County Council Forum- moderated by Eric J Brewer March 22

Submitted by lmcshane on Sat, 03/08/2014 - 10:42.
03/08/2014 - 10:40
03/22/2014 - 10:40


I've agreed to moderate a candidate's forum or debate between the District 9 Cuyahoga County Council candidates on March 22, 2014. Kimberly Brown of The Brown Report and News Daily Junkie are sponsoring it. It's being held at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center at 3400 Lee Road in Shaker Heights from 10 a.m until 11:30 a.m.

6 candidates are seeking to serve the residents of Cleveland wards 1 and 4, Bedford, Bedford Heights, Highland Hills, North Randall, Orange Village, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Warrensville Heights and Woodmere Village who all live in Cuyahoga County Council District 9. 

Five of the 6 candidates have confirmed. They are Warrensville Heights Councilwoman Shontell Brown, Highland Heights Councilwoman Leah Lewis, Bedford Councilman Don Saunders, Bedford Councilman Lloyd Anderson and former Shaker Heights Vice Mayor Lynn Ruffner.

Kimberly says the debate will be "uncensored." We've got 90 minutes to interact with the candidates in this forum. If you live in District 9's cities, these are the folk who operate like the councilman for the county. 

They set the county budget. They're supposed to keep an eye on the county executive, who is Ed Fitzgerald now, but there's an election for that job this year. They're supposed to monitor the county sheriff, the medical examiner, the auditor, the treasurer, the engineer, the county clerk of court and the recorder. But they also are supposed to monitor children and family services, foster placement, food stamps, head start, HEAP, Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging. They're supposed to make sure the arts council money is supporting Cuyahoga County artists, not New York artists or artists with no connection to the county. It's our money. They're supposed to keep an eye on the engineer's office to make sure that the county executive isn't playing politics in awarding street projects to his favorite cities. They're supposed to oversee how county employees are handling foreclosures and the county landbank. They also have the power to investigate if the 3rd party tax liens that former treasurer James Rokakis helped shove down our throats in 1998 has fucked up neighborhoods, stripped more than 30,000 people of their homes, and has created less revenue for the county's school districts.

I want you to get the full scope of the job these folk are running for and not take it for granted. All of them are current or past city legislators. So they all "should" have some knowledge of their own charters and ordinances, and a track record that shows how they've performed their legislative duties in the cities they serve. They have audits on the Ohio Auditor of State's website. Visit the site and conduct a search for the audits of the city's they serve. If you want, ask them a question about something you read in their audit. The site features audits of every government agency in Ohio. 

But I want you to think about the county and its charter. Here's a link to the charter. Take a look at it. 

Is the charter in its present form the best we can do to create the kind of quality of life we desire as Cuyahoga County residents? How do we want detained citizens treated in our jails by the sheriff? How do we want the sheriff to enforce certain laws? How do we want theft and corruption investigated and punished? Should we elect the public defender and give them a bigger budget to provide indigent defense and pro se assistance? How do we want to handle foreclosures in Cuyahoga County? How do we want the auditor to handle giving tax payment plans to property owners? Do we want the county foreclosing on homes for back taxes, or is there some other plan we want that hasn't yet been discussed? Do we need to spend $7500 tearing down homes in the county landbank? Or can those homes be renovated for the same amount and sold at cost to a low-income homebuyer?

Under this so-called "new and reformed" county government, the Cuyahoga County Council has the power to enact ordinances that instructs the county executive and all the employees on how they want them to perform certain legal duties. It is the BEST feature of the new government even though I think the charter was crafted by corrupt people.

Remember, I've always said mayors shall "enforce the duly passed ordinances and resolutions of the council." The only thing I like about the current charter is that I believe it gives the county council nearly "unlimited" legislative powers. Under "powers and duties" it reads, "All powers of the Council shall be exercised by ordinance or resolution and shall include, but not be limited to, the following ... and then it lists 12 things the council has the authority to do. The line I like, however, is "but not be limited to" only doing those 12 things. This tells me there is no limit on the county council being able to instruct the county executive through creatively written legislation. I don't think the county executive can successfully argue that the same ordinance enforcement duties imposed on mayors and the governor are not imposed on the county executive. I think if the county council approves an ordinance and overturns the county executive's veto, once passed it has to be enforced.

So I say if you have a curiosity about the county and its charter, and if you want to make a commitment to begin a new life as a fully-engaged civic citizen, and if you live in District 9, and you've been thinking about getting involved, then come on out to the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center at 3400 Lee Road, on Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., and let's connect with the candidates.

If you see one you like, get involved in their campaign and push the fuck out of them. Make yourself invaluable to them, and I do mean invaluable. That will give you a voice. Then hold them accountable. You worked for them. You asked people to trust you to support them. Hold them accountable. That will earn you respect.

It's your seat on the county council, District 9 voters. You ought to act like you own it. Come on out.

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District 9 Cuyahoga County

District 9 Cuyahoga County Council Debate: Saturday, March 22nd @ Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center 3400 Lee Road Shaker Hts., Ohio, 44122 @ 10am
Seven Days and Counting. We invite all concerned citizens to the District 9 Cuyahoga County Council Debate. Let Your Voice be Heard. 

