Cleveland, Ohio , United States
|| 00, 1947
Jun 04, 2005 05:21pm
|Info||Jay Westbrook was born in 1947 in Forrest City, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in philosophy with an emphasis on music and education. After college, he worked in community organizing and citizen advocacy, as a veterans' affairs counselor with the American Friends Service Committee and as a community outreach worker for the Legal Aid Society. In an historic anti-trust settlement against area food stores, Westbrook helped win the return of $20 million to over one million households in the greater Cleveland area. In addition, Westbrook was a founder of the Ohio Public Interest Campaign (now called Citizen Action), a statewide citizens organization with more than 350,000 members. |
In 1980, Westbrook was first sworn in as a Cleveland City Council Member; he currently is in his seventh term, representing Ward 18 on the west side of Cleveland. In addition, from 1990 until November 1999, he served as President of Council.
As a council member, Westbrook has consistently been a citizen's voice for change and has actively worked to organize residents to implement community improvement projects. As a neighborhood council member, Westbrook spends much of his time attending block club meetings and responding to citizens' concerns about city services. As a result, he has been a leader in developing ways to meet real neighborhood needs.
Westbrook started an innovative neighborhood loan program for residents who need small amounts to do home repairs but cannot get these low amounts from a bank. He also helped form The Midwest Housing Partnership, an organization in Ward 18 that assists residents with housing issues and administering the above loan program, as well as other loan programs to eligible residents. He was the prime sponsor of the "Bank of Cleveland" legislation, which encourages banks to lend to the city. He founded the landmark "Right-to-Know" law to protect workers and neighborhoods against exposure to hazardous and toxic substances. He helped start an innovative organization called WIRE-Net, which has been recognized nationally, to work with small and medium sized neighborhood manufacturing and industrial firms to help them expand and stay in Cleveland, and to create jobs for neighborhood residents.
Jay is currently involved with the renovation of the former West Tech high school into 180 market-rate apartment units. It is the largest housing redevelopment on the West Side of Cleveland. Jay is an active partner with community groups that serve his ward, getting funding for community safety programs and rehabilitation of neighborhood housing and local commercial areas.
Jay helps bring consensus to Council and, in doing so, works to reduce power politics. He has undertaken several initiatives to create policy and program reform by opening the doors of government to increased citizen involvement. Areas of concentration include youth and violence, solid waste management and recycling, community policing, and coordinated serves to homeless residents. Westbrook currently chairs the Aviation Committee and serves on the Finance, City Planning and Public Utilities Committees.
Jay Westbrook lives in Ward 18 on West 103rd Street with his wife and two.