Agenda for Action

LWV County positions, complete

May 10th, 2010  |  Published in Agenda for Action

Administration of Justice in Cuyahoga County (1971)

Support of comprehensive planning, improved bail system, rehabilitation of offenders, alternative handling of some ‘no-victim’ crimes, improved police-community relations, uniform code of training and conduct and adequate financing.

POSITION:

  1. Comprehensive, system-wide planning with care taken that computerization not result in impersonalization or decreased personal accountability.
  2. Improved bail system, minimizing the role on the bondsman, and utilizing a court operated cash deposit plan and release on recognizance consistent with protection of society.
  3. Emphasis on rehabilitation using halfway houses, work release programs, adequate probation services adequately staffed by trained officers, increased community acceptance and job opportunities.
    1. Alternative handling of some ‘no-victim’ crimes, e.g.; handling of drug addiction and drunkenness as social or medical problems, and removal of some offenses from the law, e.g.; homosexuality. Support for changes in laws dealing with gambling and prostitution.
    2. Improved police-community relations including citizen support for law enforcement and crime prevention and a uniform code of training and conduct for police departments throughout the county.
      1. Adequate financing, with funds used to best advantage and with greater emphasis on prevention and rehabilitation than on institutionalizing.

BACKGROUND: League interest was aroused in 1970 by passage of the bond issue for the Justice Center, _ which the League supported on the basis of its support of a fmancing program that provided for increased ,ounty responsibilities, adequate maintenance, and long-range planning for capital improvements. The League published The Administration of Justice in Cuyahoga County.

In 1973 the “Evaluation of Justice for Juveniles in Cuyahoga County” was added to the original study topic. During the rest of the decade the League joined with other organizations and coalitions to monitor and reform the county’s juvenile justice system. During the 1980s the impact ofHB 440 was of concern. Juvenile Court personnel were interviewed. Local expungement and the separation of adult and juvenile offender practices were investigated as well as the availability and use of local resources for youth.

The chair of the League’s Juvenile Court monitoring program worked closely with the Federation for Community Planning’s Juvenile Justice Planning and Review Committee to monitor Juvenile Court practices. As part of its work the committee monitored and worked to influence the planning for a new detention facility. The chair served on its sub-committee to investigate best practices and model facilities. When the Commissioners proposed a high-rise facility behind the Court, we were prepared to oppose the decision and urge the selection of a larger site for a state-of-the-art facility.

Although the position relating to adult justice is dated (especially items 1 and 2), there are significant parts that may be relevant today. However, before any League action could be taken, specific aspects regarding current practices would need to be investigated. As a first step, the publication should be updated and a new edition published. It provides a valuable overview of the Court system that will be a useful educational tool as we update the position.

Authorities, Boards, Commissions and Special Districts (2007)

Support of measures to promote the accountability, accessibility, visibility, citizen participation in and coordination of all boards (i.e., authorities, boards, commissions and special districts) connected to Cuyahoga County governance. The League supports:

  1. Compliance by all boards with all open-meeting and open-records provisions of Ohio Law.
  2. Active involvement and oversight by the appointing officials with the boards they appoint or fund, including (but not limited to) the following administrative strategies:
  1. An open appointment process through widely circulated vacancy lists, active recruitment of candidates, safeguards against conflicts of interest, and attention to diverse representation.
  2. A dedicated data center which holds and coordinates the candidate pool and computerizes access to up-to-date board documents, public records and contact information.
  3. Increased public awareness through phone listings, easily accessible websites, media attention and public spotlight.
  4. Ongoing monitoring of board activities through contact with appointees and regular scrutiny of the use of appropriated funds.
  5. Accessible, accountable and transparent actions by all board members and their boards, including (but not limited to) the following practices:
    1. All public business done openly, with easy access through websites, email contact, phone listings and publicized meetings.
    2. Regular reports to or conferences with appointing officials, including submission of annual reports, budgets, bylaws and other documents.
    3. Routine accounting for the expenditure of public funds to the officials who appropriated those funds.
    4. Cooperation with all inquiries by appointing officials, the press, service users or interested citizens.
    5. The establishment of discretionary boards by County Commissioners when there is a demonstrated need, when citizen participation is desired, when a supra-municipal focus is sought, or when Ohio Law permits no preferable alternative.

Cuyahoga Community College (1964, 1979, 1999)

Support of Cuyahoga Community College as the two–year higher education institution in the County that provides accessible and affordable educational programs and services which meet the needs of the County’s population.

POSITION: The League of Women Voters supports Cuyahoga Community College in its goal of providing for the county an institution that will offer up to two years of education beyond high school.

In its two major programs are:

a)  The University Parallel program that offers the fIrst two years of a conventional college program

b) The Technical-Occupational program that is designed to fulfill the unique employment requirements of the community and to meet citizens’ needs for occupational education

In its funding: Because community colleges are supported by state and local funds as well as student fees, the League will support the necessary local funding to allow the College to serve the community in its unique way.

HISTORY: In December 1961 the Leagues in Cuyahoga County adopted the agenda item “The establishing of a Community College for Cuyahoga County” for a 1962-63 study. League concern on this subject had developed during the study by the League of Women Voters of Ohio of “Education beyond the High School” in the state. It had pointed up the lack of public higher education facilities in the county. The county study logically followed the March 1961 position of L WVO which stated in part that “Ohio needs to expand its facilities for public higher education and that League support should be given to permit the establishment of two–year community colleges and technical institutes to supplement public universities and their branches. ”

State legislation in 1961 permitted the establishment of community colleges to offer academic or “university ~ parallel” courses. On October 23, 1961 the Board of County Commissioners declared Cuyahoga County to be 1 community college district, the fIrst in Ohio. On January 16, 1962, the first Board of Trustees for the community college was appointed.

After consultation with the Board of LWVO, the Cuyahoga County Government Committee determined that its study need not establish the need for a community college in Cuyahoga County. The County Commissioners’ action already had brought the college into being. The state L WV position supported the general need for community colleges. In order to be able to take action on Cuyahoga Community College, however, the Leagues of the county needed to do a county study. The study was to include analyzing the needs, number of students, location and/or locations, fInancing, scope, and breath of educational programs of such a college for Cuyahoga County.

In December 1962 the State of Ohio granted CCC a charter to operate a public community college consistent with the provisions of Chapter 3354 of the Ohio Revised Code. The Cuyahoga County Leagues re–adopted “Continued Study of the Establishment of Cuyahoga Community College at the County Annual Meeting in June 1963.

By consensus League members in Cuyahoga County agreed that Cuyahoga Community College was a satisfactory beginning toward meeting the higher educational needs of the County. They also confIrmed the L WVO position that such colleges should be permitted to include technical–occupational curriculum in its educational program. (In 1963 the community college law was amended by the legislature to permit the offering oftwo–year technical–occupational programs.)

The program item “Support of the Continued Development of Cuyahoga Community College” was fIrst adopted at the 1964 County Annual Meeting and subsequently readopted. In 1979 the wording of the item was changed to “Support of Cuyahoga Community College as a unique education institution” in order to avoid giving blanket support to expansion without study. At the 1999 County Annual Meeting the wording was changed to “Support of the Cuyahoga Community Colleges, the two-year higher education institution in the County that provides accessible and affordable educational programs and services which meet the needs of the County’s population.” The new wording clarifies the intent of the consensus reached in 1963; also the word ‘unique’ had created interpretation problems. The words “County’s population” indicates the role of business and industry.

INFORMATION ON CCC: Today CCC has three campuses strategically located in the County. CCC provides programs that lead to a two–year associate degree or toward a four–year baccalaureate degree, certification programs for individuals to upgrade their skills, and workforce training for business and industry in the areas of applied manufacturing or new skills for employees. There is also a displaced homemakers program and Active Elders program. Programs are offered not only at Tri–C’s three campuses but also at 50 additional off–site locations, such as work sites, community centers, and on television. There are 500 companies and organizations that engage CCC to provide workshops, seminars, conferences, and customized training. All the campuses have state-of-the-art technology and advanced educational equipment. Child-­care centers are available at each campus. The open-door admissions policy extends educational opportunities to everyone with a high school diploma or a GED. An individual 18 years or older who does not have a high school diploma or a GED may attend Tri-C if shelhe meets the requirements of the specific program in which she/he is interested. The number of students with baccalaureate degrees who come to CCC for career-related education is now roughly equal to the number of CCC students who graduate with associate’s degrees and transfer to four-year colleges to finish their baccalaureate degrees.

LEAGUE ACTION: For a number of years after 1963 the League sent observers to the meetings of the Board of Trustees — until it became difficult to fmd individuals to attend. Until the mid-1980s an active Leaguer had served on the Board of Trustees.

The College is financed primarily by county tax levies, student fees, and state funds. Since 1963 the League has reviewed proposed tax levies as they have arisen. After review, the League has supported the tax levies since the financial support has been needed for the development and continued funding of the College. The last levy was on the November 2009 ballot; it passed.

Future federal and state financial support for higher education is uncertain. The need for accessible and affordable education and workforce training continues. The League should be prepared to evaluate any future funding proposals for Cuyahoga Community College.

