Cleveland Mayoral Primary Debate
On Friday, August 25th, our first event for the day the City Club of Cleveland's "Cleveland Mayoral Primary Debate" which took place at the "Global Center for Health Innovation' and was absolutely bursting (and "bursting" s the term for it) with people interested in the future of Cleveland as well as the Northeast Ohio community.
Accordingly, we really appreciated it that "BakerHostetler", "Sisters of Charity Health Sister", and "Advance Ohio" stepped forward to present this important program.
In terms of a format, the debate was moderated by Mr. Rick Jackson of "Ideastream" who has coordinated several successful City Club programs that we have attended as of late. Mr. Jackson spent the first 45 minutes asking questions of the nine mayoral candidates and then audience members who had submitted their questions in advance queried the candidates for the same time period. In a neat touch, the last question then came from a person who twittered it.
These nine candidates were Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson (seeking a historical 4th term) and former Mayor of East Cleveland Eric Brewer; Mr. Brandon Chrostowski, founder of "EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute"; Cleveland City Councilpersons Jeff Johnson (Ward 10) and Zack Reed (Ward 2); Mr. Robert Kilo, former State Director for the "Fellowship of Christian Athletes"; Mr. Tony Madalone, Owner of "Fresh Brewed Tees"; Ohio State Representative Bill Patmon (District 10); and Mr. Dyrone Smith, Community Advocate.
Throughout the course of the one-and-a-half hour time period, the candidates gave short opening and closing remarks and answered questions pertaining to such issues as crime and neighborhood safety; alleged law enforcement misconduct; allocation of public funds; school graduation rates and education as a whole; transportation and health care resources being directed to all Cleveland communities; vacant homes and whether to restore or demolish them; and the necessity of working with surrounding local governments. On that last point former Mayor Bruce Akers of Pepper Pike asked a particularly relevant question.
We were very pleased when Mr. Jackson fielded a question about the welcoming of new immigrants to both Mayor Jackson and Mr. Chrostowski. We have heard Mayor Jackson address this issue before and on this occasion he was consistent with what he has said in the past which was that Cleveland is officially a "welcoming" city and that we will continue to behave in that manner. Along these lines, the mayor noted that in the past foreign-born people used to settle in their own enclaves but now they are thankfully being welcomed into all parts of the city/area. He was very grateful to "Global Cleveland" for all the work that it has done to help newly-arrived immigrants and praised the work of other such institutions as the "Thomas Jefferson Newcomers Academy". As for Mr. Chrostowski, we have had private conversations on this matter before and view him as an advocate for foreign-born people too. At this time he mentioned the possibility of the creation of a new local governmental office devoted to the welcoming of new immigrants and spoke of the potential of restoring many of the abandoned/foreclosed homes as places for them to live. He believed that such a move would be very beneficial to local residents who have lived there for years as well.
Before the debate started, we encountered Mr. Albert B. Ratner in the foyer who asked us who we thought would win "this thing?" At the debate's conclusion, we would have to say that Cleveland is very fortunate to have people vying for its top job who are as committed to their beliefs and as articulate about them as these nine candidates. From a philosophical standpoint, we certainly did agree with some more than others and we thought that Mayor Jackson brought things to a very effective close when, during his closing remarks, he answered his critics by saying/indicating that he and his family had lived in Cleveland for many years so he was very aware of its problems which affected them on a personal level just like the rest of the citizenry but he was nevertheless proud of his record so far and looked forward to making conditions even better for all neighborhoods in the future.
Thus, the debate concluded with a round of applause. We had previously thought that one-and-a-half hours would not be enough for a meaningful discourse but as it turned out things went commandingly well and we commend Mr. Rick Jackson for doing an admirable job coordinating the proceedings which was no easy task considering the number of people involved and the necessity of keeping the timing of questions and answers on target.
We also want to express our appreciation to such people as our friend Dr. Richard Crepage and Ms. Susan Alcorn for staffing the "Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates" table which provided info regarding voter registration and obtaining absentee ballots. Another special thank you should go to Ms. Natalie Schrimpf for passing out small copies of the U.S. Constitution to all who wanted them.
Lastly, let us state that we believe that those involved with the City Club made an excellent decision when they chose to have the program kicked off by both Mr. Cameron Caputi and Mr. Nick Fink who are respectively the Presidents of the CSU chapters of the College Democrat and Republican clubs. As they traditionally sounded the City Club gong, they said that "we believe in the power of coming together to express different points of view."
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC