More than 170 people attended the Oct. 14 Candidates Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and FutureHeights, I moderated both the CH-UH Board of Education and the Cleveland Heights City Council sections. There were so many questions directed to the candidates for Cleveland Heights 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).
The City of Cleveland Heights video-taped the event. If you missed it (or just would like to see it again), it will air on the city’s cable channel (Channel 20) at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily until the election. You can also view the video on the city’s YouTube channel.
If you were not able to attend the forum and have a question for any of the candidates, please post it here.
1. What strategy, if any, do you have to recruit businesses the size of progressive in Mayfield Village to an area like Severance Center, bringing many salaries into the city, allowing the city to collect 2% (or 2.25%) municipal payroll tax from the employer?
2. The city has already stated the negative repercussions to come if the income levy fails this fall. (1) What positive promises can you make – and keep – if it passes. (2) Will the Fire Department daily minimum manning return to 19 from the 16 it’s dropped down to? (3) Will Police Department roster size remain, or increase?
3. With the rise in violence just outside our city’s border, firearm violence is a growing concern for our safety. Would you support passing gun control legislation in Cleveland Heights in the future, given the lack of action taken at the state and federal levels?
4. Please explain your vision for Cleveland Heights – what you hope to accomplish here if elected.
5. Should we try to attract/retain retirees and aging-in-place people if retirement income is not taxed?
6. Please explain how you view inter-connectedness of our city and our public schools. Can one be strong if the other isn’t? How will you work with and support our public school system?
7. What is your solution to the water problem?
8. What is your solution if the tax doesn’t pass? Specifically, what would you do for economic development?
9. What is the role of a council member in running the City versus the City Manager?
10. Do you support the city income tax increase? If so, why? If not, why not? If you argue that waste and inefficiency elimination can replace the need for any income tax increase, please indicate specifically how you would raise $2.8 million through this method?
11. Where do you stand on Issue 53?
12. How much money has the city lost in funds from the state? And, how has council members dealt with it?
13. Cleveland Heights has: a. A Cleveland Heights historical museum that nobody I know has visited; b. A Cedar-Lee parking garage costing $6,000,000 that is hardly used; c. A bridge across Lee Road, again rarely used. Question – Is it fair to say Cleveland Heights has its share of boondoggles?
1. Can you provide examples of Consultants being bought by the $600,000 you referred to? How would those functions be provided at a dollar savings to residents? Can you provide examples of long term loans for short-term assets?
2. How do you plan on dealing with the city?
3. Without increasing revenue how would you balance the city budget?
4. Do you believe in climate change, and how would you support our city in environmental policies?
5. You are identified as a correspondent to the website www.eaglerising.com, can you explain how this web site reflects your political views?
6. On your blog, Redneck Mom in the Hood, you describe liberals as dangerous, naïve, immoral, America-hating liars. Liberal-bashing is the most frequently recurring theme on your blog. I’m a liberal, almost all of my Heights friends are liberals. Please comment.
7. Please name the businesses that you claim have been turned away from Cleveland Heights, and please explain in specific terms what you would do to promote economic development – keeping in mind that you can’t unilaterally cut taxes.
8. On your blog you posted a complaint about businesses and people being harassed for not supporting gay marriage. Cleveland Heights has a human rights ordinance prohibiting businesses from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Do you support this law?
9. The streetscape projects are paid for with state, federal, and county funds that the city has applied for and win in competition with other cities. Do you object to the city applying for and using these funds for streetscape improvements? If so, why?
10. You wrote an article that called Cleveland Heights School Board members, “tax raising government pigs”. How would you work with other city workers with this attitude?
11. Cleveland Heights has a long history of fostering racial and religious diversity. Could we have your thoughts on how much diversity can be strengthened in the future?
12. Do you support the recent welcoming of Middle Eastern refugees in our country? How can our city help?
13. What do you see as the largest issue facing Cleveland Heights, and how would you plan to address this issue?
14. What specific steps should the city take to solve its financial difficulties?
15. Your materials state you want to lower taxes. How would you balance the already lean budget?
16. In your online writings, you have referred to liberals and progressives as “fascists who can’t grasp the goodness of God”. You’ve said “none of their ideas are actually good for society”, and have referred to “the destruction and shattered lives that are the result of their progressive ideas”. Considering that the majority of Cleveland Heights residents identify as liberal or progressive, how would you be able to work with colleagues and represent constituents with whom you not only disagree with, but who it seems you disdain and disrespect?
17. Recently on your blog, Redneck Rants, as well as Eagle Rising, you complained that you tax dollars have to pay for “liberal things”, including “a failing socialist think tank” – the public school system. With that attitude, how can we expect you to form a positive relationship with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education?
18. Can you please explain this statement from your blog – “Our openness to other religions has allowed Muslims to get a foothold in our country”.
1. Our public schools are suffering from lack of funding. How can the city help our public school system?
2. Please elaborate on your suggestion of fiber optic network expansion. How does it advantage a homeowner, and at what cost to the city, and where will it come from and be financed?
3. Voting history records show you have never voted in a Cleveland Heights City Council election or a primary election. Is this correct? If so, isn’t this an example of voter apathy that harms our democracy?
1. Do you think candidates, including yourself, should respond to constituent’s e-mails and/or respond to questions when you are participating in online forums on city council issues?
2. I’m hearing rumors that Kahlil Seren said “If City of Cleveland Heights residents don’t want a tax increase they should leave” – Kahlil said it was out of context. Please explain what you meant.
Carol Ann Roe
1. How do you plan to bring more businesses to our city?