Letters To The Editor

"Save Our Stages" now

To the Editor:

Ensemble Theatre, Greater Cleveland's home for modern American classics, culturally relevant plays, and significant new works, has been producing great theater with local talent for 40 great years. But, our doors have been closed to the public since March 1, and may continue to be for some time.

Like other arts, event, and theater organizations, Ensemble has faced, and continues to face, tens of thousands of dollars in losses due to the pandemic. There must be some type of industry-specific relief! 

Please help us #SaveOurStages by contacting Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman at www.saveourstages.com.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 11:39 AM, 08.11.2020

School levy would keep pace with inflation

The CH-UH school board has placed a 4.8 mill levy on the November 2020 ballot. Voting for the levy makes financial sense for our community.

CH-UH has placed a levy on the ballot simply to keep up with inflation. Due to Ohio law, even when the value of district homes rises, the amount of property tax collected is kept constant (estimated at around $72.25 million). With annual inflation of 2 percent, a levy is necessary to keep pace with inflation.

Another reason a levy is required is because our district has been uniquely harmed by how Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program is funded. Even though the state paid our district only $1,927 for each student, our district was required to send out $6,000 to private, charter and religious schools for each EdChoice voucher high school student—a loss of $4,073 per student.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 11:13 AM, 08.11.2020

Appointments don’t reflect the voice of the people

To the Editor:

In last fall’s election, Cleveland Heights voters were clear that appointments don’t reflect the voice of the people. Residents rejected the most recent city council appointment by a large margin, with the challenger, Davida Russell, winning against the appointed council member, with more than 57 percent of the vote.

Just one year later, the council member rejected by the voters has somehow made it to city council’s top four applicants [for another open council seat], narrowed from a pool of 22. Hmmm, really? How did this happen?

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 11:36 AM, 08.10.2020

City council appointments hurt democracy

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights residents overwhelmingly supported Issue 26 [on the November 2019 ballot] because it was a vote for change—a change that gave residents the ability to vote for mayor. We supported Issue 26 because we wanted more transparency, accountability, and say in who runs our city by democratically electing our representatives instead of relying on city council appointments. After 100 years without having an elected mayor accountable to residents, Issue 26 was a vote for change that residents wanted.

More appointments to Cleveland Heights City Council would be a step in the wrong direction. Appointments undermine democracy and allow people to appoint their friends and allies, opening the door for potential corruption, bribery and favoritism.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 11:24 AM, 08.10.2020

Hart states council has duty to select new member

To the Editor:

I have received a letter from 14 respected citizens regarding council having a duty to appoint a seventh council member. I agree with them.

I know the mayor said publicly that he thought we did not have to appoint someone, and at least one other council person has posted on Facebook that we might not appoint someone, but, in my view, making this decision is our duty.

Because the city manager resigned at our last meeting, we had to deal with her replacement and the transition to another executive leader. So we did not meet on the appointment, which we had intended to do, but will debate it in an August meeting. I only agreed to vote for an August recess when council agreed to have an August meeting to debate the appointment.

That said—there are four great candidates for the seat and only six current council members.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 4:09 PM, 07.24.2020

CH City Council needs to choose new member

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Cleveland Heights City Council Members:

It's often said "politics is the art of compromise," but that sentiment appears lost on CH City Council members. On July 6, they decided NOT to decide which of four vetted candidates would fill the vacant seat created more than four months ago, when Melissa Yasinow resigned on March 3.  

CH City Charter mandates council to choose a new member when a member resigns. By April 6, council [had] received 22 applications for the open seat. On June 22, it interviewed four finalists via Zoom meetings. Three weeks later, council members met, ostensibly to vote on the vacant-seat replacement, but, instead of fulfilling their mandated responsibility, they were unable to make a decision.

This lack of leadership could not have come at a more critical time for Cleveland Heights residents.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 2:38 PM, 07.20.2020

New EdChoice laws will make bad situation worse

To the Editor:

During the COVID-19 crisis and school closure, I've been proud of our educators' dedication to their students and community. Our district is providing virtual learning, thousands of free meals to children, Chromebooks for students, along with hosting Red Cross blood drives. It's amazing seeing Tiger Nation “band together,” all while physically apart.

