Cleveland News Wire – Weekly Updates

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of Jan 17, 2022

Committee reviews data for the 2021 annual MHRAC report

Jan. 18, 2022 – Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC), Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services of Cuyahoga County

Covered by Documenters Brit Seward and John Bergin – See full reporting here.

MHRAC members made recommendations about data and information that will be included in the 2021 MHRAC annual report, which is to be released at the end of the month. The Quality Improvement (QI) subcommittee will review a draft of the report by Jan. 25, and the report will be finalized by Jan. 31. Cleveland Police Capt. James McPike said he will reach out to Cleveland Legal Aid and other Ad Hoc Committee members about meeting to discuss the police department’s diversion and crisis intervention policies.

City official tells panel about state funds targeting brownfield sites

Jan. 18, 2022 – Development, Planning & Sustainability Committee, Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Daniel McCarthy and Kathryn Johnson – See full reporting here.

Director of Economic Development David Ebersole told the council that there is $350 million available from the State of Ohio for land remediation of government-controlled and private sector land. Of that, $100 million is available for site demolition specifically. Applications and awards are made on a first-come, first-served basis. The state’s pre-application deadlines are Jan. 31 for property remediation and Feb. 28 for demolition.

Police officials explain how federal grants will support crisis intervention and drug interdiction work; council members warn that balloons can hurt power lines

Jan. 19, 2022 – Safety Committee, Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Alicia Moreland and Tina Scott – See full reporting here.

Safety Committee members passed several ordinances out of the committee including one prohibiting the release of a large number (10 or more) of balloons outside. Councilmember Howse suggested consideration of cultural practices by providing alternatives that would not harm the environment. Ordinances authorizing the city’s applications for federal public safety grants, including several from the U.S. Department of Justice, were also approved by the Safety Committee.

Equity Commission hears about the promise of ‘sponsorship’ programs

Jan. 20, 2022 – Equity Commission, Cuyahoga County 

Covered by Documenters Ashley Maley, Keith Yurgionas, and Marvetta Rutherford- See full reporting here.

The Cuyahoga County Equity Commission discussed a collaboration with Destination Cleveland to bring several minority-focused conferences to Cleveland. These conferences include the African American Credit Union Coalition and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The commission discussed possible mentorship programs with students from historically Black colleges and universities. This year, racial equity training will be provided to the 4,500 employees of Cuyahoga County. Training will begin with employees in management positions in May.

Joyce Pan Huang nominated for planning director; Fairfax Market design approved

Jan. 20, 2022 – Cleveland City Planning Commission

Covered by Documenters Keith Yurgionas and Mildred Seward – See full reporting here.

The City Planning Commission approved the nomination of Joyce Pan Huang as Planning Director. The commission also approved the final design of the Fairfax Market project on Cedar Ave. and East 105th Street, as well as the design for two homes on a split lot on the near west side, which commission members agreed would help improve population density in the city.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of Jan 10, 2022

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals
Jan. 10, 2022
Variance granted for a property on E. 123rd St.
Agency: Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Read the full notes from the meeting here.
Covered by Documenters Marvetta Rutherford and Robyn Heard

The Board of Zoning Appeals granted a variance to Knez Construction LLC for building a two-story, single-family home with a front yard setback on East 123rd Street. The board denied variances for a proposed vehicle repair garage on Western Avenue due to a lack of off-street parking spaces at the business.

Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC)
Jan. 10, 2022
Expanded referral policy boosts use of Diversion Center
Agency:  Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Read the full notes from this meeting here.
Covered by Documenters Brit Seward and John Bergin

MHRAC members said the Diversion Center has had an increase in clients since the implementation of an expanded referral policy. The 2021 Annual MHRAC report, required by the consent decree, will be completed by the end of January. The Diversion committee members said they will look into the possibility of providing transportation to clients at the Diversion Center. At the conclusion of the meeting, MHRAC Community Advocate Rosie Palfy expressed frustration with the lack of discussion over CDP’s removal of 17 words from an approved policy MHRAC had advised on. CDP Captain McPike said that this was a “human error.”

Community Engagement Subcommittee, Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC)
Jan. 10, 2022
The panel discusses plans for the public and providers to meet with CIT officers
Agency:  Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Read the full notes from the meeting here.
Covered by Documenters Juice McKenna and Daniel McCarthy

The subcommittee briefly discussed sending thank you letters out to Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) officers for the Coffee with a CIT Officer event and getting CIT resource cards out to the Cleveland Division of Police for use in officers’ vehicles. The committee is planning to distribute a survey to the general public to collect information about CIT. A Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC) discussion including Charles See, community advocate and member of the  Cleveland Police Monitoring Team, and Jim McPike, Police Captain, will air March 8 on 95.9 WOVU Radio.

City Council
Jan. 10, 2022
Council supports name change for Cleveland-Marshall Law
Agency:  Cleveland City Council

Read the full notes from this meeting here.
Covered by Documenters Alyssa Bree, Shayla Ivezzy, and Keith Yurgionas

In a short meeting, the council read several emergency resolutions including one urging a committee at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law to change the name of the school to eliminate any reference to John Marshall. Resolutions, unlike ordinances, express the opinion of the council and do not become law when passed. Several council members also spoke during the meeting. Council Member Kevin Conwell said he is concerned about gun violence in his community.

Standing Committees
Jan. 11, 2022
RTA looks to install electric-vehicle chargers at Rapid stations
Agency:  Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Read the full notes from this meeting here.
Covered by Documenters Alicia Moreland and Bob Rotatori

The Standing Committee’s meeting is a meeting of several subcommittees, including the Operational Planning and Infrastructure Committee. That committee approved work with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) to install public vehicle chargers at three Rapid stations: Louis Stokes at Windermere; Brookpark; and Green Road. Construction is scheduled to begin in July if approved by the full board. The committee also moved forward an item to replace the current CLE App with a more robust app, called EZFare, to be used regionally. RTA’s goal is to have contactless payment devices installed by the end of the year.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of Jan 2, 2022

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Cleveland City Council Meeting
Jan. 3, 2022 

City Council members were sworn in. Council Committees charged up for 2022

Agency: Cleveland City Council

Read Documenters’ full notes from the meeting here.

Covered by Documenters Kathryn Johnson and Nicholas Ventura

New Cleveland City Council President Blaine Griffin welcomed newly elected council members and pledged the council’s support in working with Mayor Justin Bibb’s administration. He warned the mayor that there would also be “tense” days but as “iron sharpens iron,” the council and the administration would ultimately work towards improving the lives of all Cleveland residents. Councilmember Joe Jones noted 2022 was the first time the city had an African American mayor and an African American president of the council serving at the same time.

Cleveland City Council reformulated its committees made up of council members that consider and vote on legislation proposed by the administration and council.
The Finance Committee is now the Finance, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee, putting an emphasis on assuring that spending decisions are made with an equity lens.

The Health & Human Services Committee is now the Health, Human Services & The Arts to acknowledge that the arts are vital to a healthy community.

The Transportation Committee is now Transportation & Mobility in order to acknowledge that planning should include all modes of transportation, including a greater emphasis on bus, rail, and bikeways as well as multimodal connectivity. 

Council committees:  https://www.clevelandcitycouncil.org/council/committees

Board of Zoning Appeals:
Jan. 3, 2022

Board holds off on approving one new house and approved another new construction in Tremont: OKs electronic sign at Ward 11 church

Agency:  Board of Zoning Appeals:

Read Documenters’ full notes from the meeting here.

Covered by Documenters Tina Scott and John Bergin

Calendar No. 21-189: Withdraw
12945 Lorain Ave.
Ward 16 Brian Kazy (Present)

Calendar No. 21-193Granted
Second Calvary Baptist Church
12017 Emery Ave
Ward 11 Brian Mooney (Several Present)

The board approved variances to allow Second Baptist Church in Ward 11 to install a sign with an electronic component in a residential district. West Town Community Development and Assistant City Planner Adam Davenport were in support of the project.

Calendar No. 21-184/21-185 30 days postponed Feb 8th
2312 West 5th Street (Rear/Front)
Ward 3 Kerry McCormack

Note: The board postponed a decision on proposed home construction in Tremont, and it approved zoning variances in two other cases. In the case of the Tremont property, a board member wanted the city planning team to review the plans for the four-story residence. The local community development agency supports the project.

Calendar No. 21-191: Granted (A duplicate at the beginning and end of Meeting Calendar No. 21- 189)
2268 W. 28th Street
Ward 3 Kerry McCormack

Note: Matthew Moss, prospective purchaser, proposes to build a two-story 896 square foot single-family residence with attached garage on a 1,628 square foot, City of Cleveland Land Bank Lot, located in a B1 Two-Family Residential District. The owner appeals for relief from the minimum lot width for a single-family dwelling in a “B” area district is 40 feet and a 37-foot-wide lot is proposed. This section also states that a minimum lot area of 4,800 square feet is required for a single-family dwelling; a lot area of 1,628 square feet is proposed.

