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The Issues



I  am a 30 year resident of University Heights. I am proud of this wonderfully diverse city with a variety of ethnic, racial and religious groups, living side by side respectfully as neighbors.  Truly amazing. They purchased and live their lives in the famously beautiful homes and neighborhoods of University Heights.  They are the real investors in this city.  But we are being drained! Unfortunately, the issues of the city are not being addressed.


HIGH TAXES FOR A FAILING PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM  - During the 30 years I have lived in University Heights, I watched the major issues - high taxes connected to the expensive failing public school system, remain untouched, not addressed, always ignored, only getting worse.

VOUCHERS ENTER UH AND EVERYTHING CHANGES - Miraculously, about 5 years ago everything changed when Ohio inaugurated the voucher system for districts with failed school systems. Soon, people started moving here from all over the US and abroad to take advantage of the program. I saw houses being enlarged, or upgraded, even brand new homes built. Home values appreciated. Restaurants and groceries opened. Formerly empty streets became full of children.

NO ATTENTION BY LEADERSHIP - With this radical change, still no involvement by the Mayor or council. 

  • NO ONE took a leadership position favoring the revolution going on.
  • NO ONE advocated guidance or expansion of the program.                                     
  • NO LEADERSHIP came forward for the most important factor in the life and growth of the city.
  • NO ONE advocated programs for the children mired in the failing school system.
  • NO ONE demanded improvement or alternatives for schooling, as we watched our tax rates reach to nearly the highest levels in the country.
  • NO ONE advocated that empty schools be used by packed parochial schools, who didn’t have room to accept more students.

NO ONE ADDRESSES STATE SENATE HEARING ON VOUCHERS -When the education committee of the Ohio Senate held hearings, this past spring, on the voucher system, they came under attack by Teachers' Unions and Public School advocates.  Where were our elected leaders then? Were they in Columbus touting the enormous benefits the vouchers had on our city and how there would be even greater benefits if both the voucher and school choice programs were expanded? Our Leaders never spoke up! None of them! The vouchers were diminished and almost eliminated for new residents!  We need leadership to represent our needs. Not make excuses, not ignore our needs.

THE RESIDENTS OWN THE CITY, NOT THE OFFICE HOLDERS OR THE SCHOOL SYSTEM.  RESIDENTS' NEEDS COME FIRST!  The Mayor’s job is to fight for the needs and rights of the residents.


  • Reasonable taxes
  • Educational Choices for their children
  • Competent city services
  • Using the tools of city planning and zoning to resolve neighborhood problems


  •   Let's Address the Issues Not Ignore Them
  •   Let's Turn Difficulties Into Opportunities For Improvement
  •   Bring all the players together - residents, staff, Council and outside experts to come up with the best resolutions we can.


For Parents who choose non-Public schools, whether religious or private, if children are academically successful we should be supporting their efforts. 

Finances/Taxes University Heights Property tax rates are among the highest in the country, yet hardly any comes to city government.  Most of it goes to one of the nation's highest publicly funded school systems - $26,400 per child in 2020 and going up.  The state average is about $12000 per child.  RITA taxes are at the Ohio maximum. Taxes have to be brought down,  and city share improved.

Police Department  Need our complete support.  It's a storied department, with a history of reasoned community oriented service.  Let's give them what they need.

 City Departments   Need attention. Staff are not adversaries. I would work with staff, review and improve service delivery.

Floundering Commercial Development  - Lets do some professional planning  and bolster our potential.

And there's more ...

School Expenditures - School costs are out of control. These costs may be one of the highest in the country. Cleveland City School costs are about $9000 less.  Meanwhile, most of the students for about a generation have had failing levels of skills.  Something has to be done.




I have a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning. I worked as a senior planner for the Buffalo area regional planning board, was Director of Urban Design Services for a large engineering firm, was the planning and zoning consultant for municipalities in Western NY, and consultant for the Seneca Nation of Indians. I have been an award winning builder in NY and Ohio. I designed and built the Chabad Synagogue on Green Rd., condos in Cleve. Hts., and am responsible for numerous renovations in Ohio City and more.

I will address the important issues. I will bring professionalism to the conduct of the city for the benefit of its residents. 

I will work with city staff to review and upgrade services.  I will support our Police Department. I will happily work with council on the needs of residents – Turning Difficulties Into Opportunities.




My email is








School Expenditures

The school costs are out of control. These costs may be one of the highest in the country. Cleveland City School costs are about $9000 less.  Meanwhile, most of the students for about a generation have had failing levels of skills.  Something has to be done. (Read More)

Committee to Elect Phil Atkin
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