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
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.