1) There are specific acts of government that need to happen: repaving streets, making long-term plans for developing parking downtown, investing money generated by the sale of RECs in quality of life services for residents, and meeting current (as well as understanding future) housing needs. The biggest single accomplishment on which I would like to look back is feeling that I had contributed to the community’s understanding of all of those issues.
2) Anecdotally, I often hear about the combined need for affordable housing and local job opportunities in Oberlin. The former Green Acres property represents a logical place to invest in housing development, the type of which should be determined by housing studies (two different kinds of which have been discussed this year by council) showing where the socio-economic need exists. Every effort should be made, within the scope of what a study might find, to retain green space characteristics.
3) Oberlin’s biggest strength is its identity as a community to which people want to return based on a sense of individual liberties and shared values. The biggest problem it may be facing is how to sustain that with the economic changes of the 21st century.
4) Does Oberlin have meaningful resources to shift? Three years of not offering wage increases to city employees tells me the answer is no. (Yes, there are now scheduled wage increases for each of the next three years.) But there is new money. The money derived from the Renewable Energy Credits represents a large, somewhat unencumbered fund that can be invested in future resource building. Lets build resources by investing to provide public transportation as well as to provide and improve the housing stock for residents at all income levels.
5) For 20 years as a weekly newspaper reporter, then editor (currently with a group of three weekly newspapers based in Avon Lake), I have wanted to understand the communities in which I live and work. In 2012 I served as a fellow focusing online engagement on Oberlin and Lorain County.