Local students weigh in: What should Bibb do in his first 100 days as Mayor of Cleveland?

By: Kayla Blake, Cleveland School of Science and Medicine

On election day, Clevelanders voted for new City Council members and a new mayor.

Our current mayor of 16 years is ready to step down. In a race between Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley, Bibb won the election. Congratulations to him and all of those who won their races.

I am excited to see what Bibb does and I hope that he improves Cleveland.

The question is – what should Bibb do in his first 100 days in office?

As a person who grew up in Cleveland, I have seen firsthand a lot of problems. In my opinion, the new mayor, in his first 100 days, should do a few things to ensure a better Cleveland. He should work on the inclusion of young people in local government, fight against COVID and work on the police force.

I want to see more people my age engaging in politics. On election day, I worked at the polls. One of the things that I noticed was that there were a lot of older voters and very few young people. Most of the voters I saw were around 50 or 60, despite the median age of someone living in Cleveland being about 36.

There is a severe lack of the political voice among those who are younger. Even in pretty much every other part of the US, there is a clear disparity between young and old voters. The mayor would have a big influence among his constituents. I would like him to socially impact the younger generations to get out and be more active in the community. I believe he is perfect for this because he is a young man himself. I’m sure that there would be a lot of interested people because myself, and those I know that also worked the polls, enjoyed it.

COVID is something important to focus on because we are now approaching the wintertime and viruses are spread around faster. This includes the flu and COVID-19. There has been a spike of cases as the weather has been getting colder and it will get worse over the winter.

Last year around this time cases heightened. We went from having cases in the double digits to triple digits between September and December. It would be great if Cleveland had the resources to be prepared in case there is more of a rise in cases before it happens; being unprepared can be a big mistake. Hopefully, Bibb does his best to fight against this to promote Cleveland’s health.

Cleveland also voted for Issue 24 for the reformation of the police force. As of now, if there is an issue with a police officer, and there is a question if they should be punished, the decision is made by the police chief and the mayor. This is unfair because nobody else has any say in if the cop is punished or not, who might be corrupt.

Issue 24 would make this system different as it would require the mayor to appoint a council of people who would then make the decision if the officer would have to be indicted. This is a step in the right direction.

In addition to this, I hope that Bibb makes the decision to reform the police more. African-Americans trust the police half as much as their white counterparts, rightfully so; they are killed more by the police, statistically. A start to fix it can be something like racial sensitivity training, meditation, and ethics/integrity training. These methods have been proven to work.

In conclusion, as a Clevelander I wish to see Justin Bibb work hard to move our city in the right direction. I hope that he is able to improve our city and make us all proud to call him our new mayor.

By Jeremiah Al-Aljeleel, Cleveland School of Science and Medicine

On November 2, 2021, the city of Cleveland held a mayoral election.

I was fortunate enough to volunteer at the polls to make sure that people’s votes were counted. Upon hearing the election results, I was extremely satisfied with its outcome. Cleveland elected its newest mayor in 16 years.

Justin Bibb has a lot to offer. He is a young mayor who can bring new ideas into the city government. Here are some ideas I hope to see the mayor-elect implement.

  1. A decrease in gun violence. Growing up in the Cleveland community, one thing I was always told to worry about was to be safe when I’m going outside due to the fear of being shot. No city will ever be perfect, but there are things a city government could do to make the city safer. I think the mayor can implement a plan to provide more resources to people who become victims of gun violence and other resources to prevent it from happening.

  2. The inclusion of youth voices in government decisions. Although I volunteered to work at the polls, I could not vote because I was not over the legal age of 18. I understand why I can’t vote, but I would still like to have my voice heard. I think the mayor should talk to the youth in the Cleveland community to see what problems they have and what problems are rising to stop some before they become an issue and get rid of other problems young people face in their community.

  3. Emphasize the importance of the need to combat climate change. I think the mayor should do everything in his power to make sure that our planet is being preserved for future generations. Perhaps the mayor could promote companies that are environmentally friendly and encourage people to practice more sustainable habits like using metal straws instead of plastic straws.

  4. Emphasize the importance of healthy eating and promoting healthy alternatives to fast food. Most stores I see in my community are fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s or Popeyes. The mayor should do everything in his power to make a healthier Cleveland by educating people about where they can go to get affordable and healthy food, creating programs to provide healthy food, or perhaps expanding the Cleveland food bank.

  5. I would like the Cleveland mayor to do more for the people who are less fortunate when it comes to housing. Often when I go downtown, I see people who are homeless and don’t have a place to stay. I think the mayor should have programs to rehabilitate these people so that they can get the resources needed to create a better life for themselves and to prevent people from being in a position where they have to sleep outside.

  6. Have more job opportunities in every community. Usually, when I ask people that don’t have a job why they don’t have one, they say they don’t know where to get one. I would like the mayor to do more to show the community the different job opportunities they have, besides working for a corporation that doesn’t pay a living wage; perhaps having job fairs at libraries or recreation centers or places people visit frequently that could have a safe fare with Covid precautions.

Putting these ideas into effect won’t be easy but they are achievable. I have faith in the new mayor and hope to see what he accomplishes in the distant future.

Congratulations on winning the election Mr. Bibb. I wish you the best of luck in implementing policies to build a better future for the city of Cleveland.