A Winning Lakewood, For All
Success for Lakewood comes down to people. A city is truly flourishing if it’s working for all, and right now that isn’t happening. More people move out of Lakewood than move in.
Those of us running for City Council At-large this year agree on some things. At recent forums all of us agreed that opioid addiction is a challenge Lakewood hasn’t met so far. But I can’t agree with the claim that “we’re growing.” Because I see Lakewood as a community of people, above all. And that community isn’t growing.
U.S. Census numbers for Lakewood are in decline. That means it’s true that, as another candidate said, “people are voting with their feet.” But Lakewood is losing that vote. When the next census counts those votes, we could fall below 50,000 people and lose federal funding.
House prices aren’t a substitute for people. If you ask realtors, they’ll explain that demand has gone up for certain types of housing, which we’re lucky to have in Lakewood. More bidders per house means rising prices—which helps some people and squeezes others—but it doesn’t mean that more people are moving into Lakewood.
Our housing stock is important to Lakewood’s future, but our people are essential. We have to do a better job for people.
We can do better. Decline is not our destiny. The fact is, Lakewood’s population losses are some of the fastest in Cuyahoga County, while several cities are managing to grow.
We will do better, when we put representation and inclusion for all back at the center of our government. Buzz is exciting, and Millennials are great. (I hope so, being one!) But we need to measure winning more broadly.
I will do that. I promise to be a true at-large representative for all, and an advocate for those most vulnerable. At the next official census we’ll be counting on everyone in Lakewood. Everyone in Lakewood, no matter their age or color or income level, should count.
Tristan Rader is a Lakewood family man, organizer, homeowner, and community advocate. He holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State and continued his studies at the Harvard Kenedy School of Government - Executive Education program. Tristan has owned businesses and worked in the non-profit sector before turning his skills and attention towards organizing. Recently, he worked for Sen. Bernie Sanders as national level staff for his presidential bid. Tristan co-founded the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus and currently works for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Issue 2 campaign and is Running for Lakewood City Council.