Letters To The Editor

Cumberland pool community meeting was reassuring

To the Editor:

Thanks to Cleveland Heights Parks & Recreation for providing the Jan. 17 opportunity to view the initial concept proposals for Cumberland Pool. [Director of Parks & Recreation Kelly] Ledbetter's promise to the standing-room-only gathering to provide uninterrupted pool recreation during the 2024 pool season and restoration of the toddler pool prior to the 2024 summer season was reassuring.

The meeting provided residents the opportunity to review and comment on three initial pool concepts. However, the meeting organizers could have calmed some initial mistrust and been more respectful of the attendees by providing the following information:

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 4:49 PM, 01.30.2024

Stone Oven's owners announce its sale

To the Editor:

It's time to pass the torch.

After nearly three decades of having the pleasure of serving our community in Cleveland Heights and beyond, Tatyana and I have decided that now is the time to hand over the reins of The Stone Oven.

When we opened the store—exactly 29 years ago—we never imagined that we were creating something more than a “mom-and-pop” bakery cafe. We clearly remember the first day we opened, Jan 23, 1995, and sitting anxiously at this very same high-top bar wondering if anyone would walk in.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 10:57 AM, 01.26.2024

Miracle at the Blue Cottage

To the Editor:

Without any tedious committee meetings, and with very little publicity, a holiday sale of gifts, crafts and cookies on Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 scored a success for the Forest Hill neighborhood.

The motivation for the sale was to raise money to repair the Blue Cottage’s water line, which was broken when the gas company put in new lines on Lee Boulevard.

People who hadn't been seen in years came with boxes of donations, and more came to shop, including 94-year-old Isaiah Jones. People from throughout the Noble area stopped by, as did two members of Cleveland Heights City Council.

I was awed by the phalanx of bakers who came forward with homemade cookies of all kinds!

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 2:42 PM, 12.27.2023

CH council needs a Hatch Act

To the Editor:

CH City Council, sadly, needs a Hatch Act.

For those who are not familiar, the Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees, including elected and appointed officials.

​The law’s purposes are to ensure that government programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect government employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:11 AM, 10.30.2023

Change needed on CH City Council for Coventry

To the Editor:

I was raised in Cleveland Heights, attended Coventry Elementary School, and spent countless hours on Coventry Road. After a decade in North Carolina, I was excited to move back to Coventry Village. But things have changed, and the decline is sobering. 

It’s appalling to see the neglect of this historic, once vibrant neighborhood by our mayor and city council. Before this month, I had no idea who was on CH City Council or why there was no attention being paid to my neighborhood.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 10:35 AM, 10.27.2023

Vote for Gail Larson

To the Editor:

I encourage everyone to support the re-election of Gail Larson to Cleveland Heights City Council! As a resident who is not shy about reaching out to our representatives, I have found Gail to be a thoughtful, responsive, and effective listener.

Prior to becoming a council member, Gail attended meetings as a League of Women Voters observer and recorder. Because she educated herself about the role of a council member before becoming one herself, she easily and enthusiastically has become a competent and trusted presence on council.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 2:10 PM, 10.19.2023

Gordon, Larson, Petras can achieve the vision

To the Editor:

I had high hopes for city government when voters overwhelmingly approved changing the city’s charter to a mayor-council form of government.

The vision was that a strong, independent legislative branch (city council) and a strong, independent executive branch (mayor’s office) would collaborate effectively, efficiently, and responsively—with each other and with residents—to address the city’s challenges. 

Today’s reality does not live up to the promise. Real progress is held back by petty squabbling, poor decorum, sidestepped responsibility, lack of transparency, bad communication, and even worse strategic planning—among other factors.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 2:06 PM, 10.19.2023

Kessler marks 44 years of school involvement

To the Editor:

At 70, I’ve been teaching/tutoring/guiding students in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for 44 years!

I am still active as a substitute teacher at Cleveland Heights High School. I enjoy the daily mix of being with young people and experienced teachers, who continue to amaze me with their in-depth knowledge of complex subject matter, and their facile way of expressing it to hungry, young minds.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:12 AM, 09.29.2023

Williams vetted out of sight

To the Editor:

I looked forward to watching the Aug. 14 Cleveland Heights City Council hearing with city administrator nominee Danny Williams. Williams had already reached out to individual members of council, which I saw as positive a first step toward building working relationships with them.

