For well over a year now I’ve been writing about the community I love and have resided in for the past 17 years: The 7th ward of Cleveland. My wife and I have been exceptionally happy in the home we built on Hough Avenue back in 2000, and are very proud of the vineyard, BioCellar and soon-to-be winery that we’ve worked very hard to establish on the corner of E. 66th and Hough. We’ve managed to assist many young people in turning their lives around by offering them jobs, mentoring and a second chance when no one else would. This is part of our sincere commitment and mission of helping those truly in need.
Now I feel compelled to help my community in another capacity.
Our ward has languished for the past seven or eight years. Safety has decreased, services have deteriorated and development has been nonexistent ever since our beloved Councilwoman Fannie Lewis passed away. The situation has become intolerable, and therefore I feel compelled to act.
We had high hopes for the individual that replaced Fannie (and indeed, I even helped to get him elected), but he has turned out to be a complete and utter disappointment — indeed, a disaster. Many residents scratch their heads in wonderment over his erratic and often bizarre behavior, such as his recently coming out against the opening of an ice cream parlor in the ward. And in spite of the dire poverty in parts of our ward he does not support a living wage, which is literally unconscionable.
He has failed miserably at mastering the first basic rule of politics: Return your constituents’ phone calls in a timely manner. Indeed, he rarely returns phone calls at all … even from those who wished to do business or bring development dollars into the ward.
But chickens do come home to roost and a number of candidates have been attracted to the upcoming City Council race, all wishing to unseat the sitting councilman. But they fall into either one of two categories: Those that are as unqualified the current office holder, and those that actually could one day be qualified, but due to a lack of experience, simply cannot win at this juncture.
This dilemma leaves me with no other option: I must move to protect the ward I so love. I have the experience to jump-start development, the integrity to assure that all ward business is carried out in an above-board, open and honest manner, and I have cultivated the business and personal relationships over the years that are so critical to success.
Therefore I’m announcing my candidacy to be the representative of the 7th Ward on Cleveland City Council. I humbly ask residents for their votes, and friends who live outside the ward for their support.
I was released from prison over 22 years ago, but I know that some people will bring up your past when they are intimidated by your present. However, I’m positive there are more than enough fair-minded individuals in my community that want the same progress for the 7th ward that I do, and actually believe in second chances. And for those who don’t believe in second chances … I strongly suggest they vote for one of the other candidates. But I also urge them to quit calling themselves Christians, because they are not.
I’m eagerly looking forward to many vigorous campaign debates focused on the issues and challenges facing the 7th Ward and will be informing potential supporters how they can get involved with my campaign in future articles.
From Cool Cleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.com.