But in the midst of this, our reality regarding EdChoice vouchers has only grown bleaker. The new voucher legislation that was slipped into the COVID-19 relief bill will only bring us more financial pain. We anticipate losing an additional $1 million next fiscal year, raising next year’s total estimated loss to $8.5 million due to EdChoice.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 2:06 PM, 04.20.2020

County council candidate Baker's résumé is skinny

To the Editor:

Cheryl Stephens is well known to us. Her economic development leadership for over 20 years, her progressive politics, and her Master of Public Administration [degree] make her a well-qualified candidate for Cuyahoga County Council. To see her credentials, go to the Cuyahoga County website and look her up.

Her opponent, on the other hand, has had 18 jobs in the past 13 years. He is significantly less qualified than Stephens. During a challenge of his residency, I received copy of his application and résumé from the South Euclid Lyndhurst (SEL) School District. 

He says he is an educator. Yet as of May 2019, when he applied at the SEL district, he had no permanent teaching certificate listed on his résumé.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 11:31 AM, 03.09.2020

CH-UH district supports the community; needs our votes

To the Editor:

These past days and weeks have caused so much upheaval and uncertainty for our families, our community, and our world. We are benefitting from a governor who has taken decisive action, requiring sacrifices from all to curb what could otherwise be devastating to so many.

Likewise, our CH-UH school district, under the leadership of Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, has taken quick action to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. But the district didn’t just comply with the state-ordered closure; it is doing much more.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 4:32 PM, 04.02.2020

Resident is proud of CH's diversity

To the Editor:

Nothing has made me prouder than returning home to the city of Cleveland Heights after 27 years and discovering that it hasn’t lost its commitment to cultural diversity.

This past January and February, within the span of three weeks, I attended stellar performances of “Intimate Apparel” at Ensemble Theatre, which is housed in the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus, and “Skeleton Crew” at Dobama Theatre, which is located in the Cedar Lee district.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 4:30 PM, 04.02.2020

One Fairmount business to close; another to move

To the Editor:

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen to you!

After nearly 40 years as a children’s specialty retailer—25 of them in Cleveland Heights—the time has come to say goodbye. Pinwheel Kids, at 3469 Fairmount Blvd., will close at the end of March so I can kick off my retirement.

I feel lucky to have called Cleveland Heights my second home for over two decades. Being on “main street” in this vibrant neighborhood has been so gratifying. The loyalty and enthusiasm of the Cleveland Heights community for its small businesses is exceptional.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 9:42 AM, 02.28.2020

FutureHeights supports Integrity Realty's Euclid Heights Blvd. project

To the Editor:

The following letter was sent to members of the CH Board of Zoning Appeals on Feb. 19:

Dear Members of the CH Board of Zoning Appeals,

FutureHeights has reviewed the proposed Integrity Realty Group project at 2235 Overlook Road and 2345-61 Euclid Heights Blvd., and offers its support of the developer’s request for variances to Code Sections 1123.08, 1161.11, and 1123.07.

We are pleased that Integrity plans to retain the historic buildings and stone wall on the site. We are also pleased with the developer’s efforts to address and incorporate neighboring property owners’ concerns into the plans.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 9:45 AM, 02.28.2020

Vote 'no' to keep the Heights affordable

To the Editor:

My family has been in the Heights for four generations. Both my husband and I are alumni. I have volunteered as a tutor in the elementary schools, and was campaign treasurer for two former school board members. That said, I am writing to ask people to vote “no” on the operating levy 

Understanding our community is primarily residential, we still have had an unprecedented number of levies and increases in spending in recent years—despite large decreases in school enrollment. Roughly 40 percent of our school-aged children opt out of the public schools, yet our spending is amongst the highest in Ohio.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:21 AM, 02.28.2020

In support of our public schools

To the Editor:

I am a homeowner, mother and teacher living and working in Cleveland Heights.

Living here was a no-brainer for me; [it’s] an inclusive, walkable, artistic community with historic homes, independent businesses and access to all of Cleveland’s cultural assets. When I was lucky enough to land a student-teaching placement at Noble Elementary School in my 20s, I knew this was where I wanted to put down roots.