The hearing, however, turned out to be barely even pro forma. Since private one-on-one meetings with Williams gave council members a chance to query him, only one asked him any questions in this public setting. Thus, what seemed like a good idea in effect deprived residents of a window on the vetting process.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:03 PM, 09.02.2023

Authorities are deaf to motorcycle noise

To the Editor:

This summer, Cleveland Heights has seemed to let the scofflaws rule. Motorcycle noise, day and even late at night, has disturbed the peace usually enjoyed by taxpaying homeowners.

Major roadways, such as Lee, Taylor, Cedar, Mayfield and Monticello, have become favorite speedways as motorcycles fly by, over speed limits, often with music blaring in addition to their no-muffler vehicles.
Cleveland Heights DOES have a noise ordinance (509.03), but authorities seem deaf to it. At one time, Cleveland Heights residents lived in fear of being ticketed for an unruly muffler. Why is this noise being tolerated now?

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:02 PM, 09.02.2023

Loving the women of the Heights

To the Editor:

Fifty years ago, I was a pretty, young art student working on Coventry and causing romantic havoc wherever I went. All of my girlfriends were interesting and cute and also caused a lot of havoc. I hated the war and worked on ending it in between making jewelry and hanging out in the coffee houses and bars in Cleveland Heights and University Circle.

Now, I'm an elderly, crippled woman with no car. I do have a mobility scooter, though. Had to renew my ID at the DMV to vote because—another birthday. Durn, every year! DMV is several miles away. A little worried about the range I had with the scooter, but I did it. Rode up on Sparky all the way.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:00 PM, 09.02.2023

Longtime resident sees improvements in CH

To the Editor:

As a citizen of Cleveland Heights for 35 years, I would like to mention some cool things Sue (my wife) and I noticed as we walked, rolled, and biked around the Heights.

People are moving into the new apartments at the Top of the Hill. We see signs of life, like plants out on the balconies. Next door, Nighttown is looking good; the deep blue wall colors are quite attractive.

It's great to see Coventry Road getting resurfaced, and it will be so much smoother for bicycles when it's finished. The “bike the city” people rode past our house recently; it sounded like they were having fun.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:58 AM, 09.02.2023

No Mow May is a disaster

To the Editor:

I’m all for pollinators. But there are better ways to accommodate pollinators than letting Cleveland Heights go to weeds.

In my opinion, No Mow May was, and continues to be, a disaster for the city. The tall grass and weeds on medians, in parks, and other city-owned property has resulted in an eyesore, as well as a safety issue when driving.

I recently addressed the mayor and city council to express my view that the city sets the tone for how our town looks by how well it takes care of public property.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 4:57 PM, 06.29.2023

Horseshoe Lake plan is 'act of vandalism'

To the Editor:

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District revealed its plan for what’s left of Horseshoe Lake on May 1, and they deserve credit for being frank about what they want to do.

They want to dig out the north end of the dam, so far intact, bring the two branches of Doan Brook together about where the dam was, and direct the joined stream along a carefully engineered slope through the trees below as far as Lee Road.

The brook’s banks will be flattened into an artificial flood plain 16 feet on a side to prevent erosion. Sixteen feet is about the width of a lane of traffic—the bulldozed stream is going to look a lot like the Clark Freeway that residents fought to a standstill 50 years ago.

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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 9:09 AM, 06.01.2023

CH council must learn the art of compromise

To the Editor:

The May 1 Cleveland Heights City Council meeting has not only confirmed the sad state of our current city government, but also that being an elected official in this town is the last retirement job I would pursue.

The circus, as the council president described the meeting, was interrupted with hammering gavels, endless snide remarks, and verbal personal attacks. As if that wasn't enough, the council president even physically attempted to turn off the microphone of another council member.

This was not a circus. It was a display of mature individuals acting like immature children. For the sake of our city, this conduct cannot continue.

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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 9:17 AM, 06.01.2023

Dunbar thanks city for its bike-friendly efforts

To the Editor:

For the second year in a row, CH City Council named bike month “Mary Dunbar Bike Month” in Cleveland Heights.

