March 07, 2022prev: February 28, 2022 next: March 21, 2022
Public Commenters (23 min)
Marlon Naylor Jenna Thomas Angelo Trivisonno Kimberly Brown Anna Borkan Liz Maugans Joe Schwarten
Thomas: Well, thank you. Council President Griffin and members of council for giving me this opportunity to draw your attention to the need for a complete and green streets ordinance updated in the city of Cleveland. A Complete and Green Streets ordinance would address the livability and environmental needs of our community by creating a transportation system for all of us, including walkers transit riders, wheelchair users and bike riders alike. The ordinance should establish best practices for street design. It should outline resources that the city should consult when redesigning a street and require that the street prioritize vulnerable road user first. The ordinance is also critical in the Vision Zero initiative. that council and the administration are working together on to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
In 2011, City Council took first steps in passing an initial Green and Complete Streets ordinance. But unfortunately this legislation is essentially unenforceable and um it lacks many key pieces such as the creation of an oversight committee, a public hearing requirement for exempted projects and mandated metrics that must be reported on annually. We've been working with councilman Kerry McCormack for almost three years to update this ordinance. And we are hoping that the new legislation will eliminate the loopholes that exist that have created numerous missed opportunities for transformative street design.
In the packets that I emailed to you, but also I have physical copies for those who are interested, it outlines many of those missed opportunities. You'll see when looking at those packets that Clevelanders time and time again have been deprived of safe, green, functional and frankly more beautiful streets. Your constituents need safer and more inclusive streets. In some residents of Cleveland, in some neighborhoods of Cleveland, as many as 60% of residents do not have access to a vehicle. Across the whole city, a quarter of residents do not have access to a vehicle. So we know that our neighbors are often relying on their feet and their bikes to get from place to place. You have the power to improve the health of Clevelanders, to foster economic growth and offer safer options for the most affordable modes of transportation.
If you choose to support the ordinance, you'll be joining organizations like the American Heart Association, ADA Cleveland, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, many of our neighborhood CDCs and others and we are also thrilled to see the ordinance prioritized in Mayor Bibb's transition plan and we would love to see a united front between the administration and council in support of this ordinance
if you do not choose to support this ordinance, I think it is likely that you will have to answer to your constituents as to why council is once again settling for sub par, unsafe, unattractive, inaccessible and generally less functional streets when we all know that Cleveland can do so much better. Thank you for your time. And I left business cards and you all have my email as well. So if you have any questions, thank you.
Trivisonno: Last year, this city's traffic crashes inflicted over $2 billion dollars in preventable wealth loss on Cleveland's families and visitors. This number and others that I share today are based on nearly 14,000 division of police crash reports and economic studies from the CDC and the Federal Department of Transportation. The biggest ward losses: Ward five lost $215 million of future wealth. Ward 6, 10 and 1 each lost about $140 million dollars. At the other end of the list: Wards 13, 15, 16 and 17. Each loss between $60 and $80 million.
Once more, $2 billion dollars in preventable wealth loss in one year. But let me break this statement down further, wealth loss. Every serious and fatal crash extracts substantial wealth from our communities. Wealth that could have been saved and passed to the next generation or spent now in our local economy instead gets wasted in what I call the crash economy. This is money spent for first responders and investigations, vehicle building, tree and roadway damage, medical bills, collections vet bills for injured pets, insurance and legal expenses, lost income, quality of life and companionship losses, lost consumer spending and so forth, preventable.
Many of you are involved personally or at least aware of the city's vision, zero work, to eliminate serious traffic crashes through systems change and I applaud council's insistence for greater funding for that initiative. We've known for years where every dangerous street and intersection is. City planning staff has maps that identify with surgical precision where we can intervene to prevent more harm. And today you now know the costs of the status quo and inaction $2 billion.
Just imagine the transformative effect of $2 billion dollars back in the pockets of Cleveland neighborhoods every year. We don't have to suffer these losses. And when we make investment commitments for our neighborhoods, I urge you all to consider that we can increase community wealth not only with direct investment of dollars flowing in, but also by crafting strategy that helps hold money within our communities. I invite you to reflect on how you can use your abilities and positions to champion this work to put people in neighborhoods first.
Brown: Thank you very much Council President Blaine Griffin is always a pleasure. I'm here tonight because we have major issues in Cleveland Ward 1 and of course, we're not getting a response from Ward 1 nor the Bibb administration.
