October 18, 2021

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Public Commenters (36 min)
Samaria Rice  Kareem Henton  Yvonka Hall  Mariah Crenshaw  Chris Martin  Jeremy Johnson 

Councilmember comments during Miscellaneous (18 min)
Jasmin Santana (Ward 14)  Kerry McCormack (Ward 3)  Michael Polensek (Ward 8)  Charles J. Slife (Ward 17)  Basheer S. Jones (Ward 7)  Joseph T. Jones (Ward 1) 

Samaria Rice

Rice: I'm Miss Rice. I'm the mother of Tamir. If everybody know me, hello, everybody, City Council.

What I want to say is we are working diligently to get Issue 24 passed, and we would like Issue 24 to be passed. Also, folks that are not on ballot with this, I would think something wrong with you all.

We need a change in the city and Issue 24 is a start. So I would ask that everybody support Issue 24. It will not take no power away from no mayor. It will not defund the police, if that's what folks is thinking. You have to read the charter to understand the recommendations that the mayor has to follow.

And Issue 24 will save lives. Issue 24 will be a start to a better Cleveland. I hear that we talk about a better Cleveland every day, and it can start with Issue 24.

Also, I will hope that you all, under the leadership that you all have shown, and I know some of y'all are new, but some of y'all are old. Y'all have failed the community, and some of these communities y'all have failed. Yes y'all have.

Also, with the leadership of Frank Jackson, he has failed as well. Me and President Kelley, we had to talk earlier today. We are not tragedy pimps. Under that leadership, let me just say, President Kelley, you know what he said on TV. He called us tragedy pimps. You know it wasn't right.

Under that leadership, it is a failure for our community. So under that leadership, I would think that y'all will have your own mind. [microphone cut]

2:12 Permalink

Kareem Henton

Henton: So I'll make it quick. I want to tell a quick story.

There was a young man named Mark. He was having a mental health episode. He was...his parents called the police or called emergency services. They dispatched the police. Police got there. They noticed that he was having a mental health episode. They told the family they were going to take him to the diversion center. He was not taken to the diversion center. He was taken to the county jail.

Inside the county jail, inside of a month, that young man wound up in ICU. His family only found out that he was in ICU in the hospital because they were monitoring what was going on with him in court because they weren't able to speak with him on the phone. That's a problem. He should have never wound up in ICU with organ failure.

The issues lie in the fact we don't have to skip ahead we just have to look at the fact that he shouldn't have been in there. I ask what mechanism is in place to hold the officers who should have taken him to the diversion center accountable? This is why it's ridiculous when you have this resolution that's going against and I'm not going to name the issue because I heard you say we're not supposed to name issue 24, but when you have that resolution that's going against it that's the stuff that's how we hold people accountable. They're not going to do it but we need a mechanism in place to hold the people in place I mean hold the people accountable that are responsible for that young man's near death.

And I'm gonna give you a quick quote for you spiritual folk. "What will you give me and I will deliver him unto you. And they got, and they gave him 30 pieces of silver."

That's what Judas got for selling out Jesus. The significance of that price of 30 pieces of silver is that that's what a slave costs. So if you're accepting that 30 pieces of silver for selling out the community, you're a slave. Get on the right side of this and I hope to see you not sign that resolution condemning that because the people deserve a right to at least vote on it. That's the will of the people and you're ignoring that will of the people. Okay you're against. It doesn't matter if you're against it. This is what the people want. The people at least wanted it on the ballot and you folks are against it being on the ballot? That's a problem. It's not about you it's about the people the people that elected you.

So I'm hoping that you'll be on the right side of this and either abstain from voting on that resolution or just be totally against that resolution.

Council President Kelley: Thank you. Ms. Yvonka.

Henton: One more piece and the and the ward that that came from, the person who sponsored it, Kazy, his is the ward...

Council President Kelley: Thank you.

Henton: One of the ward that's the least affected by police violence. And so it makes sense

Council President Kelley: Thank you.

3:10 Permalink

Yvonka Hall

Hall: Good evening everybody.

Council President Kelley: Good evening.

Hall: Do you realize that thousands of low-income families in Cleveland are going to lose out on the opportunity to receive tens of thousands of dollars? This is an excellent opportunity for you to help the families that you serve by making them aware of the child tax credit. The child tax credit program is for everyone,including people that never file taxes. Depending on how many children they have, their credit can be tens of thousands of dollars.

