Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Democrat Annette Blackwell vies for Maple Heights, Ohio mayor, Blackwell is Black and female....She tells Cleveland Urban News.Com that the city is a great city that needs a morale boost, and fiscal leadership.... The activists group the Carl Stokes Brigade gives her an early endorsement, says she is grassroots, and qualified to lead the largely Black Cleveland suburb.....By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

Annette Blackwell
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief. Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: 216-659-0473. Email: Coleman is a 22-year political, legal and investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. ( / (

MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio-Annette M. Blackwell, a Democrat and 19- year resident of Maple Heights, a Cleveland suburb of some 23,000 people that is heavily Democratic and roughly 68 percent Black, is seeking the office of mayor this year, and is running  in the upcoming non-partisan September 8 primary election. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE OF ANNETTE BLACKWELL FOR MAYOR  and CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE WEBSITE OF ANNETTE BLACKWELL FOR MAYOR

Blackwell said the city needs a morale boost, and that voting for her will bring much needed confidence to the city, a moderately middle class city with a cadre of working class people. The median income harbors between 36,000 and 40,000 annually, census reports reveal. 

"We need to begin executing events that will bring people and businesses in the city together," said Blackwell. "We must find ways for residents to believe again, and be proud of their community."

A married mother of three and grandmother of four with one of her children currently attending Maple Heights City schools, Blackwell is Black and active in the school district, and the community in general. She ran unsuccessfully for Maple Heights City Council in 2013 and  was appointed by current Mayor Jeffrey Lansky to the 2011 Charter Review Commission, of which she is a former member. She worked hand and hand with the Maple Heights Board of Education, teachers, students and city leaders as chair in  2012 of Maple Heights successful school levy initiative, a project she was assigned to by the schools superintendent.

Mayor Lansky, who is White, did not seek another four-year term.

Other mayoral candidates are District 5 Councilman Bill Brownlee, who is giving up his city council seat to run for mayor following a running feud with Lansky, Donald M. Grossmyer, Neomia Mitchell, who is also Black and female,  and city police officer Frank Rives.

The residents of the city are die hard residents, data show, and like voters in Cleveland, they voted overwhelmingly last November to dismantle the controversial red light and speed cameras.

Blackwell, say her supporters, is well-rounded and has won some greater Cleveland activists groups over already. The grassroots group the Carl Stokes Brigade, led by David Patterson as president, endorsed her before last week's filing deadline saying she is grassroots and qualified to be mayor.
In early January 2015 and on one of the coldest days in Cleveland's history, supporters braved the cold weather to listen to Blackwell pitch her candidacy. 

During her campaign speech, Blackwell expressed her commitment to residents, community members and surrounding partners, and said that "Maple Heights is a great city, and it’s time to build the kind of community we can all be proud of."

Candidate Blackwell is a Maple Heights Parent Academy and co-owner of the First Place Event and Multipurpose Center, which is located in the city. She says she supports seniors, youth services, economic development and the local public schools. She has previously worked for some of the biggest accounting and tax firms in the world, including Deloitte &Touche.

Relative to her role in Maple Heights as an entrepreneur giving back to the community, Blackwell said that "I believe we must invest and take pride in our own community."

Blackwell said that she  understands the importance of senior, youth and city services. Her priority, she said, is to lead a city in a fiscally responsible manner,  including balancing the budget.

The mayoral hopeful marvels in economic development projects, corporate sales, and marketing, and strongly believes in community re-investment opportunities. 

Maple Heights is under financial emergency, no doubt.

Last year the city was placed under fiscal watch, and according to State Auditor David Yost, the city is running on a $2.5 million deficit, and missed more than $100,000 in semi-annual payments on water control loans.

Under the fiscal emergency status, the Ohio auditor will serve as the financial supervisor to a commission tasked with developing a plan within six months to get out of the emergency status. 

Interestingly enough, while some candidates would run away from tackling an issue of this magnitude, Blackwell vows to work with the best and brightest people within the region to build workable relationships to get the city on track. 

"I am not fearful of the challenges," said Blackwell. "I am able to bring some very critical and transferable business skills with me" said Blackwell.  

Blackwell also discussed her implementation of a strong public relations campaign for the city, if she is elected mayor. 

Our city has had too much negative press and it’s time for healing and growth"
said Blackwell.  "We need to get our residents excited as well as make the city’s news positive and one of the ways is to develop community pride." 

The city is in a decline, Blackwell says, and she is the change agent needed to enhance city outcomes.

"Voters should know that they have a workable and intelligent choice in me." said Blackwell. ( / (