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."
Given that all of the above decisions were made with the virtually unanimous approval of the current Mayor and most of the current City Council it's clear that there is a need for change in Lakewood. We need leaders who are responsive to the people and to popular movements, such as the robust local movements which developed against going through with the Cleveland Clinic's plan for the Hospital, against the Pit Bull ban, and for bringing back outdoor basketball. With the possible exception of Ward 4 Councilman Dan O'Malley, Lakewood City government seems to view a group of citizens passionate about a cause as at best an annoyance. Tristan Rader, on the other hand, comes from a background of activism. I first met him while working on the Bernie Sanders Primary campaign, where he eventually became one of the main people running Bernie's campaign in Ohio and went on to work for Bernie in New Jersey and other places. Since then, he's become one of very few candidates nationwide endorsed by Our Revolution, the national progressive organization formed out of the Bernie Sanders' campaign. Seeing as how Bernie won the 2016 Primary soundly in Lakewood it only makes sense to have someone like Tristan be part of our local government.
Tristan has held a series of Town Halls all over Lakewood to hear what the concerns are of average Lakewood citizens and from that experience has established a list of priorities including undoing Breed Specific Legislation (i.e. the Pit Bull ban) and bringing back outdoor basketball courts. To be perfectly honest it will be very difficult to achieve these changes if the rest of the City Council continues to act as a rubber stamp for what the Mayor/moneyed interests want but if Lakewood is to begin living up to its "progressive" reputation change needs to start somewhere. We need to start by electing Tristan Rader to City Council at-Large.
After living in too many different places to mention Eric and his wife Kim settled in Lakewood in May of 2012. Eric is a freelance journalist and a political activist.