We recently sent emails regarding traffic that occurs on 160th and Lotus. We have a charter school there and during the hours where the kids are coming and the parents are going leaving their children, they're actually holding residents in Cleveland Ward 1 hostage. And what I mean by that is that we can't get out of our driveways. It's very, very unsafe. You have kids going in and out of traffic and somebody's going to get harmed. That's number one. We want that issue to be addressed and we don't want platitude. We want a viable plan on how to get it done.
We have been in conference with Ralph Johnson who's the CEO of bridge scape. I'm sorry of Breakthrough schools and he's been trying to get some response from this administration. Please do it so therefore at least Lotus drive residents we can have some comfort. Number one.
Number two, there's a huge dump pile on 154th and Ramsey. We have contacted the mayor action line. There's been no response. We have sent emails, there has been no response. It is very unfair that the seniors who live right there on the corner have to look at that every single second of the day when they come out their households. We need action in this city. We know that there's a strong correlation between crime and trash, trash and crime. There's something called the broken window theory. It would behoove you to look at that theory and understand why we cannot live in a filthy nasty neighborhood.
And third, let me say this. Last night on Lotus Drive we had drag racing. Literally cars held residents of Lotus and Lee Road hostage because they were in the middle of the street doing donuts. Something has to be done. There was no police presence, no nothing. But the motorists were scared and it scared the residents of Lotus.
Today, today I am asking for action. And I'm not gonna be here all day listening to the council meeting so I would hope that somebody would take care of this issue and email us and let us know how these issues will be resolved. Thank you very much.
Borkan: Hi, good evening Council President Griffin. Vice president, McCormack, Mayor Bibb. My name is Anna Borkan. I'm a Ward 3 city of Cleveland resident. I'm also an unpaid volunteer of SURJ or Showing Up for Racial Justice. I spent hundreds of hours this fall in our community talking to Cleveland voters to educate people about issue 24. I'm here tonight to urge city council to approve the part of mayor Bibbs budget that provides funding to the law department to implement issue 24.
As we know issue 24 passed on November 3rd by a significant margin. 59.4%. almost 60% of Cleveland voters voted yes to bring about real police accountability in our city. These votes were cast based on the collective understanding that the way the city of Cleveland police department functions and has been functioning for decades does not work. We have seen time and time again that people of color and poor and working class people of all races are disproportionately impacted by police violence and each time officers continue to serve our city without real meaningful consequences.
On November 2nd, Cleveland residents were clear this is not the service we expect nor hope for from public servants. So my question to city council and all of its members is, will you honor Cleveland residents voice and support Bibb's proposed law department budget so that issue 24 can exist, not just on the books but in real practice? If not, can council members provide the residents of their words with an explanation for a credible plan as to how issue 24 will be implemented promptly without adequate law department staffing and funding? In light of the passing of issue 24 now known as Charter Section number 115, I urge city council to approve mayor Bibbs budget so that this charter amendment can be implemented smoothly and effectively and efficiently to honor the people's choice to pass it.
Mayor Bibbs budget allocates $3 million to the law department which is the department that will oversee implementation of issue 24 and make sure that the will of Cleveland voters, which is now law, actually gets carried out in practice on the streets of Cleveland. In order for the new charter amendment to be effective and have real police accountability, improve public safety and police community relations, funding at this level is critical. I recognize that writing a budget is no easy task and there are hard decisions to make. But as just one of many Clevelanders who voted for this, I urge you to fund the Law Department at this level $3 million issue 24 now known as Charter Section 115. Thank you for your time tonight and I hope this message is met with urgency and given the importance it merits. Thank you.
Council President Griffin: Thank you Ms. Borkan.
Maugans: Thank you so much and thank you for the public comments. Ladies and gentlemen of the council and Mayor Bibb.
We can all agree that art is a vital ingredient in people's lives. Art has proven to change a person's outlook and how they experience the world. The arts are invaluable to our proper functioning individually and as a society. During this pandemic, the indomitable spirit of artists, despite the crushing sadness and economic collapse, this time has been a test for creatives resilience and generative power. The last time I was in this building and spoke was during 2002 where they had an arts and cultural summit. I think there's only one council member present that was here. We felt that we had a seat at the table that we were being heard. We felt really part of the conversation. For decades, the city of Cleveland has had a scarce commitment representing arts and culture and the creative workforce.
The arts are requesting $10 million American Rescue Plan Act funds to leverage the creative workforce. We've been decimated the entire workforce, which includes Singer Kyle Kidd from Ohio City Ward. The designer Jamal Collins who teaches boys and girls club off Broadway and in Slavic village. Robin Robinson, a good friend of mine, who's from Sankofa Fine Art plus. Ali Black, who's in the Mount Pleasant Union Miles Ward. They all need your support.
