District 9 County Council Forum at Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Center Shaker Heights

Submitted by lmcshane on Sat, 03/22/2014 - 13:00.

 Kimberly F. Brown opens the forum

Lively and informative community forum for District 9 County Council - special thanks to all of the candidates and to Kimberly Brown and Eric J. Brewer for making this happen.

Eric J Brewer moderates the forum

Kimberly Brown, Thomas O'Grady, and representative from Shirley Smith's office

Credit to the four candidates who did show up for this forum - Lloyd Anderson, Leah Lewis, Lynn Ruffner, and Donald Saunders - all are extremely well-qualified as noted in the introduction by forum organizer Kimberly F. Brown and reiterated by moderator Eric J. Brewer, who was delayed in arriving.  Once the forum got underway, it was apparent that any one of these candidates have the intelligence and experience to make a difference.  Though, Eric J. Brewer hammered away at their ability to actually make a difference, once elected-given their overall slim record of legislative experience in each of their respective municipalities.

First question addressed familiarity with Open Government rules and commitment to Public Accountability - all of the candidates are required to attend 3 hrs of training per each term in office - https://ohioauditor.gov/open/trainings.html - all are familiar with the law, and all, except Leah Lewis have completed the training at least once - though there seemed to be confusion about staying current w/the requirement.  Eric J. Brewer discussed the transparency and failings of the various municipalities in terms of posting their council notes on line.

Given reported problems in all of the municipalities represented - Eric J. Brewer also asked whether any of the candidates had initiated investigation from their positions in council during each candidate's term of office.  No one has directly introduced legislation or ordinance.  In capacity as council members - Eric J. Brewer also noted that these candidates have to make sure that their municipality (and if elected County)  has adequate insurance to cover unexpected costs (Bedford Heights loss of equipment in fire was cited).

Eric J. Brewer addressed all candidates with query on whether they would support an elected public defender and legislated process for reporting/whistleblower process - both of these elements were removed from Cuyahoga County's charter in the reform process - though the original charter contained these elements by recommendation of former Congressman Louis Stokes.  All candidates support changes to the charter to provide for elected public defender and whistleblower protection.

Eric J. Brewer asked each candidate to address how they would insure that Cuyahoga County would operate with a balanced budget.  He noted that Cuyahoga County is predicted to have a significant budget deficit.  Lloyd Anderson noted that it is important to get realistic estimates for projects - Ruffner noted that budget adjustments need to be made before end of the fiscal year.  Saunders noted that council has to make noise and be heard when there are irregularities - but Bedford finances are in good order despite on-going investigation of the law director in Bedford. Saunders also mentioned need to make County Fiscal Officer and Sheriff office-elected position as current County Charter allows CE to fire these positions, when in disagreement.  Leah Lewis recently became council person and discussed attempt to address fiscal problems and audit recommendations due to extremely poor state of financial affairs in Highland Hills - past finance director was blamed.

Finally (and I was most grateful for this question) - Eric J. Brewer addressed question of impropriety in third party tax lien sales.  All candidates claimed they would repeal and stop the practice. 

During the forum - Candidates for County Executive were present -State Representative Armond Budish arrived midway - made a sweep of the room and then left.  A representative for State Senator Shirley Smith and former North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O' Grady - also arrived mid-way, but stayed and listened to the forum and gave short presentations after the forum.

NOTE - I take full responsibility if my notes are inaccurate - please feel free to contact me to change any information at lmcshane23 at yahoo dot com.  The forum was recorded by the organizers and I hope to make this available soon - 

IMG_2346_800x424.jpg241.63 KB
IMG_2347_800x354.jpg222.1 KB
IMG_2348_800x310.jpg96.24 KB
IMG_2349_800x532.jpg263.36 KB
( categories: )

District 9 candidate Shontell Brown was a NO-show

From the Brown Report - https://www.facebook.com/thebrownreportuncensored

Open Report on Council candidate Shontelle Brown

Examining the term Grinning - 1.To smile broadly, as in amusement, or embarrassment, 

Today was not a good day for Candidate Shontell Brown. Brown "NO SHOWED" the District 9 Candidates Community Forum and Debate after confirming by email her participation. Brown set back in silence and took in free publicity regarding the debate. Did she not know that she would not be in attendance?

On Brown's you tube video she states "Engaged in the Community". This has now become a matter laughable.

