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Political party: Democrat (Elections in Richmond Heights are Non-Partisan) Name: Miesha Wilson Headen Age: 42 Date of birth: 1971 Place of birth: Moreland Hills, OH
Home address: 305 Knollwood Trail, Richmond Heights, OH 44143 Length of residence in that community: 11 years Twitter: @MieshaHeaden
Facebook: Miesha Headen for Richmond Heights Mayor Campaign Web site: www.mieshaheaden.com and www.mieshaheaden.blogspot.com Occupation: Adjunct Professor of Business Employer: Cuyahoga County Community College Elected office experience: Council at Large, City of Richmond Heights (elected in 2009) Non-elected office experience (boards, etc.): Commissioner, Richmond Heights Charter Review Commission Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Charter Review Commission Member, Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation Education (Please only list schools you've graduated from and list degrees if applicable): Columbia University, B.A. Ursuline College, Masters of Management (Finance and Socially Responsible Leadership) Marital status: Married Name of spouse: Raymond Headen Name and age of any children: I have two sons (9 years old and 6 years old) Organizations: Hillcrest YMCA, Board Member Women’s Committee of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Member
Should you be elected, what are three specific areas you'd like to change, address, improve or further research, and how specifically would you go about it?: I. Expand corporate and retail business in order to increase income tax receipts and reduce our reliance on burdensome property taxes.
I divide my vision for economic development into two segments: corporate expansion and retail expansion. Based upon my experience as an Auditor, I understand that measurable benchmarks must be established around economic development outcomes. Richmond Heights currently collects $4 dollars of income tax for every $1 of property tax. In contrast, Beachwood collects $7 in income tax per $1 of property tax. I would like to set a goal of $5 of income tax per $1 of property tax within the first 24 months of my administration. Regarding corporate expansion, in preparation to run for the office of Mayor, I pulled the list of the top 20 income tax producing businesses in our city. Eight of these businesses were gracious enough to allow me to meet with either the CEO or the CFO. They would welcome a relationship with the City and they were explicit about the type of assistance they want from Richmond Heights: a listing of vacant commercial property, a business directory, connections to business assistance programs, information about business retention programs. I can and will provide all of those things. These companies were also excited to learn from me that the City of Richmond Heights already has two existing enterprise zones. These enterprise zones have not been marketed in the past five years, to my knowledge. In fact, I only learned of the existence of the enterprise zone through my long term relationship with an executive of Business and Physical Development at the Greater Cleveland Partnership. I would market the enterprise zones. For retail development, this one is thornier and more complicated. Here is the solution based upon my years as a council representative and based upon my depth and breadth of my relationships with several members of the local business community. One core reason why retailers do not come and retailers leave is that the stock of commercial real estate in RH is aged and poorly maintained. In fact, of the five major strip malls in Richmond Heights, only four have done substantive capital improvements in the past 10 years. The lack of maintenance damages the desirability of Richmond Heights to retail business owners. What I propose to do is to direct our Building Department to enforce the existing codes for commercial real estate and to insist upon proper upkeep.
I will direct the Building Department to seek county funds for storefront renovations. I will mirror the efforts at to revitalize commercial property initiated by Mayor Welo of South Euclid at Cedar Center and Mayor Sellers of Warrensville Heights for Northfield Road. I have met with both Mayors.
Lastly, several business owners report to me that the City’s approval process for things such as signage, variances, and construction, is too slow and cumbersome. I will streamline and expedite these processes, similar to the process Mary Taylor is taking with the State of Ohio.
Increase housing values and increasing affluence for our residents
I met with several housing experts in Cuyahoga County regarding housing policy. They have advised me on how to build better Building Department. The Richmond Heights Building Department is the only profitable department in the city; therefore, there is the option of adding additional highly qualified and certified staff. The plan involves taking a proactive approach to the inspection of owner occupied real estate and cracking down on absentee landlords who have gone unmonitored under the current administration. If honored to be elected Mayor, I would work to monitor these landlords and protect the investments of our residents.
One of the experts with whom I communicated informed me that Richmond Heights had the largest percentage increase in foreclosed homes in Cuyahoga County from 2011 to 2012. There are currently 110 foreclosed homes. As a councilwoman, I was instrumental in getting the Neighborhood Stabilization Grant from Cuyahoga County. We received $600,000 to purchase and rehab vacant, foreclosed, and abandoned house. If elected Mayor, I would begin rehabbing foreclosed properties immediately. In addition, there are about 30 homes in RH which need to be demolished because wires, pipes have been stolen and the homes have flooded. I have been working with the office of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge to learn more about the federal/state funds available to demolish properties. III. Make recreation programs that serve our entire community a priority.
As a wife and the mother of two children who participate in Richmond Heights Amateur Athletic League 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. Whether for past accomplishments or future goals, why should voters elect you? I am running for Mayor because I believe we must do better and I have the combination of professionalism, innovation, and drive to create progress and prosperity in Richmond Heights. During my first term on Council, I have been a friend and a fearless advocate for the people I represent.
NOTE TO CANDIDATES: Please be aware that this questionnaire will be published.
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