At the final public comment session of the year, residents continued to push for “a people’s budget.” Participatory Budgeting Cleveland says it has more than 750 people supporting the campaign asking the city to allow residents to choose how some taxpayer dollars are spent. The group plans to return to the first City Council meeting of the year on Jan. 9 and will hold a rally on the steps of City Hall before the meeting.

The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts, edited by Cleveland Documenter Carolyn Cooper. Read more about the meeting, which was covered by Documenters Kellie Morris and Jenna Thomas.

Register to make a public comment or learn more about the process in our guide to public comment at Cleveland City Council.

Participatory budgeting

A woman holding a baby gives a public comment in Cleveland City Council chambers.
Shirley Bell and an adorable baby urge Cleveland City Council to support allocating money for participatory budgeting during the public comment period on Dec. 5. Credit: Cleveland City Council

Shirley Bell, a Ward 4 resident, asked council to support participatory budgeting and also to examine land bank policies leasing land to residents and toward the use of land trusts and green spaces that are owned by and reflect the community where they are located.

“Who am I? I am a mother. I’m a Mount Pleasant, Buckeye-Woodland resident. I am a homeowner. I am a business owner. I’m a community leader, an educator, a licensed counselor. I’m an urban farmer, but most importantly, I am a stakeholder. I voted. I believe the dream. I was sold the dream. I am here with receipts. If I had more time, I would go more into it. So the question is: Do we still have cause for hope? Are we looking at the same old political regime in Cleveland? Or is there going to be a change?”

Shirley Bell, Ward 4

Watch Bell’s full comment

A man gives a public comment to Cleveland city council in council chambers.
Paht Juangphanich, of Clark-Fulton, gives his public comment to Cleveland City Council on Dec. 5. Credit: Cleveland City Council

Paht Juangphanich, of Clark-Fulton, urged council members to support a participatory budgeting process and to use remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds to help residents pay water bills and make high-speed internet accessible across the city.

“We have a lot of talent in Cleveland. The more we reach out–the more we engage–the more diverse our perspectives will be. We can have many different solutions to make Cleveland a better place.”

Paht Juangphanich, Clark-Fulton

Watch Juangphanich’s full comment

Live entertainment

A man gives a comment in Cleveland City Council chambers.
Thomas Fox, of Ohio City, shares his hopes for having music on Cleveland’s waterfront at the Dec. 5 public comment session. Credit: Cleveland City Council

Thomas Fox, of Ohio City, wants to see more live music on Cleveland’s waterfront.

“Presenting live music, to utilizing our waterfront that way, is a culture amenity–that can help attract and retain new residents; visitors; and even win talented workforce…We actually just need to cut a little red tape. We need a simple decision, … permission from our city leaders, to use our existing space to present music with support from City Hall. Cleveland could have large-scale lakefront music programs as soon as next summer. It really could just happen if we decide to do it.”

Thomas Fox, Ohio City

Watch Fox’s full comment

Domestic violence

A woman gives a public comment to Cleveland City Council in their chambers.
Sabrina Otis, of Ward 15, thanks council for its support of paid leave for survivors of domestic violence during public comment on Dec. 5. Credit: Cleveland City Council

Sabrina Otis, a Ward 15 resident, thanked council members who supported and were voting on an ordinance that would allow many city employees who are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse to have paid leave from work.

“I’m a domestic violence survivor. It is important that even when we go through our crisis, we still have a job to go back to. It is important that that income stays for that family. So they can expand upon and do whatever they need to do–to get away from their circumstance–and situations.”

Sabrina Otis, Ward 15

Watch Otis’ full comment

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