I recently got an amazingly thoughtful comment from Nichole on this post: Day 14 My Mayoral Candidate Petitions Were Denied. HERE'S MY ANSWER The Road To Mayor - Sage Lewis for Mayor of Akron
She spent a lot of time asking some really thoughtful questions. Because they were such good questions I thought it deserved it's own post.
The questions she asked had to do with:
Here are Nichole's questions and my responses are in blue:
Hi so I am interested in your views on a few issues. I live in the North Hill area of Akron and very proud of it. So my questions
1. The hotly debated sewer system. What are your ideas to get this fixed and do it in a way that doesnt kill the current residents with extreme bills for a problem created by past residents. Also do have plans to keep the jobs created right here in Akron?
Hi Nichole, thank you so much for writing. Check out some of my thoughts on the Akron sewer problems here and tell me what you think! I think a proposal like this might keep a lot of the money and jobs right here in Akron.
2. What are your thoughts on community police relations? I personally have had a horrible experience with my disabled daughter that I am still battling. I believe a community review panel would solve many issues and provide a much needed check to the system. What do.you think could help improve current relations and are you interested in hearing more about my idea?
Great question and one I plan on exploring in more detail in the coming days. That said, I know 2 things:
1) The police and the Mayor's office (under "The Don") have had a troubled past. I would seek to end that and start fresh. We should be on the same side. No.. we *are* on the same side. This shouldn't be political, this should be about what's best for the citizens of Akron.
2) As everyone knows, there have been a lot of building tensions between the police the populace it is supposed to protect and serve. Just up in Cleveland, the unfortunate incident with Tamir Rice has brought national focus to Northeast Ohio. While we thankfully haven't had that happen in Akron, I would like to be proactive on this front and work to find the best way that we can prevent these situations. Our citizens should feel more comfortable when the cops are around, then when they are not. We need to work as a group to make that happen.
3. What is your stance on our schools? I live in the North district but open enrolled both my kids to Ellet. Our schools are broke and it shows in our children. Arts music and sports are afterthoughts and not readily available. There is a lack of responsibility at the board and we need to find a way to have a mayor that actively monitors the goings on and cares about our Childrens educations and futures.
I agree with you here on just about everything. I'm obviously pro-schools and pro-education (who wouldn't say that though?). But I also know that there are or should be systems in place to monitor and review this behavior. I'm also aware that this is greater than a local Akron issue. From a 2012 article about statewide education in the Columbus Dispatch:
"Fifteen years have passed since the Ohio Supreme Court first ruled that the states system of funding schools is unconstitutional, and Ohio is again waiting for a governor to roll out a new formula touted as bold and transformative."
But here we are, 18 years later..
I would love to affect this in the most meaningful way that a Mayor of Akron could.
Personally, I believe music was the key to increasing my self-esteem, helping me get better grades in school and gave me a full scholarship to Baldwin-Wallace College. I believe there is more to school than tests. Arts, music and sports are critical to help students get a full education. This topic is near and dear to my heart. I'm very interested in coming up with innovative solutions to address this problem.
4. What are your thoughts on rebuilding Akron. We have a ton of vacant houses and a TON of homeless people. I see a solution somewhere in there. I personally own my house. I am in desperate need of help to fix it. I do not qualify for any available grants for a variety of reasons. I see an opportunity to create jobs and help residents. Would money need to be invested? Yes but it takes money to make money and if Akron invests in the people they will in turn invest in Akron â€¦ok so thats it. I hope you reply I would love to hear your thoughts. We need change in Akron and I am all about supporting the changes and whoever can help make it happen jic
We do have a lot of vacant housing and unfortunately, a lot of homeless people. On this campaign trail I've met a bunch of homeless people, who would like to have their voices heard. They are the countable unfortunates in our society. These are very complicated issues. I don't have easy answers here. But I can tell you that I'm with you. I'm VERY interested in making the vacant houses and homeless a priority for the city. Let's work to make that better. Let's work towards drug rehabilitation instead of imprisonment. Let's work on helping those who suffer from mental illness instead of punishing them.
I do have some interesting ideas dealing with vacant business property. I'd really like to experiment further with pop-up businesses and other innovative solutions to use this open space. I have a goal of created 1000 new business in Akron in the first two years of being the mayor of Akron. Vacant business property could be key to this goal.
Thank you for writing, Nichole. I hope these answers help you understand me a little better.