Support for elected-mayor charter initiative

I’m supporting the Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) charter initiative because it is a citizen-led initiative powered by passion, leadership and vision from people right here in Cleveland Heights. 

We’ve recently learned that the PAC formed to oppose this measure, Cleveland Heights Citizens for Good Government, is being funded with up to $25,000 from a D.C.-based lobbying firm that fights to retain city-manager forms of government all over the world. They’re hiring Burges and Burges, well-known political strategists, to come to Cleveland Heights and craft a compelling message to convince voters not to change our current form of government. 

This isn’t who we are in Cleveland Heights! This is wrong! We are not the toxic political swamp in D.C., or part of the gridlock of Columbus—we’re a community of diverse but tight-knit neighbors who care deeply about our community and our future. We value our democracy here, in a city where democracy still means something. As our city council members have pointed out, we have some of the most sophisticated and capable voters in the country. 

That’s what CEM is about. This initiative gives our citizens the power to choose the vision for our future. Having a full-time, directly elected mayor gives us a voice. Just imagine what we can do with that voice. 

Look around you. Look at your neighbors. Think about who lives a few blocks over, and a few blocks over from there. There is an absolute wealth of knowledge, talent and inspiration here just waiting to be tapped; giving our citizens the ability to directly choose who leads us will do just that.

For far too long, we’ve been represented by some city council members who aren’t accountable, don't represent their constituents, and resist efforts to collaborate with community members. It’s time for a change. The initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot will bring that change.

I deeply appreciated the Aug. 1 Heights of Democracy column from Deborah Van Kleef and Carla Rautenberg. The history of the city-manager form of government was awesome to read, and knowing that the structure rose in popularity because wealthy elites and leaders wanted to hold on to every last ounce of control and power they had in the 19th century makes me even more skeptical of the opposition to the initiative on the ballot. 

It’s time to trust the residents of Cleveland Heights. Trust them to choose the next mayor. Trust them to identify the vision that will take our city to the next level. Trust them to choose city council members who will do the vital work to make that vision a reality. And trust them to put our city’s, our community’s, and our neighbors’ best interests first. 

Tas Nadas

Tas Nadas is a resident of Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:01 PM, 09.02.2019