Monday, October 28, 2013

Ohio Ethics Commission Proves Councilwoman Headen Correct



[Click on images to enlarge.]

Dear Friends:

I am compelled to respond to the Plain Dealer endorsement editorial published October 24, 2013. In it, the editorial board cites my call for an official investigation into Mayor Daniel Ursu's request for City Council to authorize a $200,000 Brownfield Remediation Grant directly tied to mayoral candidate Dawud (“David”) Ali as "lobbing bombs without much proof."


I am pleased to announce that, on October 21, 2013, the proof came.  I am attaching an official Ohio Ethics Commission guidance letter which clearly proves me correct.  David Ali cannot both be mayor and have himself or his son develop the Chardon-Richmond Road Gas Station.  It begs the question: “What is Ali really running for?  To be a gas station owner, or to be a Mayor.” It cannot be both.


Ali, by his own words, claims it is his son who will develop the gas station at Chardon & Richmond Roads.  Please go right now to www.rtandrews.blogspot.com for a video interview of Ali immediately after the League of Women Voters candidates’ forum.  This is still illegal under the Ohio Ethics laws.


Dan Ursu must take responsibility.  He is a trained lawyer.  He has been Mayor of Richmond Heights for 24 years and is now seeking his seventh term.  He knows Ohio's Ethics Laws.  Perhaps Ali is too unaware of Ohio's Ethics laws to know that he cannot be Mayor and work to have his son acquire a property for the purpose of developing the Chardon Road Gas Station without being in direct violation of the law.  Perhaps, more destructively, Dawud Ali and the Dan Ursu are collaborating, with Ali's reward for an Ursu victory being a city and county subsidized gas station.


Like any public official, I am elected to inquire and ask the tough questions. In this case, I have brought to light to a deal that is suspect and smells - by almost any account.  It required a light to be shone when the Mayor requested City Council to act on the $200,000 grant.  Please know that I have and always will represent the people with honesty and integrity.  Thank you for the opportunity to present this new Ethics Commission guidance information to you.


Sincerely,
Miesha Wilson Headen
Council at Large, City of Richmond Heights
Candidate for Mayor

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Is Richmond Heights family friendly? Under Mayor Daniel Ursu, the answer has been no.

A plan for a family friendly Richmond Heights.  

Our DeSan Park

DeSan Park, located on Trebisky Road, is where the children of the Richmond Heights Amateur Athletic Association (RHAAA) participate in youth baseball. For years, our children and their parents have had to contend with broken restrooms, an unusable concession stand, run down baseball fields that frequently flood because of poor drainage and an unsightly adjacent weed-filled lot which used to house tennis courts. Yet, the Mayor still sends the RHAAA a $1000 bill for “maintenance.”

Contrast that with Mayor Ursu’s use of taxpayer funds on the city-owned Greenwood Farms, a seldom used 30-acre property located on Richmond Road. With the help of $21,000 of your taxpayer dollars, the mayor secured a partial grant to build a drainage and stormwater retention basins. That’s in addition to the nearly $500,000 the city has already spent on maintenance.

Our children deserve better.

 


Our Richmond Heights City Pool

In 2013, Richmond Heights was the only community in Cuyahoga County not to have an open public pool. That fact bears repeating. In 2013, Richmond Heights was the only community in Cuyahoga County not to have an open public pool.

Our current mayor has said that the decision to close our pool was a matter of “priorities.” But let’s do the math. Our pool has annual expenses of $100,000. Our pool brings in annual revenue of $90,000. This means that it only takes $10,000 to keep our pool open for the enjoyment of the children and families of Richmond Heights.

Now let’s revisit the curious case of Greenwood Farms. Our current mayor saw fit to use $21,000 of your taxpayer dollars on Greenwood Farms instead of securing the funds needed to keep our community’s pool open.

To put it simply, having an open public pool for the families of Richmond Heights was not a priority for our current mayor.

The families of Richmond Heights deserve better.

 


Solutions for the families of Richmond Heights

As a wife and the mother of two children who participate in RHAAA youth baseball, I understand the importance of recreation services to a community. A strong recreation department and a variety of community activities help foster a sense of pride and inclusion in our community.   

