CTM Trustee Candidate Q & A

There are ten candidates running to be a CTM Trustee for five seats up for election. Each candidate was offered the chance to answer five questions and make a comment. Replies were limited to 50 words per question/comment. Candidates were not required to reply. The replies are listed below in the order they were received. Voting will occur Monday December 4th at 6PM prior to the usual CTM meeting at 7PM.

Stephanie Gilbreath Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? My areas of experience include non-profit fundraising, event planning, research, writing, print production (magazines), retail business ownership, historic house renovation. My primary committees of interest include Housing & Zoning and Arts & Culture. I am happy to put fundraising and publishing skills to work as needed.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Historically sensitive revitalization of business district.
More respect/cooperation between Clifton special interest groups.
Transparent, communicative, thoughtful school development that accommodates needs/concerns of all stakeholders (households with and without children).
CCAC relocation within Clifton.
Positive PR for Clifton. Too many recent citywide news stories are negative.

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? I love the unique character of Clifton. I now have the time and energy available to serve the community and skills to put to use. My family and I benefit every day from living here and I believe in giving back.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? Clifton is made up of singles, couples, families with children of all ages, renters, homeowners, business owners, young, old and everyone in between. It is vital that CTM recognize and represent needs and priorities of all these demographics (especially when they clash) when making decisions or communicating with the City.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? At the Merchant’s Lot planning meeting, I was pleased that the city and developers began the process with community input. Our business district needs updating to maintain Clifton’s reputation as one of Cincinnati’s premier neighborhoods and attract homebuyers, shoppers and vibrant businesses to our neighborhood.

Optional Comment: I hope you will consider me when you vote for CTM Trustees. It would be an honor and a pleasure to serve all of Clifton’s residents. Happiest of holidays (whichever you choose to celebrate) to you and yours.

Sean Hare Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? As an urban planner I have experience in community organization, outreach, and the technical aspects of city living. I also have experience in design and mural creation. I would be interested in the Transportation, Parks, Public Art, Housing and Zoning, and the Beautification committees.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Helping to shape a resilient and sustainable future for the neighborhood
Public art development
Creating a proper response to new development in Clifton
Promoting a more bike friendly and accessible neighborhood
Promoting placemaking to enhance the unique-ness of Clifton even more

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? When I moved here, in 2015, I fell in love with the character and people of this neighborhood which welcomed me so graciously. I am young and looking to get involved in my community, and feel I would bring fresh perspective to an organization like CTM.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? I would care most about creating a vibrant future for our community. I feel that working with the future generations of Clifton residents in mind is crucial to being a Trustee and I would work to make sure that our actions are forward thinking.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? I see these developments as opportunities for enhancing Clifton as a community. Through new public spaces, retail opportunities, and new residents, I feel that Clifton is a great community that could be made even better through these projects and the input of our great residents in guiding these projects.

Optional Comment: I feel my professional background would help our community greatly during these times of change and my younger perspective would help in providing a voice to members of Clifton who tend to not be involved in CTM. I look forward to serving you all. Thank you.

Micah Ovadia Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? My bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications and master’s degree in Public Relations will be helpful in communicating initiatives to the public and soliciting feedback. The Website/Social Media committee would be an ideal fit for my skill set. I am also interested in the proposed Art and Culture Committee.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Support Howell Development Project
Support creation of Entertainment District
Find home for CCAC
Address problem of increasing graffiti
Encourage installation of public art

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? As the owner of a business in Clifton, I have a vested interest in the economic, aesthetic and social well-being of our community. As a Trustee, I would have an opportunity to positively impact these areas and cultivate an atmosphere welcoming not only to business, but to residents, as well.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? I would care most not about a single particular issue, but about the potential impact our decisions as a whole might have on our community and its residents. Helping to shape the future of an historic neighborhood is an awesome responsibility. Open communication and transparency with the public is key.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? I am excited about new development in Clifton, particularly with regard to the Clifton Merchants Lot. An influx of residents will contribute to the vitality of the area and stimulate economic growth. I am, however, adamant that the project must respect the needs and wishes of our community.

Optional Comment: This is an exciting period for Clifton. With new projects in the works and in the pipeline, it is important that public input and involvement is solicited. With your support, I will strive to address the requirements and concerns of our community and solidify a prosperous future for Clifton.

