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.
- Comprehensive, system-wide planning with care taken that computerization not result in impersonalization or decreased personal accountability.
- 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.
- Emphasis on rehabilitation using halfway houses, work release programs, adequate probation services adequately staffed by trained officers, increased community acceptance and job opportunities.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Compliance by all boards with all open-meeting and open-records provisions of Ohio Law.
- Active involvement and oversight by the appointing officials with the boards they appoint or fund, including (but not limited to) the following administrative strategies:
- An open appointment process through widely circulated vacancy lists, active recruitment of candidates, safeguards against conflicts of interest, and attention to diverse representation.
- 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.
- Increased public awareness through phone listings, easily accessible websites, media attention and public spotlight.
- Ongoing monitoring of board activities through contact with appointees and regular scrutiny of the use of appropriated funds.
- Accessible, accountable and transparent actions by all board members and their boards, including (but not limited to) the following practices:
- All public business done openly, with easy access through websites, email contact, phone listings and publicized meetings.
- Regular reports to or conferences with appointing officials, including submission of annual reports, budgets, bylaws and other documents.
- Routine accounting for the expenditure of public funds to the officials who appropriated those funds.
- Cooperation with all inquiries by appointing officials, the press, service users or interested citizens.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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”)
- The unit of government should be large enough to provide service with maximum economy. (Unit costs tend to go down as the output increases.)
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Continued acquisition of the designated and needed land.
- Efforts to increase public understanding of National Park Service methods of operation, such as land acquisition, relocation assistance, boundary adjustments.
- Adequate funding for land acquisition, development and operation.
- Citizen participation in major plans and decisions of the CVNP by such means as public hearings and citizen advisory groups.
- Agreements between the CVNP and area communities regarding methods of and compensation for road maintenance, fIre fIghting, rescue and law enforcement.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- All Citizens of Cuyahoga County should have access to adequate health care.
- For health care to be adequate, a comprehensive range of services must be available for preventive, acute and long-term care.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The League of Women Voters supports:
1. A coordinated water management program that will provide:
- An adequate pollution control program with strict enforcement
- An adequate flood control program
- An adequate storm drainage control program
- 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.
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.
1. Voluntary intergovernmental, collaborative agreements which reduce costs, foster transparency and accountability, improve efficiencies and maintain service standards.
-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.