Thoughts on Mark Tumeo’s endorsement

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I am honored that former Council Member Mark Tumeo has endorsed me for City Council. I’ve gotten to know Mark over the past few years, and strongly supported his re-election in 2009. He was an effective, forward thinking Council Member for whom I have great respect and admiration.  I plan to build upon his legacy of inclusion and collaboration to benefit our city and region if I am elected to serve on Council.

I first met Mark when he and his husband, Jeff Stark, renovated a vacant home down the street from my house a few years ago. They sold it quickly to new owner occupants, which improved my neighborhood and added residents to Cleveland Heights, very similar to the work I have been leading at Home Repair Resource Center, to renovate vacant HUD homes, and sell them to responsible new owner occupants to protect and preserve our terrific neighborhoods.

When Mark and Jeff started work on a second long-vacant home down my street in the other direction, our friendship grew. That home also sold to a new owner occupant and added another new resident to our city. “What’s not to like?” Nick Gilbert so famously asked, recently.

Mark has given me his blessing to publicize his reasons for endorsing me for city council.  Here is some of what he has written and shared with me:

“I did not reach this decision lightly.  The field is strong, but I feel there are several aspects to Mike, that when taken together, mean he is the most qualified of the field.  First, his involvement with the HRRC gives him a unique and important perspective on the problems of housing, foreclosures and economic redevelopment in the City.  Second, he has been involved and active in the community since his arrival in Cleveland Heights.  He has demonstrated commitment to all parts of our diverse community, and has worked on rehabs in many of the more economically challenged areas.  He knows firsthand what Cleveland Heights looks like and needs.  Third, he is an experienced businessman who understands economics, hard choices and how to focus on core activities to ensure success.  He understands the difficulties of management, and can handle the complex budget-priority balance we have to strike in Council.  Finally, he is a genuinely enjoyable person to be around and work with, enthusiastic about helping our community meet the difficult challenges we face, and committed to delivering better outcomes for Cleveland Heights”.

One of the things I most admired about Mark was his willingness to get “outside the box”…like talking to our neighboring cities about collaboration opportunities and the potential advantages of merging governments and public services.  We need more people like Mark willing to explore these big ideas and stick their necks out to reach for better outcomes.

Many people have encouraged me to run for Council.  Mark was the first and the most persuasive, encouraging me every step of the way to share my abilities and commitment to Cleveland Heights, to stick my neck out for better outcomes. I am grateful for his endorsement, and I will miss him and Jeff when they complete their move to Florida.  The impact they have both had on Cleveland Heights is commendable.

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