Letters To The Editor

Be Wary of Sam O'Leary. Don't Be Fooled Again.

As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” In 2015, I naively supported Sam O’Leary’s campaign to maintain his Ward 2 seat on Lakewood City Council after being appointed the previous year.

At one of Sam’s campaign fundraisers that summer, we spoke one-on-one at length. Sam is approachable and articulate. He appears to take a genuine interest in others. He convinced me that he was an independent thinker committed to due diligence and the highest ethical standards. I expressed concerns regarding Lakewood’s future, including the fate of our hospital. He shared my sentiments and promised to fight. We corresponded and spoke throughout the year regarding the hospital closing, but as a council vote on the issue neared, Sam began replying with patronizing rhetoric in line with the administration. I no longer felt represented and haven’t since.

I learned just this year that in March 2015, Sam was designated campaign treasurer for former Lakewood Mayor and Cuyahoga County Executive, Ed FitzGerald, coming off his loss for Governor amid questionable behavior. Had I been aware of this at the time, I would have been leery. FitzGerald launched a fake, single issue newspaper that misled voters on the hospital issue before a community wide vote that November; and then became a consultant to the developer who scored the land grab at the corner of Belle and Detroit after council voted to close the hospital.

Sam’s St. Charles Green dream (to add land to the park system) unveiled just ahead of his 2015 campaign hadn’t been mentioned again until the eve of another election season, just weeks ago. A lack of attention to Ward 2 for nearly six years, the bombardment of recent mailings, banners, county establishment endorsements and countywide fundraisers are a clear sign that he’s doing someone’s bidding beyond his supposedly beloved hometown.  




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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Why I Support Jeff Wise For Council

As a longtime resident of Ward 3, I have always voted in elections. This year I feel compelled not only to vote, but to express why I will be voting the way I will.

It is time for a change. Now is our chance to elect folks that want to do things differently and listen to the residents. I firmly believe Jeff Wise fits that description. I had the opportunity to attend a community meeting he hosted last month. The focus of the meeting was the various developments being planned in Lakewood.

A summary of the points discussed include:

  • Jeff Wise supports development that makes sense for the neighborhood - he supports green space and sustainability as well as transitioning properly into a neighborhood
  • He believes in transparency - if elected he will continue to hold community meetings as he did when he worked in Columbus
  • He thinks when something is before a board the entire neighborhood should be notified and not just the immediate properties
  • He acknowledges he may not always say what we want to hear but he will he be up front about his thoughts
  • He opposes rubber stamping as our current council seems to prefer to do
  • He is excited that our city council could look totally different after the upcoming election

As a resident directly impacted by one of the proposed Solove Development projects, I was excited to hear his perspective. I was especially pleased to hear he believes development needs to make sense and to transition into a neighborhood. I am not getting that same sense from the current administration or the Architectural Review Board.


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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Letter To The Editor

Dear Lakewood Observer,

I've been visiting your fair suburb of Center City Cleveland for going on 20 years now. My daughter settled in Lakewood after college to pursue her artistic dreams. American Greetings made that possible. Now my two granddaughters attend what I (a teacher) consider some of the best public schools in our grand country!

Now, I'd better get to the point of my writing. I discovered the gem of hair heaven at Carabel Beauty Shop on Madison during the past few years of visits. This establishment will be celebrating 50 years of business at this location, 15309 Madison, the 1st of November. If you have never been to that pink stucco building, it's time to make an appointment for an interview with the owner Bonnie, her daughter, or any member of her delightful staff. You will walk into 1950's Hair! Hairdos, Hair Spray, and unending love and attention with talk, talk, talk!

I try to have some type of service done whenever I'm in town to visit. It truly is a gem.

Ms. Vonny Nelson Eckman
Carlise, PA (The Car Show Mecca of the East Coast, Home to United States Army War College, Dickinson College, and Penn State Dickinson School of Law.) 
Come Visit!

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Letter To The Editor: Why I Am Voting For Jason Shachner

A few months ago, I recently moved into Lakewood. As a Post-9/11 veteran, I have moved around quite a bit throughout my life, and I have for a long time been searching for a community to call my permanent home. I’ve been looking for a neighborhood that is beautiful, and peaceful, and fun, while also being affordable and close to Downtown. More so, as a young LGBTQ+ woman who has recently transitioned, I needed to find a place that is welcoming and safe for me and my loved ones. Naturally, I thought of Lakewood.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Which Way, Lakewood?

In November we will select a new mayor. Your vote will set our city's course for the next four years. Will it be business as usual, or will we head down the path of integrity and transparency?

