April 22, 2024

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Public Commenters (15 min)
Rev. Pamela Pinkney-Butts  Sabrina Otis  Riley Petro  Brenda Bickerstaff  Hardaway 

Rev. Pamela Pinkney-Butts

[sings] We have overcome, we have overcome, we have overcome today. Oh deep in our hearts, we have lived to see that we have overcome today. [speaks] Jesus said, 'great works have I done, greater shall ye do today.' The Holy Ghost says, 'I'm going to work a miracle through you.' When I awaken to this brand new day this is what the Holy Ghost had to say. Your life, I decided to save the sting of death and victory over the grave. I overcame that. Your rape, your abuse, your rejection, your self-hatred of you, I overcame that, too. Your fear of the unknown, reaping the negativity that you have sown, I overcame that. Now this is what I require of you. Pray someone else through. Someone needs a word of hope, someone needs to know about my overcoming power right now, this minute, this second, this very hour. Whatever their struggle or temptation may be, remember to lead them to me. It is by grace and mercy that we speak today no matter what the obstacles may be. Open your eyes, ears, heart, mind, to see no matter what comes your way this day, always say I overcame that.

In this room today we are overcome by the blood of the lamb, and the ewe, and the word of our testimony. And one of the other obstacles that we must overcome is the racism and the racial disparity in policing. I have requested that the Interim Safety Director be the permanent Safety Director, and we consider and allow him to operate in the full authority of the Safety Director, because it is not fair that a black man gets an interim title but a white person gets a permanent title. It is time to end the racial disparity in the city of Cleveland, in the United States of America, and Cuyahoga County. Missing, dead, and exploited and overlooked bodies of people of color, it's time to overcome that.

I have given you also an initiative to help people meet their needs. This is the book that I have authored and published in Cleveland Public Library, my home town. It's called "Choose Life", help people know to choose life to overcome every obstacle. But we must do it fairly, we must do it with reasonable accommodations and we must be fair in leadership. Don't give a black man a temporary title and use them and then say that when you're tired of them that you don't need them anymore. Give them the full authority. Thank you. Overcome.

3:08 Permalink

Sabrina Otis

Good evening. I have a couple things I want to talk about. First, the parking garage. If you're in there for 8 minutes it's $4. Online it says $3.50 for 15 minutes. I need y'all to fix that because I'm not paying yall $4 for 8 minutes. That's ridiculous. And most parking garages let people park up to an hour for free before they charge. Anyway I thought I'd put that out there.

Next I want to talk about the traffic engineering and your sidewalk bureau. They're giving out these signs that say don't block driveways. if you drive through the city most of the signage are at properties that don't have driveways, they just got them randomly posted. I need y'all to fix that because it's annoying me, it makes no sense.

Next I want to talk about housing and building. Well mostly what you guys passed that I couldn't come in and talk forever, and that's the Residents First legislative packet. I don't know who put it together. You didn't have a renter in your committee, you didn't talk to a renter. I don't live in an apartment. I'm a renter. Your packet only covers some of the renters in the city. Housing and Building only has so much they can do, and your courts definitely don't seem to get that everybody don't live in apartments. I would like for you guys to revisit that whole thing. It's a hot mess. You all felt like it looked good, but as a renter, don't give me that look, as a renter, it looks horrible. It does not fortify any of us. It does not help any of us. It helps a selected few renters and not the whole gamut, because the city of Cleveland has a lot of renters.

And lastly I want to briefly talk about your Community Police Commission. Yeah, no. I voted for it. I had big hopes for it. I don't know how you're picking the people, but every time I go on YouTube and look at it, they're arguing with each other, they can't get along, nobody wants to follow, everybody wants to lead. It's a hot mess. I'm going need y'all to get back in the room and find some other folks to lead that group. And you all have a great day.

2:28 Permalink

Riley Petro

Today as many of us know is Earth Day and the existential threat of the climate crisis has never been greater. Without drastic and immediate intervention we will not meet the emissions reductions necessary to avoid breaching the average of 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. This is not a goal that can be met by individuals simply going green. To avoid global catastrophe there needs to be a profound shift of priorities in our economy and in our government.

