Cleveland City Council has been busy during the first half of 2013 including passing a balanced city budget, holding hearings on important and key legislation, and spending time in the neighborhoods to address important constituent matters.
Soon we will open the Global Center for Health Innovation and Cleveland Convention Center and host the National Senior Games. This promises to remake an important part of downtown, and help the city of Cleveland attract conventions and visitors from around the world.
Just as this is all very good news for our city, Council had to address the declining population in the city with a decrease in Cleveland City Council membership. Our City Charter ties the number of council members to the city population. The amendment to the Charter was approved by Cleveland voters.
Cleveland City Council will be reduced from its current 19 members to 17. This takes effect next year, 2014, and will impact our election this year. You will receive a postcard mailing to alert you to the changes. I also urge you to contact the Cuyahoga Board of Elections if you are not certain of your new ward, or check this web site.
The loss of two seats is not easy, and unfortunately can be disruptive in some areas of the city. But I can assure you we took great care in drawing these lines to try to keep neighborhoods together. We were able to draw a better than 40 percent Hispanic ward but that did make for some compromises in nearby wards. I certainly understand and have heard from many of you on this issue.
In spite of what you may have read or heard in the news media, we did have extensive conversations with all of the Council members, constituent groups, ward leaders, business organizations, and neighborhood clubs. I can assure you those voices were heard and we did everything possible to make sense of the ward boundaries.
I urge you to locate your ward, and if you do not know that ward council member take the time to get to know your new representative beginning in January 2014. The council members will be holding meetings in their wards and please take any of your questions or concerns to those meetings.
We would like to think with all the new projects, developments, new and rehabilitated housing, new schools and educational opportunities, that the city's population has stabilized and will grow in the decades ahead.
Enjoy your summer, and take advantage of all the festivals and events the city has to offer.
Martin J. Sweeney
Cleveland City Council President