The problem in this city is not the lack of available jobs, but rather that people lack the skills to get them or they are excluded because they have criminal records. With all the money plowed into development by the City, jobs in construction are aplenty, but there is little or no money allocated by the city to train at-risk youth, ex-offenders, and long-term unemployed for these jobs. We must allocate substantial funds to training these groups, so that they can obtain good jobs in the construction trades. There is no excuse for our government’s inaction. The downfall of our community can be directly traced to lack of employment. Jobs are part of the solution to virtually every other problem we have.
Many of our residents are without jobs, others struggle to maintain a household on a minimum wage of $8.10 an hour, and some have multiple jobs. Many are single mothers trying to provide for their families. If this City is only going to create construction jobs, which our residents can’t get, and jobs as waiters, hotel maids, and retail clerks for the rest of us, then we need to insist that workers earn a living wage of $15 an hour, starting with an initial increase to $12. It is a disgrace that Ken Johnson, who is earning two incomes from the city voted against increasing the minimum wage. SHAME ON HIM!
Ken Johnson and the Mayor have colluded with developers, corporations, and Cleveland Clinic to eradicate the traditionally black communities on the Eastside. Rather than assist homeowners with failing roofs and collapsing porches, they have intentionally let housing deteriorate so they can tear down these properties for use by developers. Then they plunk down so-called affordable housing complexes that accept families with incomes way above those in Ward 4, the real purpose of which is to enrich wealthy investors and clear the neighborhoods for future gentrification. If elected, I will fully fund and prioritize programs to assist existing homeowners and rehab vacant homes to preserve our neighborhoods.
Our Fair Share
We pay our fair share of taxes to the City of Cleveland. However, hundreds of millions in tax breaks are handed out to developers in downtown, Ohio City, and Tremont, while we get crumbs. All of these gentrifying neighborhoods are booming; the city shouldn’t still be granting 15-year tax breaks for downtown buildings and $300,000 Townhomes. We need to get our share of tax dollars, but instead Ken Johnson has gone along with the Mayor’s plan to satisfy the gluttony of his rich campaign donors. I will vote down every tax break for Westside development, until we receive our fair share of investment in our people and our homes.
A Safer Community
We do need an increased police presence in Ward 4 to deter crime, as well as the full implementation of the consent decree, and far better police training to avoid more unjustified shootings. However, Ward 4 will never be safe for residents unless we address the underlying causes of crime. We need to employ our residents so that they do not fall prey to a life of crime. In addition, we need to invest in our existing homes and apartments, knocking down as a last resort, and rehabbing the vast number of vacant homes. Empty lots and empty houses are an invitation for crime, squatters, and other undesirable behavior.
The City has done nothing to close the RTA deficit, which has resulted in devastating route cuts that have made nightmares of working people’s lives. Plenty of money is there to redo the Shoreway to increase beach access, and repave downtown streets, while Ward 4’s roads are crumbling and full of potholes. They have invested heavily in the $300 milllion Opportunity Corridor, which will wipe away what is left of our communities, but they have no money for bus riders. We will be left out in the cold come winter.
Better Public Schools
Mayor Jackson, working with Governor Kasich, has turned many of our school children into profit producing units for Charter Schools, while undermining our public schools. Poorly regulated, privately owned schools, which produce poor results and have been beset with scandals have been allowed to spread throughout the city. Despite shiny new schools being built, Cleveland Public Schools have largely been underfunded and unfairly maligned. Indeed, our schools’ declines have largely mirrored our neighborhoods. When our children leave these shiny new schools they return to broken communities, rife with crime, vacant lots and falling down houses. We need to support our public schools and fix the communities outside them.