For Councilman Mike Polensek, fewer meetings means more focus on constituent calls: Cleveland City Council summer recess

August 3, 2018

For Councilman Mike Polensek, fewer meetings means more focus on constituent calls: Cleveland City Council summer recess

CLEVELAND, Ohio – On any given day this summer, you likely will find Councilman Mike Polensek walking the streets of his ward answering queries from constituents. 

And chances are, those queries will be about high grass. 

“High grass is a real issue with me,” Polensek said. 

Cleveland City Council is in recess for the summer, operating on a limited meeting schedule. This story in the seventh of a cleveland.com series that reports on what council members are doing during the summer recess.      

“There was a time back in the day when I used to get some days that were slow,” he said. “Not anymore.” 

That’s why Polensek, who took office in 1978 and is the longest-serving member of council in the city’s history, is so focused on responding to constituents. 

“I’m out and about every day, he said. “I don’t get downtown as much (during the summer).” 

And while high grass is a common source of complaints, other quality of life issues also come in regularly for things like nuisances involving abandoned houses or storm flooding in basements. 

Polensek describes another common complaint as “the neighbor from hell” -- neighbors who show little regard for others, either through actions like loud music and parties or lack of action, like failing to care for the property. 

“I’ve been dealing with a lot of that,” Polensek said. “A lot of time I go right to the house (to talk to the neighbor).” 

But that’s Polensek’s trademark approach. He often speaks up in council committee meetings about levels of service to residents and the need for people to see a return on their tax dollars, particularly with the increase to the city income tax that kicked in last year.  

“I’m old school. I’m a dinosaur. I’m the first one to tell you that,” Polensek said. “I was elected to serve.” 

Previous stories: Cleveland City Council summer recess 

Councilman Kerry McCormack studying app technology as a way to improve downtown parking: Cleveland City Council summer recess Councilwoman Jasmin Santana devoting summer recess to constituent servicesCharter review, constituent calls keep summer schedule full for Councilman Martin Keane: Cleveland City Council summer recessCouncilman Basheer Jones’ ‘big impact’ idea would extend development benefits to neighborhoods Tending to growth, tackling poverty issues key focus for Glenville councilman Cleveland councilman focused on development, potential job gains in East Side ward 

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