: 20+ years of experience as an Information Technology professional; Board Member of University Settlement (2014-Present); Board Member of Bike Cleveland (2020-Present); Board Member of Heights Bicycle Coalition (2018-2020); Cleveland Bridge Builders Class of 2018, a program of the Cleveland Leadership Center for mid-career professionals.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?

Members of Council and the City administration should meet early, often, and in public. Council members chair seven committees, each dedicated to a department: Finance, Safety, Building/Housing, Recreation, Service/Utilities, Community Outreach, and Economic Development. Recently the committees have been meeting less frequently. Committees should meet with the administration to effectively oversee operations and propose legislation. Most matters should be introduced at the committee level where they can be discussed and studied in detail in advance of presentation to the full Council. Additionally, I will personally champion robust advance notice for all public meetings including agendas and for minutes to be posted in a timely manner.

What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?

Budgets are a reflection of values. Safety is top of mind for residents, and that priority is mirrored in the City budget. The largest expenses are our outstanding Fire and Police Departments. The Service Department is vital for removing our rubbish, leaves, and snow. Street resurfacing and maintenance of our roadways is also a priority. Investment in Economic Development is leading to the construction of 30 new townhomes on Taylor Road. Modest spending on rebranding has fostered renewed civic pride and is attracting new residents. Last, but certainly not least, supporting recreation options such as Purvis Pool and programming of Walter Stinson Park bring us together as a community and make University Heights a desirable place to call home.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

Strategic collaboration with our neighbors and the county are vital to controlling costs and quality of services. They allow the City to concentrate on core services such as police, fire, leaf/snow removal, and rubbish collection. A current example is the proposed merger of the Heights Hillcrest Communications Center with Chagrin Valley Dispatch. HHCC provides emergency dispatch for our city and several others, but cannot directly receive 911 calls from mobile phones. Instead mobile calls are routed manually via a County operator. By joining forces with CVD, we will not only save money, but the combined system will qualify for funding to receive mobile 911 calls directly. This will allow first responders to react more quickly.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

Some residents know their homes need work. In speaking with them, a couple themes emerged. One was difficulty finding reputable, qualified contractors. The City can play a role by prominently publishing a list of vetted companies like our neighbors Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. Second was affordability of repairs especially for seniors on fixed incomes. Community outreach regarding home repair loans (sometimes forgivable) could help residents maintain and stay in their homes. We must also hold negligent investment property owners, many of whom live out of state, accountable for the condition of their houses. Our new Director of Housing, Geoff Englebrecht, has hit the ground running, and this is a huge step in the right direction.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

I believe there is an overlooked impact of action at the local level. For example, the Zoning Code for the City is in the process of a comprehensive update--the first since 1956--and it has tremendous power to encourage environmentally friendly behavior. Parking space requirements, stormwater management, and alternative energy are target areas for improvement. Additionally, in discussions with residents, I have encountered tremendous enthusiasm for a Sustainable Advisory Committee. Our residents have a wealth of knowledge on environmental issues and green solutions. Their advice will be crucial for the successful implementation of policies to sustainably grow University Heights’ future.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:34 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights City Council Candidate Danny Grand

Age: 38 

Email: usa@councilmangrand.com

Website: councilmangrand.com

Biographical information:

Education: B.S., Talmudic Law and Liberal Arts

Current occupation: Legal Professional

Qualifications: Having worked with city administrations, agencies, and municipalities across the country remediating violating conditions, developing paths forward for community development and having worked for a political party as a youth, I've gained real world experience into the inner workings of local government in a way unlike most. I possess a legal background, a desire for achieving success. I am an author, a musician, a motivational speaker, and am a successful entrepreneur. Working diligently, independently, or working well collaboratively enables me to handle the tasks placed on my path. Being a councilperson means doing the People's business, that's exactly what I am going to do.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?

Firstly, I wish to thank you for these excellent questions, I feel they are spot on and very important to have answered by our future council members. Co-operative is the word that most vividly comes to mind. The acknowledgement that we're all working to advance the ideals of the City, and by that, the People’s business. The Mayor and Council MUST maintain great communication, be able to collaborate effectively, have the tough conversations, and do so as good sports, that way we can thrive. As council members we need to get all the ideas on the table, and honestly admit which the best ones are, then run with them wholeheartedly. Our constituents want us not to be ‘politicians,’ but to be good hearted Americans that will serve them well.

What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?

In short, Strong Security, Great Amenities, Thriving Schools, inter alia. However, overspending is a big no-no, that’s for certain. We need to allocate appropriate amounts of resources for essentials needed to facilitate the city’s proper functioning. We need to be more creative and find ways to cut costs and keep the same output, also infrastructure. I think we need to be great negotiators. With every new administration its goal should be to take the baton and do an even better job than the previous one did. I think we must find ways to give more to the community as far as services go, and to find ways to lower the taxes in University Heights. All these things are possible, and to those who say it isn’t, well then, it’s time to improvise.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

Any collaborating we can do to cause a win for UH residents, I’m all for it. I would really like to hear from the voters and take action steps to help achieve their desires. Group efforts on police, fire, and ambulance is important. Also, more needs to be done to make our school district a greater success. There’s the conversation point about regionalism, I'm not sure if I am a fan, but, if it means making our city better, then it’s worth reviewing. Outsourcing is a great way to improve on ‘cost of service’ line items; building, dispatch, accounting, many other things can be ‘shared’ with U.H. in collaborative terms to create efficiencies. I think an appointment for a regional collaborator of sorts shouldn’t be out of the question either.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

I think we should work on an incremental property tax rate, instead of a flat tax rate. The reason our property values don’t go up too much is because the tax burden would make it unbearable, so with a tax rate that increases incrementally when improvements are made, will, over time, lend itself to more equity in our homes, more property value, higher comps of sale, incentivize people to improve their homes, while still achieving at least the same amount of revenues collected by the City. I think abatements for new construction are a great incentive; we should work more options in for people, and we should find more ways to have people invest in their homes, to invest in U.H., so the 'City of beautiful homes' can continue on that way.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

Well, clearly, we have to take care of the world around us, and also the people within our city, but we also have to get the job done. I think environmental considerations need to be brought into the discussion and when sensible, implemented. One of the main focuses of any candidate should be heeding the pulse of the people; if it is important to the voters then we should see how to approach it from that perspective. I encourage all members of our city to engage and reach out to me about all of these things – and thank you again for these wonderful questions.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:31 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights City Council Candidate Christopher Cooney

Age: 51 

Email: chriskcooney@yahoo.com

Website: cooneyforcouncil.com

Facebook: Christopher Cooney for University Heights City Council

Biographical Information:

Education: St. Ann School, Cleveland Hts.; St. Ignatius High School; Loyola University of Chicago, School of Business Administration

Current occupation: Consultant, Self Employed

Qualifications: Accomplished executive professional with 24+ years of managerial experience in manufacturing and distribution environments. Responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining automotive and aerospace quality management systems at four locations throughout the United States. Implemented continuous improvement activities to meet and exceed management requirements. Since starting my own business, I have worked with companies from 3 to 6000 employees to improve their quality systems and increase productivity. As Gesu School Boosters President (2020-2021), I used these skills to improve our interactions with other parish organizations for long-term benefits.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the Mayor and the members of Council, and what do you consider to be an effective working relationship among members of Council?

An effective working relationship between the Mayor and members of Council would include healthy discussions about issues that will have a positive long-term impact on the city. The Mayor should provide the strategic direction of the city for Council and Council would oversee the implementation of the vision. The effective working relationship among members of Council would include reviewing information and data from other members in regards to their committee. This information should be presented to other members so that an informed decision can be reached.

What should be the priorities for the city’s budget?

The priorities of the city's budget should include a review of the performance and effectiveness of the previous budget so that future allocation of funds can be properly identified moving forward. We tend to make the most effective improvements with the lessons learned from past shortcomings. The priorities may include funds needed for city services and evolving resident needs.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

The opportunities for a regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services and facilities are sharing data for areas to improve city services. The continuous improvements that could be identified include shared best practices for the benefit of the region. A regional collaboration would allow our local governments to spot trends and make adjustments in a real-time proactive manner rather than reacting to ongoing issues.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

A recommended action the city could take to maintain the quality of its housing would be to ensure the residents of the city have a clear understanding that the city housing codes benefit everyone. The housing codes not only provide requirements for the safety of its residents, but also the plan to help improve the community at large.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

Environmental considerations should be considered in the city's policies and actions as a way to improve its services. The technology and data are available from multiple sources for the Mayor and Council to review so that informed decisions can be made. The ability to reduce waste and improve the recycling capabilities for long-term environmental benefits that are cost effective are available.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:24 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights Mayor Candidate Ken Simmons

Age: 60 

Email: akensimmons@gmail.com

Website: ken4uh.com

Facebook: Ken Simmons for Mayor

Biographical information:

Education: Master of Public Administration, Cleveland State University; B.S., Aviation, The Ohio State University

Current occupation: Airport Security Coordinator, Cleveland Department of Port Control 

Qualifications: As a recent graduate of the Master of Public Administration program through the Maxine Goodman Levin College at Cleveland State University (CSU), my passion for good government was ignited. Affirmed through this program is my conviction that serving the public must focus on: efficiency, equity, effectiveness, and economy. In the office of Mayor, I intend to take these tenets to work for the residents of University Heights. In addition to schooling, Ken would bring over two decades of experience in municipal government to the position of Mayor.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the mayor and the members of Council?

As equal branches of government, the executive and legislative branches must be cooperative within the constraints of our system of checks and balances. The Mayor and Council members should fully understand the requirements and limitations of their roles as detailed in the City Charter and the Constitution of the State of Ohio. Of course, a measure of competition between the branches can bring about win-win solutions to complex problems but the relationship must be mutually respectful. All individuals involved must have the best interests of the residents of University Heights first and foremost in their deliberations. As Mayor, I will model that behavior to the best of my ability.

What are your priorities in developing a budget for the city?