Summary: A variance was withdrawn. The board postponed a decision on proposed home construction in Ward 3, a board member wanted the city planning team to review the plans for the four-story residence. The local community development agency supports the project. The board approved zoning variances in two other new home construction cases in Ward 3. The board also approved variances to allow Second Baptist Church in Ward 11 to install a sign with an electronic component in a residential district. West Town Community Development and Assistant City Planner Adam Davenport were in support of the project.

Documenters Twitter feed with comments here.

Read Documenters’ full notes from the January 3, 2022 meeting here

Cleveland News Wire – The week of December 13, 2021

By  Rachel Dissell

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:


Board discusses ways to improve care for foster children in a system under stress

Advisory Board

Agency: Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services

Dec. 13, 2021

Covered by Documenters Marc Huff and Brandy Smith

The advisory board to the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (CCDCFS) finalized last week a call-to-action letter asking for a collaborative response from county agencies to the needs of children and young adults at the Jane Edna Hunt building. The board also discussed issues affecting the placement of kids, such as retention of staff and reduction of services. CCDCFS Director Cynthia Weiskittel updated the board on COVID-19 vaccination rates, sharing that 300 or fewer of the nearly 2,500 kids in county care are vaccinated. Children age 5 and older are eligible for vaccines, and booster shots are available for people 16 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find the full reporting on this meeting here.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of December 6, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Transformation Alliance launches marketing campaign featuring high school students telling why they love their schools 

Board of Directors 

Agency: Cleveland Transformation Alliance

Dec. 6, 2021

Covered by Documenters John Bergin and Brandy Smith

 

In 2022, Cleveland Transformation Alliance and T Rice Communications will collaborate on a marketing campaign. The idea is for high school students to make videos about why they love their school. The cost of the campaign is about $10,000. If successful, it could expand to include students in kindergarten through 8th grades in the fall of 2022. CTA also delayed finalizing its budget. Find the full reporting here.

 

Last council meeting for several members not returning; public comments on participatory budgeting & Shaker Square

City Council  

Agency: Cleveland City Council

Dec. 6, 2021

Covered by Documenters Lauren Hakim and Keith Yurgionas

 

In its final meeting of 2021, Cleveland City Council approved more than 40 pieces of legislation. Included among that are laws authorizing the development of the Construction Opportunity Institute of Cleveland along the Opportunity Corridor, the creation of a Division of Special Events and Marketing within the Public Works Department, the allocation of $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services, and the funding of a housing project in Hough. Public commenters spoke to council about participatory budgeting, fair wages for workers, and pending legislation concerning the financing of Shaker Square. Council is set to restart talks about that legislation next year after new council members are sworn in. Find the full reporting here.

 

RTA Committees present a new study on operator compensation, review 2022 budget proposals

 

Standing Committees  

Agency: Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Dec. 7, 2021

Covered by Documenters Janenell Smith and Alicia Moreland

 

Several committees from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) met last Tuesday to discuss paratransit, compensation, the 2022 operating budget, and more. The GCRTA is considering updates to its paratransit customer policies and handbook in hopes of reducing cancellation and no-show rates, which are higher than the industry average. Additionally, the GCRTA is assessing how it can retain more drivers, many of whom quit because of the work hours and the challenge of finding childcare during those times, according to the agency’s human resources team. The meeting also featured public comment and an appearance by Mayor-elect Justin Bibb, who received a plaque and GCRTA socks. Find the full reporting here.

 

Panel votes to remand to the city a duplex in disrepair

 

Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals

Agency: Cleveland Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals

Dec. 8, 2021

Covered by Documenters Leslie Bednar and Marvetta Rutherford

 

The board agreed to remand a property to the city. The duplex in gross disrepair sits on two parcels on Rainbow Avenue  and has two owners, one known, one unidentified because the property owner of half of a duplex died and next of kin have not yet been identified. The city will bid out the job to three parties and the cost of recovery would then be split between the two owners. Find the full reporting here.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of November 29, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Council OKs Progressive Field deal, approves significant portion of ARPA funding 

City Council

Agency: Cleveland City Council

Nov. 29, 2021

Covered by Documenters Kellie Morris and Laylah Allen

Cleveland City Council passed several pieces of legislation last Monday, including an emergency ordinance that obligates the city to help fund the maintenance and modernization of Progressive Field for at least 15 years. Council also allocated about $80 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Departments of Community and Economic Development and nearly $26.5 million to the Department of Public Safety. The ARPA legislation was discussed earlier that day in a joint meeting between council’s Finance and Development, Planning and Sustainability Committees. Typically, the city must receive council’s authorization to spend $50,000 or more. The joint committee members amended the ARPA legislation so that Public Safety does not need to return for authorization to use any of this ARPA money. Documenter Jenna Thomas live-tweeted that meeting. You can learn how Public Safety plans to spend the money from the third attachment on this page, and you can find Kellie’s and Laylah’s full reporting on the City Council meeting here.

Development at E. 105 Street and Cedar Avenue, renovations at 55 Public Square and Cleveland Whiskey project advance

Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee

Agency: Cleveland City Council

Nov. 30, 2021

Covered by Documenters Anastazia Vanisko and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

Cleveland City Council’s Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee approved several pieces of legislation last Tuesday. A future vote by council would determine if the ordinances become law. The legislation included tax increment financing (TIF) for a housing project in Fairfax, the redevelopment of 55 Public Square into 200 apartment units and commercial space, and the building of Cleveland Whiskey’s new site in the Flats. The committee also advanced legislation that would help transform the site of a former school into a park. Find the full reporting here.

Diversion committee will have new structure, additional items to focus on in 2022

Diversion Subcommittee – Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC)

Agency: Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Dec. 2, 2021

Covered by Documenters Kathleen Moser, Marvetta Rutherford and Alicia Moreland 

Starting next year, the Diversion Subcommittee will evolve into a community diversion committee led by the ADAMHS Board and not a Cleveland police representative. Members discussed the mission including the entire county and not just Cleveland, while others hoped a tight focus would remain on Cleveland police and fulfilling the mandates of the Consent Decree. Members talked about future work, including: looking at options for youth, getting the public more involved and collecting data as the county’s new jail is designed and built to inform future diversion options. Find the full reporting here.

Panel looks ahead to development at Hopkins International and Burke Lakefront Airport

Transportation Committee

Agency: Cleveland City Council

Dec 1, 2021

Covered by Documenter Tina Scott

Committee members discussed infrastructure improvements to the I-X Center, including water, sewer and other utilities to support new development at the airport’s South Campus with Port Director Robert Kennedy and Airport Commissioner Khalid Bahur. Find the Hopkins Master Plan here. They also discussed new land leases at Burke Lakefront Airport. Council members had questions about the specific location of the development, whether any any jobs would be created that could be shared with residents in their wards. The legislation was passed out of committee.  Read the notes here.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of November 22, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Board postpones all agenda items due to late meeting notice

Board of Zoning Appeals

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Nov. 22, 2021

Covered by Documenter Emily Anderson

In a brief, five-minute meeting, the board stated that all items, including variances for a new apartment complex on Hessler Road, will be postponed to the Dec. 13 meeting in order to give everyone involved in these projects proper notice to attend. Find the full tweets here.


Nov. 2 election results certified; Residents voice concerns about the lack of accessibility at polling places 

Board of Elections

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Nov. 22, 2021

Covered by Documenter Robyn Heard

Ballots from the Nov. 2 election were approved. Five precincts in Cuyahoga County have recounts of the Nov. 2 election scheduled for next week. Community members shared concerns about tech issues with the live-streaming of the Board meetings, and shared that they believed people with disabilities are being left out of the election process due to non-accessible election processes. Director Perlatti also shared that understaffing in the Cleveland Police department left the Board of Elections short 23 security officers during the Nov. 2 election. Find the full tweets here.


Council passes ordinance to use Casino Revenue funds for Community Empowerment Farm project

City Council

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 22, 2021

Covered by Documenter Keith Yurgionas

Council passed several emergency ordinances including an agreement allowing for the use of Ward 4 Casino Revenue Funds for the Salaam Community Empowerment Farm and Training Program. Public commenters spoke about participatory budgeting, the City’s funding of Progressive Field, and ARPA plans to support the arts in Cleveland. Read the full tweets here. 


Committee debates use of ARPA funds for rental assistance; reviews ordinances related to revitalization of Shaker Square and modifying boundaries of lakefront parks.

