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University Heights City Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Term: 4 yearsSalary: $9,100Incumbents Phillip Ertel, Susan D. Pardee and Mark Wiseman are being challenged by Annelise Kostvo and Hannah Lebovits. The University Heights City Council is made up of seven residents who are elected at large to establish the laws and oversee the budget of the city. Each council member chairs a committee that is aligned with a government function.
  • Phillip Ertel Shaker Heights Municipal Court

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    Annelise Kostyo Keller Williams Greater Cleveland - Realtor

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    Hannah Lebovits PhD student, Urban Public Policy; Researcher, Activist

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    Susan D. Pardee Supervisor of Federal Programs and Grants

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    Mark Wiseman Attorney

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Biographical Information

Why do you want to serve (or continue to serve) on University Heights City Council? What skills and qualities do you bring to the table?

What do you see as the top two or three issues/opportunities facing University Heights? How, as a member of city council, would you work on these issues?

How will you address community concerns regarding safety, road and sidewalk quality, and uncared-for properties?

With the Ohio budget in flux, and worries that the federal budget will be cut, how do you think council should address financial issues impacting city services and the quality of life for city residents?

What are your views on the public and nonpublic schools in University Heights? What can council do to enhance the city's relationship to the schools?

Age 61
Education Ohio University, BS Communication, With Honors
Current occupation Shaker Heights Municipal Court
Qualifications for office Eleven years as Councilman. Born and raised in UH
Campaign Phone (216) 321-1085
Email address
I want to continue serving on council to start my 12th year because I was born and raised in UH, treasure our neighborhoods and want to be sure they're preserved; including continuing strong safety forces, increased property values, JCU relations and more.

Skills and qualities I bring to the table are built on a history of activism resulting in solid accomplishments. That separates me from my challengers: As a young parent I built a new Purvis pool and park as co-chair of a grassroots citizens group. While Councilman, the second UH park was built. 10 year Chairman of the UH Memorial Day parade. UH Citizen of the Year. As Councilman began the first paramedic service in UH. As Councilman City budget was balanced 11 consecutive years.
It is safety and twofold. First, because the UH fire union is in negotiations with the city for new pay and benefits there has been much negative dialog and propaganda put forth by the union and some Council members. This is in disregard of Ohio union negotiation laws. Secondly, this activity raises false inflammatory fears at the expense of residents. I am working on this issue by negotiating in good faith according to Ohio law and trying to allay the fears of our citizens.
I will address community concerns regarding criminal safety by increasing the number of police officers. Fire safety was addressed above. Road and sidewalk quality by directing more funds to this budget line item. Uncared-for properties by stricter enforcement of the housing code.
UH has a well-founded reputation for high quality city services. At the same time the city has balanced its budget for the 11 years I have been on Council. I think we do a good job given the circumstances. And with the proper Councilpersons elected, I expect we will continue.
The public schools in UH are governed and managed by separately elected officials. There are several qualified candidates running for school board this fall and that bodes well for change. UH Council and school board do collaborate on some issues and it is thru ongoing and fluid communication that successes have been accomplished. Private schools are more of a closed book per say. Again, enhancing the relationships with these institutions requires ongoing dialog. I am a graduate of both public and private systems in UH and have sat down to resolve issues with both on many occasions.
Age 25
Education John Carroll University Masters of Arts - Nonprofit Business Administration and Management John Carroll University Bachelors of Arts - College of Arts and Science, History
Current occupation Keller Williams Greater Cleveland - Realtor
Qualifications for office Resident and registered voter of University Heights
Campaign Phone (216) 375-3642
Email address
I am seeking to serve my neighbors and the residents of University Heights. I want work with the other City Council members to make the city of beautiful homes run efficiently, listen to the voices of my fellow neighbors, and continue to sustain the community for years to come.

