Cleveland City Council’s weekly public comment session got heated as several commenters were warned that their statements ran afoul of council’s rules and some had their microphones cut. Council President Blaine Griffin warned one frequent commenter who made anti-LGBTQ and anti-semitic remarks before cutting her microphone.
Griffin also ordered that the microphone of another frequent commenter, Chris Martin, be cut after Martin started reciting the names of council members and the donation amounts they received from the Council Leadership Fund. Griffin said the rules set by council for public comment prohibit directly addressing members. Martin protested that he wasn’t impugning members.
Other commenters spoke about legislative issues such as protecting home rule, which allows city governments to make their own laws, and the rules around candidate eligibility in local elections.
The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts. Register to make a public comment or learn more about the process in our guide to public comment at Cleveland City Council.
Keeping local issues local
Ward 11 resident Randy Cunningham spoke to Cleveland City Council about Senate Bill 158, which would disallow any spending and disbursement of public funds by residents. This would cancel the idea of participatory budgeting and Cleveland’s Issue 38.
Cunningham provided background on other Statehouse attempts to override Cleveland’s home rule. He then asked that council make a public statement and testify in Columbus against Senate Bill 158.
Watch Cunningham’s full comment.
Election rules and charter changes
Ward 4 resident Mariah Crenshaw shared her concerns with Cleveland City Council about statute violations she says have been committed by people running for county and judicial seats. She said some candidates did not turn in enough signatures, while others do not live or have vested interest in the areas they are running for election in. She asked council to amend the City Charter to be more specific about candidate requirements. Crenshaw was one of two people who filed individual protests to the Board of Elections against six judicial candidates earlier this month.
Watch Crenshaw’s full comment.
Week-long no-driving challenge
Ward 5 resident Joe Schwarten gave public comment representing the public transit activist group Clevelanders for Public Transit and challenged council to take a week-long break from using cars. He said the use of biking, walking and other transportation will help the city achieve its goals in climate change and 15-minute cities.
Watch Schwarten’s full comment.