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Tess Neff Corrects Opponent's Flawed Statements

I have chosen to run a positive campaign for Lakewood's Ward One Council seat and I will not stoop to denigrating my fellow candidate in this race. It is unbecoming. I stand by every statement I have made during this campaign regarding my qualifications, experience and responsibilities. It is an established fact that I am responsible for the Court's 60 million dollar budget. Not only is this fact outlined in my job description, but the fiscal responsibility has been an assigned duty for the four years I have been the Court Administrator. I believe these truths were recognized and acknowledged by the voters in my large margin of victory in the primary election. My opponent's false allegations published in an earlier edition of this paper have been debunked. It is unfortunate she chose to run a campaign in that manner. 

I have lived in Lakewood for over 30 years and have raised my family here. I love Lakewood and will continue to strive to keep it a great place to live. I am humbled to have the support of so many neighbors, friends, family members, men, women and young adults. My opponent should retract her factually baseless statements. 

Tess Neff

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Remember In November: Let’s Reject Divisive Political Games

Whatever happened to the “Neighborhood News?”

Four years ago, someone mailed a large eight-page brochure to Lakewood voters right before a local election. Nearly all of its content consisted of political attacks and advertising, but it was formatted like the Lakewood Observer and titled “Lakewood Neighborhood News.”

It was also sent out anonymously, and to this day the people who produced the mailing still won’t admit it.

Local reporters asked questions, for a week or so, but no one would give a straight answer. A quickie “Neighborhood News” website connected the mailing with money from Ed Fitzgerald, a former Lakewood mayor, county executive, and failed candidate for governor.

But Fitzgerald claimed he was only “an investor” in a project to start local newspapers, and that the product was definitely not just disguised campaign mail.

Four years after the “newspaper’s” single issue, that claim is exposed as a plain lie. Someone produced a campaign brochure, tried to disguise it as a newspaper, and mailed it to Lakewood voters. Then everyone involved hid from responsibility.

Mayor Mike Summers had a large advertisement in the brochure, as did the Lakewood Hospital Association, and the “Voters Engaged to Oppose Issue 64” political action committee. Text pieces smeared the candidates opposing Summers and John Litten—but no one signed them or has ever admitted writing them. Only board of education member Tom Einhouse has ever admitted creating part of the “Neighborhood News,” a filler article about school construction which was printed under his name.

But how did it get there? Who planned and created this mailing, and why have they refused to provide any transparency about it? Lakewood deserves better than dark-money games, so how do we get it?

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Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 3:47 PM, 09.18.2019

Ward 2 Will Get Responsive Representation With Presutto

Over my 24 years as a Lakewood resident, I've come to recognize that responsiveness is one of the most important things to look for from our city council members. I want my council members to be quickly responsive to an email about a malfunctioning crosswalk light near one of our city schools. I want them to show that they can recognize and respect sincere public angst around a rushed, ill-explained deal to close a century-old community hospital. I want them to demonstrate that they're really hearing us, their constituents.
I'm supporting Brad Presutto for Ward 2 City Council because he is one of the most responsive people I've ever met. I've worked with Brad on campaigns and community projects, and rarely does an email or text or post go out that Brad doesn't respond to within minutes, usually with a spot-on answer to a question or an offer to help in a specific way. I have no doubt that Brad will be exemplary at constituent services for the residents of Ward 2. 
I have watched Brad meet with many residents of Ward 2 throughout this campaign to hear what they like and don't like about Lakewood, what that they hope for and fear. Brad has been really listening, and I am confident he will bring this listening to bear if and when he sits on council to address problems like the relentless rise in Lakewood's water and sewer rates. 
This commitment to listen and respond to constituents has led Brad to already act on some specific neighborhood challenges he's heard about on the campaign trail. Commitment to listening and responsiveness is the cornerstone of trust, and Brad is demonstrating that he's worthy of our entrusting him to help shape the budget and policies to ensure Lakewood remains a great place to live and work. 

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Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 3:47 PM, 09.18.2019

Fight The Ban On Retractable Leashes

Dear Editor,

My name is Fay Olsen and I am still fighting the Lakewood ban on retractable dog leashes. I was assured by Mayor Summers that this law will be reviewed (1 year anniversary of the law) in October. They will have the ability to lift the ban on retractable leashes, which I hope they do.

The retractable leash was invented by Mary Delany in 1908 and has been successfully used for 111 years.

I got into this fight because in March, the dog paddy wagon was parked in front of my house. I had obviously been observed previously. As soon as I came down my driveway on Clifton Blvd., the Game Warden, Jack Crafter got out of the van and told me (a warning) I was breaking the law by using a retractable leash. These are words I never heard in all of my 80 plus years and never expected to hear.