Development, Planning, and Sustainability Committee

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 23, 2021

Covered by Documenter Jenna Thomas

Representatives from CHN Housing Partners presented to the committee their $4.5 million request to use ARPA funds for rental assistance for residents. Council members argued that the Mayor’s proposed legislation would only cover about a quarter of what CHN requested. The committee also reviewed ordinances related to the revitalization of Shaker Square and the modification of boundaries at Edgewater Park and the Lakefront Nature Preserve to allow for development. Read the full tweets here.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of November 15, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Committee approves sale of City land to Rid-All Urban farm; ARPA work group discusses public safety spending

Municipal Services and Properties Committee & Special Working Group on ARPA Funds

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 15, 2021

Covered by Documenter Jenna Thomas

Council continued to discuss ways to spend the $511 million in federal American Rescue Plan Funding the city is receiving. Council and the Jackson administration have some areas of agreement about how to spend the money. Public Safety is asking for a variety of equipment including: 45 SUVs; 50 detective cars; 100 mountain bikes; and 5 K-9 dogs. Find the full notes here.

Panel gets update on training for Cleveland Police officers and dispatchers in crisis-intervention

Training Subcommittee, Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC)

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Nov. 15, 2021

Covered by Documenters Juice McKenna and Emily Anderson

A new Suicide Prevention Lifeline will shift from a 10-digit number to a 3-digit number in July of 2022. (Until then the number is 216-623-6888). The new number (988) will help more people get  direct access to mental health services and officers are being trained to use it. Find the full notes here.

Board finalizes plans for Nov. 23 recall election in Maple Heights

Board of Elections

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Nov. 15, 2021

Covered by Documenter Jeanne Madison 

This meeting had severe technical difficulties making the proceedings hard to follow. However, a video of the meeting can be viewed here. The ballot proofs for the Nov. 23, 2021, Maple Heights Council District 6 Recall Election were approved by vote of the board. Find the full notes here.

Board grants Sherwin Williams variances for parking garage and surface lot at new downtown headquarters

Board of Zoning Appeals

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Nov. 15, 2021

Covered by Documenters Tina Scott and Alicia Moreland

Along with proposals for private garages and sheds on private property, the board granted variances to Sherwin Williams for the construction of their new headquarters tower as well as expanding existing plans for a parking lot on the Superior Avenue side of the proposed tower. The timeline of construction will be about 12 months. Find the full notes here.

Panel reviews what records to keep, what records to toss

Executive Records Management Committee

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Nov. 15, 2021

Covered by Documenters Alicia Moreland and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

In a meeting held by the GCRTA director of Finance and Administration, the Executive Records Committee reviewed records of old business and determined which records were necessary to keep and which were to be removed. Sections of records such as vendor record schedules were reorganized to better reflect the current system, and older, obsolete categories were removed. Bond certificates and coupons that no longer exist were removed, and records of older bonds were kept since they are specifically related to information required by the IRS. Find the full notes here.

Panels OKs contract with Municipal Court, plans for certain city offices to move to new space

Finance Committee & Joint Committee

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 15, 2021

Covered by Documenter Keith Seward

The Finance committee approved an ordinance allowing the Cleveland Police Commission to move to larger office space to meet HIPAA regulations. It also approved an ordinance authorizing the city to acquire the Mound School and property located at 5405 Mound Avenue for future redevelopment for the Department of Community Development. Find the full notes here.

Council establishes French American cultural garden, approves leases for submerged land at Burke Lakefront Airport

City Council

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 15, 2021

Covered by Documenters Chau Tang, Jennifer Chandler, and Yorel Warr

Public commenters spoke about participatory budgeting and Progressive Field improvements. Emergency ordinances relating to the adoption of tax increment financing agreements and the sale of the Hough Multipurpose Center for future redevelopment had their first readings. Ordinances involving the establishment of the French-American Cultural Garden and the placement of feminine hygiene items in city buildings also passed. Read the full notes here.

First draft of annual report shared and discussed, consent decree requirement reviewed

Quality Improvement Subcommittee, Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC)

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Nov. 16, 2021

Covered by Documenters Alicia Moreland, Leslie Bednar, Bob Rotatori

Committee members discussed reports showing that only 76 police officers have taken the revised Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training since the consent decree was implemented in 2015. Prior to the consent decree, this number was in the hundreds. The committee agreed that by the end of January, they would try to have a draft of the annual report complete, as that is when most of the data from 2021 will be in. The report is not expected to be published until March 2022. Read the full notes here.

Board reviews budget, hears plans for “Month of Merry” holiday promotion

Board of Trustees

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Nov. 16, 2021

Covered by Documenters Emily Anderson and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

As of this third-quarter report, RTA is on budget and spending is as expected. Next year’s budget has some changes including an increase in positions budgeted for next year, with 18 new positions in the 2022 budget. A vaccination incentive program for RTA employees is running for the rest of the year. Read the full notes here.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of November 8, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

First Year Cleveland tackles infant mortality by focusing on supports for parents

Health and Human Services Committee

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 8, 2021

Covered by Documenters Kathryn Johnson and Jenna Thomas

First Year Cleveland (FYC) shared a report on infant mortality in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County over the past year. While Cuyahoga County has historically had one of the highest infant mortality rates nationally, 2020 showed a significant decrease in premature births and infant mortality reached a historic low. FYC members shared that even with this decrease during the COVID-19 pandemic, Black infant mortality rates are still disproportionately higher than those of other demographics. FYC members and the committee discussed future plans to address underlying effects of racism on public health and how to better serve low-income and minority parents in the community. Find the full notes here.

Board considers plan for residential facility in Ward 1

Board of Zoning Appeals

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Nov. 8, 2021

Covered by Documenters Alicia Moreland and Keith Seward

The Cleveland Board of Zoning appeals approved several variances including the change of use of a two-family dwelling in Edgewater to a one-family dwelling, the installation of a wooden fence in Ward 17, and a plan for a group home for people with disabilities within a Ward 1 residential neighborhood. The group home was approved on the condition that plans for the staff residence in the basement are submitted and the occupancy limit of the home be changed from five to four. Find the full notes here.

Council staff outlines proposals for spending one-time funds on public safety, housing, business development

Special Working Group on American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) Funds

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 8, 2021

Covered by Documenters Jenna Thomas and Anastazia Vanisko

Council members and staffers discussed the allowable uses of ARPA funds within the federally prescribed categories of public safety, public health, housing, business development, technology and infrastructure, and social services. Council’s priorities for each category were shared, and council staff researchers confirmed that funds could be used for ward-specific projects so long as staff could prove these projects address impacts of COVID-19. Find the full notes here.

Committee advances plan to bolster housing, explore riverfront development

Finance Committee

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 8, 2021

Covered by Documenters Gennifer Harding-Gosnell and Laylah Allen

The Finance Committee advanced a $100 million program to provide loans and down payment and rehabilitation assistance to home buyers in Middle Neighborhoods. The committee approved a development agreement between the city and Bedrock Management Services to begin creating a plan for their Cuyahoga River Valley waterfront vision. An ordinance was also approved, without discussion or objection, to increase the pay for the council aide position from $10 per hour to $20 per hour. Find the full notes here.

Commenters criticize the use of Unit Rule, council offers support to Hough-area health center NEON

City Council

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 8, 2021

Covered by Documenters Jennifer Chandler and Alicia Moreland

Several commenters criticized the use of the Unit Rule when selecting Blaine Griffin as the next City Council president, calling it “undemocratic” and “not needed.” Council read through several ordinances, including one relating to the disposition of city-owned land along the Opportunity Corridor to Project Boron, LLC, for the purposes of the development of the Orlando Baking Company. Council member Basheer Jones called council’s attention to the NEON health center in Hough, which burned down last year. Jones asked for council’s support to rebuild the center to bring back a trusted source of healthcare for the Hough community. Find the full notes here.

Plan for public safety academy in old South High Building advances; council supports the contemporary art triennial FRONT

Development, Planning, and Sustainability Committee

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 9, 2021

Covered by Documenters Jenna Thomas and Tina Scott

Council members shared their support for an agreement with Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to use the old South High building for a new Public Safety Training Academy. A presentation by the Public Safety department outlined the goal to use the building to provide career services and planning for Cleveland’s youth. Council members Brancatelli (Ward 12) and McCormack (Ward 3) shared their support for an ordinance funding FRONT 2022, a triennial contemporary art festival across Cleveland and other sites in Northeast Ohio. Find the full notes here.

While the number of Lead Safe Certification applications increases, the number of non-compliant properties continues to grow

Lead Safe Advisory Board

Cleveland City Council

Nov. 9, 2021

Covered by Documenters Laylah Allen and Kathryn Johnson

The Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition presented updates on the ongoing projects to eliminate lead hazards in Cleveland homes and properties. Representatives from the public-private coalition shared that there has been a recent increase in the number of applications for the lead remediation and certification process, revealing that landlords and residents are responding. Applications can now be filled out online.The most common issue, according to Antionette Allen, Interim Director of Building and Housing, is having enough lead safe workers to handle the load of lead remediation. Find the full tweets here.

