On Memorial Day, Lakewood woke up to find these neo-Nazi posters illegally posted in bus stops up and down Clifton Blvd. The group identified on the posters is a Neo-Nazi, white supremacist group active here in the United States. RTA did not approve these to be in their stops and I believe that something of this nature would not have been approved, even if submitted to the proper channels.
This overtly racist, Nazi propaganda, in my view, is hate speech. We are a community that welcomes diversity. We are actively seeking to break down barriers that have caused hyper-segregation, lack of opportunity for minorities, disparity and many other serious issues relating to race. These posters are hateful and are promoting the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve.
RTA has said that we are welcome to pull these down if we see them. What I would ask is that you take a picture of any posters still on bus stops, then take them down, send photos with the locations to the City. Please, include a note letting the City know you took them down… send this through the Lakewood website (link below.) Hate is not welcome here.
During a March 19th, 2018 meeting, Lakewood City Council considered a memorandum regarding Cleveland Clinic Police in Lakewood. It passed 5-2 with Councilmember O’Leary and myself voting no. This decision allows Cleveland Clinic Police to continue to function as full-fledged police officers within Lakewood city limits. Basically, they can arrest people in Lakewood.
First, let me make clear, I am very much for facilities like the new Cleveland Clinic building providing their own security, especially in light of the carjackings and robberies that have many people rightfully concerned. But there is a difference between private security and the police. A distinction which I feel is important to maintain.
A week earlier, I contacted the Cleveland Clinic Police Department (CCPD) to ask four questions:
Is the Cleveland Clinic Police Department unionized on any level?
May I have a copy of the CCPD use of force policy?
May I have a copy of the CCPD disciplinary policy?
How does the CCPD compensation compare to Lakewood Police Department (LPD)?
After about a week, I was handed over to a Cleveland Clinic administrator who did a good job answering my questions.
I am profoundly honored to be a councilman-elect for the city of Lakewood.
This was a long campaign; Tuesday was a long day that stretched into a long night, before final results.
But it’s official, Lakewood has called on me to serve on City Council.
The support from this community is incredible. Over 4,500 voted for our campaign, more votes than any campaign received in Lakewood’s last at-large race four years ago. This response to my first-ever campaign for office is moving. I am more than happy with this overall second-place result, and I congratulate first-place finisher Meghan F. George.
Our swearing-in will likely take place around the first of January. There is much to do even before then, to start delivering on a more inclusive, better Lakewood for all. Please stay tuned for updates as we recover from the campaign and get to work on realizing that promise.
Meanwhile, there are far, far too many people and organizations to thank, but I will make a start and keep trying in the days ahead.
Polls close for Election 2017 in a little over five hours. It has turned into a beautiful fall day in Lakewood, and I hope as many people as possible will enjoy it while being part of our community’s future.
For anyone taking a last-minute look,
My background includes degrees in business administration and public administration; two startups; volunteer work as county coordinator for OSHIIP; a great tenure doing outreach for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank; and working as regional field director for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign.
My goals include substantive measures to protect Lakewood’s green space, and public services; improved senior amenities; promoting inclusive policies over those that discriminate like Lakewood’s current nuisance law and breed-specific dog ordinance; and better year-round communication and participation for all Lakewood residents in the decisions that affect them, before those decisions get made.
I am endorsed by the local UAW, AFSCME, Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Our Revolution, Cleveland Action Democrats, DSA Cleveland and Working Families Party…
I have also been endorsed by a number of Lakewood residents, and I hope very much that you will join them when you mark your ballot.
This campaign is about our local community, and what we can do together to help make Lakewood better for all.
Since I set out an initial platform including better senior amenities, and protecting Lakewood’s green space, I have spoken with people throughout the community about dozens more issues that matter to them. Lead safety, youth recreation opportunities, nuisance laws, just to name a few.
On Election Day, I hope you will allow me an opportunity to take these conversations further, as an active representative for you on City Council.
