Next Youngstown Mayor?
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE MEN WHO WOULD BE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF YOUNGSTOWN 2014:
by Managing Editor: Clarence Boles
The BUCKEYE REVIEW recently sat down with the candidates to get their views and vision on topics effecting the city and it’s future.
Jamel Tito Brown, presently serves as Youngstown’s City Council President, a former Youngstown City School Board member and a former 3rd ward Youngstown City Councilman. (Interview conducted the week of March 25, 2013)
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 2014: I feel first and foremost that job retention must get our attention, We must have an all out war for full employment along with a surge on business. Watch the continued growth of VM STAR, create a partnership with city council from the mayor’s office. We must convince the surrounding areas that the JEDs (Joint Economic Development) are in the region’s best interest. We must create an office for a Planning Director and Marketing Director to aid in the growth of tech jobs and light industry for non-tech positions. We must create a listing of office space and available acreage for potential business growth. In these areas of economic development ” We can’t afford not to.”
SAFETY/ CRIME ISSUES: We must take a pro-active approach to continued safety and hard crime issues. I have been on the street with the police during raids and patrols, “been there, done that.” We must take a hard line and put police officers where crime exist. We need the collective involvement with the Police dept. and the Law dept. working with the 2 judges. In the neighborhoods, We need streetlights to enhance the safety of the blocks. The next Mayor must be on the frontline for this to happen.
NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT W/ SCHOOLS 2014 AND BEYOND: The city and all communities need an Urban Planner to help with such things as blight, curb appeal, demolition and development. We need to take a look at “innovative art on old structures.” We need to create sub stations for the police dept. at our fire stations. The new fire station planned on Midlothian and Sherwood would be a good place to start a police sub station. We must continue to improve customer service to our citizens in the neighborhoods by evaluating all city hall jobs and depts for leaner and smarter service. On the issue of the School system, the Mayor of the city must be part of the dialogue concerning the Youngstown City School system, but I would not make it a part of my administration, but work very closely with the Superintendent, the State and the Board.
FINANCIAL SOLVENCY AND WINDFALL (2014): We have a $167.8 million dollar budget this fiscal year.The city of Youngstown is looking at a windfall of about $11 million with VM STAR revenues, city income, payroll taxes and casino revenues. The present Mayor has stated he would use some for continued demolition programs and leave about $2.8 million for the next administration to work with. We will use those funds for continued demolition, capital improvement projects and infrastructure up grades throughout the city. I would like to look into the funding of a Marketing team to continue our growth.
FEDERAL PROBE STATUS OF THE SOUTHSIDE HOSPITAL TRANSACTION: On his opponent’s involvement into an arrangement that concluded with several local elected officials being indicted, but presently dropped: ” I would hope the United States Attorney General would finish or close this case, so that we in this community can get on with the business of running our city.”
John McNally IV, presently a practicing attorney with the prominent Youngstown law firm of Roth,Blair,Roberts,Strasfeld & Lodge, a former Mahoning County Commissioner,a former City of Youngstown Law Director.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 2014: We have to focus on the small businesses in the arteries in the city, such as South Ave., Southern Blvd.Glenwood and Belmont Aves. and others and give each it’s own identity and respect the culture of that area. Take some of the suggestions given in the PFM study report and develop an economic staff back at city hall to focus on that growth and make sure CDA (Community Development Agency) and the Economic Development Dept. are on the same page.
SAFETY/CRIME ISSUES: Find and secure funding to increase the size of the Police Dept. and improve the cruiser fleet. Launch a spot partnership with businesses on crime. continue to get business input. Visibility of the Police force must continue to increase. The people have to get to know their beat officers on the street as well as block watch meetings again. The same beat officers should be in your neighborhoods.
NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT W/ SCHOOLS 2014 AND BEYOND: The next two years are very important to the Youngstown City Schools. Most meetings must include the parents of the students. We will use the strength of the Mayor’s office to help in any way we can to communicate with Columbus and the Governors’ office. The demolition projects will improve and continue, as long as we have funds. The Mayor’s office will work with our State and Federal officeholders to speak to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations that may hamper us cleaning up our community. “I’m a big fan of block by block” ….”not single house demolition.”
FINANCIAL SOLVENCY AND WINDFALL (2014): Pay down the debt toward the Covelli Center. Make available funds for small business owners. Continue to occupy and the improvement and upgrade of 20 Federal Plaza. Work with the County and Community Land Bank to make properties available for development. Develop a Chief Information Officer to aid in coordinating funds to projects.
FEDERAL PROBE STATUS OF THE SOUTHSIDE HOSPITAL TRANSACTION: “I have no knowledge from my legal counsel of a revisit by the U.S. Attorneys office.”