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Residents petition for special election

SOLON– A special election for a city council member will be coming soon.
A petition requesting a special election was delivered to Solon City Hall April 14 bearing 65 signatures of registered voters. Only 10 signatures were required.
At an April 5 city council meeting, Dale Snipes was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of longtime council member Mark Krall, who stepped down in March.
Krall’s term is set to expire at the end of the year.
The petition makes that appointment temporary pending the outcome of the special election.
The special election will be discussed at the April 19 meeting of the Solon City Council.

one of a group of citizens responsible for the petition

1) In our earlier conversation, you said the main reason behind the petition was to put it to a public vote when there were several residents interested. It’s a pretty short term to fill. Why is that important to you?

Assuming a late May, early June election– that’s still five months. Which is a long time for someone to become an incumbent for the fall election. If council had appointed someone who had stated that he/she was just filling in and had no intent to run in the fall, then that might have been different. There is also a sentiment that the cycle of resignations and appointments over the last four years has gone on far too long. Democracy is about the people deciding.

2) You indicated residents in the older section of town feel under-represented. What are some of your concerns for the oldest residential neighborhoods?

In gathering signatures, our group listened to people and what they were concerned about. Several themes kept recurring. There is frustration with money going to developers and new businesses in grants and tax forgiveness when streets in the original part of town are falling apart and the curb and gutter program seems to have been shelved. Frustration that the sidewalk program seems to be only in assessment and repair mode and no longer involves new installations. Frustration that traffic is an unregulated freeway on certain streets with increased volume, increased speed and residential areas have become truck routes. Frustration that Solon has turned into a very expensive place to live– single people, retired couples, young families are barely getting by– people saying that they want to stay in Solon but they can’t afford the rent anymore, or they are going to have to take money out of their 401Ks to pay their property taxes, or that they’d love to put a new roof or siding on the house, but they don’t have the money. This is how they are living, but the town just “gives away” money to developers for new businesses that they can’t afford to patronize. There is also a sense that the city is unresponsive to the concerns of residents in the older sections of town. We’re “on our own” and we have no voice on council when all five council members live in new developments on the east side of the highway.

3) Any other comments?
The petition for a special election should not be taken as anything personal toward the person the council appointed, but rather a grass-roots statement about citizens having a voice.