University Heights is a beautiful, livable community with tremendous unrealized potential. I'm running for Mayor because I believe University Heights is missing too many opportunities that are right in front of us.
Everything I propose and support is an investment in our city, our community, and our future: commercial redevelopment and reinvestment; improved safety services; a 15-year schedule for street repaving, while making our streets more bicycle and pedestrian friendly; providing tax relief; renewing our commitment to our public schools; and changing the culture in city hall to make it accessible, efficient, and responsive. I want to make our city the city it ought to be for the 21st century and decades to come.
I have stated a proactive vision for University Square, Cedar-Taylor, and all points in between, and extending to Cedar-Green. I have set forth the importance of updating our ordinances to prohibit discrimination. I believe we should continue to work with John Carroll University and its students, developing a new generation of young leaders, and welcoming them to stay in our city after they graduate. Above all, I have endeavored to set a tone worthy of the dignity of the highest office in our city.
In this election you have a choice: status quo, or reinvestment in our city to energize our neighborhoods and rebuild our tax base.
At the debate, the incumbent suggested that we have no choice in what developers might bring to our city. The fact is we do have a choice. We decide our master plan, our zoning code, and our commercial and residential districts. Rather than waiting to see what happens to us, my administration will be proactive in seeking out the kind of development we want for our city, just like our neighbors in Beachwood, South Euclid, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland Heights. Eight years of passive waiting have yielded less business at University Square, not more. Meanwhile, University Square's out-of-state bondholders simply want a return on their investment. Working with them, we have the opportunity not only to live with what will be built at University Square, but to thrive because of it.
Some have suggested that University Heights cannot survive on its own, that in order to continue, we will have to merge with another city. I disagree. We have over 13,000 residents, almost 2,000 more than Beachwood, and no one questions whether Beachwood should exist. This is because Beachwood has successfully invested in its commercial districts. Strong commercial districts are key to the future of our city. We cannot afford to wait another four years to begin the work and investment that will move our city forward.
Investing in our city will make us more vibrant and sustainable. Hoarding millions of dollars does not do that. Investment that rebuilds our tax base does that. Investment that makes it more attractive to move here, stay here, and be here does that. Civic pride and excellence come from a more vibrant and sustainable city, and that comes through investment and commitment.
Following the debate, I made a public statement about setting and keeping a positive tone, and focusing on a campaign of ideas. I disavow negative campaigning and hit pieces. A campaign is an accurate reflection of how the candidate will govern and the kind of administration they will run. We deserve and should expect thoughtful leadership from our elected officials. Negative campaigning, social media outbursts, and baseless claims erode trust and make governance difficult or impossible.
There will be times in governance where the needs and desires of one group won’t match the needs and desires of another, or won’t fit squarely with the city's priorities. Such times call for compromise, diplomacy, and honesty. This does not mean giving a group “whatever they ask for in exchange for their political support.” This means listening, being respectful, and working together towards our common goals. There is middle ground, and we need to find it again. Towards that end, I promised the local firefighters union that I will hear their concerns and treat them with respect. I am proud to have their support, along with that of the local AFL-CIO and local UAW.
I promised individual members of our city council that I will communicate openly, act transparently, listen, and work with them on the issues that face our city. I am proud to have the endorsements of six of the seven members of our city council.
I make this same promise to each and every one of you. I will listen to you and respect you, even (and especially) when we disagree. I will give you a fair hearing. My administration will return your phone calls and respond to your letters and emails. I have done this throughout this campaign, and this is the kind of organized and efficient city hall I will run.
This Tuesday, November 7, we have a choice: status quo, or coming together to reinvest in our city and in ourselves, and change our civic culture.
This has been a campaign of ideas. And if you agree with the ideas I have put forth for our city, then I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday. And I ask further that you vote for the council members who went on record to support this “political newcomer” and lent their good will to this cause: John Rach, Mark Wiseman, and Susan Pardee. We need a strong team in city hall to get things done.
There is no time to waste, and I am anxious to get started. Thank you for your consideration.