I have two very small dogs. 9 lbs. and 19 lbs., respectively. The handle on the retractable leash is comfortable for me in my hand. Other loop type leashes are uncomfortable around my wrist. I maintain control of my pets and don't let them wander. I hope after living for 59 years in Lakewood I will not have to go to Rocky River or any of the surrounding suburbs where it is legal to walk my dogs in this manner.

I will be speaking September 16th at the City Council meeting at City Hall.

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Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 3:47 PM, 09.18.2019

Fiscal Resiliency In Lakewood Is Inclusive, Diverse And Forward-Looking

Recently, some of the nation’s top economists, referencing a downtrend from bonds, currency, commodities and a projected growth of national debt, speculated that a recession may be on the horizon. Like most cities, Lakewood gets its revenue from local sources. 

The largest source of revenue, according to our city budget, comes from municipal income tax, which are taxes levied on all residents and part-year residents aged 18 or older, residents and non-residents who conduct business, or work, in Lakewood, residents and non-residents who own property, and non-residents who work in Lakewood but whose employer did not withhold income tax (as per the city’s website). 

When looking to the future of Lakewood it is not only important that we are fiscally responsible, but fiscally resilient. We can build resiliency by developing a comprehensive economic development plan now to safeguard our local economy from a potential recession. 


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Volume 15, Issue 17, Posted 6:27 PM, 09.04.2019

Regionalizing Emergency Dispatch Not Worth The Cost Of Lakewood Lives

There is talk of regionalizing Lakewood’s emergency dispatch. Lakewood is a densely populated city with a busy dispatch line. Managing safety in Lakewood is a major function of our city government and we should be looking to support and expand our team of dispatchers, not outsource services and put Lakewood’s families at risk. In an emergency, one minute lost to transferring calls is too long.

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Volume 15, Issue 16, Posted 3:19 PM, 08.21.2019

Statement On El Paso And Dayton Massacres

Last night, I began writing about the heartbreaking shooting in El Paso only to awaken this morning to another shooting, this time in my home state. I want to go on record as condemning, to the fullest extent possible, the premeditated cold blooded murders of 20 El Paso residents and 9 Ohioans. Both shootings clearly establish horrific and dysfunctional motives emboldened by the divisive political rhetoric that has been terrifyingly normalized by our current Presidential administration. 

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Volume 15, Issue 16, Posted 3:00 PM, 08.07.2019

Thank You Lakewood Renters

To the tens of thousands of other renters in our city of Lakewood, I would like to say: thank you.

Thank you, renters, for being literally the greater part of Lakewood. More than half of this community lives in rental housing, including me.

I have heard renters maligned, treated with suspicion, and referred to like we are a “foreign” presence here. Yet renters are actually the majority of the people around us, at the park or doing the grocery shopping, for example.

Additionally, many of the absolute hands-down best people I have known during 11 years in Lakewood have rented their homes. People who improve this community as volunteers, leaders, activists, entrepreneurs. It would be a sadder and poorer city without these involved citizens here, demonstrating how much they care about their home: Lakewood.

So thank you Lakewood renters. Thank you for voting, paying taxes, raising families, supporting local businesses. Thank you for sharing and shaping the community we are all part of.

Thank you, renters, for being here.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019

Does Lakewood Really Need More Apartments?

This letter is about the proposed development at the former Barry Buick car lots and former Spitzer car lots. Solove Developers are proposing plans for both locations.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019

Orchard Grove Residents Resist New Developments

My name is Colin Dussault. I have lived on Orchard Grove since the year of my birth back in 1969. For most of my 50 years, there has been a Barry Buick car lot and body shop on our three corners on Detroit Avenue. I even remember the Starter Restaurant being on the corner for a while when I was a child. I vividly recall my dear mother giving us 75 cents every now and then for cheeseburgers from the greasy spoon on the corner where the body shop offices of Barry Buick stood until recently.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 7:53 AM, 04.03.2019

Letter To Observer

Hello. I did not see a comments section, so I ended up here. While waiting for my daughter at the Beck center, I picked up a March 6th issue from the stack on the table. Now, I have never read this publication before, or knew about it, until that day.  

But, the paper is simply tremendous, it really is. One article in particular blew me away. Penned by Haley Schultz, "153 People." It was such a well written, emotionally powerful, and personal article. I was pleasantly surprised to see a teenager with that much self-awareness and depth.

I have shared it with three other people and they were equally impressed. Thank you for publishing real articles like this and allowing outstanding writing talent to share their stories.

I learned something new that day and an important lesson from someone half my age. That's awesome.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 7:53 AM, 04.03.2019

A Resolution: Campaign Finance Reform

The time is ripe for campaign finance reform.

The very wealthy funnel huge campaign contributions to dark money groups, to influence our elections and to buy government policies. Their influence comes at the expense of everyone else.

