Mark Wiseman candidate for University Heights City Council
University Heights Age: 52
Education: JD Cleveland Marshall College of Law, BSBA Ohio State Univ
Occupation: Staff Attorney Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division
Qualifications: Current Councilman (5 years), 25 year attorney, Experience designing/running Government programs
QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES:
1. Unique qualities: My experience as 25-year attorney and through many positions in local government has given me a deep understanding of the decisions that City Council’s make and how each decision fits into the broader picture of how local governments function. I was the first Director of the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program, worked as a Principal Assistant in the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section & started a Consumer Law Center for a local housing counseling agency. I have been on council for 5 years & in 2018 will have been a resident of this city for 30 years. It is an honor to serve as a University Heights Councilman. I would like to continue the important job of representing our citizens by helping to make the decisions that shape our lives as residents, listening to their questions about City Hall & helping them navigate their way to a positive solution. I have a deep understanding of and respect for the collaborative process by which our government functions.
2. Top issues: University Square. Its development is vitally important to our city. We need to show the developer the importance of keeping it as a retail center, since the payroll taxes that retail spaces generate are a prime driver of our tax revenues. I would strive to make sure that council does everything it can to convince the developer to maintain its retail nature. Wiley school.The school board’s projected use for that site does not last beyond its use as a swing space for students. I would start dialogue with the school board to position the City as first in line for that property. John Carrol expansion.The University currently owns scores of the homes surrounding campus. City Council should work with JCU to understand their intentions and how we can be positioned to benefit from those plans and maintain our position as a City with a separate identity while that occurs.
3. Community concerns: We should explore the use of the chip-sealing paving method that Cleve. Hts uses, which allows them to resurface more streets for the same amount of money. We should also revisit the use of our “smart salting” protocol, which currently leaves much of the city’s streets unsalted during winter storms. We also need legislation that forces foreclosing banks to take better care of properties that are vacant, while in foreclosure. The number of college students and those who view our City as a destination is growing. We should increase our police patrols & visibility. Switching police cars back to white cars with more visible lighting would help make our safety forces more visible. We should also engage leadership of the various local colleges to teach their student body about the fact that our neighborhoods are designed primarily for families and to adopt programs that hold students accountable if they fail to maintain the level of conduct that is expected of good citizens.
4. Financial issues: We should invest the cash that the City has in excess of our needed budgetary cushion so that it can earn maximum interest for us, until it is needed. Council should pass a budget that is tight enough so that any “surplus” that exists is identifiable at the beginning of the year and can be earmarked for long-term uses. We should re-consider every purchase of new major pieces of equipment and explore other options. For example, while next year’s budget is slated to include a new ladder truck, we should spend time examining whether such a purchase is necessary and whether there are other viable options that are less expensive. As a city, we can also be much more aggressive in the pursuit of grants & other sources of money. There are a plethora of grant programs and opportunities for municipalities (as standalones or as partners with non-profit foundations or agencies) that exist beyond the traditional Northeast Ohio sources. Our goal should be to apply for at least 4 grants every month
5. UH schools: Each of our residents deserves to have a school option for their children that is valuable and enhances their ability to prepare for their life’s work. Our City should be searching for ways to collaborate with the CHUH school board, the City leadership of Cleveland Heights and the leadership of the local colleges that dot our landscape. It is within our ability as a City to explore the possibility of shared services opportunities among the various entities that operate within our city limits. (Perhaps there is even a grant opportunity for such a study). Any dialogue with our counterparts should be treated as an opportunity to build a positive relationship. As important as collaborative behaviors among the City and the various schools is the rhetoric that accompanies each subsequent stage of growth that we share. As city leaders, it is incumbent upon us to reach out to our counterparts and offer assistance. We all live here because we love this City and what it has to offer.
League of Women Voters
The 2017 Voters Guide to Candidates and Issues is published as a public service by the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, CH-UH and FutureHeights. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to encourage the informed participation by citizens in government. FutureHeights is a nonprofit community development organization. Election Day is Nov. 7, 2017. Polls are open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.