Over the next decade I taught at both private and public schools before landing my dream job, teaching studio art at Heights High.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:14 AM, 02.28.2020

School board reaches deep into family budget

To the Editor:

Which pocket will the money come from? For a family of two adults and two children, with a house valued at $150,000 and income of $75,000, the school board’s tax increase of $414 will take a big chunk out of their disposable income.

I went to Taxformcalculator.com and to the liberal Economic Policy Institute for some estimates of a family budget in Cleveland Heights:

  • Take-home pay after a 10-percent 401(k) contribution and all taxes: $58,560.
  • Property tax: $6,114
  • Housing: $9,239
  • Food: $9,077
  • Transportation: $13,047
  • Health care: $10,476
  • Necessities: $7,389
Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 9:52 AM, 02.28.2020

City councils should consider impact of school levy

To the Editor:

If passed, the proposed school levy increase would give the Heights the highest property tax rate in Ohio. That is quite a severe burden when one considers the large number of low- and middle-income taxpayers here. Has any organization or elected leader in the Heights studied the impact on the community? How will this affect population, tax delinquencies, vacancies, home ownership, the quality of housing, and local businesses? The long-term trend of all of these is negative. 

Where are our city councils? Has any city found success in being #1 for property tax rates?

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:27 AM, 02.28.2020

School spending, not vouchers, is the problem

To the Editor:

On March 17, please vote “No” on Issue 26. The problem is school spending, not school vouchers, and here's why: Cleveland Heights already owns the title of highest-tax-burden city in the state of Ohio. We currently give more money to the schools than almost any other school district in Ohio—and we are not wealthy!

This monstrous school levy adds another $415 to the property tax bill of a $150,000 house. This is not sustainable.

And let me say something about Cleveland Heights and why this is so morally wrong: We are an aging city located next to Cleveland and East Cleveland. Our houses are all 100 years old and new families are not moving into our community.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:16 AM, 02.28.2020

School district comparisons should consider many factors

To the Editor:

Attorney Geoff Johnson's letter [in the January issue of the Heights Observer] about excessive educational costs in Cleveland Heights is neither informative nor convincing. He needs to do his homework. He compared the total [district] budget of [CH-UH] to other cities, [and] fails to consider the many other factors he needs to consider in order to understand why costs are different from one city to another.

To name a few . . . how about per pupil cost? How about population characteristics? How about teacher pay?

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:03 AM, 02.28.2020

Vote 'yes' for CH-UH school levy

To the Editor:

I am writing to encourage voters in the CH-UH school district to vote for the levy that will be on the ballot on March 17. Our district is faced with suddenly losing millions of dollars due to last minute changes to the EdChoice voucher program inflicted by the state board of education.

In 2016, the state took 7 percent of our district’s state monies to use for private school scholarships. This school year, it took almost five times that—34.6 percent of our state dollars. Next year, that number will go up by nearly $3 million more. Then, almost 50 percent of our state allocated dollars will be used to pay for private school scholarships instead of funding CH-UH schools.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 12:24 PM, 02.01.2020

Yes on school levy for a strong foundation

To the Editor:

Good schools are the foundation of a good community. When that foundation is threatened, you shore it up. That’s what the March 17 CH-UH school district levy will do.

We’re in the midst of positive change. Voters chose two new CH City Council members. This month, CH council chose two new leaders. In two years, CH residents will elect a mayor for the first time since 1921.

These changes are built on the foundation of a community with wonderful assets: people, businesses, arts, neighborhoods, nature, recreation, location. And schools.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 12:19 PM, 02.01.2020

CH resident thanks UH for its response

To the Editor:

Someone hit a skunk on the street in front of my [Staunton Road] home. I had two days and nights of sleeplessness. I was ill from the stench. It stunk to high heaven and was so strong it woke me up the first night. Headache and nausea weren't the only symptoms. I could taste the skunk all day long and when I was able to sleep at all I dreamt that a skunk was constantly following me around no matter what I did. I made multiple calls to Cleveland Heights City Hall—police, the service department, the mayor, council members, legal department, etc. The only answer I got was okay we know about it, or, we'll get to it when we can. [It was] mostly voicemail messages from me that were not returned. I then called the EPA and tried to find a functioning, real newspaper. No one could or would help.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 12:18 PM, 02.01.2020

TOH is not for the middle class

To the Editor:

At a recent CH City Council meeting I heard a couple of council members say that the Top of the Hill (TOH) project will have a positive impact on Cleveland Heights' middle class. May I suggest that no members of the middle class will be able or willing to live there; it is not aimed at us.