This month, the nonprofit American Promise is leading a campaign to end the flood of dark money. Citizens throughout Ohio are contacting representatives with postcards, emails, phone calls, and visits. The message is: support a bi-partisan effort for a 28th amendment to the US Constitution.


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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 5:06 PM, 01.08.2019

Four Reasons To Vote This Year

1. You can choose Ohio’s drug treatment and sentencing policy. Voting yes on Issue 1 will bring immediate, real change to how Ohio deals with drug addiction. If this amendment passes, we will spend less on housing low-level nonviolent offenders in overcrowded prisons—then fund treatment and recovery services with the savings.

2. Close races and very different options. Suspense? Check. The vote margin between two futures is likely to be very narrow. Richard Cordray has committed to defending hard-won rights if elected governor: healthcare fairness for pre-existing conditions, union workers’ rights, access to abortion, equal protection for LGBTQ communities. Mike DeWine would abandon all of these to corporate lobbyists and religious extremists.

3. What’s at stake for Lakewood. Will cities be a partner for Ohio government, or just a piggy bank? Streets, senior services, transit, schools, etc., have all been shortchanged as recent state budgets withheld local government funding, and kept it in Columbus. Local elected officials from both parties have said it’s unfair. Cordray is committed to fixing this, but DeWine won’t.

4. Voting takes about 14-minutes, and affects four years or more. The 2012 nationwide average for voting was barely 14 minutes. In Ohio there’s early voting every day through Election Day, either by mail or at the County Board of Elections. Most of Lakewood lives a short walk from their local polling place. In about 14 minutes you can have a real say on national government, state government, courts, and the direct initiative of Issue 1.

Not everyone gets to have this kind of say. Please use it, vote your values, and do one thing that really matters for you and those around you.

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Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

There They Go Again

At first it was political junk mail. Here in Northeast Ohio, Nickie Antonio, William McGinty, and Ashley (“I was rated 3.5/5 for judge”) Kilbane led the brat pack of junk mailers in this past May’s primary.) Antonio and McGinty tied for first with nine mailings each, followed by Kilbane’s five, some of them joint mailings. 

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Volume 14, Issue 17, Posted 4:23 PM, 09.04.2018

The Other Side Of Politics

There is, contrary to popular belief, another side to politics. A brighter side. A well intended, positive side. A side that’s not always completely political, but personal, and a great opportunity for adventure. A large part of my identity has been shaped from my experiences working on political campaigns. Quite frankly, my acquisition of political knowledge is perhaps the smaller portion of all of the information and insights I gained from my lit-dropping, fundraising, postcard and article writing endeavors, and I owe thanks beyond words to State Representative Nickie Antonio for providing these and other experiences to me, literally at my request. Without further ado, I have stories to tell you…

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Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 7:15 PM, 08.21.2018

Death And Taxes, Lakewood Style

Benjamin Franklin famously said that, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  In Lakewood, the certain death of our hospital is our mayor’s ambition. He rejoices in the death of our hospital, despite the fact that the City of Lakewood had iron-clad contracts assuring that our hospital would be in operation as a full-service facility providing medical and surgical services to our citizens until 2026, eight years from now. He rejoices in the death of our hospital, despite the fact that the hospital contracts provided seven million dollars for indigent medical care. He rejoices in the death of our hospital, despite the fact that Lakewood stroke victims are no longer within two minutes of emergency hospital care. 

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Volume 14, Issue 14, Posted 5:57 PM, 07.17.2018

There's Trouble Brewing On Quail St - Part 2

In the honest pursuit of the truth, sometimes the details of a particular circumstance are not absolutely factual, but actually just perceptions of a previously known or assumed fact. I want to start this second article by correcting some of the elements of my first article in the last issue of the Lakewood Observer entitled “There’s Trouble Brewing on Quail St - Part 1." First of all, I incorrectly reported that the name of the bar was going to be the Lakewood Brew Works, but it is actually going to be named the Birdtown Brewery according to their Facebook page. Secondly, I stated that the project was approved by the City Planning Commission two years ago, but in actuality it is closer to almost 4 years ago. I am sorry that I incorrectly stated those facts, which was done out of simply thinking I remembered the facts that way. Unfortunately, when things like this happen, it often takes away from  the central message that is being presented, which is...

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:06 PM, 05.15.2018

Skindell Tried To Save Hospital, Bullock Closed It

Lakewood's Ohio State Senator Mike Skindell tried to save Lakewood hospital and keep it open. Lakewood city councilman Tom Bullock voted twice, as a Lakewood Hospital Trustee, then as a Lakewood councilman, to close it - destroying your hospital which many thousands of people in Lakewood and surrounding areas need.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 12:39 PM, 05.01.2018

Skindell Is Best Choice For State Rep

Mike Skindell is ever-present in Lakewood’s community landscape. You can often catch him at local gatherings engaging with residents, working to support folks who want to make Lakewood a better place and standing his ground on the tough issues that face our city. A ubiquitous echo follows him as he makes his way around town: “Here’s my card. Let me know if you need anything.”

