May 23, 2022

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Public Commenters (27 min)
Bishop Chui  Rev. Pamela M. Pinkney Butts  Marge Misak  Dorothy Walwyn  Sharon Howard  Rukiye Abdul-Mutakallim  David Ellison  Faye Harris  Chris Ronayne  Rukiye Abdul-Mutakallim 

Bishop Chui

Council President Griffin: Once again I ask all council members to turn around so that you can acknowledge the speakers and first and foremost we have Bishop Chui from Ward 9 and he's here to talk about tax abatement. Mr. Chui please acknowledge your time on the clock sir, thank you.

Chui: Time. My name is Bishop Chui. I'm a fifth generation resident of Ward 9 in Glenville. I have some some experience in housing and community development and I believe uniquely I also have experience with the housing insecure and the unhoused community. And through this tax abatement process it's dawned on me, because we've heard a lot about equity, that when we talk about equity and when you all talk about equity, we mean very different things.

You all have a responsibility to affirmatively further fair housing. Affirmatively means proactively protecting residents from segregation, from displacement, from gentrification, and the unintended consequences of policy. It means not ignoring the fact that seemingly neutral rules and regulations can reinforce long-standing patterns of discrimination. It means not ignoring the fact that your tax abatement policy or your tax abatement study does not have a racial equity component. And it's something that's very important if you ever intend to deal with the inequities that we see in our community.

Through this process I've heard a lot about data and how we we need to to be using data. But when it came to a community benefits agreement, instead of using the estimate of affordable units that we already know we are lacking, a random number was just made up. I heard a lot about data but when it came to creating and in lieu of fee, we just got a random number when we know it won't come close to the cost of creating an affordable unit. We heard a lot about data but when it came to identifying an AMI for affordable housing, instead of using the actual median income of Cleveland residents, we just grabbed a number from the Cleveland Elyria MSA that we already know does not reflect what residents are making.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge that residents in opportunity areas need relief just as much as developers do. They need relief just like developers do. And instead of prioritizing that we prioritize profit over our community members. And people are voting with their feet. We see that in Glenville. We see that in Collinwood. We see that on the east side. And if we don't take up those matters, we're just going to see another loss of population like we saw, like we've seen for the last 20 years. Thank you for my time.

Council President Griffin: Thank you.

3:34 Permalink

Rev. Pamela M. Pinkney Butts

Council President Griffin: Next up we have Reverend Pamela M. Pinkney-Butts and she is not disclosing which ward she's in and she wants to talk about violence and racism.

Pinkney-Butts: Council President and those of you here today I'm having a little challenge with my smile this evening not my joy because I heard some things this evening that are really troubling. But I'm going to go back to what I wrote to speak to you in reference to because I'd like to know what an opportunity community is.

As I stand before each of you today, I decree and declare that a wise woman builds her house and a foolish one plucks it down with her hands and with her words that she speaks from her mouth. This evening I pose the question to you: Do we make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. The believers. It is also true that righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to many and any people. We hold these truths to be self-evident even today as we are overcoming the pandemic, not merely COVID 19, but other violences and concerns. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men, women, boys, and girls are created equal and are to have equal opportunities which we are not seeing even today.

We are endowed with inalienable rights and responsibilities yet to be fulfilled. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law through all ten of the commandments and by grace through faith. It is time to set the captives free. Let us come together to meet the needs of the people. All deserve food, shelter, clothing, posterity, life and liberty.

It has also been stated that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles as organizing its power in such form as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate the government's long established should not be changed for light or transient causes. Surely today we're not looking at light or transient causes.

We the people must form a more perfect human union establish just as ensured domestic tranquility and promote a common cause to secure blessings of liberty, prosperity, and hope ordained by the Holy Spirit in such a time as this. We are living in the destruction of our lives currently. It is time for peace. It is time to stop the manufacturing of guns and weapons of warfare including forcing psychiatric drugs on people instead of meeting their needs.

Council President Griffin: Time.

Pinkney-Butts: My phone number is 1-216-548-0820 and I have more and I have a copy of this speech and this information.

Council President Griffin: Thank you Reverend.

Pinkney-Butts: And I would like to give it to you and to the clerk so it will be on record.

