Maybe they’ve confused Brecksville with another community
We recently received a campaign letter from the four city council candidates who call themselves “A Better Brecksville” – Gretchen Corp Jones, Mike Schumaker, Ann Koepke and Chris Hannigan. Because I am a volunteer member of the City Planning Commission, after reading their letter, I felt obligated to write in response.
The following picture has been added and is a picture of these corrupt want-a-be politicians which have no experience and they are led by a council person, Jack Petsche, that is under a criminal indictment for serious ethic violations.
So here goes.
First let me say that my initial reaction, was wow, this is really slick, (as is the name “A Better Brecksville”). Whoever wrote the letter did a great job of crafting their message. It makes their “vision” sound very attractive. However, the problem with the letter is that informed Brecksville residents realize that most, if not all, of A Better Brecksville’s message is just plain wrong.
I think that if you listened only to what the A Better Brecksville slate has to say, you’d come away believing that Brecksville roll ups the sidewalks at 5:00 PM on Fridays, City Council and our various boards & commissions all meet in secret (supposedly upon orders from the Mayor), our city’s close to broke and residents citywide are demanding a network of sidewalks & bike paths.
But that’s not the real Brecksville. Maybe they’ve confused us with another community.
Starting with their keynote issue, (the shortfall in sewer assessments collected by Cuyahoga County for the Four Seasons neighborhood), the A Better Brecksville slate has followed the lead of their mentor & ally, Jack Petsche, by creating what I consider to be a largely false narrative to exploit matters for their own political purposes. If City Council “bailed out” the Four Seasons neighborhood, then City Council also “bailed out” the homeowners in Echo Hills, Southern Estates, Seneca Woods, Hilton Road, Whitewood Road and Riverview Road, and we’re about to “bail out” homeowners on Chippewa Road and Calvin Drive too. Fair minded individuals realize that Jack Petsche and A Better Brecksville used this issue simply to try to drive a wedge between Brecksville residents. Someone should tell A Better Brecksville that class warfare is not in our community’s DNA.
With regard to our city center, Brecksville is already a “vibrant” community. Residents have a choice of at least 16 restaurants and carry-out eateries in and near downtown, (with 2 more restaurants on the way), plus 3 upscale coffee houses, a bagel store and an ice cream shop. Grocery shoppers can frequent both a Heinen’s and a Marc’s – within minutes of each other. With the recent leases of the remaining 3 storefronts on Brecksville Road, our downtown is almost 100% occupied by a mix of merchants, service providers and professionals who are all patronized largely by Brecksville residents. The city’s acquisition of the former Central School property and its redevelopment is another win that benefit both our historic Old Town neighborhood and adjacent public square area. In Brecksville economic development and our city’s finances have been managed with care and diligence over the course of many years. Our city debt is tightly managed. That’s why we have an investment grade bond rating that other cities envy, and we can provide a variety of city services and programs for residents of all ages.
With regard to “transparency”, our city government is already “transparent” to anyone who cares to look. The agendas and meeting minutes for City Council, boards and commissions are available on the city’s web site 24/7. All council, board and commission meetings are open to the public. The Mayor and each member of city council keep residents informed on a regular basis via the Mayor’s monthly newsletter, The Brecksville Bulletin, The City Government section of Brecksville Magazine, the Mayor’s web site, the Mayor’s annual State of the City Address and the City’s Annual Financial Report, which is delivered to every household in Brecksville, plus special email reports delivered by the Mayor periodically.
I find it particularly interesting to learn that the Corp Jones, Schumaker, Koepke, Hannigan and Petsche slate thinks that the lack of open conflict between City Council and the Mayor means that our current City Council is not doing its job. The fact that Mayor Hruby and successive city councils have worked in a collegial manner is a testament to all parties involved. Anyone who follows our city government knows that the Mayor and City Council do, from time to time, have serious disagreements. They just don’t politicize those disagreements. They treat each other with respect, and they compromise. Perhaps, the A Better Brecksville slate and Jack Petsche think that good city government requires the Mayor and City Council to have public food fights, as is sometimes the case in neighboring communities, but most Brecksville residents would disagree.
And then there is the matter of sidewalks and bike paths. Contrary to Jack Petsche’s and A Better Brecksville’s claim, the current City Master Plan does NOT mandate a network of bike paths throughout the city. And the “new” master plan that they point to is nothing more than a recommendation from a team of unelected bureaucrats with the County Planning Commission who want to remake Brecksville into their image of a modern urban enclave. What the Better Brecksville slate does not tell you is that the same County Master Plan report states that only 5% of Brecksville residents want sidewalks and bike paths for purposes other than recreation. Brecksville residents will NOT support higher taxes to pay for a network of bike paths. A Better Brecksville’s assertion that they’ll get government grants to fund more bike paths shows a lack of knowledge. Grants are made on the basis of financial need. Affluent communities such as Brecksville are typically not high on the qualifications list for government grants.
Perhaps the most important thing we should recognize is that despite their claims to the contrary, Corp Jones, Schumaker, Koepke, Hannigan and Petsche appear to be a team. They make the same claims and accusations, they want to change Brecksville in the same way, and they support each other’s campaigns. A Better Brecksville’s partnership with Petsche speaks volumes.
And just like Jack Petsche when he ran for city council, the Better Brecksville slate seems to have nothing to offer except for personal agendas and a laundry list of perceived grievances. Like Jack Petsche, not one of them has bothered to learn about the workings of our city government or offered to make improvements to it by volunteering to serve on a board or commission. They all claim to be interested in planning and zoning matters, but I don’t recall seeing any of them at a single Planning Commission meeting. I think that a friend of ours summed it correctly. She said “Can you imagine just turning over the finances, family care, upkeep and maintenance of your home to strangers who have never visited you or helped you do anything? Of course not. So why would we do that with our city?”
Brecksville is a model community that doesn’t need change for the sake of change. There are good reasons why 97% of residents rate living here as good or excellent. Mayor Jerry Hruby, and City Council Members Kim Veras, Gerry Broski, Laura Redinger and Dennis Rose are five of those reasons. We should reelect them.
That’s just my opinion.
You can also see my response on line at http://www.tellthetruthjack.com/