1. Please introduce yourself to the Plain Press audience and describe the skills, resources and experience that will help you to address some of the pressing concerns of the City of Cleveland as a City Council Representative from Ward 11. (Please limit answer to 200 words or less)
1) My name is Michael Masterson and I’d like to thank my neighbors for nominating me as a candidate for Ward 11 City Council representative. I graduated from St. Edward high school then studied at the University of Toledo before joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Midwest. In the past, I was the Director of the Juvenile Alternative Development Experience, as well as other social justice positions. Currently I’m a union (Laborers’ Local #310) construction worker, specializing in restoration and preservation. That is my intention for our neighborhood; its restoration and preservation. Not just structurally, but spiritually we will restore a sense of pride and preserve an attitude of respect for one another. This is how we will improve our quality of life advance the common good, together. I will bring respect, compassion, a serious work ethic, and humility as my core tools to the job.
2. Describe an important issue facing residents or stakeholders in Ward 11 and how you would address that issue as a City Council Representative (500 words or less).
The scourge of vacant homes and abandoned properties is an important issue facing our neighborhood. Vacant homes attract criminals and vandals and drag all our property values down. Many of these homes are in pretty good shape and with a little work can be very nice homes. Some are condemnable and must be torn down. One thing for certain is that these properties cannot sit empty and in limbo for months and years on end. I will demand the bankers and lawyers show respect for our neighborhood and find a way to fast-track the process. For we need in influx of good neighbors that want to be responsible and respectful. We need to restore the pride of the American Dream of home ownership, for we have great potential, we have beautiful diversity, we are a great location, and together we can build a stronger community.
3. Describe the 3 most important challenges facing the City of Cleveland. (100 words or less)
1- The ever declining population of the City of Cleveland. We must reverse this trend.
2- Poverty. Far too many working poor struggling to make ends meet in our city. We must attract and create Livable Wage Jobs here in Cleveland.
3- Education. We must continue to strive to achieve the highest quality public education for our children possible. We have a lot of hard work ahead. I stand with the students, parents and the Teachers Union. I will do everything possible.
4. Pick one of the three most important challenges that face the City of Cleveland and describe the legislation you would introduce to Cleveland City Council to help address that challenge. Explain why the legislation you propose would be the best option for addressing this issue (500 words or less).
I’d introduce legislation to fast-track the vacant property situation. I’d like to hold the bankers responsible for the blight they’ve brought on our neighborhood. I’d find a way to force them to make incentives to first time homeowners to purchase in our neighborhood. Together, we will reawaken our neighborhood pride, for we are the heart of the west side.