For decades in Cleveland, there has been no strategy for collectively strengthening and growing our community. Our leaders have focused on temporary projects, one-time fixes, and silver bullets. They’ve invested in programs and initiatives with no real plan for sustainability or unity. As I watch and listen to our current administration and other candidates for mayor, it’s obvious to see the narrative hasn’t changed. The ideas are the same - simple “solutions” for complex problems and a lot of rhetoric.
I have a strategy.
Think of Cleveland as a house. Like a house, the most important part is the foundation. If there are serious structural issues, your house is of little value. The foundation of our city is crumbling. There are cracks in the walls, the floors have shifted and the frame is rotting. Putting on a new coat of paint won’t help. Buying new furniture won’t help. New landscaping won’t help. These may hide the problems, but they won’t add real value. The house will still fall.
It’s time to focus on rebuilding our foundation.
The strength of our city - our foundation - is our people. Our city will become more stable when we first focus on human development. When our people are healthy, have good jobs, feel safe and have somewhere they call home, they are stronger. Naturally, that makes Cleveland stronger.
A single focus on “safety” or “education” isn’t enough. Saying we need “jobs” isn’t enough. All of these issues are connected and can only be changed and improved together. Many of our citizens aren’t equipped with the tools needed to sustain themselves. Because of this, they don’t have the same opportunities provided to those who are equipped. How can we expect any change when our greatest resource, our people, aren’t able to function at their full capacity?
I’m committed to investing in our people. That’s how we’ll rebuild a lasting, vibrant city.
How will I invest in our people?
My first actions as mayor will be to remove 5,000 blighted homes, resurface roads, create and execute a lead inspection initiative and update Cleveland Police Department technology and equipment. After those projects are underway, I will work on new policies and training for our police department, begin making our streets more complete (starting by adding new bike lanes), and will work to implement a plan to start better training and educating our adults so more Clevelanders can enter the workforce. It’s time for a new Cleveland and a new mindset. We can be the best.