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The Issues

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Jobs & Economic Development

Jobs and Economic Development are the foundation of strong neighborhoods. The failure of having a comprehensive and aggressive plan for the economic revitalization of Cleveland neighborhoods have left the city at risk. The use of public funds for downtown economic development projects has denied local business owners and entrepreneurs opportunities to establish new projects, or expand to do more for the neighborhood residents. Most jobs are created by small businesses, and I am committed to respond to the needs and expectations of these businesses.When support is given to neighborhood businesses the residents benefit as well. It is, however, important to have living wages for all residents. We must raise the minimum wage in Ohio to $15 per hour. As we work to expand economic opportunities we will not separate neighborhoods by labeling them as neighborhoods of choice, and sending the wrong message that certain other neighborhoods are inferior. We will strive to establish healthy neighborhoods where opportunities exist wherever residents live.” – Jeff Johnson

What I will do for Jobs and Economic Development in the city of Cleveland:

PUBLIC – PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS FOR INVESTMENT IN ALL CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOODS FOR JOB OPPORTUNITIES.

  • Use public funds to leverage private investment dollars in city neighborhoods to create job opportunities.
  • Develop job preparedness and training programs for residents.
  • Establish partnerships for summer youth jobs, and employment opportunities throughout the year.

WORK TO REDUCE INCOME INEQUALITY AMONG CLEVELAND WORKERS

  • Support a minimum wage increase in Ohio to $15 an hour. Existing minimum wage is too low. Nobody should be asked to work full time while receiving a minimum wage so low that they also must seek additional public assistance.

WORK TO REDUCE POVERTY IN CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

  • In the city of Cleveland 1/3 of residents are living in poverty. Also, 50% of children in Cleveland live in poverty. We will not invest public funds in any project or program unless there is some direct connection to providing economic opportunities and improving the quality of life of citizens living in Cleveland neighborhoods.

COLLABORATION WITH BUSINESSES FOR ON-SITE VOCATIONAL JOB TRAINING

  • Develop private sector economic partnerships that provides vocational on-site job training, including apprenticeships, internships and mentoring.

COMMITMENT TO NEIGHBORHOOD BUSINESSES

  • Expand the Department of Economic Development to include more staff dedicated to neighborhood business outreach and support in the neighborhoods.
  • Establish a micro business and entrepreneurial grant program to encourage project development and expansion in the neighborhoods.

ESTABLISH CITYWIDE STANDARDS FOR DIVERSITY IN WORKFORCE, PURCHASING AND SMALL BUSINESS SUBCONTRACTING

  • Support supplier diversity practices at City Hall and in private sector.
  • Expand and strengthen Community Benefits program. Challenge and assist those companies who fail to participate.
  • Support minority, female and neighborhood- based businesses and entrepreneurs to participate in public and private projects and purchasing.

COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT ENFORCEMENT

  • Enforce the Community Reinvestment Act in Cleveland. Work with financial institutions to remain in city neighborhoods and participate in the redevelopment and expansion of each.

SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AS PARTNER OF ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOBS

  • Support public transportation as an important partner in the economic success of Cleveland citizens. Public transportation opens opportunities to gain employment by removing barriers of access to jobs.
  • Appoint Regional Transit Authority board members who value access and affordability of public transportation.

ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Establish accountability and transparency for all city involved economic development programs and projects.

Education

“Public education that is focused on high achievement and student development is critical for a stronger and successful city. Investment in our citizens, and where they live, include using our creativity with public and private funds to fix the problems of our local system of education. Advancing vocational education along with college prep opportunities allows for enhanced and expanded options for our children and youth. A stronger bond must occur between City Hall, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, teachers and support staff. This partnership, along with public sponsored charter schools, provides the best opportunity for us all to achieve our goal of graduating students ready to achieve their dreams. The quality of the education our youth receive from our city schools will be a determining factor in becoming the ideal great American city.” – Jeff JohnsonWhat I will do for Education in the city of Cleveland:

APPOINT A SCHOOL BOARD COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE

  • Appoint school board members who are committed to providing superior education for our children and youth. Who will provide facilities that are safe and enjoyable, and that respects the historic structural legacy of education in Cleveland.

BRING BACK VOCATIONAL EDUCATION CITYWIDE

  • Appoint school board members committed to vocational education district wide. There is a critical need for investment in vocational education in our neighborhoods. We are failing our youth by ignoring the need to develop a vocational path toward success. The dismantling of vocational training from within the CMSD system has prevented opportunities for our youth to have more career choices. We must recommit and rebuild vocational education in Cleveland while supporting those students seeking to further their education in our colleges and universities. We will expand our focus to include a robust vocational education curriculum throughout the city that includes partnerships with local businesses to participate in the new vocational education path to success.

