Voters ask questions at Candidates Forum

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I had the pleasure of moderating the League of Women Voters- and FutureHeights-sponsored Candidates Night on Oct. 6. We had a good crowd, and several good questions from the audience. Unfortunately, we had a finite amount of time for each group of candidates and were not able to have the candidates answer all of the questions that were submitted. So I’m posting them here and hoping that the candidates will respond to some of the questions we were not able to ask them at the forum.

The forum was videotaped, and once Digizoom Media has a chance to process the footage, it will air on the cable access channels and we will post it on Vimeo.

Questions for Cleveland Heights City Council Candidates

Questions asked at the forum:

1)      Do you feel that our high rate of taxation is a liability for Cleveland Heights?

2)      Discuss balancing routine government fiscal maintenance issues with high-profile issues, such as safety, flash mobs and home foreclosures.

3)      How would you address the problems of abandoned homes and declining home prices due to the foreclosure crisis?

Questions we didn’t have time to ask at the forum:

1)      Would each candidate please state the title of the last good book they have read?

2)      For Mary Dunbar and Jeff Coryell: When you say “foster collaboration between the city and the schools,” what exactly do you mean? Can you give some examples?

3)      For Mary Dunbar: Do you see any role for city governments to encourage or foster union growth in the community?

4)      For Jeff Coryell: What is your current occupation?

5)      For Phyllis Evans: To what extent do landlords need to be held responsible for the behavior of their tenants? Are there specific proposals you think should be put forward?

6)      For Dennis Wilcox: You mentioned 300 new housing units—do you know how many have been sold? What is the unsold housing situation in the city?

7)      For Dennis Wilcox: Have you given any consideration to the potential needs of the growing population of senior citizens living in Cleveland Heights?

8)      For Mike Gaynier: Please explain your past jobs in business, both profit and nonprofit, and how that experience will benefit Cleveland Heights.

9)      Do you think that commercial development of Oakwood is wise? Is there enough demand for more stores?

10)   How would you address, in a profound way, the issue of race and income inequality that plagues Cleveland Heights?

11)   Regarding the emergency curfew amendments, new candidates: would you have voted for the ordinance and would you have passed it as an emergency measure? For all candidates: What are the long-term solutions to problems, such as the unruly flash mob, that precipitated passage of the curfew?

12)   How will you deal with “nuisance neighbors;” unruly kids; and late-night, loud parties? How aggressive will you be? For example, address the article in today’s Sun Press about the house on the corner of Yorkshire and Cottage Grove.

13)   What have you done and what will you do to preserve Oakwood?

14)   What role would you play in improving bicycle infrastructure in Cleveland Heights?

15)   In recent winters, Cleveland Heights has provided little, if any, enforcement of its existing ordinance requiring property owners to clear their sidewalks. Moreover, the City of Cleveland Heights, itself, often does not remove snow from many of its own sidewalks in front of city properties, such as parking lots. Will you press for enforcement of the sidewalk snow removal ordinance? Will you ask the city to clear its own walks in front of all city properties?

16)   As I walked down the street the other day, I saw garbage bags that had been torn open by animals and garbage strewn about. Also, I saw a bag of garbage fall out of the garbage truck into the middle of the street. This was not the first time I’ve witnessed such incidents. How do you propose to address this without increasing costs?

Questions for Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board Candidates

Questions asked at the forum:

1)      We have one elementary school ranked Excellent with Distinction and one in Academic Watch. What strategies would you encourage to improve our low-performing schools?

2)      What do you think about the tax abatements requested by Cedar Center in South Euclid?

3)      Do you support SB5 as written?

4)      How will you handle youth violence?

5)      How can we improve the understanding of urban black youth among school staff?

6)      What can be done to increase the knowledge and self-esteem of African-American students, their history and African-American curriculum?

7)      What about the “greening” of the schools, specifically school roofs? Would this save money?

Questions we didn’t have time to ask at the forum:

1)      How do we prevent kids living outside our district from attending our schools?

2)      What can be done to increase the “workable” skills and work ethic of students?

3)      How would you incorporate the pressing issues of racism, gender bias and income inequality into CH-UH school educational policy? Why do you believe hiring African-American staff is the answer?

Questions for University Heights City Council Candidates

Questions asked at the forum:

1)      Does anyone care to reflect on the recent issue regarding the John Carroll University stadium?

2)      Why does the city charge $5 to hold a garage sales and ban garage sale signs?

3)      What is going to happen to the old Northwood School (most recently a Jewish day school)?

4)      For Kevin Patrick Murphy: It is my understanding you suggest that a gathering place be discovered for John Carroll University students. Can you give an example?

5)      For the incumbents: At two recent city council meetings, residents said that they had complained several times about two separate issues and not gotten a response from the city. Why do you think this happens?

6)      For Conor McLaughlin: You have mentioned an interest in reducing property taxes. How would you propose this reduction?

7)      For Kevin Patrick Murphy and Conor McLaughlin: Do I understand that you do not support the school levy as stated in a Sun Press interview? Why not?

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