I bring to the table my ability to listen and communicate workable solutions for University Heights. I am able to work as part of a team with the other members of City Council and city department heads, to represent and make decisions that are in the best interest of the residents living in University Heights and the city as a whole.
The top three opportunities facing University Heights include the following: 1. Superior City Services- I would work toward this issue by supporting Police and Fire for continued excellent service, training, and programs for residents. I would also work towards re-focusing city maintenance of roads, public spaces, and public buildings to make University Heights viable in the region. 2. Neighborhood Integrity- I would work on this issue by collaborating with city directors to develop solutions for abandoned/vacant homes, absentee landlords, and to continue the rise of property values. I would also work with council, city officers, and residents to develop meaningful and accessible community programming for residents of all ages. 3. Economic Engagement- I would seek to create a mutual working relationship with the city’s largest employers and retailers to build a working tax base for city programs and projects.
I would seek to address community concers by collaborating with the other city council members and city directors to come up with a solution that is in the best interest of the city. Neigborhood integrity is very important in sustaining the community and keeping the quality of the city as advanced as possible. I will keep an ear open to my neightbors of University Heights to hear their concerns and seek cost effective solutions to their problems.
University Heights is currently financially sustainable, and I am willing to work with other City Council members and residents to come up with creative solutions to budgetary solutions when and if they arise.
Education is important, relevant, and valued regardless if it is public or private. The quality of education should be held to high standards as a community. As a member of City Council I would like to create an open dialogue with the school board to represent the tax payers of University Heights who represent a minority in the current public school system. Religious private schools should be held in this open dialogue as an important and unique aspect of University Heights that should be valued and understood within the community. As a City Council keeping this open dialogue between the public and private schools would create a discussion that as a result could ease tax burdens when an opportunity presents itself.
Age 25
Education PhD, Urban Public Policy, 2020; MPA, Organizational and Public Management; BA, Political Science
Current occupation PhD student, Urban Public Policy; Researcher; Grassroots Activist
Qualifications for office Experience in local government, extensive public administration education.
Campaign Phone (216) 352-1189
Email address
Twitter @Hannah4uh
Cities are my passion. I’ve worked in local government, earned an MPA degree and am currently a PhD student studying local government structure. I believe there should be a value to your place of residence, beyond your personal assets. A well-governed city is focused on more than private value and elected officials can create public value- if they are trained to do so. My work and experience has been focused on collaborative governance; understanding the various roles and expectations within a system and ensuring that they work together to resolve issues. This perspective would be valuable to Council and our residents. I am also a part of a cohort not currently represented in council: young families, the fastest growing demographic in our city. We need a council that reflects this growth and is aware of the concerns of young people such as social services, job networks and housing resources- as many people are first time home owners still in the beginning stages of their careers.
University Heights needs to be more than a great place to live- it should be a great place to thrive. I believe that we need a paradigm shift in our local government and a stronger focus in three areas: 1) Accessibility- Current engagement opportunities do not stem from the community. Council members should host regular forums, consistently send out e-newsletters and use social media tools to engage with, not just inform, citizens. 2) Participation (outward/inward)- Our city needs to be more active in county/state activities, especially those that concern housing, health and human services- a growing need in our community. We also need to embrace our status as a university town and invite JCU to participate in city discussions. 3) Opportunity- The city should provide resources for entrepreneurs, graduating students and seniors. We must also bring urban planners, developers and businesses together to make the commercial district a destination for work, play and recreational activities.
We must concentrate our efforts on the underlying cause of these issues: a lack of coordinated investments in neighborhood/community development. Most of the criminal activity in UH occurs in the under-developed commercial areas and infrastructure/housing issues are resolved in a disjointed, piece-meal method. Instead, elected officials should devote more resources to community development activities like foreclosure/rental housing services and a locally-informed plan for University Square. Additionally, council must invest in the city’s natural resources with more sustainable practices- such as community gardens and accessible public transportation. These changes build community and spur investments in property and the city. Lastly, Council should support the UHPD initiative to incorporate a community policing program into the force as it will increase citizen engagement/communication between the city and its residents.
The loss of the Estate Tax, state cuts to the local government fund and a slash in federal HUD and HHS dollars directly impact local government finances. If we want to prosper as a city, we need to rethink our spending and prioritize our dollars. A majority of our revenue comes from income taxation which fluctuates, depending on the salaries of residents. We have an estimated budget but with retirement on the rise, degrading infrastructure and the loss of Heights High, our dollars are stretched. We need to diversify our funding through grants, economic growth and investments. However, business incentives must be foresighted- the city is still paying for the TIF agreement for the University Square parking lot and 15 years later, the area is significantly under-developed. Council must also find innovative ways to create more public value with fewer dollars- such as providing more resource referral services and using block grants for senior support and public health initiatives.
