January 31, 2022

prev: January 24, 2022 next: February 07, 2022

Public Commenters (15 min)
Mark W. Schumann  Ross DiBello  Kareem Henton  Lady Palmer   Rev. Bobbie C. Laster 

Councilmember comments during Miscellaneous (5 min)
Joseph T. Jones (Ward 1)  Kevin Conwell (Ward 9) 

Mark W. Schumann

Council President Griffin: The first speaker we have is Mark W. Schumann from Stockyards West Boulevard decriminalization of fare evasion. Mr. Schumann you have the floor, you have three minutes.

Schumann: Mr. President, members of council and fellow members of the public. You just told you stole my complete speech. Let's decriminalize fare evasion on RTA. I drove here because I was in a hurry. And I parked pretty close by because I was in a hurry. And um I don't know if I should admit where I parked, but I do know that where I parked isn't a crime. And at worst I'm going to get a forty buck parking ticket. I'm not going to be in the criminal justice system over something petty that doesn't really hurt anybody like parking my car on East 9th. However, had I had a little bit more time and got on the 71 bus and forgot my phone, forgot my money, I would be committing a minor misdemeanor.

There's a kind of person who drives to city council meetings and there's a kind of person who takes the bus to city council meetings. Need I say more? I will because I've got a couple of minutes. The decriminalization of transit fare evasion is a social justice issue. It is a class and poverty issue. It is in some ways a racial justice issue which we just declared to be a public health crisis. So I'm here to say this council should be taking a stand to support all local and statewide efforts to decriminalize fare evasions. We should not be bringing anybody into the criminal justice system over forgetting their 2.50 on the bus. Mr. President.

Council President Griffin: Thank you Mr. Schuman.

1:58 Permalink

Ross DiBello

Council President Griffin: Next up we have my good friend Ross DiBello from ward 17 to talk about participatory budgeting and the budget. Mr. DiBello.

DiBello: All righty thank you Mr. President, good evening counselors great to see everybody's faces again and have this opportunity and time, don't take it for granted. I come tonight with a few policy and budgeting requests, but an even more important overarching message and recommendation I believe. I want to talk about our homeless brothers, sisters and children and our duty to them. As far as homelessness, I think utilizing more of our budget to open up 24/7 warming centers in the winter would be more than we are doing now but still the least that we can do. Public space is still limited during COVID in this winter. I also think that we should help community organizations find and repurpose alternate locations to decongregate shelters, such as hotels and churches who are willing to open their doors.

But beyond devoting a small amount more of our budget towards these couple of suggestions, I just want to bring more attention to the problem of homelessness and state that I believe it is a policy choice and a governmental failure and just a mindset or philosophy that it's acceptable and there's nothing we can do. Things like the 15-year tax abatement, eviction enforcement, other subsidies and policies all lead to the growing percentage of Clevelanders who find themselves homeless and unsafe. I believe housing is a human right not the maximization of profits or the biggest potential builds. So I asked to please re-prioritize recalibrate what's truly most important. Attack your own and others indifference. Homelessness is unacceptable but it's currently the choice we make so thank you guys have a great night.

2:07 Permalink

Kareem Henton

Council President Griffin: Next up we have Kareem Hinton from Cleveland to talk about issue 24 and the organization he represents is Black Lives Matter Cleveland. Mr. Hinton you have the floor.

Hinton: Yeah so good evening everybody. It's kind of a two-fold commentary that I'm going to give and one is definitely with issue 24. Right now we're just entering into the new administration with a new council president with a new mayor. What I'm asking is that everyone approach this with the sense of urgency that folks felt when they voted on this. I have to take my hat off to Councilman Jones. He was the lone councilman that came out in the four and supported it because he recognized that this is what the people wanted and this is what the people needed. I hope that everyone takes in account how important this was for people that's why we got the signatures, got it out there, people voted on it, and the people that voted on it and wanted it overwhelmingly wanted it. So I hope that folks really in the administration city council really delve into this with the importance that it deserves.

The other part that I want to bring up really quickly is that, is kind of in regards to the, what we're seeing with regards to people that need to go to the diversion center. We're seeing that, and I'm experiencing with folks that I have helped, they're still not making it to the diversion center. I would hope the city council actually takes an opportunity and actually looks into this because I believe that officers don't really want to fill out that paperwork, that extra bit of paperwork to really help these folks and as a result these folks that I'm helping that are in jail and coming out of jail I'm seeing them again. So we got to get these folks the help and the attention that they need. I hope that folks really push the utilization of the diversion center. It's being underutilized even with the accommodations that were made recently. So with that I'm going to close. Thank you.

