Seeking new members for the Heights Observer's advisory committee

The Heights Observer is intended to be community property—produced by the community, on behalf of the community. One of the main reasons for this column each month is to provide transparency about decisions made while trying to do that job.

Yet, while dozens of people contribute to the Observer each month, the handful of us who regularly put in the most time with it make all sorts of decisions that are never likely to be described, explained or even questioned.

It’s a small group. While we tend to communicate regularly (mostly by e-mail), we work independently. We often disagree with one another, but we are pretty good at trusting in each other’s competence, respecting each other's roles and making the best decisions we can based on the Observer’s mission.

But there is a group of concerned citizens who are, in fact, tasked with keeping an eye on how the Observer is working. These are members of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee. Set up six years ago—when nonprofit FutureHeights began publishing the Observer—this committee was always intended to reflect the community's diversity and keep the Observer grounded in its mission to serve as a community advocate, be a catalyst for public discourse, keep residents informed, promote citizen involvement and improve the overall quality of life for residents.

The committee itself has had its ups and downs—being more active and more widely representative at some times than others. Right now, we are seeking to bring on some new members. The goal is to broaden community participation and add capacity to implement new ideas.

Members of the advisory committee are chosen by its chairmanwho in turn is selected by the FutureHeights board. Right now, the committee has two co-chairmen—me (on a second tour of duty) and Jim Henke, a FutureHeights board member, regular Observer contributor and an internationally known journalist.

The committee isn't capped at a specific size, and its members may serve for as long as they remain interested and helpful.

There are not a lot of requirements for serving on this committee, but there are a few. Members are expected to attend regular meetings. They are also expected to communicate constructively and with civility, and they are expected to become actively involved in projects that the committee chooses to undertake.

You can find more information about the committee, along with a list of its members at Then click on About Us and Advisory Committee.

If you think you have something to offer by working on the Observer's advisory committee, please take a look at the information and consider applying to join us in this unique and rewarding project.

Bob Rosenbaum

Cleveland Heights resident Bob Rosenbaum is co-chairman of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee and is responsible for the paper's advertising sales and market development.

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:29 PM, 05.05.2014