County Government (1979)

(Structure of County government, County Finances and Urban Services were placed under one item, “County government” at the May 1979 County Convention)

Support of a single executive and a responsible representative legislative body; Support of adequate financing for county services and capital improvement; support of provision of urban services by that level of government that can be most effective.

1. SUPPORT OF A SINGLE EXECUTIVE AND A RESPONSIBLE REPRESENTATIVE LEGISLATIVE BODY.

  1. A clearer delineation of policy-making and administrative functions. It is inherent in the commissioner form of government that the Board of Commissioners performs both functions.
  2. A single executive, preferably elected, responsible for all county departments. The Board of Commissioners at present has some control over the job performance of the elected department heads. An elected executive would become the spokesman for the county and be responsible to the voters for the administration of county affairs.
  3. A legislative body of moderate size (seven to eleven) to function as a policy-making body, elected in part from districts and in part at-large. The Board should represent various interests in the community, but not be so large as to be unwieldy. It should represent the broad interests of the county as well as those of particular areas. Since the Board of Commissioners would function as a policy-making body, the Leagues felt that the salaries paid the part-time members should be less than those now provided in Sec. 325.10 of the Revised Code for County commissioners.
  4. Appointment rather than election of some presently elected department heads. This would allow the heads of county departments to be chosen on the basis of job qualifications and make them directly responsible to an executive head of the county, and also allow shortening the county ballot and eliminating overlapping functions.

HISTORY: County government, its structure and function, has been a concern of the League for many years. It is the arm of the state through which a multitude of services are dispensed, and stands between the purely local interests of the municipalities and the impersonal state government. The Leagues in the county, before and after their organization into an Inter League Organization, have studied county government, and have taken action to improve it. In 1933, the Ohio League of Women Voters worked successfully for the passage of the “County Home Rule” amendment. In 1954, a study emphasizing the Board of County Commissioners led to publication of a booklet, “Your County Commissioners–Board of All Trades.” In 1959, the “Metro” proposal was placed before the voters after an exhaustive study of metropolitan problems by a Charter Commission. The League studied the Charter and supported it, but the issue was defeated on a city-suburb split. The League worked for the adoption of the Alternative Form, as permitted by the Ohio Revised Code, feeling that it was a step toward needed reforms. In 1963, it cooperated with the Citizens League on a petition drive, but the then needed ten percent of the voters was not obtained. In 1966-1968, the Leagues made a study of all county functions and published “Here’s Cuyahoga County” –a book that had wide distribution. In both studies, the League concluded that a clearer distinction between the policy-making and administrative functions of the county officials was needed.

A brief study in 1969 prepared the County League to make specific recommendations on the Alternative Form of County Government being proposed for this county. In 1969, the County Commissioners appointed ~ an advisory committee, on which sat the former president of the county LWV, to recommend a plan for ~ounty re-organization. The issue was narrowly defeated that year. Feeling that the voters had not had time to thoroughly understand the benefits of the proposal, the League, together with the Citizens League, spearheaded a petition drive, now requiring only 3%, to re-submit substantially the same issue to the voters in 1970. Again it failed.

In 1978, the Citizens League approached the ILO again with the idea of promoting an alternative form for Cuyahoga County. However, it was felt that the time was not ripe. In 1979, with the problems of Cleveland uppermost in everyone’s mind, the League again discussed such a possibility with the Citizens League. They received financial backing to initiate a drive to put a charter proposal on the ballot. The League supported the attempt to have an alternative form of government passed in November, 1980. League members solicited signatures on the petitions and then worked hard to have the issue pass. The issue failed and League people found that the defeat was because of the lack of knowledge on the part of the electorate as to what county government does.

In November 2009, following a campaign spearheaded by various interested groups, including the Leagues of Women Voters in the county, Cuyahoga County voters passed “Issue 6,” which reorganized county government. The new government structure calls for one county executive and 11 council members, each from a different district. First elections will be held in 2010.

2. ADEQUATE FINANCING FOR COUNTY SERVICES AND CAPITAL ImPROVEMENTS

POSITION: Support of the following measures to insure adequate fmancing for county needs:

  1. Additional sources of revenue to finance increasing county responsibilities. In view of the increasing demands for county services, and the fact that property taxes provide the main source of local revenue for both municipalities and school districts, the League believes that tax sources other than the property tax should be utilized for fmancing of county services.
  2. Long-range planning for the development of county capital improvements. A capital improvements plan should set priorities for public improvements, document the necessity, estimate costs and anticipate means for financing each project.
  3. Adequate maintenance of county facilities. There should be provision in the annual budget for adequate maintenance of the county’s capital assets.

HISTORY: The Leagues in Cuyahoga County studied “Sources and Uses of Revenue” from 1960 to 1963 and as a result adopted the three support positions under fmancing and a fourth in support of the county welfare program. The members analyzed state statutes pertaining to county fmance and studied the budget-making procedure. County officials including officials of the courts, must annually submit their budgetary requirements at hearings held before the county tax budget is adopted in July and the appropriation measure the following march. The League believes its support positions above can best be implemented by noting these hearings and using them as opportunities to testify.

When the General assembly made available to counties certain excise taxes in 1967, the League testified in favor oflevying the additional sales tax and county motor vehicle fee. The League supported the bond issue for a Justice Center in 1968 (defeated) and in 1970 (passed) as part of the long-range capital improvements program planned for the county. In 1971, the League supported the County Hospital Improvement Levy as part of a long-range plan for the development of County hospital facilities and services.

In 1972, the League supported a general levy for expanded services for mental health, retarded persons, drug programs, improved criminal justice procedures, and airport safety. While the levy was planned to support a number of services in which the League is interested, the fact that it was a general levy, with the County Commissioners being responsible, rather than one earmarked for a specific purpose, added to the reasons for League interest. The League believes that responsible government requires responsibility for financing programs. Since it is apparently easier to ‘sell’ an earmarked levy, the levy lost.

Since then, League has actively investigated each levy proposed by interviewing County commissioners and then deciding whether to support or not on the basis of its fmdings.

3. PROVISION OF URBAN SERVICES TO THAT LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT THAT CAN BE MOST EFFECTIVE

POSITION: The League of Women Voters will support such governmental organization for the provision of urban services to the citizens of the county as will meet the following criteria:

  1. The government unit responsible for providing any urban service should be of a size to enable the benefits from that service to be used and paid for primarily by the people who live within its jurisdiction. (Benefits derived from, or ill effects from not providing, should have a minimum of “spillover”)
  2. The unit of government should be large enough to provide service with maximum economy. (Unit costs tend to go down as the output increases.)
  3. The unit of government providing a service should represent a geographic area that lends itself to effective performance. (If the area relates to the service, such as a watershed area, the government or agency must have political control ofthe area to be effective.)
  4. The unit of government performing a function should have the legal authority and the administrative and fmancial ability to carry out the service assigned to it.
  5. The unit of government should be responsible for a sufficient number of functions to be able to balance conflicting interests, assign priorities and plan for the future. (Since services depend on one another, no single interest should be allowed to dominate. A government with varied duties can better cope with overall needs.)
  6. The performance of functions by a unit of government should remain controllable by and accessible to its residents.

HITORY: The League supports local provision of services when they can be handled efficiently and effectively. However, when the entire metropolitan area needs to be served, provision of the services through an area-wide approach is indicated.

The League recognizes that increased inter-relatedness of governments requires concern on the part ofthe ,tate and federal governments for efficient and effective administration of urban services. Their appropriate role includes setting and enforcing minimum standards, providing fmancial and technical assistance and providing needed enabling legislation for new approaches.

League members were asked to consider the level of government that would be appropriate to provide each of the services required by residents in this urban area. The members agreed that a two-level governmental approach could be useful in dealing with some services. However, some sort of criteria were required for individual decisions as to which level of government was most appropriate for rendering a particular service. In 1968 the County Convention adopted a program item called “Urban Services: Development of criteria to determine which services should be county-wide and which should be local.” It was believed that agreement on criteria would enable the local Leagues to agree on action to be taken on such subjects as transportation, health services, etc.–services extending beyond local boundaries. The League studied several sets of suggested guidelines to determine the particular combination ofloca1county government that should be used to dispense a particular service, and a set of criteria were chosen that were suggested in a report of the President’s Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations “Performance of Urban Functions–Local and Area-wide” (1963).

In August 1970, the County Board used this position and the criteria to judge the validity of a proposed merger of the Cleveland Public Library and the County Library System. The Board determined that the League could support the merger, and testimony to that effect was given. In May 1971 another opportunity for public comment arose and the L WV of Cuyahoga County restated its position. At this time, however, the Cleveland League spoke officially against the merger. The result was adverse publicity for the League and a crisis situation between the ILO and the Cleveland League. The source of the specific controversy was eliminated when the library merger was turned down by the Cleveland Board of Education. However, the crisis caused by the attempted use of the criteria on Urban Services led to a realization that the use of the criteria was not going to be effective in resolving the type of controversy they had been designed to resolve.

Discussions of the situation led to county-wide League agreement and a series of procedures to be used for implementing the urban services position.