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:38 PM, 04.21.2018

Who Stood Up For Lakewood?

Remember the kefuffle a couple of years ago about saving our hospital? While you almost certainly do, you might not remember who stood with Lakewood and who stood with Cleveland Clinic. Their candidacy for state representative may refresh your recollection.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:27 PM, 04.17.2018

Martin J. Sweeney Hopes To Earn The Privilege Of Serving You In The State Senate

My name is Martin J. Sweeny and I am asking for the privilege of serving as your next State Senator.

Throughout my life, Lakewood has always been special to me. I competed in many basketball games as a teenager here, worked my first job at the Convenient Mart behind Harding, learned to play pool at Mahall’s, socialized at the old Tam O’Shanter, and spent many 4th of July nights down at Lakewood Park watching the fireworks. More importantly, it is where I met my beautiful wife Kate at her family home on Narragansett Ave.

Having had the opportunity of serving our communities for over twenty years, as both a Cleveland City Councilman and a State Representative from the 14th House District, I uniquely understand the challenges facing large, urban cities like Lakewood. From the loss of critical funding for our local schools and cities, an Opioid Crisis ravaging our communities, and a near constant Republican-led assault on the basic rights for all Ohioans, I know the issues impacting you and your neighbors in Lakewood. I promise I will always work hard for you in Columbus to ensure we have strong communities, safe neighborhoods, and are protecting the rights of working families.  

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:27 PM, 04.17.2018

Tom Bullock Fights for Families

I’ve had the privilege of calling Lakewood my home for the past 10 years. I run a business here, my husband and I own a home here, and we are raising our family here. I’m proud to be represented by Tom Bullock, and proud to support him in his campaign to be the next state representative for Ohio's 13th district. Tom believes that strong families thrive in vibrant, dynamic, diverse cities. He has worked tirelessly to create a safe multimodal city. One that works not just for our current modes of transportation, but with an eye to the future as well. Thanks to Tom’s efforts on City Council, it’s not unusual to see families like my mine riding their bikes to Lakewood Park, or strolling to the Sweet Spot for an after-dinner treat.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:27 PM, 04.17.2018

There's Trouble Brewing On Quail St - Part 1

It has been said that "The trouble with trouble is, it starts out as fun." Many of us know too well the reality of this statement through our own experiences with trouble. We often overlook the long term consequences for short term profit and pleasure.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:40 PM, 03.06.2018

Diverse Housing?

The November 24 web page of the Lakewood patch proclaims, “Lakewood Diversifying Housing Stock, Building ADA-Friendly Homes.” From the article it should read “home” in the singular. Let me start by stating that Lakewood, being an inner ring suburb, is pretty easy to get around if you are in a wheelchair or have any other mobility issues. I do appreciate the city leveling off the sidewalks, as I am sure  parents with strollers and kids on bikes do. We do have some good services here and the newer architecture and venues can be navigated with relative ease in places like Lakewood and Madison Parks, city buildings and supermarkets.

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Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:05 PM, 12.05.2017

Time For A New City Council

The current Council's latest "accomplishment" - the Medical Marijuana Ordinance - clearly shows that each of the Council members is out of touch with us common people, that they don't "get it," and shouldn't continue in office.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 12:05 PM, 10.17.2017

On Issue 2, Vote Yes For Lower Prescription Drug Prices

State Issue 2 is a simple, sound measure to reduce what Ohio’s government pays for prescription drugs. It’s good for those most in need, including people on Medicaid. It’s good for taxpayers, who are currently overpaying pharmaceutical companies by hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

If Ohio votes yes on Issue 2, drug companies will no longer be able to charge state agencies higher prices than they charge the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

That’s Issue 2. It’s a simple, modest measure that won’t directly affect many of us at all. It won’t affect Medicare enrollees, or those with private insurance. Prescription drug prices are out of control, however, and even pushing back in this limited way will save the public nearly $400 million every year.

Supporting Issue 2 is the common sense choice. If Issue 2 were in place now, repealing it would seem perverse. Why would we insist that our public agencies pay whatever price the pharmaceutical companies demand, instead of negotiating to save money? Right now that’s exactly what we do, and it needs to change.

Issue 2 will change that, for the better. Ohio’s Medicaid program and other agencies shouldn’t have to pay more than the VA pays. If we vote yes on Issue 2, they won’t have to.