Panel discusses new CNG buses and advertising graphics that obstruct passengers’ window views

Standing Committees

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Nov. 9, 2021

Covered by Documenters Janenell Smith and Laylah Allen

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) Director of Fleet Management and Procurement presented on a contract to purchase 20 new compressed natural gas (CNG) coach buses. Board members who had been on one of the new buses described the coaches as “sweet and comfortable” while a driver commented that there is no comfortable room in the cockpit area. The contract was approved to be brought before the full committee. Board members also discussed the graphics that would be placed on new buses and it was stated that efforts are being made to place the graphics so that passenger window views will not be obstructed. View the full notes here.

Cleveland News Wire – Week of November 1, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

County Diversion Center updates, Veterans Services representatives present on services they offer veterans in Cuyahoga County

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Nov. 1, 2021

Covered by Documenters Alicia Moreland and Anastazia Vanisko

Chief Executive Officer Scott Osiecki announced that as of November 1, the Cuyahoga County Diversion Center is open to referrals (including referrals from family and friends as well as self-referrals). He explained that referrals were expanded to any public safety agency. This means that all people exhibiting signs of mental illness as a substance issue can be sent to the center rather than interacting with law enforcement. A psychologist from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center presented on the link between Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and PTSD, and several recovery speakers shared their stories. Find the full notes here.

Work group brainstorms ideas to make behavioral healthcare more equitable in Cuyahoga County.

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Nov. 1, 2021

Covered by Documenters Lauren Hakim and Marvetta Rutherford

Clare Rosser, chief public affairs officer of the ADAMHS board, provided an update on the subcommittees of this Eliminating Structural Racism in Behavioral Healthcare (ESR) work group. The subcommittees include Workforce, Health Equity, Policy and Advocacy, Data and Research, Community Collaboration/Education, and Stigma. Moving forward, subcommittees will be working with Rice Education Consulting (REdCon), a minority-owned organizational development consulting firm. Consultants from REdCon hosted a discussion with attendees about the work group’s goals. There was also discussion on changing the group’s title, removing the word ‘racism.’ Find the full notes here.

Plans for Ward 14 restaurant, Ward 11 gas station expansion win approval

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Nov. 1, 2021

Covered by Documenters Tina Scott and Daniel McCarthy

The board reviewed and approved five west side projects, including a motor-vehicle service garage near a residential area, an HVAC unit in a side-yard, a new restaurant on West 41st Street, a swimming pool on a Tremont residential lot, and an office space in a Tremont residential area. In this meeting, the board explained that the city’s codified ordinance section 349 requires businesses and restaurants to have a certain number of off street parking spaces depending on the number of employees and area devoted to patron use within the facility. Find the full notes here.

Board certifies candidate withdrawals and plans for upcoming recall election

Board of Elections

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Nov. 1, 2021

Covered by Documenters Jeanne Madison and Alicia Moreland

In a very brief meeting, the board certified the recall election for Maple Heights Council Member Richard Trojanski, scheduled for Nov. 23. Trojanski’s potential replacement is Tina Stafford-Marbury. The board also certified the withdrawal of James Beyer for Brook Park City Council Ward 1, and Highland Hills Village Council Member Cynthia Beard. Also acknowledged was the removal of Lisa Schmuck from Brook Park City Council, pursuant to her resignation letter. Find the full notes here.

Diversion Center to allow referrals from fire, EMS, and law enforcement; service expanded to non-violent adults seeking help

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Nov. 1, 2021

Covered by Documenters Zyanya Torres and Juice McKenna

The Diversion Center expanded its eligibility to allow for a broader range of public safety referrals. This includes fire and EMS, as well as allowing law enforcement to not only refer individuals at low-level risk of arrest, but to allow non-violent adults in general. According to Mike Randall of Oriana House, the broader range of admittance criteria is a result of seeing low occupancy at the Diversion Center. Randall said if occupancy increases, the center will prioritize keeping those experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis out of jail. The Diversion Center currently does not offer transportation for clients, other than police transport for those referred by law enforcement. Find the full notes here.

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of October 25th

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Council authorizes the purchase of new Tasers for police and increases water and sewer rates

Safety, Utilities, Finance Joint Committee

Covered by Documenters  Alicia Moreland and Daniel McCarthy

Cleveland City Council

Oct. 25, 2021

Council Safety Committee approved a contract to replace about 220 Tasers for Cleveland Police officers at a cost of about $3,500 for each Taser. The five-year contract, including servicing and warranties for the Tasers will cost taxpayers $4.5 million. The full council approved the contract at its evening meeting. Find the full notes here.

Utility rate increases 

Council approved “modest” rate increases for water and sewer bills. See Documenter Alicia Moreland’s coverage of a presentation on the increases from a previous Utilities Committee meeting here.

The legislation to increase sewer rates gradually from 2022 through 2024 also abolished the minimum rate, which will help seniors, people who don’t spend winters in Ohio and other customers with low usage, Public Utilities Director Martin Keane said. The sewer hike will increase the average consumer’s bill from about $12.27 a month to $17.39 by 2024. This charge is separate from the Northeast Ohio Sewer District charge, which is increasing by 4.2% next year.

Council Member Brian Kazy acknowledged the rigor of questioning Water & Pollution Control (sewer) division has gone through about the proposed rate increase. “They’ve done their due diligence,” Kazy said.

The water bills increase will cost the average Cleveland user – with a monthly bill of $25 — about 87 cents. The new rate, an increase of 3.5% per month doesn’t go into effect until 2024.

Keane said the department was doing Community Outreach to promote programs that help Clevelanders  already struggling with utility bills.

Read the full notes here.


GCTRA approves Taser contract, reviews NextGen route changes

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Oct. 26, 2021

Covered by Documenters Anastazia Vanisko and Emily Anderson

The board authorized a contract to provide Tasers to transit authority officers for up to $103,178 per year for a total of up to $515,890 for a period of five years.

Board members also heard feedback on the NextGen system redesign, including from riders in Ward 1 upset about cuts to the #15A, which previously had stops on Walden Avenue that were discontinued in favor of quicker and more direct service on Harvard Avenue. About 17 riders lost service. Read the full notes here.


Public commenters push
council for a participatory budgeting process 

Cleveland City Council

Oct. 25, 2021

Documenters Jennifer Chandler and Chau Tang

City council is considering the transfer of two city-owned properties to their current leasees. These include an Ohio City property currently leased to May Dugan Center) and a plot of urban farmland at Otter Ave and East 81st/83rd currently leased to Rid-All Foundation, Inc.

Council heard public comments from three residents: Paul Sherlock, Kareem Henton and Yvonka Marie Hall.

Sherlock commented on behalf of Participatory Budgeting Cleveland (PB CLE) and explained how Participatory budgeting  works. Participatory budgeting provides a way for people to feel like the money they pay in taxes is improving their lives, he said. It allows people to play a part in governmental decisions, and removes layers of bureaucracy in getting things done, such as running a proposal past a council person who would then need to advocate for that project and sway a majority of council members to do the same – a process which can be time-consuming.

Black Lives Matter organizer Kareen Henton asked council that if Issue 24 does not pass and make it into the city charter, would members give it attention? Police accountability is important to residents, he said, because they gathered signatures to put it on the ballot.

Yvonka Marie Hall, who heads the  Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, said Ohio is one of the top 15 states with high rates of smokers. Nationally, 15% of smokers are African-American. Three-quarters of black smokers say their usual cigarette brand is menthol. Menthol cigarette companies have historically targeted Black people, offering free cigarettes in urban areas. Tobacco use is the leading cause of lung cancer, and smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.

Read the full notes here.

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of Oct 18th

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Council Member Jasmin Santana introduces legislation to provide menstrual hygiene products in city buildings and recreation centers 

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Kellie Morris and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

Ward 14 Council Member Jasmin Santana introduced legislation on Oct. 18 that would make menstrual hygiene products available for free at city buildings and rec centers. Council also heard public comments at this meeting. Some speakers asked council to vote no on Resolution 892-2021, which is a statement of opposition against Issue 24. Council did not hold a vote on the resolution. Other speakers asked council to inform residents about the federal government’s Child Tax Credit, which has a Nov. 15 application deadline. Find the full notes here.

Council members continue discussion over best uses for American Rescue Plan Act funds

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Special Working Group on ARPA funds

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenter Jenna Thomas

Council members met on Oct. 18 to discuss how the city should spend American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Council members debated spending ARPA funds on hiring more police officers, the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, and housing. The meeting began with clarification on the status of legislation reviewed by the Safety Committee on Oct. 13 that would send $26 million of ARPA funds to the Department of Public Safety for use on vehicles, equipment, personnel, apparatuses and information technology. That legislation was approved for review by other council committees; it was not yet passed nor sent to council for a final vote, according to Safety Committee Chair Blaine Griffin. Find the full notes here.