Cleveland's mayor Justin Bibb has fashioned himself an image of being a, quote, 'climate mayor', including hosting an upcoming climate leadership conference where attendees can pay up to $1,695 to rub shoulders with such climate leaders as PepsiCo, Pacific Gas and Electric, Clorox, and the US Department of Defense, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on Earth. Mr. Bibb has touted the revival of the tree commission as a win for the city to help expand the tree canopy and improve quality of life across the city, and rightly so, but I'm perplexed as to why he has not acted to halt the development project at Cudell Park that would tear down a canopy of fully grown bald cypress trees. If Mr. Bibb is a climate mayor, why is he not protecting the only green space in a neighborhood where 40% of the population lives under the poverty line?

While Mr. Bibb has not been moved to rescind support for Israel after the deaths of 40,000 Palestinians in Gaza since October 7th, he should know that the genocide in Gaza has been an environmental disaster. The Guardian wrote in January that the first months of Israel's campaign produced more greenhouse gases than 20 climate vulnerable nations do in a year. 7.9 million meters of forests, bushes, and agricultural land have been burned, contaminated, and destroyed by white phosphorus. You cannot be a climate mayor and support Israel. Humanity is in a grave crisis. Right now what we need are leaders, but so far all we've seen from you, Mr. Bibb, is lip service. Save the planet, save Cudell Park, and free Palestine.

2:44 Permalink

Brenda Bickerstaff

Good evening, everyone. First I want to thank the young lady who spoke about the Cleveland Police Commission. There's two people that we want to be removed, that's Alana Garrett-Ferguson, and the other one is Terri Wang, and I've brought that to the attention of the administration, we've talked about that. So let's move on with McHugh.

I met with McHugh today, myself, Kevin Conwell, some other individuals. He gave us a story about what occurred over in Washington DC, however, for the sake of it, he said, the judges and the prosecutors, I want you guys to hear this now, Mr. Bibb and Mr. Griffin, made him do this. The two prosecutors were Kacie Weston and Jennifer Kerkhoff. He said the judge pressed him, too, and the judge looked at the video. Two judges looked at the video and said they saw a gun. It wasn't a gun in that case with those two elderly people. The judge's name is John Bailey. Okay, so it was two judges, so what. I told Mr McHugh what I'm going to do, personally I'm saying 'no' now, but I need 60 days to finish getting the information that I need to make a decision, so I can turn it over to the people that's involved with the [inaudible] and everything. If need be, I'm going to drive to Washington myself, okay, because I want to find this out, because if we got some judges and prosecutors that are telling the police to be corrupt, they need to be called out too, and removed from their position, and I'm serious about this, because this is what he indicated, and that's a serious allegation about a judge and a prosecutor. But we do know there are corrupt judges and prosecutors out here.

Once again, I want 60 days from today's date, I'm going to make a record, today's date is April the 22nd. Get me to June the 22nd to get the information so I can get it to you to see if it's true, and if it need be, I will pack up, my own expense and drive to Washington DC myself, and Kevin Conwell knows I will do that. Thank you very much.

2:11 Permalink


Good evening. The hiring of Philip McHugh, it's out of pocket. 10 years ago, this city, we was heartbroken. Tamir rice, 138 shots. And in all those instances it was where officers violated policy and procedure. In 138 shots, they were asked stop the pursuit. They kept going.

Tamir Rice situation. Police officer Timothy Loehmann hit a driveby, basically. There's no policy and procedure for that. So we're hiring an assistant safety director that's coming from DC, that the DC police department had to pay out because he violated people's civil rights. The Fourth Amendment violation, they paid the settlement on the basis of negligence charge, which DC paid a settlement. We can't afford this again.

We're under consent decree since 2015. This is a bad look. He could have been put anywhere else, Mayor Bibb, but we put him in assistant position to police the police, and he's violating procedures. That's not on us to figure out what he did with judges and prosecutors, because again that says about the man, if the judge and the prosecutor can force you to be crooked, we don't want you here. We don't want you here. So what I'm going to say is, make it right, or next November you going to hear the people's voice. Make it right.

1:51 Permalink