Five candidates will face off and hold a civil "uncensored" discussion about issues affecting our district. This is one community forum you cannot afford to miss

Seven Whole Days, Five Bold Candidates and One Primary Election

Eric Brewer's forum outline County Council District 9

From Eric Brewer:
I hear the District 9 Cuyahoga County council candidates are nervous about the candidate forum I'm moderating this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. I understand. Kimberly Brown's done a good job in promoting it. The turnout at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Center in Shaker Heights on Lee Road is predicted to be solid.

I understand the challenge for the candidates because the forum is being moderated by an ex-mayor who's also an investigative journalist and newspaper publisher. The candidates aren't going to be questioned by a reporter who's never held elected office, who's never read a charter or managed a city. They're going to be questioned by someone who's been on the inside, and who knows that shit and more. They're going to be questioned by someone who's actually investigated and exposed some of the corrupt and fucked up shit that elected officials and bureaucrats have done through the years.

So tomorrow's District 9 council candidate forum won't be one where candidates who have nothing to do with "creating jobs" can get away with promoting that kind of unchecked bullshit while their planted "clappers" stand up and applaud on cue.

All the candidates are current or former city council members. They should have knowledge of their city's charters and ordinances, its budget, audits and issues, and what they've done to address them.

They've served a full or partial term in office, which at least modestly prepares them for the job of county council. So nothing I ask should be unfamiliar to them. I'd be more worried about some of the wild-assed questions reporters who are moderators ask when they don't really know jack shit about the inside of a city hall or the county council. Besides, we're only talking about 90 minutes.

What the audience will learn, if I achieve my goal, is how "prepared" the District 9 county council candidates are to represent the voters. My interest is not in "showing off" at the expense of the candidates. I encourage Americans to seek elected office and respect those who do whether they serve well or not. At least they stepped up.

But Cuyahoga County's current council and executive are supposed to have implemented a new charter under a "reformed government" that has never been thoroughly scrutinized by the media. The Plain Dealer's Laura Johnston did a pathetically piss poor job of covering county government. She was nothing more than Ed Fitzgerald's publicist.

The Call & Post hasn't touched the county council or executive's office with any stories of relevance. The television news stations have covered the county so poorly that WEWS-TV5's John Kosich interviewed Fitzgerald about his campaign for governor inside the county administration building and didn't realize he'd recorded him committing a felony "Hatch Act" violation.

Visit YouTube and review the Cuyahoga County Council meetings. I've seen meetings that had only "10" fucking views.

No media outlet has examined and exposed how Fitzgerald and his transient, carpetbagging band of rag tag appointees and the current council conducted business. We're "told" the county has been reformed by the Plain Dealer and Fitzgerald, of course. I guarantee that if I examined some of the contracts Fitzgerald has awarded, it would take me a day to find a deal that should have him prosecuted instead of running for governor. I also believe the current county council did not perform to "congressional" standards.

I think my views on how local elected officials "should" perform their jobs are well known. I believe when you raise your hand to uphold two constitutions, general laws and to perform legal duties that you should know them. I believe you work for the voters who asked you to represent "THEM" and that you are not their leader. The seat belongs to the people, not to any individual or family of politicians who think they're entitled to possess it.

I believe elected officials should be honest, fearless, independent and deeply committed to reading and mastering information. I hate lazy, non-reading assed elected officials and public employees with a fucking passion. I hate those "go along to get along" city and county council pussies who are too afraid to challenge and expose wrong when they see it. That political mindset, to me, is un-American and serves only to encourage and not fight public corruption. It wouldn't be just the FBI investigating public corruption if councils used their powers to investigate and expose it.

I also believe in the "congressional standard" for city and county councils since they are local versions of the U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate. The U.S. Congress and Senate investigate everything, and our federal representatives enact legislation based on what they learn. They use congressional and senate committees as agents of change, not to simply serve as the president's rubber stamp.

City and county councils have full investigative and subpoena power just like the U.S. Congress and Senate. They can examine any city or county department and scrutinize its functions. They can order directors and public employees to appear and testify before them, and to produce documents. And they can closely examine any area of government that is the source of a problem and enact legislation to correct it. Cleveland city council could have long ago ended Mayor Frank Jackson's failure to prosecute cops who murder unarmed American citizens by enacting legislation that requires it.

All the District 9 county council candidates were provided with the Cuyahoga County Charter, the county's most recent state audit, and the Ohio Revised Code chapters that identify the duties of the offices appointed by the county executive. The links to that information is below, and I've provided it to you as well.

So the "A" District 9 county council candidates will have read the documents I've suggested that they read to prepare themselves, since it's information they'll need to know anyway if elected. The "D" and "F" District 9 county council candidates will do what they do, and it will be reflected in their answers and discussions.

All I'm doing is moderating the flow of the discussion so that relevant information is shared with voters who have an interest in knowing the quality of candidate who is asking for their vote to represent them in county council District 9.

Kimberly Brown has told me that one candidate has chosen not to attend, who I didn't even know was in the race. Andre White. He must be intimidated since he's never held an elected office. He doesn't deserve District 9's consideration if he can't talk to the people.

Saturday's forum will be straightforward, at least from my perspective. To the candidates, just bring your "A" game if you got it, because we really won't have a whole lot of time to fuck around.

Cuyahoga County Charter

Cuyahoga County audit / financial condition *************************************PLEASE READ************************************************

Sheriff's duties

Coroner or Medical Examiner's duties

Engineer's duties

Treasurer's duties

Auditor's duties

Recorder's duties