These artists as well as the countless framers, installers, ticket takers, choreographers and other workforce creatives that fuel our nonprofit grand institutions and independent music venues. They need you as a champion. Mayor Bibb made a recommendation for $10 million, which is 2% from the $511 million dollars of ARPA money. This much needed support for recovery of the creative workforce, neighborhood cultural organizations and the communities where artists live and work.
This and other programs can be scaled to help people in the communities that are experiencing the most pain. Artists uh that are involved in Y-Haven program that's through CPT in the Detroit Shoreway are working with recovery folks who are in recovery and trying to give them some supports and sort of understanding and skills so they can, you know, let their voice speak out and to be proud of something that they can share with their friends and family as they're going through this time. Refresh Collective which is over at the Rainey Institute and is also at the new pivot building. And Clark Fulton is supporting young people who are who are really trying to um uh learn all about civics and, you know, music production and silk screening and um trying to uh figure out how they can um get a job. So please support this and champion the arts.
Council President Griffin: Thank you ma'am.
Schwarten: Hello everyone. I'm here to talk about fare decriminalization here on our public transit. So for three years we've actually had legislation written up to be passed for this and you wouldn't expect to be, you know, thrown in jail for a parking ticket or a simple speeding ticket, which can actually harm other people. Where now you can be thrown in jail for 30 days and fined up to $250 for simply, not paying $2.50 to ride our transit here in Cleveland. Ah you know, the RTA has already been told that the way they enforce has already been ruled unfair and unjust. We need to in Cleveland also follow up and enforce this and um show that, you know, we are not going to go against our fellow citizens here in Cleveland and throw people in jail for a simple, maybe forgetting to pay $2.50 for for your public transit ticket.
Also, this is clearly, you know, something that targets our fellow Clevelanders who are of minority descent as most of our riders are of African American descent or African descent or other minorities here. So I hope to bring it to your attention. That's how you will look into passing this legislation and at least bringing it to the table. Thank you. Have a good night.
Council President Griffin: Thank you. Mr Schwarten. That concludes our public comments Madam Clerk.
Naylor: Go ahead now? Okay, I'm new at this Blaine. First time even though I've been around a long time. I"ve got some time in. I only got a few things to say. I want to speak to you about the mayor personally. Tonight is very personal to me and black history. I was here to come last week to speak about it. But I didn't get the opportunity because I lost my father to Covid. Yeah. Last couple weeks have been tragic so I haven't been down here. But I got a night to speak and it's very important to me, Mayor. Okay. My father was an employee for years here and he admires you. I want you to know that. You know this is important to me as a son to come tonight.
But first I want to speak to Blaine Griffin now. I've been knowing for many years and it's important for me to stand here. You know, I don't know what people think about it but I'm individually speaking. I've been knowing you for a long time. Mr Griffin. And I go back with him. And for me to see you when I came down here and it was so special to me. You know because I've watched you grow. I've watched you come from where you come from back in the time, 14 years ago, under the old administration and where you are now. To me it's a pleasure to see you as my friend and been knowing you for the many 14 years and to be the new council president. Can I get an amen? [applause] cause it's important to me. Mr Griffin. It is, it's very important to me. The time I've been knowing you I've always known you'd be very cordial, caring and a man of integrity.
Now council as I move over to the mayor. Mayor, I come on behalf of my father. I might have a little tears in my eyes because when he died two weeks ago he had me to come down here to speak to you behind this podium. I know I don't know you personally. I got a chance to be in the hallway. I kind of know my, my mother knows your mother but it's important to me to speak on behalf of my father and the spirit because he's gone and he told me to come down here. And he said that man, a young man, you, he admired you and he knew that you was gonna be the new mayor. The 1st African young mayor, is that correct? Youngest mayor, is that correct? Youngest[audience]. Youngest. The youngest. So that was my part. Thank you. I've been doing it for years. For me to come here tonight and say that is you made black history with me. How about it everybody for our mayor. First youngest, the new generation, you know Justin Bibb.
Councilman Griffin: Thanks Marlon.
Naylor: It's a pleasure.
Councilman Griffin: Thank you Marlon. Appreciate you sir.
Naylor: Thank you.
Councilman Griffin: Thank you so much Marlon, appreciate your heartfelt remarks and thank you so much.