Cleveland Heights City Council needs change
I am adding my voice to [those of] other Cleveland Heights residents who have expressed frustration with a city council that is failing procedurally and substantively.
The council president’s lack of leadership has resulted in council operating without formal rules or procedures, voting on legislation without sufficient information, refusing to address major issues facing the community, and exhibiting uncivility.
CH City Council doesn’t have formal processes for meeting, or researching, drafting, and discussing legislation. Former council member Josie Moore took the initiative to write and circulate a draft of policies and procedures for council to discuss and work from. The draft is thoughtful, logical, and sensible. Rather than lauding Josie’s effort and thanking her for doing the foundational work, the council president berated her and refused to have discussion of the documents.
The administration typically delays sending packets of information on legislation until the weekend before the [Monday] council meeting. Thus, council often lacks sufficient time to research matters contained in the legislation. Yet, the council president allows votes to occur on the administration’s schedule. Why doesn’t she defer votes until the following meeting if the administration does not provide sufficient review time?
Additionally, city staff with subject-matter expertise rarely are at council meetings. Why does the council president think it is in the best interest of the city to have council vote on matters without being fully informed?
Issues such as Severance, infill housing, and Noble Station aren’t getting [the] attention from council they need. Why don’t council and [its] committees regularly address those topics? Why isn’t council, under the council president, pressing the administration to conduct a thorough inspection of Severance and cite the owner for code violations? Why doesn’t council, under the president, make it feasible for capable individuals and developers to acquire and redevelop some of the 300-plus city parcels while poorly thought out projects languish? Why is city council, under the council president, only now getting involved with the Noble Station project?
Council Member Gail Larson and council candidate Jim Petras offer hope for city council. Gail has proven to be hardworking and committed to advancing sound public policy during her council tenure. Jim offers a positive alternative to the council president; professionally, he has proven his leadership skills through consensus building.
Gail and Jim understand the city’s important issues and can address them. Please vote for Gail Larson and Jim Petras.
Jennifer Wintner has lived in Cleveland Heights for more than 20 years. She is a member of the Severance Action Group. The opinion expressed here is her own.