BE RELIABLE PARTNER FOR EDUCATION SUCCESS

  • Focus my leadership on being a strong reliable partner with CMSD leaders, Cleveland teachers and parents. Recruit more private business and nonprofit institutional support of city public schools.

SUPPORT TEACHERS AND PARENTS

  • Provide support for teachers and parents to help them achieve their goals for students. Provide City Hall support for afterschool programs for student growth and development.

ENCOURAGE PARTNERSHIP WITH PROVEN EDUCATIONAL PROVIDERS

  • Encourage and support stronger partnership between public, charter and parochial schools. A partnership that will be able to achieve exceptional education results for all our children in every school in the city of Cleveland.

DEVELOP INITIATIVE TO RESPOND TO THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF CITY STUDENTS

  • Develop initiative to respond to the emotional needs of our city students. Recent information raised issue of depression and suicidal thoughts held by many CMSD students. In a recent study Cleveland was the only district among large cities with more than one in five high school students reporting that they had attempted suicide (20.7%). This cannot be ignored.

Crime & Violence

“Crime and violence are problems in the City of Cleveland. Many neighborhoods are plagued with a crisis of violence. Homicides have exceeded over 100 the last three years, and in 2016 the 136 homicides made it the deadliest year in the last 11 years. Cleveland unfortunately is high on the list of the most violent major cities around the nation. Over the last 6 years I have continued to call for leaders in Cleveland City Hall to wake up to the increasing violence in our neighborhoods. The Mayor and City Council leaders all did little to recognize the growing crisis of violent crimes. They refused to understand what was at stake as our citizens suffered under the burden of increasing crime around them.

I fought within City Hall continuously for an expanded approach to fight violent crime beyond police enforcement. I knew we had to use a public health approach to fight violent crimes. Addiction, mental health, trauma and other health related factors drove increased violent crime. It wasn’t until late 2016, and just before the 2017 election year began, did City Hall leaders finally acknowledge the crisis of violence. Why did it take them so long? How many violent crimes could have been prevented if City Hall and the private sector leaders and businesses would have responded years ago? This has been a failure of City Hall leadership that we cannot trust to continue the next four years.” – Jeff Johnson

What I will do to reduce Crime and Violence in the City of Cleveland:

INVEST IN NEIGHBORHOODS

  • Provide leadership to secure public and private funds to respond to the social and economic issues that causes crime and violence. Invest to enhance and redevelop our citizens, and where they live.

SUPPORT POLICE DIVISION CONSENT DECREE

  • Support the full implementation of the federal/city consent decree   within the Division of Police.

IMPROVE ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Keep Police Chief Calvin Williams. He has the proven ability to oversee the transformation of the Division of Police in connection with the full implementation of the federal consent decree.
  • Replace the leadership and consultants of the Department of Public Safety. Will hire new leadership committed to the full implementation of the police consent decree, and the improvement of the Division of Police, Division of Fire and EMS.

MINI POLICE STATIONS RETURN

  • Create a new deployment plan that will include MINI POLICE STATIONS in all 17 city wards. There will be one officer located at a city facility in each city ward with the responsibility of assisting residents with quality of life problems related to public safety. During the 1990s this was a successful deployment strategy that will assist us in the next four years with improving relationships with the citizens, and enhancing their quality of life.

SOLVE MORE CRIMES

  • Increase the number of detectives working in the special investigative units to reduce workloads and increase the rate of criminal cases solved by arrest and conviction. Most troubling the last 10 years is the percentage of unsolved Cleveland homicides of 55% average, while the national average is 36%.
  • Develop neighborhood partnerships to lessen the distrust between community and police that contributes to the inability to solve crime.
  • Expand crime scene forensics unit by hiring certified trained civilians to reduce extreme wait times for citizens victimized by crimes in their homes and other properties, and to increase solve rate of these crimes.
  • Increase hiring of police officers to reach 1700 over the first two years to improve response times and visibility and to prevent crimes.

