September 25, 2023

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Public Commenters (24 min)
Rev. Pamela M. Pinkney Butts  Randy Cunningham  Roger Carney  Joe Schwarten  Chris Martin  Mariah Crenshaw  DeSeanna Morgan 

Rev. Pamela M. Pinkney Butts

Touch not mind anointed and do my prophets. I'm not here today for a request or having a question. I'm here today to initiate the recall of a couple elected officials starting with Mayor Justin M. Bibb, Prosecutor Michael C. O'Malley, Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula, and Councilwoman, Meredith Turner.

They have a blatant disregard for the leadership. Not only of this council, they have not only a blatant disregard for the leadership of the city prosecutor, who is a female of color. Not only do they have a blatant disregard for our police system, our law enforcement, where they teach them to be vigilantes and gangsters instead of peace officers, but they have a very blatant disregard and a compromise for the lives of we women of color, our children and our men of color who don't beat on us, who don't cheat on us, who don't sell us out into the system. They're very arrogant. AII I notice there are some statistics that are present today, that 1.9 billion dollars is spent for sexually trafficking children in this country under their leadership. Recently, the president just traded 5 women for $6 billion or million dollars for access to our oil, as if our oil prices are not high enough, because women are still being treated as property in this country under their leadership.

When I saw Michael C. O'Malley in the Justice Center, he told me, 'I know you're being abused. I know all about you. I'm busy.' I called his office. The secretary told me, 'I don't have to talk to you' and hung the phone up. When I approached Mayor Bibb, he laughs at me and walks the other way after I voted for him. When I vote for you and you laugh me off, you have got to go. Not only that, but I noticed that in the leadership of this council, they are so arrogant and so pompous that they don't even show up for meetings, don't have accountability, and are very disrespectful to the leadership of this council, the city of Cleveland, and have not taken the time to look for missing and dead women's bodies in this city.

Every federal election, a person who is not white is sacrificed and marked in this country under their leadership and their affiliates. Every federal election. Time out for media making mass money off of we people of color during these federal elections, mass incarceration, murder and suicide. We don't want our law enforcement officers afraid of us and we don't want to be afraid of them.

Touch, not mind anointed and do my prophets no harm. It's time for Justin Bibb to be recalled, investigated, prosecuted along with Michael C. O'Malley. Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula, and Meredith Turner from County Council. Thank you.

3:22 Permalink

Randy Cunningham

I wish to comment on the campaign that has been launched against Issue 38, the People's Budget proposal, that is on the ballot for November. I especially want to comment on Senate Bill 158 that has been introduced by Republican Senator Jerry Cirino last week that hopes to forbid any future measures such as Issue 38.

Cleveland and many other cities have suffered for years from the tyranny of a super majority that is constantly meddling in our decision making. Home rule in Ohio is dead. Residents and local officials have seen their efforts to control guns, raise wages, to promote renewable energy, and to control the placement of fracking wells and pipelines overruled by the State House preemption. Every time it is invoked, local government becomes a little bit more irrelevant, a little more hemmed in by an out of control, corrupt and arrogant statehouse. Mayor Bibb himself has spoken of the burden of attempting to govern while constantly looking over his shoulder to see if another preemption is coming his way.

Unfortunately, there have been times in previous city administrations when City Hall has stooped to conquer a grassroots initiative that it does not like and has cooperated with the statehouse preemptors to squash an initiative. The most notorious example was the previous administration's defeat of the 'Yes on 15' campaign when it went down to Columbus to have the measure defeated by the Republican caucus with a preemption. It was not Cleveland City Hall's finest hour, and the voters remembered, and that is why we have Mayor Bibb and not Mayor Kelly sitting in these chambers tonight.

What do I want? I want the administration and the city council to make it clear to Senator Cirino with a public statement and testimony at the State House that they do not favor SB 158 an issue, an Issue 38's approval or disapproval will be up to the people of Cleveland, not a Republican caucus that has never given a damn about us. Whoever wins will win the old-fashioned way with campaign shoe leather and not statehouse chicanery. Thank you.

2:54 Permalink

Roger Carney

Good evening everyone. I come before you tonight to say thank you. I lead a team of incredible people who've done over $16-million of senior home repairs since 2019 throughout Cuyahoga County, and 90% of that is in the city of Cleveland.

