Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of August 23, 2021
Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:
Aug. 24, 2021
Documenters Mrinalini Pandey and Daniel McCarthy
GCRTA ridership for July was up by 5.4 percent as compared to this time last year, a rebound from the dip in ridership attributed to COVID-19. Efforts to increase ridership have come in the form of a-week-of-free-rides and the GCRTA Next Gen System.
Aug. 24, 2021
Documenters Leslie Bednar and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell
Cleveland police are still working on fully collecting data about crisis intervention calls but the information is currently lagging, in part due to a new system used for collecting the information.
A Case Western Reserve researcher shared that there were over 3,058 unique crisis call clients in the first half of 2021, a 17 percent increase over the 2020 first half. It wasn’t clear whether that change was due to better data collection or an uptick in mental health crisis calls.
The committee also learned about “repeat utilizers,” or individuals who crisis teams encounter repeatedly, including one individual who had 38 incidents in 2020. That same person has had 30 incidents on record to date in 2021. He said this could lead to 60 total for the year for just one person.
Cleveland Police Captain James McPike said he was familiar with that one individual and that the five teams of co-responders (a team is a CDP officer and a social worker, with five teams conducting car patrols in the city) are also familiar with residents who they get calls about repeatedly. Social workers are following up with clients, connecting them to services, McPike said. He said he has seen some reduction in calls for some of the repeaters.
The committee also learned that the city is supposed to be buying cell phones for officers to call the new Diversion Center for clients but that process has stalled. McPike said some officers were using the center and knew it was a resource. Use of the Diversion Center, which opened as an alternative to the jail for people arrested for low-level crimes.
Community advocate Rosie Palfy said the Diversion subcommittee should get an updates on the cell phone purchases. “I think the city is really overcomplicating this,” Palfy said.
Aug. 23, 2021
Documenters Dorothy Ajamu and Jenna Thomas
Cleveland City Council met to discuss priorities for spending the $511 million in American Rescue Plan Act coming to the city to help with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. They
Already, some of the money has been dedicated to purchasing personal protective equipment and making City Hall COVID-19-safe. Five million was set aside for the Cleveland Foodbank. That leaves a little more than $400 million.
The priorities council members mentioned ranged from demolition of vacant homes to providing mental health services to families to traffic calming projects.
Council member Blaine Griffin said he felt they should narrow down the options to five areas so that they can move along the process.
There are limits to what the money can be spent on and it has to be completely used by December of 2026. The allowed categories are:
- Public Health
- Economic Hardship
- Public Sector Revenue Loss
- Broadband, Water or Sewer Infrastructure
Council member Jasmin Santana talked about how priorities considered transformational might be different for council members. She suggested the council consider questions like: “Will demolition bring people out of poverty?” and “Do we need more officers, or do the youth have deep-rooted issues?”