New CH council member to host Jan. 29 listening session
Newly elected Cleveland Heights Council Member Melody Joy Hart will host a Community Listening Session on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m., at Imani Temple, 2463 North Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights.
During her campaign, Hart pledged to hold regular town hall meetings/listening sessions so that citizens would have a chance to be heard.
While this program is Hart's initiative, she has invited her council colleagues to attend, emphasizing that it is a listening session, not a talking session. “My role—and theirs, if they attend—is not to take it as an opportunity to talk, but as an opportunity to listen,” Hart explained. “Of course, my hope is that this will spur the council to join together in the future to hold these.”
Hart anticipates holding the listening sessions quarterly. She has invited Mark Chupp, an assistant professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University, where he teaches community development, to facilitate. Chupp, who is also a Cleveland Heights resident, plans to break up attendees into small groups and ask them to compile their thoughts on a number of questions regarding Cleveland Heights. After discussing answers to the questions, the small groups will report back to all those in attendance.
Hart, who has begun keeping a spreadsheet of citizen comments at council meetings in order to ensure that the city responds, said that she will also bring concerns raised at the listening session to council’s attention.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.