TOH is a "luxury" project. Comparing it with the nearby One University Circle, a similar project, is instructive in learning what we are in for. At One University Circle, studio, or efficiency, apartments start at $1,500 per month. Each bedroom adds about $1,000 per month, so two- and three-bedroom units cost about $3,500 and $4,500 per month, respectively.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 10:02 AM, 01.03.2020

TOH dog park is badly situated

To the Editor:

This is a small detail with long-term impact:
 
At the last Architectural Board of Review Top of the Hill meeting, the developer and the architect unveiled a dog park for the project. At first, it doesn't sound bad, but it will be located across from the main entrance to the Buckingham Condominiums.

Very bad choice. The Buckingham's front door will be across from a potentially noisy and smelly space.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.03.2020

Parent volunteers urge support for public schools

To the Editor:

As many in our community are already aware, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education has voted to place an operating levy on the March ballot. I am a member of Citizens for Our Heights Schools, a committee of parents and residents volunteering to ensure the successful passage of this levy. It is never easy to step up for this task, but I do it because I know it is necessary.

The way Ohio funds public education—long deemed unconstitutional—requires districts to return to voters every few years just to keep pace with inflation.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:56 AM, 01.03.2020

If current form of government can solve CH's problems, why hasn't it?

To the Editor:

We have an opportunity Nov. 5 to adopt a form of government better suited to our success as a city than our current one. That choice is FOR an elected mayor.

The opposition wants to carry on as things are. They claim the council-manager structure can solve the problems of a diminishing tax base, deteriorated housing, lack of future-oriented development, uneven distribution of services, etc. Its track record says otherwise. This form of governance was in place as these problems arose. If it can solve these problems, why hasn’t it?

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 6:38 PM, 10.30.2019

In response to Peggy Spaeth's opinion on Issue 26

To the Editor:

Peggy Spaeth is an engaged resident who has done much to enliven Cleveland Heights. Unfortunately, she does not understand Issue 26, and [in her recent opinion] incorrectly equates it with a loss of professional oversight of the city’s operations.

Importantly, in addition to an elected mayor, Issue 26’s proposed charter change includes a professionally trained city administrator to manage the city’s daily operations.

More distressing is Spaeth’s dismay “that this issue is on the ballot at all” and her question about what message it sends about Cleveland Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 6:30 PM, 10.30.2019

Council, not CEM, rejected ethics clause

To the Editor:

To clarify more misinformation from opponents of the citizens’ amendment for an elected mayor: Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) did not reject an ethics clause as Jack Newman alleged last month. By law, a proposed citizens’ amendment can address only one issue; unlike council or a commission, citizens cannot offer changes across the entire charter, so we had to focus solely on sections related directly to the manager/mayor structure.

Newman should be more worried that CH City Council itself rejected a key ethics recommendation by the Charter Review Commission (CRC).

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 11:08 AM, 10.01.2019

Think before you vote [Corrected version]

To the Editor:

Before deciding for or against the proposed amendment to the city charter, [I urge CH residents] read and think about what it establishes:

“Shall various Articles of the Charter of the City of Cleveland Heights be amended to change the form of government from its current elected Council and appointed Manager form, to an elected Mayor and Council form, and to provide for the powers, duties, four-year term, qualifications, and removal process for the office of the Mayor, and to create the position of the City Administrator appointed by the Mayor and subject to Council approval who shall be responsible for assisting the Mayor in overseeing the administrative functions of the City, commencing with the initial election of the Mayor to occur at the regular municipal election occurring in the year 2021; and to eliminate the City Manager position?

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 11:00 AM, 10.01.2019

I support CH council candidate Hart

To the Editor:

Which new candidate for CH City Council has attended most Committee of the Whole and city council meetings for the past three years? Melody Hart. Because Melody has this unique view of city council, she has a very good understanding of how it functions.