Earlier years were tough, and I've been around for over twenty. The kindness and investments of council members like Frank Jackson, Zach Reed, Merle Gordon and Terrell Pruitt were so important to be able to keep our doors open. Kevin Conwell used to run for me and now he has me on speed dial. We've come a long way since then. Thank you City Council Economic Development, Mary McNamara, and her team in Aging, And God has lavished us with blessings. That's what he does.

But there's one person who's been my mentor for those 20-plus years who taught me everything I know about the feared enemy called Community Development Block Grant. She entrusted me with CDBG dollars and taught me how to use them for small repairs. Maybe the most important thing I learned by staying close to her, though not from her lips, was that I needed to find other funding that didn't come from HUD. So through funding, through the mayor's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, and the age-friendly Home Investment Program, we've been found desirable in the eyes of several other funders, too.

Meanwhile, back at City Hall, my mentor had her hands tied by HUD regulations for larger renovations, and wore the concrete shoes of city policies and procedures. Then she was asked to run like the wind. Contractors struggled with the procedural and payment issues, and then turn to other work, leaving a tiny contractor pool. She's never gotten you in trouble, but the not-surprising results, at least to me, have disappointed many of my friends in this room. Sometimes the disappointment has led to some very unkind remarks she personally didn't deserve. Mayor Bibb, my dear mentor and encourager is leaving her employment after 20 years in two days. With all due respect to everyone in the room because I love and pray for so many of you, Louise Jackson, the Commissioner of Neighborhood Services and Community Development, is the finest public servant I've ever known. Her influence has made me a better person. Her encouragement has been priceless. Our collaborations have led to some outcomes I treasure. She's carried the torch of 'the right way is the only way'. She leads with love, fairness, kindness and calmness. Everyone who works for her, including me, knows we play the game by the rules. We must be green. We don't want to be yellow and we can't be red. Many of God's miracles use ordinary people who do ordinary things with an extraordinary amount of love. That is Louise Jackson and she's my hero. The outcome is my team has completed and the success we have and will enjoy wouldn't have been possible without her. I will always be grateful to her. I hope you all got to know her. Please make time to thank her. You've asked her to do a really nearly impossible job and no one could have done a better job than she. Please rent a cannon and give her the 21-gun salute she deserves. But please don't try and use block grant funding to pay for it. That would be too much for a HUD nerd to take. Thank you so much. God bless you and good night.

3:07 Permalink

Joe Schwarten

Hello, everyone. As I said, I'm Joe Schwarten and I'm here with Clevelanders for Public Transit, and I'm here to challenge everyone here to take a week without driving.

Now, this is an initiative that was started by the disability rights in Washington. And for those who can drive, you might not know what it's like to, you know, go throughout your whole work week having to walk, having to bike, having to roll down the street.

So this is for- the challenge is for you to see what it's like to do that. 25% of Cleveland residents do not have access to a car. So we must, as the leaders here, know what it is like first hand to see what these people and what all of us go through, including myself.

Now this challenge is simple, in that just no driving, Either bike, walk, or take public transit. This is a challenge just to see what it is. We talk about our infrastructure and meeting our climate goals, but this is all part of it. If we want to ever reach any of these things, such as our 15-minute cities, we need to see where we are at as a city in the process of doing these things and where we are at now and where we can see, what can we do better. Where are we doing things right. What in the future can we change to make our city a better place? Not only for climate goals, but for everyone in this city, whether they're disabled or able to walk 20 miles in a day.

So please, I am calling for every single one of you in this chamber to try and do this. Starting next week, October 2nd, see what it's like. Also, it's looking to be a pretty nice week next week. So hopefully that'll encourage you to all to go ahead and try that. Thank you for your time. Have a good night.

2:21 Permalink

Chris Martin

Good evening, legislators. Since the Council President believes it is important to notify the public whether a public commenter is being paid to speak or not, I feel it is important to remind all of you that you are being paid by the taxpayers of the city of Cleveland to be here.

Now, can I get a show of hands from those who are fans of home rule? Did any of you submit written testimony against our Senate Bill 158. Will any of you be in Columbus tomorrow to speak against it? In 2022, Councilor Joe Jones accepted $2500 from the Council Leadership Fund. Councilor Kevin Bishop accepted $3000 from the Council Leadership Fund. Councilor Kerry McCormack accepted $1500 from the Council Leadership Fund. Councilor Deborah Gray accepted $3000 from the Council Leadership Fund. Councilor Richard Starr accepted-

[Council President Blaine Griffin]: Sir the rules are that you are not supposed to adress individual leaders-

[commenter and council member speaking at once, unclear]

[Martin]: I am not impugning the character of any councilor. I am simply stating-

[Martin and Griffin speaking at once, unclear]

[Martin]: -leadership fund.

