Martin S. Horwitz announced his candidacy March 15 for a second term as mayor of the city of Beachwood.
“It has been an honor to hold this position, and I appreciate the trust and responsibility that our residents have placed in me,” Horwitz said in a news release.
Horwitz became mayor on Jan. 1, 2018, after defeating longtime mayor Merle S. Gorden by 33 votes. Gorden had served as mayor since 1995.
Due to COVID-19, Horwitz is kicking off his campaign with a drive-through petition-signing event from 2 to 4 p.m. March 21 at 2238 Halycyon Road in Beachwood. Safety protocols will be observed. Those unable to attend and who want to sign his petition can contact Horwitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 216-403-6868.
Horwitz is the only Beachwood resident to serve as mayor, city council president and school board president.
“I bring a long history of civic commitment to the job,” Horwitz said. “In addition to living in Beachwood for over 55 years, I have served six years on city council and 16 years on the school board. That history of public service, plus my participation in dozens of other community groups, has given me a unique perspective on the culture, economy and values of our city.”
Horwitz said two principles guide him: innovation and collaboration.
In his first term, he said he added five new directors “rounding out our team of incredibly creative and dedicated department leaders.”
“City council and I are focusing on bold, new projects that build a sense of community, address infrastructure and safety issues, improve our economy and promote sustainability and social change,” Horwitz said. “Together, we are dedicated to continuing Beachwood’s enviable position as one of the premier suburbs in this country, featuring low taxes and an exceptionally high level of service and programs to our residents.”
In his first three years in office, Horwitz said he has focused on “four major areas of growth: programs that build a sense of community and bring us together; safety and security; infrastructure and sustainability; and economic development that will continue to grow the tax base of our city and schools.”
Among his accomplishments, he cited are: Barkwood dog park; block parties; community gardens; a five-year stormwater plan; a sustainability program; a Community Reinvestment Area; a Community Investment Corporation; the hiring of an economic development consultant; several new construction projects; and the nationally recognized Beachwood Delivers program, as well as several safety and security issues.
Beachwood was also a leader in COVID-19 safety precautions, he said.
“Under my leadership, Beachwood was one of the first cities in the state to mandate masks throughout the city,” Horwitz said. “And we were one of the first in the country to distribute free masks to residents. We also provided wellness calls and assistance to seniors and home bound residents during the pandemic, along with COVID care packages for families in need.”
“In three short years, I’ve demonstrated the skill, creativity and determination to move on programs and projects that were never even considered by past administrations, even during a year of COVID lockdown,” Horwitz said. “I’ve kept Beachwood safe, strong and financially solvent.”
Horwitz is the first resident to announce his candidacy for mayor. The election will be Nov. 2.
Despite his accomplishments, Horwitz also has been the subject of an investigation into his conduct. The city settled claims with Deborah L. Noble, a former employee, and Whitney Crook, clerk of council. Noble received nearly $24,000 and Crook was paid $16,000.
The incidents detailed in a demand letter from Crook and other complaints, had been previously investigated by Carole S. Rendon, a partner at BakerHostetler of Cleveland, who was hired in August 2019 by city council as special counsel to investigate the mayor’s conduct at a cost not to exceed $30,000.
At a special city council meeting on Oct. 30, 2019, Rendon and an associate read into the record an executive summary, including 14 of 24 allegations they deemed as substantiated or highly credible. They interviewed the mayor and 11 employees or former employees.
At that meeting, Horwitz apologized for his conduct, promised to apologize to the employees he may have offended and said he would undergo sensitivity training.
The Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, which publishes the Cleveland Jewish News, filed a lawsuit in July 2020 in the Ohio Supreme Court against the city of Beachwood and its law director, Diane Calta, for violations of the state’s Sunshine Law, which determines records available to the public.
The records sought involve documentation and communication about one of the settlements the city made in response to the employee’s complaints regarding Horwitz’s conduct. That lawsuit is ongoing.