Written in the preamble to the City Charter the purpose of our government is to “to promote our common peace, safety and welfare.” Funding these primary duties of the government to provide policing, fire protection, emergency medical services, infrastructure maintenance, and building code enforcement must be balanced against the revenue the city generates through the collection of taxes on income, real property, sales, fees for service, etc. In other words, the operating expense budget must be balanced with respect to operating revenues. There may be tough decisions ahead, but they must be informed by thorough data-driven analysis freely available to the residents.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

A few years ago, the city was in talks to merge fire departments with those of nearby communities. I suggest this notion be re-visited. Building and housing could also be combined with other local governments. For example, if our housing court is in Shaker Heights, it seems to make sense that the same rules apply across those jurisdictions. The efficiencies that would be gained by contractors not having to deal with different licensing and permit requirements is enough reason to explore opportunities to combine these functions. Additionally, discussions could be had with Metroparks to assume operation of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Finally, refuse collection and other Service Department activities should be examined.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

As I walked door-to-door collecting petition signatures, I noticed several residences that needed minor repairs. Some of those residences were apartment buildings. As a commercial enterprise, a landlord must make every effort to comply with the building code. However, some to these residences were owner-occupied. I don’t think it is a matter of the expense of making those repairs, it’s more a matter of residents lacking the time or skills to make those repairs. Instead of the city inspectors issuing violations, this force could be more helpful if they would issue warnings that provide general advice or other resources to help correct the problem. An example could be a partnership with home improvement retailers and hardware stores that could offer workshops. After three warnings are ignored, then it would be appropriate to take enforcement action.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

We must manage our solid waste stream better. The engineer in me leans toward reduce, reuse, then recycle. The city administration should follow that recommendation. This common refrain is easy to say but extraordinarily hard to do. An informed citizenry is crucial to addressing this problem. We must know what really happens to the glass we put in the recycling container. As a nation we have done this, seen specifically during World War II. A wartime economy is what made recycling economically feasible. We should think about solid waste management as a similar struggle. However, the city can promote education programs that will help residents make more environmentally sound decisions about what they buy, consume, and recycle.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:15 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights Mayor Candidate Michael Dylan Brennan

Age: 50

Email: brennan4uh@gmail.com

Website: brennan4uh.com

Facebook: brennan4uh

Biographical information:

Education: Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, J.D.; Bowling Green State University, B.A., Political Science

Current occupation: Mayor of University Heights 

Qualifications: Approaching four years as mayor, and over 20 years legal experience, including managing a law practice. Prior community experience: FutureHeights Inc., Board of Directors, Executive Cmte (Corporate Secretary), Planning & Development Cmte, Heights Music Hop Cmte; Citizens for Saybrook Park (aka Walter Stinson Community Park). Prior political and government experience: Polling Location Coordinator, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections; Voter Protection Team, Obama for America; Judicial Staff Attorney, Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula, Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas; Law Intern, U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division; Congressional Intern for Rep. Eric D. Fingerhut.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the mayor and the members of Council?

The vision for the community is a collaborative process. It is the role of the mayor as the only full time elected official in the city to set forth the vision for the community. The councilmembers contribute to the vision, which they then share and work on together. This includes appropriating the funding to enact the changes needed to implement programs and reforms, and fulfill the vision for the community. While council members are part time, they must nevertheless be engaged, open, and energetic. They must work in good faith. They must resume meeting in committee regularly, for that is where the work gets done. The public’s work is to be done in public, out in the open.

What are your priorities in developing a budget for the city?

I fulfilled my promise to restore the Fire Department, which began day one with a new fire chief. We were prepared as well as anyone for the pandemic. I fulfilled my promise to start the city’s first economic development department. We now engage with our businesses, recruit new business, and work with developers. Keeping those gains, we now focus on infrastructure and sustainability: sewer upgrades and road improvements for all modes of transport. As we explore new municipal facilities to better serve the residents, we will go green while doing it. Good finance is the lifeblood of any organization, and it is key to providing the high quality services the residents expect and deserve.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

My administration is working with the CH-UH School Board to explore shared uses for the former Wiley property. In addition to a new bus depot, it could be the home for a new city service yard, and potentially more. We all share constituents, and we are working together to serve the public better. As chair of the HHCC regional dispatch center, I have worked towards the merger of our dispatch center into Chagrin Valley Dispatch. Not only will this save money, it will improve service and save lives, as we will then become eligible for handling mobile 911 calls directly, instead of having them go downtown first. All while keeping the current call center at Severance Circle.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

Everybody loves to live by well-kept homes, and no one likes receiving a code violation notice. As mayor, I started an income-based program to assist homeowners with a 90-10 grant up to $2,500 to resolve a code violation. Council declined to fund the program this year. I will seek to restore it. Four years ago I ran on tax abatements for homeowners who improve their properties, and fulfilled that promise by getting state approval and implementing a city-wide Community Reinvestment Area. I support continuing the CRA program. We reformed the exterior maintenance program, and are on year two of a five year process. There was once a time when this City was uneven in code enforcement, and treated different parts of town differently. This was unfair. We now seek to hold all property owners to the same high standards. The separation of the Housing and Community Development Department from the Building Department has allowed us to take on more housing issues while improving service.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

The old saying still applies: think globally, act locally. We bought the city’s first hybrid cars, obtained funding for an EV charging station, and no longer use herbicides on city property. We built the first two miles of bike lanes. Any new municipal construction will be green. We commissioned a solid waste study. Our suburb has the third most expensive pickup, with the third worst recycling results. Key is our outdated method of blue bag pickup, instead of loose pickup for recycling. We pay 50% more to process our recycling because of the bags. We need leaders with vision and values to reform recycling, rather than voting to end it. We should be implementing the study to improve recycling while controlling costs.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:12 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights Mayor Candidate Barbara Blankfeld

Age: 61

Email: blankfeld.4uhmayor.2021@gmail.com

Website: blankfeld4uhmayor.com

Facebook: Barbara Blankfeld

Biographical Information: 

Education: Notre Dame College of Ohio, Communications; Ohio Paralegal Institute, Administrative Law Specialty

Current occupation: Councilmember University Heights

Qualifications: A mayor is a Servant Leader who is selfless, service-driven, and embraces a commitment to responsiveness. My rich and diverse resume of professional experience, which includes municipal government, health care, and education, provides a solid foundation for me to fulfill the requirements of mayor. I am proud of being enthusiastically involved in our city and elected by its voters to serve on the city council. My legislative voting record supports sensible spending, safety, and security, solidifying my commitment to protecting our resident's best interests. We are more than a business; we are neighbors to be listened to, protected, celebrated, and served to the best of our shared abilities.

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the mayor and the members of Council?

Mutual respect and a commitment to solution-seeking exemplify a highly effective working relationship between a mayor and council. The mayor should foster a genuine partnership relationship between the city's administration and city council, which is the legislative authority, to create an environment of trust and open communication, which is essential to good government. The practice of engaging others is critical to building consensus, as is being open to the opinions and ideas of the seven council members elected by their community to represent them. Dedication to a shared vision, guided by ethics and equity, can lead us to create meaningful change and dynamic growth that moves our city forward in the best possible way for all.

What are your priorities in developing a budget for the city?

A strong budget begins with genuine fiscal responsibility, respecting the city's financial boundaries, and operating within its means as our residents do. Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely and saved prudently for identified needs and those needs that may unexpectedly arise while prioritizing vital services over non-essential items. We are fortunate to have expertly qualified Department Directors, and together must be responsible stewards of city resources while focusing on providing the highest level of services. Residents must have their views heard when significant decisions are considered, especially as we continue the Council Strategic Planning process. Everyone's viewpoint is worthy.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

Historically, University Heights has utilized various regional collaborations, including library, water, sewer, schools, senior services, County provided services, and emergency dispatch. However, we may be able to expand this thinking. For example, when the current administration's building department fell apart, I suggested that the city explore a shared services arrangement for some of those essential services with neighboring communities. In my conversations with other mayors, I've learned that this has been done successfully and works well. Considering new ways for our city to further benefit through such relationships can allow us to provide our residents with the highest level of service and improve fiscal responsibility.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

University Heights no longer has city-operated Building and Housing departments. Those departments disintegrated in the last four years, forcing the current administration to outsource inspections and permit issuance responsibilities to a Colorado company (SAFEbuilt) and causing incredible frustration for homeowners. It will be a priority to bring this work back in-house. Additionally, as chair of the council Building & Housing Committee, working with the Law Director, Police and Fire Chiefs, and Economic Development Director, we finalized legislation that strengthened the code concerning rental properties. My priority was to complete this vital work begun years ago by previous city council members, including numerous public hearings. In light of the advancing age of our housing stock, safe adherence to code while considering and balancing the needs of the subject population and accordingly updating the code maintains our residential neighborhoods' appearance, safety, and security.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

University Heights was fortunate to be designed as a tight-knit community of homes, leaving little room for commercial expansion and potential for overcrowding. The move of John Carroll University from its original location in 1935 brought additional population without too great of a negative environmental impact, even today, since the campus is finite in scope as homes surround it. Our city’s compact nature limits prospects for increased revenue from industry or commercial growth; however, it provides opportunities for focus on environmentally friendly purchasing choices and pursuit of grant funding to utilize best the limited green space we do have in our parks. Environmental considerations should always be a part of our decision making.  

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:08 AM, 10.02.2021

University Heights Mayor Candidate Philip M. Atkin

Age: 72

Email: atkin4UH@gmail.com

Website: philatkin4uh.com

Facebook: phil.atkin.94

Biographical information:

Education: B.A., SUNY Binghamton; Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning, U of Oregon, and in Architecture, SUNY Buffalo

Current occupation: Builder

Qualifications: Sr. Planner, Erie and Niagara Regional Planning Board; Director, Urban Design Services, Krehbiel Assoc. Engineering, Tonawanda, NY; Private Municipal Consultant for Planning and Zoning: Towns of Wheatfield, Cambria, Niagara County, NY, and for Seneca Nation of Indians - Irving, Salamanca NY

What do you consider to be an effective working relationship between the mayor and the members of Council?

The Mayor is the elected executive in charge of the operation of the city. The council are elected members of the city's legislative branch to review proposals for the expenditure of city funds. They must be able to respectfully interact to develop a yearly budget, and discuss new programs or services. This relationship should be honest open and business-like.

What are your priorities in developing a budget for the city?

1) I will assess the needs of each department with the department heads, including any new purchases that will be needed. 2) Identify any needed funds for consultants, or for community planning.

What opportunities do you see for regional collaboration between University Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

I believe University Heights has an excellent balance between local service provision, and shared services. The court system shared with Shaker is a good example. Regional collaborations sometimes work out for very specific types of services. But regional approaches inherently entail loss of control and local oversite, so that services may well end up diminished. Regionalization may actually entail additional cost for service, which may increase over time out of our control.

What, if any, specific actions would you recommend the city take to maintain the quality of its housing?

Right now the city is in an upward phase, and its housing is being upgraded and expanded privately by our residents. This has been stimulated by the recent growth resulting from the voucher program. We have had our own building department closed down by the current Mayor, and a private firm is providing services. I would monitor the effect it has on housing.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

We have a variety of existing requirements and guidelines from state and county authorities to comply with. We are not a city with manufacturing facilities. I don't believe there is a need for the city to go beyond what is already in place.   

