Democracy (not!) in Cleveland Heights
To the Editor:
For 90 years, Cleveland Heights council elections were open affairs. That changed four years ago. Since then, [CH City] Council chose three of our council representatives using a now-abused section of our city charter that empowers it to fill empty council seats. Intriguingly, all three appointees are close friends and/or cohorts of [Mayor] Cheryl Stephens.
It is no surprise [to] this observer of council activities that these appointments took place behind closed doors—no meeting minutes reflect any discussion or weeding out of applicants who would be our representative.
2012: Janine Boyd is chosen after two application rounds (council tossed out the first round) behind closed doors. She told reporters she applied in that second round only after council assured her they “wanted” her.
One year later, Boyd decides to run for her mother’s house seat. [The timing of] her announcement of this decision to vacate her council seat? One week into that newly won 2013 council seat! Her replacement? Another close cohort of Stephens. Again chosen behind closed doors.
We all expected Jeff Coryell to join his wife out of state. Yet, he decides to do so one week after the 2015 council elections. What an odd coincidence! And his replacement? Another close cohort of Stephens.
Three times in four years. This abuse of power must stop. CH voters must take back democracy in this city.
“Wards for Cleveland Heights!”