April 25, 2022prev: April 18, 2022 next: May 09, 2022
Public Commenters (12 min)
Rev. Pamela Pinkney Butts Kimberly F. Brown Natalie Ziegler Wanda Hill-Chestnut
Councilmember comments during Miscellaneous (11 min)
Jenny Spencer (Ward 15) Deborah A. Gray (Ward 4)
Kimberly F. Brown
Brown: Thank you very much. Council President Blaine Griffin. My name is Kimberly Brown and I am the president of the Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County. I'm also the interim director of the Women Commission for Education and Training.
It is very disturbing to us that we would actually see on the news that the city of Cleveland is starting a black women commission. Earlier when Mayor Bibb was elected, the Black Women Commission and the Women Commission of Education and Training, we submitted a proposal to Mayor Bibb regarding a 15-point plan on how to resolve issues within our city. And we got no response. The Black Women Commission, we have been in existence since 2018. We have made history. And we simply refuse to allow a new organization to actually come and be developed and muddy the waters of some of the work we've already done.
We worked on the issue of Saniyah Nicholson who was killed in Cleveland Ward 1. We worked on the issue of Jalen Wise who was found murdered at Tinker Creek in Bedford Heights. We brought justice to that family. We worked with [Monique Ball] in Garfield Heights when Garfield Heights would not even allow her grandchildren to go to school. We worked on these issues. We're constantly working on issues that affect black women, their families and their children. We are a trademark under the Black Women Commission. We're a trademark under the Commission for Women. And we're trademark under the Women Commission for Education and Training.
I am standing here today in peace. What I'm going to ask city council is this: please do not use our name. Come up with another name. Use group. Use committee. But you cannot use the Black Women Commission. Now out of peace, we're more than happy to work with you and share our experience in our development. We are signed off by Senator Kenny Yuko Congresswoman Shontel Brown. Councilwoman Ruth Gray and many others who like the work that we do in the community.
Again, please do not use the Black Women Commission, the Commission for Black Women or the Committee for Black Women of Education and Training. Those names are already taken and our work is proven and is on the ground. My name is Kimberly F. Brown and I am the president. Thank you very much.
Ziegler: Hello. Thank you for introducing tonight legislation to amend ordinance 605.11, to ensure that any person convicted of fare evasion will face a maximum of a $25 fine with no possibility of jail time. Just as no person would ever expect to go to jail over a parking ticket, no person should ever go to jail over a bus pass that costs $2.50.
But the proposed legislation does not go far enough. Under the proposed legislation, not paying a fare remains a crime and that remains unjust. While people could no longer be thrown in jail for failing to pay for a transit fare, they still face the possibility of exorbitant court costs and other collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. Eating food or drinking a beverage in a prohibited place remain crimes under this proposed legislation. Listening to music without headphones remains a crime. Throwing a snowball remains a crime that can land a person in jail for 90 days with a $750 fine. None of these acts should be considered crimes etched permanently on someone's record.
Under the current law, people can be jailed for 30 days and fined $250 for failure to pay a $2.50 transit fare. And that same penalty applies throughout Ohio under advised code 291741. That is unjust. Because the penalty under the Ohio statute remains, a person cited for fare evasion in Cleveland by the Greater Cleveland Transit authority Transit police, would still be subject to jail and a $250 fine under state law. Therefore, Clevelanders for Public Transit demands that GCRTA transit police agree under a memorandum of understanding with the city of Cleveland to only cite riders under the amended Cleveland ordinance.
Although transit riders would no longer risk jail time if they cannot afford their fare, they still risk the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. Being fined $25 instead of $250 means little if it results in thousands of dollars in court costs along with a criminal record that can prevent someone from getting a job again. Thank you for ensuring that Cleveland law does not send someone to jail because they're too poor to buy a bus pass, but you can do better. The proposed legislation must protect against the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction And until revised code 2917.41 is repealed. The city of Cleveland must ensure that GCRTA transit police issued no citations under that state law. Thank you.
Hill Chestnut: Good evening everyone. I am Pastor Wanda Hill Chestnut of the St Luke Church 7919 Kinsman Road. I stood before council several weeks ago regarding a guard rail and the safety of our congregants because our fence had been hit multiple times.
Now I stand before you all just to say thank you. It took three years, but I think your Olivia Pope and your equalizer were able to get some things done and I would like to officially say to Mr. McCall or to Blaine Griffin, now known as the equalizer who stood with our church in this effort to make everyone safe. And to the newly appointed Bonnie, I thank you for stepping up and making things happen.
And I'm just, in the Bible it talks about there were 10 lepers and although 10 were healed, only one came back to say thank you. So I'm the one to come back and say thank you to let you all know that your work is not gone unseen. For every hour that you spend away from your family to make sure that the citizens of Cleveland gets good service and for everyone who actually does their job and does not just carry a title and a position my hat is off to you. The saints of St Luke Church thank you. And for those who have difficulty doing your job, follow the leadership that you see. Follow the positive examples. And I thank you. I thank you and I thank you. God bless you all. Thank you.
Councilmember Jenny Spencer (Ward 15)
Councilmember Deborah A. Gray (Ward 4)
Pinkney Butts: I always do. Good evening everybody. Good evening everybody, I know everybody is not that tired. Good evening. Um, I'm glad to see you all this evening. And as you know, I have a lot of entities that I am uh responsible for. And this evening I want to first of all thank the young ladies who came on last week to follow up on some of my concerns also pertaining to public transportation. The discriminatory practices and the racial profiling and the funding that needs to be addressed is still on the table.
This evening I came because mothers matter and moms do matter. And as a mother, I'm concerned about the violation of the rights of the people. If you close down the facility for housing over on Superior. I'm concerned about that. The Civil Rights Act Of 1968, which is the Fair Housing Act, clearly states that people should not be discriminated against because of disabilities as well as other components. But I have found that in some of this legislation, I find that there's a lot of racial profiling where people who are poor, black, um, and disabled are moved out of their areas.
So I'm asking you to review that because it's a discriminatory practice to close down the village that you plan to close down. Those people will be displaced. Dysfunctional. And we'll end up in a position where we will increase the mass incarceration as well as a lack of rehabilitation for people. And we don't need more expensive housing. We need to have fair housing for people in all areas of Cleveland. Ohio.
I'm asking you to rethink some things because it may not be your mother. It may not be your sister. It may not be your niece. It may not be your friend. It may not be your church member. It may not be somebody who you even know. But it is not fair and it's not right to close down the village where the people live.
Mothers do matter. And as a mother, I would always want to know that my child is provided for. As a mother, I would always want to know that the needs of the community are met so that we can have fair and equal opportunities. Mothers do matter. Think about it being your mother who may need to live in that village. Think about your mother. Where is your mother right now? Thank you.
Council President Griffin: Thank you.