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:03 AM, 10.02.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Jodi L. Sourini

Age: 54 

Email: jodi4boe@gmail.com

Website: jodi4boe.com

Facebook: JodiSourini

Biographical Information:

Education: B.S., Public Relations, Kent State University; M.B.S., John Carroll University

Current occupation: Marketing and Communications, current member of the Board of Education

The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?

Yes. I support by continuing to train district employees in diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias. Focus on closing our achievement gap between white students and students of color, special ed and English language learners by setting clear goals to tackle the issue and measure progress. Continue our Tiger Summer Camp, AP preparation and Bridges to Algebra programs, reinvigorate our Career & Technical Education Programs, enhance middle school offerings, expand preschool programs and add additional tutors and academic supports. Expand our Grow Your Own professional development program that provides college scholarships so minorities in our classified staff can obtain the education and credentials required to move into teaching positions.

Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?

Communication is key. I’ll meet with established organizations in the neighborhood such as Noble Neighbors, the Noble Library branch, local businesses, as well as the Noble Elementary PTA, etc. to make sure they’re knowledgeable about the social and medical services the CLC offers. In these meetings, I’ll arrange tours and invite local businesses/partner organizations to help implement and encourage residents to access CLC services. Then I’d advocate for a door-to-door campaign in the Noble neighborhood to raise awareness directly with Noble residents. Lastly, I’d advocate for special outreach to Nepali/Bhutanese residents with materials produced in native languages to make sure we overcome any English as a second language barriers.

What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?

It’s vital our School Board continue advocating with lawmakers in Columbus to ensure the Fair School Funding plan is fully enacted and funded in the next two biennial budgets. The majority of public school funding is backloaded in years 5 and 6. If implemented, this plan enables the district to continue our high quality programs and extracurriculars. As we push for Fair School Funding, it’s equally important for the School Board to continue evaluating every expenditure to support those that contribute to student achievement. Now that the unpredictable deduction method of funding EdChoice has been eliminated, we have a better ability to manage our budget effectively so we can eliminate the need for a levy for at least the next five years.

What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?

The role of the school board is to oversee the district’s mission to educate children and to be responsible stewards of public and natural resources. The Board of Education should support environmental projects, programs and policies when they contribute to our students’ learning, are proven technologies that protect the environment or reduce harm and are financially feasible for the district to implement.

What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?

I live near Walter Stinson Park in University Heights, which was a public school, a private school, an abandoned property and now is a valued park. I know firsthand the challenges and opportunities properties pose for residents when no longer used. District properties are public assets that require careful consideration to ensure they’re not needed before disposing. Likewise, we need to consider maintenance costs carefully. Green spaces are important to the quality of life and boost nearby property values, which helps the District now rather than waiting for long tax abatements to expire. I support redeveloping blighted/underutilized properties but believe in preserving public lands that are our community’s last available green spaces.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 6:57 AM, 10.02.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Maureen Lynn

Age: 48

Email: friendsofdrakelynnrennert@gmail.com

Website: newvoices4chuh.com

Biographical Information:

Education: B.S., Industrial Engineering, Penn State University

Current occupation: Consultant

The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?

The CHUH schools and the community have always been a champion of diversity and inclusion and I absolutely support this continued effort. In the schools, it is imperative that each student is treated respectfully, fairly and equitably. I would ensure that across all of the schools, students are given the same opportunities to succeed. Each of the schools needs to offer the same programs and resources for every student’s success. Funding for each school should be equitably distributed so that the maximum amount is allocated for the student.

Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?

The Noble Community Learning Center is an excellent resource for these families and students. As a Board Member, I would engage the community and families to understand the most essential needs that they would be seeking. Based on this, programs can be prioritized and properly funded. I would also seek Federal & State funding to support this program to ensure that it is thriving and sustainable. If this Center is successful, I would also look to expanding it into the other CHUH School communities.

What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?

As a Board Member, I would like to conduct a State Performance Audit. This audit is a full review of the school district’s finances and operations. It is conducted by a team from the Ohio’s State Auditor who have performed audits in over 80 school districts since 2011. The last CHUH Schools' performance audit by the state was in 1999 and identified $6-7 million in potential savings. The goal would be to find the inefficiencies, overspending and fund mismanagement so as to maximize the in-classroom spending.  Overall quality of education and other activities would improve when the funds are properly allocated to focus on the students.

What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?

Any new and/or existing school policies should take environmental impacts into consideration especially when they are able to generate cost savings, enhance efficiencies and improve the student experience. The CHUH Schools should strive to be free of toxins, use sustainable resources and create a safe & healthy place for students. In addition, schools must lead the conversation on environmental awareness with the students. This will encourage the students to engage in protecting their environment and can help the entire community become more environmentally aware.

What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?

The continued ownership of unused or under-utilized CHUH school properties is a financial burden on the district and the community. Selling or re-purposing buildings could provide more funding for the classroom and student support, which should always be the ultimate goal. Also if the student enrollment continues to decline, the Board needs to determine if existing buildings are being efficiently and effectively utilized.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 6:54 AM, 10.02.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Malia Lewis

Age: 55 

Email: malia.lewis66@gmail.com

Website: malialewis.com

Facebook: MaliaLewis4SchoolBoard

Biographical Information:

Education: M.F.A., Technical Design & Production, Yale School of Drama; B.A. in English Literature Harvard & Radcliffe Colleges; International Baccalaureate, Ecole Active Bilingue

Current occupation: 

Landlord & Property Manager, current member of the Board of Education

The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?

Yes, I agree with the District's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. I have sat on the Equity Task Force for many years & am deeply committed to the work of Diversity, Inclusion, and Educational Equity in the District. We are starting to see the results of our ongoing work with Heights High making the College Board AP Honor Roll for both increased AP course enrollment and increased AP exam scores. We have begun a Grow Your Own Program so classified staff can earn a college/teaching degree at CSU. The School Board recently passed a resolution promoting the use of culturally relevant curriculum. By facing disparities between subgroups, we can meet students' needs and improve academic outcomes.

Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?

The District is excited to pilot our first Community Learning Center at Noble. Noble principal, Patrick Carpenter, and Noble PTA have already established multiple partnerships with community agencies (CH-UH Library, Lake Erie Ink, etc.). The CLC will provide a framework for more and stronger collaborations to help Noble families and the wider Noble neighborhood. I will use my existing relationships with CH City Council and the CH-UH Libraries to explore closer collaboration and encourage community input as the Library plans its expansion and closing Montevista Road at Noble Road.

What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?

The current School Board is much attuned to the need to control expenses in the District. We completed the middle schools’ renovations on time and under budget, returning $1 million to the permanent improvement fund for use on other buildings which need maintenance and repairs. We have passed budgets with significant cuts three years in a row, totaling $5.2 million in savings. We negotiated a fair and sustainable contract which saves tax payers $1.5 million per year. We recently refinanced the bonds which paid for the high school and middle schools’ renovations to save residents $18.5 million in future property taxes (which will not be collected over the next decade or so). We are working towards a five-year levy cycle.

What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?

Environmental considerations are one part of sustainability. As a current Board member, I take into account many forms of sustainability when making decisions: economic, environmental, educational, and staff. As we plan to return school buses to Wiley from their temporary home at Park Synagogue on Mayfield Road, we are including infrastructure which will allow for future addition of solar panels. Re-opening the facilities process after a year's hiatus due to COVID is crucial to maintaining the District's sustainability and falls squarely within the framework of reduce, reuse, recycle. I want to keep collaborating with other public entities on joint reuse of some of our excess building capacity.

What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?

Challenges: balancing between the competing interests of the District and those of some sections of the community. We have two buildings which are not currently being used as schools: Milliken and Wiley. Milliken saves the District money by consolidating our in-house trades, their tools, supplies, and work shops. Wiley allowed us to provide a remote learning center last school year. We also collaborate with other entities who use the space: UH City Council, Fire Dept, Red Cross. Wiley will provide more opportunities in the future for greater cooperation between entities for the public good as we revisit our facilities planning. The process was temporarily halted by the pandemic; it is time to get back to that work.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 6:51 AM, 10.02.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Dan Heintz

Age: 54 

Email: HeintzforHeights@gmail.com

Website: DanHeintz.com

Biographical Information:

Education: B.A., John Carroll University; M.A., Ursuline College

Current occupation: Teacher, current member of the Board of Education

The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?

I agree wholeheartedly with this commitment. Public is for all. One example is our decision to bring a sixth science classroom online at Monticello. The original plan had Monti reopening with five science rooms. My vote in support of a sixth was driven by two considerations: equity and instruction. “Equity” doesn’t always mean “equal,” but it does sometimes. Reopening Monti with five science rooms, and Rox with six just felt wrong to me. As an educator, I knew what that sixth room would mean for instruction. It would allow each grade to have two rooms equipped specifically for the content of that course. Investing in rooms dedicated to specific content promotes student success. I am proud to have supported this decision.

Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?

The entire community should take pride in the work of our CLC! This has the potential to change the trajectory of some of our families. I hope that the CLC at Noble is merely the first in our district. My commitment to this visionary work can be found in my votes in favor of creating the program as well as a position to oversee it. The Noble community is positioned well to receive the services offered by the CLC. Over the past few years, our Board of Education, Library Board, and the governments of our host cities have re-established quarterly meetings. I am confident that all of these partners (coordinating with the CLC Director) will engage to ensure that our citizens connect to this programming.

What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?

As a member of the steering committee for the Vouchers Hurt Ohio lawsuit, I am working to end the illegal diversion of public tax dollars to private schools. Since Jodi, Malia and I joined, the Board has made budget reductions of over $5,000,000. Additionally, we recently refinanced district issued bonds to save our taxpayers $18.5 million in property taxes. Actions like these allowed us to return Honors History to our middle schools. The College Boards just recognized Heights High as a “School of Distinction” because of our high level of participation in AP coursework. I am confident that returning Honors History helped some of these students succeed in AP courses. These are not ideas. These are not promises. These are our results.

What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?

The environmental impact of our operations is important to this Board. Our remodeled High School (which I was not involved in planning) is LEED GOLD certified, and we have tried to continue our institutional commitment to sustainability. To this end, our Lay Facilities Committee has been researching ways that we might incorporate solar panels into the design of our bus garage and/or school roofing. They also hope that a future solar presence will allow our teachers to incorporate this equipment into their “hands on” lessons. President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill includes $1 billion per year for electric & low emission school busses. I'm eager to have CHUH seek this funding in order to begin transitioning away from an entirely diesel fleet.

What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?