Even if families are on public assistance they qualify for the child child tax credit. This incentive provides twenty-five hundred to three thousand dollars for each child in the household. The great part is it doesn't impact their benefits. So if you are currently receiving, if they are currently receiving public assistance, they can still receive the credit. They must apply before November the 15th. This is your opportunity to help low-income families include one as we all know Cleveland is the poorest city in the country. Our families are struggling and we can all help them.

Why bring this up in the discussion in my discussion about lead? Having the dollars that are needed to have a down payment for a new place can be a game changer for families that don't have the capital needed to move. For many of our families this is a lifesaver they have been waiting for. For other low-income or no-income families that are living in owner-occupied homes, this is a chance for them to make a much needed repair.

The reality is 90% of our homes in Cleveland and 80% of the homes in the first ring suburbs were built before 1978. For families that have recently found out their child or children are lead poisoned, this is the money needed to purchase some healthy food options that don't fit into their normal budget. Many of our impoverished communities have iron deficiency and iron deficiency increases the absorption rate of lead. These dollars are a game changer for so many of our families that are living in old homes, are in poverty and on medicaid.

I sent an email to all of you earlier today and ask that you share the child tax credit with your constituents. Thank you to Councilman Hairston, Councilman Polensek and Councilman Gardner for acknowledging the receipt of the letter and promising to share with your constituents. You hold the seat of power and this is the opportunity to use it to help families in Cleveland that are struggling. This is the opportunity for you to take a stand for your families in your communities.

2:45 Permalink

Mariah Crenshaw

Crenshaw: Good evening everyone.

Council President Kelley: Good evening.

Crenshaw: I am born in bred Cleveland. Many of you know me some don't. Some of you ran for office and I gave you your first platform so that you can, the community can know who you are. My father Stanley Toliver, a legend in Cleveland, in the state of Ohio, believed in Cleveland, loved Cleveland. Me I picked it up. I picked up the mantle and I still continue the work my father did when it came to policing.

I am utterly disappointed with the Cleveland police department and have been for quite some time. I am not anti-police. I believe that we should be able to equip the men and women with the proper training that they can do the job we ask them to do.

I obtained a civil protection order about three weeks ago and against three people and those three people have violated it at least a hundred times since I obtained it on September 20th. I've been to the police department and I've taken the evidence. They violated it and they tell me they will not go and arrest these people because it's a civil protection order On the front of the civil protection order it clearly says if it's violated the police are to arrest those people. But because they said it's a misdemeanor they won't arrest them.

So my life and my family's lives are in danger because of a social media frenzy. And we've often seen social media frenzies when cpo civil stalking orders occur can turn into something very deadly. As a black woman in this community who has dedicated my life to the community. I've worked in the housing court, Anita can tell you. I worked everywhere in the city of Cleveland to try to make it a better place. And now I'm afraid to live in my city.

And I hear no one wants to support changing the police department. Either it changes or we all sink. And the bottom line is this, if you don't support the issue stay quiet on it and when you go to the voting box don't vote for it. But let the people have their voice. Let the people decide what they want. Remember it's we the people not you the council. And we have to make a better stand and we have to be able to hold all police accountable and expect them to fulfill the job that we hired them to do. Thank you.

3:09 Permalink

Chris Martin

Martin: Counselors vote no on resolution 892-2021.

Clevelanders do not believe you serve in our interests. How could we when we had to fight tooth and nail just to allow 10 of us the right to speak to you for three minutes once a week.

Clevelanders do not believe you have any serious interest in police reform. If you did then you would have done something by now. Written your own legislation. Instead you tout the consent decree which only exists because the federal government sued the city of Cleveland for a pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing.

As with the Q deal and our Fight for $15, Clevelanders are trying to take power into our own hands. And as with those previous efforts this body is trying to quash resident power.

You claim to want resident engagement, yet now that there's a ballot measure with thousands of resident signatures on it, you want to put put a boot on the neck against it. It's anti-democratic. Let residents decide. Stay out of this. Vote no on resolution 892-2021.

1:56 Permalink

Councilmember Jasmin Santana (Ward 14)

Councilmember Santana: So I don't know if this is announcement but could I speak on the legislation that was introduced today?

Council President Kelley: Sure.

Councilmember Santana: Okay. So I am celebrating today ending council meeting on a positive note. I want to thank all my colleagues who co-sponsored legislation 925-2021, which is an ordinance establishing a program to make feminine hygiene products free and accessible in all restrooms at city hall, neighborhood youth centers, adult education resources, and recreation centers.