On city council, I advocated for making Cleveland Heights more bicycle friendly. Cleveland Heights was declared a bronze-level bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). To attain this distinction, Cleveland Heights had to meet criteria in the categories of the five E’s:

  •  “Engineering”—this involved engineering new pathways for bicycle travel in the Heights.
  •  “Education”—we held bike rodeos at many schools to meet this standard.
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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 9:06 AM, 06.01.2023

Traffic safety is not about crime

To the Editor:

It was very disturbing to read former CH council member Alan Rapaport’s opinion, "Politics shouldn’t interfere with CHPD." Recalling his discussion with former CH police chief Lentz, Rapoport recounted Lentz’s views on law enforcement: Lentz referred to what he called the “felon community,” [believed] "people who break big laws frequently break small ones,” and "drivers stopped sometimes were leaving the scene of a crime or had outstanding felony warrants” and “could be armed.” 

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 04.02.2023

Transportation committee supports lower CH speed limits

To the Editor:

As members of the Cleveland Heights Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), we support the reduction of speed limits on residential portions of certain streets as proposed by Mayor Seren, recommended by city council’s Public Safety and Health Committee (chaired by Council Member Larson), and passed by council.

This action by the mayor and council is consistent with the city’s Complete and Green Streets Policy, approved by council in 2018, and Council Resolution 96-2021, adopting and supporting the ideals, principles, and concepts of Vision Zero for the city.

The city’s lowering of speed limits is also consistent with policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

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Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 11:58 AM, 01.31.2023

Larson thanks CH voters; looks ahead

To the Editor:

Happy New Year, Cleveland Heights!

2023 is a new year for your CH City Council members. This will be my first year as an elected member of city council. To get here, I have many to thank.

My family and friends supported and encouraged me during the campaign, reminding me that I am not alone in this venture. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those who gathered petition signatures, donated to [my] campaign, put up yard signs and distributed door hangers. Finally, thank you to all Cleveland Heights citizens who voted for me.

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Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 10:36 AM, 01.02.2023

Thank you Zagara's

To the Editor:

It was good to read Dean Seick’s description and praise of Zagara’s Marketplace [Heights Observer, December 2022]. I have a similar account.

Several years ago, I asked John Zagara if he would consider filling some of the “bare walls” in his marketplace with original art created by my art students. I stated that I taught art to senior citizens at Tri-C and the Cleveland Heights Pavillion. I must have conveyed appropriate enthusiasm for this beautiful art, because John Zagara accepted!  He told me, because of insurance requirements, he and his staff would hang the art.   

Soon, the Zagara Marketplace aisles and shelves displayed glorious, colorful art created by more than 20 artists—more than 100 pieces altogether.  When we first walked through Zagara’s Marketplace to see the art, my seniors were astonished. Their creations were finally getting great exposure!

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Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 10:34 AM, 01.02.2023

Celebrate Susanna Niermann O'Neil

To the Editor:

The celebration that was held at Cleveland Heights City Hall on May 2 honored Susanna Niermann O’Neil for her 45 years of service to Cleveland Heights. 

The atrium at City Hall now bears her name. Over the years, Susanna worked with and supported many citizens, city employees and city councils.  She was always present at council meetings, and made sure all the details were well planned. 

One word describes her throughout all of those relationships with so many in Cleveland Heights—that word is grace.

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 2:53 PM, 05.27.2022

Looking beyond Lee and Meadowbrook

To the Editor:

Lee-Meadowbrook is not the only possible site for public space in the Cedar Lee district. It just happens to be vacant.

Walk, drive, or roll through the district and take a good look at what is there. A few old buildings are structually solid and do have some charm, but most are not architecturally significant, energy efficient, or ideal for tenants.

Every decade or so, a new streetscaping plan is implemented and the facades get a face-lift. Inevitably, some buildings will be removed or replaced as they become too costly to maintain.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:12 AM, 04.29.2022

Ensure better design in developments like Lee and Meadowbrook

To the Editor:

Lost at the center of the debate about whether a 1.07-acre parcel of land at Lee Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard should be developed or retained as a public park is how the city can ensure a bit of both happens as a matter of due course.

The city can add to its arsenal on development with design standards. Design standards can ensure the provision of public space and functional green space.