In 1974, a new study was undertaken under the title of “Study of Possible Methods of Governing the Greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area.” In 1975 at County Convention the word “metropolitan” was changed to “regional,” recognizing that many services were already being planned by inter-county agencies, and that all future alternatives should be considered. The fIrst year of the study considered regional government in other cities. A conference on Regionalism was held and a report of it was prepared by the Urban League.

In the spring of 1976, the twelve local leagues joined together to discuss the possibilities of regional government and overwhehningly once again accepted the two-tier structure of county government. These were not consensus meetings, but the following biases were apparent: regional or county control was favored for transportation, water supply, sewers, etc.; local control was preferred for waste collections, snow removal, police and fIre. Local school control was preferred by a slim margin. In 1980, with the discussions on the alternative form of government proposal, these views were reaffIrmed.

In 1983, a new addition of “Here’s Cuyahoga County” was published with the hope that the voters will become familiar with the workings of the county government.

In 1996, the LWVO Education Fund and the League of Women Voters of Cuyahoga County surveyed Cuyahoga County voters to discover their level of knowledge about county government issues and their opinion of proposals for changing county government. The League found that although voters admit not having a solid understanding of county government, they do not believe that it is doing a good job. Three­quarters felt a need for change, but they were unclear about what they wanted. They did, however, prefer electing administrative officials rather than having them appointed, and strongly supported electing a legislative body by districts. And they also selected the League of Women Voters as the organization they would trust to provide them with information on county government.

In 1998, the League of Women Voters of Cuyahoga County published a pamphlet, “Government of Cuyahoga County: What It is, and a History of Efforts to Change It.”

The League’s concern for improving county government will continue. A temporary solution has been the creation of independent authorities to deal with specific services. League needs to monitor these agencies as well as the County Commissioners.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (1979)

Support of the continued development of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and its restoration and preservation as an open green area.

POSITION:

  1. Continued acquisition of the designated and needed land.
  2. Efforts to increase public understanding of National Park Service methods of operation, such as land acquisition, relocation assistance, boundary adjustments.
    1. Adequate funding for land acquisition, development and operation.
    2. Citizen participation in major plans and decisions of the CVNP by such means as public hearings and citizen advisory groups.
    3. Agreements between the CVNP and area communities regarding methods of and compensation for road maintenance, fIre fIghting, rescue and law enforcement.
      1. Achievements of highest water quality standards through the combined efforts of all concerned communities, enforcement agencies and the National Park Service to assure recreational use of the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries.
        1. Community efforts, by such means as a council of adjacent communities, to work together on such common problems as standards for development and zoning and good land use on the periphery.
  1. Development of a transportation plan for the CVNP and environs. Such a plan would include public transport access from the Cleveland and Akron areas, valley trains, periphery parking and shuttle busses.
  2. Development of facilities and programs that keep the valley natural, peaceful, unpolluted and uncrowded. For example:

-environmental education and nature study. -interpretation and preservation of the valley’s historic past.

-trails for such activities as hiking, biking, horseback riding. -primitive overnight campsites without motor vehicle access.

-non-motorized water activities such as canoeing, canal boat rides.

  1. The League opposes developments that destroy natural areas, intrude on the historic setting, or are

noisy and polluting. For example:-overnight camping for trailers and motorhouses.   -high tension wires and towers.  -motorboating, snowmobiling, motorcycling

HISTORY: Despite the post World War II building boom, the Cuyahoga River Valley between Akron and Cleveland remained an oasis of quiet towns, farms, woodland, and metro parks. The high bridges of new highways didn’t disturb the scene below nor did the development of Hale Farm Museum and Blossom Music Center.

However, in the late sixties and early seventies Nick Miletti planned and built the Coliseum. This rallied area residents who became concerned about the issues of conservation and preservation verses development that would surely follow a popular sports facility. Citizen groups and coalitions soon formed to study the issues involved. Leagues in the Akron and Cleveland area were active participants.

“How can we avoid suburban sprawl and the air and water pollution, that would result? How do we preserve this rare and lovely area between two large cities? How can we save the evidence of past centuries; the canal, historic buildings, traces of early Indian settlements?” A large public park seemed the answer. The State of Ohio thought the park idea a good one, but could not fund the purchase of a large enough tract of land.

Congressman John Seiberling sponsored a bill to establish the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It passed both -~enate and House. At the last minute President Ford threatened a veto because of budget considerations.

Local phone trees got busy, and park supporters deluged the President with please for support and all the reason why a national park should be where the people are. The President listened. The park became a reality.

In a few months National Park representatives invited a number of us involved in local park coalitions to help in planning the park’s future. We were given elaborate study materials and participated in meetings to decide what activities would best meet needs of park visitors with the least harm to the environment. Should the park allow camping, horses, hunting, biking, etc.?

Today the Cuyahoga V alley National Park preserves the history of early settlers, the canal, and Indian traces. Historic buildings have been rehabilitated. An environmental studies camp has been established. An active interpretive center educates and entertains. New trails have been built including the popular bike trail along the canaL An old fashioned passenger train between Akron and Cleveland delights tourists of all ages. Metro parks, Hale Farm and Blossom have a cOoperative relationship with the national park. This will be a vital link as the canal corridor between Cleveland and Zoar is developed.

The Coliseum stood empty for several years and was fmally demolished. A developer hoped to build a mall there. The acreage was bought by a coalition of groups spearheaded by The Trust for Public Land. Today young trees, grass and wild flowers mark the vanished buildings and parking lots that so recently appeared to be a permanent part of the Ohio landscape.

Although in recent years, the L WV has not been active in CVNP affairs, it added a very important voice in lobbying state and national legislators to fund the proposed park. League members were central figures in coalitions planning the park’s future.

Health Services (1973, 1983, 1984, 1997)

Support of a health care delivery system that provides adequate health care to all citizens of Cuyahoga County, and effective comprehensive health planning by bodies representative of consumer interests as well as health professionals. Continued evaluation of health care services for all in Cuyahoga County with particular attention to financing, delivery distribution and availability.

POSITION

  1. All Citizens of Cuyahoga County should have access to adequate health care.
    1. For health care to be adequate, a comprehensive range of services must be available for preventive, acute and long-term care.
    2. More emphasis needs to be placed on preventive medicine in order to safeguard the health of county residents and reduce the overall costs of their care.
      1. More ambulatory and home health services should be developed in order to obviate or reduce the institutionalization of patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities.
      2. The responsibility for assuring high-quality health care must be shared by health professionals, who know what can be provided, and consumers, who understand the public’s demands for care. Government assistance is needed to relate the services of providers with the needs of consumers and to regulate and fmance parts of the health care system.
        1. Economical and fair health care delivery requires effective comprehensive health care planning.

Bodies charged with the responsibility for making decisions on health care should be properly representative of the constituency served. The League’s support of increased powers for comprehensive health planning bodies is contingent upon proper representation of consumer interests in decision-making board and committees.

  1. Patients have the right to be fully informed about their illness, its treatment and its fmancial costs when they receive health care at any delivery point.
    1. In 1997 the League added to the Health Services position that they do not support privatizing MetroHealth.

HISTORY: The study of Health Care Delivery Systems in the county was undertaken in 1973- 75 because the League is periodically asked to support tax levies for health and welfare services. A thorough understanding of the whole system was needed in order to relate specific funding requests to the total needs.

Resource material published by the study committee, “Collected Papers on Health Care Services” (1074) and “Health Care at the Crossroads” (1975) were used by League members for information leading to the above position. A study of a proposed capital improvement levy for the County Hospital system in 1974 resulted in the issuing of a report “Cuyahoga County Hospital-Financing and Development. ”

Meetings of the Metropolitan Health Planning Committee have been regularly monitored. Particular emphasis has been placed on participation by health care consumers in decision-making.

In May 1980, the L WVUS adopted a study of Health Care Systems. With the County Study as background, local Leagues in the county can relate county-supplied services to federal programs.

In April, 1982 in compliance with direction given by the delegates to the 1981 convention, the Health Committee presented a program giving its fmdings on health services in Cuyahoga County. Health centers were visited and health officials interviewed in order to gather the information. The results are on file in the County League office. In 1982-83 the committee continued its visits to health care providers as well as the Health Museum. A new study “Study of mental health services as it relates to facilities, treatment, and aftercare” was adopted at the May,

1983 Convention. This is seen as a one year study.

In the 1999-2000 year, the League members participated in a coalition to lobby for retention of the pharmacy at MetroHealth Hospital, which serves a large percentage of the poor in the county.

Natural Resources (1966, 1999)

Support restoration and preservation of Lake Erie and its Tributaries.

POSITION:

The League of Women Voters supports:

1. A coordinated water management program that will provide:

  1. An adequate pollution control program with strict enforcement
  2. An adequate flood control program
  3. An adequate storm drainage control program
  4. Governmental units with enough geographic area and enough power to plan and administer the control of pollution, flood and storm drainage.

2.Implementation of the position to restore and preserve Lake Erie and its tributaries through pollution control, abatement and prevention and through improved planning and management of water and related land resources.

