December 23, 2022
My approach to leadership at County Council is based on my philosophical and spiritual perspective. The following are the key concepts:
Serving in government is an honor and a privilege, and my work must always be about doing what helps the greater good, not what’s good for me.
Our system of government is based on representation, not direct democracy. I am expected to use my experience and expertise to make the best possible decisions, but I also must be very attentive to what the people are telling me.
I do my best always to treat my colleagues, co-workers, and constituents with kindness and respect. Success in government requires three things: good decision making, good implementation, and a process that is positive and collaborative.
Government leaders and citizens primarily desire the same things—economic and social success, good health, good education, good housing, opportunities for improvement, safety, and peace. Most disagreements arise over how best to reach these goals. There is room for compromise.
Politics revolves around hope and fear. I try always to offer hope and not appeal to fear.
I am as careful with public money as my own, or more so. However, it’s often best to take reasonable risks to make progress.
It is essential that our programs and policies include everyone as equals, and they should be especially attentive to those who face disadvantages.
Events result from complex combinations of causes and processes. Recognizing the many factors that go into a situation helps in crafting better solutions.
I take a big picture approach to government. I always seek to take effective local action in dealing with the biggest problems the world faces which I identify as the following:
The climate crisis.
Health and mental health, especially the prevalence of addiction.
Race and gender discrimination and inequality.
Intolerance, hatred, and intergroup conflict based on race, gender, religion, politics, and other artificial divisions.
The prevalence of violence, ranging from war, to gun violence, and domestic violence.
Putting more people in jail than necessary.
Human trafficking and other forms of oppression and exploitation.
Seeing ourselves as part of one human family in which both individual aspirations and the good of the whole are valued.
Leadership is more than finding instrumental solutions to solve problems. The world is energetic, not just mechanical. Often, we require a change in consciousness about how we think about basic questions. Achieving such change requires the participation of as many people as possible, not just those directly involved with the issue.
Examples of the principles applied in practice:
The County’s efforts to write a climate action plan, expand rooftop solar, both on its on buildings and in the community, help install vehicle charging stations, create sustainable energy microgrids, make an initial purchase of electric vehicles, and fund storm water retention efforts all reflect local efforts at climate response and adaptation.
My implementation of one of Cuyahoga County’s two comprehensive district-level application and formal scoring processes for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding reflects a commitment to transparency and effective use of public money.
Approval of the County’s $5 million Opiate Innovation Fund is an effort to deal locally with one of the world’s most serious problems; it also reflects the willingness to do new things and take some risks to make real progress.
Approval of the District 2 ARPA grants for the Biomimicry program and the Drone Flight Information System reflects a commitment to innovation and cutting edge technology; the inclusion of additional reporting requirements on these projects reflects a commitment to accountability.
The operational problems at the county jail reflect a complex combination of causes and processes including understaffing, difficulties in recruitment and retention, insufficiently effective training, facilities constraints, management and control issues, issues pertaining to the working relationship between the Executive and the Sheriff, deficiencies in contract management, and coordination issues between the county and its contractual partners at the jail. Any effective solution will require action on multiple fronts; focusing on just one or two aspects will not solve the problem.