A Campaign Letter From Brian Taubman
Hello there. Thank you for visiting. If you’re here then you likely share my passion for Lakewood. It is this passion that led me to run for judge in 2015 and now Lakewood City Council At-Large in 2017. Simply put: It’s time for Lakewood to care about all of its citizens.
This November, I’m honored to be on the ballot to be Lakewood City Council At-Large. This role is not just a title to me, it’s how I want to give my life back to the city I love. Over the last few years, I’ve realized Lakewood, the city where I chose to reside and build a life, needed an upgrade, and needed to start giving back to the citizens and businesses that make this city great. I am excited to help build on the strong roots our community already has. Lakewood is a great community and I’m proud to call it home, but I know it can be even better. When I am in office, we will make it better together.
When I get elected to City Council, it won’t be a stepping stone — it will be a calling. Two years ago, I ran for judge on the premise of helping people, businesses, animals, and the entire city of Lakewood and my passion to do just that has only grown. I will be the voice of the disheartened, disenfranchised, and forgotten — seniors, veterans, and youth alike. Our community must get better if we’re going to survive — and thrive — in the tough times ahead. When I am elected, I will improve Lakewood for citizens, visitors, and businesses alike.
Here are the issues I will tackle from Day 1:
When I was moving to Lakewood almost 10 years ago, I was told to move west of Warren. After living in Lakewood and speaking to many concerned citizens, I believe that the preconceived notion that areas of Lakewood, such as Birdtown and West 117th, are unsafe and undesirable is hurting Lakewood’s reputation and therefore negatively affecting our small business owners, investors, and first-time home buyers. I will put an emphasis on crime and work tirelessly to ensure that Cleveland crime doesn’t cross over into our community. I will make sure these hot spots are addressed and I will continue to reshape those areas and any other troubled spots with help of our great police force, the judicial system, and my fellow citizens.
The Opioid Epidemic
When you look at lists of Cleveland’s top restaurants, local businesses, and entertainment options, Lakewood is at the top of many of those lists. Unfortunately, we’re at the top of another list, as our fair city has been No. 1 in heroin overdoses in Cuyahoga County for four years in a row. This disease is running rampant through our communities and affecting everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, or social standing. However, the city has failed to step up and address this horrible epidemic. What can be changed? For starters, Lakewood should work with area medical professionals and social workers to open a clinic that would help battle addiction and address mental health issues. By helping our troubled citizens, we are not only saving lives but also bettering our community and making it an even better place to live. In addition, the city should implement a youth mentoring program to help mold the future of Lakewood. By helping our kids stay focused, driven, and motivated, we will help our city continue to grow and thrive.
We cannot just react after an individual is at their worst, or tries to kill themselves, or is self-treating for a mental health disease. If we are only counseling people at a hospital or in their homes after the fact, then we are failing our community. Those in need should have immediate access to an addiction counselor or social worker. We should ensure treatment on demand while working towards a 24/7 treatment center for addiction. Lakewood prides itself on being a community filled with good neighbors, let’s start proving that by setting up a community advisory committee and developing a standardized good neighbor agreement.
Finally, we need to allow the sale and cultivation of medical marijuana in Lakewood to give people a better alternative to opioids — and do it in a way that’s not a political cash grab.
BSL — Breed Specific Legislation
Breed specific legislation (BSL) is a part of Lakewood’s laws, and I think it’s wrong. After talking to many people throughout Cuyahoga County, it has come to my attention that many families can’t move to Lakewood because their dog is not allowed. I understand that we are a close community and that kids, seniors, and other family pets are in close contact with each other. And as a dog owner, I understand and appreciate the risks associated with controlling and curbing your dog. Still, I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners.
It breaks my heart seeing individuals and families choose another city to live in simply because their family pet is not welcome in Lakewood. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals and I agree.
There are many factors beyond dog breed that affect a dog’s tendency toward aggression, such as, heredity, sex, early experience, reproductive status, socialization, and training.
We need to have a breed-neutral dog ordinance like the one Cleveland enacted a few years ago. When I’m elected, we will have a program in place that holds all dogs and owners accountable, regardless of the breed of the dog. Lakewood will become the truly welcoming and open city our citizens want it to be.
