A look at the races and issues on Heights ballots Nov. 2

Kahlil Seren (left) and Barbara Danforth are the two remaining candidates vying to become Cleveland Heights' first directly elected mayor.

In the Sept. 14 primary election, Cleveland Heights residents cast votes for one of three mayoral candidates. The top two primary finishers, Barbara Danforth and Kahlil Seren, will now face off in the race for Cleveland Heights mayor, in the general election on Nov. 2.

Voter turnout for Cleveland Heights' first mayoral primary election was low, with votes cast by fewer than 7,000 of the city's approximately 33,967 (as of Sept. 1) registered voters.

Mary Dunbar’s resignation from Cleveland Heights City Council on Aug. 16, effective immediately, created a vacancy for her unexpired term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2023.

After initially announcing that CH City Council members would appoint someone to the vacant seat, council later authorized a special election for the unexpired term, to be held on the same day as the general election.

Seven residents filed valid candidate petitions in the race for the unexpired CH City Council term, ending Dec. 31, 2023, that has been added to the Nov. 2 ballot. The seven candidates are: Erin C. Johnson, Garry Kanter, Robert Koonce, Josie Moore, Ellen M. Roth, Eric J. Silverman, and James A. Williams.

In addition, four full-term (four-year) CH City Council seats are on the Nov. 2 ballot, in a separate race. The six candidates for those four council seats are: Lee Barbee II, Craig Cobb, Tony Cuda, Anthony Mattox Jr., Davida Russell, and Allosious K. Snodgrass.

There will also be a proposed Cleveland Heights Charter Amendment on city ballots, Issue 31, in which voters will be asked to vote on setting a timeline and procedure for filling city council vacancies. (CH council efforts to fill recent vacancies have been marked by delay and confusion.)

In University Heights, there are four candidates for UH mayor: Philip M. Atkin, Barbara Blankfeld, Michael Dylan Brennan, and Ken Simmons.

University Heights voters also will elect three UH City Council members, from a field of seven. The candidates are: Christopher Cooney, Danny Grand, Brian J. King, Paul Miller, Katie Nelson Moody, Sheri R. Sax, and Winifred Weizer.

Residents of both Cleveland Heights and University Heights will vote in the CH-UH City School District Board of Education (BOE) race, in which seven candidates are running for three board seats. The candidates are: Mario Clopton-Zymler, Charles C. Drake, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Maureen Lynn, Mordechai Rennert, and Jodi L. Sourini.

The October issue of the Heights Observer contains a comprehensive voters guide—compiled by the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland - Heights Chapter (LWV)—to all of the Cleveland Heights and University Heights issues and races that will be on Heights ballots on Nov. 2. (The guide is posted online, as well as being included in the print edition.)

An earlier LWV Voters guide, published in advance of the Sept. 14 Cleveland Heights primary election for mayor, contained questions and answers for the then-three mayoral candidates. Those same questions and answers for the two remaining CH mayoral candidates—Kahlil Seren and Barbara Danforth—are reprinted in the current LWV voters guide, and can be found online at Vote411.org.

Questions and answers for the seven candidates for the unexpired CH City Council term are included in the print version of the LWV voters guide, but not in their entirety, due to space limitations. The full question-and-answer section for those candidates can be found at Vote411.org.

Vote411.org is the LWV’s online election guide. It includes a Q-and-A section for all of the candidates, in every Cleveland Heights and University Heights race, and an explanation of CH ballot Issue 31.

For a look at sample ballots, and information on deadlines for voting early and voting by mail, visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website, boe.cuyahogacounty.gov.

Kim Sergio Inglis

Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer, and is a Cuyahoga County master gardener volunteer.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:36 PM, 10.01.2021