If elected mayor I will:

  • Keep our pool open for our families
  • Resolve the drainage and maintenance issues of the DeSan Park baseball fields
  • Provide our children with a soccer field at DeSan Park
  • Utilize our community gazebo for events that attract our entire community
  • Start a “Family Movie Night at the Pool” event series
  • Have a yearly Richmond Heights Family Day event
  • Ensure our city’s recreation activities provide employment and volunteer opportunities to our community’s youth
  • Ensure the recreational needs of the families of Richmond Heights are a continuing priority

I promise to make recreation programs that serve our entire community a priority. I promise to treat all organizations and constituencies equally.

Sincerely,
Miesha Wilson Headen
Council at Large
Candidate for Mayor of Richmond Heights

Monday, October 14, 2013

Richmond Heights Candidates Forum - Wednesday, October 16 at 7:00 PM

Hillcrest  Chapter  –  Cuyahoga  Area
LEAGUE  OF WOMEN VOTERS
PRESENTS
2013 RICHMOND HEIGHTS CANDIDATES FORUM 
Wednesday, October 16th
Richmond Hts. Middle School Gym
@ 7:00 P.M.
                           
Candidates for:
Mayor
Council at Large
Board of Education

*All candidates from each contest will be in attendance!


Co-Sponsored  by:
Heights–Hillcrest-Lyndhurst Branch of the American Association of University Women
Friends of the Beachwood Library
PROMOTING INFORMED VOTER PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT

Thank you for coming!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Public Corruption in Richmond Heights: State Auditor Investigation Called For

For Immediate Release
Public Corruption in Richmond Heights: State Auditor Investigation Called For

Richmond Heights Mayor Daniel Ursu and Richmond Heights candidate for mayor Dawud (Dave) Ali collude for an unbid contract to develop a gas station at Chardon and Richmond Roads through enactment of an ordinance authorizing a $200,000 grant application for clean-up of the Brownfield site planning that goes into the pockets of mayoral candidate Dawud Ali, who will acquire the property for free.

Richmond Heights Councilwoman at Large and mayoral candidate Miesha Headen further calls the planned no-bid development contract a robbery of tax payer dollars. “Dan Ursu should have set this out to bid. Instead, he is steering a contract,”said Headen.

The Brownfield site, located at 26102 Chardon Road is delinquent in taxes, owing the Richmond Heights Local School District and the City of Richmond Heights an amount exceeding $100,000. Through his deal with Dan Ursu, Dawud Ali stands to bypass the public auction process, acquire the real property and the environmental remediation for free.
Headen says, “not only does Ali plan to line his pockets with more than $300,000 of our taxpayer dollars, he and Ursu are doing this no-bid contract when other developers might pay the site's back taxes owed to our children. It must stop.”

“Why,” asks Headen, “is Dawud Ali, a person who has no history of civic or government involvement in Richmond Heights, suddenly interested in running for Mayor and spending thousands of his own dollars? It is because he and the Mayor have been working on this back room deal for more than a year.”

“There is an unlawful interest in a public contract at issue. Daniel Ursu has designed a political kickback scheme whereby Ursu gives the Chardon Road property and the cost of its remediation to Dawud Ali in exchange for Ali entering the Richmond Heights mayoral race and diluting the black vote.

“Why else would Ali run against Ursu while simultaneously working for a $200,000 no bid contract with him? Even worse, by not having bids, our kids lose again through the loss of a true gas station developer who would pay the delinquent property taxes.”

Headen is calling for a Special Investigation from the Ohio State Auditor, the Ohio Elections Commission and the Ohio Ethics Commission today, as well as the further investigation of Ursu and Ali's plan to hide their collusion from voters in yesterday’s passage of the $200,000 ordinance pay-off.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What Happened to the political “Artist” on Richmond Road?

