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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Brooklyn City Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Term: 4 yearsSalary: $8,000 council; $9,500 council presidentFour incumbents are among the eight candidates running for the four open seats on City Council. The incumbents are Mary L Balbier, Kathleen M. Pucci, Kevin Tanski, and Debbie Tomusko. The other four candidates are Andy Celcherts, Susan Grodek, Steven Herbik, and Meg Ryan Shockey.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Mary L. Balbier

  • Andy Celcherts

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    Susan Grodek First Grade Teacher

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    Steven Herbik Community Volunteer

  • Kathleen M. Pucci

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    Meg Ryan Shockey Executive Assistant

  • Kevin Tanski

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    Debbie Tomusko Engineer, Manager, Executive

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Biographical Information

Why are you running (or running again) for mayor or a seat on City Council?

What do you hope to accomplish while you're mayor or on City Council--for your ward or for your whole city?

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing your community? And, if applicable, your ward?

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Age 52
Education Bachelors CSU, Elementary Education Masters Walden, Elementary Reading Masters Concordia, Teacher Leadership
Current occupation First Grade Teacher, Brooklyn City Schools
Qualifications for office Advocacy Work: Brooklyn Member of the Brooklyn Charter Review Commission (2017 and 2011) Member of the Brooklyn Recreation Board (1998-2000) Member of the Memorial Park Renovation Committee (1996-1998) PTA Brooklyn Preschool PTA President (1995-1997) Brooklyn High School PTSA President (2004-2006) Ohio PTA Board of Managers (1997-2004) Ohio PTA Common Core State Standards Committee (2010-2016)
Campaign Phone (216) 398-8170
Email address Sue@SueGrodek.com
My motivation comes primarily from my various community experiences. Through the years, I’ve volunteered as time and interests allowed. Now I feel that I’m in a position to devote more of my time and use my experience to serve my city and fellow residents. I have a strong desire to learn and am positive that I can be an asset to the council.
My first priority is to increase the collaboration between school and city to better serve Brooklyn’s families. Our city and schools work together on many recreational projects. I think that can replicated in other areas too.

My second priority is to continue our community’s outreach to businesses in Brooklyn. Having a base of strong businesses that pay sustainable wages will help to build a solid, middle class for Northeast Ohio.

My third priority is to increase home ownership in Brooklyn. I feel that our aging housing stock is a deterrent to young professionals that would enjoy living in a unique community that retains many small town characteristics in close proximity to Cleveland. We need to look at ways our land-locked community can update the type of owner-based homes available.
As with many communities in our area, the biggest challenge is to continue to serve residents and provide services while maintaining a positive budget. Balancing new business, established business, and utilizing land responsibly needs to be a constant focus of the city council in Brooklyn.
Age 55
Education B.A. Ohio State University Political Science
Current occupation Semi Retired Community Volunteer and Political Consultant
Qualifications for office retired from almost 30 years in the Cleveland Financial Industry including 3 fortune 100 companies and active Brooklyn Volunteer with 4 years as a Community Emergency Volunteer and Financial Volunteer Consultant to residents who are facing the loss of a loved one.
Campaign Phone (216) 849-9397
Email address stevenherbik@yahoo.com
I am running for Brooklyn City Council at Large because I have lost faith in the integrity and honesty of our current administration. On the 5/2/17, ballot there was zoning change called "Issue 3". Issue 3 was sold to residents as a simple zoning change, but in fact it would have allowed the destruction and development of our Veterans Memorial Park.

The Mayor and Economic Development Officer held several city presentations pitching this simple zoning change or overlay, as the only way to "save" our city due to the loss of our largest employer and their tax dollars. They repeatedly stated we will lose our 2nd largest employer unless we tear out the park and build them a brand new class A building. That company just signed a new 5 year lease in their current location. The entire time they we pitching this zoning change, they were fully aware that Medical Mutual would be relocating to Brooklyn but withheld that critical information from residents, to continue to build their fear campaign.