HISTORY:

Founded in 1966, the Lake Erie Basin Committee consisted of about 70 local and area Leagues in the five­state Lake Erie watershed in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. There has been joint testimony on such concerns as drilling for oil and gas in the lake, dredging and drainage. The Cuyahoga County League supports the efforts of the Coastal Resource Management Project that has worked toward the goals of the original federal Coastal Zone Management program. Ohio Department of Natural Resources cooperated with representatives from the League, Regional Planning Agency, Sierra Club, Great Lakes· Tomorrow, and the Trust for Public Land. Foundation money was sought to establish a commission of experts from different areas in Ohio for the purpose of establishing goals and means toward better planning and use of our Ohio North Coast.

At the Cuyahoga County League Convention in 1999, the delegates voted to remove the connection with the Lake Erie Basin Committee from their position. This was the culminating event after years of discussion over jurisdictional and procedural matters. However, the substance of the League’s position has not changed.

With the realization of how much the American share of programs is being cut, shoreline programs, Clean Water Acts, etc, seem even more important.

Regionalism (2009)

Support of:

1. Voluntary intergovernmental, collaborative agreements which reduce costs, foster transparency and accountability, improve efficiencies and maintain service standards.

Such agreements:

-are appropriate at local, county, metropolitan, multiple-county or regional levels; should be practical and of manageable size and scope;

-should demonstrate the interconnectedness of all neighboring communities.

2. Regional tax-base revenue sharing as a con-structive form of intergovernmental cooperation for the mutual benefit of participating communities.

Such a program should:

-advance smart growth, economic development and fiscal equity within the target area;

-impact positively upon infrastructure, housing, education, recreation, inclusion and/or shared public facilities;

-set standards for finance, staffing and admini-stration that are consistent, accountable, transparent and efficient;

-pool contributions from an agreed portion of new growth in local commercial and indus-trial tax revenue sources;

-distribute that revenue pool among participat-ing communities to further fiscal equity across the area;

-honor local sovereignty and school funding re-sources;

-be flexible and grow with time.

Formulas for collection and allocations should be determined by the participating communities and periodically reviewed.

Transportation Policy on Outmigration in Cuyahoga County (1997-1999)

Support of comprehensive planning by local, county, regional, state, and federal governments and agencies in order to achieve policies on transportation, tax structures and allocations that will encourage a sustainable balance between urban areas, farmland, and open spaces.

POSITION: The League of Women Voters believes that the government of Cuyahoga County should work with federal, state, regional, and local governments and agencies to develop and implement transportation policies that encourage balanced growth and quality of life for residents in Cuyahoga County.

The League of Women Voters of Shaker Heights supports:

  • A comprehensive plan to discourage sprawL
  • Policies to be used by appropriate agencies to maintain roads rather than favor new construction.
    • Allocation of transportation dollars in a manner that offers incentives to encourage maintenance of infrastructure, farmland, and open space and disincentives for unmanaged growth.
    • A comprehensive intermodal transportation system that takes into consideration pedestrians and bicyclists.

HISTORY: At the 1997 LWVCC Convention, the delegates approved a two-year study on “The Impact of Transportation Policy on Outmigration From Cuyahoga County.” Cuyahoga County cannot, on its own, develop policies of taxation, of allocation of resources, or other decisions relegated to local government entities. It, therefore, has become imperative that the County Government work to exert influence on local, regional, state, and federal agencies as much as the law will permit.

Resource material prepared by the Study Committee was sent to every League member in the County. The material was used by members at informational/consensus meetings held during March, 1999.

On July 7, 1999, the LWVCC Board adopt’cd the position statement based on the consensus reached atthe meetings.

In April, 2000, the L WVCC published a booklet, Land Use and Transportation Policy in Cuyahoga County, based on the study materials.

HISTORY: A LWVUS study of air pollution resulted in a position statement in 1971 that gave high priority to the reduction of automobile caused air pollution and encouraged the development of alternate transportation systems. The air quality position together with the” access to employment and housing” position form the basis for the League’s transportation position. The statement emphasized citizen participation in decisions and opened the way for action by all Leagues at state, regional and local levels. In 1972, the National Board synthesized the two positions into a unified transport statement and issued guidelines for action under Human Resources and Environmental Quality positions. In the same year a study of Transportation needs in Cuyahoga County was independently undertaken. Local Leagues agreed that an area-wide transit system, publicly supported, was needed, and were ready to work for the establishment of a Regional Transit Authority.

The Regional Transit Authority was established in November, 1974 but the passage of a 1 % sales tax was necessary to bring it to life. With active participation of all Leagues the sales tax was approved on October 1975 and RTA became a reality. Fares remained at an agreed low rate until 1981, all public transit lines in the county have been or are being acquired by RTA, the Shaker Rapid has been rehabilitated, plans for rehabilitation of the Airport- Woomdemere Rapid are waiting sufficient capital improvement money for completion. Community Responsive Transit and “extra life” service for the elderly and handicapped fulfill some of the school, medical and social needs for transit. Senior citizens with RTA identification ride at reduced rates. Students with RTA identification may buy tickets at their schools at reduced rates or ride at full fare. Seniors pay 25 cents to ride between the hours of 10 and 4 p.m. and 40 cents during rush hours on local buses. Students and everyone else pay 85 cents for local buses and $1.00 for express buses and rapids.

Federal capital and operational funds, state subsidies, fares and the sales tax funded the system adequately until federal and state budgets were reevaluated in 1981 and shares of pass through and direct governmental subsidies were cut. Reduced sales within the county also reduced revenue. At present the complete disappearance of operating assistance from United States Mass Transit Administration is anticipated by 1985.

At the May, 1981 convention, delegates voted that all 12 Leagues would share observation of the RTA Board on a monthly basis. It was agreed that different observers each month give evidence of wide interest and strength to members of a tax supported transit system still in its developmental state. Certain publicly important changes in RTA Board policies had been achieved, e.g., democratically run Citizens Advisory Committee and public hearings regarding service and fare changes held in accessible locations at times convenient to the public. However, it is most important that continued monitoring of the Board meetings of RTA is necessary for these programs of RTA to remain viable.

Agenda for Action: Shaker Heights and Cuyahoga County (summary)

May 8th, 2010  |  Published in Agenda for Action

SHAKER HEIGHTS PROGRAM SUMMARY

COMMUNITY PLANNING

LWV- SH supports

1. The City government continuously focusing on integration maintenance, expansion of the tax base, maintenance of housing stock, and a high-quality educational system

2. The writing of a short-term (no more than five years) citywide plan that identifies needs, goals, priorities, and means of implementation

3. Scheduled public joint meetings of the three taxing bodies (City, Schools, and Library) to discuss matters of common interest

4. Expansion of the tax base with reasonable efforts to assure that the integrity of the surrounding residential area will not be harmed

5. Maintenance of the City’s high-quality services, educational system, and public transportation, with investigation of additional needs

6. Evaluation of residential housing ordinances and inspection procedures

HUMAN RELATIONS

LWV-SH supports:

Evaluation and continued support of measures designed to promote understanding and responsibility in a diverse and multiracial community, with a focus on housing

MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE

LWV-SH supports:

1. Continued evaluation of government in Shaker Heights and of its tax resources and allocations

2. A strong mayor-council structure with a full-time administrator appointed by the mayor with the approval of council

3. Staggered terms and non-partisan at-large elections for city council

4. Attention to on-going charter review

5. Adequate financing with emphasis on new sources of revenue to support the city’s needs

6. Public disclosure and accessibility of financial information

RECREATION

LWV-SH supports:

1. Cooperation between the City and Schools on the construction of any additional recreation facilities

2. Maintaining the present level of publicly owned open space; additional open space should be sought in the more densely populated areas

3. Maintaining a balance of recreational facilities and publicly owned open space

4. A recreation program in Shaker Heights that is operated by one governing body

5. A formal agreement that specifies the relationship between the City and the School District and the responsibilities of each in the programming and facilities for recreation

6. Financial support for recreation from both the City and the School District with transparency in their relationship

7. A joint recreation committee composed of representatives from the community, sports associations, City Council, and the School Board

8. A recreation department with clearly defined goals and objectives

9. Continued evaluation of programming facilities and financing with attention to active playground leadership

10. Continued evaluation of use and maintenance of open spaces

11. Cooperation among regional entities to expand recreational offerings

SHAKER HEIGHTS PUBLIC LIBRARY

LWV-SH supports:

1. Continued evaluation of financing and future development

2. Involvement of the library board in city planning

3. Cooperation and coordination with all levels of government

4. An active public information and education program

5. Cooperation between public libraries and school libraries

6. Support for sustaining a volunteer citizen’s group with well-defined goals

SHAKER HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM

LWV- SH Supports:

1. Study and evaluation of educational priorities within the school system as they relate to maintaining a high-quality educational program, with adequate budgetary control and long-term financial planning

2. Adequate financing of the school system

3. An objective to achieve a racial composition at each school which reflects the district racial balance.

4. Cooperation among the schools, public libraries and the city

TRANSPORTATION

LWV-SH Supports:

Continued evaluation of issues relating to transportation in and through Shaker Heights, including roadways, freeways, and public transit facilities, so that Shaker Heights is maintained as a desirable residential community. Support of mass transit as a public service, publicly controlled with operating costs subsidized, to meet the transit needs of all residents of Cuyahoga County, including the special transit needs of senior citizens and handicapped persons.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY ISSUES

REGIONALISM: INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION AND REGIONAL TAX-BASE REVENUE SHARING (2009)

1. Support of voluntary intergovernmental, collaborative agreements which reduce costs, foster transparency and accountability, improve efficiencies, and maintain service standards

2. Support of regional tax-base revenue sharing as a constructive form of intergovernmental cooperation for the mutual benefit of participating communities

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY

Support of comprehensive planning, improved bail system, rehabilitation of offenders, alternative handling of some “no-victim” crimes, improved police-community relations, uniform code of training and conduct and adequate financing

CLEVELAND-CUYAHOGA COUNTY PORT AUTHORITY (CCCPA)

Support of the following: CCCPA should be required by its local Rules and Regulations to prepare plans for future developments and conduct public hearings to gather comments on these plans; CCCPA should be required to present a budget that clearly demonstrates how tax levy funds are being spent; CCCPA proposed capital projects funded by tax revenues should include: purpose, needs and plans; demonstration of market demand and public consensus; cost effectiveness, including a projected Return on Investment (ROI); Overall community impact, including economic and environmental factors.

CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Support of Cuyahoga Community College as the two-year higher education institution in the County that provides accessible and affordable educational programs and services which meet the needs of the County’s population

COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Support of a single county executive and a responsible representative legislative body; support of adequate financing for county services and capital improvement; support of provision of urban services by that level of government that can be most effective; support of measures to promote the accountability, accessibility, visibility, citizen participation in and coordination of all boards (i.e., authorities, boards, commissions, and special districts) connected to Cuyahoga County governance

CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

Support of the continued development of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and its restoration and preservation as an open green area

NATURAL RESOURCES

Support restoration and preservation of Lake Erie and its tributaries; support of a coordinated water quality program; support of a precautionary moratorium on all new Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) that produce untreated animal waste. Support of improved and similar wastewater transportation, delivery and treatment systems on each CAFO site within the Lake Erie Watershed.

TRANSPORTATION POLICY ON OUTMIGRATION IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY

Support of comprehensive planning by local, county, regional, state, and federal governments and agencies in order to achieve policies on transportation, tax structures, and allocations that will encourage a sustainable balance between urban areas, farmland, and open spaces

HEALTH SERVICES

Support of a health care delivery system that provides adequate health care to all citizens of Cuyahoga County, and effective comprehensive health planning by bodies representative of consumer interests as well as health professionals. Continued evaluation of health care services for all in Cuyahoga County, with particular attention to financing, delivery distribution, and availability.

Agenda for Action for Action: Shaker Heights (complete)

May 8th, 2010  |  Published in Agenda for Action

This is the complete Agenda for Action, including positions and background for each item in the agenda. The background information was last updated in 2007; although our agenda and positions have not changed since then, the background for each item should be updated. We plan to do that this year.

COMMUNITY PLANNING

LWV – SH supports

1. The City government continuously focusing on integration maintenance, expansion of the tax base, maintenance of housing stock, and a high-quality educational system. (Adopted 1987)

2. The writing of a short-term (no more than 5 years) citywide plan that identifies needs, goals, priorities and means of implementation. (Adopted 1987)

3. Scheduled public joint meetings of the three taxing bodies (City, School, and Library) to discuss matters of common interest. (Adopted 1987)

4. Expansion of the tax base with reasonable efforts to assure that the integrity of the surrounding residential area will not be harmed. (Adopted 1987)

5. Maintenance of the City’s high quality services, educational system, and public transportation, with investigation of additional needs. (Adopted 1987)

6. Evaluation of residential housing ordinances and inspection procedures. (Adopted 1979)

Positions

LWV-SH believes that:

Integration maintenance, expansion of the tax base, maintenance of housing stock, and a high-quality educational system are the four critical areas for the City to address continuously.

The City needs to write a short-term (no more than 5 years) citywide plan that identifies needs, goals, and priorities and recommends plans for action.

All three taxing bodies (City, School and Library) should communicate in scheduled public meetings to discuss matters of common interest in order to avoid duplication of services and to insure that individual decisions are made for the benefit of the whole community. This will serve to insure the most effective and efficient use of the public’s money.

The City should seek to expand the tax base with reasonable efforts to assure that the integrity of the surrounding residential area will not be harmed. Demolition, new construction, and conversion of units in residential areas are acceptable if the character of the neighborhood is preserved.

The high-quality services, educational system, and public transport must be maintained in any development plan. Areas that need to be investigated further are the need for high quality convenient one-stop shopping compatible to the surrounding neighborhood, expansion of the Library, provision for high-quality housing for adult Shaker Heights residents.

Background

In 1971, the Shaker League studied municipal finance and community planning of Shaker Heights. Positions were adopted to (1) evaluate redevelopment proposals and their financing as they affect the tax duplicate and human and physical values, with a focus on revitalization of commercial areas and (2) support long range planning. These positions were replaced in 1987.

In 1977, Shaker Heights introduced a new series of inspection procedures for residential dwellings and in 1979, a short evaluation of these procedures was undertaken.

In 1981, League voted to support the concept of development of the Shaker Boulevard median strip.

In 1987, a League study sought to establish priorities for the evaluation of development proposals. A five-point position was adopted.

In 1989, the LWV-SH opposed the initiative petition to amend the City’s plan for development of Shaker Towne Centre. The League felt that it was a band-aid approach, parts of which had been tried by the City over the years with generally unsuccessful results. The citizens of Shaker Heights soundly defeated the issue.

In 1990, the League voted to support the efforts to explore the feasibility of the development of luxury condominiums on the Malvem School property while retaining at a minimum the portion of the property containing the playground for community use.

In December of 1991, City Council adopted a “Vision Statement” or strategic plan to lead the community into the 21st century.

1991-94 the League observed and kept the membership informed of progress on Shaker Towne Centre and alternative uses developed for the City owned Moreland, Malvern and Sussex school properties.

In 1994 – 95, LWV-SH presented a forum entitled “Not in My Back Yard!” which examined issues of community planning in the face of competing and often conflicting interests.

In 1995 – 97, the Board of Zoning Appeals developed and adopted a new zoning code. The U. S. Post Office, a tax exempt facility, bought and is developing land at a prime commercial spot on Warrensville Center Road. The League continued to observe these developments and to encourage joint planning of the three taxing bodies.

In 1997-98, as part of the City reorganization community planning became Building, Housing and Planning. The City is focusing on economic development issues by looking at Shaker Towne Center, updating Vision 2000, stabilization, tax base expansion and housing preservation. An economic development task force will be put together.

Work in Progress:

HUMAN RELATIONS

LWV-SH supports

Evaluation and continued support of measures designed to promote understanding and responsibility in a diverse and multi-racial community, with a focus on housing. (Adopted 1967)

Position

The League believes that all persons should enjoy equal access to employment, education and housing, regardless of their race, color, religion, or national origin.

The League supports open housing in Shaker Heights and supports measures to enact a Fair Housing Law on a county or area-wide basis.

The League supports action by the total community to maintain Shaker Heights as a truly integrated community.

The League supports action in Shaker Heights to promote education about integration.

The League favors nondiscriminatory hiring practices in the city, (courts, and schools with positive steps to implement this policy.

Background

A four-year study resulted in consensus in 1967 on the above position.

The League supported clarification of the Governing Board’s role and the Housing Office’s role in the city and has supported a legal opinion, which declared applicability of the city’s sunshine ordinance to Board activities. We participated in a national housing Exchange Congress and with HUD block grant observing and citizen advisory committee for the Urban County, which includes Shaker Heights.

Since 1978 the League has observed meetings of the Housing Governing Board. When the Housing Office became the Department of Community Services in 1983, the League continued to observe its Governing Board.

In 1978 the League observed the impact that the traffic diverters separating the communities of Shaker Heights, Warrensville Heights and Cleveland had on relationship s within Shaker Heights.

In 1985 the League observed the community’s reaction to the city’s integration maintenance and pro-integrative efforts by means of an informal survey of the opinions of selected community leaders representing various neighborhoods. Generally the city’s efforts were favorably perceived. Also in 1985 the League supported the Fair Housing ordinance through which the Fair Housing ReviewBoard was created in 1986.

The League has supported the Human Relations Commission that was created in November 1985 to stimulate and improve human interaction between and among citizens of Shaker Heights.

In mid 1990, the East Suburban Council for Open Communities (E. S. C. O. C.) was dissolved for philosophical and financial reasons. In late 1991, the involved local municipalities funded the Cuyahoga Plan and school districts to perform similar services to those rendered by the dissolved E.S.C.O.C.

Locally, in mid 1992, the Shaker Community Service Department underwent major administrative and configurational changes.

In 1993-94 the Committee on the Center for Housing and Community Life (formerly the Community Service Governing Board and Public Relations Committee) was formed. Emilie Barnett was named Director.