Board discusses possible recall of Maple Heights council member and Ohio residency of one particular voter

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Covered by Documenter Jeanne Madison

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections split a vote 2:2 on Mordechai Rennert’s right to vote in Cuyahoga County. Resident Ryan Routh has claimed Rennert is a resident of New York. The Ohio Secretary of State is set to review the matter. The board also acknowledged the deaths of Judge Larry Jones and Judge Joseph Russo, as well as the appointments of Lesley DeSouza to Parma Heights City Council, Amanda Kurland to Orange Village Council, and John Krupinski to the Strongsville School Board. A recall election for Maple Heights Council Member Richard Trojanski is likely to happen in late November. Find the full notes here.

Developments in Fairfax and Detroit-Shoreway move forward

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Finance Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenter Daniel McCarthy

The Finance Committee advanced legislation that would fund housing developments in Fairfax and Detroit-Shoreway for a future vote by council. The committee also advanced legislation that would renew the city’s lease with Cuyahoga County and increase the rent for space at the Justice Center that the police division uses as its headquarters. The city previously owned that space but sold it to the county in 2018 for $5.9 million, as the city anticipated construction of the new police headquarters would be completed soon. Construction may not begin until 2023. Find the full notes here.

Utilities committee hesitant about water and pollution control rate increase, overdue bills increased dramatically

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021

Utilities Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenter Alicia Moreland

City Council’s Utilities Committee received a presentation about a rates study from the Division of Water. Martin Keane, director of the Department of Public Utilities, said increasing the rates is necessary to fund repairs to infrastructure. Council members pushed back against proposed rate increases, noting the $21.5 million customers already owe in late bills. Discussion of a rates increase is set to resume in future meetings. The committee also approved five pieces of legislation for a future vote by council. The emergency ordinances would address illegal dumping of hazardous waste, phone service for department communications, machinery maintenance, and more. Find the full notes here.

Plans advance for manufacturing-support group’s new HQ in Hough

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021

Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenter Janenell Smith
The Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee approved for a future vote by council legislation that would fund the establishment of Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network Inc’s (MAGNET) new headquarters. The group, which is a resource for local manufacturers, would repurpose the former Margaret Ireland School at E. 63rd Street and Chester Avenue in Hough. Committee members also discussed the City of Beachwood giving incentives for Trailhead BioSystems to relocate from Cleveland. Committee members talked about ways to discourage cities in Cuyahoga County from “poaching” businesses from other cities in the county. Find the full notes here.

For more news from Cleveland Documenters, check out cleveland.documenters.org/reporting.

Find out more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters.

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of Oct 11th

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Health Dept. beefing up translation services, working to dispel myths about COVID vaccine 

Monday, Oct. 11, 2021
Health and Human Services Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenter Kathryn Johnson

Officials from the Cleveland Department of Public Health updated City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee on the department’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts. With about 40% of city residents vaccinated, officials spoke about efforts to dispel misinformation, as well as initiatives to expand access for people whose primary language is not English. Find the full notes here.

Council members debate how ARPA funds could be directed toward housing 

Monday, Oct. 11, 2021
Special Working Group on ARPA funds

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenter Jenna Thomas

City Council held a special meeting to discuss uses for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, of which Cleveland is entitled to $511 million. Leaders from Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland presented their recommendations for spending the money on housing and small business. Council Member Kerry McCormack said a minimum of $17.5 million should go to the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition. Find the full notes here.


Casino revenue funds allocated, members pay tribute to community leader Mansfield Frazier 

Monday, Oct. 11, 2021

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Jennifer Chandler and Laylah Allen

City Council passed three emergency ordinances that authorized the use of casino revenue funds for neighborhood food distribution programs. Several council members recognized Mansfield Frazier, a writer and community activist who died Oct. 9. City Council also heard public comment from six speakers whose remarks included calls for participatory budgeting and the reconsideration of taxpayer funding for Sherwin-Williams until the company hires more Black and minority workers. Find the full notes here.

 

RTA reports that crimes are down across the transit system

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021

Board of Trustees and Standing Committees

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Covered by Documenters Janenell Smith and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority (GCRTA) Commander Michael Gettings said that crimes across the transit system are down in 2021 compared to 2020. GCRTA Chief of Police Deirdre Jones discussed a plan to equip transit police with new tasers. Additionally, Jones presented plans for transit ambassadors who would monitor for fare evasion. Find the full notes here.

 

Committee approves housing developments in Detroit-Shoreway, Fairfax, and University Circle

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021
Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Daniel McCarthy and Emily Anderson

City Council’s Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee approved funding for housing developments on the east and west side, setting the stage for council to vote on the legislation in the future. Committee members also raised the issue of using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for critical issues like the fate of Shaker Square. Committee Members Delores Gray and Basheer Jones also said council should see how developers have maintained past projects and served the people who live in them before authorizing more funding. Find the full notes here.


Safety Committee approves spending of ARPA funds, sends it to other committees for review

Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021
Safety Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Keith Yurgionas and Laylah Allen

City Council’s Safety Committee approved legislation that would send about $26 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Department of Public Safety. The money would go toward vehicles, equipment, personnel, apparatuses and information technology. That legislation is set to be heard by other committees before any final vote by council. The committee held legislation authorizing a contract for new police tasers because the cost was absent from the emergency ordinance text. It also approved legislation authorizing the Department of Public Safety to extend a lease for space at the Justice Center. Find the full notes here.

For more news from Cleveland Documenters, check out cleveland.documenters.org/reporting.

Find out more about how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters.

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of Oct 4th

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Public comment debuts at City Council

Monday, Oct. 4, 2021

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Jennifer Chandler and Chau Tang

Cleveland City Council held its first public comment period in almost a century during its Monday night meeting on October 4. Ten members of the public spoke and implored council to address Cleveland’s lead poisoning crisis, equitable unemployment compensation, participatory budgeting, and more. Council also read legislation regarding the Vision for the Valley project for the first time. Find the full notes here.

Want to sign up to make a public comment? Cleveland Documenters Guide to Public Comment can help. Find it here. 

Council members learn details about Progressive Field deal

Monday, Oct. 4, 2021
Finance Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Marvetta Rutherford and Alicia Moreland

Members of City Council’s finance committee learned about the proposed deal that would fund enhancements and repairs at Progressive Field. They asked questions of Interim Finance Director Jim Gentile and Ken Silliman, chair of the Gateway community development corporation. In the proposed agreement, the city contributes $8 million in taxpayer dollars a year over the course of 15 years, with two five-year extensions available after that. Silliman and Council President Kevin Kelley indicated there would be more discussions in the near future. Find the full notes here.

Board approves new housing in Tremont

Monday, Oct. 4, 2021
Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Covered by Documenters Tina Scott and Marvetta Rutherford

Owners of properties in Tremont and Detroit-Shoreway can move forward with plans to build a home after the board granted them relief from Cleveland’s zoning code. The owners of the Tremont property were granted variances regarding the location of a garage and the size of the side yard. The Detroit-Shoreway property owners gained permission to build a ramp leading from the home to the sidewalk. Find the full notes here.

Council members work on a roadmap for spending ARPA dollars

Monday, Oct. 4, 2021

Special Meeting – ARPA Funding
Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters McKenzie Merriman and Keith Yurgionas

The City of Cleveland received nearly $256 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in June and there’s more to come. City Council met to discuss a plan for using the funds, which must be spent by the end of 2026. Interim Finance Director Jim Gentile answered questions from council and discussed a proposed ordinance from the administration that would reserve $26 million for public safety vehicles and equipment, $15 million for demolition, and $80 million for community development entities. Find the full notes here.


For more news from Cleveland Documenters, check out cleveland.documenters.org/reporting.

Find out more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters.

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of September 27,  2021

Board focuses on projects on Clinton Ave. and Fulton Road

Monday, Sept. 27, 2021

Board of Zoning Appeals

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals 

Covered by Documenter Tina Scott and Emily Anderson

Several private resident owners were granted permission to build structures on their properties and several plans for new buildings were approved. An apartment complex planned for 2260 Freeway/W.14th Street was granted variance to be zoned as residential, but there will be further debate on its possible use as short-term AirB&Bs, which the neighborhood development committee doesn’t approve of.  Find the full notes here.

Board approves several contracts, including services for children traumatized by violent crime

Monday, Sept. 27, 2021

Board of Control

Cuyahoga County Board of Control

Covered by Documenter Alicia Moreland

The county will enter a $105,000 contract with Mental Health Services for Homeless, Inc. to provide services for children traumatized by violent crime. This contract was requested after a recent uptick in violent crime, likely due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a program representative said. The board also approved an emergency purchase request to replace $300,000 of IT equipment.  Find the full notes here.

Members discuss vaccine policies, welcome new hires; Shaker Line update nearly complete

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021

Board of Trustees

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Covered by Documenters Emily Anderson and Laylah Allen

A resident called in to voice their appreciation for the vaccine bus, a mobile vaccine clinic RTA designed in cooperation with the city. The RTA general manager reported that a survey to confirm how many RTA employees have been vaccinated will be completed in early October. The general manager reported that the construction of the light rail running from Buckeye-Woodhill to Shaker Square stations will be completed on-time and the line will reopen October 2. Several September hires were announced, including new operators. Find the full notes here.

