JIm Rokakis to speak at Cleveland Heights Democratic Club April 14
The Cleveland Heights Democratic Club will host former Cuyahoga County treasurer Jim Rokakis at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at the Cleveland Heights Community Center. The meeting is free and open to all.
Rokakis became county treasurer in 1997, and stepped down in January due to the elimination of his office in the charter reform. During that time, he did far more than just collect money. He worked actively to strengthen neighborhoods and homeowners through programs that dealt with predatory lending and abandoned properties, among other things.
Over a decade ago, Rokakis predicted that lending practices would lead to the foreclosure crisis and began to speak out. Unfortunately, his alarm was not heeded. When foreclosure swept through entire communities in Cuyahoga County, he pushed to pass a bill in the state legislature to create the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, which assembles and repurposes abandoned properties. He served as the land bank’s first chairman.
Rokakis has written extensively and spoken around the country about the foreclosure crisis, and has continued to share his expertise since leaving office. He’s currently involved with a program called the Thriving Communities Institute, which will expand the Cuyahoga land bank’s programs to surrounding counties.
Anyone who is interested in how communities can cope with foreclosed and empty housing is welcome to come hear Rokakis and ask him questions.
For more information, go to http://clevelandheightsdems.com/
Anastasia Pantsios is a Cleveland Heights resident and a member of the board of trustees of the Cleveland Heights Democratic Club.