In 1995-96 CHCL (The Center for Housing and Community Life) found a home in the old main library building, now named the Shaker Community Building. Under Ms. Barnett’st direction, CHCL emphasized initiatives to upgrade and/or enhance housing stock and to celebrate our diversity. In 1995, the League sponsored a forum entitled “A Conversation about Race, Culture and Ethnicity,” with a panel of diverse Shaker residents.

In 1996-97 the League co-sponsored “Community Conversations on Race, Ethnicity and Culture” with the City. The city’s pro-integrative efforts need to be enhanced and new initiatives developed to reach its goals. Emilie Barnett resigned as Director of CHCL in August, 1996.

In 1997-98, as part of the City reorganization CHCL’s functions were integrated into other departments. The Law and Pro-Integrative Services Group now includes the Pro-Integrative Housing Service. The law director is the leader of this group. The Community Life Committee completed a report outlining recommendations regarding the future of the city’s pro-integrative housing efforts.

Work in Progress:

MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE

LWV-SH supports

1. Continued evaluation of government in Shaker Heights and of its tax resources and allocations. (Adopted 1948)

2. A strong mayor-council structure with a full-time administrator appointed by the mayor with the approval of council. (Adopted 1974)

3. Staggered terms and non-partisan at-large elections for city council. (adopted 1974)

4. Attention to on-going charter review. (Adopted 1984)

5. Adequate financing with emphasis on new sources of revenue to support the city’s needs. (Adopted 1971)

6. Public disclosure and accessibility of financial information. (1974)

Position

The League believes that there should be an on-going evaluation of city government.

League members favor the retention of a strong mayor-council form of government for Shaker Heights, but support the institution of a chief administrative officer (CAO), appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Council, to assist the Mayor in the administration of the city.

The League supports retaining the non-partisan ballot, election of all council members at-large and staggered four-year terms for Council.

The League favors adding to the charter an explicit statement that meetings of City Council and of city boards and commissions are open to the public and that city records are open to public inspection.

League members favor on-going review of the city charter with the intention of making the operations of city government more efficient and more responsive to needs of the citizens.

Shaker League members support the need for new sources or revenue to enhance the tax duplicate. Members favor some type of graduated personal and corporate income tax at the municipal or state level, or both.

League members believe that the city should at least annually, make easy-to-understand financial summaries available to the public in a widely disseminated format, and more comprehensive documents available at the libraries and city hall for public inspection.

League members feel the city budget and other financial matters should be presented at Council meetings in a manner which is understandable to all. The League supports adding charter requirements for disclosure and accessibility of financial information to the public.

Background

The Shaker League adopted its position on continued evaluation of the structure of government in 1948.

The League conducted forums and adopted its support position for a strong mayor-council structure in 1974 as part of a charter review study. Members concluded that there is value in having an elected city head that is directly responsible to the people for providing political leadership and for the operation of the city government. It was also felt that an elected head is seen outside the city as a more significant leader in relations with outside groups and agencies. League members support the provision of a trained city administrator for the following reasons: as the city government becomes more complex, a professional administrator with the responsibility for coordination of city departments becomes more important. Because of increasing complexity, continuity is necessary at City Hall when the Mayor’s job changes hands. The institution of the CAO enables the office of mayor to be defined as a part-time job. League members support the inclusion of qualifications as to education and experience in the ordinance establishing the CAO position.

In 1981, League completed a two-year study of the Civil Service Commission, based on a local item Civil Service Commission. The item was then dropped without consensus being taken. If any further study were contemplated, it would now occur within the framework of this item.

In 1982, we took a brief look at the City’s budget and reviewed the impact of the recent income tax increase.

At the 1984 annual meeting, Shaker LWV members voted to change the program statement by substituting the wording “support for … attention to ongoing charter review” for the previous “support for. . . placing the question of charter review before the voters every ten years. . .”

In 1989, the League opposed the 5.5 mill tax rollback issue. While we did not back the issue, we did urge the city government to provide some tax relief to residents of Shaker Heights. The issue was defeated.

In November 1991, an issue placed on the ballot by initiative petition asked citizens to approve the rezoning instituted by City Council on the former Malvern School site to multi-family residential The City stated the change was necessary to explore the potential development of the property for luxury condominium use. The issue was defeated. The LWV-SH had publicly urged the City Council to consider options for the Malvern site that would increase the property tax base while at the same time maintain a reasonable portion of the land for recreational space and park land.

In 1990-92, in a joint financial venture between the City and the Library Board, the Main Branch Library moved to the renovated Moreland School. The City issued councilmatic bonds to pay for the renovations of the former school and the Library will repay the notes. The City acquired the former library building. Plans for its use are still being developed.

In 1993-95 the northwest quadrant of Towne Centre was developed to include renovation of the former library building into the Shaker Community Building, Karrington of Shaker Heights, and new soccer and softball fields. In response to conflict between the City and the School District over the relocation of the school warehouse in the northwest quadrant of Shaker Towne Centre, the League sent a letter to the City and the School District urging cooperation in joint planning efforts.

In 1995-96, the City joined with inner ring suburbs to address issues of urban sprawl. The City began efforts to reorganize its departments using consultants from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Implementation of the new structure is scheduled for January, 1998.

In 1997-98 the City reorganized its departments. The City continued its active involvement with the First-Ring Suburbs Consortium The City, Schools and Library continued with joint meetings on housing issues, joint gym facilities and after school programs. Key issues as seen by L WV observers: regionalism, cooperation with schools and library, and economic development.

Work in Progress:

RECREATION

The League of Women Voters Shaker Heights supports:

1. Cooperation between the City and Schools on the construction of any additional recreation facilities. (Adopted 1989)

2. Maintaining the present level of publicly-owned open space; additional open space should be sought in the more densely populated areas. (Adopted 1989)

3. Maintaining a balance of recreational facilities and publicly-owned open space. (Adopted 1989)

4.         A recreation program in Shaker Heights that is operated by one governing body (Adopted 2006)

5.         A formal agreement that specifies the relationship between the City and the School District and the responsibilities of each in the programming and facilities for recreation.  (Adopted 2006)

6.         Financial support for recreation from both the City and the School District with transparency in their relationship. (Adopted 2006)

7.         A joint recreation committee composed of representatives from the community, sports associations, City Council and the School Board. (Adopted 2006)

8.         A recreation department with clearly defined goals and objectives. (Adopted 1987)

9.         Continued evaluation of programming facilities and financing with attention to active playground leadership. (Adopted 1974)

10. Continued evaluation of use and maintenance of open spaces. (Adopted 1974)

11. Cooperation among regional entities to expand recreational offerings. (Adopted 2006)

Position

The League believes that one governing body should be responsible for the delivery of recreation programs and services to residents of Shaker Heights.  This governing body should be tax-based and provide citizens with the best possible recreational offerings and non-duplication of services.

At the same time, the League believes that financing for recreation should rest with both the City and the School District, whether in actual dollars contributed or in facilities provided for programming.  The City and the School District should have a formal agreement, with clearly defined responsibilities, for programming and facility usage.  There should also be transparency in the financial relationship between the City and the Schools to ensure public accountability and so that costs can be evaluated objectively.

The League supports a joint recreation committee that is composed of community members, public officials, and representatives from a variety of sports associations that operate in Shaker Heights.  This body can give voice to the concerns of the community and should assume an advocacy role for its needs.

The League believes that any method of structuring a recreation department in Shaker Heights must include the following criteria: clearly defined goals and objectives for recreation; direct management of recreation programming, facilities and personnel by one governing body; clearly defined lines of authority; clear channels of communication; fiscal responsibility; direct accountability to the citizens; specific written guidelines for use of facilities; public identity for the recreation department, and no reduction in the current level of programming and services.

The League supports the idea of regional cooperation with other cities and school districts when developing recreation programs and facilities.  Offers of partnerships should be evaluated for their benefits to the Shaker community.  Shaker Heights should also be proactive in seeking partnerships with area independent schools.

In the area of teenage activities, the League supports the concept of utilizing existing community groups- their facilities, leadership, and financial resources- to help effect cooperative programs capable of opening new and constructive options to the youth of the community.

The League supports the improvements of the playgrounds and city park areas in Shaker Heights with respect to innovative design, attractiveness, and safety.  The League feels that supervision of the playgrounds is important, and that the most desirable supervision is dependent upon the season, the time of day, the specific playground area in question, and adequate training of the supervisors.  The League supports long-range planning for playgrounds and recreational areas geared to all ages and all segments of the community.

Background:

From its beginning in 1947, the Shaker League has been interested in the area of community recreation.  League recommendations supported the original establishment of a Recreation Advisory Board (1948) as a joint program of the City and the Schools.  Since that time the League has made a wide variety of recommendations having to do with the staffing, financing, and facilities of recreation in Shaker Heights.  In 1956, the League cooperated with the PTA in a major study of recreation needs which led to the development of the Thornton Park facilities- swimming pool (1962) and ice rink (1968).