Board grants several appellants extra time to correct building standard violations

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021

Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals

Cleveland Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals

Covered by Documenters Marvetta Rutherford and Daniel McCarthy

The board approved extensions for homeowners who requested more time to fix code violations. The owner of a Lake Avenue apartment building wanted more time to fix code violations in an apartment unit where an eviction is pending. Another homeowner asked for more time to fix violations and will need to knock down a garage. Board members made suggestions for demolition contractors and approved the extension. “You’re on your way,” a board member told the homeowner.  Find the full notes here.

Citizens and council members discuss Issue 24, the Community Police Commission and Police Oversight Initiative

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021

Safety Committee

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Helen Rucinski and Laylah Allen

Emergency Ordinances 652-2021 and 660-2021, which increase resources for the Division of Fire, were passed without discussion. A lengthy and heated discussion about Issue 24 took place. Issue 24 is a proposed city charter amendment on the November 2021 ballot, which would increase civilian oversight of the police. Both proponents and opponents expressed their views on the amendment. Chairperson Blaine Griffin continued to remind speakers that this was a “fact-finding mission” meant to educate the council and the public about Issue 24 in order to deescalate  rising tensions. Find the full notes here.

For more news from Cleveland Documenters, check out cleveland.documenters.org/reporting

Find out more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of September 20, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Former South High building being renovated as a police-training facility; council members concerned about maintenance at city parks

September 20, 2021

Cleveland City Council Municipal Services and Properties Committee

Covered by Documenter Marvetta Rutherford

Emergency Ordinance 532-2021 authorized the purchase, lease, and redevelopment of South High School to facilitate a public-safety training academy. Safety Director Karrie Howard said residents would have access to the former school’s gym and library, which could be used for public meetings. The swimming pool would be used for water training. Council members also discussed issues with portable-toilet issues at Luke Easter Park and playground equipment at Spears Park. Find the full notes here.

 

Variances for event center on Lorain avenue denied; single family home in Hough moves forward

September 20, 2021

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Covered by Documenter Tina Scott

The owner of a building at 4601 Lorain Ave. and the building’s tenant wanted to open a party/event center in a district zoned for local retail, which allows for businesses like restaurants, bakeries and barber shops. The tenant needed a variance to allow for a party center business and that was denied after several residents spoke out against it saying loud parties had already been held at the location. Find the full notes here.

 

Panel discusses funding for Food Bank, advances Innovation Square and Blanket Mills projects; accepts grants

September 20, 2021

Cleveland City Council Finance Committee

Covered by Documenters McKenzie Merriman and Keith Seward

The committee voted to approve entering into agreement with Greater Cleveland Food Bank Inc. for the new location at Coit Road and improvements to S. Waterloo Road location. This is part of the proposed distribution of $255 million, the first half of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act dollars. Council members discussed food insecurity, a citywide issue. “All our wards are touched by this,” Council Member Blaine Griffin said about food insecurity. Find the full notes here.

 

Refreshed Cleveland Plan adopted, soon to be made public; Safe Schools survey almost complete

September 20, 2021

Board of Directors, Cleveland Transformation Alliance

Covered by Documenters Leslie Bednar and Emily Anderson

The Refreshed Cleveland Plan, a revision of the original Cleveland Plan created in 2012, has been completed and will be made public as soon as possible. Public input increased during the Refreshed Plan revision process compared to the original Cleveland Plan. The new mayor will be appointing a new vice chair for the Transformation Alliance board, while Mayor Jackson will appoint an interim vice chair to cover until the new mayor is in place. Find the full notes here.

 

City Council authorized several emergency ordinances, including the a new public  comment period

September 20, 2021

Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Chau Tang and Sam Bachelor

There was a motion to approve the new public comment rules which was approved unanimously. There was no discussion of what those rules were, however they can be found here. Find the full notes here.

 

Committee reviews emergency ordinances authorizing program contracts and facility updates for Cleveland’s airports

September 22, 2021

Transportation Committee, Cleveland City Council

Covered by Documenters Keith Yurgionas and McKenzie Merriman

Airport Director Robert Kennedy updated council on the airport saying passenger traffic was down to 600 people a day when the airport typically had 35,000 a day, but is recovering. There are a lot of jobs available now at the airport. Council member Joe Jones asked the airport to send job listings to city council as a whole to be included in ward newsletters and promoted to residents. Find the full notes here.

 

GCRTA Audit Committee discusses a potential audit by the American Public Transit Association

September 23, 2021

Audit Committee, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Covered by Documenters Mildred Seward and Daniel McCarthy

The committee had a working meeting with board members talking with each other about the upcoming audit. Find the full notes here.

Coming up: Cleveland Documenters will be at meetings of the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Board of Elections, the Cuyahoga County Board of Control, Cleveland City Council — including the Finance, Safety and Utilities Committees and the full City Council — the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Board of Trustees, and the Cleveland Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals.

 

Find out more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters

 

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of September 6, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Development

September 7, 2021

Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee, Cleveland City Council

Documenters Emily Anderson and Jenna Thomas

The committee approved eight ordinances at this 25-minute meeting that will allow several commercial and residential developments to move forward.

The committee approved an ordinance authorizing tax increment financing to assist with the development of an 80-unit apartment building on East 105th street along the Opportunity Corridor in Fairfax. The plan is to build 56 market-rate apartments and 24 units with lower rent called “workforce rate.”

The committee also approved tax increment financing for the Waverly & Oak apartments coming to Detroit-Shoreway on the former site of Club Azteca, a former Mexican-American social club.

The committee also approved an ordinance that allows the city to enter into loan agreements with Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development to continue the Centro Villa25 project, a development project at West 25th Street and Clark Avenue that create retail and community space.

Transportation

September 9, 2021

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Community Advisory Committee

Documenters Mildred Seward and Keith Yurgionas

RTA hosted a lively Community Advisory Committee meeting. The committee’s role is to be “the pulse of the community,” according to RTA’s website. The committee does not hold decision-making authority, but does make recommendations to the RTA Board of Trustees on a variety of issues including fare changes and bus routes.

Consultant David Jurca, with Seventh Hill, presented to the committee about Vision Zero, a national initiative to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries to zero. He showed a map of the Cleveland streets with the highest traffic fatalities. Community meetings on the topic are coming next month.

The Waterfront Line will be closed until 2023 because of an unsafe bridge, José C. Feliciano Jr., of RTA, told the committee. The group suggested bringing in busses and trolleys for events. Joel Freilich, of RTA, told the committee that the agency’s “emphasis is not on our buses to get people to events,” but getting people to work, education and healthcare, Documenter Keith Yurgionas wrote. Since the bridge was completed in 1996, some committee members recommended RTA reveal the company that built the bridge to “gain trust with the public.”

“That’s a good point,” Feliciano said.

Later, committee members debated RTA’s decision to eliminate the 15A and 48A bus lines and only run the 15 and 48 lines. Feliciano eventually ended the meeting saying the conversion was not productive anymore, Documenter Mildred Seward wrote.

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – The week of August 30, 2021

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Mental Health 

September 2, 2021

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

Documenters Lauren Hakim and Jenna Thomas

The Cuyahoga County Diversion Center is open and available, but not being used in the way the community, particularly in Cleveland, had hoped. Members of the City of Cleveland Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC) want to solve this problem. Committee members discussed needing more allies in the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) and city prosecutor’s office. Currently, the city prosecutor is requiring a consultation every time a person is taken to the diversion center, which is not the way it is supposed to operate.

Donna Weinberger of Greater Cleveland Congregations noted that city prosecutor involvement prior to diverting people to a pre-arrest center goes against guidelines and norms nationwide.

MHRAC has decided to submit a formal letter with recommendations to Cleveland and Cleveland Division of Police regarding the use of the CCDC and prosecutor involvement. The recommendation will need to be approved by the full committee. The drafted letter includes three recommendations which are as follows:

  1. CDP should expedite the development and distribution of protocols for use of CCDC to all CDP officers.
  2. Remove the prosecutor requirement for transporting clients to CCDC in lieu of jail.
  3. MHRAC recommends that CDP prioritize diversion in lieu of jail if there is an incident where the precipitating factor is believed to be a direct result of mental health and/or substance use disorder crisis.

COVID-19 Recovery

August 30, 2021

Cleveland City Council

Documenters Gennifer Harding-Gosnell and Jenna Thomas

Cleveland City Council continued its discussion on spending priorities for the American Rescue Plan Act money. Cleveland is getting a total of $511 million, which is the eighth highest amount of any city. Some of the money already has been spent on making city buildings COVID-safe and providing $5 million to the Greater Cleveland Foodbank.

Council Members generally agree that housing is among the top priorities for spending. That could include demolition, creating affordable housing, or helping existing homeowners.

One sticking point for some council members, including Basheer Jones and Kevin Conwell, is that the money be spent equitably, meaning more spending in some of the poorest areas of the city rather than equally amongst each city ward.