 INTERVENTION TEAMS TARGETED TO VIOLENT AREAS

  • Deploy special police violence intervention units targeted to the most violent areas, and focused on known violent criminals and gangs. Identifying the relatively low number of individuals involved in most of local crime, including repeat crimes, will lead to crime reduction.
  • Expand community-based “violence interrupters” and other trained civilians to mediate violent conflicts and build relationships with those involved (will look to best practices in Baltimore, NY and other major cities for successful implementation of this initiative). Will use Public Health model of violence prevention.

REBUILD COMMUNITY RELATIONS BOARD

  • Restructure and expand the Community Relations Board to refocus on neighborhood organizing and street club development. Increase resources to improve outreach results. Change community engagement model to allow for stronger dispute resolution opportunities. Provide support to staff to enhance their work for stronger police and community relations. Ask the appointed CR Board members to return to a more proactive approach to identifying and responding to the critical issues of the neighborhoods.

CITYWIDE VIOLENCE PREVENTION COORDINATION

  • The Mayor’s Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) will oversee and encourage the connectivity of the work of the city departments and violence prevention. The OVP will pursue a public health/economic investment strategy understanding that crime and violence is driven by other social and economic issues like high unemployment, negative health conditions, wage inequality, low education results and more. The OVP will connect with community stakeholders including clergy, corporate and small business people, hospitals, neighborhood leaders and more, to develop partnerships for prevention of violence. It will also develop and coordinate the quarterly citywide summit on the prevention of crime and violence involving public and private individuals and institutions.
  • Citywide public/private partnership summit on the prevention of crime and violence will be done quarterly in Cleveland with the involvement of business, nonprofit and public sector stakeholders. The summit will develop a plan of action to improve the negative social conditions that lead to high crime and violence in city neighborhoods. The Mayor’s Office of Violence Prevention will oversee the development of the summit and staff it.

Housing

“Housing remains a major concern for citizens living in Cleveland. Our homeowners and renters often seek help to keep their homes in good condition. City Hall has not done enough to help homeowners do repairs and upgrades to their houses and apartment buildings. We must be a partner with homeowners to keep their houses strong and safe. How we respond to these needs will impact the quality of life of our residents. Also, there are thousands of homes that continue to be a threat to the health of our children. The danger of lead paint within many of our homes will need to be identified and made “lead safe” with the involvement of local and state health agencies, and other City Hall Departments. We must remove the threat as soon as possible.Vacant Houses are also a problem in many city neighborhoods. It is a problem over the years that has caused our wonderful houses to deteriorate and go unused while many families are in need housing. It is important that we connect the real need for safe and secure housing for citizens, with the community need to rehabilitate vacant houses. This is the challenge we are determined to fight on behalf of the citizens.” — Jeff Johnson

What I will do for Housing in city of Cleveland:

MAKE CITY HOMES SAFE FROM POISONOUS LEAD

  • Invest in programs and procedures to secure houses and apartments from dangerous lead paint exposure and make homes “lead safe”.

ENFORCE CITY CODES

  • Enforce our housing and building codes to maintain strong and safe structures.
  • Identify and prosecute slum landlords. Have zero tolerance against predatory slum    landlords and illegal house flipping.

REHABILITATE OR REMOVE VACANT HOUSING

  • Reduce vacant housing through a multifaceted approach.
  • Provide funding, and develop programs for the rehabilitation of our neighborhood houses and buildings, including establishing partnership with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank and private investors.
  • Invest in the removal of blighted and hazardous houses and commercial structures. It is important that we choose the right approach for our structures and demolish structures that cannot be rehabilitated.

SUPPORT HISTORIC PRESERVATION OF RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL STRUCTURES

  • Support the preservation of our historic homes, sites and structures. Our city has many historic and beautiful structures that connect us to our past. Preserving our city legacy by restoring our historic houses and other structures is important and smart.

PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO HOMEOWNERS FOR HOME REPAIRS

  • Provide grants to homeowners and landlords for home repair and upkeep, including a new neighborhood paint program.

Health

“I believe the health of the citizens of Cleveland should always be the concern of local government.  A strong partnership between the residents and their local government concerning health related issues is essential to a vibrant city. Public policies and initiatives that encourages good health habits must be done. Additionally, public policies and community action that recognizes health related problems and dangers, and works to remove them, are necessary to achieve a high quality of life for all city residents.” — Jeff JohnsonWhat I will do for Health in the city of Cleveland:

ACKNOWLEDGE HEALTH CRISES IN MANY CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

