April 03, 2023

prev: March 21, 2023 next: April 10, 2023

Public Commenters (27 min)
Dr. Charles Modlin  Mario Pollard  Walter Collins  Michael Melampy  Maria Smith  DeSeanna Morgan  Marlon Blackwell  Michael Fiala 

Dr. Charles Modlin

Thank you for having me, Council President. Again, my name is Dr. Charles Modlin. I'm a urologist at the Metro Health Medical Center. I'm also the Medical Director of Equity, Inclusion Diversity. I spent about 27 years prior to going to Metro also at Cleveland Clinic practicing urology and kidney transplantation.

I'm here to inform City Council of a very important upcoming event. We've discussed this here before, that's the Metro Health Minority Men's Health Fair. It's going to be occurring Thursday ,April the 27th. It's a free health fair open to everyone, but we specifically want to engage men of color because because men of color have the highest incidence of a number of health care disparities, many of which are life-threatening.

April the 27th, between 5 and 8 30 p.m at three convenient Metro Health locations- the Main Campus, Ohio City, and Cleveland Heights locations, we're providing over 30 free screenings. It's free, you can just show up and register on site. We're going to distribute also some flyers. There's a online registration option or a phone option as well.

I'm also here as a board member from the American Heart Association, and I want to present a statement that I support and also the American Heart Association also supports, initially refers to an editorial written by the Director of Public Health, Dr. David Margolius, of which all of you are familiar. He alerted all of us to the fact that Cleveland's smoking rate is 35-percent, which is nearly three times the national average. That puts our residents at risk for a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke, all of which is preventable of course.

It's an understatement to say that I'm encouraged as a physician by the council's proposal to end the sale of flavored tobacco products and better enforce existing tobacco laws. The policy is exactly what we need to fight to the tobacco industry's predatory marketing to people of color and to our youth. For decades now, the tobacco industry has targeted these groups with products such as menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, and these products were essentially developed to mask the harsh taste of tobacco, allowing more frequent use and resulting in higher addiction rates. The industry's predatory marketing has a devastating impact, a major contributor to tobacco-related health disparities for communities of color. Black communities suffer the greatest burden of tobacco-related deaths, with black adults 32-percent more likely to die from heart disease, 45-percent more likely to to die from stroke. It also affects the Latino Community as well. So nearly 97-percent of youth e-cigarettes users report using flavored tobacco, and the data point to the fact that current laws and enforcement are not doing enough to reverse this trend. So we we want the City Council to support the efforts to end the sale of flavored tobacco and enforce better regulation. Thank you.

3:28 Permalink

Mario Pollard

Good evening, members of the Council all in attendance tonight. I have spoken here before on this issue as part of a larger organization, however tonight I'm here as a private angry citizen, and I have a couple questions to ask. And the first question is I just want to know why the powers that be in this city, in this state, are not throwing everything that they can and moving with the utmost urgency and ensuring that the homes and buildings in our city are lead-safe.

And I referenced the most recent public data available, stating that 75-percent of all rentals, that's three out of four rentals in this city, are still not lead-safe certified, and in a city where 90 of our housing stock was built before lead paint was outlawed, I don't think I need to state how astronomical of a hazard that is to sit and be complacent with when children are being poisoned in their homes every single day.

And that leads me to my next question. Why, why are we essentially forced to pay to stay in housing where there is no guarantee of it being safe, and you might as well essentially say we're being forced to at this point, because the Ohio appeals court overturned the local rule last August requiring that landlords have to prove that their properties are lead-safe certified before they can file an eviction. So yes, again to reiterate, we are essentially being forced to pay ever- rising rent and housing costs to stay and live in housing that is poisoning if not potentially killing us and our children, and that is that is criminal. That is depraved. It is inhumane. It is inhumane to force people to live in housing, to force human beings who live in housing not fit for human beings, and that is why I'm here tonight.

I am speaking on behalf of the children in Cleveland, especially the black children who make up the majority of these victims, who have to live with this legacy of structural and environmental racism. I'm speaking on behalf of myself as a black child who grew up in Cleveland in one of those neighborhoods where the statistics say that 25-percent of all kids in that neighborhood have been lead poisoned. Now I'm here speaking on behalf of the kids who don't know why they're angry, who don't know why they're in a rage and don't have good relationships with their peers and their neighbors and their families, and who act out and destructive ways, who can't think straight - that is why I'm here speaking of tonight, and as you continue with your agenda tonight, I would hope I could remind you that I can't think of any topic or any agenda for any city that is more prioritized than ensuring that the children who live in our city have safe homes to grow up in. Thank you.

3:19 Permalink

Walter Collins

Good evening. My name is Walter Collins I'm a four-year Vietnam veteran and a two-year Cold War veteran.

I've spoken here before on this issue. The last time I spoke here, I mentioned to the council to encourage this administration to get a visible, vocal veterans program. Since that time, every Tuesday for the last year, almost year and a half, the administration have sent Richard, Ed Parish, and Anthony Houston, Rid-All Farms have hosted them, holding meetings with all of the different people that work in this area.

