Clevelanders stepped up to the mic in Cleveland City Council chambers in 2022 with public comments about the need for services in their neighborhoods, safety concerns, fare evasion and to raise awareness about issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. Some even returned to thank council members or city leaders for responding to their concerns.
Here are some comments–from the 30 public comment periods this year–that resonated with Signal Cleveland and Cleveland Documenters team members.
Documenter Lauren Hakim, who tracked every public comment for a year, said several comments stuck with her, including one from a veteran who spoke about post-traumatic stress disorder, residents who reminded us to tend to the needs of veterans, people who framed the conversations on fare evasion as a public health issue, and residents who raised questions about who gets to publicly honor deceased loved ones with street signs.
Lauren’s father is a Vietnam veteran: “When Mr. Collins spoke, the room listened. I haven’t heard much discussion in council about veterans, so it was good to hear from that community because many of them suffer, sometimes quietly, and need support,” she said.
Walter Collins, Ward 5, spoke about post-traumatic stress disorder and supporting veterans
Lauren was also struck by Kimberly Brown’s questions in November about which community members get to be memorialized publicly and the fairness of current rules for naming a street in a person’s honor.
“We all want to honor the deceased, but who gets street-naming honors, and is it a fair process? What qualifies as an impact in the city? Not everyone is going to get a street,” Lauren said. “Are there other ways a family can honor their loved one that the city can support? Murals, benches, gardens, annual events, lighting ceremonies that honor specific things like gun violence, domestic violence, children, veterans, those who struggled with addiction?”
Kimberly Brown, from Ward 1, spoke on rules for honoring lost loved ones with street names
Lawrence Caswell, Signal Cleveland’s Managing Editor, Community, noted comments from two residents who returned to thank council members and the city for responses to their earlier comments.
“When City Council began holding public comment last year, it was a real question whether council members would really engage residents on the issues they were bringing to council. These comments are evidence that council is taking residents seriously and that these issues are being addressed when the meeting is over,” Lawrence said.
Lady Palmer, from Ward 3, returned to council chambers to follow up on her Jan. 31 public comment on parking and safety issues at her apartment building