Which candidate for CH City Council is a member of the Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) Housing Task Force? Melody Hart.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 11:09 AM, 10.01.2019

Congratulations to CH sports honorees

To the Editor:

I want to congratulate the following individuals for their induction into various sports halls of fame in 2019:

John Malloy and Otis Chapman will be inducted into The Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 17. Malloy was hockey coach at Cleveland Heights High School 1981–96 and won a state championship (1986–87). He was a great mentor to many youth players who aspired to play, and later played, for Heights High.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:25 PM, 09.02.2019

Check facts before making assumptions

To the Editor:

Before Sarah West decided to “posit that CEM has already vetted possible mayoral candidates” (“CH and the strong-mayor dilemma,” Heights Observer, Aug. 1), she could have checked if her assumption was true. It’s not. All 10 members of Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM), listed on our website and easily accessible if she had chosen to ask us, would have told her we have not vetted possible candidates.

We also agreed to not endorse a candidate nor run for mayor ourselves. We have not even discussed possible candidates, other than to say we are optimistic many qualified residents will be interested in running.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:23 PM, 09.02.2019

Now's the time for checks and balances

To the Editor:

Several authors of opinions published in the August Heights Observer lauded Cleveland Heights’ current system of government as “collaborative.” I agree. But it requires collaboration between two branches of government that ought to be separate: the legislative and the executive.

With the current system, city council not only hires, and can fire, the city manager, it is also charged with supervising the manager, and therefore, indirectly, city staff. This means that council, which is supposed to be the legislative branch of city government, spends much of its time protecting and attempting to manage the executive branch.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:19 PM, 09.02.2019

CH needs government that serves current needs

To the Editor:

This letter is a response to Alan Rapoport's opinion article, "A city manager form of government works well," published in the Heights Observer's June issue.

As a former mayor, Rapoport understandably likes Cleveland Heights' government structure, citing history, progress and a contrasting example.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:33 PM, 06.27.2019

What happened with CH government?

To the Editor:

A column by Deborah Van Kleef and Carla Rautenberg in the May 2019 Heights Observer called for changing from a city manager form of government to an elected full-time mayor for Cleveland Heights. The motivation for this call is stated as a poorly working city manager form of government. They state that CH City Manager Robert Downey "left a mess" and had a "sudden departure," in 2012.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:30 PM, 06.27.2019

Thank you to Heights Libraries

To the Editor:

I'm a Cleveland Heights native, and I just wanted to say thank you to Heights Libraries for acquiring and preserving the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus.

The P.E.A.C.E. Campus is dear to my heart. In 1976 my mother, Ro Eugene, started a "Coventry Kids for PEACE" movement in the wake of disturbing bullying incidents at the school. Parents and kids had several meetings together, and made a plan to be nicer and more accepting of each other. It worked.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:21 AM, 06.03.2019

Heights Methodist clergy welcome all

To the Editor:

By now, many Heights residents will have read or heard that a body of The United Methodist Church recently voted to maintain its discriminatory position regarding same-sex marriage and ordination. We want you to be aware that not all United Methodists are like-minded.

As the United Methodist clergypersons serving in Cleveland Heights, we affirm our passion for, and commitment to, justice and covenant with all of God’s children. Our congregations, though diverse, share a calling to love God and neighbor, and to include all souls in our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 03.05.2019

Resident sees parallels between Oakwood and TOH

To the Editor:

What’s the drive behind the city’s plan for the Top of the Hill project—the need for new housing, more retail? Would renovating existing space, or a scaled down mixed-use project be better, or just a parking garage make more sense? Are there any metrics showing that there is a market demand for these kinds of buildings?

Seems to me the driver—the appeal of the project—is that it is new, fun and exciting. Can’t we think of anything fun to build that is not heavily subsidized with our tax dollars? Are we all going to get our money’s worth of excitement out of the project?

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 10:57 AM, 03.04.2019

CH's tolerance of deteriorated properties is misguided

To the Editor:

The survey results from the Cleveland Heights Branding Initiative bring to mind the adage that "your greatest strength begets your greatest weakness." The survey found that diversity is the city's most valued characteristic, and that the most cherished traits are openness, welcoming, inclusive and tolerance.  

