CLEVELAND (WJW)– Ross DiBello is a true political outsider. The attorney from West Park said the way to revive and energize the city is by paying attention to the neighborhoods that some have left behind.
So who is Ross DiBello?
“I’m just a person who, you know, loves people and loves having fun and loves my hobbies. I like sports. I am an attorney. I used to play poker professionally,” he said.
Now, he’s betting Clevelanders have grown tired of career politicians and he’s running for mayor.
“I see a broken system, you know. Politics, city hall, criminal justice system, wealth divide, the direction we’re going, media, divisiveness. Families and neighbors getting very upset with each other. This minimum wage thing,” DiBello said.
“That’s a lot, Ross,” replied FOX 8’s Wayne Dawson as they pair sat in DiBello’s backyard.
The top topic of this mayoral race is the increased violent crime in Cleveland.
“The first thing would be the economy. We want an economy that works for all. We’re No. 1 in the nation in poverty. Crime is a socioeconomic problem. If you can’t make a penny, you’ll take a penny. You’ve got to put more money in people’s pockets. So you’ve got to make the economy work in West Park, in Glenville, in Lee-Harvard, in Collinwood. And right now, most of our resources, most of who influences the decision making, that comes from city hall is your large wealth holders, you big businesses, your big developers, your CEOs, your board members. Some of these people live in the suburbs. They don’t really care about the crime in the city,” DiBello said.
“The second thing is criminal justice reform and policing differently. We want to take certain crimes out of the muni code, maybe make marijuana not a misdemeanor, fair evasion not a misdemeanor,” he said. “We’ll look at the full misdemeanor code once we get in there so we can take police focus off of where police focus doesn’t need to be so they can worry about sex crimes, violent crimes, homicides.”
If DiBello doesn’t win this election, he said he will continue to fight for policy change.
“I want to fight the good fight for economic justice, a different system, changing the system, the criminal justice system,” he said.
FOX 8 News is introducing you to the seven candidates for Cleveland mayor. Each Wednesday, we’ll air a story on a different candidate.