February 12, 2024

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Public Commenters (21 min)
James Lamb  Alicia Kirkman  Brenda Bickerstaff  Robert Cranford  George Pittman  Khalid Hamdallah  Noelle Naser 

James Lamb

Thank you. Thank you. To the honorable Mayor, President of Council, all the council. I'm here tonight because of the fact that I took and did more than I think a whole lot have done, okay? When I wasn't volunteering, I went to work. I went to work on a ticket-to- work. How in the world [does] a ticket-to-work, a federal program- I get called on the job and told that I'm no longer employed. No longer employed without a verbal, no longer employed without a written, no longer employed without a suspension. Better than 1154 hours a year with no time off, did the job without a doubt, cuz if I hadn't, they would have told me I couldn't do it.

I'm looking at myself and I'm asking myself after 50 years of coming down here, how can I find a government that really and truly do not understand the people, and when I come and sincerely talk to you, I'm talking to you on the basis of this. I know I don't have enough time to talk about this whole problem, so I would ask the honorable Mayor, I would ask all of the body of City Council to sit down with me, because I can grant you, I can show you something that you won't want no one else to see before you, and that's real. I'm not talking to talk, I've always told you, and Mr. Griffin, you know me. I tell folk I ain't got time to waste your time because wasting your time is wasting mine and I can't get paid.

So sincerely, in this city of 50 years, a voter, a taxpayer, and someone that didn't get told why he was let go. Someone that didn't get the ability to have ADA come and be my assistant, such as someone that works 8 hours gets from the union. The ADA is definitely supposed to have been there in any situation that I faced. Okay, I'll deal with that, but I'm just asking you, I'm asking you, Okay just let me ask you one question. Can you give me that meeting? [Griffin calls time several times]: Your time is up, sir I got to allow everybody the same amount of time. Thank you.

3:28 Permalink

Alicia Kirkman

Hello everyone. My name is Alicia Kirkman. I am the mother of Angelo Miller who was murdered 16 and a half years ago by Cleveland police. I am the CEO and founder of the Angelo Miller Foundation, founder of the Save Our Future after school program, co-writer of Issue 24, known as Charter 115. I'm a resident of ward 15, also a dedicated precinct representative of ward 15. Jenny Spencer is my councilwoman.

I am going to reflect on our black history on this evening. Cleveland Free School, the Cleveland Free School, or Colored Free School, was organized by the community of black citizens who were concerned about the lack of educational opportunities for Cleveland black children between 1832 and the early 1850s. I am still concerned about our youth and adults lacking education and opportunities in our community. That's the reason I created a program called Save Our Future.

Save Our Future activities includes arts, health and wellness, culinary arts, knowing your rights, Workforce Readiness, Character and Leadership, and the Angelo Miller Foundation also provides Christmas for families in need. I am a family advocate in every program that the Angelo Miller program offers. We serve the whole Cuyahoga County.

So on this evening I am encouraging every council person to please donate to the Angelo Miller Foundation so we can continue to make a difference in our community and work together as one. If you need any information you can email me at the Angelo Miller Foundation at outlook.com. So please check your emails, I will be sending out donation letters, and I appreciate your help in advance. Thank you.

2:00 Permalink

Brenda Bickerstaff

Good evening everyone. There's a couple of things, Latonya Goldsby is the President of Citizens For A Safer Cleveland, the founder. She wasn't able to make it, but I'm going to read quickly and kind of shorten it for the sake of time, and she's going to email you a copy of what she wanted to say today.

Greetings council members, ladies and gentlemen in the audience, my apologies for not being able to attend tonight. My name is Latonya Goldsby of Citizens For A Safer Cleveland, one of the authors of Issue 24, now Charter 115. It's been like a 100 years for us to get oversight here in the city of Cleveland, but I'm going to tell you about the oversight. The oversight was needed because of the issues that we have been having between the citizens and the police.

Now that we do have it, but what I do like tonight, I did bring something to the attention of the Law Director. They did violate the charter, because the charter says in 5, "under the duties of the authority of the commission, Charter 115 clearly states that the CPC must be included in the interviewing and the recommendation of candidates for the commander and Inspector General board member. So a copy of this was given to Mr. Griffin. He's aware of it, he's going to look into it, and get it resolved. And this is the type of thing that we need. When we have issues in the city, we have to be able to address our leadership and be able to address this.