No child is more deserving of a quality educational experience than another and a healthy and productive educational environment should be universally accessible. No one can predict which school system will be best for their needs so it is important that we have high-performing public and non-public options. Council does not have the authority to direct or divert school funds. The role of a city councilperson is to serve both institutions through equitable legislation and citizen engagement. There are a few ways council can do this: 1) Invest in all children- Create a Youth Council to cultivate citizenship from a young age and spark conversation between the city and its youth; build bus shelters for children in several hot-spot locations utilized by both private and public buses. 2) Intergovernmental cooperation- Attend BOE meeting and events, advocate for greater UH representation in the school board and see what other similar cities have done to provide complimentary resources.
Age 60
Education MBA, Weatherhead School of Management, CWRU
Current occupation Supervisor of Federal Programs and Grants, Cleveland Hts.-University Hts. City School District
Qualifications for office Eight years (two terms) on University Heights City Council, the last four as Vice Mayor. Experience in planning and project development; finding funding; managing and reporting on grants, monitoring for compliance; leading groups in successful community-building projects, serving on national and local Boards.
Campaign Phone (216) 316-0483
Email address
I am as engaged and excited about my work on Council as I was the day I was first sworn in. I am committed to continuing the work to ensure the dynamic future of University Heights. My vision for University Heights is of a vital and vibrant city with informed and invested residents, attractive housing, an updated infrastructure , active and full retail centers, and strong relationships among key stakeholders. There is work to be done to achieve this vision. As an experienced member of Council, I want to focus on using surplus funds in innovative ways to enhance services, encourage more home ownership and promote economic development. I have the skills and experience to continue to be an asset to our community. As Vice Mayor, I have worked to build consensus among Council members. I have a history of strong service as an elected official for University Heights: representing residents, leading on important issues, and providing a balance to the administration.
For the long term health of University Heights, two issues stand out: maintaining financial stability and improving our aging infrastructure. With ongoing reductions in federal, state and other funding, the ability for the city to continue to provide and improve upon quality services is threatened. We must continue to monitor expenditures carefully and ensure that the City is operating using best practices. Financial stability can also be improved by increasing revenue –occupying every retail space and every home. We must develop economic development tools to encourage business growth and home ownership. As a small city, it is a challenge to meet all infrastructure needs, such as repairing all crumbling streets and water main breaks. We lack the resources, budget and capacity of large urbans but have the same needs. We must continue to focus on regional solutions to these local challenges such as collaborating with neighboring cities and urging the County to provide more support.
SAFETY: Safety is a critical issue – every member of the community must feel safe. I believe our safety personnel – police and fire – are remarkable and responsive. However, communication must be improved so that when there are “hot spots” in the community, residents are directly and quickly informed and involved. I am a proponent of block watches. University Heights has strong neighborhoods with spirited block parties that can lead the way to the development and support of online neighborhood block watches that can be supported by Nextdoor or a City blog. ROADS: We need to continue to push for a regional shared solution to roads for greater economies of scale as we work to maintain and improve our infrastructure. NUISANCE PROPERTIES: Nuisance properties are a blight for the immediate neighbors, the neighborhood and our entire community. I will urge the review of our current code to investigate where we can strengthen our ability to handle these situations.
Financial stability is challenged in Ohio by continuing cuts to the Local Government Fund, ending the collection of Estate taxes, and the ongoing attempt to centralize regional tax collection at the state level. Cities are making up the difference in state and federal shortfalls with local resources. Federal funds such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) are on the chopping block and are increasingly competitive. We must focus on both sides of the balance sheet: monitoring costs and increasing revenue. We must remain vigilant in examining costs while maintaining efficiency and examining opportunities for collaboration. Council’s Finance Committee will investigate linking department budgets to performance, designing financial statements that can be used to monitor departments’ performances. Finally, we must develop strong economic development tools with the surplus to attract more businesses and home owners that will yield dividends for the future stability of the city.
I am a staunch supporter of education: our children are our future. The city must work to develop strong relationships and partnerships with our local public and nonpublic schools. Local schools are critical to the fabric of the community and help attract, retain and build bonds with young families, often offering more than education. UH elected officials and school officials must build and strengthen their relationships. One way is by reestablishing Joint Board meetings – regular meetings of the Cities of Cleveland Hts., University Hts. and the School and Library Boards. To further build and strengthen relationships, council should reach out to local teachers to encourage the development of a youth committee of public and nonpublic students. The youth committee students will get to know one another, and learn about government and local issues. Students can be encouraged to develop and present ideas at council meetings that are designed to enhance the quality of life in the city.
Age 52
Education JD Cleveland Marshall College of Law BSBA Ohio State Univ
Current occupation Staff Attorney Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division
Qualifications for office Current Councilman (5 years) 25 year attorney Experience designing/running Government programs
Campaign Phone (216) 210-3201
Email address
It is an honor to serve as a University Heights Councilman. I have been on council for five years & in 2018 will have been a resident of this city for 30 years. I would like to continue the important job of representing our citizens by helping to make the decisions that shape our lives as residents, listening to their questions about City Hall & helping them navigate their way to a positive solution.

