Noble Neighborhood gets representation boost on Cleveland Heights City Council


CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The two newest city council members have strong ties to the historically underrepresented Noble neighborhood.

Tony Cuda lives there. And Anthony Mattox Jr. used to do that, growing up north of Mayfield Road.

“As a product of Noble, raised in Rushleigh, it’s exciting to see this come to fruition,” Mattox said after being sworn in on Jan. 3. His parents were present for the occasion, as well as his wife, Tiffany, who held two Bibles. to swear to him — one from each side of the family.

The 37-year-old senior pastor of The Empowerment Church in Cleveland Heights added that the city has a “gifted and talented” council, as well as a “passionate mayor” in Kahlil Seren, the city’s first popularly elected mayor.

“Now is the time to do important things in areas of the city that have been neglected,” Mattox said. “The Noble and Superior districts must be part of the partnership. I will walk in integrity and in partnership. And you can hold me responsible.

Cuda, who has lived primarily in Cleveland Heights since 1960, said he was proud to have been part of the Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) team that adopted the number 26 two years ago.

“We took on the challenge of changing our form of government, and it’s clearly a historic moment in time,” Cuda said.

The retired social studies teacher who now volunteers twice a week at Heights High School wasn’t just talking about the mayor; he also alluded to the fact that five board members have been sworn in since November.

“And next month will be six,” Cuda added, referring to the upcoming appointment to fill Seren’s term on the council, now that he’s mayor.

“Issues still need to be ironed out on how to create a strong council that provides checks and balances to the mayor,” Cuda said. “There’s a lot on the mayor’s plate at the moment, and it’s also time for the new city council – we will only be effective if we work as a team.”

From left, Kevin F. O’Neill, professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and classmate at Heights High School; new Cleveland Heights Councilman Tony Cuda; Cuda’s wife, Sandy Moran; and Heights High junior assistant and volunteer Taylor Evans are shown here following Cuda’s January 3 swearing-in.Tom Jewell/Special at cleveland.com

Ongoing local concerns

Cuda also pointed out that in working with CEM and running for the board, he has gone door-to-door across town in two of the past three years.

From there, he put together five key takeaways from Cleveland Heights residents he spoke with, regarding their current concerns, including:

— Housing must be a priority, along with safe and well-maintained neighborhoods

— Overall taxes are too high, which can be addressed by increasing and broadening the tax base beyond residency

— Crime, from speeding and stop signs to the most serious offenses

— A perceived lack of responsiveness that could be alleviated by a “more customer service oriented government”

— More partnership between the city and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cuda then thanked the CEM team for their “vision of a more responsive, accountable and transparent government”, and urged fellow board members to “execute a plan that delivers results through a work ethic that is focused on consensus”.

key.  hts.  Councilor Davida Russell and her supporters

Family, friends and various well-wishers are shown with Cleveland Heights Councilwoman Davida Russell, center, with her mother, Noridean McDonald holding the Bible, after Russell’s January 3 swearing-in, led by the court judge Supreme of Ohio Melody Stewart and in the presence of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish.Tom Jewell/Special at cleveland.com

Already noble

Now sworn in for a full four-year term and having knocked on many doors herself, councilor and Noble resident Davida Russell has vowed to continue to ‘work for the betterment of all residents’ of the town .

Russell noted that his family moved to Noble decades ago, “fleeing racial disparities in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland.”

And she hopes to build on a set of accomplishments that are impressive in themselves – aside from the fact that they were achieved in two years on the unexpired term of Cuyahoga County Councilman and now a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. of Ohio, Cheryl Stephens.

Work included bolstering the local response to the 2020 U.S. Census, helping to establish the city’s Racial Justice Task Force, filling housing initiatives in Caledonia and Desota neighborhoods, securing COVID-19 vaccines, the emptying of the former dairy at Noble and Mayfield roads that could qualify for $350 million now available from the state in brownfields remediation funds, and a new inclusive playground in Forest Hill Park.

There was also the $4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that Russell, the council’s principal voter in November, asked her colleagues to split between Noble and Taylor wards on the federal allocation. of nearly $39 million from the city.

“We have to continue to really show that ‘All are welcome’ in Cleveland Heights,” Russell said. “And we have to be accountable to the people.”

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