Message to Shontell Brown - There is something called commitment. You committed to attend and you failed to "show up". This behavior was unacceptable and disdainful on all account - for you did not have the decency to call, text, inbox or email The Brown Report to say you could not keep your commitment.

This smile is one of many meanings - Today we guess its about being embarrassed for your failure to Engage with the Community as your you tube video proudly state 

Cuyahoga County District 9 needs a responsive, responsible and committed Council Person and it is obvious that this requirement is not a fit for what you are seeking.

We have 4 candidates for District and The Brown Report openly support those willing to engage with the public.

The Heck with your ENDORSEMENT!

Mayor Brewer - street smart - what we need in NEO

I met with Mayor Brewer at City Hall in East Cleveland with Norm Roulet in 2005-6.  We discussed East Cleveland's IT needs.   Realneo didn't get the contract.  

Seemed like  at the time the internet would let us take on anything - the civic establisment in Cle - the beaucracies - public record denial BS.

And notwithstanding personal information being publicized on him to discredit him - Mr. Brewer didn't blink.  I respect Mr. Brewer today because he has an honest outlook on NEO and Cleveland and politics.   No hidden corporate agenda - Not the Dirty Dealer commercial agenda of  sport teams, gambling, cleclinic, port authority, greater cle partnership joe roman, etc. 

Thank you Mayor Brewer for taking the initiative to organize this forum!  

Thank you lmcshane for attending and reporting on this important Cuyahoga County event.

Can we dump PD's endorsed candidates in May??

I will be very depressed in our primary election - if PD endorsed candidates - (Armond Budish, Shontell Brown) are successful - can we, at least, topple the PD, Greater Cleveland Partnership in this election?? Oh - and, please make sure that Issue 7 - the "Sin" tax - goes down in flames???



EJB on yesterday's District 9

Reprinted from Facebook - Eric J. Brewer:

The District 9 Cuyahoga County council forum that Kimberly Brown organized and co-sponsored with Marcia Lane was well attended. Four of the six candidates attended. Bedford Heights Councilman Lloyd Anderson. Highland Hills Councilwoman Leah Lewis. Bedford Councilman Don Saunders. Former Shaker Heights Councilwoman Lynn Ruffner. 

Kimberly Brown informed me that Warrensville Heights Councilwoman Shontel Brown claimed until the last minute that she was attending, which is the only reason either of us posted her picture. But she was a no show as well as Andre White. 

So how did it go?

To prepare for the forum I read the budgets, audits, council minutes, charters and ordinances of each of the city's where the District 9 county councils candidates served or once served on city council. It made no sense for me to lead a discussion where they could talk only about what they planned to do on the county council, when the example for how they might apply themselves to a new job can be found in how they performed the one they're in now. I also thought discussing issues they'd been working on since the beginning of the year would make for a familiar conversation.

That type of conversation brought several surprises.

Bedford Heights councilman Lloyd Anderson said he wasn't told by Mayor Fletcher Berger that the city's insurance carrier had issued a $123,000 check for the value of three trucks purchased for $500,000 that were destroyed in a fire. When I pointed out that Fletcher had shared the information with council twice since January 2014 during two reports from the mayor, Anderson had no knowledge of what was in his city council minutes.

Former Shaker Heights vice Mayor Lynn Ruffner admitted that the city's chief of police confirmed CSU professor Ronnie Dunn's claim that cops were illegally accessing the LEADS crime database to run random license plate checks on African American men. Shaker Heights cops are learning of license suspensions and other information about the men whose license plates they're running, and writing citations and making arrests based on the information they've illegally acquired from LEADS. Ruffner knew of the illegal acts but admitted that council took no action to demand that the police chief order Shaker Heights cops to comply with the city's user participation agreement with the Ohio Highway Patrol. The state requires Shaker Heights and any other police department to discipline and prosecute cops who access LEADS illegally. Ruffner said council only discussed the issue.

Highland Hills councilwoman Leah Lewis admitted that her city's finances were in a shambles, and that the Auditor of State had identified areas of such gross non-compliance that the city's mishandled financial records could be hiding fraud. She said council had not initiated an investigation to identify areas of incompetence and fraud, and has not enacted legislation to correct it.

Bedford councilman Don Saunders admitted that his city is plagued with problems council had not detected in the law department and municipal court. Bedford's judge and law director are under indictment for their tie to a brothel and steering contracts to connected law firms for bribes. He said Bedford has also lost its largest employer, Ben Venue, and is scrambling to make up the tax base loss.

