Residents have questions for Cleveland Heights City Council candidates

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At the Oct. 8 Candidate Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and FutureHeights, I moderated both the CH-UH Board of Education and the CH City Council sections. There were so many questions directed to the candidates for CH City Council that we didn’t have time for them all so I’m posting all of the questions here and inviting candidates to respond online (Please refer to the question you are responding to by number).

If you were not able to attend the forum and have a question for any of the candidates, please post it here.

1)      Will you support Issue 81, the proposed bond issue for the CH-UH schools? Please explain why/why not.

2)      What kind of development do you support for the former Oakwood Country Club property?

3)      In general, do you favor increasing revenue or decreasing expenses to balance a budget, and what would you do to address both sides of that equation?

4)      Cleveland Heights is strategically located between University Circle and Beachwood/I-271 corridor. I’m not seeing Cleveland Heights doing much to take advantage of that fact. What are your plans to tap into that economic growth on either side of Cleveland Heights?

5)      How will you address problems with diminished housing stock in Cleveland Heights? I am concerned about the huge number of demolitions and greatly reduced value of housing. Beachwood and University Circle both are significantly adding to their housing stock.

6)      Several years ago, the cost of Rec Center membership went up and since then, citizen utilization appears to have greatly declined. What will you do to address this issue?

7)      We have a liter problem caused both by citizen ignorance and our garbage bags falling apart contributing to the great Lake Erie garbage patch. How can we creatively address this problem?

8)      What will you do to eliminate antiquated housing codes impeding efforts by residents to engage in suburban agriculture and extend the growing season through reasonably-sized structures like backyard hoop houses?

9)      Being a city councilperson can be a contentious position. Please give an example of a conflict you have experienced and how you resolved it.

10)   What are you doing to work with banks vis. a vis. houses in foreclosure?

11)   For several years, a gang of vandals has been roaming our neighborhood and I suspect others. The police are powerless and the council appears unaware. Please tell us what you would do about these four-legged, white-tailed vandals. [deer]

12)   The United States is number one in obesity. Fewer students walk or ride a bike to school. What is being done to teach kids about living a sustainable lifestyle, including exercise and healthful modes of transportation.

13)   Directed to Jeff Coryell: Fall is here. Winter will follow soon. Children will be walking to school. Many citizens will not shovel their sidewalks. Consequently, children will be forced into the street at rush hour. What will you do about it?

14)   Directed to Jeff Coryell, Jason Stein and others, time permitting: What’s your position on Issue 32, the citizens initiative asking the city to inform Congress that Cleveland Heights citizens believe only human beings, not corporations, have constitutional rights and that political money should not be defined as political speech.

15)   Directed to Jason Stein: How do you propose to address the number of vacant lots in Cleveland Heights?

16)   Directed to Fran Mentch: Since property values mostly go to the schools, how does a park at Lee-Meadowbrook increase city revenue more than income taxes from new residents at that site (who would also support the district)?

17)   Directed to Fran Mentch: Since you seem to be concerned about having a community pool, will you work to develop a Cumberland Park into a year-round facility for the community?

18)   Directed to Cheryl Stephens: You are Director of Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. According to the Sun Press article about the demolition of the old Medic/Pick n Pay property on Nobel Road, you “spearheaded the city’s purchase of the site” from the land bank. After “sprearheading” the purchase, you abstained from the December 3, 2012 city council “ordinance to purchase” vote. Can you explain why, despite the conflict of interest you obviously recognized, and the unambiguous language of the city’s Charter, you believe you are eligible to serve as a city councilperson while also serving as director of the land bank?

19)   Directed to Jason Stein: You were instrumental in establishing the gender specific swims at Cumberland pool on Sunday nights. These were held twice in 2012, and six times in 2013. The women-only swim nights include the placement of “privacy tarps” on the fencing as required by religious law. These gender-specific swims have been designated as “special events”, open to the public, requiring nothing more than a pool pass, or equivalent for admission. It would seem that each such gender-specific swim night would be what the city normally considers “Private Group” parties, responsible for paying $260 per night in 2012 and $275 per night in 2013. Perhaps more, for the extra efforts in scheduling workers on Sundays to put up and remove the tarps. Can you explain who made this costly decision to not bill and collect over $2,000 (so far), and what protocols were followed in making this decision?


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