Mike Ungar candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council
Cleveland Heights Age: 58
Education: Boston University School of Law (J.D., 1984), Boston University (B.A. 1981)
Occupation: Attorney -- partner at Ulmer & Berne law firm
Qualifications: Cleveland Heights City Council - current member, Cleveland Heights Finance Committee -- current Chair, Cleveland Heights Planning Commission -- Chairman for approximately 16 years, Cleveland Heights Strategic Planning Committee -- Former Member, Cleveland Heights Master Plan Steering Committee -- Former Member, Cleveland Heights Citizens Advisory Committee -- Former Member
QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES:
1. Unique Qualifications: I am currently a member of City Council and I very much appreciate the opportunity to serve the citizens of Cleveland Heights, where I have been a resident for approximately 31 years. As a professional mediator, I have to work hard, study complex issues, listen carefully and then take action, and I bring these skills to the table every day as a member of Council. I am not beholden to anyone and my duties and loyalties are solely to the citizens of our community. I am good at solving problems and getting things done. In doing so, I am able to work in a collegial and collaborative way with our city staff, our citizens and other stakeholders.
2. Top issues: I believe our primary focus needs to be on economic development and implementation of our recently developed Master Plan. Quite comprehensive in nature, it impacts many issues in our city. There is a heavy emphasis on vibrant neighborhoods (with appropriate attention to the vacant and abandoned properties issues), strong business districts, high quality infrastructure, etc. and, at the same time, the Plan respects our community’s ongoing need for safe, healthy, diverse, environmentally sustainable and vibrant neighborhoods. I will continue to work on these issues with the same focus and intensity that I am working on them right now via implementation of our Master Plan. I would continue with sharp and unwavering attention to such implementation.
3. Commercial development: Our City Manager, Economic Development Director and Business Development Director need to continue to establish relationships and be responsive to commercial development opportunities throughout our city. Our geographic proximity makes us attractive and presents many such opportunities. We need to not only be responsive to opportunities that come our way, but we must be proactive in going out to the business community in order to generate interest in Cleveland Heights. We have a number of exciting things happening in Cleveland Heights (e.g. Top of the Hill development) and we need to work with other community partners (e.g. a likely Community Development Corporation that will soon be formed, with Future Heights as our partner, along with other community groups and organizations) to bring the same exciting development opportunities to other areas of our city (e.g. Noble area).Appropriate and judicious use of tax incentives can be considered, with school district input.
4. Safety: This is, of course, an indispensable piece of the foundation of our city. If people don’t feel safe, then they will not wish to live here, and an undesirable domino effect will follow. We cannot -- and will not -- let that happen. I will work to ensure that we will never fall behind in maintaining appropriate fire, police and EMS services throughout our city. I will support the Police Chief in her recommendations to enhance safety throughout our city. I am a stalwart supporter of multiple local events that encourage interaction between our citizens and our safety forces.
5. City finances: As Chair of Council’s Finance Committee, I will continue to keep a close eye on our city’s finances, working closely with our City Manager and our Finance Director in order to do so. I am in constant contact with our city’s management on these issues, and I closely and carefully monitor our spending to ensure that we deliver high quality city services to our residents. The most recent citizens’ satisfaction surveys suggest that we generally do a good job, but there is always room for improvement. When possible, I would like to see us take even more advantage of regionalism. Case in point: we have recently created a regional dispatch center for our police and fire services, and that center is now located in Cleveland Heights. We have partnered with University Heights, South Euclid, Shaker Heights and, recently, Richmond Heights, in this effort. I am hopeful that we will see more opportunities like this, where we can save money, yet not compromise on the quality of services.
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.