In 1968-69 concern about the operation of the recreation program led to a study of the structure and financing of the joint program under the Recreation Board.  The resulting consensus provided the basis for support of a strong Board to effectively coordinate a program to make optimal use of the resources of both the City and the Schools.  The 1969 consensus also strongly supported the admission of all residents of the Shaker School District to all recreational facilities and programs in Shaker Heights, a principle that is now followed in the recreation program.  League activities and recommendations were part of the stimulus for the formation in 1972 of a community wide Citizens Committee on Recreation which resulted in the Lane Report and many recommendations which are still effecting the course of recreation today.

In 1973-74, there was growing concern in the community and among members of the Recreation committee regarding playgrounds in Shaker Heights.  Specifically, questions about safety, usage, adequacy of equipment and supervision led to League to undertake a study of neighborhood open spaces of both city and school-owned playgrounds in the spring of 1974.  This study was followed by a study of the amount and kind of supervision existing on these playgrounds.

After the 1974 consensus the committee worked to build a broad base of community support for improving playgrounds.  The League has seen the establishment of the Community Spaces Committee to develop a long-range master plan for the improvement of playgrounds and other open spaces and has had a representation on this committee.  Community support steadily gathered momentum for improving playgrounds and culminated with the passage of a school bond issue in May 1977 that provided money for playground improvement.  The years 1978-79 saw the planning and construction phase of the playgrounds.

In 1979-80, an Office on Youth was established, and the selection process for citizen members of the Recreation Board was evaluated.  The League position with regard to supervision has been partially achieved in that the Recreation Department has set forth as their goal a flexible balance between active and custodial supervision.  However, the League should strongly encourage the Recreation Department to provide quality in-service training for supervisors and a greater degree of supervision of the playground supervisors themselves.

In 1982, the League recreation committee studied the new leadership, organization and programming of the Recreation Department.

In 1986, the League adopted a new study of recreation: Restudy and evaluation of the structure and financing of publicly funded recreation in Shaker Heights, with attention to the Joint Contract between the City and School District.  This was a year-long study.  In the spring of 1987, the City and School District agreed to dissolve the Joint Contract and to operate the recreation program as a department of city government.

In 1989, a series of Recreational Consensus meetings were held.  Out of these meetings three new positions were adopted concerning additional facilities, open space and maintaining a balance between recreation facilities and open space.

In 1992 the School District began renovation of several of its playgrounds while the City was discussing how to proceed and obtain community input on renovations of its playgrounds.  The City and School administration had several discussions on proceeding with renovations jointly, but no agreement was reached.

In 1993 the Recreation Committee and City administration proposed a master plan for Thornton Park which included a new gym facility, rink and water slide.  The League sent a letter to the City urging cooperation between the City and School District in the planning of this expansion.

From 1994 to 1996, the Recreation Department continued to evaluate and revise its plans for Thornton Park renovation.  In May 1996, the City put an issue on the ballot for an income tax increase to fund the renovation of Thornton Park.  The League did not support the issue because the joint planning process between the City and School District was not completed.  The issue was defeated.

In 1997-98 as part of the City reorganization, the Recreation Committee became part of the Community Life Group.  Other committees in this group are the health department and community relations which included community support, youth support, and senior adult support.  The Recreation Department has begun an extensive internal process to gain accreditation from a national recreation program accrediting organization.  Other discussions have focused on youth programming and the ongoing demand for services by Shaker citizens.

In 2003, the League began another study of recreation focusing on the relationship between the City and the School District and the governance of Shaker recreation programs and facilities.  This resulted (2006) in several revised position statements concerning good governing of recreation and one additional position statement calling for regionalism where possible in the establishment of new recreation programs or in  the construction of new facilities.

In 2004 the City conducted a Recreation and Leisure Task Force public process by which a citizen advisory committee- together with the public and a consultant hired by the City- developed ideas for Shaker’s facilities (primarily Thornton Park) and open spaces.  The list of recreational priorities contained some renovations, some expansions, and development of new amenities/facilities.  The City established a priority list and budget.  In 2006, the City held another series of public meetings dedicated to planning a renovation/ expansion of the Thornton Park pool.  The pool planning phase was conducted in the spring of 2006, and construction of a new pool and other Thornton renovations are expected to begin in August 2006.

SHAKER HEIGHTS PUBLIC LIBRARY

LWV-SH supports (all adopted 1975)

1. Continued evaluation of financing and future development.

2. Involvement of the library board in city planning.

3. Cooperation and coordination with all levels of government.

4. An active public information and education program

5. Cooperation between public libraries and school libraries.

6.  Support for sustaining a volunteer citizen’s group with well-defined goals.

Position

Continued evaluation of library finance is essential, with close attention to the new mechanism of funding implemented in 1986.

The League continues support for an increase in Main Library space in the long range planning for the library.

Also to be encouraged is more interaction between the Library Board and other local governmental bodies – City Council, the School Board, and the Recreation Department ­and where appropriate, a shared approach toward community problem-solving.

Background

The League adopted this local item in 1975 after the 1974 passage of a I-mill operating levy for the Shaker Heights Library.

Ohio’s former system of financing public libraries through an intangible personal property tax was unique among the states. While the tax had provided for some exceptionally fine libraries, it also resulted in very real inequities in the amount of funding and services provided to various libraries throughout the state. A share of the County intangibles tax was the major source of support for the Shaker library until 1986.

There was Shaker League agreement in 1976-77 that the tax system should be simplified to make it more understandable and that it should be made a part of the State Income Tax Form to increase citizen awareness of the tax and to aid in the enforcement of the collections. It was felt that any new method of financing public libraries in Ohio should involve a mix of state and local funds but local control and involvement should be maintained. The local option to raise additional tax revenues should be continued so that good libraries are not penalized, while others are brought up to meet standards.

It was also felt that a stable source of income, such as the intangibles tax provided, must be maintained. A state formula was suggested, but there was reluctance to give up established funding until the state legislature put libraries in the budget as a high priority and guaranteed comparable aid.

The League worked to insure passage of the library levy during the 1979-80 year.

The Ohio legislature addressed library financing in June 1983. The legislature set in motion a procedure to change the mechanism of funding H.B. 291, which took effect in January 1986, repealed the county-collected intangibles tax and replaced it with a new state-supported fund.

A special committee to help develop specifics for the new system was formed, Two principle concerns were: 1- that monies be distributed according to a fair formula providing for a gradual improvement of poorer libraries and 2- that no libraries receive less in 1986 than they did in 1985. The Shaker LWV observed development of the new system closely.

The League has continued to observe the Library’s financing system In January 1986, HB. 291 took effect. It is a new state-supported fund, the Library and Local Government Fund, which earmarks 6.3% of the income tax for libraries. In addition to a state monies, the library’s other major source of income is local property taxes. This is a static source of funding which does not increase with assessment over time. Rather than opting for additional levies, the Library asks the voters to approve replacement levies. The last 2-mill replacement levy was passed in 1984, with support from the LWV-SH. This levy will be subject to renewal or replacement in 1989.

Locally, over the last 10 years a number of changes in the Shaker libraries have taken place: an addition to Bertram Woods has been built, the parking problem at the Lee Road Library has been solved, hours at both libraries have been increased, a quarterly newsletter was initiated in 1978 to provide better publicity, the Friends of the Library was created and serves as a community support group, and in 1986 computerization of the circulation system was completed.

Although space problems at the Main Library continue to exist, the defeat of a 1982 bond issue and concern over the current level of taxation in the community have put any major building projects on a temporary hold. The LWV supported the bond issue in 1982.

In 1986-87 Shaker Heights has progressed in its plans for the redevelopment of the Chagrin-Lee-Avalon area. Although the Library is mentioned generally in this plan, and the Library Director and Board are involved in current planning discussions for the Towne Centre Project, there are no specific plans for expansion or relocation of the Library at this time.

In 1988 and 1989 the League studied and then opposed the ballot issue asking for the Shaker Library to join the County Library System Our members strongly support our Library remaining a separate entity. The issue failed.

In February 1990, the Library Board’s long-range Planning Committee recommended that the preferred course of action for the Main Library was to proceed with plans for it’s renovation of and move to the vacant Moreland School building. This would meet the Library’s needs for the next 20 plus years. The Library Board voted to pursue this course of action working with the City government in this endeavor.

In 1990-92 in a joint financial venture between the City and Library Board, the Main Branch Library moved to a renovated Moreland School. The City issued councilmatic bonds (such bonds are issued without a vote by citizens) to pay for the restoration of the former school. The Library is responsible for repaying the debt incurred by the City.

In 1993-94 the LWV observed the completion of the Moreland Library Building renovation and its opening in August 1993. The LWV also noted the retirement of Barbara Luton, Director of the Library, and the appointment of the new Director, Francis Buckley. The LWV endorsed the Library’s 3-mill replacement levy that appeared on the May 1994 ballot and it passed.

In 1994-95, under the direction of its new director, the Library completed a strategic plan, implemented and expanded new programs for children and adults and updated the Library’s organizational structure.

In 1995-96 the new community playground was completed next to the Library. The main library realized 1 million dollars for its second floor renovations from the passage of the 1996 School Bond Issue.

In 1997-98 the library director, Francis Buckley left for Washington, D.C. and was replaced by Edrice Ivory. The second floor renovations were initiated and will be finished late in 1998.

