Step It Up recommends two for CH Council

We are Cleveland Heights residents who assembled six months ago to focus on the City Council election in order to have a positive impact on our city’s future. We articulated a Citizen Agenda and solicited community endorsements of its ideas, interviewed each candidate about the agenda, and held a candidates forum.

Heights is fortunate to have ten knowledgeable candidates for Council who endorse the agenda, have valuable expertise to share, and different strengths.

The Step It Up Steering Committee is sharing its assessment of the top candidates in light of their leadership qualities, vision and appreciation of the issues articulated in the Citizen’s Agenda. We hope voters will consider these recommendations.

Toby Rittner and Jason Stein are excellent resources for the community and we highly recommend them. They have the ideas and passion to energize city government, and to inspire excitement and citizen confidence in the city and its future. They display respect for our citizens, an ability to listen, and a desire to reach out to engage residents, businesses, nonprofits and public schools as partners in creating a remarkable city.

Toby Rittner is a pragmatic idealist who will address current problems while working toward a brighter future. Rittner has background in economic development and public finance, and desires public-private-nonprofit cooperation. He advocates for a new master plan for the city, believes City Council should actively support and market the public schools, wants to oversee the revival of neighborhood groups, and advocates green energy innovations.

Jason Stein is a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School and appreciates the importance of the public schools to our community’s vitality. He sees an urgent need to unite the northern and southern portions of the city. He would encourage development in suffering business districts, especially north of Mayfield. His ambitious plans to attract businesses include incentives for green initiatives.

The Step It Up Steering Committee is not offering recommendations regarding the three incumbents. They have established track records for voters to evaluate.

Of the remaining five first-time candidates, Mary Dunbar and Cheryl Stephens have significant strengths that make them good candidates who deserve a closer look. Step It Up encourages citizens to become informed: Attend candidate events, check out their websites and materials, and see their interviews at

Step It Up Steering Committee: Mazie Adams, Russell Berusch, Mark Chupp, Gina Cheverine, Carol Falender, Marie Augustin-Glave, Susie Kaeser, Robin Koslen, Lewis Pollis, Jeff Smith, Kevin Smith, Saroya Queen-Tabor, Elizabeth Westman, and Diana Woodbridge

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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 9:36 AM, 10.05.2009