The problems each of the candidates was already facing in their current elected offices, and the way they were handling them, was enlightening to an audience that had few questions after the forum. Several gave statements, instead, and gave instruction to the would-be county council candidates. The audience seemed to express the common sentiment that no matter which candidate was elected, the voters of District 9 had to keep an eye on them. 

Laverne A. Jones Gore spoke and shared with me afterwards that she didn't know any of the candidates, and had known nothing about how they performed in Bedford, Bedford Heights, Shaker Heights and Highland Hills. By the end of the forum Laverne said she had a better understanding of their current work ethic, which was an indication of how they'd apply themselves on the county council.

The comments from the audience, and those shared with me afterwards, was that they were surprised at what the council members knew and did not know; and what they'd done and not done on the job. 

Glen Cotton told me at lunch with Richard Andrews, Charles Bibb, Thaddeus Jackson, Richard Peery, Andre Saint Cyr and Betty Mahone that he was caught between choosing among the lesser of evils. It didn't mean the candidates were bad people. It meant that even the most experienced among them could have been more .

Andre Saint Cyr thought the forum raised the bar , and so did other members of the audience. Everyone believed the level of scrutiny the candidates publicly faced needed to be the same in every candidates forum.

State Senator John Barnes said Warrensville Heights councilwoman Shontel Brown and Andre White did themselves favors by not showing up. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, that they could not have handled the intellectual intensity of the discussion. 

Kimberly Brown said Leah Lewis earned a few points by going toe to toe with me during a moment in the forum. She held her own. LOL. 

For me, I thought all the candidates who attended were honest in their responses and I respected that quality about them. They knew what they knew. They didn't know what they didn't know. You can tell from the tone of this post that we had a real, a thought provoking and an empowering discussion. I believe everyone who attended, including the candidates, knew more after the forum than they did at the beginning of it.

I also think we participated in something unique, that caught everyone's attention in the audience. People described the substance of the discussion as unlike any other forum they'd ever attended.

I believe everyone who attended left empowered in some way. I don't remember which candidate expressed this thought, I think it may have been Lynn, but I believe she said it put her in a state of mental preparation for the difficulty of being on the county council.

Feedback on District 9 debate - Marcia Lane

From Marcia Lane https://www.facebook.com/TheNewsJunkieDaily:
On Tuesday May 6, 2014 Cuyahoga County Residents will elect a nominee from the Democratic Party to run for County Executive...

Today I attended the "DISTRICT 9 COMMUNITY DEBATE AND FORUM", where I had the honor of meeting several of the candidates and learning about their planned agenda's.

First, we as "CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY", must get out and vote.... We continue to complain behind "closed doors". It is time to let our voices be heard, especially when they are completely "SILENCED" in the walls of "CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL"....







All candidates were asked if residents of their community were able to speak at "CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS" and they all replied "YES".

The debate forum focused upon:





Moderator Eric Jonathan Brewer "RAISED THE BAR" and truly became the "HIGHLIGHT" of this event. Touching upon subjects unknown to the average county resident. He raised "eyebrows" and lowered "voices" of some the panelists, obviously unaware of his "POWERFUL POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE".

In closing I'd like to thank "KIMBERLY F BROWN" and "ERIC JONATHON BREWER" for including me as a "SPONSOR" of this "SUCCESSFUL EVENT". I look forward to working closely with them in future projects. I'd also like to thank the panelist for showing up and allowing the public to hear their voice as well....



City Club CE Debate - April 7th Noon


Cuyahoga County Executive Democratic Primary

The City Club will host a primary debate for the Democratic candidates running for Cuyahoga County Executive. Invitations have been sent to all of the following candidates (the word confirmed appears to the right of the names of those who are confirmed to attend):

State Rep. Armond Budish, Ohio House District 8-Confirmed

State Senator Shirley Smith, Ohio Senate District 21 - Confirmed

Bob Reid, former Cuyahoga County Sheriff - Confirmed


Timothy J. Russo - Confirmed

Thomas O'Grady, Administrator for Cleveland City Schools, former Mayor of North Olmsted -Confirmed

Walter Allen Rogers, Jr. - Confirmed



Make reservations*


*Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance of the event. Reservations will be held 15 minutes past start of program, such as 12:15 for noon programs. Reservations will then be open to standby ticketing.


Special Program:
$15 Member
$25 Non Member
$250 Non Profit Table of 10.
$350 Corporate Table of 10.
Reservations Toll-Free at 888-223-6786 or locally at 216-621-0082