Buddy Goose Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? I am a doer, I find talking incessantly about an issue to the detriment of getting anything done to be incredibly frustrating. I will push to get things done. I think the committees; business, events and beautification are my interests.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Community engagement – find a way to get more neighbor involvement.
Neighborhood business support – revitalize AND SUPPORT our business district.
Community school -critical to attracting new home owners.
Healing division – get over the divisive rhetoric from the formation of Clifton Market
Beautification-keep our neighborhood beautiful

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? Our community is the best neighborhood in Cincinnati. However, the number of neighbors that are actively involved in our community is small. I see the same people over and over involved in community events. I want to encourage involvement and foster communication.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? Finding ways to increase neighbor involvement and to support our business district.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? I favor development in our community. The Merchants’ Lot development is the type of progressive thinking we need to maintain our neighborhood vibrancy. The community input sought shows the level of commitment to our community we look for from a developer.

Optional Comment: A key to attracting new home buyers and new businesses is keeping our neighborhood a vibrant place. The Ludlow Business District is crucial. Let’s all work to visit and support all of our local businesses.

Vince Metzger Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? Public Safety and Education. I live and work in Clifton and work with a diverse group of people and try understand everyone’s needs. That may not sound like a skill but too many people only look at things from their perspective.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Neighborhood unity – We need to stand together so we can move forward.
Education – Clifton is undergoing a major change and we need all of Clifton’s schools to be successful.
Keeping CCAC and Clifton Market in Clifton
New Development
Public Safety

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? As someone who intends to reside in this neighborhood for 30+ years, I care deeply about Clifton and what happens here, I would like to be more involved in the political process and moving us forward in a positive way.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? My aim is to put forth a positive energy focused on showing the neighborhood of Clifton and the city of Cincinnati that our residents are positive, productive and intelligent and that we can work together in a civil and peaceful manner.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? I’m excited about new development in Clifton. While Clifton has a lot to offer its residents and neighbors, I think some new business and residences are an exciting change. Adding new assets and keeping the existing ones can only make Clifton better.

Optional Comment: I pledge to always treat others with respect and talk through differences in a way that identifies things that we can agree on. My votes and resolution proposals will be clearly defined and reasonable.

Gina Marsh Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? I have a strong understanding of ways to revitalize our business district from my experience with the Ludlow 21 Working Group and Clifton 20/20. As an attorney and executive director for a nonprofit, I can help implement improved governance of CTM. I prefer the Business District and Bylaws Committees.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Implementing recommendations of the Ludlow 21 report to improve the business district.
Ensuring meaningful community engagement in business district development.
Ensuring success of the new neighborhood school.
Ensuring Clifton is proactive on City decisions affecting the neighborhood.
Improving governance and maintaining professionalism on the board.

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? I would like to use my skills and experience to enhance the positive impact that CTM brings to the community and to improve CTM’s reputation as a collaborative and inclusive organization. CTM should be a welcoming forum where residents feel comfortable expressing their viewpoints on issues of concern.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? The business district will likely undergo significant changes over the next few years, including a large-scale mixed-use development on the Merchant’s Lot. The top priority for me will be helping to ensure that these improvements respect the unique character of Clifton and allow for meaningful engagement from residents.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? I believe the proposed development could offer many benefits, including a new, much-needed housing option for Clifton residents, additional parking, and more customers for our small businesses on Ludlow Avenue. It will help our business district and our neighborhood remain competitive with others in the City.

Rama Kasturi Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? I am a research scientist by training and have used my grant writing expertise to garner funds for various community projects. I have developed fundraising expertise through my work with the Clifton Market. I am Chair of the Parks Committee, and work closely with the Beautification Committee on Sustainability issues.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Improve programming in our parks
Help green our Business District
Advocate for more support by residents of our community-funded grocery store
Better showcase Clifton’s diversity
Further civility by fostering formal conversations about our shared values as people irrespective of our diversity and differences of opinion

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? I am seeking a second term as a CTM trustee. I would like to have the opportunity to finish what I have started in terms of the projects as Chair of the Parks Committee and my collaborative efforts on other community-related projects such as beautification, sustainability, Clifton House Tour etc.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? Ensuring that CTM reaches out to all residents of Clifton, represents the views of a multitude of Cliftonites, and engages with other organizations in and around Clifton.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? I support any development that is community-supported, fits well with the historic character of our Gaslight district, and makes Clifton more attractive as a walkable and livable residential community.