The Milikin property is home to our skilled trades where we repair, repurpose and store school equipment. This extends the usable life of items our taxpayers have purchased. The property also provides its neighborhood a beautiful setting where they can walk among giant trees and enjoy family time at the playground. Wiley allowed Open Doors Academy to offer programming to students whose parents couldn’t stay home during COVID. It also allowed our sports teams a place to practice in a more COVID safe manner. It has been a training site for first responders & a location for blood drives. It is now hosting University Heights city government meetings. These facilities are assets to our taxpayers, even in the absence of direct instruction.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 6:47 AM, 10.02.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Charles C. Drake

Age: 69

Email: friendsofdrakelynnrennert@gmail.com

Website: newvoices4chuh.com

Biographical Information:

Education: Cleveland Heights graduate; John Carroll University, BSBA, Accounting

Current occupation: Consultant

The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?

I am a proud 50-year resident of the CH-UH school district, a vibrant and diverse community. All students deserve equal access to education and opportunities provided by our district. In order to function highly and be included in the opportunities of the 21st century, all children should receive the best education that the district can provide by teaching reading, writing, math and science. For students who need additional assistance, I will promote special tutoring services to be made available after school and on the weekends. I would build on current programs, such as Reaching Heights, especially those that ask alumni and community members to share their life experiences and how their education helped them to succeed in life.

Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?

All inhabitants of the areas in our district should have access to all of the services provided by this district and other governing entities. That being said, I believe that not only Noble residents, but also residents of the Oxford area should have access to all the services, both educational and social, provided by the CH-UH district and other governing entities. I would make it a priority of the district to communicate to all inhabitants the services that are available through the Community Learning Center. I would explore with the cities within the district that they should incorporate the same services available in their community centers.

What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?

The board should request the Auditor of State to perform an operational audit of the district’s operations and facilities. The board can regain the loss of community trust by creating an independent lay finance and audit committee. No member of this committee should provide any service to or receive remuneration from the district. Using the analysis from the committee, the board would then be able to economize administrative costs and not impact academics, the arts, or extracurricular activities for the students. The board should explore refinancing the bond issue that renovated the district’s physical facilities. I would demand that a board member participate in all contact and labor negotiations.

What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?

The #1 priority of the board should be student success. In addition, leaving a cleaner environment for future generations is of great importance. Environmental issues should be considered in all decisions by the board with serious consideration to cost benefit over the long-term. If elected, I would explore converting to a condensed natural gas bus fleet, solar panels on existing structures with storage facilities and net grid metering. I would recommend using federal COVID grant dollars to retrofit the HVAC systems in the buildings to treat the air for COVID and other viruses.

What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?

The district has under and unused physical facilities, a legacy from a much larger enrolled population. As many taxpayers have requested, the board should request that the Auditor of State perform an operational audit to include review of these properties. An independent audit and finance committee, free of vested interests, should review the audit results and recommend the use or sale of unneeded facilities, in compliance with state laws. The sale of any assets must consider the taxpayers and long-term benefits to all of the communities in the district.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 6:43 AM, 10.02.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Mario Clopton-Zymler

Age: 34

Email: hello@mario4tigernation.com

Website: mario4tigernation.com

Facebook: mario4tigernation

Biographical Information:

Education: A.B.D. Doctor of Education in Ed. Leadership, Ohio University; Master of Music in Choral Conducting, California State University, Los Angeles; Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Capital University

Current Occupation: School Principal Intern (Administrative Intern)

The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?

I do agree with this commitment and will also advocate for anti-racism. I intend on using my experience as a teacher and instructional leader to advocate for the revision of our education equity policy to include gender neutral language, a commitment to anti-racism, and the understanding of the intersections of identity and privilege. I will continue to advocate in policy and practice for respect and inclusion for our trans students from all faculty and staff including the recognition of pronouns, gender identity, and name of choice. And I will advocate for more effectiveness in special education services. I will also work to advocate against discriminatory practices against the young women in our schools as related to dress code violation.

Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?

A CLC is an equity tool. The entire concept of CLCs depends on spread (growth) and depth (commitment to change). As a Board member I will support the funding of the CLC model to include qualified staff and I will insist on comprehensive and regular needs assessments. I will also ensure a community organizing framework is utilized in outreach efforts. Innovation and perseverance is key when working to connect with marginalized families. I will also support anti-racism efforts as part of the commitment to change in mindset and practice that is necessary for the success of initiatives like CLCs. I will encourage the collection of qualitative and longitudinal statistical data to enhance our understanding of CLC impact on student learning.

What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?

First, we must be open, honest, and transparent with the reporting of fiscal matters. I will call for the CHUH School District to be added to the Ohio Checkbook. Repurpose the current Lay Finance Committee or create a new Finance and Audit Committee appointed to provide community transparency in the District’s financial planning and control. Complete a third-party, independent and targeted fiscal performance audit on expenditures. I will also advocate for an audit and justification of administrative positions and salaries. The Board and unions together must continue to find health care cost savings. These actions provide transparency and accountability & are intended to have little negative impact on academics or extracurricular offerings.

What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?

The environment should play a significant role in Board policy and actions. Inherent in environmental considerations is the health and safety of our students. The maintenance of our HVAC systems must be consistent, and we must assure our systems are aligned with ASHRAE Guidance and CDC’s recommendations for maintaining a healthy environment. Further, I would advocate for updating our anti-idling policy, adding specific time limits to bus idling, and a district policy on short and long term environmental sustainability. There are measurable health benefits to our students, staff, and community as well as cost savings benefits to our tax payers in thinking sustainably about our school operations.

What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?      

An opportunity exists for our community to adopt an initiative like "Forward Together" in Shaker Heights where the City, School and Library Boards do a comprehensive assessment of how best to utilize facilities and streamline operations. This type of intergovernmental cooperation may add improved resources to support student learning, relieve some tax burden, and make our buildings more cost and energy efficient. There also exists great potential to cooperatively utilize shuttered buildings for shared maintenance depots. The Wiley site would be great for intergovernmental multi-purposed space. I've also heard several UH residents share they'd like access to more public indoor recreation facilities.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 6:38 AM, 10.02.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council Candidate Allosious K. Snodgrass

Age: 26 

E-mail: al@alsnodgrass.com

Website: alsnodgrass.com

Facebook: ch4snodgrass

Biographical Information:

Education: MBA, Cleveland State University (expected 2023); B.A., Political Science, minor in Urban Public Management, CSU; Certified Economic Development Finance Professional, National Development Council

Current occupation: Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of an area Community Development Corp

Qualifications: I have a combination of work, educational, political, and volunteer experiences; and have built relationships at every level of government that will enable me to serve the residents of Cleveland Heights and help lead our city into a new era of growth and prosperity through the lens of Housing and Economic Development.

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.

We have a great opportunity to drive economic development that is equitable across all business districts in CH. Every neighborhood is within walking distance of a business district. Yet, only four business districts have an organized entity/group that focuses on the success of that specific district. In order to create equitable economic growth, the city council and the administration must organize all unorganized business districts and help implement plans to enable each district to thrive. We have an opportunity to develop Severance into an international destination combined with innovative industry and mixed-use development. We have an opportunity to develop the Noble corridor into a thriving strip of shops and restaurants.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

Having a good-quality of life means having fresh water–to drink, cook with, shower with, etc.; it means having clean air to breathe; it means making sure we protect biodiversity, and it means protecting our greenspaces and vegetation (especially our trees). Every project, every purchase should have protecting our environment as a top point of consideration before approval. We must make a minimal impact on our already fragile environment, which has been abused by generations of activities that have negatively impacted our environment.

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?

In order to uphold our Democratic right to representation, we must fill any council vacancy with urgency. I believe the following is key when filling a council vacancy: Council must fill the vacancy within thirty days of vacancy; the entire process MUST be public and streamed/saved to YouTube; the city council clerk must publish on social media, in local newspapers, and in city news the vacancy and application process to fill the vacancy within four business days of vacancy; and appointed member must meet/uphold county, state, and federal requirements/ethics; the applicant must hold residency requirements in the city at least one year prior to the opening of the application process and must complete a questionnaire.

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

With budget cuts from the federal and state governments, we must look at new ways to increase the quality of life, number of city service offerings, quality of city services and save money–for residents in Cleveland Heights through the lens of housing, economic development, and infrastructure. This issue should not be tackled by our government alone. Instead, we should implement a multi-jurisdictional plan to offer shared services, yet remain an independent municipality. These shared services include: Affordable Housing, Economic Development, Senior Services, Facility Sharing Agreements (Rec. Centers/Park Shelters), Recycling and Waste Management, Infrastructure Maintenance, Purchasing, Joint Lobbying, Transportation, and Youth Services.

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?

Elected officials are elected by the people. Executive-Legislative staff are employed by the people. Thus, both elected officials and city staff must remain committed to the very people who hired them. I have learned that residents simply do not know who to express their concerns to. I will work with city council leadership to assign each council member to a ward (the Board of Elections has existing wards for Cleveland Heights). By assigning each member to a ward, this enables residents to have a “point person'' who can help with concerns or issues. This also helps distinguish “lip service politicians” from the “public servants that can deliver for residents.”

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:41 PM, 10.01.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council Candidate Davida Russell

Age: 63

Email: russell4council@gmail.com

Website: davidaforch.com

Facebook: Councilwoman Davida Russell

Biographical Information:

Education: Cleveland State Labor-Management Relations Center Program; Leadership Cleveland Class 2004; George Meany National Labor College, double major

Current Occupation: School Bus Driver and Substitute Teacher, current City Council member

Qualifications: State President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, a Vice President of the Ohio AFL-CIO, State Executive Board Member and President of the Northeast Ohio District of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4/AFL-CIO, Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the North Coast Area Labor Federation, Trustee of the Cleveland North Shore Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, Commission Member of the Cuyahoga County Charter Review Commission, and Board Member for Cleveland’s Gateway Economic Development Corporation. In these positions, represents more than 180,000 members across Ohio and 11,000 just in Northeast Ohio.

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.

I see Cleveland Heights as divided between the “upper part” basically along Cedar Road and south and the “lower part” basically north of Cedar Road. “Upper” Cleveland Heights is affluent. Business districts in areas such as Cedar-Fairmount and Taylor Fairmount are healthy. The city has favored these districts with resources (grants, favorable loans, investments). Lower Cleveland Heights, which is much more diverse, is less affluent. Business districts in areas along the Noble and Taylor corridors are struggling and many are in distress. These areas have not received much in the way of city resources in some 40 years. Furthering the disparity, the city has used these distressed properties as dumping grounds for city activities.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

Current city policies and actions should be evaluated with respect to environmental impact. This involves looking at things such as water policy, trash management, public transport, and land use. A strategic environmental assessment should be undertaken in the planning stages of all new development and redevelopment. We should strive for a healthy balance between social and economic needs and environmental and resource use. “Green legislation” could help beautify landscaping in business districts, enhance our parks, and redevelop deteriorated and vacant properties.               