2:22 Permalink

Lady Palmer

Council President Griffin: Next up we have Lady Palmer from ward 7 to talk about street parking at Bohn for Bohn Tower residents. Lady Palmer you have the floor.

Palmer: Good evening I address the president, council, mayor, my Councilwoman Stephanie Howse, all of the council leaders, everyone here because I know you're here for purpose, thank you so much. I am here first to address parking in the Bohn Tower area which is residential parking. It's a 55 and over building and there's been a lot of parking tickets and parking issues. I have the shiniest car on the street and they towed my car about a month ago you know which was $800 I didn't have. It's running. I've talked to a lot of people and the parking is really adding up for them. It's a great expense. You know many people have paid $800 in parking tickets. So what I'm asking is it has to be a solution or something available. Parking permits while we get the parking situation handled in Bohn Tower which has been an issue since I've been there going on five years. I still don't have a parking spot there five years. So but while that's you know in operation if we can have something happen for the residents.

Also you know we have the new townhouses that are being built across the street and I don't want what's called I guess gentrification to happen to the residents that have been there forever. So that's my you know that's the first issue and I do have a second issue.

So, the second issue and I'm asking if you know if any of you all can collaborate and I'm sure the powers to be have connections and collaboration. But living in Bohn Tower now it's a matter of life for me I feel my life is threatened. The other night I was out you know in my apartment and someone is outside saying to someone else I'm not afraid of your gun. And I'm like really? So do I need to run in my bedroom and get under my bed right now and how long do I need to stay there?

A couple nights after that I'm in the hallway breaking up a fight from the couple across the hall. I have literally broken up seven fights single-handedly at Bohn Tower from the lobby to my floor. The traffic on my floor is horrendous. It is horrendous. There are three offenders on the floor you know and so their people are knocking on my door all hours of night literally. I have all kinds of videos. I had the video of the panhandler knocking at my door. I've got the video of the woman laying on the floor with her alcohol spilt and she's half out calling me all kinds of names because I'm videoing her. But the the issues are horrendous. When I came in last night, someone walks up behind me because they see me coming in so they can get in with me. No security. I have a picture of the security guard that's immersed in his phone not knowing what's going on in the building and all kinds of traffic is going in and out.

But again, I know that you know I'll call it the red tape happens you know, I've been to the the headquarters and my council person is really she's calling me back and we're in communication she's making the connections that she can. But we need, what I'm really really asking is because conversations have been happening with Patterson since I've been there and issues have gotten nothing but progressively worse.

Council President Griffin: Time

Palmer: Quickly, okay. So what I'm asking is not for whoever does the whoever helps us because I'm really asking for help, not just stop at a promise from someone. I need someone to follow through to make sure that these issues get handled because it's my life now and I want to walk in and walk out freely just like I'm doing now. Thank you so much.

Council President Griffin: Thank you.

3:35 Permalink

Rev. Bobbie C. Laster

Council President Griffin: Reverend Bobbie C. Laster from ward 7 to talk about the selling of the multi-purpose building at 8555 Hough. Mr. Laster you have the floor and I believe you're representing the professional school of cosmetology.

Laster: Thank you so much. First we want to acknowledge the mayor and to my councilperson Stephanie Howse and to my other councilperson Mike Polensek and each of you. Listen I want to read this can I read this statement real quick? I won't have too much of your time.

It was around 2001, 2002 that my wife had a conversation with Councilwoman Fannie Lewis. Councilwoman Fannie Lewis in a conversation with wife discussed the passion of hers to teach women of ward 7 personal grooming. Because my wife Geraldine lasted had shared with her her experience of being a beautician for over 30 years. Being a multiple business owner of beauty shops and being a licensed instructor in the field of cosmetology at various beauty academies in the city, I was present when my wife and councilwoman discussed possibly building a cosmetology school in ward 7. Councilwoman Fannie Lewis also told me Rev, you and other ministers and associates need to consider doing something with that Richmond brother building. Without saying word I realized Councilwoman Lewis was thinking about doing things on a grand scale bringing people together in ward 7. My wife developed a business plan. We purchased three lots across the street in front of 8555 Hough where the professor's school cosmetology is presently located. Thanks to the city of Cleveland for exhibiting mercy and kindness to her getting started with the Fannie Lewis dream.

