Public commenters urged Cleveland City Council to act on policies to combat gun violence and to support library workers and thanked officials for creating a Community Benefits Agreements to help ensure all residents benefit from developments in Cleveland.

The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts edited by Cleveland Documenter Gennifer Harding-Gosnell. Register to make a public comment or learn more about the process in our guide to public comment at Cleveland City Council.

Gun violence

Credit: Cleveland City Council You Tube

Leslie Jennings-Maldonado, of Ward 6, spoke about Project Ripple, a coalition of violence prevention groups in Cleveland, in recognition of Gun Violence Awareness Month. Maldonado said that filtering small amounts of money to different groups will not be effective in confronting gun violence. She and two other commenters asked that gun violence be declared a public health crisis. Michelle Bell talked about the loss of her son Andre, who was shot and killed in 2019, and Sharri Thomas, who goes by Ashley B, talked about supporting community members taking action against gun violence.

By giving 30 organizations a $5,000 breakdown, that’s only about $5 to $20,000 a year for each organization on the ground to do their work. Again, that’s not enough money.”

Leslie Jennings-Maldonado, Ward 6  

Watch Maldonado‘s full comment

Library workers 

A man speaks to Cleveland City Council during public comment time.
Michael Wood, of the Service Employees’ International Union, speaks during a Cleveland City Council public comment session in June. Credit: Cleveland City Council You Tube

Michael Wood, Service Employees’ International Union‘s lead organizer, encouraged council to support and engage with workers in the Cleveland Public Library system. 

Have a conversation with one of the branch clerks or the children’s librarian that’s there, or one of the custodians who bust their tails every day to keep these branches open…ask them what can we as City Council members in Cleveland do to help you serve the citizens of this city.”

Michael Wood, SEIU 1199 

Watch Woods’ full comment.

Growing minority business

Marty McGann, of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, thanked council for passing a Community Benefits Agreement ordinance. He said his economic development group is ready to move forward with council to implement the agreement. 

I know there’s laws being passed for this, and we just want to know what can council do to reinforce them, because if they’re there, we don’t want them to … just look pretty in everybody’s political resume, but we want them to be there to be enforced.”

Marty McGann, Greater Cleveland Partnership

Watch McGann’s full comments

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.