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Richard Starr, a political newcomer who ran unsuccessfully to be Ward 5 city councilman in 2017, will face off against recently appointed incumbent Delores Gray in the Nov. 2 general election. Despite its proximity to Cleveland’s relatively affluent downtown, the Central neighborhood, which makes up most of Ward 5, has remained one of the city’s poorest areas.
Cleveland City Council’s habit of invoking legal technicalities that alter the normal process for passing ordinances may seem mundane or bureaucratic, but it raises questions about why the rules exist if they are almost universally disregarded and how these practices bear on government accessibility and civic engagement.
Civic engagement and voter turnout throughout Cleveland’s wards have been a mixed bag going into the primary election. Mail ballot requests and returns have generally increased citywide from where they lagged in 2017. And some progressive newcomers say their grassroots campaigns have seen on-the-ground interest in city council elections, but some of their incumbent counterparts remain wary.