One of the joys of being city councilman is the opportunity to get to know and to talk to residents of the city, and more importantly, to listen to their concerns and perspectives. I like meeting people and love talking about Solon. What I hear, though, is a recurring concern about the direction of the city. There is a frequent underlying malaise that people sense: we are doing well financially, but there is not a sense of forward motion, development, and improvement. One well known official likened it to being afraid of a train that may be coming around the bend that can flatten us and make us just another city.
This angst is also often associated with concern about our inability to keep quality restaurants and the confusing way with which we appear to have lost Liberty Ford. The term that I have often heard is that we don’t have the charm of other nearby communities, and our residents are afraid that we are slowly losing out to places that people like to visit on weekends, unlike Solon.
While there are multiple reasons for these concerns, most often the question centers around the type of leadership the city needs. Solon needs a vision, and a leader that understands the dynamics of developing collaboration between the staff, the business owners, the people who work here and the residents, and getting them all working on that shared vision. The mayor not only must lead, but he must also be actively in the community, visible and encouraging everyone with enthusiasm and joy to join in the effort to better the city and is ultimately someone who the city chooses to follow. He cannot wait for things to happen, he must take the initiative and get things done. He must also be the leading salesman for the city in pursuing new business owners, business expansion, and new concepts for retail and development.
It has been humbling to hear how many residents have urged me to use my background and experience in molding, leading and implementing change with a sense of urgency to help Solon’s light shine brighter. This is why I am running for mayor. I know how to lead, develop collaboration, and to make things happen until completion. It is a labor of love and I see a 21st century Solon which light shines brighter and where we all are working together to develop a place where my children and grandchildren want to live.
Michael Magill Promoted to Captain
Congratulations to Michael Magill, safely returned from Afghanistan and promoted to Captain today.
Councilman Marc Kotura Clarifies the Liberty Ford Issue
This letter was published in the Solon Times on October 19:
To the Editor:
On the campaign stump Councilman Edward Kraus has said repeatedly he was the only member of council to vote to save Liberty Ford. That is quite a stretch from what really happened.
At the city council meeting of July 16, 2006 Planning Director Robert Frankland reported that negotiations between the Liberty Ford and the city had broken off and there would be no need to pass the pending rezoning ordinance for the dealership’s new off-site service garage. Based on that information and recommendation council voted not to send the rezoning proposal to the ballot. Curiously Mr. Kraus still voted yes but made no comment nor lobbied in support of the rezoning or Liberty Ford.
Members of council then learned it was the city that had been too stringent in its dealings with Liberty Ford. At its August 1, 2016 meeting after a lengthy question and discussion period I moved and Councilman Robert Pelunis seconded to reconsider Ordinance 2016-122 (the rezoning proposal). It passed unanimously. Again, the minutes do not reflect any comment by Mr. Kraus on behalf of Liberty Ford. He only asked if Liberty Ford would reconsider if a time extension was given.
Then Councilman Doug Magill and I met separately with Liberty Ford’s Michael Herrick to try to resolve any conflict. In order to get an approved ordinance to the Board of Elections by August 10, 2016 a special meeting had to be quickly called.
Mr. Magill asked Vice-Mayor William Russo to call a special meeting and he refused. I then researched the charter and learned that a majority of council could call for a special meeting. The administration then lobbied members of council not to call a special meeting. Unfortunately we did not get enough consenting members to make that request to the Clerk of Council including Mr. Kraus.
Again, the record needs to be set straight on the Liberty Ford issue. All of this is in the council minutes of July 16 and August 1, 2016 and can be viewed online on the city’s website or at the Clerk’s office.
Councilman Ward 4