By Kevin Kelley
In November, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Executive Director Nick Martin said his party would target Dave Greenspan’s seat on the County Council in this year’s elections.
But when the Feb. 5 deadline passed for party candidates to file for the May 6 primary with the Board of Elections, only Greenspan’s name was on the list for those seeking the District 1 seat. Independent candidates have until May 5 to file to be on the ballot in the Nov. 4 general election.
Greenspan, a Westlake Republican, has closely questioned county fiscal matters under County Executive Ed FitzGerald, a Democrat.
Martin did not reply to e-mails and phone calls from West Life inquiring why the Democratic Party is not fielding a candidate for Greenspan’s District 1seat.
For his part, Greenspan had little to say about the lack of Democratic opposition.
“I run my campaigns for something and not against someone,” Greenspan told West Life. “I’m just focused on representing my district in the county.”
When he formally announced his re-election bid Dec. 5, Greenspan said he would again be guided by the principles of lower taxes, a smaller and more transparent government, and less regulation.
Greenspan also said he was especially proud of his series of public town hall meetings at which county employees have discussed how county government is changing.
His next town hall meeting, set for 7 p.m. March 20 at Fairview Park City Hall, will focus on the proposal to extend the countywide alcohol and cigarette tax for 20 years to pay for upgrades to Cleveland’s professional sports facilities. Voters will decide on the so-called “sin tax” at the May 6 primary election. County Council members voted unanimously to place the issue before voters.
Greenspan told West Life his vote to place the tax renewal on the ballot should not be construed as an endorsement.
“I don’t take positions on levies. Period,” Greenspan said.
Greenspan said he’s willing to place tax measures before voters as long as there is no increase or the same level of funding is provided to a government program.
“I will not support a tax increase,” he said. Greenspan said he has not signed any political organization’s pledge not to vote for tax increases.
Greenspan also said he is unhappy that the county is helping to finance a new hotel to be built adjacent to the new Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation. The hotel will be owned by the county and operated by Hilton.
“That’s clearly a private-sector enterprise,” he said of the hotel.
The hotel is to be built at the former county administration building. The FitzGerald administration said it got involved with incentives after private investors failed to show interest when the property was first put on the market. Greenspan, who voted against hotel-related contracts, said the county administration building should have been demolished, the property environmentally remediated and the land better marketed to developers.