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?

This question comes after Council just concluded its amendment to our Charter and passed its provisions. A new provision provides that when a council seat becomes vacant, Council will have 45 days to fill the seat. If Council fails to make the appointment within that time frame, the mayor will make the appointment within 10 days. While I support a process that shortens the time to fill a council vacancy, I believe that council alone should be responsible for the appointment. This allows for the separation of powers between the legislative branch and administrative branch of city government. Further, I believe in democracy, for the people by the people. That said, I believe vacancies should be filled by elections. But cost is a factor!

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

There are some benefits to regionalization that I support, especially where there are service efficiencies and cost savings. Examples include the dispatch communications center for fire and police and the mutual aid among our five neighboring communities: Shaker Heights, University Heights, South Euclid, and Richmond Heights. We should always be ready to explore regional collaboration and, when beneficial, to be a participant in the development and implementation of regional strategic plans.

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?

The issue of the responsiveness of our city’s elected officials and staff to citizens’ concerns was a major factor in my deciding to run for city council. I received many, many complaints from residents from all parts of our community that our city government wasn’t listening to them, addressing their complaints, or operating with transparency. As a councilwoman, I walk the streets and talk to my constituents, listen and learn from them, and encourage their engagement in the solutions to our issues. I created a “You Talk, I Listen” forum to give residents a voice. I do all that I can to keep people informed and to get them to participate in council meetings.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:35 PM, 10.01.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council Candidate Anthony Mattox Jr.

Age: 39

Email: anthonylmattoxjr@gmail.com

Facebook: Elect Anthony Mattox

Biographical information:

Education: Training & Development Certification, Cleveland State University

Qualifications: Senior Pastor

Qualifications: I have been Pastoring The Empowerment Church in East Cleveland for 17 years. We serve the surrounding area and assist thousands through outreach, education, evangelism and advocacy. Served the past six years on the Cleveland Heights Planning Commission. I spent 10 years working in the corporate office of this area’s largest bank, KeyBank: working and training in the areas of Municipal Finance, Loan Servicing, Foreclosures, Bankruptcy, Bank owned properties, repossessions, mortgages, Commercial Business, Six Sigma, Underwriting, Organizational Leadership and a host of other segments. I worked in multiple sites including Cleveland, Akron, Buffalo NY, Boise ID, as well as Colorado.

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.

We need to engage with our businesses and find out what they need to be successful. In the Noble Area we have an opportunity to bring them together and form a strong organization. I have spoken with business owners on the North side. They want resources and support. They want a stronger relationship with the city. They also want to be promoted the same way other areas are promoted. Our business owners need access to training, resources, as well as capital. The city can serve as a partner in these areas. We need to bring resources to our businesses that will help them grow. This is in addition to the development of our business districts, pursuing companies to move to our city and creating spaces that attract people to those areas.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

The environment should be at the forefront of every conversation about development, not an after thought. We need to actively look for ways to ensure we protect our environment and protect our resources. This means partnering with groups at the beginning of projects that work to protect our environment. This also means getting community feedback about projects and their impact on the environment and our resources. We can build our community and be responsible to our environment. We need to consider our projects will impact future generations. We also need to be proactive in terms of educating our community on what we can all do to help. Sustainability must be a priority.

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?

I have experienced the impact of drawn out vacancies. I was a finalist for the last appointment. I believe 90 days is more than enough time to review applicants and make an appointment. However, I believe it is always best to allow the voters to have the final say. I understand this can be costly and timing may also be an issue. But whenever possible, I believe taking the decision back to the voters is the best way.

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

I spend most of my days between Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. There are major opportunities for regional partnership and major projects. In order for areas such as Noble and Superior to really thrive, we must work with East Cleveland. Development and Safety don’t stop at city borders. We need to focus ways to share resources such as community facilities and development ideas. Every city on our borders needs to thrive if we are going to be truly successful. We need to find ways to save money while enhancing the resources we provide to our communities. This can be done in areas other than just Public Safety. We can also collaborate on development, community centers, pools, community outreach, housing issues and more.

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?

I believe our city can improve how it both responds to and engages with residents. I believe in transparency. I believe government belongs to the people and has a duty to inform the people. There have been incidents where I feel that has not happened. I want to ensure citizens have all the facts and understand exactly where I stand. Community Engagement will be a large focus for me. Through regular town halls, backyard street meetings, a newsletter, block clubs as well as business luncheons, I will stay connected. It is imperative that City Officials are both available and accountable to its residents.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:33 PM, 10.01.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council Candidate Tony Cuda

Age: 66

Email: tonycudaforcitycouncil@gmail.com

Website: tonycudaforcitycouncil.com

Facebook: tony.cuda.90

Biographical information:

Education: Cleveland Heights High School; CSU, B.A., Political Science; John Carroll, Master’s in Education

Current Occupation: Retired Government Teacher

Qualifications:  Campaign Manager, Citizens for an Elected Mayor. Attended most City Council meetings the past four years. Member of the Citizen Transition Committee that made recommendations to CH City Council. Community Organizer, Heights Community Congress. Former Member, Cleveland School Board. Landlord/Tenant counselor, Cleveland Tenants Organization.

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.

All of our business districts suffered during Covid. Even with federal help, some businesses didn’t make it. Cedar/Fairmount is doing well. Lee Road has some vacancies. Coventry has too many vacancies. Taylor and Noble have been struggling for years. Here are a few ideas: 1. Use part of the $38.8 million in ARPA funds to assist struggling businesses. 2. Use federal assistance to attract minority-owned businesses to Cleveland Heights. 3. Enforce our housing codes, especially on investor-owned properties. Safe, well-maintained neighborhoods will attract economic development. 4. Severance must be developed. Issuing the right RFP along with holding the current owner to our building code standards would be a step in the right direction.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

Every development project should be reviewed by our knowledgeable citizens and a qualified sustainability official in our government. I am pleased that our city agreed to do an environmental study on Shaker Lakes to insure we are making the best decision possible on the dam and Horseshoe Lake. Another good example of how a qualified sustainability official could have made a difference is when our city ordered new police cars a couple of months ago. Because there was no review, we did not look at electric or hybrid vehicles as a possibility. These are the kinds of things we can and should do to protect our precious environment and take the lead on becoming a more sustainable city.

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?

Council should have a 45 day time limit to fill a vacancy. If the council fails to fill the vacancy in 45 days, the council president should fill it within 10 days. Regardless of how the vacancy is filled, the appointee should be on the next general election ballot. My reasoning: Forty-Five (45) days is needed to collect applications, review those applications and the video responses, narrow the field, interview the finalists and deliberate and make a choice. Sometimes there have been in excess of 40 candidates for an open seat. This process should be done with all deliberate speed, but not hastily. Giving the contingency to the mayor could throw off the checks and balances that are so vital to the 3 branches of government.

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

Regionalism makes absolute sense for some services and shared natural resources. A good example is the collaboration going on right now regarding Shaker Lakes. Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights must decide together on whether or not to follow the NEORSD recommendation of removing the dam and replacing Horseshoe Lake with streams. I support the Cleveland Heights initiative to get a second opinion on the NEORSD recommendation before making a decision. Another example would be sharing an animal control department with our contiguous neighbors. Cleveland Heights used to have an animal control department years ago. We don’t now. Perhaps sharing the cost with our neighbors would make it affordable. We certainly share plenty of wildlife.

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?

I know there are a lot of complaints about responsiveness because I hear about them with some regularity. There is no doubt the new mayor will have to develop a customer service mentality at City Hall. “We’ll get back to you within 14 days” is unacceptable. City Council should be prepared to support a plan that makes sense, and fund it. City Council meetings, emails and phone calls from constituents, and legislation are all opportunities to show the people who elected us that we are not only listening, but we are getting things done. When I led the campaign to change our charter to an elected mayor form of government, I was responding to the residents of this community. I plan to continue being responsive as a member of city council.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:29 PM, 10.01.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council Candidate Craig Cobb

Age: 66

Email: councilmancraigcobb@gmail.com

Website: councilmancraigcobb.com

Biographical Information:

Education: B.A., Miami University; J.D., Cleveland Marshall College of Law

Current Occupation: Attorney

Qualifications: I am an almost 30-year resident of Cleveland Heights with a long history of community and public service. I have a reputation for honesty and integrity. I am currently serving on Cleveland Heights City Council. My background and experience include 39 years practicing law in both the public and private sectors, including municipal government law. I am a former Municipal Court Judge and have served as an Assistant Law Director for the City of Cleveland. I have also served as a Civil Service Referee deciding cases involving municipal employees. I am past member of the State of Ohio Consumers' Counsel Governing Board and past member of the City of Cleveland Civilian Police Review Board.

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.

All are not. I support assisting businesses through the City's Job Creation Grant Program, Commercial Loan Program, Storefront Rehabilitation Program, Microenterprise Loan Fund and Economic Development Fund. I voted to use $2.5 million of Covid Federal funds (ARPA) specifically for use in the Noble neighborhood for greater investment there. Efforts at redevelopment of Severance are hampered by Namdar, a real estate investor that specializes in buying distressed shopping malls in foreclosure to hold them as assets in their real estate portfolio versus redevelopment. A strategy (strict code enforcement, no conditional use permits, no parcel subdivisions) must be employed to pressure Namdar to work with the City on redevelopment.

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

An important one. My most immediate concern is whether the City is doing enough to educate our residents about the necessity to properly separate out recyclables with the change to automated trash collection that has a bin specifically for recyclables. Cross contamination and improper use of the bin for trash led the City of Cleveland to end its program. We just passed legislation to become a “Power a Clean Future Ohio Community” with a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the City by increasing the energy efficiency of City-owned buildings, promoting public transportation, the use of bicycles, and hybrid and electric vehicles. Our City code now allows for solar and wind power applications, and specific sustainability guidelines.

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?

I voted in favor of legislation allowing the voters to decide whether the charter should require Council to make an appointment within 45 days, or the mayor will have the authority. Some have suggested that a vacancy should always be filled by an election as opposed to an appointment. Under the current charter, that could potentially leave a vacancy unfilled for over a year. There is a reason that voting boards, commissions, and judicial panels have an odd number. That is to prevent tie votes on crucial issues which would be the case with only six members on Council. Imagine what would happen if we had a crucial piece of legislation that needed to be passed and could not because of a deadlock with no member willing to compromise.

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

The City should take advantage of regionalization whenever it can provide cost savings by sharing employees, services or by banding together to have greater purchasing power of vehicles, equipment, and supplies. A good example of regionalization is the shared dispatcher services for police, fire and EMS shared by the now merged Heights Hillcrest CC and Chagrin Valley Dispatch. Regionalization also exists with respect to having mutual aid agreements with neighboring fire departments, which allows the nearest fire company to respond to a fire and means that essential services can be provided with less equipment and firefighters having to be on standby. Regionalization of building permit inspections should be explored in lieu of SAFEbuilt.