My experience as 25-year attorney and through many positions in local government has given me a deep understanding of the decisions that City Council’s make and how each decision fits into the broader picture of how local governments function. I was the first Director of the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program, worked as a Principal Assistant in the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section & started a Consumer Law Center for a local housing counseling agency. I have a deep understanding of and respect for the collaborative process by which our government functions.
University Square. Its development is vitally important to our city. We need to show the developer that bought the site the importance of keeping it as a retail center, since the payroll taxes that retail spaces generate are a prime driver of our tax revenues. I would strive to make sure that council does everything it can to convince the developer to maintain its retail nature.

Wiley school.The school board’s projected use for that site does not last beyond its use as a swing space for students whose other schools are under construction. I would start dialogue with the school board immediately to position the City as first in line for that property so that it’s future use is for our benefit.

John Carrol expansion.The University currently owns scores of the homes surrounding campus. City Council should work with JCU to understand their intentions and how we can be positioned to benefit from those plans and maintain our position as a City with a separate identity while that occurs.
We should explore the use of the chip-sealing paving method that Cleve. Hts uses, which allows them to resurface more streets for the same amount of money. We should also revisit the use of our “smart salting” protocol, which currently leaves much of the city’s streets unsalted during winter storms. We also need legislation that forces foreclosing banks to take better care of properties that are vacant, while in foreclosure.

The number of college students and those who view our City as a destination is growing. We should increase our police patrols & visibility. Switching police cars back to white cars with more visible lighting would help make our safety forces more visible. We should also engage leadership of the various local colleges to teach their student body about the fact that our neighborhoods are designed primarily for families and to adopt programs that hold students accountable if they fail to maintain the level of conduct that is expected of good citizens.
We should invest the cash that the City has in excess of our needed budgetary cushion so that it can earn maximum interest for us, until it is needed. Council should pass a budget that is tight enough so that any “surplus” that exists is identifiable at the beginning of the year and can be earmarked for long-term uses. We should re-consider every purchase of new major pieces of equipment and explore other options. For example, while next year’s budget is slated to include a new ladder truck, we should spend time examining whether such a purchase is necessary and whether there are other viable options that are less expensive.

As a city, we can also be much more aggressive in the pursuit of grants & other sources of money. There are a plethora of grant programs and opportunities for municipalities (as standalones or as partners with non-profit foundations or agencies) that exist beyond the traditional Northeast Ohio sources. Our goal should be to apply for at least 4 grants every month
Each of our residents deserves to have a school option for their children that is valuable and enhances their ability to prepare for their life’s work. Our City should be searching for ways to collaborate with the CHUH school board, the City leadership of Cleveland Heights and the leadership of the local colleges that dot our landscape. It is within our ability as a City to explore the possibility of shared services opportunities among the various entities that operate within our city limits. (Perhaps there is even a grant opportunity for such a study). Any dialogue with our counterparts should be treated as an opportunity to build a positive relationship.

As important as collaborative behaviors among the City and the various schools is the rhetoric that accompanies each subsequent stage of growth that we share. As city leaders, it is incumbent upon us to reach out to our counterparts and offer assistance. We all live here because we love this City and what it has to offer. logo


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