My Council Colleague Melissa Yasinow just sent out an explanation of why it is imperative that Cleveland Heights voters vote No on Issue 26. Rather than reinventing the wheel I am sharing it with you here:
“To my friends and neighbors in Cleveland Heights:
I am writing to urge you all to vote NO on Issue 26. Issue 26 is the most important ballot issue in Cleveland Heights in generations.
Issue 26 threatens to throw out our Council-Manager form of government in Cleveland Heights, which has served our City well for nearly a century, and to concentrate power in the hands of a single politician.
Voting NO on Issue 26 keeps our City accountable, stops the injection of politics into City jobs and services, and stops a destabilizing multi-year transition period. The last city in our region to change from a Council-Manager to a Strong Mayor government was East Cleveland in 1986; as shown by the recent history of our neighbor, throwing out our government will not fix the challenges we face.
Also, our Cleveland Heights Firefighters Union unanimously endorsed NO on Issue 26, stating “Issue 26 will negatively impact safety and services in Cleveland Heights, increase politics and partisanship, and impede our progress. We deserve qualified, nonpolitical, and professional management. Local 402 urges all Cleveland Heights residents to vote NO on Issue 26 this November 5.” I hope we will stand with our firefighters and vote NO on 26.
Our Council-Manager government is accountable, stable, and professional, and that is why it is the most common form of municipal government in the United States. Our Council appoints a non-partisan City Manager to oversee our 600 employee operation, and $80 million budget. Employment is based on merit, and services are expended based on need; not because of partisan connections or personal agendas. Council-manager systems are 10% more efficient with our tax dollars, and are 57% less likely to have corruption than Strong Mayor systems. If our City Manager does not effectively and efficiently achieve the goals set forth by Council, the City Manager is removed.
Finally, I am urging everyone to vote NO on 26 so that our City can continue its progress and deliver results. Just this past week News 5 ran a story on the “Small Business Boom” hitting Cleveland Heights, and WKYC just announced the opening of a new bakery on Lee road, owned by a new and young entrepreneur. Cleveland Heights is a welcoming place for small, family-owned businesses. I am also proud of our City’s new development and the rise in housing values. Cleveland Heights was one of Cuyahoga County’s top cities for median home value increases in the first half of 2019. Cleveland Heights’ staff also secured $4 million in grants for 2019, and we are set to break ground on Top of the Hill this January.
Other major accomplishments include the Council and City Manager implementing a Citywide Community Reinvestment Area to give tax abatement to those who add value to their homes, with increased tax abatement in our most deserving communities. Likewise, the City, at the recommendation of the City Manager, became a Certified Local Government, which helps developers receive historic tax credits for new development. We became a Certified Local Government with our eye on assisting/attracting developers to the Medusa Building (which is across the street from the Community Center) and Taylor-Tudor Building, which the City is in the process of acquiring through the tax foreclosure process, to revitalize the Cedar-Taylor Corridor. We also received a $12,000 grant to place the Taylor-Tudor Building on the National Register of Historic Places, again, to help with the property’s redevelopment. Through our City Manager’s connections, we also completed a feasability study for Severance (which was 80% paid for by the federal government) and are currently working on the redevelopment of Severance.
We are making significant progress in Cleveland Heights, working with a qualified and professional staff who is achieving the goals set forth by Council and our Master Plan. I do not want us to hit the pause or reverse button on the good work that we are doing; we will lose our senior staff over the next three years, who have been integral to our progress, for the promise of a magical political figure in 2022. We cannot take that risk. Our government is responsive, non-partisan, and accountable, and we should not risk all that we have achieved by putting the city’s power into the hands of a single politician whose sole minimum qualifications are living in Cleveland Heights and not being a felon.
I thank you all very much for your consideration. In addition to the links in this email, I’ve attached a No On 26 FAQ and the No on 26 Statement from the Cleveland Heights’ Firefighters Union. I also urge you to check out the No on 26 website for more information.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Also, please spread the word to your friends and neighbors.
Vote NO on 26 this November 5. Thank you.
Your Friend and Neighbor,
2 Attachments” (I, Mary Dunbar, don’t know how to attach attachments to this. I’ll try to find a way or will post them elsewhere on this website.)