The race for City Council in Ward 8 on Cleveland's eastside has gotten tighter since the primary. Longtime representative and finance chairman Bill Patmon lost the October second vote to challenger Sabra Pierce Scott. But, 90.3 WCPN's Tarice Sims reports the incumbent feels he should be given 4 more years to complete the job he started which he calls "Glenville's comeback," while his challenger says time's up.
Tarice Sims- It's where you'll find such Cleveland landmarks as the Rockefeller Green House, the Cultural Gardens and the Eastside Market. Ward 8 is also an area with some of the most majestic Colonial style homes; it was a place where many affluent families lived years ago. But a few decades ago the Glenville area started to decline. Now, abandoned storefronts line East 105th street and drugs and crime have become the biggest problem. Even Councilman Bill Patmon admits that in his campaign ad.
But Patmon says he's making progress in the community including the development of several hundred housing units and the, Glenville Town Center shopping mall which was just completed last year. Also, workers have started building a new apartment complex for seniors estimated at $3.5 million. So, he says he deserves a chance to complete his mission in Ward 8.
Bill Patmon- This neighborhood for 20 years was on the decline; it has been on the incline for the last 12 years. Clearly the glass is half-full and it takes time to move government to get private sector folks in to do things in your neighborhood, but we're about the business of doing that.
TS- Patmon's opponent shares his goals, but not his methods. Sabra Pierce Scott says Patmon has distanced himself from the community and become more focused on the power within politics rather than the ideals of the Glenville neighborhood.
Sabra Pierce Scott- While the opponent is selling power, they have to understand that power is personal and our campaign is about empowerment and that's shared. So we want a shared community with shared vision, with shared ability to move this neighborhood forward.
TS- 49% of those who voted in the primary liked Scott's message, compared to 46% who voted for Patmon. One Scott supporter is Ward 8 resident Mayor Mike White, who contributed to Scott's campaign. Another, Clinton Daniels, says he spoke with her directly and was impressed. Daniels has owned MC Daniels Mini-Mart for ten years and says the neighborhood has gotten worse in that time. In fact on Halloween Daniels says it's become a custom for some of the stores on East 105 Street to close early for fear of what may happen.
Clinton Daniels- I close at 5 o'clock because I know what happens. They don't care who they throw eggs at the bus drivers and everything. He ain't done nothing in 10 years let her have a little try you know.
TS- Still, some business owners on the street aren't ready to give up on Patmon. Chico Zywalk has owned a local Dry Cleaner for 35 years. In that time, he says he's been heart broken by the decline of his neighborhood, yet impressed by the commitment of Patmon to do something about it.
Chico Zywalk- When I first came down here, you could go a block, hardwares, you could get anything you wanted and I've seen it just completely decay up to what it is now. But they began to build it back and I'm quite satisfied with the way they're building it back. Even this, what is it I think it's the Glenville development - the homeowners they're giving them loans to help them renovate their homes and it's a beautiful thing and I like what's going on. I like every bit of it.
TS- Although he has a Patmon sign in his window, Zywalk admits he wouldn't be upset if voters elected Scott Councilwoman of Ward 8. He says both have energy and vision and can get the job done - in time. But Patmon maintains he started Glenville on the comeback trail and means to see it through.
BP- I'm positioned to continue that progress. We can either continue it using the same kind of political power we've used to get to this point or we can start all over again. I think that's a bad idea to say it doesn't matter who's in city hall it absolutely matters to this community.
TS- Among the projects Patmon wants to continue working on is the Heritage Lane Project, which would revamp East 105th. Developers are scheduled to start construction later this year. Meanwhile, Scott remains focused on the issue of community and has promised her campaign headquarters on East 105th would be the ward 8 offices making her more accessible to Glenville residents. In Cleveland, Tarice Sims, 90.3 WCPN News.