KC Petraitis' County Council Observer Interview

KC Petraitis, 24, Democrat. Collinwood, Ward 11, Cleveland. Job: Currently unemployed, former employee at the Cleveland Lakefront State Park.

1. Describe for us the duties of a member of the County Council.

The new County Council has the responsibility of helping create a new government and provide a check on the new and very powerful County Executive position. It is a position that I believe should be used to encourage regionalism by crossing city and ward boundaries to create a network of leaders to better serve our residents.

2. Why do you want to serve on the County Council?

My educational background and current service in the community has allowed me to understand the issues that affect those in the County the most. I have campaigned on the issue of foreclosures, vacancies, and brownfields as the primary goal if elected. I understand the frustration of residents who have to deal with these magnets for crime and eyesores in their community. It affects their home equity and neighborhoods. I see the County Land Bank as an important tool to help correct these problems and I would allocate more funds to the Land Bank to ensure it meets its goals and helps our residents. Despite our looming budget problems this has to be our priority. If we do not stop the bleeding we will lose Cleveland and ultimately our region.

3. What qualifications do you bring that make you the most qualified?

My experience and work with creating organizations and understanding the foreclosure problems plaguing our area make me a viable candidate. I have a Masters in Public Administration where my concentration was in economic development from Cleveland State University. I am a public administrator by trade and not a politician. We need to have people capable of working outside the box and who are not politically constrained when it comes to creating this new government. My service at Northeast Shores has given me a fantastic understanding and network of leaders in the community who are so instrumental when change is being created and implemented.

4. What will you do in your first weeks? Please describe in detail, to give our readers an idea of what this position will actually be like.

The first few weeks will be spent working out the kinks in our new system of government. New legislation will be passed regarding how our County government will work, operate, and it will help create a sense of order to all the variety of work being done. We also have the problem of balancing a large budget deficit of $20 Million. So, we will have our work cut out for us upon election.

5. How, specifically, will we know that you are doing a good job?

The charter lists the County Council position as part-time which I disagree with. I am campaigning as a full-time legislator that will also constantly try to meet with everyday citizens and organizations in order to always keep my feet on the ground and make laws to best serve my residents. Election Day is a powerful indicator of how I am doing. If I am voted out in 2 years I obviously did a poor job. If I am elected overwhelmingly than I would be extremely happy with my service and continue to conduct business in a manner I see fit.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:26 AM, 09.04.2010