January 24, 2022prev: January 10, 2022 next: January 31, 2022
Public Commenters (9 min)
Roger Carney Lauren Feighan Ross DiBello
Councilmember comments during Miscellaneous (4 min)
Michael D. Polensek (Ward 8)
Feighan: Thank you and good evening. I do want to say that I'm not a paid representative of SURJ NEO, I'm a volunteer and a member of the organization. As you mentioned I'm also a resident of ward 3 and I'm one of 32,875 Clevelanders who voted yes on issue 24 in November. As you may know this issue passed with 59 percent of the vote and an even larger margin in my ward of 66 percent. It's clear that Cleveland residents gave a mandate for change.
I'm here tonight to share my hope for transparency and engagement with the residents on the status and implementation of issue 24 as it moves from words on a page to actual practice in the city. I know this council president has expressed intent to maintain independence from the mayor's office even as you collaborate. I see the value in this and I too believe the council is an important check and oversight body for the mayor's office. I see the implementation of issue 24 as a first opportunity to demonstrate this independence.
So my questions to you are tonight one: How does this council intend to provide oversight over the mayor's office to ensure the swift and effective implementation of issue 24? Two, what documents, meetings, and public appearances will this body request from the mayoral administration, to ensure this initiative becomes practice in the police department and in the city as soon as possible? And lastly what documents, meetings, and public appearances will this body request from the mayoral administration, to ensure that any future appointments to the community police commission happen with transparency and community input?
I want to congratulate you all on your elections and re-elections. I look forward to hearing updates in the future about the status and implementation of issue 24. I thank you for your time and attention tonight and I look forward to working alongside you to make Cleveland a place where we can all prosper thank you. [Applause]
DiBello: Thanks Council President and thank you to the first two of you Mr. Carney and those both beautiful beautiful. Good evening counselors. I come before you tonight to ask that you finally decriminalize the act of fare evasion. Currently under codified ordinance 60511, failing to pay a $2.50 bus pass carries with it the risk of 30 days in jail and a $250 dollar fine. This is unjust. No one thinks someone should go to jail, especially our jail where we have deaths, because they get a parking ticket, and neither should anyone go to jail because they are too poor to buy a bus pass. In fact, RTA is currently in the process of introducing civilian fare enforcement personnel because the agency recognizes that fare evasion should not be a crime. Cleveland should timely amend its law to do the same if we want to be humanitarian.
Legislation to accomplish this has been languishing in this council since 2019. But three years later we've got a new era I think it's time to act. So I would ask you to act now or as soon as possible and decriminalize fare evasion. To be blunt, criminalizing fare evasion serves only to criminalize poverty. Our policy makers should be in the business of uplifting those among us with the least, yet the current policy allows for the possibility of setting them back further and a trip to a possible deadly confinement.
So thank you all for listening and taking action most of the 22, 2300 streets that I traversed to get here were plowed and uh go Cavs.
Councilmember Michael D. Polensek (Ward 8)
Councilman Polensek: Thank you Mr. Chairman, my honorable colleagues. I rise for two occasions. First of all, I wanted to address it I don't know if the safety directors are here, still here. I was notified last week by a couple of postal officials in my ward, that apprised me that the what we call the blue boxes that are in our neighborhoods, that they have been compromised. I was shocked to hear that quite frankly. And then I saw something on one of the tv stations about it. And then I got another call. And then Saturday morning I went to one of the zip codes, one of the postal stations and asked to speak to a manager who confirmed to me as well. But to tell me that Councilman that none of the boxes in your neighborhood or your northeast side have been have been tampered with. But very reluctant to talk about it. So I would ask officially through the chair to the safety director, if we can get some clarification from United States Post Office as to is this correct as it pertains to the blue boxes that so many of our people use in our neighborhoods that they've been compromised. That someone has gained access to the master key to the boxes.
