The Cleveland mayoral race is underway, and the primary election is fast approaching. ideastream's Dan Moulthrop invited the candidates to visit our studio for interviews about their platforms, their visions, and their plans for the city.
James Draper [Listen]
It's not surprising that Cleveland's former Public Safety director is focusing his campaign on public safety. James Draper says he wants to increase the number of officers on the streets and streamline their work. Safety is also on the agenda in his schools plan. Though he has talked at length about the need for greater fiscal accountability in the district, he says the key to improving schools is in discipline. "There must be a learning atmosphere," Draper told ideastream. "There's not much we're going to be able to do in terms of raising funds or anything else until we get control and we're honest with our parents and say we have a problem and we need to get the police involved in our whole approach to juvenile activity." Hear more about James Draper's plans for the schools, public safety, and jobs.
Michael Nelson [Listen]
Michael Nelson knows a thing or two about finance, since most of his work revolves around it. In the past, Nelson ran the Glenville Redevelopment Corporation. Now, he serves as underwriters' counsel to the Cuyahoga Port Authority, overseeing bond transactions. As for his plan to fix the economic ills of the city: "I would take advantage of the Port Authority's ability to issue industrial revenue bonds and really become aggressive and use that as a marketing tool." Nelson adds that Cleveland needs to begin marketing itself to smaller companies that employ about two to three hundred people. "In other words," he explains, "we have to begin to raid other communities in order to shore up our community." Hear more of Michael Nelson's plans for Cleveland.
Robert Triozzi [Listen]
He's no longer on the bench, but Robert Triozzi says he plans on bringing a judicial sensibility to the mayor's office. "When you open the doors to a courtroom, you see poverty pull in," Triozzi says. "You see what happens to a community when there's a struggling education system. You see what happens when there's crime and issues of public safety in our neighborhoods. You see what happens when there's deterioration in our housing stock. I've seen how to pull people together to confront these issues head on. We need a new vision." Which, of course, raises the question, does Robert Triozzi have that vision? Listen to the interview, and judge for yourself.
Bill Patmon [Listen]
Bill Patmon calls the budget the most important document in government, and says one of a leader's greatest skills is the ability to "scrub" budgets and find the fat. "There is no public budget in existence that doesn't have fat in it. It's in the very nature of budgets," he says. "When I was in Cleveland City Council in 2000, I actually found $10 million in the budget that was actually fat... You can come up with some pretty hefty funds. And when I left City Council at the end of 2001, we had a $10 million rainy day fund and a $6 million reserve fund," he says. Hear more from former councilman from Glenville.
Frank Jackson [Listen]
The city council president has lived in the neighborhood of 38th and Central most of his life. What happens to Cleveland is important to him, he says, because it affects his life and his family. "Cleveland has to work because I'm not going anywhere." Frank Jackson says his view of government is that it's "supposed to be a facilitator. This is a capitalist society, not a planned economy. That means that we can provide the proper incentives, and... we have to compete - not with Akron and Lorain but with the rest of the United States." Hear more from our interview with Frank Jackson.
David Lynch [Listen]
David Lynch says he's proud of the work he did as Mayor of Euclid from 1988 to 1996. During that time, he says, he turned a $4 million deficit into a budget surplus and was named the Most Outstanding Young Mayor in America. Many of his ideas center on economic development. "Walmart has taken it on the chin because of issues about employee pay and benefits, but over at Steelyard Commons we need jobs - we desperately need jobs." Lynch says he wants to expand the school voucher program to offer opportunities for more families who have "lost faith in the public schools to send their children to other schools." Hear more about David Lynch's plans for schools, public safety, and jobs.
Jane Campbell [Listen]
Mayor Campbell says there's one thing she wishes she'd done better during her first term. "I had to spend the first two years just righting the ship of government," she says. And, she adds, "you can always look back as Monday morning quarterback and say perhaps I should have communicated better what the challenges were and what the successes were." Campbell maintains her administration has accomplished much more than most voters know. Hear more from incumbent Jane Campbell.
Former city employee Anthony Brown has not yet made himself available for an interview.