Environmental Voters' Guide 2023
Introduction to Voters' Guide
Preserve the Valley compiled the following Environmental Voters’ Guide by asking each Akron Mayoral, At-Large and Ward Council candidates four questions as a Voter Service Activity.
Preserve the Valley (PTV) is a volunteer citizen action coalition dedicated to engaging and amplifying citizens’ voices in protecting and planning for the future of the Cuyahoga Valley region. We initially came together in the Fall of 2020 to oppose the City of Akron's request for high-end housing development proposals for the city-owned 45-acres of property above the Cuyahoga Valley known as Theiss Woods. For an overview of the project and environmental and infrastructure costs to the citizens of Akron, please see our Theiss Woods Brief. PTV and our followers were able to persuade the city to seek a sixth proposal which was submitted by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to purchase the land for conservation at the city’s asking price. Read that conservation proposal here.
Candidates’ answers to our environmental questions are especially relevant in light of the findings from a poll of Akron citizens which found 62% of them reported they favor environmental sustainability over economic value as the focus of new housing development.
How were candidates' responses gathered? Each candidate was contacted using the email they provided to the Summit County Board of Elections. Two candidates did not provide that information, so they were sent a letter via the USPS. Four emails were kicked back as invalid. Two of those candidates were contacted by phone and messages left. The other two of were reached by phone and corrected their emails and were resent the questionnaire. All others who had not responded to our first email were sent reminders PRIOR to the March 3 deadline.
The four questions asked were:
1. How do you propose to increase citizen engagement in government decision-making? (not to exceed 500 words)
2. What steps do you believe should be taken to balance development with the protection of natural resources and the environment? (not to exceed 500 words)
3. Would you amend the current 15 year property tax abatement program to incentivize redevelopment in the urban core and remove incentives to greenspace development? Yes or No
4. Do you support 100% conservation for the 45 acres of Theiss Woods? Yes or No
Candidates were instructed they could use up to 500 words for the first two questions and that the word count would be strictly adhered to and ONLY the first 500 words will be reproduced and distributed to citizens. They were also told their answers will be reproduced VERBATIM without editing or corrections.
We received responses from:
5 of the 7 Mayoral Candidates
5 of 11 At-Large Candidates
6 of 17 Ward Council Candidates