Thursday, November 7, 2013

By Kathy Wray Coleman: Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson beats Councilman Eugene Miller in Ward 10, Councilman Zack Reed reelected by landslide even after third DUI, Dow and Cummins win, all incumbent Cleveland city councilpersons win re-election

Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson

By Johnette Jernigan and Kathy Wray Coleman, The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's No 1 and
Cleveland Councilman Eugene Miller
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CLEVELAND, Ohio-All of the incumbent Cleveland city councilpersons won reelection Tuesday night, including west side Councilman Brian Cummins, who edged opponent Brian Kazy in Ward 14, and east side Black councilpersons Terrell Pruitt in Ward 1, Zack Reed in Ward 2, Ward 4 Councilman Kenneth Johnson, and Phyllis Cleveland, Mamie Mitchell, T.J. Dow and Kevin Conwell in wards 5, 6, 7 and 9, respectively. And Councilman Jeff Johnson beat Councilman Eugene Miller to win in the new ward 10, a ward as a result of a redistricting map that takes city council from 19 to 17 seats beginning next year, a controversial council reduction plan that resulted in  two city lawmakers losing their jobs. One of them, Miller, lost Tuesday night, and the other, Jay Westbrook, retired, effective next year.

"I want to thank the voters in Ward 10 for their support," said Jeff Johnson at a victory party at his ward office Tuesday night in the Glenville neighborhood

Johnson beat Miller by only 462 votes and got 2007 votes to Miller's 1545 votes, according to unofficial results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
State Representative
Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland)

"The constituents are somewhat satisfied with representation," said state Rep. Bill Patmon (D-10), a Johnson supporter and former city councilman.

 Patmon said that "it was a tough campaign between Jeff Johnson and Eugene Miller, two strong African-American city legislators, and it is a shame that one of them had to lose."

All members of Cleveland City Council, 17 of them beginning next year, are Democrats, except Cummins, a member of the Green Party. The terms are four year terms and the jobs pays some $74,000 a year. 

Like the mayor, city council has no term limits per the city charter .

In spite of coming off of a DUI conviction this year, his third in eight years, Councilman Reed trounced Marcus Henley, winning with 83 percent of the vote. Incumbent Councilman T.J. Dow out did opponent Basheer Jones to retain his seat, though Jones was backed by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and the Call and Post Newspaper. And Councilwoman Mitchell easily kept her seat, beating Ward 6 precinct committeeman and social worker John A. Boyd, though Boyd made a decent showing with Mitchell getting 1832 votes to his 1093 votes.
Cleveland Ward 2
Councilman Zack Reed

"Eight months ago I was facing a third DUI," Reed told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read online Black newspaper." I thank the voters of Ward 2 for having confidence in me."

Ward 11's Mike Polensek is vice chair of the Public Safety Committee that Ward 9 councilor Kevin Conwell chairs.  Jeff Johnson isn't on the committee but criticized Attorney General Mike DeWine for sharing the results of his investigation of the Cleveland cops who invaded East Cleveland with the public.  Conwell and Polensek won't investigate and Johnson wants any investigation to be handled quietly.  48 shootings by Cleveland cops in 10 years and nothing but lip service from council.
Cleveland Councilmen Michael Polensek, Kevin Conwell, and Jeff Johnson
A voter adopted city council reduction plan that reduced city council from 21 to 19 seats nearly four years ago and will take council from 19 to 17 seats beginning next year allowed city council president Martin  Sweeney to draw the map, and many councilpersons felt this last time Sweeney designed it to pit Councilman Jeff Johnson against Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell. So Johnson took on Sweeney ally Eugene Miller in the new Ward 10 rather than his friend Conwell in Ward 9, and with help from Conwell and longtime east side White councilman Michael Polensek, both of whom were just as upset as Johnson with Sweeney's redistricting map. Polensek could help Johnson because he won in the new Ward 8 Tuesday with no opponent,  and Conwell, who whipped his opponent, is one of the most popular vote getting city council persons.

The city charter requires that city council members reside in Cleveland but can reside in one ward and represent another ward, though Johnson lives in the new Ward 10 that he won election to on Tuesday.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and former
mayoral candidate and millionaire
businessman Ken Lanci

A city councilperson, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Cleveland Urban News.Com earlier this year that Sweeney gave Miller an ink pen to suggest how Miller would be impacted by the new map, and that the redistricting process was unfair, and politically motivated, a claim Sweeney denies
Cleveland City Council
President Martin Sweeney
Nonetheless, Johnson pulled off an upset Tuesday night,  in-spite of Miller's campaign help from Mayor Frank Jackson,  a Sweeney ally like Miller who won a third term Tuesday night against millionaire businessman Ken Lanci

A former state representative, Miller was predicted by political pundits to be the fall guy, and not Jeff Johnson, a former state senator. 

"Jeff is likable  and an experienced campaigner, and he used that experience to win," said Patmon, one of three Black Democratic state lawmakers that represent parts of the city of Cleveland in the Ohio House of Representatives, and a former mayoral candidate who lost a nonpartisan general election runoff to Jackson in 2009.

"Jeff Johnson won because he has an interpersonal relationship with the community and his constituents," said Johnson supporter Brenda Bickerstaff.