This legislation came about after meeting with a group of teens from school that shared that they had challenges in accessing these products. As you know women spend about $13.25 each month on menstrual products totaling about 6$,360 in um in her reproductive lifetime and if it's your household President Kelley...

Council President Kelley: Yeah, tell me about it.

Councilmember Santana: That's times four.

Council President Kelley: Six.

Councilmember Santana: So you're welcome.

Council President Kelley: Much appreciated. The line outside of recreation center.

Councilmember Santana: Yes we should call this President Kevin Kelley... I hope that this legislation really I really hope this legislation also encourages other public entities and businesses to offer feminine hygiene products at no cost in their restrooms as well. Once again thank you to the administration chief Dumas for supporting my colleagues who co-sponsored Ann Tilley and Jennifer O'leary who really worked hard on drafting this legislation so thank you.

1:34 Permalink

Jeremy Johnson

Johnson: Thank you. Thank you Councilman Conwell, to our Council President. Yes my name is Jeremy Johnson. I'm the president and ceo of Assembly for the Arts. We are the fairly new umbrella for all the arts throughout the Greater Cleveland region.

As you all know it's a 9.1 billion dollar industry that delivers thousands of jobs to our community and especially to Cleveland. I want to thank this distinguished body for your work and supporting the arts throughout our communities and we need you to continue to do that. We all know the impact of COVID upon the arts and culture industry was one of the first to shut down, and we're slowly coming back. But we need the support especially in our communities, our hard-hit communities, in all 17 wards, and I spend much of my time in those wards.

So I just want to thank you all for introducing me. We will have work ahead of us as we work throughout our committees, as we work to leverage public funding with private funding, and we want to thank you all for your support. Council President thank you very much.

1:10 Permalink

Councilmember Kerry McCormack (Ward 3)

Councilmember McCormack: CEO Johnson is a proud ward 3 resident so I just want to give him a shout out on that. Always proud to have stellar people in our ward. So Mr. President I just rise today, you heard Councilman Kazy uh speak last week about the more alike than different mural that was being unveiled last week. I had the honor of attending that unveiling with him and again as someone from a family that has a family member who's differently abled, it's just an incredible spectacular mural the biggest in Ohio I think. So it's the largest in Ohio at 161 and Puritas, did get that right?

So I just want to Mr. President encourage all of our colleagues if you're in the area 161st and Puritas in ward 16 check out this mural. It is spectacular. It was painted by community members of all abilities and it is truly a I would say a landmark in Cleveland celebrating our community. So if you're around the 160s and Puritas you cannot miss it. It's right on the uh on Puritas and I just want to thank Councilman Kazy. I was really touched by the event last week and just want to call you out and everybody that was involved in putting that together, it's beautiful.

1:16 Permalink

Councilmember Michael Polensek (Ward 8)

Councilman Polensek: Thank you Mr. Chairman, my honorable colleagues, madam clerk. I too want to just commend my colleague Councilman Kazy for a wonderful job of what he did and really promoting the needs that are out there in our community has pertains to young people that have handicaps.

Mr. Chairman I want to thank you for the uh giving me um an opportunity to attend the neighborhood meeting tonight in my ward. That's why I was late a safety meeting. Mr. Chairman I I wanted to rise and say this on the floor. In the days that we are dealing with collective as a body, as a community as it pertains to issue pertaining to public safety, police it is so, it was so pleasant to walk into a meeting tonight with at least 60 people if maybe probably more I was trying to count as I was standing up in front, who not only are proud to live in the city of Cleveland but also are supportive of our men and women in the Cleveland police department. And that has to be said more often and more and more often in our city.

These are homeowners these are people who pay a lot of taxes in an area in my ward up near the lake and um they've been experiencing some problems with people trying to rifle through cars and entering the vehicles etc. And at the end of the day, they made it very clear to me and the commander who was there from the fifth district tonight, Commander Morris, who by the way lives in the community lives in in ward 8 lives in the fifth district, that they're not here to vilify the police department they're here to support the men and women in blue. And it is so it is so um refreshing to hear that. And i wanted to get up on the floor tonight and really thank the members of the East Shore Park Club for their commitment to our city to our community.

