CH City Council is being silly again

Cleveland Heights City Council is at it again.

I do not recall any of its members campaigning for election by advertising their foreign policy expertise. But now that they have been elected, they are all committed to expressing official opinions about foreign policy. The most recent example is a watered-down resolution passed unanimously calling for, among other things, a cease-fire in Gaza.

It seems fitting that this resolution was adopted on April Fools’ Day.

I have seen similar silliness before. When I was CH’s mayor [when the president of council was the mayor] in the 1980s, a nuclear-free-zone ordinance was placed on the ballot as an initiative measure. It passed. Signs were then posted at city borders. These made Cleveland Heights the laughingstock of Cuyahoga County. And they did nothing to end the Cold War. Amazingly, this ordinance today would still require the city manager to notify the Soviet Union (or “any successor entity”) that Cleveland Heights remains a nuclear-free zone. Fortunately, such a silly notice has never been sent.

Since there is no longer a city manager, maybe this notice requirement no longer applies. But the silliness lingers on.

Silliness happens from time to time in Cleveland Heights government. It is not limited to proclamations about international crises. And it matters not when official positions taken bear no relationship to municipal services or city needs. A domestic partnership registry, for instance, had no legal effect whatsoever when created. It served only to virtue signal. Fortunately, laws have changed, and such a registry is no longer considered important by anyone. But silliness continues unabated.

The best that can be said is that the time and expense spent by our public officials on such silly matters usually is minimal.

City council no doubt will continue to sponsor meaningless public meetings on so-called “Democracy Days.” And the mayor will continue to paint rainbow lines on city streets that please some while offending others. And life will go on.

Most people will just ignore the silliness. But it is a shame when our elected municipal officials spend any time at all on what is ineffective and frivolous. There are so many important matters like housing and economic development to which they could devote their attention.

Alan Rapoport

Alan Rapoport, a longtime CH resident, served on city council (1980–87) and as council president (1982–87).

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:21 AM, 04.29.2024