  • Officially designate the following as city health crises occurring in many of the neighborhoods of Cleveland:
  1. The poisoning of thousands of children from lead paint in residential homes and apartment buildings built before 1978. It is a mistake for anyone to believe that an ethical or moral dilemma exists to the degree that requires us to approach this health crisis with anything but with full determination and commitment. There are solutions for any problem, real or perceived, that come about during efforts to make every home lead safe. Resources and leadership, committed to removing this crisis as soon as possible, is what is required.
  1.  The deaths of infants within their first year of life. Infant mortality in the city of Cleveland continues to be higher than in Ohio and across the nation. The leading causes of infant deaths are prematurity and preterm births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects. Despite some efforts to stop it, infant deaths in Cleveland continues at an alarming rate. This crisis is seeing the highest rate of deaths with African American babies born and dying within our neighborhoods. Over 70% of infant deaths in Cleveland are African American.

ESTABLISH WORKING GROUP TO END HEALTH CRISES

  • Convene a public/private working group to focus on the crises of lead paint poisoning and infant mortality in Cleveland neighborhoods. This working group will develop a Cleveland plan for immediate implementation, including community-based processes and resource attainment. We must be out front regionally and statewide to end these health emergencies.                                             

IDENTIFY AND REDUCE HEALTH DISPARITIES IN CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

  • Provide leadership and resources to remove health disparities among citizens living in Cleveland.

END FOOD DESERTS

  • Eliminate Food Deserts and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

PROVIDE HEALTHY ACTIVITIES TO YOUTH AND ADULTS

  • Provide programs and resources at city recreation centers, parks and other venues for residents to participate in healthy activities.

REDUCE VIOLENCE IN CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

  • Cleveland Health Department will participate in city anti-crime and violence efforts with other city departments. Public Health model to reduce violence will be followed.

EXPAND SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN NEIGHBORHOODS

  • Develop and implement mental health programs in the neighborhoods of Cleveland. Work with regional organizations to serve citizens in need of these services.
  • Develop initiative to respond to emotional needs of city youth. Recent information raised issue of depression and suicidal thoughts held by many CMSD high school students. In a recent study Cleveland was the only district among large cities with more than one in five students reporting that they had attempted suicide (20.7%). This cannot be ignored.

JOIN EFFORT TO MAINTAIN ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

  • Oppose national and state efforts to reduce overall coverage and access to quality health care for Cleveland citizens.

Quality of Life

“I want our neighborhoods to be safe and enjoyable places to live, work and raise families. I believe it is important to be concerned with the health and well-being of Cleveland residents.To seize every opportunity to lift them up. The more our citizens lead healthier and enjoyable lives the more our communities thrive. I want every citizen to live the healthiest possible life that we can help them live. They deserve more opportunities to succeed and achieve their dreams, and be included in the future progress of Cleveland.”  — Jeff Johnson

What I will do for Quality of Life in city of Cleveland:PROVIDE SUPERIOR CITY SERVICES AND PROGRAMS

  • Provide dependable and accountable services to each citizen.
  • Reduce crime and violence in their neighborhoods.
  • Remove the poison of lead from their homes, and the open and blighted structures from their streets.
  • Provide support to mothers to avoid the loss of an infant during the first year of life.

RESPOND TO NEIGHBORHOOD NEEDS

  • Provide full service grocery stores to remove local food deserts.
  • Work with regional stakeholders to provide mental health services for citizens in need.
  • Reduce the high concentrations of alcohol sales outlets in the neighborhoods. Higher density of alcohol outlets are linked to more drinking and addiction, higher rates of violence and poor health.
  • Work with regional stakeholders to reduce drug overdose deaths.
  • Work with local stakeholders to reduce Homelessness.

SUPPORT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE AND NEIGHBORHOOD MOBILITY

  • Support regional public transportation. I will appoint members to the Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees committed to citizen riders, and their need for greater accessibility and cost affordability.
  • Develop “Complete Streets” policies. City residents need safe, convenient choices of movement through our neighborhoods. The goal is to harmonize safety with the diversity of the forms of transportation from walking, to biking, driving or taking the bus. It requires passable streets and sidewalks. “Complete Streets” policies improve health, expands economic growth, and encourages active living.

SUPPORT ART AS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF NEIGHBORHOOD GROWTH

  • Support Art programs and projects in Cleveland schools, and in the neighborhoods. I understand that the Arts, in its many forms, improves the quality of life for citizens, and has a positive economic impact on the entire city.

SUPPORT HISTORIC PRESERVATION

  • Increase resources and planning efforts for the historic preservation of our unique and historically significant structures and locations. We will take seriously the protection and preservation of our city legacy.