Additionally, these presentations where filled with multiple deceptions, fabrications and outright lies in an attempt to pull the wool over residents eyes. Including, but not limited to, not informing residents that they would lose their right to vote on future city development projects and instead of increasing the size of the park, the actual ordinance allowed for the destruction/development of over 92.5% of our park and even more under certain conditions.
When elected I will do everything in my power to inform residents on every detail that could positively or negatively impact their lives on any and all items placed before them for a vote. I will never allow a deceptive ordinance to be added to the ballot unless our residents have full disclosure.

I will do my best establish trust between the administration and our residents by promising truth and transparency and reminding my fellow council members we work for the people who elected us and not for the Mayor. I will hold monthly open forum meetings for residents to attend and voice their opinions and concerns privately and then diligently work to resolve their issues.

I also want to permanently protect our park and green spaces.

I will work to establish a jobs training program with the school board and hopefully the chamber of commerce to teach Brooklyn High School students and recent graduates, resume building, interview and work ethic skills.

We need to establish an actual budget and for the last two years we have been deficit spending, depleting our cash reserves. The city lacks critical negotiating skills and has a tendency to give away the farm in the form of tax incentives. For example we recently gave large incentives to a firm currently building a nursing home facility. However, with one phone call I was able to locate 3 nursing facilities recently built in Cuyahoga County who received zero tax incentives, maximizing those cities tax revenue.

Our biggest challenges are: A current administration, more interested in their personal agendas than the will of the voter. For example Issue three was defeated in a landslide on 5/2/17. With over 64% of voters opposing the destruction of our park, yet the Mayor and Council President have since stated, that they will continue their efforts either "piecemeal" or by moving the park.

We currently have two council members, who in their combined 6 years currently on council have only voted no ONE TIME on any ordinance placed before them. Hundreds and hundreds or yes votes between them and just one no vote! This yes man and yes woman mentality must stop for the betterment of all. We deserve better! We deserve council people who have strong negotiating skills, the ability to compromise and always stand up for what is best for Brooklyn Citizens.

We have very limited space for new business construction and yet we continue to approve gas, stations, fitness centers and possibly a new hotel that eat up extremely valuable land that generates very little income for the city.

Our current Economic Director has publicly stated that no one knows where Brooklyn is located. This must change, as Brooklyn is centrally located in the County and has easy access to multiple freeways. We have outstanding Police Fire and EMS services and a beautiful Veterans Memorial Park. We also have very affordable home ownership opportunities and yet we do a very poor job of marketing our City.
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Age 28
Education Masters of Urban Planning, Development, & Design (CSU) Bachelors of Arts in Communications (BGSU)
Current occupation Executive Assistant to President, Cleveland Teachers Union
Qualifications for office I have a masters in urban planning, development & design from Cleveland State. While working on my degree, I focused on electives around community and neighborhood planning. I plan to bring this education with me on council to help the city I live in and care about. In addition to my formal education, I continue to attend workshops and conferences related to urban planning every year. I am also an appointed member of the Brooklyn Planning Commission.
Campaign Phone (440) 391-4832
Email address MegRyanShockey11@gmail.com
Twitter @MegRyan24
I am running to make a change in my community under the motto of "be the change you want to see." After being appointed to the planning commission earlier this year, I started to get more involved and attend council (and public) meetings. I first noticed that our council was very divisive and not always working together (if you watch the meetings, you'll see the tension). I knew we lost our biggest employer and were facing a projected deficit, and thought that now more than ever, we needed leadership that worked together to find solutions. During these same meetings, I also heard many members on council and residents speak up about "Millennials" and how to attract the young adults to our city. Being a millennial, I got to thinking, what better way to help attract young adults (who will overwhelmingly be in the housing market over the next several years), than to have them represented on council. Millennials (with the exception of the GI Generation, including 91+ years young) are the only generation not represented on council. I believe that I can be a voice for my generation and help provide innovative ideas to help Brooklyn create a strong future.
1. Increased resident involvement. As residents have moved out and new residents have moved in, it's often difficult to keep the tight knit community engaged. The Fall Fest & Picnic in the Park are two ways the city has started to build this community engagement. I think that creating block clubs or neighborhood groups is another way to do it on a smaller-scale. If the city leaders and neighbors are more engaged with each other, residents will be more likely to get involved in the city. City leaders are elected to work on behalf of the whole community - and often times, the same few voices are the only ones being heard. We have to do better to go out in different neighborhoods and connect with all residents. 2. Collaboration! I have seen a lack of collaboration among many council members, which was part of the underlying motivation that made me want to run. By everyone (mayor, all city council, residents & businesses) working together, we can build a strong future. This does not mean everyone will agree all of the time; however, it means finding common ground and working together to move the city forward.
The biggest challenge facing Brooklyn is our budget. This year, council passed a projected $1.5 million deficit. In addition to recently losing our largest employer, we also have seen cuts from the state level to local governments over the past several years. Brooklyn needs a City Council that will work together to help bring in revenue so that we can keep - and even expand - on our already stellar services. Attracting businesses (primarily office, not retail), will be the best way to increasing the city's revenue.