The magistrate waived the $300 fine to George Zetzer which is not fair because he has cost the City a great deal of money in legal costs and grass cutting costs.  Click here to see five City employees cutting the Zetzer grass at 515 Richmond Road:

video

Based upon my conversation with a Richmond Heights police officer, the Building Department issued a court summons for George Zetzer to appear in court under the nuisance ordinance. George ignored two court dates and a warrant was issued for his arrest.  The police waited for George to exit his house.  Police offered to drive George to the court or drive him to jail. George decided he would rather go to jail.  The police did a video conference between the court and George in the jail.  George was not in the mood for anything -- he did not want to plead, he did not want an attorney, he did not want to talk.  So, the judge entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf and put a bond on him.  So, George sat in jail for SIX DAYS.  After six days, George entered a plea of no contest.  The judge gave him a fine of $300 and then immediately waived in for time served at $50 per day.  George returned home.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Promises Made, Promises Kept



PROMISES MADE, PROMISES KEPT


Transparency
Successfully advocated for the City’s Administration to publicly disclose the locations and purchase prices of the 34 parcels of property owned by the City of Richmond Heights;

Successfully advocated for the release of the organizational documents of the Greenwood Farm Historical, Cultural & Arts Association, Inc.; and,

Created a blog and email blast to keep residents apprised of the operations of the City.

Good Government/Financial Accountability/Reduction of Waste
  • Wrote the City’s policy for vehicle and cellular phone usage in compliance with best practices as outlined by the Auditor of State, thereby saving the tax-payers of Richmond Heights tens of thousands of dollars in misuse;
  • Spearheaded outsourcing of the City’s bank reconciliation to the Auditor of State and unearthing more than $300,000 in accounting errors;
  • Urged the City’s Administration to fulfill the State and County requirements of filing timely and accurate annual financial statements.  In 2012, for the first time in 10 years, the City filed its financial statements on time.


Collaboration and Cooperation with the Richmond Heights Local School District
  • Participate annually in the Booster’s Scholarship interviews for outstanding graduating seniors involved in public service and sports;
  • Wrote and sponsored a $35,000 grant from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development in order to put rubber pavement on the playground of the School;
  • Organized Right to Read Week with the Principal of the Elementary School in order to introduce the children to successful members of their community.


“No” Means “Yes” for the Richmond Heights Tax Payers
  • Consistently voted “no” to additional acquisitions of residential property for the City;
  • Consistently voted “no” to over-budget expenditures without supporting and explanatory documentation


Commitment to Broad Based Public Service

  • Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Charter Review Commission
  • Commissioner, Richmond Heights Charter Review Commission
  • Board Member, Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation
  • Board Member, Hillcrest YMCA Board of Advisors
  • Member, Women’s Committee of the Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Member, International Cleveland Communities Advisory Committee of CMA

How much does Greenwood Farm annually cost the City?



Update as of 6/25/13:  At the request of Mayor Ursu, Council members Eloise Henry, David Roche, Mark Alexander, Marcia Morgan, and Don O’Toole voted to give Greenwood Farms an additional $21,000 in tax payer dollars on June 25, 2013.  See Legislation 38-2013 and the vote in City Council.

The total purchase price of Greenwood Farm and all associated properties was approximately $664,000.  The City of Richmond Heights purchased the parcels from over two years (2004 – 2006). 

The property is more or less located at the intersection of Richmond Road and Chardon Road. It consists of approximately 17 acres.  The current market value assessed by the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office is $408,300 -- a decrease in value of 38.5%.

Even though the City of Richmond Heights is financially responsible for the routine maintenance of Greenwood Farm, the City does not control the property.  Greenwood Farm is controlled by a separate corporate entity, called Greenwood Farm Historical, Cultural & Arts Association, Inc. (GFHCAA).  It has a separate board of directors and this board is responsible for the property’s control of business affairs and funds.  There is no public access to the property.

For at least the past three years, the GFHCAA has never appeared before City Council to report on how it uses tax-payer funds, plans to be utilized for the public interest, and intends to achieve financial self sufficiency.

Annually, the City appropriates (or gives) thousands of dollars to Greenwood Farm.  GFHCAA also raises its own funding through multiple events, such as the upcoming Junk in the Trunk rummage sale.  Again, GFHCAA has not reported to the City in the past three years about how much money the organization raises or its intent to supplement tax-payer dollars.

Similar to the other properties owned by the City of Richmond Heights, the cost of maintenance of Greenwood Farm (labor and materials from the Service Department, interest in the Bond Retirement Fund, and assorted expenditures in other funds) is accounted for in the general bucket and cannot be easily or transparently itemized.