High emphasis was placed on no duplication, and we're dealing again with invisible injuries primarily, and with that in mind, we're asking the council to support the liaison veterans representative.

All of the council people have received copies of the letter. In this letter, it lists the numerous number of agencies and organizations that's working with your veteran rep, Ed Parish and Rid-All Farms, and developing a program. With that in mind, we have developed a very- you have a very, very high program. Now we need you all to attend those Tuesday meetings. Send some of your staff. The people that's working on this discuss the issues that your residents need, the veterans need, and in discussing those issues they have solutions and answers for many many questions that y'all could share with your residents on the community need. We need y'all to start attending those meetings so that you know, when decision time come for funds, why these people are asking what they're asking.

You have a excellent, excellent group right now. Don't blow it. Don't blow it. You have people that really really are working for veterans in this city. Do not let them go away because y'all haven't named a veteran liaison person. We need representation so that the people and agency and organizations that's working with us are not working on a city promise [to] us to have a program. We need them to be working on a program. Thank you.

3:26 Permalink

Michael Melampy

I want to thank the Council for this opportunity to speak today. You will receive a resolution from the Cleveland Non-Violence Network calling for the elimination of U.S militarism and military spending. Now that's a big ask, one that may seem entirely inappropriate for a City Council. However, given the polarization and gridlock that exists in Washington and the gerrymandered nature of our state legislature, citizens of Ohio are left to look toward their city councils for help in dealing with issues that have not just local but also state, national, and international significance.

We are asking for an expression of support for this resolution that can serve as a catalyst for support from other councils. When enough councils express their support, we are confident that our state and national leaders will pay attention and begin to question the priority given to militarism and to the annual spending of more than 800-billion dollars on the military.

A repeated experience in the use of militarism is that it rarely leads to sustainable constructive change. Even World War II left us with a host of animosities that still simmer, and that are still creating immense hardships around the world. We have to begin to look for all alternatives. So it is our hope that City Council, Cleveland City Council, can be a leader in the search for a lasting peace that will generate real benefits for everyone. Thank you for your attention.

1:52 Permalink

Maria Smith

Good evening. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to my fellow residents of the city of Cleveland. This is the eve of the 55th anniversary of Dr King's assassination, and the 56th anniversary of his 'Breaking the Silence' speech. The Cleveland Non-Violence Network was formed on September 12, 2001, and when we gathered, we gathered to listen to the Breaking the Silence speech, helping to imagine a world that could respond to violence in a way that is formed and shaped by Dr. King's wisdoms and words in the Breaking the Silence speech.

We come to this Cleveland City Council with this resolution, asking that it heed the words of Dr. King's speech. We come to the city council with an invitation asking that it listen to the invitation of Dr. King that warns of the dangers of nuclear weapons, but yet invites us to a revolution of values, a revolution based on the commitment to love even our enemies. The Cleveland Non-Violence Network invites the Cleveland City Council to study non-violence as a path forward, to use love, the most powerful transformative force available to all humanity.

In our preamble, we say the purpose of this resolution is to add local voices to a national conversation about the allocation of U.S resources and a vision for a peaceful future. Now with this new tragic and devastating conflict on the global stage and faced with the threat of mutual nuclear destruction, it is time for communities to step up and say we have learned the lessons of war and must take courageous steps for peace. Those steps must be to de-escalate U.S. Pentagon spending and the enormous investment on nuclear weaponry and other weaponry expenditures for war and the preparations for war. These expenditures come at a tremendous loss for our local communities. The Cleveland Non-Violence Network invites local communities to break their silence about the human costs of U.S militarism, why it is jeopardizing health, wealth, and the well-being of our local communities. The Cleveland Non-Violence Network invites everyone to engage in the practice of non-violence by following these four disciplines: radical amazement, radical hospitality, compassion for every sentient, being an ecosystem of good stewardship to create shared abundance, truth, reparation, and reconciliation. Thank you for your time this evening.

2:57 Permalink

DeSeanna Morgan

Hi everyone. My name is DeSeanna Morgan. I represent a company called Logistics Code. I'm the CEO and founder. It's a Christian-based company where technology is embedded.

As of recently, I've already demonstrated how education is key and how we as Logistics Code is going back into the school system. We've succeeded. We're back into the school system talking to students and figuring out the delegations and responsibilities for student success for all spectrums of learning.

This is an example of a history book that we're trying to promote. It's titled 'Pentecostal Church of the World, The Religion of USA.' There are 13 colonies recorded in U.S history and there's going to be so many more fun facts. This is already on the verge to be promoted within schools. And then we're doing something for students where they can give towards economical change. The thing about humanitarianism is where we as a human race can come and not be divided against social, economical, special interests. If anyone knows about IEPs in the educational system, you would know that some students are misdiagnosed with ADHD, and then you look at the one who diagnosed them, and they're going through suicidal thoughts themselves. This has to end. That's why Logistics Code not only has seven companies, but the seventh one is a 501c3, which is a non-profit for biblical counseling.

