I fully support Jaime Kinder, Jack Harkless and Gretchen Myers for Meadville City Council. Their campaign is about giving a voice to people who aren't usually heard. Their opponents—LeRoy Stearns and Sean Donahue pay lip service to this idea of but never follow through. Their actions speak louder than their words.
For example, a year ago when COVID hit, Larry McKnight and Autumn Vogel proposed a community task force to coordinate a response to the pandemic. They wanted to create a way for city council to hear from residents in order to identify community needs and help small businesses and renters get through the pandemic. I was at the June 3, 2020, council meeting where the task force was discussed. I watched in dismay as a group of landlords showed up and pressured council not to do it. They didn’t want council reaching out to tenants. They said all of our renters are doing fine. Despite a petition from over 200 people calling for the task force, Stearns and councilmembers Sean Donahue and Jim Roha ultimately sided with the landlords and voted down the task force. This was extremely frustrating.
Even during a pandemic, Stearns, Donahue and Roha didn't think it was important to reach out to their constituents. Donahue even said that he was voting against the task force because he himself is a landlord and didn't want to involve tenants in the process. They all resorted to “the way things are always done.” The whole incident drove home how much we need change on city council. McKnight and Vogel are trying to make change, but the old boy network is still running the show. We need to elect Kinder, Harkless and Myers. We need a city council that will look out for our most vulnerable residents, not rely on their landlords to speak for them. We need leaders who believe city council has a responsibility to seek community input. We need Jaime Kinder, Jack Harkless and Gretchen Myers.