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?

I agree that the City can improve its level of responsiveness to citizen complaints and inquiries. I believe this was a factor in the overwhelming vote to have an elected mayor accountable to the people. I believe that members of Council should be readily accessible to their constituents. I try to attend all City and community events. That is part of the job. Residents should know that Council does not have a staff or an office at City Hall. My home phone number is listed and my cell phone number available on the City’s website along with my email address. I do not screen phone calls and promptly return every voicemail message. I respond to all individual emails. I personally meet with any resident at a location of their choosing.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:25 PM, 10.01.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council Candidate Lee Barbee II

Age: 56           

Email: leebarbee4clevehts@yahoo.com

Website: leebarbee4clevelandhtscouncil.com/

Facebook: Lee E Barbee for Cleveland Heights City Council

Biographical Information:

Education: B.A., Political Science, Kent State University

Current Occupation: Social Worker, Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services

Qualifications: Retired Army Officer with two tours in Iraq and Kuwait; member, 1746 local labor management team; member, Cleveland Heights Citizen Advisory Committee; Board Member of the Forest Hills Homeowners Organization; volunteer, 1988 Get out the Vote Campaign with the Urban League of Greater Cleveland.

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.

I believe the Noble area and the North Coventry Area have been neglected for a long time. I believe due to diverse citizens not being at the decision making process. I believe steps are now being taken due to diversity and inequity awareness to address this issue. I would be that sounding board to bring diversity to this type of issue that have been overlooked in the past to bring about change for the future

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?

One of my three main concerns is sustainability and green space. I believe that there is a balance that needs to address development but also keep at the forefront of Cleveland hts Logo which is the Tree as Leading the nation in environmental issues.

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?

I believe that there should be a time frame for vacancy on city council to be filled, but anything within an election window should be left to the voters to decide.

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?

I see opportunities for local governments to collaborate in services. Local governments are faced with limited budgets which often duplicate services. Cleveland Heights and University Heights have shared interest in education. I don't see why as local governments we can't collaborate on other services as well.

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?

I am facing those issues as we speak about the staff not following through with residents’ concerns. I think our council and staff should have some type of tracking to residents’ concerns and have answers to them in a timely manner. I have yet to hear back on my issues as a resident on a pothole that damaged my motorcycle and the sinkhole that located on my tree lawn.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:21 PM, 10.01.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council unexpired term

Term ending: December 31, 2023          Salary: $9,200          Elect: 1

Candidates:

Erin C. Johnson

Garry Kanter

Robert Koonce

Josie Moore

Ellen M. Roth - This candidate did not respond to the League's questionnaire before the print deadline. Check vote411.org for any updates.

Eric J. Silverman

James A. Williams - This candidate did not respond to the League's questionnaire before the print deadline. Check vote411.org for any updates.

View the LWVGC candidates forum for Cleveland Heights City Council Unexpired Term here.

 

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:02 PM, 10.01.2021

Candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council Unexpired Term Erin C. Johnson

Erin C. Johnson

Cleveland Heights     Age: 43

E-mail: nnaasor@yahoo.com  

Instagram: @ejohnson  

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: Bachelors of Science Business Management, Indiana Wesleyan University Associates of Science Business Administration, Indiana Wesleyan University

Current occupation: Public Servant, Federal Government  

Qualifications: I have lived in Cleveland Heights for over 30 years and love the diversity of the city. My desire is to keep the city safe and financially secure. To be an advocate for the community. I am a good listener, and have experience with negotiations and problem-solving. I have worked in the Public and Private Sector for a combined total of over 20 years.

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.  

I talked to some of the Noble Districts business owners and employees. The want more programs for financial empowerment. They would like to see more money for Small Business Owners readily available to them. They want meetings and seminars showing them how to navigate through the process to start or advance their business. They would like street fairs to bring people into the city. Other comments related to money being invested and put back into the buildings, vacant commercial units, and the buildings are dated. They need to be renovated. More lighting is needed behind businesses. As far as Severance is concerned the business owners would like to see condominiums and retail spaces. Example: a small Legacy Village/ Crocker Park.  

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?  

Partner with the community to position Cleveland Heights to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century. The city will need to move in the direction as to where the polices and actions will always be compatible with the environment. Cleveland Heights has an obligation to the environmentally conscious we are moving in the right direction, for an example: Recycling.  

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?  

The city council should substitute the vacancy with an intern, during the interim if possible. The vacancy should be filled in timely manner. The Community should elect the permanent city council member. 

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?  

It would be acceptable to collaborate services as long as those coordinating and collaborating services are cost effective and beneficial to the city residents and tax payers.  

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?  

Any concerns or issues that the community should have must be addressed. It is a priority. The entire community has to be listened to. The citizens are the voice/ backbone of the community and should be taken in account. If elected, I plan to uphold the public trust to represent the city and community.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 2:42 PM, 10.01.2021

Candidate for Cleveland Heights City Hall Unexpired Term Gary Kanter

Gary Kanter

Cleveland Heights     Age: 64

E-mail: Kanter4CHCouncil@gmail.com 

Website: www.kanter4chcouncil.com

Facebook: Garry Kanter For Cleveland Heights City Council

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education:BS/BA - The Ohio State University; Diploma - Cleveland Heights High School 

Current occupation: Accountant

Qualifications: I grew up here, and returned in 2006. For the last decade or so, as a private citizen I have been very involved in the workings of the CH city council and the CHUH school board. I have researched various topics regarding local governance, and have shared my findings with the community. A recent example is this very election for the remaining two years of Mary Dunbar's term. The city had issued a press release stating that city council was accepting applications for appointment to the seat. Having previously read the city's charter, I reviewed it and immediately notified the city that the charter requires an election. That press release was withdrawn, and now this election is on the ballot. 

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.  

The city's business districts are not all healthy and successful. For as long as I have been watching, the city has not had any coherent plan in place for any of the privately own properties that need attention. 

In 2011, the city ignored the opportunity to protect Severance by purchasing the Oakwood property. Since that lack of foresight, Severance has suffered increasing vacancies and the resultant dramatic decrease in property tax revenues. Those lost revenues would have more than covered the cost of acquisition of Oakwood. Further, many of our neighbors' property values suffered from the loss of the pastoral golf course acreage. 

More recently, the Top of the Hill and Meadowbrook-Lee show that the city isn't listening to the community.  

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?  

Sustainability needs to be a component of every decision made by the city. The city's unwavering clamor to develop every last Green Public Space belies the values of many in this community. 

The city recently purchased a number of police cars - via so-called "emergency" legislation. Other than one question prior to council's vote, no apparent consideration was given to vehicles that use alternative fuels. What a lost opportunity to lead by example! 

The city needs to develop consistent methodologies for all spending and legislative decisions. These methodologies must incorporate - as a matter of course - an analysis of the sustainability of the alternatives being considered. 

We're Cleveland Heights - A Nuclear Free Zone. Let's act like it.  

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?  

This lame duck city council has essentially rendered this question moot by voting - as an "emergency", of course - to put a Vacancy charter change amendment on the November 2nd ballot. 

I can tell you that taking over a year is too long, and I filed suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court to force the city to make an appointment. Days after my suit was dismissed, the appointment was made. 

And it appears to me that the council voted to put that amendment on the ballot without understand the current language of section "III-4. Vacancy" in the charter - or they wouldn't have issued that erroneous "Appointment" Vacancy press release . 

By actually understanding the charter and engaging the community, the right time frame can be decided.  

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?  

I guess the question assumes some economies of scale exist by regionalization? 

I'm not convinced. I once called in to the shared police dispatch about a parked car blocking part of Cedar just west of Cedar-Taylor. The person that answered the phone had no idea where I was referring to. I hope every city employee would be able to visualize the location from that simple description. 

So my answer is "It depends". Will the service provided to taxpayer residents improve? Then let's look into it. Is it just to save money, at the cost of service? I don't know about that. 

I've heard nothing but complaints about the out-sourced housing department inspectors. I'm not sure out-sourcing via "Regionalization" is what the community wants or needs.  

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?  

My platform calls for Open and Effective Governance. The longstanding abuses of so-called "Emergency" legislation and executive sessions are institutionalized barriers to responsiveness to citizens' concerns. The city's charter and ordinances have countless restrictions on the citizens' ability to engage thoughtfully with city council. 

Having all seven city council members serve at-large prevents citizen engagement - or council responsibility. Having all the seats elected in one pool dilutes the voters' ability to effect change. 

The recent "emergency" legislation regarding Public Notice of Meetings is contrary to Ohio's Sunshine Laws, and prevents informed citizen engagement. 

It's time to return We The People to CH city hall.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 2:40 PM, 10.01.2021

Candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council Unexpired Term Robert Koonce

Robert Koonce

Cleveland Heights     Age: 43

E-mail: robertkoonce@yahoo.com  

Website: www.robertkoonce.com  

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: BA, Classics, Case Western Reserve Univ.; MAS, Instructional System Design, Embry Riddle Aero. Univ.; MA, Pastoral Theology, St. Joseph College (ME) 

Current occupation: Non-profit Executive

Qualifications: I am proudly native to Cleveland Heights having been born and raised here. I am active in my faith community (Communion of Saints) having served in a variety of committee and volunteer roles there over the past decade. I have also had the pleasure of serving on the board and as board chair of both Lake Erie Ink: A Writing Space for Youth and the Home Repair Resource Center. I have also been on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the City of Cleveland Heights and currently serve on the board of the Coventry Peace Campus helping to ensure that the Coventry School Building thrives as a hub for arts, education, and community engagement.

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.  

Our business districts are mixed. We have several key parcels throughout the city where redevelopment is in the works (Top of the Hill and Meadowbrook-Lee) and we need to push those through to completion. We also have other underdeveloped properties that would benefit from equally bold plans like Severance and the former Center Mayfield property. From both city funds and other sources, like the US Department of Transportation’s RAISE program, I would advocate a major infrastructure investment in Taylor Road from Cain Park to Euclid Heights Boulevard and along Noble Road. These improvements would be very similar to those done for the extent of the Cedar Lee Business District and would encourage residential and commercial investment.  

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?  

Environmental considerations should be an important part of the city’s policies and actions. Those decisions should focus on actionable policies with the scope of city government. Our primary focus should be on increased population density alongside complete and green streets that emphasize pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit uses. Secondarily, we should ensure that city owned buildings are as energy efficient as possible and that our code is regularly modernized to allow for alternate energy generation on our residential and commercial properties. Additionally, we should increase funding to our forestry department to maintain, replace, and plant new trees to increase our tree canopy to 50%.  

