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VIDEO City Council Election 2011: Councilman Dennis R. Wilcox

As part of our election coverage, Cleveland Heights Patch will provide profiles of each of the candidates for local offices

Editor's Note: As part of Cleveland Heights Patch's , we will provide profiles of each of the candidates running for City Council and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School Board. These profiles will offer biographical and issue-oriented details about each of the candidates to help you, the voters, make more-informed decisions at the ballot box. We also offer to record a short video of each candidate that will help you learn more about them, and a special Facebook page dedicated to elections coverage. The profiles are completed by candidates and run once a candidate has filed with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Stay tuned for more coverage of the election.

Name: Dennis R. Wilcox

Age: 59

Occupation: Attorney, managing principal of Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli Co., L.P.A.

Education: Case Western Reserve University Law School, 1977, Juris Doctor, Order of Coif; The Ohio State University, 1974, B.A. Political Science, Cum Laude

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Office Sought: Cleveland Heights City Council

Previous Political Office Sought or Held: Current member of Cleveland Heights City Council — three times elected to council. First elected in 1999.

Candidate Statement: As a 37-year resident, parent of two Heights High graduates and 12-year member of Council, I believe I understand the strengths of Cleveland Heights — walkable neighborhoods, pedestrian and bike friendly commercial areas, excellent city services, emphasis on the arts and sustainability, a City which supports its schools and celebrates its diversity. I also believe I understand our challenges and what we need to do to address them, as demonstrated by my record on Council. 

We will continue to balance our budget and maintain our strong financial standing, even in tough economic times and even with recent funding cuts to local government by the State. We will continue to deliver excellent city services including safety forces that are responsive and well trained, with the most recent technologies available, while increasing their communication with our citizens. We will continue to expand our parks and recreation programs so that all citizens have an opportunity to participate and, thanks to Issue 27, to upgrade to those facilities, including the at Park. Excellent services of our municipal services department will continue and, this year, we are repairing 20 more streets than in prior years, thanks to their help. 

However, we also need new approaches to continue to deliver these services under difficult economic times. We need to be more efficient in the delivery of the services. For example, we recently updated our phones and computers at the City to better serve our residents. The costs savings from our new phone system is paying the cost of the entire technology upgrade. Second, we need to be collaborative. That means not just regionalism in the usual sense, but also working with our school district to find an adaptive into an arts and innovation center, saving almost $500,000 annually by joining the and working collaboratively with University Circle in housing, business and transportation initiatives. Finally, we need to emphasize sustainability.  The City has been able to obtain $700,000 in grants to promote sustainability, including more than $200,000 to retro-fit lighting at the Community Center with high efficiency lighting that saves tens of thousands of dollars annually in our electric bills. 

We also need to continue to address vacancies and foreclosures and neighborhood issues. Over 50 houses have been demolished or renovated and put back on the market through our $1 HUD loan program, $2.5 million of and through working with our County land bank. Not only will we continue our efforts to promote new housing in our city, but we will also address our more troubled housing and neighborhood issues.

We will continue to support our commercial districts, looking for infrastructure funds, working with our special improvement districts to keep them vibrant and providing loans/grants to small businesses through our Federal block grant funds. 

And, to remain strong, we will continue to plan for the future. We recently enacted a new strategic development plan to update our last plan, which helped create $300 million of new development. We have hired an Economic Director to focus on job and business development. And we are implementing a Green Zoning initiative to adopt the first Green Zoning code in the State.

I know with your help we will meet the challenges of today and make our city even greater tomorrow.

Fran Mentch September 10, 2011 at 11:30 AM
You say: "We will continue to expand our parks and recreation programs so that all citizens have an opportunity to participate..." Yet you supported the permanent closing of Denison Pool and have done nothing to preserve Oakwood, the last largest remaining greenspace in the inner ring suburbs. Please explain. Thank you.
michael levin September 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM
The abuse of power brought down Richard Nixon.Illegal wars,acts of war without consenting Congress was removed from the charges against the founder of the EPA,Earth Day,the man who negotiated an end to Vietnam War,proposed National Health Care in his 1974 budget(this proposal did eliminate health insurance companies thus not making it possible to jail offenders as our current "President's" plan does,last President to cut defense spending despite being in the midst of the cold war, and introduced almost all current environmental regulations. How does Mr. Wilcox explain the inappropriate use of emergency legislation for non-emergency legislation time and time again?Why does Mr. Wilcox remain silent regarding my Green plans for Oakwood? Why will Cleveland Heights not take me up on my offers to meet with Cleveland State? Could it be I am not what the "party" tells him? Is it any coincedence the owners of Severence that will be devestated by Oakwood development are not represented by the government the owners pay taxes to? A story on on the owner of Severence is a great story idea--here is a hint--No. 32 and Spartans--can you guess?? Any reaon why outsiders like developers get service but we the taxpayers don't? This is not what we teach at the people's republic of cleveland heights high school.
Susan Miller September 10, 2011 at 03:46 PM
I am interested to have Mr. Wilcox explain his definition of that now ubiquitous word, sustainability. Many codes and ordinances in Cleveland Heights thwart the possibility that sustainable practices can be undertaken by the residents. Given the current economic situation, promoting new housing is patently unsustainable. Mr. Wilcox seems to be saying that he will emphasize sustainability while undermining it. We have an oversupply of housing, but our current council, mayor and manager have determined that we need more even when demand is shrinking? What sort of economic plan is this? The most sustainable building is the one that already exists. We are currently blessed and strapped with an overabundance of reparable and useable structures. If anything, we may need to reduce the number of structures and invest in raw land rather than continue to promote "development" and "growth" which, while they may have been the tenets of boom times, do not fit our current situation. Curious, agile, creative and welcoming to open ongoing dialogue are the qualities needed in elected officials in my opinion. So far, Cleveland Heights City Council is not achieving high marks in this regard. How will Mr. Wilcox reconcile his emphasis on sustainability with his other statements that will undermine it? Economy means stewardship of the home, management of a household or family. How does Mr. Wilcox propose to include the entire family in stewarding our resources, people, land and capital?
Peggyvan September 10, 2011 at 07:09 PM
I am concerned by the continuing degradation of the Noble/Monticello business district. I am continually trying to draw attention to this problem, but I am getting no response. As the retail district goes down, so the neighborhood goes down. Better to pay attention now, than wait for the matter to get worse. pvb
Fran Mentch October 01, 2011 at 07:19 PM
I don't understand why Dennis is not responding to these comments. Patch, can you please clarify this for us? Thanks.

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