Council President Griffin: Thank you.

Pinkney-Butts: And I'm not finished who do I give this to?

Council President Griffin: You can give it to Marisol she'll get it to us. Thank you Reverend, appreciate you.

3:37 Permalink

Marge Misak

Council President Griffin: We'll move now to Marge Misak she's from Ward 3 and she's here to talk about tax abatement. Ms. Misak.

Misak: Thank you and it's Marge Misak and someday I'll be here enough that we'll get it. Thank you Council President.

I've been following the tax abatement legislation pretty closely having been at finance and talked to some of you today. And I keep hearing that tax abatement policy is one piece of our housing policy, that it's really important to get past, that's part of creating an equitable housing policy in the city.

But I think that we really need to acknowledge the reality which is that in strong neighborhoods, where single family homes in our city are costing more than half a million dollars, rents are over fifteen hundred dollars a month, where the average city of cleveland household earns $32 000 a year, that continuing tax abatement in these strong neighborhoods is increasing inequity, and it will make it harder in the future to solve the critical shortage of housing that's affordable to Cleveland residents.

So I mentioned three policies that I think would vastly improve the tax abatement plan today. We need to eliminate tax abatement altogether in high cost so-called strong neighborhoods. Continuing it only serves to raise housing prices and rents more than they already are in those neighborhoods and it raises current homeowners taxes and rents higher than they already are, which increases the impact of racial and economic inequality.

We need to use Cleveland's median income as Bishop Chui mentioned instead of the area median income when setting the affordable housing requirements for multi-family projects. And we need to require a much higher fee than that current $20,000 fee if developers don't build the affordable units in their projects. You need to make it high enough to build an alternative unit in those same neighborhoods. This would send a message that we actually care about inclusive neighborhoods in our city.

Continuing to grant tax abatement to very high cost housing in very high cost neighborhoods will only increase inequities in our city. As you continue on after tonight to create equitable housing policies, please don't create a policy now that counteracts the good that you hope to do in the future towards an inclusive and equitable city. Thank you very much.

2:31 Permalink

Dorothy Walwyn

Council President Griffin: Next up is Dorothy A. Walwyn, Ward 8. She wants to talk about domestic gun violence, Tara's heart heal domestic violence and she's from New Africa Nation. Ms. Walwyn.

Good evening council, Mayor. My name is Dorothy Walwyn however my new African name is Alassi and that's what the city of Cleveland know me by and my community as Alassi. I'm sorry I didn't bring out a big speech to give to anybody and I want to like thank everybody for serving and allowing me to speak.

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and we're here tonight to talk about the domestic referring to reference number two. Something that's going on only in a specific state or country. And in Cleveland, Ohio the domestic gun violence is at alarming rate. On 152nd, it was just a mass shooter. Like 10 minutes ago coming over my phone. A mass shooter that shot up from 152nd and Saint Clair to 156th.

What we're here today though is to talk about Tara's Heart thanks to Ms. Councilwoman Grey. Tara Howard was one of my club members. She did a lot for the community and as you all know if y'all has been watching the news she was gunned down in domestic violence in front of her five children. A few days before her birthday which was Mother's Day. I contacted Ms. Grey who is the Councilwoman of Ward 4 and she came out to our rally and she heard our cry and we thank you for hearing our cry. She came to us wanting to give a resolution on the council to give a resolution in Tara's name and that's what it's about, to heal domestic violence. We got to start healing this.

We want to put out information pamphlets. I know it's not going to cost much. If you could put out how to buy cigarettes and where to get liquor from in these grocery stores, we could put out information packets on prevention and how to get out of these situations. A lot of these young ladies don't know that it's preventive measures out there. They don't know how to get out. The gang members don't know how to get out.

I'm a foot soldier. I'll be in ninth ward. Ninth ward is where I grew up at. Like I grew up in ninth ward, seven ward, fifth ward, across from Wade Park elementary school. I'll be, I have pictures out of gangs. I'll be out there talking to the gang members. Some of them don't want this life. We have places that we take them to where they could go that we use housing to get them in and get them out of the city of Cleveland. I'm a foot soldier, but we need help. We need to meet them.