Also the Cleveland Police Review Board is still operating without an updated manual, and you guys, your council, we need your help and we need you to be more engaged and coming to some of these meetings with the commission. Some of you have never been to a meeting. Joe Jones is our number one supporter, he's always there for the commission, he's always giving advice, he's always saying he wants to support them. We need all of you to come from time to time. We understand that you can't come at every meeting, but let us see you at some of the meetings, because we have to do this together, not apart It's not going to work. So thank you for listening.

2:09 Permalink

Robert Cranford

Good evening. My name is Robert Cranford. I'm here to represent ward 1 regarding a disturbance that started sometime last year, regarding a group of people who is the gentleman's club at 3819 Lee Road, who is causing disturbance.

Loud music, 2, 3, 4:00 in the morning. This happens every week. I called the police, I have it right here on my phone, got a 11-minute conversation regarding these people. Nobody coming. They tell me they can't do nothing about it. Joe Jones have gotten out of his bed 3:00 in the morning last year to get the police and go over there himself. We got the dollar store parking lot filled up with cars, we have the daycare parking lot filled up with cars, and we got Shark's Seafood filled up with cars while they're over there doing whatever it is they do, I have no idea. One of my friends, New Year's- I better not say this- [laughs] one of my friends' New Year, seen coming out of Shark's, seeing a lady going over there with a mistletoe between her legs. Okay now I have no idea cuz I don't want to be over there, I don't want to go over there, I just want these people gone now.

I'm not only speaking for myself, I'm speaking for ward 1, the people that live around me. It just so happens I'm the only one that comes over here and talk and goes to the community meetings, because nobody else going to do it, so I'm representing them. Also, I've gotten new people to call me because they know I go to the meetings, they know I talk to Joe Jones.

I understand we got a new Commander, Mo Brown is gone, I don't know what he was doing for us, but I know what he wasn't doing for us, okay. So I just want to say I'm glad that we got somebody else and we trying to give this man a chance to do whatever it is he can do for our neighborhood. When these people get done doing what they're doing, they got paper all over the ground. The man that from what I understand owned this establishment is over there picking up paper the next day after they're gone, and he has been accosted a couple of times to see who he is and what he's doing over there picking up paper. Come to find out he's the guy that brought Shaker Quality Foods. Shaker police, four cars over there last night. Come to find out they was over there on an unrelated charge. Cleveland Police nowhere around, even after I called them, okay, I got documentation right here on my phone.

So I'm just trying to get something done for our neighborhood, because it's very disturbing when you can't get no sleep two or three nights a week because this goes on from 12:00. My call was made 4:03, no, 4:02 outgoing call, police, okay. And this went on to 5:00 in the morning, okay. So I'd like to see something done, I want to see some documentation, like where we going with this particular situation.

3:09 Permalink

George Pittman

Good afternoon, Cleveland. My name is George Pittman. I'm a citizen of ward 7. I grew up in this neighborhood, I grew up in the city of Cleveland and ward 1, and I'm on a mission.

I just retired a few months ago and my mission is to make sure we get a Black History museum in the city of Cleveland. We need it. Cleveland is full of black history. I found a Black History museum in the city of Dayton. Akron has a Black History museum, Toledo has a Black History museum, Dayton, Ohio, has a Black History museum. Cleveland has a rock. I saw a rock on East Boulevard. Now I definitely respect the work of brother Icabod Flewellen, but that museum is like a bando. Hasn't been open, won't be open. There's nowhere where I can find some black history in the city of Cleveland, and the city of Cleveland has too much black history for us not to have a museum. We have earned it, in the name of Carl Stokes, Garrett Morgan, and many more, Dorothy Dandridge. The city of Cleveland deserves a Black History museum. I thank you for your time and I appreciate you. I'll see you next week.