Those qualities are indeed city strengths. But the weakness comes about when they are applied inappropriately and result in community harm.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 10:03 AM, 02.01.2019

FutureHeights urges CH ABR to 'conceptually approve' TOH

To the Editor:

The FutureHeights Board of Directors sent this letter to the Cleveland Heights Architectural Board of Review on Dec. 19:

Dear Members of CH Architectural Board of Review,

FutureHeights supports moving forward with a mixed-use development at Top of the Hill (TOH) and urges the Cleveland Heights Architectural Board of Review to “conceptually approve” the project, with final approval subject to the developers’ final architectural design.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 10:15 AM, 01.07.2019

Cedar Fairmount SID supports Top of the Hill project

To the Editor:

The Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (SID) is in support of the Top of the Hill Project at Euclid Heights Boulevard and Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights.

The area is on the former site of Doctor’s Hospital that was 10 floors. This was built in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood, which was created for density in a planned community.

Read Full Story
Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 10:11 AM, 12.18.2018

Top of the Hill design should reflect Cedar Fairmount architectural style

To the Editor:

If a vote would had been taken after each of the three public meetings concerning the Top of the Hill Project, I believe the majority of those attending would have said that they think the "look doesn't fit the location.”

The existing Cedar Fairmount buildings have four to five architectural styles. The most prominent have an English Tudor influence. That style is reflected in the Cedar Fairmount District logo. The basic materials are brick, stone, stucco, wood and glass. Those materials and some of that style can "easily" be incorporated into parts of the new design.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 4:51 PM, 11.29.2018

November opinion lacked evidence

To the Editor:

Two questions about Diane Hallum’s opinion piece in the November issue of the Heights Observer (“There is systemic racism in CH”):

Question one: “In 1972, it was revealed,” Hallum writes, ”that the city had been redlining—limiting black families to homeownership only on the north side of the city.” [i.e., the Noble neighborhood.] What exactly does she refer to? Who revealed this? And to whom? This is a highly charged, very damaging, controversial statement, made with no supporting evidence.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 4:48 PM, 11.29.2018

FutureHeights supports moving forward with Top of the Hill

To the Editor:

FutureHeights sent the following letter to Cleveland Heights City Council on Oct. 19:

FutureHeights supports a mixed-use development project at Top of the Hill and urges council to adopt the Planning Commission’s recommendation to initiate the Planned Development Overlay District Procedures and Rezoning Process. FutureHeights staff and board members participated in the Aug. 30 design focus group meeting, attended the Oct. 10 community meeting, and reviewed the updated plans and renderings.

We are pleased with the responsiveness of the developer to our comments and [those of] others in the community. However, we are also aware that there remain community concerns about several important issues: traffic/parking, compatibility/quality of architecture, and the 30-year tax abatement. In addition, we are unsure that all business owners and residents in the neighborhood understand the project and have had a chance to provide input and suggestions. It appears more communication and dialogue are needed.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 11:16 AM, 10.30.2018

A vote for Cordray means more local funding

To the Editor:

I urge my fellow Cleveland Heights residents to support Richard Cordray for governor because it will mean more and better funding for Cleveland Heights. Over the past eight years the state has slashed the Local Government Fund (LGF), and counties, cities, villages, townships, libraries and schools have been told to do more with less.

These cuts have directly impacted Cleveland Heights and caused our city and schools to lose millions of dollars. To offset these cuts, our residents graciously supported Issue 53, an income tax increase to protect our fire and safety forces. Had Cleveland Heights residents not voted to offset the cuts from Columbus, we would have seen drastic losses, and Fire Station 2, which responds to calls west of Superior Road, wouldn’t have had enough first responders to simultaneously send out the ambulance and the fire truck.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 12:25 PM, 10.23.2018

Was the CRC process a democratic one?

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) had a meeting on June 21. I believe it was at that meeting that the decision was made to keep our city manager form of government.

It was published in the Heights Observer that, at a meeting in April, 53 of the people who attended indicated that they were in favor of changing to an elected mayor, while 31 favored staying with our current city manager form of government.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:35 PM, 09.03.2018

Reduce, reuse and recycle CH trash

To the Editor:

Residents have submitted different opinions on trash collection to the Observer recently. I agree with Tom Diamond that we can do better.

As a dog walker, I am up close and personal with trash. It’s not a pretty site. Trash bags are ripped open every single week by cats, possums, skunks, raccoons and rats. Our hard-working trash collectors do not rake up the mess, and to make matters worse, neither do some residents. Garbage sits on tree lawns indefinitely. Plastics find their way to the sewers marked “Lake Erie starts here.”