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?  

A vacancy should be filled within 45 days by a council majority and if that fails, then the Mayor can appoint someone within 10 days after that. If the vacancy occurs from 30 - 120 days prior to a regularly scheduled election, then the position should be placed on the upcoming ballot.  

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?  

Beyond coordination among fire, EMS, and police that already exists, we should continue to find ways to combine our purchasing power for everything from office supplies to road salt. Additionally, we should constantly explore sharing the costs of certain services like infrastructure inspection and maintenance; human resource training, support and benefits; web design; and IT services. In terms of joint projects, we should continue to collaborate on the Eastside Greenway Project to ensure a complete system of trails connecting the entire county, particularly among the east side neighborhoods and cities. Additionally, I would like to see us partner closely with University Circle Inc. to vastly improve the public transit options with us.  

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?  

Council should work hard to establish systems of accountability and investment to ensure that when residents connect with City Hall they are not met with any bureaucratic barriers, long wait times, or unreturned calls/emails. Our permitting process should be inexpensive and easy to understand. We can maintain quality housing and building conditions without convoluted rules that add unnecessary expense and delays. A first step would be to increase staffing and training for those who answer phone calls/emails as they come in to City Hall. Residents should call/email and immediately connect with helpful staff who direct their questions or concerns to the right place, right away.

 

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 2:38 PM, 10.01.2021

Candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council Unexpired Term Josie Moore

Josie Moore

Cleveland Heights     Age: 46

E-mail: josie@josiemooreforclevelandheights.com  

Website: josiemooreforclevelandheights.com/  

Facebook: JosieMoore4CH  

Twitter: @JosieMoore4CH  

Instagram: josiemoore4ch  

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCYUN5dsR3UX1ueCRsAjCCTA

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

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.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 2:36 PM, 10.01.2021

Candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council Unexpired Term Eric J. Silverman

Eric J. Silverman 

Cleveland Heights     Age: 52

E-mail: ElectEricSilverman@gmail.com 

Website: www.ElectEricSilverman.com

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: Cleveland Heights High School, 1987; Miami University (Ohio), 1991

Current occupation: Marketing & Operations, Hometown Threads 

Qualifications: 40+ year Cleveland Heights resident, 2nd generation Heights High graduate, elected to the CH-UH School Board in 1993, 1997 and 2013 and appointed (and served) a 7 year term on the CH-UH Library Board. Served on the School's Lay Finance Committee, Lay Facilities Committee, Facilities Accountability Committee and the City's Master Plan Committee and ran the Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation for 15 years.

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.  

Some yes, others (most) no. The City needs to do a much better job in developing the land it owns, listening, assisting and marketing existing businesses as well as work to fill vacant storefronts with new ones. Cleveland Heights needs to craft ideas for its business districts, game out different scenarios (and costs) and actively work to find developers to make things happen. For Noble-Nela, I feel a mixed use building with street-level retail and offices (on city-owned land) could create a catalyst for the entire neighborhood. At Center-Mayfield, the city owns A LOT of land, and if combined with other properties, could be another catalytic project for the Noble Road Corridor. I have detailed notes on Severance and others on my website.  

What role should environmental considerations play in the city’s policies and actions?  

Cleveland Heights has traditionally been environmentally sensitive and ahead of the curve on these issues and I would hope that this would continue. Given a choice, it would be ideal to employ the most environmentally beneficial options but we have to keep in mind if that option is affordable. We need to balance what we want to do with what we can afford to do.  

How, and in what time frame, should a vacancy on city council be filled?  

I would say within 90 days at the longest, preferably within 60. I think the variable here would be the how long the City would hold open the application process, and then consider/interview the applicants and then how long they would need to consider the applicants. As such, I could see 30 days to apply, 30 for council to consider and interview, and then 30 days (at most) for Council to discuss the candidates/finalists. While a tighter timeframe might be possible (and preferable), 30 day windows (maximum) for each stage would allow for the vagaries of schedules. For example, a speedy process might take 45 days (3 weeks per segment) but the 4th quarter of the year would take the full 90.  

What opportunities, if any, do you see for regional collaboration between Cleveland Heights and other local governments to provide services or facilities?  

Cleveland Heights needs to examine every and any opportunity to collaborate with every and any government entity in every regard, from purchasing and administration to direct delivery of services. While I have serious concerns about excessive outsourcing, if the collaboration still has direct authority and accountability, then we should partner with other entities. At the same time, we need to consider just how much we would save, for if the recouped dollars are marginal, then keeping the work in-house or solo may be preferable until a time that the savings would be substantive. On both the School Board and Library Board we were part of consortiums and derived many benefits from them. Who is opposed to doing this? Not me!!  

What are your thoughts about the responsiveness of the city’s elected officials and staff to citizens' concerns?  

I know firsthand how deplorable Council and staff have been to public input and inquiry and disgusted by it. Having been in office for 19 years, I am shocked by just how poorly Council responds to the public, coupled with the City’s absurd Potemkin Villages for “public input” which are nothing more than exercises in checking off boxes on a list. Too often ANY criticism is viewed as heresy and EVERY critic as the enemy to be stonewalled. When I have reached out to Council, some members respond, others take multiple messages to hear from (and then the responses are dreck), and from others I hear nothing. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 2:34 PM, 10.01.2021

Municipal Issue 31 Proposed Charter Amendment, City of Cleveland Heights

Ballot LanguageShall Article III, Section 4 of the Charter of the City of Cleveland Heights be amended to provide that any vacancy in the Council shall be filled by appointment by a majority of the remaining members of the Council within forty-five (45) days of the occurrence of such vacancy, and that if Council fails to fill such vacancy within forty-five (45) days, the Mayor shall fill such vacancy within ten (10) days; and to provide that for any vacancy in Council not occurring in the year that the regular election for that office is scheduled, an election for the unexpired term shall be held at the next general election occurring more than one hundred and twenty (120) days after the date of the vacancy?

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:55 PM, 10.01.2021

2021 Voters Guide to local candidates and issues

The League of Women Voters has created a guide to local candidates and issues for the Nov. 2 election. Click on the links below to access information for candidates and issues. Candidate questions were selected by the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, and all candidate information and answers were submitted by the candidates themselves.  

A print version of the guide is available as an insert in the October issue of the Heights Observer, available for free at numerous locations around town.

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 4. Eligible voters may register, or update their registration, by visiting olvr.ohiosos.gov. Early, in-person voting begins Oct. 7 for Cleveland Heights and University Heights. (Note: This is two days after the county's early-voting date because both communities held September primaries.)

The deadline for Board of Elections (BOE) receipt of Vote by Mail (VBM)/Absentee ballot applications is Oct. 30. The last day to mail a VBM/Absentee ballot is Nov. 1. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 1, and received by the BOE by Nov. 12. Voters can hand deliver their VBM/Absentee ballots to a drop box at the board of elections building (corner of Euclid Avenue and E. 30th Street) up until the polls close on election day (i.e November 2, 7:30 pm). They can return to the drop box their own ballot and that of an immediate family member, but no one else’s. 

General Election Day is Nov. 2, 2021. Polls are open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

 

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:57 AM, 10.02.2021

Kahlil Seren

Kahlil Seren

Cleveland Heights     Age: 42 

E-mail: info@SerenForMayor.com

Campaign phone: (216) 307-7090

Website: SerenForMayor.com

Facebook: ViceMayorSeren

Twitter: @kahlilseren

Instagram: kahlilseren

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:58 AM, 07.29.2021

Josephine Moore

Josephine Moore

Cleveland Heights     Age: 46

E-mail: josie@josiemooreforclevelandheights.com

Campaign address: 2248 Stillman Road       

Campaign phone: (216) 213-1716

Website: josiemoore4ch.com

Facebook: JosieMoore4CH

Twitter: @JosieMoore4CH

Instagram: josiemoore4ch

YouTube: channel/UCYUN5dsR3UX1ueCRsAjCCTA

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:53 AM, 07.29.2021

Melody Joy Hart

Melody Joy Hart

Cleveland Heights     Age: 68

E-mail: melodyformayor@gmail.com

Campaign address: 2976 Monmouth Road

Campaign phone: (248) 214-2375

Website: melodyjoyhart.com

Facebook: melodyhartmayor

Twitter: @melodyjoyhart

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:42 AM, 07.29.2021

Barbara Danforth

Barbara Danforth

Cleveland Heights     Age: 72

E-mail: bjdanforth69@gmail.com

Campaign address: 2501 Bolton Road

Campaign phone: (216) 233-4369

Website: barbaradanforthforchmayor.com

Facebook: votedanforth

Twitter: @votedanforth

Instagram: votedanforth/

YouTube: watch?v=IMzCZ5xON9U 

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:32 AM, 07.29.2021

2021 Voters Guide to the Cleveland Heights Mayoral Primary

The Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland (LWVGC) has created a guide to the Sept. 14 nonpartisan primary election for Cleveland Heights' first elected mayor. The top two vote-getters in the primary will contend for mayor in November's General Election.

The LWVGC - Heights Chapter asked the same five questions of the four candidates. Each candidate's answers were then published, unedited.

For publication, the order of presentation of the candidates is alphabetical. Click on the links below to read each candidate's response.

Position: Cleveland Heights Mayor     Term: Four years     Salary: $115,000

Barbara Danforth

Melody Joy Hart

Josephine Moore

Kahlil Seren

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 4:40 PM, 08.02.2021

CH charter limits signing of candidate petitions

With at least four candidates already having declared for Cleveland Heights’ first mayoral race, plus four Cleveland Heights City Council seats on the Nov. 2 ballot, residents should be aware that there are limits to the number of candidate petitions they can sign for those two races.

According to the Cleveland Heights City Charter (Section VII-3), “No elector shall sign more nominating petitions for different candidates for a particular office than there are positions to be filled for that office at the election for which the petition is signed. If he does so, his signatures on all petitions which postdate his signing the permissible number of petitions shall be invalid.”

That means Cleveland Heights residents can sign only one candidate petition for mayor, and no more than four would-be council candidate petitions.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.01.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education

4-year Term    Salary: $0    Elect: 2

CANDIDATES:  JAMES POSCH    BEVERLY WRIGHT

Questions for CH-UH Board of Education:

1. Describe the most important issues the school board must address to improve the CH/UH schools and how you as a board member would try to address them.

2. This winter the board passed a resolution titled "Time to Teach, Time to Learn." What are your thoughts on this resolution? What action should the board take to implement the points made? (The resolution can be found on the district's website under "Board Docs.")

3. Is the State of Ohio doing enough to support local schools financially? Please explain your response.

4. Regarding school district properties, what challenges are presented by the existence of closed or closing schools and other buildings?

