Clevelanders made so many memorable public comments at Cleveland City Council meetings in 2022 that we couldn’t fit them all into one list. This week, we hear from residents about the shuttering of vital neighborhood institutions and quality-of-life issues that residents want to see fixed.
April Urban, Signal Cleveland’s director of research and impact, said it was hard to pick which comments were the most compelling. April was struck by a comment from a Cleveland schools teacher who wanted to honor a student who was shot and killed and by a commenter advocating for the need for better translation services for residents who live with hearing or other disabilities.
Vincent Stokes, a teacher, spoke about the loss of a student to gun violence
Doug Breehl-Pitorak, Cleveland Documenters assignment editor, remembered comments from a September meeting about the impact on workers and the community from the restructuring at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and from a November meeting about expiring federal rental assistance programs that could affect housing stability.
Angela Hines spoke about the community impact of cutting services at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center
Hines said she and herco-workers did everything they were “supposed to do during this pandemic.”
“The news was very fresh, and I thought she spoke to the impact of how the restructuring was already affecting workers and the community,” Doug said.
Angelo Trivisonno created the Public Comment CLE website to amplify the voices of residents who step up to the mic. Angelo especially appreciates hearing from first-time commenters and also comments that“break the script” or are unconventional – like a poem, a song, or sharing the mic. Angelo also enjoys seeing movements emerge on topics such as wage theft, fare evasion, American Rescue Plan Act spending on arts, Complete and Green Streets and participatory budgeting.
Teralawanda Aaron shared the mic with some younger residents to talk about participatory budgeting
Keshawn Walker, from Ward 4, also pushed for resident participation in budgeting
Mary Ellen Huesken, Signal Cleveland’s copy chief, was impressed by the five residents who coordinated to make comments in support of Eliza Bryant Village, which had recently announced it would close its 99-bed skilled-nursing facility. The organization, based in the Hough neighborhood, is 126 years old.
Danny Williams, president and CEO of Eliza Bryant Village, spoke about the decision to close the nursing facility
Lila Mills, Signal Cleveland’s editor-in-chief, appreciated comments from Cleveland Documenter Kellie Morris on parking for residents during council meetings and raising awareness about the hurdles faced by people who return home after being exonerated.
Kellie Morris, Ward 9, thanks city leaders for allowing residents to park for free during regular City Council meetings
Timothy Lewis, of Ward 5, raised awareness about the hurdles for Clevelanders freed after being wrongfully incarcerated
Lewis spoke about the struggles of Clevelanders who are exonerated after serving time for crimes they didn’t commit, including: Charles Jackson, Ru-El Sailor, Alfred Cleveland, Rickey Jackson and Isaiah Andrews. The men collectively served 151 years in prison, Lewis said.
Rachel Dissell, Signal Cleveland’s community & special projects editor, is always interested when residents take time to comment about improving the quality of life in their neighborhoods. The comments by homeowners such as Beverly Owens and by neighbors Nora Rodriguez and Gloria Aron, who have each lived on the same street for more than 50 years, show how deeply many residents care about working to fix safety issues such as tall grass and speeding on residential streets.
Beverly Owens, Ward 5, spoke multiple times about city services, including grass cutting
Nora Rodriguez and Gloria Aron, of Ward 15, spoke about speeding cars on W. 81st Street