March 18, 2024

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Public Commenters (25 min)
Rev. Pamela Pinkney Butts  Dallas Eckman  Juan Collado Diaz  Basma Hamid  Brenda Bickerstaff  Richard Jackson  Alec Popivker  Sarah Popivker  Rasmia Alnadi 

Rev. Pamela Pinkney Butts

Good evening, everybody. To whom this is only applicable, all white people are not racist. So I just need to start with that. We know that righteousness exaltination, and sin is a reproach to any people. I came this evening, Council President Griffin and Mayor Justin Bibb, to get your assistance to address homelessness. I wrote a little something but I'm not going to stick with the paper completely.

We know that homelessness is a matter of even fair housing in many instances, but homelessness is not what the racist, sexist, atheist, demonically-possessed media shows. Because homelessness is the robbery and rape and the murder and the terrorism, terrorism of we people of color in this country, in this city and in this state. I know this personally, I know it professionally, and I stand this evening because on October 10th, 2002, I became homeless. My son right now is sitting in Cuyahoga County Jail where he was stolen from me when he was 5 years old in violation of a protection order, with 20-plus felonies facing him, because someone decided to make me homeless for reporting abuse. I've been homeless and displaced for over 22 years, Mayor Bibb and Council President. I'm concerned because as he sits in that jail, we have a director for the Law Department in the city of Cleveland who's getting a salary knowing the situation, and no one's stepping up. Homelessness, it affects people of color in a way that still is not properly addressed, even the situation that took place a few weeks ago. The media, as soon as they see me they they leave the room, because this homelessness is real. And my other three children are displaced, dysfunctional, disposed, disrespected, and disregarded. I don't have to have blonde hair. I don't have to have straight hair. I don't have to be a man. I don't have to be gay, LBGT Q XYZ, whatever it is, I don't have to be any of that. This is also a violation of our heritage, our history, our her story, our homes. As it was in the days of Christopher Columbus, and as it was in the days when the racist white evangelicals went to Africa and said they were going to teach Christianity to the heathens.

Homelessness, it's real. It's a violation of our heterosexual rights because they do everything-[Speaker]: they can to discredit and degrade our people. I wrote a copy of my concerns that I would like to give you, Mayor Bibb, and the clerk, and I don't know who you want me to give it to so-

You all can have it, who do you want me to give it to.

[Griffin]: She'll get it, thank you.

3:19 Permalink

Dallas Eckman

Good evening, Council. In order to ensure that you're paying attention to your constituents this evening, I'll remind every council member here that texts sent by a public official during a private device on a public meeting are actually public record so the group chat that Blaine Griffin and council members have been using over the many meetings, I'm going to be submitting a public records request and I assume that every council person here will comply with the FOIA request, because they have certainly not said anything incriminating or damning about the people in this room.

Now that I have your attention I assume, I've come here tonight because one thing is clear about this body. You've lost your opportunity. You lost the gracious, countless chances afforded to you by the working people coming to this Council every week. We gave you week after week to be able to see the crowd as human beings, and you found every excuse in the book in order to maintain your financial connections. You'll go to your grave holding your failure to name this genocide when you had the opportunity. That will be your cross to bear. That will be your burden to carry for the rest of your life, and no one will absolve you of it. Instead, you force this community's hand to act as the political arm of the popular will and pass our own resolution two weeks ago. You will carry the mark of shame for the remainder of your life in politics and be labeled forever as a council that made it unable to act in the most basic way to represent Cleveland interests.

Let me reiterate my purpose here today. You've lost your chance. A ceasefire resolution for you was cheap and pathetic after 30,000 killed Palestinians. A resolution from this body shows your ceiling for human suffering is monstrously high, so instead of working with the people, you've made an enemy of us, not today, but in perpetuity, after seeing us mobilize hundreds of people each week, you think you'd be wise not to make an enemy of us, but you don't seem to want to learn from your political failures. So don't misinterpret me. That does not mean we are retreating from this Council or the political stage. Quite the opposite. The time for a simple and moral baseline of a call for ceasefire has passed, and after 15 weeks of genocide we will accept nothing less than a complete decoupling from the government of Israel. City investments in Israel must end. Political deals which allow for this Council to spend money on Israeli contracts instead of hiring companies here in the US must end. The county must retract all bonds in its portfolio. The city must demand that Key Bank retract all of its investments in Israel if it wants to do business in Cleveland. No public development money will be given to Dan Gilbert, friend of the IDF. The city will exert pressure on the county and the state to fully divest from Israel. This Council will call on Case Western Reserve to reinstate Students For Justice in Palestine and support the students call to divest the University from Israel.

You lost your chance to support a call to ceasefire. Israel must no longer be treated as a normal state, and our citizens' dollars can no longer go abroad to commit ethnic cleansing and murder. From this point forward, the city never will be allowed to operate as normal and this Council will be made the embarrassment of the state until Israel is fully isolated economically, and those committing a genocide are punished accordingly. Council, you thought we were done. Council, we only just started. Bibb, you too.

