Public commenters raised concerns about a potential Cleveland police consent decree monitor, thanked city officials for supporting community development corporations and supported a proposed ban on flavored tobacco.

The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts, edited by Cleveland Documenter Carolyn Cooper.

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

New police monitor

Credit: City of Cleveland YouTube

Kareem Henton, representing Citizens for a Safer Cleveland, shared his concerns about a potential choice for a new Cleveland police consent decree monitor. Henton questioned the background of Renee Hall, one of the finalists for lead monitor. Hall is a former Dallas police chief, and Henton questioned her actions surrounding protests over racism and police violence. Hall resigned from the post in 2020.

When you select a person, I ask you, are you doing what your constituents want? And is this best for all of Cleveland’s impacted and abused residents? Is this the right decision to be making, upon researching and looking to see what’s going on in the records?”

Kareem Henton

Watch Henton’s full comment.

Supporting CDCs

Jeremy Taylor, Ward 7, representing St. Clair-Superior Development Corp., thanked council members and other city officials for their recognition of the importance of community development corporations (CDCs), which have been doing work in Cleveland’s neighborhoods since the 1970s. He also thanked officials for recent tweaks that make funding housing repairs less burdensome.

To improve quality of life for residents, and to build a future full of opportunity for everyone…we have to work together. We have to fix a chronically underfunded system. And it will require transparency between partners, clarity in our roles, and patience as we build a new system that meets our needs and our dreams.”

Jeremy Taylor, Ward 7

Watch Taylor’s full comment.

Flavored tobacco ban

Dr. Kristin Englund, representing more than 6,000 members of Northern Ohio’s medical community, urged council to support legislation introduced in February to end the sale of flavored tobacco in Cleveland and to license tobacco retailers. Englund outlined the known risks and outcomes of menthol flavoring, particularly in the Black community, where smoking claims at least 45,000 lives each year. The legislation has since stalled.

Nicotine is extremely harmful to children, whether it is used through smoking, vaping or any other means. Nicotine dramatically increases the risk of drug use and mental illness for kids….Tobacco companies know this and yet shamelessly package these products.”

Dr. Kristin Englund

Watch Englund’s full comment.

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