There are other questions on our ballots in Lakewood, however, and people have also asked me about some of these. (Especially Issue 2!) I’m glad to answer these questions also. Your vote is ultimately your decision, and I encourage you to check some independent guides like Vote411 or ballotpedia. But I think we have a right to know where people representing us—or seeking to represent us—stand on issues before the community.
So, here are the decisions I made and some comments on how I made them.
I believe this election is about our future. But experience is very valuable in getting things done, especially in a way that’s thoughtful and inclusive.
I will bring real-world experience to Lakewood City Council:
Greater Cleveland Food Bank, where I was one of the first employees in a new Outreach Department, providing millions of meals per year to our most vulnerable populations
Business experience creating and running two start-ups
MoveOn.org, United Against Hate Program, Deputy State Director
Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), Volunteer County Coordinator
Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, Field Director and National Ballot Access Officer
Advocacy at the state and federal levels for increases to food assistance programs and for banking reforms
Cleveland State Democrats, VP
Church on the North Coast, Media Director
BONGA Media, a nonprofit program which I organized and led, teaching media, marketing and computer skills to empower the residents of a small community in Uganda
Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Outreach Volunteer
I am also proud of the work that went into my Master’s of Public Administration from CSU, and of the months of experience meeting people throughout Lakewood, during this campaign. But the experience that I will rely on most, if elected to Lakewood City Council, is first-hand, real-world experience helping people. That’s what public service should be about. I’m ready to put all of my experience in this category to work for our community.
“It’s not about me, it’s about us,” was how I concluded my first formal speech as a candidate. Since then, our campaign has tried to reflect this as much as possible. I have held open, community meetings throughout Lakewood. I have declined corporate contributions and run the campaign on small, individual donations. Even on our literature, we have chosen photos showing the people that this campaign is for, rather than just photos of me.
I am grateful for all the formal endorsements I have received. But the response from the Lakewood community is what matters most, and I have been honored by all the people who have voiced support for me. In the newspaper, in person, online, with yard signs…
As we begin the final week of the campaign, it’s heartening that this support is still arriving.
This weekend, the Women’s Convention in Detroit is continuing the movement that began nine months ago with the historic Women’s March. Looking back on the march prompts a number of reflections. Along with many others, I helped organize the sister march in Cleveland (and at least half of my campaign committee volunteered at the event). I don’t think any of us imagined the extraordinary response that followed.
Meanwhile, both the march and the convention represent major milestones in “a much longer journey…” That’s how Cleveland Heights – University Heights student Fiona Macke described this movement, on the flier she created for the Cleveland Women’s March. Looking back on what she wrote, it’s still an impressive tip sheet for activism, concise and relevant.
It also highlights what I think is one more milestone yet to come this year. As Macke wrote,
“Vote in every election from school board to President. It’s the only way to enusre that people in power will hear you”
In Lakewood, November 7 will be the first opportunity to take this step since the Women’s March. We have not had a primary or a special election all year.
I’m asking the voters of Lakewood to send me to City Hall to represent them on council. But I also believe that an equally important part of a council member’s job is spending time outside City Hall, in the community. Citizens shouldn’t have to pay council members, and do all the work of going to council on its schedule, just to speak for a few minutes.
The people’s representatives should be accessible throughout the community, for direct two-way dialogue.
That’s what I have been doing this year as a candidate. It’s what I will continue to do if I’m elected to City Council at-large.
It’s what I am continuing to do now, in fact. In June and July, my campaign held four Town Halls meetings, and I’m committed to continuing these. Meanwhile I have also held more public events each month. Nearly all these events have met the Town Hall Project’s five criteria of 1) free, 2) open to the public, 3) open questions, 4) an in-person appearance, and 5) sticking around for the whole event. (I took a couple of breaks during the Community Festival, and two candidate forums sponsored by other organizations screened questions in advance.)