The campaign against Issue 2 is designed to make this simple solution confusing, and we shouldn’t let it work. Medicare and private insurers have price agreements in place, independently, and pharmaceutical companies can’t suddenly change that. Drug research is largely performed by universities and other public institutions funded by our taxes. Lower profits for the drug companies won’t change that; in fact, big pharmaceutical companies can easily afford to trim their profits’ growth.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017

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.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017

Vote Tristan Rader For Lakewood City Council At Large

When my wife and I decided to move to Greater Cleveland from outside of the area in 2012 we chose Lakewood in part because of its reputation as a "progressive" suburb. At first we found this characterization to be accurate, at least superficially. After all, every elected official, and pretty much every voter, in Lakewood identifies as a Democrat. Lakewood's Representative in the Ohio General Assembly is the first openly gay person to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives. Lakewood voted overwhelmingly for Obama in his 2012 re-election campaign, an effort I worked on as a Field Organizer.

However, a series of subsequent events, and learning a bit more about the recent history of Lakewood, led me to view the "progressive" reputation of Lakewood as largely a facade. The main event will be very familiar to Observer readers: the city's handling of the Cleveland Clinic/Lakewood Hospital issue. Without getting into the weeds of that controversy now, I was flabbergasted at the extent to which every single elected official in Lakewood simply rolled over and did whatever corporate and real estate interests wanted, not even really attempting to negotiate a better deal for the people of Lakewood. I also learned more about Lakewood's recent history, how in a nasty racially charged recent election cycle due to ostensible concern about "crime" the City's elected officials had taken steps like embracing long discredited and racist "Breed Specific (anti-Pit Bull) Legislation" and even gone so far as to puprosely dismantle every public outdoor basketball court in Lakewood for fear of attracting the "wrong element."

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017

Why I Support Tristan Rader For City Council-At-Large

There are so many issues and events happening in this city, and when I moved to Lakewood close to three years ago this October, there was one person I knew who respected people and got around issues and causes that people supported simply because he cares about the community he lives in. That person is Tristan Rader. 

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 12:35 PM, 09.06.2017

Letter to the Editor - Wagar Park Extension Onto Rosewood Ave.

I submitted the following letter to the Mayor and my councilpersons, and received a reply from Tom Bullock who met with me at the park.  He stated that the city would "probably" pilot the art installation and observe the impact of the traffic diversion for a year.  My impression from him was that there have been no objections to the closing of Rosewood Avenue at Park Place and that no concerns for convenience or safety (including timely emergency access) have been expressed by the residents of Rosewood, Orchard Grove or Park Place.  Any area resident, recognizing that north-eastbound traffic on Hilliard now has an additional 3 traffic lights and 6 turns to navigate before it reaches Rosewood, should have something to say about it.  I share my objections and concerns here, hoping to persuade others to seriously consider the situation and speak up too.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 12:35 PM, 09.06.2017

A Tale Of Two Images

The photo of Councilman-at-Large Bullock that ran with Ryan Puente's story on the councilman's re-election campaign launch may not sync with the memories of those who attended Congressman Kucinich's October 2015 press conference about saving Lakewood Hospital. 

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Volume 13, Issue 16, Posted 9:34 PM, 09.19.2017

Tale Of Two Lakewoods

There seems to be two different Lakewoods: the one that currently exists and the one that is currently being crafted by an ecosystem of political and economic interests. The first Lakewood is eclectic and doesn't shrink from different people, ideas, cultures, or music. It is neighbors who can lean over while sitting on their porch and talk with each other. It values homegrown businesses. It is this paper. It is Birdtown. It is the beautiful library. It is the bars and music scene.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 3:13 PM, 05.16.2017

Bravo Zulu To Mr. Collingwood And Ms. Sikes

Tom Collingwood's letter calling for Lakewood Police officer Kevin Jones' immediate termination was right on point, highlighting the lack of leadership in Lakewood PD and in this City, which instead of doing the right thing is concerned about covering its derriere.

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 3:03 PM, 07.05.2017

Moving Back To Lakewood Meant Moving Back To Great Schools!

My husband and I live at the West End of Lakewood with our three children -- a daughter at Lakewood High School, a son at Harding Middle School, and a daughter at Horace Mann Elementary School. Our two older children started out at Lakewood City Schools but we soon moved to Tiffin, Ohio for my husband's job. We missed the wonderful community spirit Lakewood has to offer, and we especially missed the schools! Moving back has been a joy and so important to our family. 

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 3:03 PM, 07.05.2017

Time To Add Labrador Retrievers To List Of Banned Dogs In Lakewood

I've been doing a lot of research lately on dogs. As an animal photographer, I do my best to research all breeds so that I have a full understanding of them. It's helpful to go into a session having a good feel for a dog's disposition.