We need to know this because there are many of our residents that still use the boxes, that still put checks in the mail, that still pay their bills in the mail. So I automatically last week sent out a blast in my ward Mr. Chairman and my honorable colleagues, to inform my residents until further notice take your mail right to the post office rather than deposit in the boxes, just to be on the safe side. But I've gotten the calls and I went to the post office and again the station manager basically confirmed this but was very reluctant to talk about it. And I could not understand if this in fact is taking place, then all of us need to be aware of it. So again I would ask officially through the chair to the safety director I didn't want to belabor the issue today at the finance table, but I think it's something that we all need to know and where in fact is happening in the county.
The last thing I wanted to mention Mr. Chairman because I heard one of the pieces that we were holding as it pertains to roof leaks and water damage. As I'm looking up again in our chamber, we've got a problem again in our ceiling here above you Mr. Chairman. So o I would hope that somebody from public works would take a look at our ceiling here before we wind up what we had last time with water damage on the mural here. So it's clear there is something taking place I don't know what but it does look like water is coming in. And this is the people's house and I want to make sure this chamber stays maintained. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Councilman Griffin: Thank you so much Councilman Polensek.
Carney: Thank you Mr. Council President and good evening city council. I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the things we take for granted that takes your hard work. For the unpopular decisions you make that are the in the best interest for the city. For the many ways you showed love to our city thank you, and I call it love in action. Thanks for the love and care you show your constituents. Many don't realize how you can't walk outside your home without the possibility of someone stopping to tell you about their neighbor's dog or possum. Can you fix a traffic ticket? What about potholes or snow removal? Their son needing a job or help getting him out of jail. When are you going to stop drive-by shootings? When are you going to get me a roof or cut down my neighbor's ugly tree? You're an expert at elder abuse and bed bugs. Some of you I've seen, you know, one of you I've seen do yard work and one I know uh you know moves snow so that a senior can get to an appointment.
New members did you realize that's what you signed up for? You're a legislator right? Not until you get the city hall and sometimes it takes more than a minute to get there. You do so much more than people realize and thank you you're the G.O.A.T. and I've come to realize that has two meanings these days. Mr. Council President I apologize for giving you an Anwar Sadat moment walking out of your home one day. I saw you I slammed on the brakes, swerved into a neighbor's drive, jumped out of the car to tell you that I got your email it wasn't pretty. If the council president told you at your retreat to exit your home out of the back door I probably had something to do with that.
On a more somber note, I do hope that your retreat included some training on accounting for the monthly allowances you get. May God bless Ken Johnson. I want you to know that I pray for you collectively and individually and I'm not the only one, though I may be the only one of a few people in the world and know all 17 of you by name other than the clerk of council. She knows you alphabetically but I'm a CPA and I got this numbers thing. So I pray from Jones to Slife. And sometimes I pray from Slife to Jones. And sometimes I go inside out and start Conwell and then you know Polensek and then Hairston right so whatever it takes you know ,I'm praying for you. Yes I pray for you and but thank you for those who've allowed for me allowed me to pray with you. Some can attest it's a good thing. Some say it's uncomfortable but either way thank you.
At your swearing-ins um several of you thanked God for his help on you getting to on your journey to Cleveland city council. I wish there was prayer at the beginning of council meetings. Councilman Jones brought up that pre-pandemic and I've seen his dogged determination and so I have hope. I love you folks with the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have a relationship with most all of you and I appreciate that so much. You've been so kind and supportive and I thank you for finding value in the work being done to help seniors age in place. The last term of Cleveland city council was the best working years of my life. Imagine that, the best years even in the time of the pandemic and the future is brighter. Thanks for knowing me and thanks for calling me. It's actually an honor to get a phone call after 9 pm from a member of council, unless you immediately hand the phone to your constituent and I still love you councilman. Together we've helped so many people and I want to say thank you.
I'll leave you with a blessing God told Moses to tell Aaron what to pray for those over to pray for those he loved. The Lord bless you and keep you the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace amen and God bless you all and thank you for public comment.
Councilman Griffin: Thank you.