Sometimes we have to be repetitive in our speech, and I definitely will not stop until mental health is at a absolute stand.

So, a little bit more about this: utilitarianism is something where a vast majority of people have concisively come together with this conclusion that the wrong thing is the right thing. After seeing a shooting, we have to stop some of these special interests of certain type of communities. The rights that we are giving for activist leaders have to end, and it starts with getting back into a system of equilibrium. I'm not just talking about cash flow, but we have to consider those pinpoints of humanitarianism with other countries worldwide, so we can come and visit and communicate and fellowship with other countries around the globe. I'm DeSeanna Morgan. Check out logisticscode.com. Thank you.

3:06 Permalink

Marlon Blackwell

Good evening. Thank you, Councilman. Again, my name is Marlon Blackwell. I'm a home homeowner in Ward 6, and I'm seeking the city council's help with filing a claim against a Cleveland registered contractor by the name of Neil Wolfe. Neil Construction Company.

I reached out to Consumer Affairs of the City of Cleveland to try to file a complaint with Jonathan Mahoney. I was told that Jonathan Mahoney has been reassigned, so currently there's no one overseeing Consumer Affairs for the City of Cleveland. I then took my complaint to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, connected with David Yost. He then assigned a consumer protection investigator to look at this claim against this contractor.

The investigator advised me to file a claim with the City of Cleveland because the City of Cleveland holds the contractors' construction bond. Working with the inspector [Sendrick?] and his supervisor [Keith Gudat], they informed me that the inspection was satisfactory to the basic building codes of the City of Cleveland. Through my own observation, I deemed that that's incorrect, that the contractor did not complete the contracted agreement and the work is in violation of several ordinances. Again then the next step that I did was have the investigator reach out to the inspection department to bring awareness to the situation that I I do have the contract, but the City of Cleveland has the ability to file a claim on my behalf. But the City of Cleveland will not file a claim on my behalf because the work is deemed to be in line with the basic building codes.

So then, the investigator that's assigned to the case then reached out to the Director of Housing and Building, which is Sally Martin, to escalate this situation in order for me to file a claim. At this point we have not received any feedback from Sally Martin or any follow-up as far as the inspection goes, and the process with the inspectors. There's no documentation so I'm unsure if even inspectors are even going out and actually doing the work that is deemed associated with the permit.

Furthermore through my investigation, looking at how how a contractor can even apply to get registered for the City of Cleveland to even do work in the city of Cleveland, there's two major components of the application that are not getting vetted out or checked, and that is, have you engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, or deception. The next question that's also on the application is have you ever been convicted of or pled guilty of misdemeanor involvement of moral turpitude, which this particular contractor has been in violation of both of those. So then my next approach again was to reach out to your office Mr. Blaine, and try to get an audience with you, to kind of work with you and get this particular issue expedited to Sally Martin. I didn't get any feedback from the coordinator in your office, so then I went to this step to try to get this information in front of the Council and to you, President Blaine.

Griffin: Sir your time is up but can you stick around and I will personally come back and make sure that I get your information and follow up with you. Thank you. Thank you, sir.

3:41 Permalink

Michael Fiala

Greetings, council people, staff, guests. The question is no longer between violence and non-violence, but between non-violence and non-existence. I quote the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.

I'm encouraging City Council members to sponsor and pass a resolution to be set before them. This information will be coming to you to eliminate militarism in the U.S. budget. We bring this resolution at this poignant moment on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech at Riverside Church in New York City. Dr. King makes it clear that the future for all of us is not between violence and non-violence, but between non-violence and non-existence. He consistently preaches that we must end racism, militarism, and materialism from the U.S way of life. Militarism is the current U.S budget, 1.2-trillion dollars for the military, and 1.1 trillion dollars for interest on the debt for past military expenditures.

In 1990, Congress passed a law directing all federal agencies to produce regular audited financial statements. Today, the Department of Defense is the only agency that has never passed a single audit since 1990. Not a single audit since 1990. Never passed. If you can't pass an audit, you should not continue to have budget increases by 10 percent, as the last U.S Congress has done. Please sponsor this resolution and militarism in the U.S budget.

Finally, I was in Madison, Wisconsin this past weekend with Safe Water Clean Skies trying to stop the F-35 from being stationed at Truex Field Air National Guard Base. The F-35 is the new generation U.S fighter jet. We joined local groups following Dr. King's example to use non-violence direct action through civil disobedience, because the F-35 is a 1.7 trillion dollar boondoggle which is capable of carrying nuclear weapons twice the power of Hiroshima. The F-35 was going to be the most efficient cost-effective military project when first proposed in 2002, projected at 200- and 300-billion dollars. It is now a 1.7-trillion dollar project. Thank you.

3:25 Permalink