University Heights City Council Meeting highlights
FEBRUARY 16, 2010
Councilman Kevin Patrick Murphy was absent.
Wiley Challenge Choir
In recognition of Black History Month, the Wiley Challenge Choir, under the direction of Glenn Brakens, sang. Representative Marcia Fudge has invited the choir to sing in Washington D.C. To do so, the choir will hold various fundraising activities in the near future.
Reverend Marvin McMickle speaks about the right to vote
Reverend Marvin McMickle, pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church, spoke on the importance of the right to vote. He recounted how an ancestor of his was shot and killed by a registrar in 1930 for daring to insist on registering to vote. Thus, he noted, former representative Tom Tancredo’s recent suggestion to reinstate literacy tests as a prerequisite for voter registration was especially appalling. Rev. McMickle noted that this evening’s gathering was testimony to the progress that has taken place since 1930. However, he explained that Black History Month is still needed because this history is still not universally known, including in the black community
Honoring Walter Stinson
Council approved a resolution honoring Walter Stinson for his 33 years of service as community coordinator. Mayor Infeld declared February 28, 2010, the day of his retirement, as Walter Stinson Day in University Heights.
New Pumper Truck
Chief Pitschler has applied for a FEMA grant for the purchase of a new pumper truck. As a prerequisite for the application, Council agreed to pay $13,750, which is 5% of the total cost of the pumper. The grant would pay the remaining $261,013. This pumper truck would replace a 20-year old truck that lacked many current safety features. Chief Pitschler credited one of his firefighters for pursuing this grant opportunity. The old truck has to be taken out of service, but can be donated to a museum or sold for scrap. Councilman Consolo asked if the retired truck could be sold to a person he knows who collects fire engines. The response was it could.
Registration of foreclosed properties
Council approved an ordinance, entitled “Notice of Foreclosure and Registration of Vacant Buildings or Structures,” that would require buildings to be registered when they’re put into foreclosure, and thereby enable faster access to problem properties. Whoever files the foreclosure, would pay a $150 registration fee.
Acting Law Director Dennis Nevar clarified information in the Plain Dealer regarding the case against former Finance Director, Arman Ochoa. Mr. Ochoa has repaid $37,841 and is expected to pay the remaining $33,451. The county prosecutor was waiting for the final report from State Auditor Mary Taylor before filling charges.
Councilman Steven Sims stated that the finance committee was continuing to review and address unfixed audit issues raised by prior state audits.
Women and minority-owned businesses
Councilwoman Susan Pardee announced that the city would increase opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses to be aware of and bid on contracts.
Snow removal policy
Councilman Phil Ertel said that the services and utilities committee was reviewing the impact of the city’s revised snow removal policy.
Violence against women
Chief Stehlik announced that they had received a grant in conjunction with John Carroll University to reduce violence against women. The grant would enable them to add recording equipment to cars, and to send an officer to Florida for two days of training. This grant continues the program for two more years.
Building Commissioner David Menn noted the availability of loan programs for housing assistance and repairs. Residents in need of assistance should contact the building department for information.
LWV observer: Wendy Deuring.
MARCH 1, 2010
Council members Steven D. Bullock and Frank Consolo absent
University Heights resident Harvey Morrison raised objections about the lack of snow removal on side streets. He would prefer that side streets be a higher priority than plowing and salting sidewalks. He said the bombardiers damage lawns that the city must later repair, cause early morning noise, and throw snow into inappropriate places. Service Superintendent Christopher Vild said the city receives an equal measure of criticism and praise for the use of the bombardiers to clear sidewalks. Vice Mayor Frankie Goldberg added that clearing the sidewalks so school children can walk safely to school trumps other considerations.
Relay for Life
John Carroll University plans to host the 4th annual Relay for Life April 24-25, 2010, an event that has raised $250,000 for cancer research in the past. The event would begin each day with a pep band at 10:00 am. Live music, including a DJ would be played most of the day. The university requested permission to hold the entire event outside in the university’s quad instead of holding half of the event inside as previously done. John Carroll spokesperson Dora Pruce and graduate student Rachel Ball pointed out that this unified setting would increase participation and reduce expenses for renting a stage and moving everything inside.
Council members were concerned about the impact this would have on neighbors. The representatives said that by holding the event on the quad, the community would be shielded from noise and excessive light since university buildings surround it.
Mayor Infeld said that this is a national event and impacts “us all.” She added that past Relays for Life at the university and the high school were not really loud events. Council unanimously approved Mayor Infeld’s motion to allow the event to go forward, and to give John Carroll permission to organize subsequent Relay for Life events by simply notifying council instead of appearing at as meeting, unless there were major changes.
East/West high school football game
John Carroll University will host the East/West high school football game on June 11, 2010 in the Don Shula Stadium from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Historically, this event has attracted 2,500 visitors. With most parking on campus and no band playing police overtime would not be required. The teams would need an afternoon practice one week prior to the big game. Vice Mayor Frankie Goldberg said that this event could be an economic generator for the city. Council unanimously approved the event and allowed John Carroll to contact the UH police directly in the future to organize the game.
Fireworks at the Continental Cup on July 1, 2010
The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission’s Meredith Scerba reported that the 4th year for this event is expected to attract 800 athletes from around the world along with many local athletes, and will feature games in soccer, baseball, and basketball at different venues in the area. Police Chief Gary Stehlik assured council that his department could work out parking and fireworks safety with Tenable Protective Services who will provide armed security after the fireworks arrive. Council unanimously approved the motion to allow UH safety forces to work out parking and fireworks safety with Tenable Protective Services.
Harvest for Hunger campaign
Kelly Thomas from the Harvest for Hunger campaign heads the citywide drive in University Heights. She said giving money is the best way to support the effort. However, many non-food items are needed including shampoo, laundry soap, and other personal items. Canned food items are also welcome. Donated items can be dropped off at city hall and all funds collected in the canisters around town will be credited as donations from University Heights. Ms. Thomas said that 7,600 children have been fed through Harvest for Hunger.
Appropriation for current expenses
An audience member asked why council hadn’t dealt with the budget at the close of 2009 so it would be in place at the beginning of the year. Finance Director Anthony Ianiro explained that by waiting, they were able to deal with actual numbers instead of estimates. He further noted that both ways of handling the transition from one budget to another are acceptable, but the city prefers to work with actual figures.
Opportunity from Google
Councilwoman Susan Pardee announced she is writing a grant proposal to explore an opportunity offered by Google. She said it was worth doing because it is in line with some grants the CH-UH schools are also pursuing. Councilwoman Pardee also reported that she is working on a grant with the building committee.
LWV Observer: Carol Gibson
This is an expanded version of the report published in the printed Heights Observer.
These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Charlene Morse, Marilyn McLaughlin and Maryann Barnes. To receive email postings of full reports, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or join through google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.
These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.