Excuse me, Mayor Bibb, can we have a meeting with you in our office to discuss this further because this issue is so alarming and it's at hand that we need more than just my voice. And we're here for the community and we need a meeting to actually sit down where we have a full proof plan. Like we're even going to fund it ourselves. We're going to fund the pamphlets. We're going to make the pamphlets. We need to let, we just need to know that the city says it's okay for us to put them in them grocery stores by them free magazine racks. If we can advertise free magazines, we can advertise prevention.

Our children and our babies is dying. They get Brunswick Ohio. There's no way an 18 year old could have a crush on somebody and decides that she don't want that crush no more and he literally shot that baby. Every time I speak every time I think about that baby being being took her life being taken away

Council President Griffin: Time.

Walwen: Because she decided not to be in a relationship anymore.

Council President Griffin: Time.

Walwen: That's why we need the information packets out in the high schools and everything like that. Thank you so much, thank you Blaine Griffin.

Council President Griffin: Thank you so much ma'am.

3:31 Permalink

Sharon Howard

Council President Griffin: Next up we have Sharon Howard from Wellington. Tara's Heart Heal Domestic Violence and she's also from the New Africa Nation.

Howard: I'm Sharon Howard, the mother of Tara Muhammad who was just killed in the domestic violence shooting on 125th, and this is a serious serious problem Not only in Cleveland, I'm from Lorain County. My daughter lived here.

And when it's being addressed, these girls don't know where to go. They don't have information. They don't know who to talk to and that's what we're trying to do. And I and I came this way and I'd like to thank Councilman Grey for inviting me to come because somebody needs to put a a picture on this. This terrible crime going on that's taking these young ladies and men's lives. It works all over and it needs to be stopped so.

1:09 Permalink

Rukiye Abdul-Mutakallim

Abdul-Mutakallim: Good evening everyone. My name is Rukiye Zafra Abdul-Mutakallim. I am the CEO and Founder of The Musketeer Association and we have come to this absolute fair city to address the man-made disease of trauma. It is what is taking our children off these streets and they have become the buffet that we, an industry, we have allowed to flourish.

From guns, to knifings, to bullying, to assault. And I am done with it because my son was affected by it and he was not raised in these streets, but he came out here to help. Now you're only giving me a few more minutes and then you're going to call me back up again because they have allowed me to speak this part.

The Musketeer Association is not here to point fingers. We are not here to tell you what's wrong. We are not here to sit in kumbaya with you. But we are here to bring programs and projects that we eradicate this man made disease of trauma, starting with human trafficking. So we're inviting you to come to this and we are putting on an event that is unlike none other before.

On May 29th which is this coming Sunday and I promise you it will raise the roof. It will show that the young people out here we are absolutely here to teach you how to reach for the universe so you can catch that star you were born to do.

Our children are not the blame because they are not born hating, lying, stealing, cheating. They don't have weapons in their hands. Before you hit that gavel

Council President Griffin: Time.

Abdul-Mutakallim: I will see you in another minute to finish.

Council President Griffin: Thank you.

2:21 Permalink

David Ellison

Ellison: Hi I'm David Ellison. I live in Ohio City. I've lived in Cleveland for 35 years. I'm an architect. I've had my copy of the Cleveland zoning code for 25 years.

I got very focused on the zoning code in 2016 when the proposal was made to completely rezone Ohio City. And when the form based code idea was presented, I organized the AIA Cleveland zoning task force, which has now become the architects and attorneys committee on zoning. But when a project for the new townhouse code was per, following the new townhouse code was proposed at 47th and Bridge, Faye and I really focused in on that section of the code and all of you are probably familiar with this booklet which we distributed February of 2021. And then when the new council came in we delivered new copies to the new council people and we thank you for taking a look at those.

The code section it's actually a lot simpler to solve than a lot of the problems we've heard tonight and I you know I feel kind of funny speaking on such a topic that would be so simple to solve but they're these two problems with it. One procedural and one with the form that is described by the zoning code for townhouses. It affects every one and two family district that's most of where we all live. It affects every homeowner in Cleveland including probably most of you and it affects architects and developers.