Lately I've been researching dog bite stats. I get my information from the local news and the internets. I see the pit-bull maulings. And lately, I've noticed many more Labrador Retriever bites. For some reason, these news websites differentiate between the dogs. When a pit hurts someone, it's called a mauling. When a lab or other dog hurts someone, it's typically called a bite or attack by the news.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 12:39 PM, 06.06.2017

Community's "Can Do" Attitude :Why I Love Teaching In Lakewood

Hello, I’m Sean McGuan. I’ve taught fourth or fifth grade in Lakewood City Schools (LCS) for 24 years. I am not a native of Lakewood but I am a native Clevelander and have lived in Lakewood for 25 years. I married my college sweetie from freshman year and we have two children at Lakewood High, a junior and a sophomore. With May being the month of Teacher Appreciation Week, I wanted to write this article to reflect and share my ideas about what continues to motivate and make me value being a Lakewood teacher.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 12:39 PM, 06.06.2017

When, Judge..... When?

I recently read in the Plain Dealer, that Judge John O’Donnell had been seen “engaged in some light moshing” at the House of Blues. Now, "moshing" means to deliberately jostle with other dancers. It’s a highly energetic experience, and I truly hope he enjoyed himself! But, I got to wondering when he might put some of that energy to work on his court cases. Well, actually... one court case in particular.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 3:13 PM, 05.16.2017

Open Letter To Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown: Investigate Suspected Fraud In Lakewood Municipality

Thanks for your attention to our grievance about Lakewood’s $1.8 Million ordinances obligating us to the “cliff erosion protection” project. As you know, even the ODNR doesn’t recommend this at this time. Coastal seawalls and revetments etc, harm shores, lake water and won’t assure the prevention of cliff collapse. With these type of ordinances, President Trump’s $0 funding for Great Lake Protection, and Trump's denial of climate change, the multibillion dollar industry our lakes provide is greatly threatened.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:01 PM, 04.18.2017

End The Medical Marijuana Moratorium

At the previous city council meeting, Councilmember O’Malley addressed the potential of allowing state licensure for the sale of medical marijuana in the city of Lakewood. He and the Public Safety Committee expressed the concern that opening a dispensary in Lakewood in the middle of an opioid crisis would promote drug usage, rather than reduce it.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 8:14 PM, 03.21.2017

Dog Whistle Politics: Pit Bull Ban Is More Bark Than Bite

Since I started my campaign for Lakewood City Council this year, I have had the chance to speak with many current and former Lakewood residents. One of the major themes that keeps rising to the surface is Breed Specific Legislation [BSL]. This is the ordinance passed here in 2008 placing harsh limits on pit bull ownership within city limits. Some measures were taken to lower fines and waive registration fees, but this really isn’t enough.

I am 100% on the side of those who want this ordinance repealed entirely. Last week a friend of mine told me about how she ended up in Cleveland. She had lived in Lakewood for a few years, got a pit bull puppy, then became aware that Lakewood restricts pit bull ownership. She told her landlord, thinking that she would simply have to register her dog, pay a fee and that was it. Unfortunately, the next week she was served an eviction notice, citing the BSL ordinance.

I am 100% on the side of those who want this ordinance repealed entirely. Last week a friend of mine told me about how she ended up in Cleveland. She had lived in Lakewood for a few years, got a pit bull puppy, then became aware that Lakewood restricts pit bull ownership. She told her landlord, thinking that she would simply have to register her dog, pay a fee and that was it. Unfortunately, the next week she was served an eviction notice, citing the BSL ordinance.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 6:18 PM, 03.07.2017

Letter To The Editor: In Response To The "Electoral College" Article

The person that wrote about the electoral college saying that it was not democratic was absolutely correct.  A pure democracy WOULD mean the popular vote wins. Hate to tell you this but that is NOT what America is about. Technically America… stated by the founding fathers is a constitutional federal representative democracy. Um… I think you left out a few words. But that's just too complicated for you liberals so it was hacked away to justify and mean "democracy." Which is technically incorrect. The word “democracy” that America truly represents is a "representative democracy" or a "democratic republic."  This is what it means:

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 6:40 PM, 02.21.2017

“Dearest Rob Portman You’ve Failed Us”

On February 7, 2017, a historical and hysterically heartbreaking Senate vote gave the OK to approve another unqualified billionaire, this time to be appointed as the U.S. education secretary. Betsy DeVos’ nomination was surrounded by much controversy due to her lack of experience with public schools, a terrible performance during her confirmation hearing, and a host of other disqualifications.

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 6:40 PM, 02.21.2017

Lakewood Taxpayers Fight Back Against Lakewood City Council’s $1.8 Million Illegal Ordinances Impact On Our Pocketbooks, The Environment and Our Economy


In the summer of 2016, the City of Lakewood passed Ordinance (25-16) with a cost above $704,000 for the Meridian Condo’s shore cliff "erosion protection." It did this without owner votes and in spite of over 54 owners' signed objections.

