Cleveland Council Ward 12 Candidates Answer Community Media Questions

The Tremonster wishes to thank our fellow member outlets of the Neighborhood & Community Media Association of Greater Cleveland (NCMA-CLE), The Neighborhood News and the Plain Press, for their collaboration in making this Ward 12 Cleveland City Council Candidate Q&A forum possible. The Neighborhood News and Plain Press also have community media readership in Ward 12 and have published the questions and answers specific to their communities. Thanks as well to the candidates, Anthony Brancatelli and Rebecca Maurer, for their thoughtful answers.

The Tremonster: Cleveland Council’s 2013 Ward redistricting placed four streets from the Tremont neighborhood in Ward 12 with Slavic Village and Old Brooklyn–how will you make sure resident needs on these four Tremont streets are addressed as attentively as Tremont residents on streets making up much larger portions of Ward 3 and Ward 14 from their representatives?

Rebecca Maurer: Well, first and foremost, I would continue to canvass and talk with residents across the Holmden, Buhrer, and Rowley area, as I have done during my campaign. I would also maintain a strong connection to the HBR-MCC block club and Tremont West. But between 2021 and 2025 we also have a chance to re-draw the lines when City Council shrinks from 17 members to 15 because of the 2020 census results. I do not believe that the way the lines are drawn are currently fair — for exactly the reasons you describe. I would work hard to make sure slices of neighborhoods like HBR are not separated into other wards.

Anthony Brancatelli: The 11 streets in Tremont that are part of Ward 12 form a great neighborhood. There is a dynamic energy in the residents and businesses in that area. My success in serving this portion of Ward 12 is well documented in action and results. Bringing resources of over a million dollars in paving streets such as Clark, W. 14, Holmden, W. 11 or supporting existing businesses such as Clark Bar and Rowley Inn or helping new businesses like Urban Orchid as well as new affordable housing with the Land Trust are examples of what has been accomplished. I serve this portion of Ward 12 with the same energy as all parts of our community.

The Tremonster: We have reported on the receding of block club influence compared to developers in other areas of Tremont–can you help rebalance this relationship in a way that empowers residents to have more influence over how Ward 12’s Tremont blocks develop?

Anthony Brancatelli: I am proud of my background in Community Organizing previously as a board member of various CDCs for over a decade then as an Executive Director with 17 years of experience. Growing up in Ward 12 taught me to appreciate the power of resident engagement. I continue to regularly attend block club and civic meetings to support residents and gauge public interest and opinion. My proven history in Tremont and throughout Ward 12 is to place residents first, convening meetings, soliciting public input and supporting our local CDCs both financially and legislatively. I have the experience, respect and knowledge at City Hall to empower our residents

Rebecca Maurer: Ward 12 is unique because you have neighborhoods with very different block club systems. Some, like in Slavic Village, have block clubs with no formal development approval. Others, like Brooklyn Centre, have no formal block clubs. Tremont has block clubs that previously had very strong control over development approvals in their respective areas. I would absolutely respect the rights of HBR-MCC to approve any development in their area. But, as in all of Ward 12 areas, I want to expand the accessibility and attendance of the block clubs so they can be seen as legitimate representatives of their areas.

The Tremonster: As residents of the city’s core, are we entitled to the same peaceful enjoyment of our homes as suburbanites, or should we expect the noise disruption of motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs and new sound systems to continue increasing exponentially with their popularity?

Rebecca Maurer: As I write this, I was just woken up by an ATV on my street early this morning, so this issue hits close to home for me as it does for many Ward 12 residents. ATVs and motorcycles cannot take over our streets. We all know that living in a city is different from living in the country, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t require the appropriate, respectful use of sound systems and dangerous ATVs.

Anthony Brancatelli: This issue involves public safety for pedestrians and drivers, due to the often-reckless driving of the dirt bikes and ATVs. Police can legally run a “live stop” on someone found operating a dirt bike and impound any uninsured or unregistered vehicle, and any vehicle being operated by someone without a license. Most of the vehicles are ineligible for registration and end up being taken away. Many of the impounded vehicles are stolen, which can add charges. We have also had some good outcomes from large-scale enforcement events in neighborhoods. I support the new Mayor taking a tougher stance on this illegal activity and using more police enforcement.

The Tremonster: Our reporting followed FirstEnergy sub-contractors as they maimed and destroyed our remaining Tremont trees wherever branches neared power lines–will you prioritize, value, and replace our tree canopy in Ward 12?

Anthony Brancatelli: As Chairman of the Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee I fully support The Cleveland Tree Coalition as a collaborative group of public, private, and community stakeholders that have partnered with the City of Cleveland to rebuild our urban forest. The coalition is striving to create a healthy, vibrant, sustainable, and equitable urban forest by working collaboratively to implement the Cleveland Tree Plan. I continue to personally plant trees throughout Ward 12 each year and have lobbied/supported and approved 10 million dollars of our City budget to plant new trees throughout the City of Cleveland over the next decade.

Rebecca Maurer: Hell yes.

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