In my research on best practices on sustainability for Cuyahoga County, Lakewood stood out as a city that has design standards for development that does just this: The city requires the provision of “green infrastructure” such as trees and rain gardens.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:14 AM, 04.29.2022

Book provides counterpoint to '1619'

To the Editor:

A March 2022 Heights Observer opinion by Cynthia Lehman (“Telling the truth to our children”) stated: “Every day, our children enter classrooms where we should be committed to ensure they are learning the full truth of history.”

If that is the case, our children deserve to know Nikole Hannah-Jones did not tell the full truth when she wrote “The 1619 Project.”

Instead of searching online resources to investigate claims of veracity, I recommend just one: Peter Wood’s 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:13 AM, 04.29.2022

CH's point-of-sale inspection is essential tool

To the Editor:

I strongly disagree with Alan Rapoport that our city should consider eliminating the Point-of-Sale (POS) Inspection program because, as he stated in his February 2022 Heights Observer opinion, “Private inspection at buyer expense now is standard practice, regardless of whether brokers are involved.” 

I do not believe obtaining a private inspection is a standard practice of investors—yet investors continue to purchase significant numbers of properties in our city’s most at-risk neighborhoods.

For example, in June 2021 the Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) Cleveland Heights Housing Team that I chair researched the 120 most recent title transfers in the Caledonia section of the Noble neighborhood.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:10 PM, 04.01.2022

Issue 9 is more anti-development than pro-park

To the Editor:

Don’t be fooled that Issue 9 is about creating a park. It’s about stopping progress in Cleveland Heights by killing new housing, retail, and vibrancy for Cedar Lee. That’s why I’m voting “no on 9.”

Consider two facts:

1. A top Issue 9 proponent posted this reply on NextDoor when I asked if they’d support development if the city had not provided economic incentives: “If the developers paid for their development, no subsidies, I would have no objection.”

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:08 PM, 04.01.2022

Support equitable spending, vote 'no' on Issue 9

To the Editor:

Proponents of Issue 9 want the city to spend millions, that’s millions, constructing a new 1-acre public space at Lee Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard, even as a developer has agreed to pay for and build a one-third-acre public space in conjunction with plans for new housing and retail.

As a matter of fairness and equity, shouldn’t the city spend money on neighborhoods that are currently struggling to attract new investment, like the Noble and Taylor road neighborhoods? Doesn’t it make more sense for the city to focus efforts and resources making overdue improvements, and offering incentives in underserved neighborhoods to catalyze private investments, like the private investment currently occurring in Cedar Lee and Cedar Fairmount?  

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:05 PM, 04.01.2022

Vote 'yes' on Issue 9 to ensure public green space

To the Editor:

I've seen a lot of proposals from developers in Cleveland Heights and Cuyahoga County. They always show lots of pretty drawings and lots of amazing financial projections. In general, these stories about the future are fantasies.

I've read and heard some of our neighbors' concerns about the developer's so-called "commitment" at the Top Of The Hill to build certain walls out of bricks, in order to match the neighborhood's historic look and feel. And according to these neighbors—including architects and engineers—all we got was some brick-colored paint, not even as thin as a playing card. I guess it was in the fine print.

Joe Pesci's character, Vinny Gambini, in “My Cousin Vinnie” offers this sage advice about the prosecution to the two “yutes”:

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:04 PM, 04.01.2022

In support of Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook development project

To the Editor:

I strongly support the CH City Council-approved mixed-use development at Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook (the CLM project). This project is the single most promising initiative I've seen in my 29 years as a Cleveland Heights resident. I strongly urge our city council to continue to pursue this development project with all due speed.

As the incoming president of the Heights Arts Board of Directors, and as a concerned citizen, I welcome the revitalization this project would bring to the entire CLM community of residents, service providers, and local businesses.

In addition, I find the current ballot initiative proposing that the entire vacant acreage be used for creation of a public space to be both short-sighted and legally irrelevant: Short-sighted, because the approved project already includes provision for inclusion of a public space; legally irrelevant, in light of the city law director's opinion that passage of this initiative ordinance would be rendered moot by existing constitutional provisions barring laws that result in "retroactive impairment of a contract."

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 1:50 PM, 02.28.2022

Russell will continue to enact positive change

To the Editor:

As a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, I have seen our community undergo some wonderful changes in the past year and a half, because of Davida Russell’s service on city council. That is why I am urging voters to re-elect her on Nov. 2.

Davida is helping to create stronger neighborhoods that attract young families and retain retirees, as well as targeting investment to our commercial corridors.

