Image of Lady Palmer speaking at the mic to members of City Council.
Lady Palmer addresses City Council in March 2023. Credit: YouTube

Public commenters don’t often show up at City Council meetings just to thank public officials for their support. But for Downtown Cleveland resident Lady Palmer, singing the praises of those who’ve helped her is how she shows her appreciation. 

Palmer first spoke to Cleveland City Council last year about safety and parking issues at her building. She returned a week later to thank council members and told them she had seen a more significant security presence almost immediately.  

Then, earlier this year, Palmer’s parked Kia was stolen from in front of her apartment building. She returned to City Council, this time to express her support for the city’s lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai. The city claims the manufacturers did not install industry-standard anti-theft technology on the vehicles, contributing to a rise in thefts that strained police resources. City officials say more than 1,000 Kias and Hyundais have been stolen in Cleveland since last year. 

About Beyond the Comment

Cleveland City Council devotes up to 30 minutes at its Monday night meetings to hear from residents. Some residents give public comments about issues that directly affect them and their communities, while others come as part of an organization or for their job. In Beyond the Comment, we catch up with some of the people who stepped up to the microphone.

City Council is recessed for the summer. Regular meetings with public comments will resume on Sept. 18. In the meantime, written comments can be submitted online.

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Can you explain what’s happening with your stolen Kia? 

I was very fortunate that I got it back right away. I met a guy at the lake, we were talking about birds. He [later] saw a post on Facebook that had my car and sent it to me. He said, ‘I know where your car is.’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ And I called the police and told them where it was, on 35th and Central. So the police went over and got it that same night and picked it up. But by that time, you know, [the thieves] had flattened my car and busted my window and peeled the [steering] column pretty bad and had taken the wiring loose from the rearview mirror inside. They were trying to disconnect the camera up there. 

It’s just being stored now, because at that time, getting parts was impossible. You know, what they would say was, six months to get your car in for servicing, and another six months to get parts because there were so many vehicles stolen. 

So how are you getting around? 

I do it all, from riding my bike and putting my bike on public transportation to help me get places, to Uber. I actually just bought a bus pass for the first time, so I could hop on at any time, any place, and I do some of that. Friends have been very, very kind, taking me places and picking me up. So, the whole gamut, because I do a lot. I’m a busy girl. I love, I sing, I think, and I have a life. [laughs] 

Lady Palmer dressed up for a night on the town.She recently spoke to city council about her stolen Kia. The damage to her car still needs to be repaired.
Lady Palmer dressed up for a night on the town. Credit: Provided by Lady Palmer

Are you involved in the city’s lawsuit? 

Actually, I spoke to our council president just briefly, Blaine Griffin. He informed me that the lawsuit is taking place, that it’s underway. And then they’re putting all the preliminaries in place, the amount to get this lawsuit going. 

If you were to get your car fixed tomorrow, do you have a safe place to put it?

I don’t have one, but the thing is, as long as it’s a push button, a good car that has that system on it, I wouldn’t go back with a key-turn. But there are other cars that park out there that are not being bothered. But a lot of them have the push-button start. 

Do you feel that providing public comment was effective in helping you move your own case forward?

It provides some peace of mind. It provides a feeling that somebody cares, you know what I mean? Somebody is interested, and it gives it voice, which I’m very, very happy about, so [begins singing: “ah, ah, ah, ah!”]… 

I know that all things happen for a reason, we just don’t always know this. I call it the invisible stuff that we can’t see yet. So who knows what will happen, but something should happen, somebody will pick it up and make good of it, too.  

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Gennifer Harding-Gosnell, Freelance Audio Producer(she/her)
Gennifer is a news writer returning to her first love, radio. She holds a MA in Journalism from Kingston University in the UK, and has spent the last couple years as a Cleveland Documenter.