[Griffin]: We are going to remove you from the mic if you mention one more council member's name.

[Martin]: How am I impuning any character?

[Griffin]: Please proceed sir, without mentioning any council person's name. Thank you.

[Martin]: I will proceed without impugning the character of any councilor.

Councilor Stephanie Howse accepted $3000 from the Council Leadership Fund. Councilor Michael Polensek accepted $1000 from the Council Leadership Fund.

[Griffin]: Please remove him from the mic. He is violating any rules. Sir. Please cut his mic.

[Martin speaking, unclear]

[Griffin]: He is violating the rules of order and if you're going to speak, you have to follow the rules.

[Griffin]: Thank you, sir. Thank you sir.

[Martin speaking, inaudible]

[Griffin]: Please cut his mic and please excuse yourself. Thank you.

[Martin speaking, inaudible]

2:22 Permalink

Mariah Crenshaw

Good evening everyone. Um, no, 'Reverend' this evening, Blaine? [laughs] Ok. Um, good evening, Council. I appreciate being able to come here and speak to you this evening.

Some of you got my email this morning from Chasing Justice. Only two council members did not receive it. I will not mention who they are because I don't want to be stopped. But I wanted to address something that came to my attention.

Many of you that do know me know that I am a watchdog, and I believe in my civic duty to hold appointed and elected officials accountable. Right now, we are working on a very big statewide issue concerning police officers not taking their training. And the Republicans have been very receptive and they have been doing a lot of reforming legislations to fix some of the issues that have been brought to their attention by and through the research that has been done by myself and who I like to refer to as 'Team Justice'. Well, also we work with the coalitions for the jail reform, and for bail reform and things like that.

Well, recently, it came to our attention that the Board of Elections has been allowing people who are running for our county seats, our county judge seats, and the Cleveland Municipal Court seats to turn in 50 signatures, which is a violation of the revised code. And it was very disappointing for me when the Law Director wrote an opinion, which was a very flawed legal opinion. And yes, I can say that because I went to law school and I'm the daughter of a very famous attorney. And so, I want you to know that I'm very disappointed that he took- became an ally with the Board of Elections and the candidates who have clearly violated the statutes.

I sent each one of you an email this morning with the reply brief that I submitted to the Ohio Supreme Court in an effort to stop some of these people at the gate from getting onto the judicial seats. They don't live here. They have no vested interest here. And I refer to them as political carpet baggers.

To make this in short because I'm running out of time, I implore you to change the city charter to be more specific so that they become uniform with the state statute.

2:44 Permalink

DeSeanna Morgan

Hello, everyone. Go Browns. I was always taught as an entrepreneur to mention something that's enlightening. If you want to know what faith is, it's the Cleveland Browns fans, whether or whether not they have faith in God, they put on those uniforms. But when it comes to equality and judicial rights, we have to know it first starts in the legislative branch.

How many of us know what the legislative branch is? Just by a quick show of hands? None. I know that you're-

OK. There's one, there's two, there's three. Ok.

When it comes to equal rights past time, past tense. This is not about equilibrium. Everyone knows what equilibrium means. This is the section point of where expense of your revenue meets the expense of demand, supply and demand. That means money. There have been some support of people on this chair board. Thank you so much [unclear] High School of Technology is now in the works for Cleveland to know and to see. We have gathered many people, a board of executives. While there are some of you replicating old [precedence], I am hoping that you come out of it. I'm not hoping- I'm not only hoping that because you didn't desire to sit down and meet with a billionaire like me, that you will not only be held accountable for going and standing with the LGBT community or ABC, whatever it is. And then you go and you sit in these chairs and then you wanna be a Christian on TV. But God knows your heart and that's the only way that I could put it in the most professional mannerism with the simplicity of Christianity.

But other than that, I want you guys to know that the big guns are coming out when it comes to the legislative branch. And some of you may be offended in your chairs, but the truth is that the United States of America is one nation under God. That's why we all stand. That's why we all say the Pledge of Allegiance. Because we get into this ordinance of what it originates from. Judaism is actually not a religion. It's a heresy. They did not go- [Griffin]: If we could- Ma'am. We gotta cut you off. We cannot keep on coming and using this public forum to- [commenter and council member speaking at once, unclear]

2:43 Permalink