I am confident Davida will follow through on her promise to keep Cleveland Heights moving forward.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:47 AM, 10.05.2021

Electing Clopton-Zymler to BOE is a win for arts and diversity

To the Editor:

I have known Mario Clopton-Zymler for 10 years, as a fellow musician, a colleague in the Heights schools, and as a friend. His breadth of experience will serve all stakeholders in our school district—above all, our children.

CH-UH is, or ought to be, THE destination district for the arts. Having Mario on the CH-UH Board of Education can only strengthen that position. Why the arts? Its education teaches the whole child and is demonstrably linked to better outcomes in the traditionally academic subjects. It is a strength of our community that we are home to so many arts professionals, from poets to playwrights, painters, and musicians.

Clopton-Zymler is also the only Black candidate for school board in a district that is over 70% African American.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:15 PM, 10.01.2021

Don't waste any school board votes

In this year’s school board election, you will be asked to vote for your top three candidates from a pool of seven, and the top three “winners” will take the three open school board seats.

As a 13-year Heights resident and father of a Noble Elementary School fourth-grader, I implore you to vote your entire ballot in the school board election; please vote for three pro-school candidates.

This seems like an inherently odd request. Vote for three pro-school candidates for school board? Who wouldn’t? But in this election, in my view as a dedicated parent and resident, there are four “pro-public school” candidates and three “anti-public school” candidates.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:13 PM, 10.01.2021

CH's future depends on maintaining city's existing homes

To the Editor:

For those who say new construction, such as Top of the Hill, is “building the tax base of Cleveland Heights,” I offer a bit of perspective. The value of the city’s property tax base is roughly $2.4 billion. Top of the Hill is adding $83 million, or 0.036% of what exists. Change in the income tax base will also be minor. 

In spite of the scant impact new construction has on our tax bases, Cleveland Heights needs all the new construction it can get in order to add new residents and patrons for local businesses. The strength of our tax bases is entirely dependent on the condition and attractiveness of the city’s massive quantity of existing homes and apartments. The more they deteriorate, the more tax revenues suffer.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:11 PM, 10.01.2021

CH boutique owner praises Russell's support for business

To the Editor:

As owner of Chemistry 11 on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights, please join me in voting for Davida Russell, sitting CH council member.

Davida has worked collaboratively with others to keep Cleveland Heights moving in the right direction. As a result of her leadership, my business and others now have access to grants and resources to help our businesses thrive. In addition, federal dollars are being directed to the Noble and Taylor areas, to help stabilize these business districts.

Davida has achieved so much for our businesses in her short time; that is why I am voting for her in the upcoming council election.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:54 AM, 10.01.2021

Resident supports BOE incumbents

To the Editor: 

Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Jodi Sourini have my endorsement for the three seats in the CH-UH Board of Education election.

As a team, they have represented our district in the fair-school-funding debate, which will improve funding for our district while reducing our property tax burden.

As a parent who has sent children through CH-UH schools, I trust them to make decisions that are in the best interest of students and taxpayers.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:52 AM, 10.01.2021

Moore will value sustainability on CH City Council

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights residents are privileged that Josie Moore wants to represent us on city council with her talent for building civilized discussion and her embracing understanding of sustainability.

Moore listens masterfully, creating respectful, inclusive conversation to address diverse needs that leads to encompassing solutions.

Moore will work to ensure principles of sustainability are built into the decision-making process at City Hall. These principles will guide every plan and every action to be greener and more equitable.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:45 AM, 10.01.2021

Clopton-Zymler will move CH-UH school district forward

To the Editor:

I first met Mario Clopton-Zymler through our shared love of performing. His beautiful voice, warm smile, and strong work ethic made him a perfect castmate. His talent is only rivaled by his commitment to making positive change.

He’s done just that as a community organizer, an arts educator in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District and beyond, and as an activist.

His lived experience and professional career give him a unique perspective into how CH-UH can truly support all teachers, families and students. His heart is sincere, and his hands are ready to work.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:32 AM, 10.01.2021

Russell gives CH residents a voice

To the Editor:

I urge Cleveland Heights voters to re-elect Davida Russell to city council this November.