1:36 Permalink

Khalid Hamdallah

As-salamu alaykum. Originally I wanted to come here today and discuss black history and the beautiful intersectionality between the struggle for Black liberation here in the United States and the Palestinian struggle for liberation overseas. But I wouldn't be doing my job if I let yesterday's events pass without bringing them to your attention. While the world was distracted by the Super Bowl, the genocidal regime decided to push forward with its ground and aerial aggression against Rafah, a previously designated safe zone for Palestinian civilians. Almost 1.5 million Gazans, nearly two-thirds of its entire population, as of September 23 was crammed into this tiny city at the border with almost all of them resorting to a life in tents with little to no food or water or resources. While the aid provided by the international community continues to be blocked by by Zionist fanatics at the border every day, surviving Gazans have resorted to making bread out of pigeon and horse feed, and feeding their kids dates instead of milk and formula. Even the United States administration had advised against this military advancement, acknowledging that these people have nowhere to go and that attacking them there would be catastrophic.

Please keep in mind that this is a designated safe zone. Israel first pushed them south from northern Gaza into Gaza City, then Deir al Balah and lastly into Khan Yunis, before finally cramming them all into Rafah. Despite the pleas of its number one financier and ally, Israel pushed on and began bombing them during the first quarter of last night's game around 4:00 a.m. Rafah time. Hundreds have already been killed and thousands more await their fate. My message to you is that if the United States government can change their tone four months into an ethnic cleansing, you can too. You can take a stand and say enough is enough, you'll no longer sit idly by and continue to be puppets to the Federation while innocent people are being coralled into the corner to wait their impending death, sponsored by our tax dollars.

I know a few of you up here are already bought and paid for and the contributions they've made to your campaigns have gained them a mouthpiece for life, but my closing message is for the few of you that we still have hope for, that are capable of finding their humanity and acting with courage and respectability. You are not alone. Your peers tell us in private how they wish they could get something done all the time, and as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, the time is always right to do what is right. You can take this opportunity to show your constituents and people across the country that you care about the sanctity of life and international law. Let the will of the people be heard and do the right thing. This is not about hostages or justice, or the safety of Jews anymore. This is about a regime that is out of control and hellbent on erasing an entire people. Listen to your conscience, listen to your people, sign the damn resolution. Thank you.

2:47 Permalink

Noelle Naser

My name is Noelle Naser. I am a member of the Palestinian youth movement and a Cleveland resident. I'd like to use my time today to read a portion of the latest draft ceasefire resolution that we had shared with this Council. Since the statement from Council came out decidedly saying you will not be passing a ceasefire resolution, we have heard a multitude of excuses, including that you were unable to come up with language that is fair and unbiased, that a resolution would be too one-sided, too nuanced, or too complicated to describe an ancient conflict and would be quickly worded, despite multiple conversations and drafts to include diverse perspectives. But in all this mess of deflecting responsibility, we should be clear for the record the statements that Council finds too controversial to take.

These were the statements we included in the ceasefire resolution: 'Section one, that the city of Cleveland Council hereby expresses sympathy for the civilian victims and all those affected by the horrific violence and war. Section two, that the City of Cleveland hereby decries all horrific acts of violence committed against civilians of any kind. Section three, that the City of Cleveland hereby affirms Cleveland's status as a welcoming community for those of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, and any other religion. Section four, that the city of Cleveland urgently calls for a ceasefire with the release of all civilians being illegally held or imprisoned on both sides of the conflict, along with the establishment of humanitarian aid corridors in order to preserve human life. Section five, that the City of Cleveland calls for all Palestinians and Israelis to abide by international law, actively engage in diplomatic efforts to remove those from power who perpetrated the October 7th massacre, support fundamental principles of human rights, and bring about a peaceful and just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Council of the city of Cleveland envisions a political resolution that brings an end to the occupation and illegal settlement activity by Israel and recognizes the legitimate desire and need for Israeli and Palestinian self-determination, as well as the legitimate desire and need for Israelis and Palestinians to live in safety and security, and Section six, that this resolution is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health, safety, and welfare, for the reason that it is immediately necessary for this Council to express its support for the victims of violence in Israel and in Palestine.'

These are the statements that are so controversial to make, especially when other cities such as Akron and Chicago have passed ceasefire resolutions. We have been more than willing to work with Council to come to the consensus language desired and yet Cleveland City Council at large has decided that you were unwilling to take a firm collective stance against violence and advocate for humanity. Our community knows that this work goes well beyond a ceasefire resolution. With or without you, we will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation. May all systems of oppression fall and Inshallah, may we live to see a free Palestine.

3:05 Permalink