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:34 PM, 09.03.2018

CH is a city of choice

To the Editor:

I read that Cleveland Heights will start a branding campaign, and I think I have a good tagline: City of Choice. Starting with the fact that many residents and newcomers make an active choice to live here (regardless of the high taxes), where others default to more generic communities, consider how many choices we have: School and education choices—private, public, parochial and home, both K–12 and college. Lifestyle choices. Housing choices. Religious choices. Entertainment and food choices. Transportation choices—bike, walk, bus and car. Access to a metropolitan job market for work choices.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:32 PM, 09.03.2018

CH doesn't need trash bins

To the Editor:

My response to Tom Diamond (“CH can do better with garbage,” Heights Observer June 2018) is NO—we do not want those huge bins littering our tree lawns all day on trash day. I, and most people on our street and nearby streets, don’t have tons of trash each week. In fact, I usually have two small bags, one with recyclables in it. The ugly huge bins are usually left out on people’s tree lawns all day, sometimes tipped over, looking messy because homeowners don’t return until late afternoon after work. If Mr. Diamond and others would not put tasty treats in their bags and set them out the night before pickup, rodents wouldn’t try to rip the bags open. Meat scraps can be put in [garbage] disposals and vegetable scraps can be put in a compost pile. If I have pieces of chicken skin or bones, I put them in a little bag in the freezer and then into the trash bag the morning of pickup. Frozen meat scraps don’t attract animals. The day I read Mr. Diamond’s tirade about trash pickup, I drove around our neighborhoods and didn’t see one ripped-open trash bag, but I did see lots of bins on neighboring cities’ tree lawns.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 12:54 PM, 07.31.2018

Charter Review Commission happy with status quo

To the Editor:

The Charter Review Commission endorsed the status quo, deciding at-large council/hired city manager government is just fine. What a missed opportunity to create badly needed change for a better future.

After months of interviews and input, there was little discussion before voting. The few who wanted an elected mayor and possible council changes had no chance of turning this Titanic in a bathtub; the majority apparently came into the process with minds made up.

Maybe they think everything is fine.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 6:09 PM, 07.09.2018

Pothole frustration

To the Editor:

In January we accidentally drove our car through a pothole in Severance Circle. Two tires were damaged. I called two council members to make them aware of the need for repair. The second council member acted swiftly; the hole was patched.

The community safety issue addressed, I then submitted paperwork to the city seeking reimbursement for tire replacement. I waited two months for my claim to be processed. On March 29, I received a letter from the assistant law director that stated that “their investigation was complete, and they are not liable for the damages.” First, he said Cleveland Heights was not responsible for damages because of jurisdiction (that it was Cleveland Water’s responsibility); then he said it was because Ohio Code 2744 states that “if the city is not aware of a pothole, they are not responsible for any damages incurred.”

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 3:57 PM, 06.01.2018

Medusa Building is not part of Forest Hill

To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to Mike Reilly’s opinion piece in the May issue of the Heights Observer (“Forest Hill can be the next Tremont”).

The Medusa Building has nothing to do with the Forest Hill Home Owners (FHHO) association.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 4:01 PM, 06.01.2018

Ungar's remark muddies the waters

To the Editor:

At its April 2 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council unanimously approved the creation of an Immigration Task Force. The measure was proposed by Mayor Carol Roe, in response to issues raised by the "civil immigration enforcement" legislation introduced last fall by Council Member Kahlil Seren. Seren’s ordinance would lay out what police and other city officials can and cannot do regarding undocumented immigrants. Those violating its strictures could be charged with a misdemeanor.

City Manager Tanisha Briley and Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg objected to that part of the legislation, and also preferred that the guidelines take the form of a departmental policy, rather than carry the force of law. Seren offered to remove the section criminalizing certain police actions. 

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:28 PM, 04.30.2018

Support 'one of our own' in county race

To the Editor:

I write this letter to ask my fellow Cuyahoga County District 10 residents to support Cheryl Stephens in her bid to be our Cuyahoga County Council representative. I believe Cheryl is the most qualified candidate for the job. Her record of accomplishments is unmatched and her dedication to our community is beyond reproach.