Council Member Russell created “You Talk, I Listen” forums, several of which I attended, giving residents a voice. Topics included affordable housing for seniors, racial equality, and safety in our neighborhoods.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:53 AM, 10.01.2021

Hart thanks Cleveland Heights residents

To the Editor:

The votes in the Cleveland Heights mayoral primary election have been counted, and I will not be moving on to the general election. 

While the voter turnout was extremely low and the results were not what I had hoped for, I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the faith many of you placed in me during my campaign. 

Thank you to all of my hard-working volunteers, all of my contributors and endorsers. And thank you to everyone who placed their trust in me with your vote at the primary election.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 2:41 PM, 09.16.2021

GCC asks CH mayoral candidates about housing

To the Editor:

Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) Cleveland Heights Housing Team [of which the author is a member] has developed a new website to assist Cleveland Heights voters in choosing the city’s first elected mayor: chhousingteam.wordpress.com.

The CH Housing Team is focused on issues of housing and economic development in underserved areas of Cleveland Heights. Since 2016, its members have been building knowledge and expertise for new approaches to the housing problems that plague the health of the city. 

The new website provides responses from the three CH mayoral candidates to four questions about the current state of housing and economic development in underserved areas in our city, including blighted and investor-owned (not maintained) properties.

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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 3:02 PM, 08.23.2021

FutureHeights supports Cedar Lee development

To the Editor:

The following statement was presented to Cleveland Heights City Council at its Aug. 2 meeting:

FutureHeights supports the proposed mixed-use development at the Cedar Lee Meadowbrook site and urges Council to move forward with the project.

  • The proposed project fills a large gap in the Cedar Lee Business District by strengthening the “retail/building wall,” which will increase pedestrian foot traffic and consumer spending at our locally owned businesses. 
  • New housing will add more residents to increase our tax base.
  • The proposed green space at Lee and Meadowbrook and the Cedar Lee Mini-Park will enhance the district and meet residents’ needs for green space.
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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 9:55 AM, 09.02.2021

Danforth will help arts and business

To the Editor:

We love music and enjoy sharing it with our neighbors. This summer, we were fortunate enough to host a front-yard concert with Moises Borges and Dylan Moffitt. It is a privilege to live in an area that supports live music and to invite neighbors to come and listen to a free concert. We enjoy living in a community where people value the arts. With Cain Park, Dobama Theatre, the Grog Shop, the Cedar Lee Theatre, Nighttown and so many other community treasures, Cleveland Heights has always been a regional leader for arts appreciation. For decades this community has provided a forum and venues for artists.

Yet, as a community we have not focused on telling our story and the story of the wonderful arts opportunities in the Heights.

Electing a mayor gives us the opportunity to look to one executive for leadership in maintaining and strengthening our arts community.

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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 9:59 AM, 09.02.2021

Hart has my vote

To the Editor:

Why is Melody Hart the best choice for mayor of Cleveland Heights? 

She believes in responsiveness. She returns phone calls and insists those who work under her do the same. She listens to all sides of an issue, but she’s not afraid to make a decision: these are character traits that are most important to me in choosing a mayor.

And, of course, experience and deep knowledge of Cleveland Heights are my next two values. Remember when MetroHealth [announced] plans to build a mental health facility [at its Severance facility]? Some staunch environmentalists in Cleveland Heights were opposed to the location of this project because many old trees would have to be sacrificed.

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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 9:56 AM, 09.02.2021

Hart is ready to be CH's mayor

To the Editor:

I am writing to endorse Melody Hart for mayor of Cleveland Heights. My reasons are simple and straightforward: She is ready!

Melody spent four years following every council meeting to gather information and to research the issues that were and were not being addressed. Following that period of time, she took a leap of faith to run for an open council position. She won that race with a landslide.

Melody is not afraid to quietly speak up and stand her ground on important decisions.

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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 10:08 AM, 09.02.2021

In praise of David Budin

To the Editor:

David Budin is a Cleveland Heights gem. His articles are the first thing I read when I open my Heights Observer.

I know that you realize how lucky you are to have him writing for you. Thank you!

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:44 PM, 07.01.2021

Elected officials must protect CH's green assets

To the Editor:

A recent stroll by the Top of the Hill project led me to also check out what has been called the "collegiate edition" of Top of the Hill, on Euclid Heights Boulevard. This is a student-housing project located directly across from Buckingham condominiums, to be marketed to Case Western Reserve University students.

