Presutto Candidate Question Answers
Occupation: Owner - Level Up Employment LLC
1.) Why should we vote for you and not the other candidate? (100 words)
I can be trusted to be responsive to your everyday concerns, support sustainable development to help attract good paying jobs, and to keep Lakewood affordable for everyone by addressing our rising water/sewer costs.
The 15 years I have called Lakewood my home with my children have allowed me to get to know our businesses, our families, our schools, and our community. It is this life experience along with my educational background that makes me the best candidate for Ward 2. I know what Lakewood’s concerns are because I’ve lived it with you, as your neighbor.
2.) Name two things you have learned while walking around talking to residents, first: what are their biggest concerns about their ward, and second, what are their biggest concerns about Lakewood in general? How will you address these concerns as their councilperson? (100 words, or less, for each)
Residential streets get used as cut throughs by drivers in a hurry. I am committed to working with our local police and overall city design to make sure traffic laws are enforced, to utilize speed tables as appropriate, focus on multimodal transportation, and bring back a Lakewood controlled circulator. We need to make sure our streets are safe for children to play in front yards or walk to school, sidewalks clear and wide enough to allow accessibility for all residents (including providing snow removal to those in need), and road traffic studied and timed for maximum efficiency.
The broadest concern about Lakewood is affordability; water bills and housing. When I announced in March, my platform made the water/sewer infrastructure upgrade a centerpiece of our campaign. Water bills are already reaching more than $80 a month for residents. With them forecast to exceed $200 by 2030, this will price homeowners and renters out of Lakewood. We need to reevaluate how we will fund these upgrades without putting it on the backs of residents.
3.) Since the last major election cycle, Lakewood has lost 1500+ skilled jobs and access to health care due to the liquidation of Lakewood Hospital. What was your position on the hospital closing process: Did you vote for the Master Agreement that closed Lakewood Hospital, or would you have if you had been on council? Why or why not? If you had it to do again, would you do anything differently? (150 words or less)
Based on what we know, I would not have supported the Master Agreement had I been on City Council during that vote. I do not think any person should be pleased about losing Lakewood’s largest employer, especially when New York Life (second largest employer) was known to be leaving Lakewood. With little interest shown in MetroHealth as a potential solution, a lot of residents felt that their city government worked deals in closed door meetings, were not upfront, and that residents were not being heard by their representatives. I can be trusted to put the residents’ needs before any other motivation or outside interests. I strongly encourage ethics and campaign finance reform to reduce conflicts of interest and mistrust.
4.) A big complaint from both the elderly and those without cars is the loss of the community circulator. If elected what would you do to make the community more accessible to all? (100 words or less)
I am a big supporter of a Lakewood controlled circulator. We should be able to partner with local businesses, LakewoodAlive, and other organizations to provide a free circulator similar to the green trolley in Public Square where it is “smile and ride free.”
Additionally, we need to make sure our streets, parks, and sidewalks focus on accessibility for all and not just for abled bodies. This also means we need to assist those in need with snow removal so our sidewalks can stay accessible.
5.) What will you do to balance the needs of residents and residential neighborhoods with economic (commercial, business) development? (100 words or less)
We have a lot of development being built now with no tenants. We need to worry about filling those empty spaces with a few more anchor companies that can bring good paying jobs. With a giant loss of payroll taxes over the past 4 years, we need to rebuild that tax base to prevent the burden from falling on residents.
As new residential projects are proposed, we need to work with the nearby residents to keep the authentic Lakewood feel to the design, and avoid radically changing neighborhoods with sudden height transitions and new housing that’s unaffordable for residents.
6.) Over the past 15 years we have encountered 3 “moments” which have severely divided the city of Lakewood, mostly about social economic issues like health care, eminent domain, land use, land giveaways to developers, etc. If elected or re-elected what are you going to do to help mend fences and bring the community together again? (150 words or less)
At the end of the day, everything boils down to trust. When residents do not trust their representative, people are going to oppose change occurring. As your representative, I will be easily accessible, responsive to your concerns, and sustain trust by providing consistent transparency around my decisions. Government ethics is the foundation of this role, and it is why I took the required Ohio Ethics training in May of this year.
7.) The records lawsuit was a moral and legal disaster for our city. What steps will you take to make our public records available and prevent future obstructionism by public officials? Do you support the proposed ethics and campaign finance reform legislation? (100 words or less)
This entire role is based on trust. I have taken Ohio Ethics training required of elected officials, already, to stress the priority I place on ethics. I firmly support Tristan Rader’s proposed ethics and campaign finance reforms, which have been stalled by current council leadership. I also support campaign finance reform for our city. Unlimited campaign donations, as allowed in Lakewood currently, are an obstacle to a trustworthy government.
8.) A majority of Lakewood’s street fairs revolve around wearing seasonal clothes while walking between Arthur and Belle on Detroit, creating a burden to those businesses while not highlighting other areas of the community that deserve attention and a turn at putting on the party. Would you be for moving events around, and/or developing new events? (100 words or less)
Yes, I fully support the need to diversify where and when events are held. Solutions need to be multifaceted and focused on the community’s needs. This allows us to promote small businesses all over our city and make events accessible for more residents. A circulator would help promote these events wherever they occurred too.
9.) Was the LO fair with this process? (50 words or less)
Yes, there are a lot of candidates. This was a good sampling to allow residents to do further research on the candidates whose answers they trusted.
Brad Presutto is currently running for Lakewood City Council Ward 2.