These owners brought to City Council top international geotechnical shoreline expert, Dr. R. Young, who during open council, advised that a shoreline cliff project is not indicated at this time and its design will not prevent potential collapse of its cliff (video A, B). City Council ignored him, ignored the condo’s hired engineer (Lewin and Assoc. firm) as well as top experts' correspondence who concurred with Dr. Young (C).

In January 2017, the City of Lakewood passed another Ordinance. This, for over $1,100,000. Ordinance (57-16) for “shoreline/cliff protection” for the Winton Place condo which is next door to the Meridian (the cliff is shared by these adjoining condos).


Owners who oppose the cliff project hired top Cleveland attorney, Majeed Makhlouf, ex-Law Director of Cuyahoga County, who put condo boards, ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) State officials  and City Council on legal notice that they were violating condo, municipal, state and federal laws and ignoring multiple experts' advice (D). Officials,  Boards and City Council ignored these.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 4:24 PM, 02.07.2017

Gun Control In Ohio (Opinion Letter)

As an advocate for domestic violence awareness and prevention, I want to acknowledge all of the dedicated, bipartisan legislative accomplishments that our Ohio Congressman and Senators have done and continue to do to help prevent gun violence in our communities. In 2016, Ohio enacted a law prohibiting violent career criminals from buying, possessing, or carrying a gun. Ohio also requires a firearm owner to report the loss or theft of any firearm in the person’s possession or under the person’s control.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 4:24 PM, 02.07.2017

Our "Bin" Memories

An open letter to all former employees and trainees of Nature's Bin/Cornucopia Inc.

As "The Bin" closed it's doors for good on November 12, 2016, may we take some time to recall old memories. In my heart, "it's see ya soon" from this Bin grad. For others …hearts are broken, as this is a funeral of an institution that provided work and friendship for so many. Please remember that when one door closes, another will open. New, exciting adventures await. Just like little kid's, "let's embrace this new era of uncertainty with wide-eyed eagerness, optimism, and willingness to venture into the unknown."

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Volume 12, Issue 25, Posted 7:29 PM, 12.06.2016

Letter To The Editor: The Electoral College

It has been said that people get the government they deserve. This may be true. Many Americans who are more interested in the performance of their sports teams than they are in their government. A democracy can't work unless citizens take part in it. They should take the time to learn about candidates' qualifications and evaluate issues. They should be concerned that all citizens should be able to vote and that everyone's vote should count. That is far from the case in the U.S. today. Even in presidential years voter turnout is abysmally low.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 4:35 PM, 11.22.2016

An Open Letter To The People Of Lakewood From Dennis Kucinich

Dear Friends,

I write to you as a dear friend whose community interests I looked after for many years.  There is simply no legitimate justification for closing Lakewood Hospital,  unless you believe the financial interest of Cleveland Clinic is superior to the public interest of the people of Lakewood in having a community hospital to call its own.

Though officials have moved ahead to make the hospital closing a done deal, the people have a right to undo the “done deal” by voting “No” on issue 64.  I urge you to do so, to stand up for Lakewood, stand up for community, stand up for 108 years of public ownership of the hospital and stand up for Lakewood’s future where young families and elderly families alike have close access to a life-saving community hospital they can call their own.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 5:52 PM, 10.25.2016

An Open letter to LEAF: Please Vote Against Issue 64

There is no more respected voice in Lakewood on issues of sustainability, health and local resilience than Lakewood Earth and Food Community (LEAF). The deal that closed Lakewood Hospital impacts all of these issues, in predominantly negative ways. I would like to ask LEAF’s members to consider joining opponents of this deal, which voters will confront in November as Issue 64.

Closing our hospital leaves Lakewood without many important health services. Worse, it leaves Lakewood without the control over local interests that our publicly owned hospital protected. As experience has demonstrated—in East Cleveland, in Sagamore Hills, and in Lakewood—a private multinational will pay lip-service to what’s best for communities even while transferring away resources that people depend on.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 8:11 AM, 10.28.2016

Former Councilperson Urges A Vote Against 64

I was on Lakewood Council in 1996 when we worked with the Mayor and Law Director to craft a document assuring that Lakewood residents had continuing access to quality health care services. At that time, Lakewood Hospital became part of “Cleveland Clinic West” which included Lutheran and Fairview hospitals. The Clinic was expected to operate Lakewood Hospital, enabling our hospital to continue to thrive in the rapidly changing health care market. Protections for Lakewood Hospital and flexibility for the Clinic were included.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 5:52 PM, 10.25.2016