The city administration does not want to use the money for new hires, including police officers, that could not be sustained after the money runs out, Chief of Staff Sharon Dumas said.

Development

August 30, 2021

Board of Zoning Appeals

Documenters Marvetta Rutherford and Keith Yurgionas

Sandra Williams, a candidate for mayor, made an appearance in front of the board to request a variance for a fence on her Fairhill Road. She wanted to install a 6-foot high, 99-foot long fence around her home. Williams said she has had several people on her property, and the fence would provide security. Williams’ neighbor expressed concern with the loss of sunlight and blindspots in the basement and front room area. Also, if the need arises, getting a ladder was a concern with only 3 feet of space. The variance was granted on the condition that the gate would swing inward.

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:

Transportation 

Aug. 24, 2021

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

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.

Mental Health 

Aug. 24, 2021

Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County

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.

COVID-19 Recovery

Aug. 23, 2021

Cleveland City Council

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?”

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – Week of August 16,  2021

Health 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Documented Keith Yurgionas

Lead-Safe Advisory Board

The Lead-Safe Advisory Board was formed after Cleveland passed legislation in 2019 that requires property owners to prove that rental units in the city do not have lead hazards with an inspection that is turned into the city. The legislation created a board to oversee the progress and a Lead Safe Auditor role that is being carried out by Case Western Reserve University.

The new requirements started in March and are being rolled out a few ZIP codes at a time. So far the city has approved inspections from just over 1,000 houses and apartments or an estimated 2% of rentals in the city.

Interim Cleveland Building and Housing Director Antoinette Allen said that the city is behind in hiring some of the needed staff to carry out the program, which includes registering rental units and processing lead-safe certifications. Part of the reason is that the city couldn’t find candidates who could type 55 words a minute. Since the job doesn’t require typing the requirement will be lowered.

Board member Scott Kroehle, a landlord, asked whether the city is doing any oversight of contractors who are doing repairs to homes to eliminate lead hazards to make sure they are following U.S. EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting rules to do the work safely.

Allen said the city department did not have the staff or expertise to monitor contractors to make sure the work is being done safely.

Civic Engagement 

Wednesday, August, 11, 2021

Documented by Mildred Seward, Keith Yurgionas and Gennifer-Harding Gosnell

Cleveland City Council

City council members voted to place on the November ballot a charter amendment proposed by Citizens for a Safer Cleveland to strengthen oversight of the Civilian Police Review Board and establish a permanent Community Police Commission.

Council also voted to allow residents to make public comments at regular City Council meetings, which hasn’t happened for at least 80 years, maybe longer. Council opted to change its own rules rather than propose and vote on legislation to make the change. Council Clerk Patricia Britt is working to create a sign-up process and lay out the rules for residents who want to speak at meetings. A last-minute change by Council member Kerry McCormack requires the procedure Britt writes to come back to council for approval.

The rule does not apply to committee meetings. In order to make a comment during those meetings, a resident has to contact the chair of the committee. Find them here.

Here’s what we know about what the rules will include so far:

  • Residents will need to register to make a comment by web, paper form, or phone by 2 p.m. for the City Council meeting
  • Residents can speak on any topic
  • About 10 speakers per meeting given three minutes each to comment

Elections

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections 

Documented by Daniel McCarty and Marvetta Rutherford

The board approves an increase in pay for poll workers from $172 to $250. They said the new rate was needed to attract poll workers, particularly since the start of the pandemic.

The board decided not to use its authority to refer a coordinator for Justin Bibb’s campaign to the prosecutor’s office based on corrected addresses added to Bibb’s nominating petitions. The changes were not significant enough in number to have affected Bibb’s ability to run for Mayor. People who collect the voter signatures are not allowed to change to voter address without approval and signature of the voter and in order to be counted the address must match the one where the voter is registered. The board decided it did not appear Johnson was aware he wasn’t allowed to correct the addresses. [Note: This Kenneth Johnson is not the former council member who was recently convicted in federal of corruption related charges.]

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – Week of August 9th

Health 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Documented by Kathryn Johnson and Emily Anderson

Cleveland City Council

 

The COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading more quickly in Cleveland due to relaxed distancing, relaxed mask requirements, decreased testing and people remaining unvaccinated, Liz Svoboda, Cleveland’s chief epidemiologist, said. The majority of cases are occurring in younger populations, people up to 39 years old. Currently only 36 percent of residents are fully vaccinated. Committee members heard from Cleveland Council member Tony Brancatelli about a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority pop-up event, Ice Cream for Vaccines at Daisy’s Ice Cream. People who were not vaccinated weren’t interested in going to health clinics or to the Wolstein Center for vaccinations, he said. They would, however, walk to their neighborhood ice cream parlor on a hot day.

 

Safety 

Wednesday, August, 11, 2021

Cleveland City Council

Documented by Mildred Seward and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

The committees heard about a $19,120 grant that will go before council for approval this week to pay for training and equipment to help the Cleveland Police Environmental Crimes Unit combat illegal dumping.

Read about the ordinance here.

The Environmental Crimes Unit investigates illegal dumping and works with prosecutors to take the offenders to court.

Several council members also sparred with Safety Director Karrie Howard and Deputy Chief Wayne Drummond about dirt bike and ATV drivers and their unsafe activities in the city.

Council member Michael Polensek said:  “This administration has allowed these people to take over our streets. No effort to stop or curtail. Why is this being allowed?  Where is the traffic enforcement?  How do we take back our streets?”

Safety Director Howard said part of the problem was that the city didn’t have enough officers and it is looking into using drones, and he asked the public to call to report where dirt bikers are “so we can deploy personnel.”

“We are down 200 officers,” he said, “and we have got to fill that gap.”

 

Transportation

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Documented by Mrinalini Pandey and Marvetta Rutherford

Committee members got an update on the 25Connects Project, which is planning the redevelopment of W. 25th Street as a “walkable, transit-supportive”  investment of RTA’s MetroHealth Line and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.” Research funding for this project was provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). The process marks GCRTA’s first bilingual (English and Spanish) planning study. The team has heard from 700 residents at virtual and in-person events.  The result of such a public outreach led his team to get a better understanding of the needs of the community with respect to transit safety, cultural inclusivity, and affordability along with providing more green spaces and supporting local businesses in the region. Project research findings and recommendations for financial planning will involve establishing programs to enable people to buy lower cost homes in the Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre areas,  a West Side coordinating council, a funding mechanism to assist development and reach housing goals along the corridor, and work with developers to find financial opportunities, David Jurca, a project manager said.

 

Find out more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters

 

Meetings coming up

 

Cleveland City Council

Zoning-Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee Cleveland City Council

Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021

9:30 a.m.

 

Cleveland City Council

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021

9:00 a.m.

 

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – Week of August 2

Environment 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Cleveland City Council – Municipal Services & Planning, Development & Sustainability

Documented by Leslie Bednar and Keith Yurgionas

Residents must “opt in” to the city’s new recycling program by Oct. 22 by filling out the form HERE or by calling 216-664-3030.

Since the program was announced 3,200 residents signed up, with the highest concentration being on the near west side, Chief Operating Officers Darnell Brown told the committee members.

There will be additional chances to enroll in the future on a rolling basis. Recycling will be picked up every other week and council members agreed to help inform people in their wards about the new process.

The city’s “waste fee” included on Cleveland utility bills is not linked to recycling. Those who do not opt in still pay the $8.75 a month.

The joint council committees also got an update from Chief of Sustainability Jason Wood on the Circular Cleveland.  Cleveland is one of six cities where the movement is being pushed forward. Cleveland received a $475,000 grant for a 24 to 36-month period from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to figure out whether the city would support circular economy initiatives, which are meant to cut down on waste and create jobs by reducing use and reusing or recycling more materials. So far, this includes composting at the West Side Market, hiring ambassadors to educate residents about the circular economy and small grants for residents and incentives for small businesses to do projects.

Development

August 2, 2021

Board of Zoning Appeals

Documented by Sam Bachelor and Daniel McCarthy

Board members approved variances for 4106 Pearl Road in Ward 13 where a bank is set to be constructed, including allowing for additional parking spaces and changes to the landscaping requirements. Council President Kevin Kelley advocated for the project saying, “We need a new building in this spot of town, and we should get construction going as soon as possible.”

 

During the same meeting, the board denied a variance to McPhillips Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning in Collinwood at 16115 Waterloo Road. Owner Sean McPhillips wanted to erect an 80-foot sign visible from the highway to advertise his business. Council member Michael Polensek supported the request, though the Cleveland Planning Commission denied it because the height was not within city guidelines.

Meetings coming up:

Civilian Police Review Board Hearing

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021
10:00 a.m.

Safety Committee – Cleveland City Council 

Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021
10:00 a.m.