We will and must hold our publicly-elected officials responsible — they work for us and should never forget that. When elected, I will be transparent and always hear and voice the concerns of the citizens. If an issue comes up, I will make sure people are aware of it, understand it and together we will come to a decision that is in the best interests of Lakewood and its citizens.
Current communication between council and constituents is close to non-existent. This absolutely must change. The community should be involved in every decision; no more closed-door meetings. Conflicts of interest must be disclosed. We need to set up an email distribution list informing our 50,000 plus citizens of events and council meetings. If something like this already existed, maybe our largest employer would still be in Lakewood.
I plan to hold town halls across our city throughout the year, informing the public about issues and upcoming legislation. I will also hold virtual town halls on Twitter and Facebook. I will be open and honest when elected into office.
We face troubling times ahead, and if my time on the Citizens Committee Advisory Board has taught me anything it’s that this city is far too reliant on money from outside sources, which can easily change based on who holds our highest elected position. Currently, we are diligent about fixing our roads, sidewalks and sewer systems but we can’t sway from this. Like most of America, our infrastructure is old and will always need constant upgrades. We need to be prepared for anything and not be reliant on outside funds.
In addition, I will pursue a sidewalk snow removal system. Lakewood is one of the most walkable cities in Ohio — it’s part of what makes our community so great. But when winter hits, we put the burden of snow removal on our residents. This burden needs to shift, as many residents are unable to take on the physical demands shoveling requires. Lakewood is a large transient city, a city full of absentee landlords and seniors. We need to come up with alternatives on how to shift this burden. We need to make sure our sidewalks get plowed in a timely matter so we can walk the streets and enjoy our city all year long without undue burden on our citizens.
Veterans and Seniors
The Division of Aging runs a great program and since the 1970s has done great work taking care of our aging population. We need to make sure programs like this and others thrive and flourish in our city. I will make sure that happens, while also exploring Veteran outreach programs that will ensure our local heroes are taken care of and not left behind.
We also need to pursue a senior center that will double as a youth center and daycare facility and hold joint activities for all ages. Our parks and pools need improvements as well. At the same time, we need to implement a youth mentoring program to help mold the future of Lakewood. By helping our kids stay focused, driven, and motivated, we will help our city continue to grow and thrive.
The Economy and Housing Market
Lakewood is known for its gorgeous houses and walkability, but the young families and newlyweds that used to be the core of our city are having a hard time finding affordable housing and/or units that are up to code. It’s great that houses are moving quickly (and at or above the asking price), but we need to address the needs of those are missing out on the opportunity of being part of our great community. We need to start thinking about affordable housing for young people. I will look into a partnership that will build affordable housing, and I will hold absentee landlords responsible. Lakewood starts and ends with its housing market and we need to do everything in our power to maintain and expand that market in a reasonable and thorough way.
We must address our aging infrastructure and do more to attract businesses to our city. Forty-five percent of our income taxes come from people who work in Lakewood — this number needs to be higher. Eighty-five percent of our citizens work outside the city — this number needs to be lower.
We need to pursue new businesses opportunities, instead of taking vacant land and building townhomes. We need modern office space and mixed-use development, especially with the lack of office space in downtown Cleveland. We need to pursue another large employer to move to our city to be the anchor our community so desperately needs.
I believe in keeping Lakewood green by continuing and expanding the work our city has already started. We need to make sure that all future building projects are green projects. And, of course, we need to protect our parks and natural resources. Lake Erie is one of the greatest resources we have and we need to do all we can to keep it clean and safe. When I say I will keep Lakewood green and make it even greener, it’s not just a catchphrase or a campaign slogan, it’s a promise. When I’m elected, I’ll implement a three-step environmental plan that will make our city more sustainable and reliant on renewable energy.
In fact, my campaign for Lakewood City Council At-Large will be completely paperless, and we will do everything we can to minimize our carbon footprint, before, during, and after I am in office. Together we can make Lakewood and the world a better place for future generations.
Let’s Work Together To Improve Our City
I appreciate the opportunity to earn your vote, and I look forward to seeing you around Lakewood! Want to talk about the issues?I welcome you to contact me at any time. Shoot me an email here, call or text me at 216-346-1787, or find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.