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ANNE WILLIAMS, Candidate for Shaker Heights City Council

Campaign Web Site: annewilliamsshakerheights.com – under construction

Educational Background
B.A. Political Science University of Colorado
M.A. Library Science Rosary College
J.D. Loyola University of Chicago

Occupation / Employment
Currently employed as a Shaker Heights City Council member. I also work for Melamed Communications, a communications and advocacy firm working on behalf of organizations and candidates on a wide variety of community issues.

Qualifications
In my first term as a City Council member I have served in the positions listed below. Working with other council members, city staff and residents on city committees is a key function of a council member. Through this teamwork, voices are heard, information is shared, issues are explored and solutions are developed to benefit the community. By serving on the regional boards, I have developed relationships with neighboring organizations and governments. The diversity of subject matters deliberated by these committees and boards is extensive and invaluable as I set my goals for the future.

City Committees:
Safety and Public Works
Neighborhood Revitalization (Chair)
Recreation and Health
Communication and Marketing (former Chair)
Tree Advisory Board
Sustainable Shaker Task Force
Deer Advisory Task Force (Chair)

Regional Boards:
Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce Board
Shaker Lakes Nature Center Advisory Board (check)

In addition, I have demonstrated my dedication to the Shaker community since moving here 24 years ago. Through my volunteer work with the League of Women Voters (serving as president twice), Meals on Wheels and PTO, I was fortunate to meet and learn from many residents and community organizations. These connections helped me and an extensive team of volunteers coordinate the Shaker Heights Centennial Celebration, a three-year project that culminated in a year of events and activities in 2012.

Vision
Greater Engagement of Residents
Residents in Shaker are educated, informed and involved as evidenced by the community members who asked City Council to adopt a resolution declaring Shaker Heights a sanctuary or welcoming city. Unfortunately, the resolution was defeated but the discussion launched by the residents has led to the creation of a new task force. I am pleased to help develop and participate on this task force to address such concerns as police inquiries about immigration status, provision of City services to all residents regardless of status, among other issues. I look forward to working with residents, City staff and other Council members to figure out how we, as a community, can do a better job of making all residents feel valued and included and how we can make our community more welcoming to immigrants and refugees. Many of us accept the reputation of Shaker as an inclusive and welcoming city as fact. However, I have heard from many residents who feel insecure about their place and role in our community. We must address their concerns. I will work with the task force to listen, learn and address residents’ concerns and enact changes to improve our City to make it the welcoming city we all envision it to be.

A More Sustainable Shaker Heights
The Sustainable Shaker Task Force was formed after the unprecedented rainfall and residential flooding in 2014. As a member of the Task Force, I worked with residents, city staff and Council members to develop a list of recommended actions the City and residents can take to reduce the impact of climate change and increase resilience. We have made a start and I hope to continue the work detailed in the December 2015 Task Force.

Force report including:
 Implementing more sustainable practices by our City through use of alternative energy sources, reduction of pesticide use, advocacy for GCRTA funding, decreased use of carbon- based power in City buildings, management of the deer population, installation of electric and solar charging stations and support for Bike Shaker initiatives.
 Providing more education and information for residents on issues of interest including recycling, pesticide free tree and lawn care, carbon footprint reduction, and improve  residential energy efficiency.

Housing, Neighborhoods and Economic Development
In my next term I will continue to focus on continued economic development through the City together with growing our vibrant neighborhoods. Residents and surrounding communities view the Van Aken development with anticipation and excitement. I will work to continue the momentum as we encourage new and established businesses along the Chagrin/Lee Road corridor. Vibrant neighborhoods are vitally important to successful economic development as businesses and residents look for diverse, walkable neighborhoods that are close to public transit. We are fortunate to have such neighborhoods. Our attention to fulfilling the goals identified in the 2015 Housing and Neighborhood Plan –preserve high quality housing and increase cohesiveness, desirability, attractiveness and stability in the neighborhoods – will only increase our success in attracting and retaining both residents and businesses. Our residents’ opinions about infill housing design and neighborhood amenities are important and must be heard and considered. For example, I have received requests from a number of seniors for more housing that would allow them to safely and economically age in place. As the City recovers from the mortgage foreclosure crisis, many vacant lots remain where houses once stood. Rebuilding can impact the character of the neighborhood and requires an approach that looks at the neighborhood as a whole with input from the neighbors. I hope to continue to serve on Council and on the Neighborhood Revitalization Committee with a thoughtful approach to supporting and growing our beautiful neighborhoods.