And you know we all realize we have issues. There have been some serious issues within the division of police over the years. You cannot deny that fact. But we also cannot deny the fact that the majority men and women in this city are working on our behalf every day the men and women in blue. And we need to acknowledge that every chance we can and it was so again so impressive and so gratifying to hear how appreciative they are, the people in our community, to the men and women in blue of the fifth district for serving our community. And they're supportive.

What's the bottom line? It's not about to defund the police, they want more police in the street. They want the positions back filled. They want accountability. They want professional conduct. They want transparency but they want police officers working their street.

So to my brothers and sisters as we go forward the remainder of this year and into a new administration, that's got to be our number one priority. Our number one priority in the city to make sure those positions are back filled, and that we have the accountability, professional conduct, and training that our citizens are demanding and expecting. Thank you Mr. Chair.

2:57 Permalink

Councilmember Charles J. Slife (Ward 17)

Councilmember Slife: Thank you Mr. Chair and and I share the congratulations to Councilman Kazy in Ward 16 about the new mural. I'm already speaking with Councilman Kazy about how to expand it next year. It's right on the border of our two wards and then the underpass creates an opportunity to make it even larger than it already is.

But I rise tonight to talk about curbside recycling. It is probably the most common question that I hear from residents as I'm out in the neighborhood. And to this council and to you Mr. President, I'm really concerned on Friday we have the deadline for the opt-in of recycling, and we heard today in a committee meeting we've received information from the administration that opt-in rates are pretty low. And none of us anticipated there was going to be 100 opt-in. However I don't think communication has been where it's needed to be. Council has been putting out this information as best as it can but we heard today that the administration put out a mailer last week. In a previous committee meeting we had suggested hangers on carts, we had suggested robo calls, I suggested putting signs on garbage and recycling trucks as they circulate the community.

The truth is the residents don't know about this. And not only are we denying them the opportunity to participate and if they missed the deadline they wouldn't be able to, they could opt in but not begin to participate until 2022, but we're also talking about beginning next week taking away the blue cans for people who haven't opted in. And I can just say i'm a very busy guy, I've got two kids at home in diapers, and if I just lost one of my cans one day it'd be chaotic. And I think that what we're walking ourselves into is people not having enough space in the remaining container. Being told they have to lease another one when they used to have two and it's going to exacerbate the illegal dumping issues we see across many parts of our city.

So I'm asking the administration to reconsider this October 22nd deadline. I think that we need more time and we need more effective communication out from the administration to our residents about how to opt into this program. Thank you.

1:58 Permalink

Councilmember Basheer S. Jones (Ward 7)

Councilmember Basheer Jones: Thank you so much Mr. President First I want to congratulate Councilwoman Santana that's a huge thing. You know you just never know um what people are dealing with. I had the chance to go to India and in India in the slum villages there, they have a big issue with young girls not being able to go to school because they don't have the necessary cleaning, you know you know what i'm talking about. You get you get what I'm saying. Okay thank you. And personal hygiene products. I have a daughter too by the way who's just told me her stomach hurts so you can tell how I'm feeling right now but anyway.

But this is a big thing. This is turning words into actions. Words into actions. And sometimes being here you know we can make the mistakes of of talking talking talking without action following up. Without action following up. And if we're truly serious about wanting to make this city, to take this city off of the list of being the most impoverished, we have to make sure that this is a place where everyone has access to resources.

You know my good friend Norm Edwards has been for 30 plus years fighting at the table making sure, striving to make sure that black and brown people have an opportunity to have a part of this economic power. And I think this is very very important because we can save anything. I mean we can get up and lead marches and get on microphones and say anything, but if we don't put the money where our mouth is all of it is is just words. It's just you know something for the camera but people will really be impacted by what Councilman Santana did, what you have done Council President, what you will do.

So what I'm saying to you and to me is that we have to make sure specifically you have black people in this city who have been doing business in this city and never have had the opportunity to get a a real piece of the pie. You know it's hypocritical for us to talk about the crime of young men and women on corners of Cleveland but not to talk discuss the crime of not being able to have a seat at the table and take a piece of the pie. So I stand with Norm Edwards.

This issue with Sherwin Williams is a real issue and any institution that does not want to make sure that black people get what they deserve in a majority black city is a problem. And you know I'm not going to allow suburban anyone from the suburbs or any neighborhood that looked like the suburbs to tell me how I should feel about anything that happens amongst my community. And let me make it clear and put it on a record. Public comment has been something we've been working on for much longer than many groups that got involved. It's been a conversation that we've been working on for a long time and anyone that's being truthful will know that it didn't just happen last year but we were discussing it years prior. So why is this important? It's because we have to be very careful of the loud voices that are here for a moment but not really addressing the real issues that's happening in our communities.

