I began my campaign for city council with a set of ideas on how best to tackle the challenges facing our city. However I have stated many times that I do not have all the answers and invite suggestions from all of our residents as community input will be vital to the success of any actions taken to get Cleveland Heights back on the right track. Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to speak with many different people and have been challenging myself to not just come to the table with my own ideas and solutions, but to also embrace the will of the people as if I am elected I will be representing that will. In that spirit I have come to change my view on Issue 53, the 0.25% income tax increase, and now support its passage.
Last night I was privileged to speak with Gus Kious, a very old friend and colleague for whom I have the utmost respect and trust. Gus is a long time resident of Cleveland Heights and was a member of the Independent Finance Task Force that was set up by the city council to review the city’s budget. He asked me why I did not support Issue 53 even after city council has done so much to relay its importance. The truth, I told him, was that I was wary of trusting council and that I was concerned it was a self serving tax that would avoid the need for continuous improvement within the city government.
However, as we spoke it became abundantly clear that there was one consequence with not passing the measure that I could not ignore: the risk to our residents. We both agreed that there remain opportunities to continue to review the budget, to look at continuous improvement, and to ensure that all city services are being provided at the best possible efficiency. But these are long term goals, and the unfortunate fact is that our city will be unable to pay its bills unless something is done now. Because the fire and police departments are the largest portion of the budget they would have to endure significant cuts which will undeniably pose a serious risk to the safety and security of our residents. I simply cannot and will not be on the side of putting our community at risk, and have therefore embraced the need to pass Issue 53. I thank Gus for taking the time to detail his experience on the task force and helping me come to what I now believe is right decision.
To those that have supported me up to this point I hope that I have explained my decision. I invite all residents of our city to please engage me with your questions and concerns and to continue to communicate to me all of your ideas and experiences so that I can better represent you. I, personally, can not be effective and drive an initiative forward if my perspective is not aligned with the work I am doing. At the hospital it is easy for me to avoid this by ensuring that the work I am doing truly has a positive impact on patient care. And if it doesn't, then I will always push back until I am convinced that patient care is at the core of the work I am doing.
Similarly, as an elected representative, it will be my job to do what I think is best for the community, the residents, and the city of Cleveland Heights. Up until now I was concerned that a tax increase would have detrimental long term effects for the city. These concerns still exist and I will not change my goals of eliminating waste through process improvement, increasing economic development by developing a municipal broadband service, and making Cleveland Heights a leader in identifying opportunities for regionalization that can help us decrease overhead without decreasing services to our residents. These goals will drive the future of our city whether or not Issue 53 passes and I am ready to accept the challenge either way.
Recently the Wine Spot asked the candidates to submit videos in lieu of the whistle stop event which was canceled from two weeks ago. Please check out my video and let me know if you have any questions/comments!
In a recent debate the question was posed: what do you view as your role on city council?
It is important that I post my answer on my blog so it is clear to everyone within Cleveland Heights as to how I define my duties as a councilman. First, it would be my job to hold the city management accountable for their responsibilities. It would be my duty to understand fully the operations of the city. I would accomplish this by taking time to meet with the department heads and front line workers and understanding their responsibilities and jobs. I would shadow the various city services to gain a clear picture of what is being provided to our citizens. I will establish myself as someone with an ear on the ground and to be open to feedback from all sources within the city government.
As a councilman I will have to ask hard questions, ensure there are established timelines, and implement communication plans for the work being done within the city. I will give regular updates to the residents of Cleveland Heights, through multiple media sources including blogs, video updates, and local newspapers, even if there is no movement on a certain initiative. Citizens should not be devoid of information, but instead to be properly informed on all the relevant happenings within the city.
A councilman needs to make it a priority to listen, to communicate, and to make informed decisions on any and all policies being passed within the council chambers. Doing otherwise would be an unreasonable expectation of myself, and a disservice to all of you, the residents of Cleveland Heights, who I would be representing and serving during my tenure as councilman.
Friends & Neighbors,
As some of you may have heard by now, I have recently been sick with a lingering cough. Upon going to the doctor I am told I have symptoms consistent with strep throat & walking pneumonia. For my own well being and for public safety I am suspending my walking campaign for a week while I allow the antibiotics to take their course.
Because we have fewer than 6 weeks till the election I am reaching out to everyone for help with my walking campaign. I would like to reasonably ask that those who are willing to help do one thing for me: walk their own block. Walk up and down your street once, knocking on doors, handing out tip cards (which I will provide) and telling your neighbors how excellent I am. We have a sophisticated and easy to use app which can be downloaded for free to track your progress.
For those who are interested and willing to help, please contact me directly at email@example.com and I'll get you set up with everything you need.
A thousand thanks ahead of time for your commitment to the city and to its future!
Thank you so much to everyone who helped collect signatures! Whether it was at block parties, going door to door, standing at festivals, or just standing at a street corner, each and every person who helped is amazing!
Now comes the real work. By my count, we are exactly two months away from the election. It will be a challenging two months, but one with great rewards for the city, and in turn, each one of the residents in our fine city of Cleveland Heights!
Keep an eye out on my event calendar which is sure to fill up quickly! For all those who support me, old friends and new, I look forward to seeing you all out there, and to the bright future to come!
At this point in time I have been collecting signatures for about a week and I find myself repeating a message that I have not yet posted here: "reach out to me whenever and we'll find a time to meet."
I wanted to iterate this here for a few reasons, not least of which being because I mean it. Whether it's a phone call, coffee, or a walk through the park, I firmly believe in finding a way to make myself accessible to anyone who wants to speak with me. This isn't just a gimmick, it's how I intend to operate if I am elected. One cannot represent people with whom he is not willing to speak. My want and will is not the only one in this city, and I cannot be successful in doing what's best for the community without knowing the want and will of the community.
So please, contact me through Facebook, or through the contact page on my website, and let's talk. I have already sat down with a number of you, and I have been riveted. Every single person I listen to has their own unique perspective regarding the needs of the city and how to solve it. I couldn't be more grateful for all of the free advice. Listening to you is the least I can do for each and every one of you who have offered your support to me.