Work in Progress:

SHAKER HEIGHTS PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM

LWV – SH Supports

1. Study and evaluation of educational priorities within the school system as they relate to maintaining a high-quality educational program, with adequate budgetary control and long-term financial planning.(Adopted 1976).

2. Adequate financing of the school system (Adopted 1976)

3. An objective to achieve a racial composition at each school which reflects the district  racial balance. (Adopted 1985)

4. Cooperation among the schools, public libraries and the city (added 2006).

Position

The League believes there should be an on-going evaluation of the school system and an awareness ofthe educational priority-setting process.

The League believes in budgetary control and long-term financial planning for the school system The League supports adequate financing of the system LWV-SH supports an objective to achieve a racial composition at each school which reflects the majority/minority composition of the district as a whole.

LWV-SH supports the Shaker Schools Plan, which consists of voluntary busing to achieve racial balance. League support includes but is not limited to voluntary busing as a mans of achieving racial balance.

LWV-SH recommends the exploration of other means to achi ve racial balance. A major priority must be to provide equal access to education to all students of the district.

Background

The Shaker League has a long history of support for adequate financing of our school system.  Each time the community has been asked for additional tax levies or bond issues to support the schools, the League has carefully evaluated the requests before endorsing the Ievy or bond issue in question. In I 976 the-local item on the school system was adopted to emphasize our intention to continue to evaluate the school system’s financial status and needs and to support “adequate” funding for the schools in the future. This concern is paralleled by the State League’s long-standing position favoring adequate funding for schools and their studies and action to achieve an equitable basis for state support of school systems throughout Ohio.

Study and action on education at the State and National level within the League is based on the national Human Resources position which emphasizes “equal access to education, employment, and housing,” and action to “promote social justice by securing equal rights for all and combating discrimination poverty.” Based on these positions, the Shaker League assisted with the development of the Shaker Schools Plan and has supported the Plan’s goal of ending racial isolation in our school system The League is committed to continued evaluation and support of this program.

In February 1976, the Shaker League developed its position of support for an open elementary school lunch program, available to all who wish to use it. The position includes some suggested attributes of a satisfactory open lunch program, including. well-defined district-wide policies, maintenance of adequate supervisory-student ratios, and implementation within each school of a lunch program which promotes positive attitudes amongst students and staff. In June, 1976, the school system adopted an open lunch policy for all elementary students which was implemented in the fall of 1976. During the 1976-77 and 1977-78 school years the League evaluated the development and status of the expanded lunch program The wording supporting an “open elementary school lunch program,” was dropped from the item in 1981, when this became accepted procedure for the Shaker Schools.

In March 1978, the Education Committee reported to the membership on its study of issues relating to state control and financing of education in Ohio. It also reviewed income and expenditures within the Shaker system, and reported on the Shaker Schools Plan.

In March 1979, the Forums addressed the question of school funding. They focused on the financing of the Shaker Schools, particularly on the process of financial planning and the setting of priorities within the system (Developments in school funding at the state level have been updated through 1984 by the local and state education committee combined efforts.)

Committees in 1981 and 1982 focused on the special education programs in our schools and the new and innovative programs being introduced by the Shaker system (including the magnet concept). Support was voted for the levy requests both years.

In May 1983, the local Education Committee met with superintendent and treasurer of the Shaker school system to analyze the need for the proposed school levy. After studying the administration’s responses to League questions and meeting with HALT, the group opposing the levy, the committee recommended to League board that LWV-SH endorse the proposed school levy. The L WV Board unanimously supported the levy, and worked in cooperation with the School Board to help pass the levy. Although the levy was defeated in June, it was resubmitted to the voters in August and passed at that time.

During the 1983-84 school year, the local Education Committee’s primary focus was to observe the work of the School Facilities Utilization committee and to assist in the exchange of opinion and information via community meetings and a special production of Shaker Life (cable TV) with a panel discussion of the issues involved in school reorganization.

During the 1984-85 school year, the Shaker Schools plan (the voluntary busing program) was studied by the Education Committee. In May 1985, the Shaker League developed its position of support for the objective of achieving a racial composition at each school which is reflective of that of the school district as a whole. LWV – SH reaffirmed its support for the Shaker Schools Plan, but urged the School Board to explore other means to achieve racial balance. League support for integrated education includes, but is not limited to, voluntary busing.

In November 1986, after a thorough interview with the superintendent, the treasurer and the school board president, the League supported a 7.5 mill school levy. After announcing our support the L WV – SH wrote a letter to the school board outlining some budgetary recommendations. In March 1987, the school board reorganized elementary education into five elementary buildings and one grade-levels 5 and 6 building at Woodbury. During the substantial community debate the LWV-SH made public statements endorsing those elements of the reorganization which supported our positions for a racial composition at each school which reflects the districts racial balance and equal access to education.

In May of 1989, after an interview with the superintendent and treasurer of the school district, the information gathered at that meeting was presented at League forums. There was no organized opposition to this levy issue. The L WV – SH board voted to support the 9.8 mill school levy. The levy passed.

In May of 1990, after meetings with the superintendent, treasurer and business manager of the school district and holding forums for League members the board voted to support the $10 million bond issue.  These funds were needed for building repairs, modernization, and additions of classrooms, labs, playgrounds and athletic facilities. The repairs will take place over a three to five year period.

In June 1992, after meeting with the superintendent and school treasurer, the LWV-SH board voted to support the proposed 9.8 mill operating levy.

In 1993-94 the LWV looked at community/school board interaction. The League sent a letter to the School Board and Superintendent encouraging the Board to allow for public comment and questions at their monthly board meetings. In May 1994 the Board began taking and answering questions at their monthly meetings.

In 1994-96, the 8.7 mill levy on the November 1994 ballot failed, resulting in cuts for the 1994 and the 1995-96 school years, An 8.9 mill levy was placed on the ballot in February 1996 and it passed. The League evaluated both levies and supported them. Project Achieve, a districtwide effort to improve the academic performance of students was established. A $12.7 million bond issue was placed on the ballot in November 1996 and passed. LWV-SH supported the bond issue.

In 1997-98 Joint meetings were held with City Council and Library Board. They developed a model for working together, rated issues of mutual concern: youth issues, academic achievement, and recreation/sports facilities, and investigated whether it was feasible for the joint bodies to pursue a joint collaborative sport facility effort. It was decided that the Schools should go ahead on their own and the District decided to expand the High School’s South Gym. An architect was hired. The front of the High School will be altered to meet ADA requirements and to add parking. At Woodbury the library is being moved and the front of the building is being altered. No levy was put on the ballot.

Work in Progress:

TRANSPORTATION

LWVSH Supports:

Continued evaluation of issues relating to transportation in and through Shaker Heights, including roadways, freeways, and public transit facilities, so that Shaker Heights is maintained as a desirable residential community.  Support of mass transit as a public service, publicly controlled with operating costs subsidized, to meet the transit needs of all residents of Cuyahoga County, including the special transit needs of senior citizens and handicapped persons. (adopted 1972, updated 1979) (second sentence from ILO position?)

Positions

The Shaker League supported the establishment of a regional transit authority in the area. The League supports the need for cities to plan integrated transportation systems which, because they are a public service, should be publicly subsidized.

Background

The broad transportation item was adopted in 1972 and updated in 1979. It incorporated three areas of transportation concern: mass transit, roadways and freeways.

In 1972-73 a study was done locally on the Shaker Rapid system that coincided with a study by the County League for the needs and future of mass transit in Cuyahoga County. Both took a position in support of the establishment of a regional transit, authority. That same year the National League developed a policy that supported the need for cities to plan integrated transportation systems which, because they are a public service, should be publi9ly subsidized. Based upon these positions and upon its own local study, the Shaker League supported the integration of the Shaker Rapid into an area-wide Regional Transit Authority and the passage of a one per-cent sales tax for its support.

The League gave support to the bond issue passed in June1978 whose purpose was to replace some water lines, perform sewer repair and accomplish major resurfacing of several streets.

The Lomond-Sussex Plan, an extensive traffic diverting process, subsequent enforcement was closely observed by the League. Lawsuits against the closing of some streets to adjoining cities were taken to trial The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 1986 in favor of Shaker Heights’ right to put up traffic diverters.

Several years ago, two major proposed freeways threatened to dissect the city. The League took a strong stand against the Clark and Lee Road Freeways and combined with other protesting citizen groups. The plan was thwarted. The League desires to continue to maintain a position that would make it possible to move quickly and to react to any new freeway plan that might develop.

In June, 1973 the Shaker League proposed to the Cuyahoga County League that a committee be set up to evaluate the operation of the Greater Cleveland RT A. This proposal was approved

In 1980, The Shaker League applied for and received a grant from the Gund Foundation to hire a consultant to review a proposal by RTA, NOACA and ODOT to extend the Green Road rapid line to 1-271. The study was completed in June 1981 and results were published. No action is anticipated, because the proposal is no longer a priority item

1986-1996 this item was inactive.

In 1998, the County ILO (Inter-League Organization), with LWV-SH participation, embarked on a study of transportation and outmigration issues.