Mike Gaynier takes first crack at politics

While the other six candidates vying for Cleveland Heights City Council used their opening statements to persuade the audience why they would be successful additions or returnees to council, Mike Gaynier took a different approach at the Oct. 6 forum at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.

Instead, he voiced his displeasure at the drive-by shooting on Cottage Grove the previous Saturday night. The incident occurred during an unsupervised party by three juvenile tenants who had been accused of disruptive behavior previously by their Cleveland Heights neighbors.

“We need to take a proactive, aggressive stance. We knew about this violence happening. People rely on me as a neighborhood leader,” said Gaynier, who lives with his wife Lisa on nearby Berkshire Road. Gaynier shared his desire to prevent violence by creating a more effective strategy against it, with the help of the police department.

This is a new experience for Mike Gaynier as he runs his first campaign for next month’s Cleveland Heights City Council election. He said it wasn’t until he received support from friends and residents that he began giving the idea of running serious consideration.

“Former city councilman Mark Tumeo advised me to run this spring,” he said in an interview. “As I applied and did well in this year’s appointment process, I figured that I should give it a shot.”

Gaynier believes that his previous work experience at well-known companies such as SYSCO Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, as well as his community service through Greater Cleveland’s Red Cross Disaster Team, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Cleveland Heights Home Repair Resource Center, give him an interesting background for city council.

“We need change agents. I can understand financial trends, and we need to take corrective action financially. Balancing budgets by cutting should change, and we need to systematically look at our government core police, fire & public works and question if we are getting enough results.”

 Cleveland Heights’s tax base housing and supporting local businesses are some of the issues that Gaynier plans to tackle if elected, along with community safety. One big plan for Gaynier is to strengthen the East Side of Cleveland Heights by working with its local business districts. “We can impact what we’ve got and with the resources we have. We need to spread the vitality we have in our thriving local business districts….Cedar/Fairmount, Coventry and Cedar/Lee, to the Cedar/Taylor area.”

Gaynier has also been promoting the idea of growing and diversifying Cleveland Heights’ tax base and wants to ascertain the needs of businesses.

 Mayor Edward Kelley said he thinks Gaynier would be a very good fit on council. “Michael has a very diverse background and would be great on the Cleveland Heights City Council, as would the other six candidates.”

Gaynier has generated a grass-roots campaign through his website at www.realgainforclevelandheights.com that contains his political platform, articles related to the community and his campaign, personal information, and directions on how to get involved and donate or contact Gaynier with questions.

With just days to go before the Nov. 8 election, the finish line for Mike Gaynier’s campaign for city council is looming. It figures to be a race to the finish with the rest of the field.

Connor Glowacki

Connor Glowacki is a John Carroll student who is following this candidate for his journalism class. 

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 1:59 PM, 10.25.2011