I wish like my friend Councilman Slife was talking about you know the garbage cans, like I wish that was my major issue. My major issue is that we are burying black bodies almost every single day. There's certain issues in certain places that some can't even compare to. So I close with this. I'm making a transition. Mansfield Frazier. He's a person that was an example in this city of turning words into actions and our neighborhood has been devastated by his loss. I'll be reaching out to you Mr. President. I would love for us to consider as a body turning a day into Mansfield Frazier Day as well as turning East 66th into Mansfield Frazier Way. I know I have a lot of a lot of street signs that I did in Ward 7 but I'm hoping that that we can do one more. I's been a pleasure you know being with this body and and fighting for what's right and and I hope that we can continue to fight for what's right and and turn our words into actions and not be moved by the sway of emotions of of people who don't understand where we come from. Thank you.

4:58 Permalink

Councilmember Joseph T. Jones (Ward 1)

Councilmember Joe Jones: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to talk about a member who graced this hall and was the finance chairman on city council. Some who like Mike Polensek may remember. He's still alive but he's going through some tough times that's Bill Patman. So if you have Bill Patman's number reach out to him. He's a little bit under the weather so to speak and I'm quite sure it would be good. If you know him to reach out to him in this particular time.

Also I'd like to take the opportunity to agree with you know both Mike Polensek as well as Charlie Slife and their comments today. I think they were very thoughtful. One of them dealing with garbage collection in our city. One of the things that I could always you know actually mark my clock to was the garbage collection pickup time. And over the last several years we've seen a decline in our community in terms of garbage collection. What we have now is something that my colleagues like talked about is these brochures being mailed out into the neighborhood. A lot of our citizens are confused by it they don't understand it. And Mr. Chairman I would respectively ask the administration or this council can put together a resolution and telling the administration that we don't want that program to move forward as it is right now until we have more communications to our public so they can really understand what opting is is is and what opting out is, because a lot of them don't understand what's actually happening and we've we've been fielding phone calls in our office all day long concerning the particular issue. So I would suggest that we hold up on that program. It will be the best thing for this council. If we don't hold up on it it's going to be a nightmare for us. So we need to do a better job and how we communicate that and I think that that would help us.

Another issue in garbage collection is there was a time when we would load the entire front up and the garbage collecting guys would come and get it all. Now what we have is these cans and we have a certain period of time that we can put the garbage out in the first of the month and that's not happening in an efficient way. We have a lot of garbage and debris that are left behind and most nine times out of ten that debris is winding up on the corners. It's winding up in alleyways and it's making our city look ugly. We need to find a way to address some of the issues of collection so that when we're getting out there we're getting we're actually getting that stuff up and we're putting it in the way the way it ought to be. Because right now my neighborhood has not looked so messy as it it does right now with mattresses all over the place. And I'm quite sure many of you seen mattresses all over the place. We need to do a better job in terms of figuring out how to deal with that.

And then lastly you know I agree with Mike Polensek about our police officers. Over 20 years ago I stood here actually on that microphone and talked about the crossroads of the city of Cleveland and the importance of trying to keep our police manpower intact .That we have a choice in the decision and if we move in one direction, we are and we have moved unfortunately in the wrong direction, now we have crime at a rate that we haven't seen the likes of. I can't even compare the crime in our city to the 1980's. This is the worst that we've ever seen it in my neighborhood. And I'm told from my own commander that our neighborhood is not doing as bad as some of the other parts of the city of Cleveland. And I said to him in response Mr. President, that if that's the case we're in trouble. We're in trouble.

And when I have citizens that tell me that we're moving out of the neighborhood because our house not only got broken at once, but it's got broken in twice, but it's three times it's been broken into that's an issue. We need to do something about using these ARPA funds to hire at least another hundred police officers if not 150 more police officers and put them into the streets. We need to figure it out quickly because for me as an elected official and I'll wind it up Mr. President, is this... our goals as a council should be retaining our population and working to build and bring in more population in the city of Cleveland. That should be what we should strive for here as a council. How we increase our city and how we move forward as a city and one of the ways of being able to do that is to keep our citizens safe. Thank you.

4:41 Permalink