We also still have a struggle with our vacant housing stock in Brooklyn. Cuyahoga County was one of the hardest hit counties in the entire country when it comes to the foreclosure crisis. Within a year of moving to Brooklyn, my husband and I saw numerous homes on our street foreclose. We were lucky in that two of the three homes were quickly occupied by families that put some time and money into them and reside in them to this day. Vacant and abandoned properties is a worry for many residents, as it can decrease neighboring property values. I had a strong interest in studying and working with housing while I was completing my Urban Planning degree. As a member of council, I would prioritize helping create a solution that turns vacant homes into new neighbors for our community.
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Age 60
Education BS Mechanical Engineering, Kettering U MBA, Harvard Business School
Current occupation semi-retired, management consultant
Qualifications for office extensive background in business including planning, finance, operations plus love of Brooklyn, Ohio
Campaign Phone (216) 661-6714
Email address digit75@sbcglobal.net
I love my hometown of Brooklyn and believe in its potential. I have lived all over the world with my career and chose to return to Brooklyn, and to my childhood home build by my dad. Over the past few years I have become increasingly concerned with the direction and the leadership of the city, so I chose to become involved. I am currently a councilwoman, and it has given me a front row seat to how politicized and caustic our city leadership has become. Despite this, I have continued to work hard for the citizens, getting legislation passed, budgets completed and asking probing and revealing questions to get to the bottom of things. I helped expose Issue 3 for its planned gutting of Memorial Park with roads, apartments and office buildings, and demanded several public sessions so that the citizens could hear and judge for themselves what was being planned. I insisted that city department heads report on their actions at council meetings, and have held them accountable for their work. I have also changed council rules, so meetings are more informative to the residents. I would like the opportunity to continue that very important work.
I want to continue my work to provide true transparency to the residents: clear information, opportunities for public sessions, and city managers reporting to the citizens on their work. These people are paid well and work for us….we must hold them accountable. I also want to preserve and expand the green space and trees in Brooklyn….not only keeping Memorial Park but hopefully adding a dog park. I would like to see the police continue to focus on community policing, so that they know activities in the neighborhoods and residents can feel free to approach them with issues and concerns. I want to continue to clean up the homes and yards that are an eyesore and detract from the pride that so many of our residents have in their homes. We need to fill the empty houses with young couples looking for that first home. We need to fill empty retail and office space, and open our minds to startups and entrepreneurs looking for that first space. Intelligent economic development is needed that enhances Brooklyn, not that tears down our parks and green space. Brooklyn is a great place to live, a great location for business, and we need to embrace and build on that…..not try to make us into Westlake or something that we are not.

A challenge is the “for me or against me” attitude displayed by our mayor. Probing questions are seen as threats, debate is viewed as disagreement, and a “go along to get along” mindset has pervaded many of our council people. As I have said many times before, we live in a representative republic, not a monarchy or dictatorship. Debate is healthy, probing questions are necessary, and honesty to the residents should be a given. Additionally, Brooklyn is competing against all NEO suburbs, many of whom are wealthier and offering significant tax incentives to attract new businesses. Brooklyn, however, is a great location, has good roads and access, good police and fire, and many other things that are attractive to potential businesses. We do, however, need to think out of the box and look to attract start ups and entrepreneurial companies in their early growth stages who have the potential to grow into high revenue members of the community.

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