Both the Planning Commission and Architectural Board of Review seem to have mandated the preservation and incorporation of an existing 5,200-square-foot house and adjoining carriage house into the project, due to their historical significance. An excellent decision, which stands in stark contrast to the elimination of virtually every mature tree—literally anything green—between Overlook Park apartments and Margaret Wagner House. It would seem green space holds no historical significance.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:58 AM, 05.27.2021

CH resident urges voters to stay informed; endorses Danforth

To the Editor:

After more than four years of waiting for political noise to subside, three major political races come to our backyard. The 11th District U.S. Congressional race to replace Marcia Fudge, the Cleveland mayor's race to replace 16-year incumbent Frank Jackson and, most significant to Cleveland Heights residents, the first directly elected mayor's race in the city's 100-year history.

While federal-level officials can impact issues that affect American lives, city mayors can make executive changes that affect residents' daily lives. For that reason, the Cleveland Heights mayor's race is a rare opportunity for residents to have a say in the future of our city.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:56 AM, 05.27.2021

Hart is the leader we need for CH

To the Editor:

I urge my fellow residents to join me in supporting Melody Hart for mayor because she has demonstrated the kind of leadership Cleveland Heights urgently needs, to address a range of challenges and opportunities we face.

As a Cleveland Heights council member, Melody has made it a priority to really listen to residents’ concerns; respond, and actually get things done; and do that by helping bring people together to solve problems we all care about.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:50 AM, 05.27.2021

Buckingham residents endorse Hart for mayor

To the Editor:

We’re sending this letter to announce our endorsement of Melody Hart for mayor of Cleveland Heights. In the information regarding her announcement to run, she emphasizes characteristics such as “responsive,” taking into account “citizens’ complaints,” and “transparency.” From our perspective as residents of the Buckingham Condominium—the lone, four-story, circa 1925 building in the very center of the Top of the Hill (TOH) project—Melody has been the one member of council who has consistently reached out to us in our many concerns.

Last May, just as ground was breaking for TOH, Melody and Davida Russell, another CH council member, went out of their ways on a Sunday afternoon to meet with [Buckingham] residents and listen to our concerns.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:47 AM, 04.30.2021

CH mixes messages on tree canopy

To the Editor:

Reading recently of Shaker Heights’ application for a Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy grant, to plant nearly 150 trees in their community, I'm reminded that Cleveland Heights received the same grant in 2019. At that time, we received a $50,000 grant for an ash tree mitigation program. The plan was to replace about 150 mature ash trees affected by the emerald ash borer.

It’s becoming increasingly evident that the tree canopy is shrinking across our region. In 2011, Cuyahoga County’s tree canopy stood at 37%. Six years later, in 2017, it fell to 35%.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.01.2021

Join Monticello Middle School in honoring community members

To the Editor:

Monticello Middle School has been selected to participate in the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) with Johns Hopkins University.

As part of this partnership program, Monticello is kicking off its "It Takes a Village" initiative, honoring the school’s families, children, local businesses and the entire community—from churches to nonprofit organizations, and more.

As we continue to rise above recent challenges, what better way to honor and celebrate one another than through recognition.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:54 AM, 04.01.2021

Cleveland Heights is home to sports

To the Editor:

With COVID-19 finally slowing down, it is important to remember that Cleveland Heights is the home of sports in Northeast Ohio. With locations such as Forest Hill Park, Denison Park, Cain Park, Cumberland Park, Barbara Boyd Park, many smaller parks, and the community center, we are second to none.

We have nine excellent ballfields; 18 lighted tennis courts; five outdoor full-court basketball courts; two high-school-size full-court indoor basketball courts; numerous indoor and [outdoor] pickleball courts; an indoor volleyball court; two indoor ice rinks, for hockey, figure skating, speed skating and open skating; numerous indoor and outdoor running and walking trails and tracks; a fitness center, Jazzercize and martial arts programs; and the largest outdoor swimming pool in Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:53 AM, 04.01.2021

Court dismisses civil complaint against CH City Council

To the Editor:

The complaint I filed in January with the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas has been dismissed.

The city had filed a motion to dismiss my writ of mandamus, which asked the court to compel city council to fill the council vacancy that had existed since March 2, 2020.

