The case for change on CH City Council

Things on CH City Council are not going well. The past 20 months have been marked by a constant struggle to get information from the administration, council’s failure to compromise on a replacement for Josie Moore, and council leadership’s inability to establish any rules or priorities after three retreats. The result has been a largely unproductive, unfocused, slow-moving, and sometimes adversarial city council.

There have, however, been moments where things have been calm and the business of the city moves forward as it should. The vast majority (98%-plus) of perfunctory legislation put forward by the administration moves ahead without incident.

But when it comes to council taking care of its own business—the clerk of council amendment, the inquiry amendment, the memorandum of understanding, equal treatment of council members, decorum at meetings and between members, establishing priorities and rules, filling a vacancy on council, creating a process for seating a charter review commission, and support for council-initiated legislation—it’s mostly been a struggle. Between a lack of communication, flawed processes, unwillingness to compromise, and very different ideas about council’s role in our new form of government, this council has had a difficult time getting things done.

Fortunately, on Nov. 7, Cleveland Heights voters will have the opportunity to re-elect Council Member Gail Larson and elect council candidate Jim Petras.

Gail Larson supported legislation to clarify council’s right to inquiry. She supported compromise when there was a stalemate for Moore’s replacement. Gail is always calm, thoughtful, insightful, and responsive. She returns every phone call and every e-mail. Perhaps most importantly, Gail is independent. Even when we don’t agree, she is always collaborative and professional.    

Jim Petras is a consensus builder. As a project director at Case Western Reserve University, he brings people together on a daily basis to collaborate to solve problems. He’s young, educated, perceptive, and a quick study. And he is the only challenger who regularly attends city council meetings. When I see Jim out in the community campaigning and building relationships, it confirms to me how important it is to support our young, talented, future leaders.

There are six candidates running for three CH City Council seats on Nov. 7. Larson and Petras are the only two candidates endorsed by the Cleveland Heights Democratic Club!

If we re-elect Gail Larson and elect Jim Petras, I strongly believe that we will become a more productive, focused, and effective city council.

Tony Cuda

Tony Cuda is a member of CH City Council, and a longtime resident of the city.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:28 AM, 09.02.2023