2:48 Permalink

Juan Collado Diaz

Good evening, Council, good evening, everybody. My name is Juan Collado Diaz as you all may know, and I am a member of the Libertarian Party of Ohio and the Libertarian Party nationally. This is important to mention because what's happening today in our society is not a left versus right issue, it's a right versus wrong issue, and you all are taking that stance with the wrong side when you keep letting this happening. You have the opportunity to release a ceasefire statement and all of you refuse. Instead some of you go in bed with the enemy, like Max Miller, and Councilman of Ward 3, which had a whole hangout and posted on Twitter other members then go and hang out with the ones that have said things like, let's turn Gaza into a parking lot.

With that said another thing that is locally, because that's what you all care about, and Mayor Bibb, you also should care about this, is our local park, Cudell Park. As of today, Cudell Park is on the way of getting destroyed to be turned into a new school. We the members of Cudell Park and the Cudell community agree with the school being built, but we also want the park to stay where it is. This is an issue where our trees need to be- stuff taken down and cutting down, and our environment needs to be protected over our buildings.

When Cudell died and put in his will clearly then this park should be used as a park and it was given to the city, Mayor Bibb, you have the power to talk to CMSD to stop this. You can do it. You have the council woman of that ward support the park and the people of the park, what else do you need? You can do that. Just to also remind you that what's happening in Gaza, it's an environmental issue. These bombs are destroying our planet, and you guys are funding those bombs by not supporting Palestine, so yes, these issues all connect. They all are one. This is not only an issue of here, it's a right versus wrong, and you all are on the wrong side.

This next year, you're all in an election, you all be running as Democrats or Republicans or whatever else you want to run. If any of you want to run as Libertarians or Socialists, I will make sure that I vote for the right and I'm pretty sure everybody back here will also make sure that they vote for right and not wrong. Have a good night.

2:12 Permalink

Basma Hamid

Good evening. 21 years ago from today, Rachel Khoury, a Jewish American justice for children activist's body was crushed into pieces by a Zionist Israeli military bulldozer while trying to protect the home of a Palestinian family from turning into rubble. 20 years ago, Thomas Hardell, a British photographer, was shot in cold blood by a Zionist Israeli sniper while trying to save children from a fire. Thousands of stories are still untold as the Zionist Israeli backed by the US keep slaughtering Palestinians in cold blood. The terrorism caused by the Zionist Israel and it started way before October 7th. It is Day 165 of the genocide, and this body of Cleveland City Council still sits here objecting to speaking up for the Palestinian community that resides and pays taxes in Cleveland. Now as we speak, there are over 30,000 sick displaced people at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza under siege are forced to move yet again. including nurses, doctors. Where's Justice? Where's the humanity? We are witnessing the systemic destruction of people's ability to survive. Mothers leave to look for flour to bake bread for their children and come back to what was known as a home now turned into rubble. No children, no bread, and no home. The price of flour is worth more than a Palestinian life. There is no greater evil than mass-occuring genocide star in people collecting food for their dying children of starvation. Do you care? Where is justice? Where is the humanity? For God's sake, how much more pain and suffering can children in Gaza and Palestine take? They are screaming for help. They are in mental, physical, and emotional pain, but the only response they are receiving is their echo, and their voices are not heard.

Unfortunately, the world is dead, blind, and muted by the huge lies the Zionist spread by the media about terrorism caused by them, the way before October 7th the entire Al-Jazeera team that was reporting on the attack on Al-Shifa hospital has been arrested by the Zionist occupiers. The message is very clear now, anyone who tries to document the Zionist occupiers war crimes against humanity is silenced by getting killed in cold blood or taken to jail to unknown location. But you will not silence me.

3:04 Permalink

Brenda Bickerstaff

Good evening, Council. Mr. Bishop, I want to bring this to your attention, I'm a private investigator. Kevin Conwell and President Griffin know about this. In 2012 I was working on a case, and a dirty cop, a detective, wrongfully had me indicted, am I correct, Kevin? I pulled text messages on his cell phone. 30,000 text messages. He had slept with about 30 women. So what the police department did, to go to the police department, they tried to help him. They only looked at 8,000 and it was 30, so guess what. He was fired, the city blocked him for three years, but then he got his job back. God damn. No justice. So you say a commission shouldn't be over the police? If they don't know, I whooped his ass and I've never been a cop. So you got to be careful when you think somebody don't know-

[Griffin]: Ma'am, please use the right language.

[Speaker]:Excuse me, but you got to be careful when you think somebody don't know something, and I've been to the penitentiary, but because I've been to the penitentiary, I made a bad decision, it doesn't mean I was stupid, cuz I got degrees too. Kevin can back this up, and so can Council President, because they went to the mayor. Am I correct?

Councilwoman Howse, love you to to death. Sometimes you got to be careful in this city, how you make friends and relationships, cuz that can end you up in a federal penitentiary. It can. You know I love you, Mr. Starr, but when you speak, please be careful that you got the correct information. Councilwoman Spencer, I'm going to look forward to coming to your movie night so I can kick it with your officers, because those officers are officers that I would like to see on the force. Thank you very much. Oh, and Mr. Kazy you laughed. 'oh I knew it wasn't going to work anyway.' I wonder, are you a racist? You think white cops should kill black people? I'm just wondering about that. Thank you very much.

