Davida Russell, candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council, two-year unexpired term
Cleveland Heights Age: 61
Education: George Meany National Labor College - B.A. with double major in Labor Studies and Union Leadership and Administration; Ohio Department of Education – Certificate, HQ Paraprofessional; Cleveland Growth Association – Certificate, Leadership Cleveland
Current Occupation: Transportation Employee and Substitute Teacher for the South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. Top issues: 1.The most pressing issue is the city’s economic viability. I want to immediately address the problem of deteriorating, vacant and abandoned property which adversely affects all property values and interrupts the revenue stream so essential to maintaining city services, schools and community programs. I would focus on programs to repair/update or level deteriorated properties and encourage investment in and development of those and other properties for both commercial and residential uses. 2. Infrastructure is the next issue. I would support actions to repair and upgrade infrastructure for the benefit of residents and to keep Cleveland Heights competitive to investors and developers. 3. The third issue of concern is transparency. Residents of Cleveland Heights, the taxpayers, have the right to know what resources and funding is available to our government, how these resources are used and in what direction local government is taking our community. Communication with residents is vital.
2. Position on form of city government ballot issue: As a longtime labor leader, I have always championed the democratic process and the right to vote. Therefore, the best answer here is to let the voters decide the issue in the upcoming election.
3. New residential and commercial development: The city should set policies for all new residential and commercial construction that ensure the best outcome for the different areas in Cleveland Heights, for example, the redevelopment of Severance Center.
4. Privatization of city services: I strongly oppose privatizing city services. Privatization does not use taxpayer money effectively or efficiently. Subcontractors often avoid rules and regulations in their drive to maximize profits. Since privatizers are mostly non-union, they are not governed by collectively bargained agreements; therefore, workers have little or no say in their working conditions or compensation.
5. Regionalization efforts: There are some benefits to regionalization that I support, especially where there are efficiencies and cost savings. Examples include the communications dispatch center for fire and police and the mutual aid among our five neighboring communities: Shaker Heights, University Heights, South Euclid and Richmond Heights. I believe we should explore added ideas that could be helpful and cost efficient.
League of Women Voters
The 2019 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. 5, 2019. Polls are open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.