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Friday, July 28, 2017

Tony Madalone is running for Mayor

Tony Madalone meets a Cleveland Tea Party Person

Yesterday evening, Cleveland Tea Party Co-Coordinator Diana went to a meet-and-greet with Tony Madalone –who is running for Mayor of Cleveland. Tony who? There are nine mayoral candidates heading into the September primary, and Cleveland Tea Party just met the one who probably rates the lowest in name recognition.

According to Cleveland.com, the “elections records list Tony Madalone as a Republican,” but he is running as an Independent. What follows are this voter’s first impressions of this candidate.

Madalone is a 32-year old entrepreneur who runs his own business, Fresh Brewed Tees, and as such, he could speak to his own experiences with City Hall. For example, he spent months going through the head-banging process of attempting to propose a simple piece of legislation concerning business permits. As a result, he experienced first-hand the political foot-dragging and machinations that casual observers may moan and groan about – but he’s got a few battle scars. It’s a start. He’s also gotten to know many of the key players in the municipal government through that process and also by sitting in on City Council meetings. That perhaps goes some way toward compensating for the fact that he is not running as a sitting Councilman or Commissioner or School Board member.

Does he support of oppose sanctuary cities?  His response is that it is difficult not to obey federal law. OK, but that was not quite the forceful stand for law enforcement that I hoped to hear.

One of Tony’s priorities is education for all. Even, so, I was not quite sure where Tony stands on Common Core. He expressed dismay at the state of education in Cleveland, but pointed out that solutions are difficult to formulate, especially in the short term. Re: both Common Core and the teacher’s unions, I hope he refines his positions on these issues and gets more specific.

Tony talked about the crisis in Ohio with heroin and opioids addiction. His response focused on education, so that potential users would understand the consequences better and would be less likely to experiment. I agree that education is important, but I am not sure I entirely agree that education is, on this issue, the key. A relative of mine, now in early 20s, succumbed to drug use for (as near as I can tell as an unqualified observer) a number of reasons, including predatory drug dealers on college campuses, cheap hits, being convinced that smoking heroin was not addictive, individual personality, and family and social circumstances. So in my view it is not just about education. Education would have addressed the myth about non-addictive smoking, but not the other contributing factors. Cutting off the cheap supplies would seem to be a more do-able option. Just this voter's two cents.

Tony hates the dirt bike track project, especially since it was approved without any plan in place, and he was critical of the process by which City Council called its final vote.

On a first impression, he struck me as someone who is tossing his hat in the ring for a good reason – wanting a better deal for Cleveland, in part based on his own frustrations with city government from his experiences as a business entrepreneur. On the downside: he has not held any public office and has no name recognition. And running a small business is not the same as running City Hall.

I asked him whether he would run again if he didn’t get across the finish line this time – or whether he might run for another office, such as Councilman, or Commissioner, or School Board, and he had not thought about it. But he thought it was a good question (I knew to ask that question from my training with Ralph King’s and Joe Scarola’s Politics 101 classes.) Tony would surely have more name recognition in a second or third run.

Thanks, Tony, for putting our little neighborhood on your door-knock schedule. Message to other mayoral candidates: we’re happy to meet with you, too. Leave a comment below with your email details (or email clevelandteaparty[at]gmail.com, and we’ll take it from there.

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