After councilwoman made her transition from earth to glory, my wife shared her and councilwoman's dream and concept inspirational aspiration with councilman then TJ Dow in the city of Cleveland. Mrs. Laster also shared her dream with Mayor Frank Jackson, Commissioner Cox and Commissioner Nagle. Mr. Ron Stevens of the hap office was instrumental in helping acquire land across the street from the multi-purpose building 8555 Hough. Councilman TJ Dow was instrumental in helping to acquire a grant that was used to buy books computers and other equipment. Mrs. Laster invested approximately $55,000 dollars of personal money to the school the plan to build the professional cosmetology in two years fell short due to financial reasons. But the professional school of cosmetology still pressed forward to this day maintain a 98% graduation rating. Many women and came to the professional school of cosmetology. The school's graduation rate is still presently 98%. There's no other school of this nature in the area with a 98% graduation rate. Not only do the graduates become successful business people, my wife goes to Columbus with many of them spending her own money to drill them and comfort and encourage them as they prepare for the state board of cosmetology test.

Council President Griffin: Time.

Laster: Can I say one more thing?

Council President Griffin Please finish sir.

Laster: So the question is the problem is this. After doing all this in ward 7 the building was sold and the residents of ward 7 had no input. What shall we do with the students and the other constituents in the building? That's the question.

Council President Griffin: Thank you Mr. Laster appreciate you.

3:50 Permalink

Councilmember Joseph T. Jones (Ward 1)

Councilman Jones: Also just take this moment Mr. President to talk about again a great servant in the city of Cleveland who passed last week Wednesday Paul Alcantar. And just to recognize Paul Alcantar coming back to Cleveland city council after being away for 13 years. He was one of the directors who out of all the directors and commissioners that I had an opportunity to work with and we have some good directors and commissioners but he was outstanding. He was a person, a commissioner who went above and beyond. And what do I mean by that. Every time I call Paul Alcantar who dealt with garbage collection and pickup he was always Johnny on the spot. If he didn't pick up his phone when you called him it was less than a minute or two he called you back. And what was so impressive about Mr. Paul Alcantar was the fact that he took care of the issue same day, next day, by the end of the week. Now that kind of service I had not seen in city hall since Mayor Mike White was the mayor of the city of Cleveland it was absolutely outstanding. I couldn't say that for everybody because he stood above the cut. I would sit at the table of counsel and just praise him.

And so we lost a great public servant who helped a lot of our colleagues who are sitting here. And when I opened up the floor to talk about how great of a man he was, all of my colleagues, some who are not here today, also gave him recognition and also gave him praise for the work he did. So just on behalf of of my family our community we're going to miss Paul Alcantar and the great standard of service that he set in that department as being a commissioner. And I hope mayor that we have more people like Paul Alcantar who will return a phone call, who will take care of the business of the people, who will see it as the number one factor that public service must come back to this city, come back to this hall, must start to existing like it was was in the past. Thank you.

2:22 Permalink

Councilmember Kevin Conwell (Ward 9)

Councilman Conwell: Yesterday when in fact you and I Mr. President was at the memorial service of Rudolph Muhammad. Yeah man he was, his service was yesterday at Pernel funeral home. Correct Mr. President it's three o'clock and as you know, that brother was a man's man, and he never looked for any fanfare at all throughout the community. And anytime you look around Brother, they called him Brother, Rudolph Muhammad was there helping. And I met him when I went to the community over there at Garden Valley. Starr, I was in your neighborhood. You weren't around. You were a little kid, you weren't around. But I met him there and he with Roland Muhammad were fighting against the drug dealers in that community. And helping out in the neighborhood with everybody and anybody. And even the drug dealers over there looked at him as a man's man. He had so much respect as we call street respect in the community you know what I'm talking about he could go anywhere people knew that he was there helping people and giving back to the community.

I was so hurt yesterday when I see that we were at the memorial service that he went home to meet his maker but he left a hell of a, hell of a, well a strong legacy in this community of giving back. And a lot of people, you would have to be in the community with him to know him because that just wasn't him seeking press or in the neighborhood like you know you know what I'm talking about Mr. President. And it really really touched me with Brother Muhammad. Just a man's man giving back and as I listened to the councilwoman former well, once you're a counselor person you're always a council person, she was talking about legacy this guy had a strong legacy and little children need to see success every single day. And young boys need to see fathers and men. And looking at him he was the great picture of manhood. Thank you very much.

Councilman Griffin: Thank you Councilman Conwell. He definitely was a great great person in the city of Cleveland appreciate that.

2:24 Permalink