We need your help. We'd like to present a detailed analysis and suggestions on how this code could be changed over the summer and we'd like up spot on the planning development and sustainability committee as soon as possible in the fall. Faye.

1:51 Permalink

Faye Harris

Harris: Hi my name is Faye Harris. I've lived in Ohio City for 36 years. I work as a chemist here in the city of Cleveland and I was involved in a townhouse project that's on my street on 47th and Bridge. And being very involved in that we got a chance to look at the code. We dissect the code. We did research on the code. We found past ordinances so we could really reflect and see how it changed from in the past to the 2018.

And in my feelings and seeing throughout the city of Cleveland, it affects one and two family districts. And also it allows you know to me bad developers to create bad projects throughout the city of Cleveland in our neighborhoods and it affects our property values.

So we feel we deserve to have a seat at the table. So what we're asking, we're asking city council members here for help. We would like to present our proposed repeal and replacement townhouse code. So you would be able to have questions and answers for us and then after you know, probably in July, to the committee of the whole and then in September, we would like to go to the development, planning and sustainability.

This has been a long road for us. We work full-time he has his job, I'm working 12 hours a day six days a week. I'm one of the essential workers so I think in this sense, we're just asking that the city of Cleveland residents have the opportunity to have a seat at the table. We deserve that as city of Cleveland residents. Thank you very much.

1:37 Permalink

Chris Ronayne

Council President Griffin: Next we have Chris Ronayne. Mr. Ronayne is from Ward 15 and he's here to talk about complete and green streets. He's here as Chris Ronayne, Ward 15, resident Chris Ronayne.

Ronayne: Thanks Council President. Mayor, Mr. Mayor, members of council and staff thank you for the time. Council President I know you're going to make an announcement later about a legend we lost today and my thoughts are with him and would be remiss if I talk about streets without acknowledging him.

I did want to say as a resident of Ward 15 and a former worker out in University Circle that I wholeheartedly endorse legislation that's going to be introduced. Thank you Councilman McCormick for your work on that and others and Mayor and Council President.

This is extremely important the complete and green streets legislation. We have a problem of safety in our streets and we've been talking, and a lot of respect for what's been said about safety all around the city, but on our streets we've got people speeding, running over our neighbors. In University Circle in 2019, we lost two gentlemen in their eighties. Councilman Cowell, Councilman Griffin aware of it.

The city helped us take provisions to slow cars down. Our flashers, our bump outs everything. But it was reactionary after the fact and what you have the opportunity to do today and into this legislative process is be proactive and calm our streets. And remember that our streets are for our kids, they're for our seniors. They need to be safe for all modes of transportation Mayor I know you campaigned on this thank you. And we need to tame our streets and make them equitable, make them safe, and just make sure that we look at the life through those who are not driving.

And so I very much support the legislation and its introduction and I hope you'll pass it through. And I frankly hope other communities of Cuyahoga County if I have anything to do about it will also see it through throughout Cuyahoga County. But be the leader that you are in the city of Cleveland. Be first and move it forward. Thank you very much Council President and members of council.

2:20 Permalink

Rukiye Abdul-Mutakallim

Council President Griffin: I am going to allow just one more follow-up minute for Ms. Abdul-Mutakallim because generally it is only supposed to be each speaker for three minutes and I know that they have given you some of your time, but I usually keep it clean and only three minutes per speaker. So I will allow you to finish with one more minute ma'am if you could please proceed.

Abdul-Mutakallim: I do think the council member and all of you and I especially give my thanks to Councilmember Gray and Jones for asking me to come forth and speak to all of you from my heart. And to let you know that we have come here to help all of the residents here, and especially the children because they are our future. And if we are not making laws that absolutely eradicate this man-made disease of trauma, then we have no future.

Our children have given up hope. So on that since my time is getting very close to an end, I would like to have time with any of you who welcome The Musketeer Association to come to you, show you what we have. Please entertain it because it is absolutely an approach that you do not have in place now. And it does aim at saving all of our children who are our future. And if you are not making the streets for them safe, you have no streets if you are not making future for them, you have no future.

And we are here to say once and for all stop the violence. Stop the racism. Stop the fascism. And by doing that we have a beautiful future for all of us not just some of us. Thank you so very very much.

2:16 Permalink