2:08 Permalink

Richard Jackson

Good evening, council members. Mr. President. First I'm really here to ask for your cooperation. I understand you guys take a lot of flack regarding the Cleveland Police Commission. Some people really don't understand it, others really want it but they don't really know what they should be doing to help.

When we started this process, and myself, I was one of the writers of it, I spent 30 years in the Cleveland Police Department. I came here directly after serving as United States Marine Special Forces. I went there, came here, served here for 30 years. I grew up right behind John Adams, came here to serve my city where I grew up at.

I understand a lot of the stress points in the police department and I have to say that the consent decree that we have is starting to do some things, you're starting to see some ripple effects, but they're small, and what we're asking for of you is that, I hear you guys always talk about the monies that we spend on the consent decree, $10 million. Well, what we're proposing to you is that if you give us the assistance that the commission requires, allow it to have its independence that the law demands, you would more than likely see a very, very quick turnaround and a larger part of the consent decree completed. It is very clear by the citizens that they will not allow anything less than 100% of the consent decree, not one. If you're looking to go less than that, you're not going to make it work. So in order to get to that 100%, there have been many ways that we can get there and one is really just to allow the commission to do its work. It can get to the 100%. There may be a time where they may put an RFP before you. Please don't block it. Please don't bigfoot it. Please allow them to have the independence that they need so that they can have the tools that they need to get to this consent decree and get to 100%.

With that, I say thank you for listening to me. Have a good night.

2:14 Permalink

Alec Popivker

Good evening, Mayor, President, esteemed councilmen. First of all I'd like to wish Ramadan Kareem to fellow Muslim Clevelanders, and Happy Purim to fellow Jews on upcoming holiday of Purim.

Ramadan is a month of repentance, something I think we all should appreciate. It's a month of introspection. You know, nobody's perfect and everyone should really question themselves and not be arrogant to think that what they believe is 100% right. I'd like to mention also that Purim is a holiday when a certain evil person, Haman, decided to slander the Jewish people and spread all kinds of lies about Jews, very much like people like Abbas Ahmadi of our own Cleveland, who says that Jews don't belong in the Middle East and should go back to Poland, openly supports Hezbollah and Hamas, and on October 9th openly praised the massacre together with Chance Zarub, who is over here. This kind of propaganda, this kind of abuse of freedom of speech is something that we should all be concerned with. When people are allowed to spread, it's called genocide incitement, a dehumanization, demonization of a group of people. It leads to massacres like we witnessed on October 7th, and unfortunately, most of these children are brainwashed, they don't know any better, and that's why I ask you please, Mayor, President, please, we have all these organizations on diversity, tolerance, but none of them, I follow them, they do not speak about anti-Semitism. They do not learn about Jewish people. Please, I ask you, let's look into- let's put it on the agenda, IHF definition of anti-semitism and let's look into educating people so that that we can balance the evil speech with good speech, with information, with knowledge, because then hopefully we will never see another massacre again, and there will be, you know, terrorists will no longer have the support that comes from this evil speech that makes it all possible. Thank you. God bless you.

2:55 Permalink

Sarah Popivker

Thank you. Mr. Mayor and esteemed members of the council, Shalom. We are more than halfway through Women's History Month, celebrating women's achievements in all fields, yet last night, a friend made me aware of a sticker that had been found on a pole here in downtown Cleveland. On the sticker it was written, 'rape is resistance, free Palestine by all means necessary'. That's what it said. I had a plan to come here and talk about how much more work we need to do for women to really have an equal part in society, reproductive rights, etc., but what's more self-explanatory than the message that that sticker is spreading. I hope that the city will take measures to prevent the spread of this kind of ideology, because rape is never justified, not in our beloved Cleveland nor anywhere else.

I conclude by mentioning the names of all the women still held hostage and sexually, physically, and psychologically abused in Gaza. May they soon be released and return to their loved ones.

[Speaker begins reading names of hostages]

1:37 Permalink

Rasmia Alnadi

As-salamu alaykum. Peace and blessings be with all of you during this holy month of Ramadan. I hope it is a month filled with ease to all those that celebrate. Personally I know I can't complain knowing my brothers and sisters in Gaza are voluntarily and involuntarily fasting at once. Today I will humanize those people, my people, our people. We have this trend of individualism throughout our great country, this concept that our actions are exclusively our actions. But we're all connected. As my philosophy professor stated, our actions are recommendations for others. I have an impact, and so do all of you. Whether that impact is positive or negative is up to each one of us to decide. For our great country to stand back and abuse its veto, for our name to repeatedly allow international crime, is to set an international status quo. To convince you to proudly stand on the right side of history, I will be reading a list to humanize our people. I will begin with children killed below the age of one.

[Speaker begins reading list of names of Palestinian children killed in the conflict.] What was that, less than 50 names? Have I humanized them enough? 50 infants of the 11,000 children, 50 infants of the 30,000 Palestinians, human beings, so I ask again, have I humanized them enough?

2:41 Permalink