By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will be over. I hope you and yours had a happy thanksgiving; we, in the Greater Collinwood community have a lot to be thankful for. I wish to thank all the neighborhood groups, clubs, organizations, churches and other institutions, and above all our residents, who have worked so hard this past year in trying to make our community the best it can be, even though we have a lot of work to do yet. I am looking forward to working with all of you on a whole host of projects and initiatives for Ward 8 in 2018.
On a personal note, I would be remiss if I did not thank the voters of Ward 8 for the overwhelming support that they gave me on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7. To receive 87% of the votes cast that day was a very humbling and moving experience. Not only did I receive the highest percentage tally in City Council but I also had the second highest vote total of any councilmember. It goes without saying how I feel about our community. I have lived my entire life on the northeast side of the city and have raised five children here. My world has not been a big one; from my great-grandparents on East 47th Street off of Superior Avenue, to my maternal grandparents on East 120th Street and Darley off East 140th Street, to growing up in the Nottingham neighborhood. I am a proud graduate of Collinwood High School to this very day, and as we all know “Once a Railroader, Always a Railroader.”
No councilman in the history of city council has ever received the kind of support I have had throughout my years in public office. I come to work every day to represent the interests of our community. To those who voted for me, from the bottom of my heart – THANK YOU. For those who did not – I hope to gain your confidence and support over this next term representing you in City Council.
As I said earlier, we have a lot of work to do going into next year. We are all waiting to see what impact the Federal Budget will have on our City. Some of the proposals coming out of Washington are, quite frankly, scary. I am hoping, like the majority of Americans, that common sense will prevail on Capitol Hill at the end of the day, and that the urban areas of our country will not be put in financial harm’s way with cuts to critical federal initiatives and programs. Stay tuned, for we are all watching.
With any program and service there must be accountability, though. As I informed our community in my ward-wide newsletter in October and at neighborhood meetings in Collinwood Village, earlier this year I had asked the County Prosecutor to undertake an investigation of the Collinwood Nottingham Villages Development Corporation (CNVDC) due to growing concerns I had regarding questionable financial dealings of the former Executive Director. As a result of their investigation, the former director was indicted on several counts of fraud and money laundering. My sincere appreciation to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Michael O’Malley, and his office, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP), St Clair Superior Dev. Corp. (SCSDC), the Acting Manager of CNVDC, Jamar Doyle, and the new executive board for CNVDC for making it clear that we will not tolerate anyone ripping off our neighborhood. Stay tuned.
As you are also aware, the Cleveland Police Homicide Unit in partnership with the 5th District Police, the FBI and the US Marshalls Office arrested and charged two more individuals for the brutal double homicide that took place at Mr Cars on East 185th Street on Good Friday, April 14, 2017. They now have three individuals in custody associated with this case. Over the last several months, there were many things I could not discuss or divulge at neighborhood meetings. However, I was keenly aware, due to tips and information that investigators were zeroing in on these cold blooded killers. One thing is clear, though, “if you know something, say something;” believe me, it works. Besides the hard work of the investigators on this case, critical information and tips came from the community via Crime Stoppers and other sources. You have heard me say, on numerous occasions, that we all need to be the eyes and ears of the community; this case only reinforces this to me and to the investigators. This was not a random act of violence but a pre-meditated robbery and murder of two innocent business people trying to earn a living to support their family. I prayed every night that law enforcement would catch the perpetrators in this case just as I do for Stephen Halton Jr. He was the young man who was robbed and murdered on Lakeshore Boulevard on his way to work at Cleveland Clinic nearly four years ago come this January. I will not forget this case or others as well. For, we demand justice.
Let’s send a clear message to the predators and criminals who wish to victimize us in our ward; you have picked on the wrong neighborhood and the wrong people. For, we will not rest until these violent thugs are brought to justice. Thank you, to all who stand with me in sending that message. For, we are “Collinwood Proud and Collinwood Strong.” When you victimize one of us, you victimize all of us.
On behalf of my family, my staff and our greater Ward 8 community, I wish you all a very
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY CHANUKAH, and a joyous KWANZAA.
Above all, I hope for you and yours a healthy and prosperous NEW YEAR in 2018.
As always, I may be reached at my office at (216) 664-4236 or via email at email@example.com.
Michael D. Polensek
Resident of neighborhood since 1956. Worked on East 185th street since 1970.