Learn more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters

 

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – Week of July 25

Transportation

Tuesday, July 26, 2021

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees

Documented by Kaitlin Bender-Thomas and Keith Yurgionas

GCRTA is launching a “Community Immunity”  mobile bus to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines. The effort, in partnership with the Cleveland Department of Health, is being paid for with a $972,000 Ohio Department of Transportation grant. The bus will run until Sept. 4.

Call 216-664-2222 to schedule an appointment at one of these locations:

Thursday, August 5, 2021 

Whitney Young parking lot

17900 Harvard Ave.

Saturday, August 7, 2021 

Daisy’s Ice Cream

5614 Fleet Ave.

 

Social Services

Friday, July 30, 2021

Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Advisory Board

Documented by Jenna Thomas and Joyce Shaw

Fewer than 10 percent of children 12 and older in the custody of the county are vaccinated, county officials told the board, which is made up of independent community members. Officials said DCFS is using court orders to make sure children in residential programs are vaccinated. It is not mandated that foster parents be vaccinated.

DCFS is working to recruit more affirming foster care parents after a survey showed that 32% of foster children over the age of 12 identified as LGBTQ+. Some reported negative experiences in foster homes or facilities, including homophobic foster parents or staff. DCFS is doing more training for staff and has a new policy to ask all children 13 and up about their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Find out more about becoming a foster parent here.

The advisory board also got an update on the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, which trains volunteers to advocate for children who are under protective supervision of the county.

Meetings coming up

Cleveland Board of Building Standards and Building Appeals 

Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021

9:30 a.m.

Cleveland Municipal Services & Properties and Development Planning & Sustainability Committees – Joint committee meeting 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

9:30 a.m.

The committees will discuss Cleveland’s updated Recycling and Waste Collection Program. Public comments can be made during this virtual meeting.

t more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters

 

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – Week of July 19

Elections

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections 

Documented by Mildred Seward and Brian Douglas

Workers are needed to work in the warehouse after the polls close for the special election on August 3. The pay is $15 dollars per hour from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Details here.

The board approved 16 items on this meeting’s agenda except for a request to protest Tawayne L. McGee’s petitions for Cleveland City Council Ward 12. After hearing from the parties involved, the board made a motion to deny the protest, which was seconded and accepted.

Economic Recovery

Friday, July 23, 2021

Cleveland’s administration wants to hear from residents about how it should spend the $511 million in taxpayer dollars it is getting from the federal government to support the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents can submit ideas online at: http://www.clevelandohio.gov/arpa. Drop boxes are also located at City Hall and the Public Utilities Building at 1201 Lakeside Avenue and some neighborhood recreation centers.

Development

Monday, July 19, 2021

Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals

Documented by Keith Yurgionas

Property owners in Slavic Village, Union-Miles, Tremont and Kamms Corner sought variances for homes. One owner on East 66th street asked the board to allow him to make a two-family home into a four-unit apartment building, but later withdrew the request. Another homeowner in Kamms Corner asked for approval to expand their garage. Approval was granted as long as the expansion maintains a set distance from the property line.

Anyone can go to this website to see the city’s zoning district maps: https://planning.clevelandohio.gov/maps/index.php

Environment

Monday, July 19, 2021

Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors

Documented by Chau Tang

This board is composed of “conservation leaders elected by county residents to represent them in charting the course for soil and water conservation and natural resources management in Cuyahoga County,” according to its website. At this meeting, the board approved expenses and a staff member shared new ideas for postcards to promote proper tree planting. The board learned more about the importance of using bioretention, which helps remove contaminants and sedimentation from storm water runoff.

Coming up: Cleveland Documenters will be at the East Design Review Committee meeting and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority’s Board of Trustees meeting. Find new public meetings posted every week at Documenters.org.

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – Week of July 12

Health

Monday, July 12

Cleveland City Council Health and Human Services Committee

Documented by Kathryn Johnson and Colleen Kavanagh

Committee members agreed that the Office of Minority Health, which identifies local health disparity needs and educates communities about them, needs more staff, Kathryn noted. By increasing staff to the equivalent of 3.5 full-time employees, each staff member could address the needs of specific populations, including Asian, Hispanic, African-American and Native American.

Ward 7 Council Member Basheer Jones asked Commissioner of Health Frances Mills, “Do you feel you have what you need to be successful?”

Mills said the easy answer is no, Colleen noted. “We are tackling cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke in minority communities with a staff of one,” Mills said.

Also, at this meeting, Ward 9 Council Member Kevin Conwell proposed an outdoor event focused on lead education and lead-related community services.

 

Housing & Development 

Tuesday, July 13

Cleveland City Council Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee

Documented by Keith Seward and Jenna Thomas

A lot happened in this 30-minute meeting. Jenna noted that the committee approved authorizing the director of Community Development to administer the Community Engagement Healthy Home Initiative, which will hire community engagement specialists by neighborhood to work with  residents and landlords to improve the city’s housing stock.

Keith noted the committee also approved an emergency ordinance allowing the city to take ownership of a vacant property to construct the new City of Cleveland police headquarters along the Opportunity Corridor, west of E. 75th Street. The committee’s approval allowed the ordinance to move to the full city council where it was approved at the meeting on Wednesday.

 

Safety & Accountability

Cleveland Office of Professional Standards Civilian Police Review Board Hearing

Documented by Emma Andrus

This board reviews officer misconduct complaints and makes recommendations for discipline to Police Chief Calvin Williams. At this meeting, Emma noted the board voted to appeal Williams’ decision to overrule their discipline recommendation against two police officers involved in the chase that resulted in the death of 13-year-old Tamia Chappman and injuries to another child who witnessed Chappman’s death.

 

Property

Wednesday, July 14

Cleveland City Council

Documented by Gennifer Harding-Gosnell and Mary Paxton

Council approved an ordinance allowing the city to sell land at Woodhill and Mt. Carmel avenues for the second phase of the Woodhill East Homes project. Gennifer also noted that an ordinance to support homeowners who were at risk of losing their homes when the Buckeye Area Development Corp. dissolved was approved. Ward 6 Council Member Blaine Griffin said it was the most important legislation he’s worked on in council.

Mary noted that the property for the new police headquarters is adjacent to the Orlando Baking Company headquarters. There are several parcels of land there, but one owner has not responded to the city, which has offered $2,500, and this ordinance allows the city to take ownership of the property through a process called eminent domain. This property is located in the middle of the proposed construction.

This week Cleveland Documenters will be at the Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals and the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District meetings on Monday; and the Board of Elections meeting on Wednesday.

Find out more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16 an hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters

Here’s what happened last week in local public government meetings covered by Cleveland Documenters:

Cleveland Public Meetings Report – Week of June 28th

Transportation

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2021

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees

Documented by Yorel Warr and Gennifer Harding-Gosnell

Yorel said: This was my first time documenting a public meeting. I noticed that the Board of Trustees did not answer all of the public comments. I was surprised that they went extremely fast through the resolution slides. It appears emailing your question allows them to more accurately address concerns rather than speaking directly to them during public comment.

 

Gennifer noted: Public comment came by phone and in emails. One commenter was concerned about RTA policing and suggested an oversight board. RTA Board President Rev. Charles P. Lucas said to give the new RTA Police Chief Deirdre Jones “a chance” and trusts the commenter will be pleased with her work. Another key takeaway from the meeting was the report on the new #NextGenRTA routes. CEO Floun’say Caver talked about environmental justice and the push to provide better services to those most needing access by connecting to specific community corridors and jobs and medical facilities.

 

Environment

Monday, Jun 28, 2021

Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting

Documented by Leslie Bednar

She noted that the public is invited to the Ohio Environmental Council Cleveland Mayoral Candidates night event.

Also, the District is developing an urban-farming program. Vouchers and grants to assist with conservation efforts in communities were approved at this meeting.

 

Elections

Monday, Jun 28, 2021

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections 

Documented by Mary Paxton and Laylah Allen

Board members heard protests about the residency of two East Cleveland mayoral candidates, Sean Ward and T’Andre Sigler. The board voted that the residency requirements were not met and those candidates were not certified to appear on the ballot. Several Cleveland City Council candidates were also not certified because of lack of signatures. Also of note: the board will be visiting vaccination centers in July to recruit vaccinated poll workers. Find them on July 9 at the Salvation Army in East Cleveland; July 13 at Woodmere Village Hall; and July 16 at the Bedford Heights Community Center.

 

Development

Monday, Jun 28, 2021

Cleveland City Planning Commission Board of Zoning Appeals

Documented by Jenna Thomas and Colleen Kavanagh

The biggest news was out of the Tremont neighborhood where an events center was approved to open on Kenilworth Avenue in a former church. The vacant, 9,000-square-foot church will become an events center called The Elliot hosting weddings and other events. Many local planners and community members showed up at the meeting to say they support the project.

Find out more about Cleveland Documenters and how you can get paid $16/hour to attend and take notes on local public meetings: https://neighborupcle.org/cledocumenters

 

 

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