A screenshot of Council Member Michael Polensek speaking during an Oct. 2 City Council meeting.
Ward 8 Council Member Michael Polensek speaking about crime in Cleveland during a city council meeting Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Covered by Documenters Dean Jackson (notes), Lakeisha Smith (notes) and Alicia Moreland (live-tweets)

Putting the cop in helicopter

Cleveland City Council approved $3.5 million to make repairs and upgrades to two Cleveland police helicopters. 

Council President Blaine Griffin and Council Member Michael Polensek sponsored the legislation. Ward 17 Council Member Charles Slife was the only council member to vote against the legislation. 

Free speech vs. hate speech during public comment

City Council is considering changes to its public comment rules after antisemetic and anti-LGBTQ statements at a recent meeting. Ward 15 Council Member Jenny Spencer suggested taking a look at the rules to prevent future incidents. Spencer also said she hoped for clarification on the exact circumstances when the council president could “gavel down” a speaker.

Community members weigh in

Several people spoke up about the antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ comments during the meeting. 

“Our collective strength, including our allies– our Jewish brothers and sisters and siblings– should not be underestimated,” said Phyllis Harris, director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland.

Public comment is here to stay

Council members said that they do not want to end public comment. Public comment has been a practice in city council since October 2021, following a 90-year absence. Council President Griffin said he met with attorneys to find  the best path forward to protect free speech rights while also protecting communities from identity-based attacks.

Read more from Documenter Lakeisha Smith:

Read the live-tweet thread from Documenter Alicia Moreland:

Signal background

Meeting briefs

A new bespoke boat for Cleveland police

Cleveland Board of Control approved multiple contracts including trauma-informed professional development and a new police boat.

Service Journalism Reporter (she/her)
Dakotah is a journalist and audio producer dedicated to untangling bureaucracy and providing power (information) to the people of Cleveland. She spent 10 years on the frontlines of direct service working with youth and system-impacted communities before receiving her master's in media advocacy from Northeastern University. Dakotah is part of the Community team whose mission is to listen and amplify the issues Clevelanders care about most.

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.