Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sun, 07/11/2021 - 18:30.








On Thursday, July 8, 2021 – Jefferson Park which was overcast most of the day -- with intermittent heavy rain and thunder – welcomed the seven candidates for the office of Mayor of Cleveland to a discussion forum by freshening the park with a 30-minute light rain from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m., by stopping the rain, and bringing out the sun for the 2-hour duration of the event.
In fact, after 6:30 p.m. – there was no rain for the entire evening.
There was no noise from firecrackers either (an annual nuisance the neighborhood has to endure before, during, and after the 4th of July celebration) – but there was no shortage of the noise (an everyday nuisance) from the overhead planes flying with clock-like regularity, every few minutes, on their way to the airport – drowning out words of wisdom from the candidates. Unfortunately, the noise nuisance was not on the agenda.
The discussion forum titled “West Park Mayoral Candidates Night" was sponsored jointly by Cleveland City Councilmen Brian Kazy (Ward 16) and Charles Slife (Ward 17)
The lead photograph shows the seven candidates seated on the stage set up at the southern end of the lawn – a few feet away from Cooley Avenue and our house. I could have sat in our front porch and listened to the discussion. However, I love our park and chose to listen to the candidates up-front, took copious notes, many photographs, and did an audio recording.
The seven candidates are: from left to right –
Justin Bibb (former Keybank Executive),
Sandra Williams (State Senator & only woman in the race),
Dennis Kucinich (former Mayor & Congressman),
Zach Reed (former Ward 2 City Councilman),
Basheer Jones (Ward 7 City Councilman),
Kevin Kelley (City Council President), and
Ross DiBello (Attorney from West Park).
The 2-hour long discussion included opening and closing statements, and answers to questions posed by the two moderators -- Brian Kazy and Charles Slife.
There was very little back and forth between the candidates – they mostly stated their positions on the issues and were respectful of each other.
In the opening statements – the candidates talked about the hardships experienced in their upbringings, values inculcated by their parents, their educational qualifications, public or private offices held, their unique solutions to Cleveland's problems, and their vision for Cleveland.
By my rough count – about 150 people were in attendance – residents from the neighborhood – some of who brought their chairs (and pet dogs too) – see #2 -- and also staff and family members from the seven campaigns. The campaign staff with their colored T-shirts -- and campaign signs --was all over.
Here are notable quotes from their opening statements:
Justin Bibb: “I am running for Mayor because I believe that now is the time for new ideas and bold leadership to move our city forward.”
Sandra Williams: “I am running for Cleveland because I want the City of Cleveland to be a land of opportunity for all – where both east side and west side will thrive. We already know that downtown will be taken care of but I think that all of them are linked together and I believe we can build on that.”
Dennis Kucinich: "I stand for safe neighborhoods, a safe Cleveland, prosperity, and jobs.
Zack Reed: “When I am Mayor of the City of Cleveland, we will have not one but two mini-stations here because public safety is very important."
Basheer Jones: “We still live in a city that is very divided – east side, the west side but in reality we are only one side ---- your pain is our pain and your joy is our joy. But if we still look at each other and say that is the other side – how can we be successful?
Kevin Kelley: “ We have to work together to build the Cleveland that we can get to. It is going to take experienced visionary leadership to get there.”
Ross DiBello: “We have huge problems in Cleveland. And it is going to take policy changes and a complete reordering of our priorities to turn the city around, and the population loss, bring back the safety net, attack the wealth divide.”
During the course of the discussion, the candidates addressed the issues listed below.
Whether anything will be delivered once one of them is elected Mayor – we will have to wait and see. Clevelanders waited 16-years for Mayor Jackson to deliver – he did not -- yet he kept on getting re-elected every time.
*Provide Quality City Services.
*Restore Recycling.
*Improve Street Repairs and Resurfacing.
*Improve Customer Service at City Hall.
*Reduce Crime.
*Improve EMS Services.
Dates for Elections:
Primary: September 14 (early voting August 17).
General: November 2 (early voting October 5).
Thanks: Many thanks to Councilmen Brian Kazy (Ward 16) and Charles Slife(Ward 17) for both sponsoring and moderating the event – see #3.


Additional Information:
1. Please visit the campaign sites for more information.
2. Link to Cleveland Scene article: “Here are your Eight Official Candidates for Mayor of Cleveland” by Sam Allard, June 17, 2021. (Note: The lone Republican candidate, Landry Simmons, had to drop out because of insufficient number of the required 3,000 petitions – leaving only seven Democrats in the race.)
3. Link to Cleveland Scene article: “Winners and Losers from Mayoral Forum in West Park: Young Bucks vs. Old Farts Edition” by Sam Allard, July 9, 2021.
Note: This is Mr. Allard’s detailed report on the July 8th event in Jefferson Park.
Have an exciting election season!
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