Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, October 07, 2011

Candidate blog series: Josh Berkowitz, Council at Large (R)

Hello, I’m Josh Berkowitz, and I’m running for Council at Large. First, I’d like to thank Susan Knox and the other folks at CBN for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself and my campaign to you, and for all the other valuable work they do.

I’m new to Norwood politics. Indeed, this is my first run for office. However, that doesn’t mean that I lack the experience necessary to be an effective member of City Council. As an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the problems our communities face. I have previously served as an Assistant Prosecutor in Franklin County, in Columbus, Ohio and currently, in the office of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. I’ve prosecuted a wide variety of cases, from minor misdemeanors to very serious felonies, in Juvenile, Municipal, and Common Pleas Courts. Currently, I serve in Municipal Court, where I work with officers from each of Hamilton County’s 42 police agencies, including Norwood’s outstanding police force. I work with these officers every day, so I know the problems and criminals they face. I also work with the victims and witnesses of crime. I see the destruction that it causes our community. I also see how hard Norwood’s officers work to keep us all safe. We are very fortunate to have the police department that we do, and it’s important to remember that.

As a prosecutor, I do my part to make our neighborhoods safer places to live and work. This isn’t easy. We face many entrenched problems, and there are thousands of cases in court each day in Hamilton County, from Disorderly Conduct and traffic citations to Aggravated Murders. As a Trial Prosecutor, I make decisions regarding how each of the 50-60 cases per day on my docket is handled, and I must make them quickly. I have the responsibility of determining how best to prosecute these cases to ensure that the community is protected and that justice is served in each case. This responsibility demands a person willing to make tough decisions, like gauging the quality of evidence, credibility of witnesses, and the strength of arguments. I’m never going to please everyone affected by these cases, because no matter what happens in court, a crime has already been committed. Victims have been injured and harmed, and that can’t be changed. But justice can’t be done if those difficult decisions don’t get made.

It is this experience making the tough choices that will help me serve on City Council. Norwood needs leaders that are willing to address our problems squarely and openly. It will take many difficult decisions to help grow our economy and balance the budget. Government must become leaner and more efficient. Put simply, we must all do more with less. At the same time, it takes more than cuts to solve the city’s financial problems. City Council must work aggressively and creatively to promote economic development. We need to market the wonderful aspects of our city that we all know and value: the prime location, outstanding real estate, work force, and the rated “Excellent” schools. In the competitive world of real estate and business, Norwood has huge advantages over surrounding communities. I know, because my wife and I chose to buy our first home in Norwood early last year. We looked far and wide, throughout Hamilton County, and after many months of searching, we chose a house here to call home. City Council needs to lead in putting the word out that homeowners and small businessmen get more bang for their buck and better peace of mind in Norwood. We cannot simply wait for the economy to improve. We must take advantage of the opportunities now, to increase home and business ownership, and thereby expand our tax base, raising revenue and balancing the budget without raising taxes.

It won’t be easy to tackle the problems that Norwood faces. To be successful, we’ll need to work together, and we’ll need leaders willing to make tough decisions, and stand by them. I am willing to make those decisions, and to stand up for my community. That’s why I’m asking for your vote on November 8. Thank you.

Josh Berkowitz
Council at Large Candidate