Optional Comment: I am happy to have had the opportunity to serve the Clifton community both as a CTM trustee and Clifton Market board member. I look forward to continuing to work with Cincinnati Parks and community partners to keep Clifton green and sustainable.

Shaun McCance Response:

Q1 What special skills would you bring to the board and what committees would you want to serve on? I work in open source technology. The work I do involves community organizing and event planning as much as it does technology. For CTM,
I’ve served on event committees, the web committee, and the executive committee as treasurer.

Q2 What are your top 5 priorities for Clifton?

Growing our business district without sacrificing its character.
Keeping Clifton walkable and accessible.
Maintaining green space.
Improving recreational facilities.
Holding regular events that bring people together.

Q3 Why are you running to be a Trustee? I’ve enjoyed serving on CTM for the last three years. I think I’ve made a positive impact on the neighborhood, and I’ve made good friends along the way.

Q4 What would you care most about as a trustee? We’re all neighbors. It’s important that we’re able to be civil, friendly, and productive even when we don’t all agree.

Q5 What is your opinion on new development in Clifton such as with the Clifton Merchants Lot? I’m in favor of new development in general, but we need to ensure it maintains the character of the neighborhood and doesn’t push out the local family businesses that define Clifton.

Click here to read the bios that candidates submitted earlier in November.

Two candidates did not reply. We hope you found this helpful in making your decision for who will be CTM Trustees.
Thank You,
Clifton Town Meeting Trustees

CTM Proposed Bylaws Changes

CTM Trustees formed an ad-hoc Bylaws Review Committee during the October meeting this year. Various bylaws topics were set for review. During the November CTM meeting, three bylaws changes were proposed and the Trustees voted to put these changes before the membership at the December 7, 2015 meeting. All CTM members who have paid their dues for 2015 are eligible to vote on these changes.  The CTM Bylaws may be amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting provided the amendments have been introduced in writing at a previous CTM meeting and proper notice has been given.

This post summarizes the changes being proposed. The actual language is linked below at the very end. If you have feedback on these changes, feel free to email Trustees.

Click here to read the current CTM Bylaws as revised by the membership during 2010.

Officer Succession

Current bylaws language is not clear on how the President is succeeded if s/he resigns. Trustees encountered this issue during September. This proposed bylaws change creates a very clear succession plan for President and Vice President by ensuring the Vice Presidents are elected with new titles: 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President. The 1st Vice President shall succeed the President. The 2nd Vice President shall succeed the 1st Vice President. In addition, the proposed bylaws changes make it mandatory to immediately replace the Treasurer or Secretary position should a Trustee resign either position.

Five Trustee Election Cycle

Current bylaws language does not advise on how to ensure that 5 Trustees are elected each year. The CTM Board is comprised of 15 Trustees.  To have a good balance of veteran and new Trustees, there should be 5 elected each year for full 3 year terms. This balance provides for a more effective Board. This proposed bylaws change create language to ensure that this cycle is preserved when there are more than 5 positions open for election by providing for less than 3 year terms to Trustees who are elected with lowest vote counts.

Nominating Committee Formation and Report

Current bylaws language does not set a deadline on when the Nominating Committee must fully form. The language also has no details on what the Committee’s required report to the Board must contain. If the Nominating Committee is formed too late in the year, it will not have time to properly perform it’s work of finding candidates and preparing for the Fall election of Trustees. This proposed bylaws change sets the August CTM meeting as the latest formation date. The current Board feels that the required Nominating Committee report should have some minimum acceptable standards and details. This proposed bylaws change provides for specific report requirements. This creates a minimum standard for future Nominating Committees to meet.

Proposed Bylaws Language Files

In each of the pdf files linked below, the existing bylaws language is shown first, and the proposed changes for member approval are shown afterwards.  We urge you to read these changes carefully.  If you have feedback on these changes, feel free to email Trustees.

ARTICLE V – Paragraph 2

ARTICLE VI

ARTICLE VIII – Paragraph 1 and 2