The court agreed with city council that, absent a deadline, council had no obligation to perform an act the CH Charter specifically says they "shall" do.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.01.2021

Library appreciates 1619 Project interest and concern

To the Editor:

In a “request for reconsideration” in January, Robert Shwab asked that Heights Libraries’ 1619 Project program be balanced by information from “critical scholars and other Black voices.” He asked that the program’s moderator be removed, and that the program include 1776unites.com curricula. Heights Libraries’ Board of Trustees discussed the request during its Feb. 1 board meeting. The board and library responded by e-mailing Mr. Shwab:

  1. A report by the originator of the program that included a program overview, rationale for the discussion group, and historical sources consulted.
  2. A three-page bibliography of the works the program moderator has studied to prepare for the 1619 Project programs. These are works by scholars who are recognized in their fields. The program moderator has worked hard to put together a scholarly and thought-provoking program that has been very popular with our community.
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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 1:18 PM, 03.24.2021

Resident files new complaint against CH City Council

To the Editor:

For years, Cleveland Heights City Council has been abusing Ohio's laws regarding executive session—holding meetings in private.

A couple of weeks ago, the Council Committee of the Whole went into executive session to discuss who will be appointed to the 25-member Racial Justice Task Force.

[According to Ohio law,] they can only do that when they're discussing appointing "a public employee or official".

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:22 AM, 02.26.2021

CH's Issue 32 is a waste of time

To the Editor:

Since Cleveland Heights voters passed the Issue 32 ballot referendum [in 2013], every year the Cleveland Heights City Council must set aside [time] to consider citizens' views on a federal constitutional issue far outside the interests or purview of our local government. 

Various pro-government and anti-business radicals harangue our part-time, busy council with irrelevant complaints. Then, council is required to submit an Issue 32 report on the meeting to our elected representatives. At best, this is a waste of time, but it also sends a radical anti-business message to prospective commercial employers and taxpayers.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:23 AM, 02.26.2021

New CH mayor should have say in police contract

To the Editor:

The union representing Cleveland Heights police officers is currently negotiating their contract, which expires on March 31. The negotiations are handled by the city manager and outside counsel the manager hires to represent the city. Though the current contract term is three years, members of Safer Heights urge the city to negotiate a one-year agreement.

The new mayor [to be elected on Nov. 2], as the new director of public safety, will have direct responsibility over police operations, but this may be limited if contract provisions are locked in for another three years.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:26 AM, 02.26.2021

Resident files civil complaint against CH City Council

To the Editor:

On Jan. 8, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas accepted my complaint—a writ of mandamus—requesting the court to compel the six members of Cleveland Heights City Council to appoint someone to the seat vacated by Melissa Yasinow's resignation on March 2, 2020.

The CH City Charter requires them to do so. It's been over 10 months, and, quite simply, they have quit trying.

There is something seriously wrong with this city council.

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 11:50 AM, 01.29.2021

School board should save Millikin wetlands

To the Editor:

I have seen the rooftop of the stable of the old Severance estate from Severance Circle for years now, so last month I decided to take a drive by Millikin school to see firsthand the property over which there has been so much controversy. What I found was possibly the last little hidden gem left in Cleveland Heights. (Michael Morse’s and Jim Miller's opinions in the December 2020 Heights Observer gave me even more insight into this little oasis. Check out Jim Miller's YouTube videos on Dugway Brook!) The stable has a fairly new roof and appears to be structurally sound.

While I have no objection to new development in the Heights, we can all see from the architecturally unattractive and inappropriate development of the Top of the Hill project that the city hasn't the ability to do the job correctly. 

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 11:59 AM, 01.29.2021

CH-UH schools and teachers union announce agreement

To the Editor:

After months of contract negotiations culminating in an all-night session, the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union (CHTU) and the CH-UH City School District reached a tentative agreement on the morning of Dec. 2. The union ratified it with 94% approval. On Dec. 8, the agreement will be presented to the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) for a vote. We are happy to be able to move forward united and, above all else, we are relieved that our teachers are exactly where they’re needed most—with their students.

The battle we continue to fight together is one against our district’s common enemy: the impact of disastrous EdChoice legislation and inequitable school funding. The CH-UH schools lost $7 million last year, and we expect to lose more than $9 million this school year, due to the way EdChoice vouchers are funded in Ohio.

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Volume 14, Issue 1, Posted 9:33 AM, 12.08.2020