5. Are there particular state educational policies you would like to comment on?

Click on the candidate name below to view the candidate's answers to the questions:

James Posch

Beverly Wright

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:31 PM, 10.07.2019

University Heights City Council At Large

4-Year Term    Salary: $9,100    Elect: 4

CANDIDATES: BARBARA BLANKFELD    JUSTIN GOULD    JOHN P. RACH    MICHELE WEISS

Questions for Cleveland Heights City Council:

1. What are the top two or three issues/opportunities facing University Heights? Which is the most pressing? How as a council member would you work on these?

2. What is your opinion of how the city is handling its budget?

3. How should the city approach new residential and commercial development?

4. What is your position on regionalization efforts? Would these efforts help or harm University Heights?

5. Do you have any concerns about rental properties in University Heights? How do you think the city council should handle rental properties? 

Click on the candidate name below to view the candidate's answers to the questions:

Barbara Blankfield

Justin Gould

John P. Rach

Michele Weiss 

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:29 PM, 10.07.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council - Council At Large

4-year Term    Salary: $9,270 (Mayor - $11,840)    ELECT: 3

CANDIDATES:  MARY DUNBAR    MELODY JOY HART    ANTHONY MATTOX JR.    CAROL ROE    KAHLIL SEHREN  

Questions for Cleveland Heights City Council:

1. What are the top two or three issues/opportunities facing Cleveland Heights? Which is the most pressing? How as a council member would you work on these?

2. What is your position on the ballot issue regarding changing the form of the city's government from a council-manager plan to a council-mayor plan?

3. How should the city approach new residential and commercial development?

4. What is your position on the privatization of city services?

5. What is your position on regionalization efforts? Would these efforts help or harm Cleveland Heights?

Click on the candidate name below to view the candidate's answers to the questions:

Mary Dunbar

Melody Joy Hart

Anthony Mattox Jr. 

Carol Roe

Kahlil Seren 

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:27 PM, 10.07.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council, two-year unexpired term

2-YEAR TERM      SALARY: $9,200      ELECT: 1

CANDIDATES:    CRAIG COBB      DAVIDA RUSSELL

Questions for Cleveland Heights City Council - Two-Year Unexpired Term:

1. What are the top two or three issues/opportunities facing Cleveland Heights? Which is the most pressing? How as a council member would you work on these?

2. What is your position on the ballot issue regarding changing the form of the city's government from a council-manager plan to a council-mayor plan?

3. How should the city approach new residential and commercial development?

4. What is your position on the privatization of city services?

5. What is your position on regionalization efforts? Would these efforts help or harm Cleveland Heights?

Click on the candidate name below to view the candidate's answers to the questions:

Craig Cobb

Davida Russell

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:26 PM, 10.07.2019

Municipal Issue 26 - Proposed Charter Amendment (by Petition), City of Cleveland Heights

Ballot Language: Shall various Articles of the Charter of the City of Cleveland Heights be amended to change the form ofgovernment from its current elected Council and appointed Manager form, to an elected Mayor and Councilform, and to provide for the powers, duties, four-year term, qualifications, and removal process for the officeof the Mayor, and to create the position of the City Administrator appointed by the Mayor and subject to Council approval who shall be responsible for assisting the Mayor in overseeing the administrative functions of the City, commencing with the initial election of the Mayor to occur at the regular municipal election occurring in the year 2021; and to eliminate the City Manager position?

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:21 PM, 10.07.2019

County Issue 6 - Charter Amendment, Office of Sheriff

Ballot Language:  Shall the Charter of the County of Cuyahoga be amended to repeal Section 5.08 which provides for the appointment of the Sheriff by the County Executive; and to enact new Article XVI to provide for the appointment of the Sheriff by the County Executive and subject to confirmation by Council, and to establish the powers, duties, qualifications, required certification, term, and removal process including the requirement of at least eight (8) affirmative votes on Council for the Sheriff’s removal?

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:20 PM, 10.07.2019

County Issue 3 - Tri-C Renewal & Increase Levy

COUNTY ISSUE 3 — Tri-C Renewal & Increase Levy 

Ballot Language:  A renewal of 1.9 mills and an increase of 0.4 mill to constitute a tax for the benefit of the Cuyahoga Community College District for the purpose of providing for payment of operating costs for educational services at a rate not exceeding 2.3 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to 23 cents for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for ten years, commencing in 2019, first due in calendar year 2020.

YES vote means approval of the proposed levy.

NO vote means rejection of the proposed levy.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:18 PM, 10.07.2019

Beverly Wright, candidate for Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education

BEVERLY WRIGHT

Cleveland Heights Age: 61

Email: wrightcampaign2019@gmail.com

Website: https://wright-camp.netlify.com/

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: B.A., History, Cleveland State; M.A., Cleveland State University, Education, Adult Learning, and Development

Current Occupation: Consultant for early childhood education

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:15 PM, 10.07.2019

Michele Weiss, candidate for University Heights City Council At Large

MICHELE WEISS

Cleveland Heights Age: 44

Email: mweiss@universityheights.com

Facebook: councilwoman michele weiss

Twitter: @uhcouncil_weiss

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: BS Accountancy John Carroll University; MBA John Carroll University

Current Occupation: Controller Hebrew Academy of Cleveland; City Councilwoman University Heights; Adjunct Professor John Carroll University; Founder of the non-profit AMATZ Initiative

Unique Qualifications: I understand the need for financial oversight in budgeting through my current positions.  Furthermore I am keenly aware of the inner workings of a successful non-profit.  Finally, I will bring my qualities of relationship building, growth mindset, optimism, collaboration and passion to the city.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:11 PM, 10.07.2019

John Rach, candidate for University Heights City Council At Large

JOHN P. RACH

Cleveland Heights Age: 35

Email: keepcouncilmanrach@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CouncilmanRach/

Twitter: @CouncilmanRach

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: Kent State University: Master of Architecture and Environmental Design; Master of Business Administration; Bachelor of Science in Architecture

Current Occupation: Architect, Operations Manager - LDA architects; City Councilperson - University Heights

Qualifications for Office: 2016-Present - City Council; 2019-Present - Planning Commission Member; 2015-2016 - City Master Plan Steering Committee Member; 2014-2015 - NOACA Planning Steering Committee Member; 2014 - New Zoning Code Committee Member; 2012-2016 - Board of Zoning Appeals Member

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:08 PM, 10.07.2019

Justin Gould, candidate for University Heights City Council At Large

JUSTIN GOULD

University Heights Age: 37

Email: vote@justingould.com

Website: www.justingould.com

Facebook: www.fb.com/votejustin

Twitter: @jseabury

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: J.D., Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Current Occupation: Federal Attorney

Qualifications for Office: Member, University Heights Fair Housing Commission; Created neighbor-to-neighbor mediation program with University Heights administration; Member, Board of Directors, EDWINS Restaurant and Leadership Academy; First Vice President, Board of Directors, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland; Provides sound fiscal advice to local nonprofit boards to increase community impact; Former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, has represented governments and their citizens as a courtroom trial attorney his entire professional life, over a decade of experience working collaboratively with law enforcement and first responders at the local, state, and federal levels; Former Municipal Court Mediator and Law Clerk, understand compromise and consensus building.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:07 PM, 10.07.2019

Barbara Blankfeld, candidate for University Heights City Council At Large

BARBARA BLANKFELD

University Heights Age: 59

Email: barbarablankfeld50@gmail.com

Website: barbarablankfeld4universityhts.nationbuilder.com 

Facebook: facebook.com/barbara.a.blankfeld

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: Studied Communications at Notre Dame College of Ohio.

Current Occupation: Director of First Impressions, ThenDesign Architecture, Ltd.

Qualifications for Office: My life has been spent listening, learning, planning, and executing. That experience has prepared me to ‘lead through listening’. Realizing that most residents can’t attend every council meeting, my style is to engage them wherever I can, hear their concerns, and ensure they are front and center in all phases of the civic process. As an experienced manager and planner, over the years I have worked in the legal field, health care, finance, and operations as Executive Director of Temple Israel of Greater Cleveland, Beachwood’s Clerk of Council/paralegal to the law director, Coordinator for Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute Center for Lifestyle Medicine from its inception, and now working with one Cleveland’s largest architectural firms in Northern Ohio. I’m not a newcomer to caring about my community and being involved, having been actively contributing through volunteer service, including being a member of the Finance Advisory Committee, the city’s New Branding Committee, the Memorial Day Parade & Commemoration Committee, and Chairing the city's Beautiful Home Awards Committee. This administration is moving our city in new and exciting directions, directions that we deserve to be headed, just like our neighbors, while remaining solid and sustainable. It is an administration that is honest, open, friendly, and that works hard every single day to serve its residents. I love my hometown University Heights and look forward to contributing to keeping that momentum growing for the benefit of my community! 

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:05 PM, 10.07.2019

Kahlil Seren, candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council At Large

KAHLIL SEREN

Cleveland Heights Age: 41

Email: SerenForCouncil@gmail.com

Website: www.kahlilseren.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CouncilmanSeren/

Twitter: @SerenForCH

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: Master's Degree in Urban Studies from CSU Levin School of Urban Affairs

Current Occupation: Policy Analyst for Cuyahoga County Council

Unique Qualifications: I am trained in and experienced with local public policy. After earning a graduate degree in Urban Studies from the Levin College at CSU, with a graduate certificate in Urban Economic Development, I went from working at a public policy think tank to working for the Cuyahoga County Council as a Policy Analyst, primarily involved in policy related to economic, community, and workforce development. For the better part of a decade, I've worked on major development projects and assisted in the legislative oversight of innovative workforce and community development programs. Additionally, as a member of the Cuyahoga County Community Improvement Corporation, I provide an additional level of underwriting review for the economic development projects that make their way to either the County Board of Control, or Council. I believe that this kind of development experience is an important addition for a suburban city council. Over the last four years, I have proven myself to be an independent and thoughtful council member, with a dedication to open, transparent government, and good governance. I have shown that I am willing to be honest, even when it may not be politically expedient. And I have been committed to being open to new ideas that can help to improve Cleveland Heights for years to come.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 12:01 PM, 10.07.2019

Carol Roe, candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council At Large

CAROL ROE

Cleveland Heights Age: 70

Email: caroejd@aol.com

Website: www.CarolRoe.com

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:

Education: Diploma in Nursing; BSN; MSN; JD

Current Occupation: Self-employed Consultant

Unique Qualifications: Current member of Cleveland Heights City Council; Former Government Affairs Specialist for Ohio Nurses Association; Former Legislative Liason for Ohio Board of Nursing; Multiple recognitions for expertise in public policy

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 11:57 AM, 10.07.2019