I have known Cheryl for over 30 years. When I first met her, we were members of the mayoral administration of George Voinovich. She was a dynamic and impassioned economic development officer. She was very knowledgeable about the city and what it would take to create lasting, sustainable businesses to grow our community. I could hardly believe she had only been in Cleveland a few years. Her love for our city was something I thought could only be found in a “home-towner.”

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:25 PM, 04.30.2018

Help, before my car falls apart or I have a collision!

To the Editor:

I'm talking about Coventry Road running north and south between Euclid Heights and Larchmere boulevards. General road surface degradation here, worsened by increasingly deep, invisible (till the last instant) new potholes, has converted this stretch of Coventry Road into a daily demolition derby for my expensive, vulnerable, late-model automobile.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:49 AM, 03.06.2018

An ode to Big Fun

To the Editor:

I wrote this poem in response to the article you published about Big Fun's closing:

BIG FUN

I heard that BIG FUN is done
So where will I get another potato gun?
Don't tell me that fun is over and done
Just tell me the good guys have won

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:55 PM, 03.01.2018

February letter contained misguided views about Citizens United

To the Editor:

Just when I thought my level of bewilderment has peaked in regard to the political beliefs of fellow citizens, I read Robert Schwab’s attempt at "educating" readers on his interpretation of Citizens United v. FEC. I’m not sure where his political or business interests lie, but to believe that this 2010 Supreme Court decision benefits democracy in our country for rank and file citizens? My amazement has reached a new level.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:53 PM, 03.01.2018

February letter is full of 'red herring'

To the Editor:

This letter is sent in response to a letter I read in the February 2018 issue, "Corporations should have free speech rights." The author is offensive in his introduction, calling some friends of many misguided and untrue. Frankly, the adage "people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" strongly applies here.

Many congressmen, senators on both sides of the aisle, and the four dissenting judges involved in the case agree with Carla and Deborah [authors of the "Heights of Democracy" column]. Is everyone misguided and lying?

[The letter writer] says next that the ideologues on the opposite side of his ideology are trying to limit free speech. This is simply untrue, when you consider that their ideology  consistently states that corporations are not people, and money is not  speech.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:35 PM, 03.02.2018

CH should join in national discussion on gun violence

To the Editor:

In 1994 Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, a ban on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms defined as assault weapons and certain ammunition magazines. In 2004 the ban expired and was not renewed. In Ohio, some municipalities were able to withstand pressure from the NRA and the state of Ohio that was undermining local governments’ authority to continue the assault weapon ban until 2010, when the Supreme Court of Ohio and the attorney general were able to preempt and invalidate the local assault weapons ban.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:51 PM, 03.01.2018

Corporations should have free-speech rights

To the Editor:

I need to respond to the misguided or untruthful notions about the Citizens United case from Carla Rautenberg and Deborah Van Kleef in the [January] Heights of Democracy column.

Nothing is scarier to me for our democracy than left-wing ideologues trying to amend our Constitution to limit free speech. The Citizens United case involved a group that produced an anti-Hillary Clinton movie, and Democrat supporters sought to stop the film and/or punish the producers. The Supreme Court upheld the free speech rights of citizens, whether in a group organized for-profit, not-for-profit, labor, news, politics or anti-politics to express their opinions. When government uses its power to maintain useless or harmful regulations, to oppose reforms, to expand bureaucratic excess, and to quash new products, medicines, innovation and services, I want our corporations, representing millions of people and shareholders (including 401(k) and pension participants) to have a vigorous right to speech. The majority on the Supreme Court could not see why one corporation (say, Google, Yahoo, The New York Times, CBS or Koch Industries) for-profit or non-profit would have more free speech rights than another. But, I doubt your columnists have actually read the Supreme Court opinion. Unions and the Sierra Club are corporations, too.

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:21 AM, 01.31.2018

Seeking clarity on statement in December column

To the Editor:

Your "About the Observer" column states that "If you're writing a news article it should be clear and factual." That is the basis for my question regarding the "Heights of Democracy" article [in the December issue].

Regarding the proposed legislation, the article contains the statement: The ordinance would not violate state or federal laws.

Although this article is on the Opinion page, the above statement seems to be stating a fact. Neither of the authors is a lawyer or a judge, so what is the basis for the statement?

 

Read Full Story
Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:52 AM, 12.18.2017