Cleveland News Wire

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

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

 

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.

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:

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