Saturday, October 26, 2013

Video of Richmond Heights mayoral candidate Dave Ali

We invited each candidate for mayor of Richmond Heights to sit with us for a discussion about their city, their qualifications and their vision. In exchange we offered each of them an opportunity to speak directly to our readers via video. Two of the candidates agreed to this offer.

Below is the video of candidate David Ali. It was recorded immediately following last week’s League of Women Voters mayoral candidates forum in the Richmond Heights middle school gym.

Our report on Mr. Ali will be posted next Wednesday.  We delayed posting the video until the deadline passed for candidates to respond to our offer. And we believe it is only fair to hold reporting on our conversation with Mr. Ali until we have completed our conversation with Miesha Headen.

Neither Mayor Daniel Ursu nor Councilwoman Eloise Henry responded to our offer by yesterday’s 5PM deadline.  

Our question for the day: is this video helpful in assessing Mr. Ali’s candidacy? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Use the comment form to tell us!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Richmond Heights mayor's race shows candidates in stark relief

By their words and deeds ye shall know them

The four mayoral candidates at the LWV forum in Richmond Heights last week offered voters three starkly different visions of the city's condition and future.

One candidate seemed to think everything was hunky dory, the future was bright, the citizenry was content and might even wish to consider erecting a new municipal building on public land across from City Hall. He said repeatedly the city was solvent, “not broke”.

That candidate was Dan Ursu, the city's six-term incumbent who seems blissfully unaware of the economic and demographic challenges his city has encountered since he became mayor in 1989. He cited his biggest accomplishment as leading the successful fight to keep the city’s hospital open when the Cleveland Clinic acquired it several years ago and planned to close it. His plans for the city’s future include
encouraging development along Curtiss Wright Blvd. Understandably, he was the only candidate who said he was opposed to term limits.

A second vision, that the city is heading straight to hell in a hand basket, was energetically trumpeted by longtime resident Dave Ali, who is in his first try for public office.  The former owner of several businesses in Cleveland's Glenville neighborhood, Ali sounded like an apprentice carpenter with one tool. He argued that the answer to every problem the city had was financial and could be solved only by was a full-time mayor with a forthright business approach. On several occasions, he added, “If it don’t make dollars it don’t make sense.”

Among these problems, according to Ali, are high property taxes, municipal insolvency, inadequate police protection, poor snow removal, an alienated citizenry and a declining school system. He cited his rebuilding of an entire block on St. Clair Avenue in Glenville and said he wanted to do the same for Richmond Heights.

A third approach was presented by first-term councilperson at large Miesha Headen. She was in general agreement with Ali on many of the city’s problems, especially relating to the city’s fiscal condition and lack of city services, but she also identified municipal assets on which to build. She touted the city’s fire department as one of the county’s finest, saying that all of its employees were trained paramedics and that the chief was expert. She suggested that Richmond Heights could take the lead in joint efforts with other cities in collaborating around this asset.

Headen, an accountant by training, was elected in 2009 on a platform of accountability, efficiency, and transparency in government services, attracting more commercial business and revenue to the city, environmental stewardship and investing in the municipal services needed to retain families. She said that she had uncovered the city’s clandestine purchase of 39 properties and forced the Ursu administration to publicize these properties on the city website.

The fourth candidate turned in an odd performance. Eloise Henry is an intelligent and capable councilwoman who can be insightful in discussing her city. She was the first to declare in this year’s mayoral campaign but the last to file, submitting her petitions at deadline. But on this night she appeared disinterested, unprepared, and more than once lost her train of thought when answering a question. She said her biggest accomplishment in public life was securing the county assistance in eliminating the flooding of residents’ homes.

NOTE: The Real Deal has extended an offer to candidates to share their vision for Richmond Heights directly to the voters via a short unedited video. Two candidates have agreed to participate so far.

Nonprofit Thursdays: Mental Health & Violence, The Presidents Council Foundation, PolicyBridge, The Gathering Place

TOWN HALL MEETING on Substance Abuse, Mental Health & Violence
We just learned of a Town Hall meeting today on the interrelationship between substance abuse, mental health, and violence.

The meeting is today at the New Life Cathedral, 16200 Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland.

Panelists include William M. Denihan, CEO of the county ADAMHS board [Alcohol, Drug Addition, Mental Health Services]; Helen Hernandez, administrator of Office of National Drug Control Policy; Gary Norton, mayor of East Cleveland; Judge William Dawson, East Cleveland Municipal Court; and a representative of the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Group.

Fox 8 News anchor Wayne Dawson is the moderator.

The meeting sponsor is the Northern Ohio Recovery Association. Call 216.541.6672 for more information.

Two area nonprofits collaborate to study key issues for local African Americans
The Presidents Council Foundation has joined with PolicyBridge, Cleveland’s think tank for Northeast Ohio public policy issues of particular interest to African Americans, to develop research over the next several years relating to urban education, entrepreneurship and economic development.

A joint committee comprised of board members from both organizations is working on a road map to chart the specifics of this work. We will have more to report on this initiative soon.

Find great buys and support The Gathering Place

The Gathering Place  [see here and here] is having a sale this weekend of furniture, holiday decorations, collectibles, and lots of china and glassware.

The sale is this Saturday, October 26 from 9am to 2pm and Sunday, October 27 from 10am to 1pm.

See photos here. Call 216.595.9546 for more information.