Nov. 7 – Cleveland City Council
Covered by Documenters Kellie Morris and Chau Tang

Kimberly Brown, president of the Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County, gives a public comment (screenshot from video on YouTube).
Kimberly Brown, president of the Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County, gives a public comment. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

What happened: Ward 1 resident Kimberly Brown addressed council about rules for honorary street signs. Brown, president of the Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County, said council denied a request for an honorary street sign in 2018. The sign would have honored Saniyah Nicholson, a nine-year-old victim of gun violence. Brown said she was told Nicholson did not meet the criteria for an honorary sign. Brown said one requirement was that the honoree had to be dead at least two years. The person also had to have made an impact on the city, she said. Brown gave examples of honorees who did not meet that criteria. “Council, if you want rules and if you want respect from your constituency, you gotta follow your own rules,” Brown said. “Either take down these signs that did not meet the requirement, or do something for Saniyah Nicholson.”

Participatory budgeting: Matthew Ahn, a Ward 3 resident and Cleveland State University professor, spoke about participatory budgeting. He urged council to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support a participatory-budgeting pilot. “The goal of [participatory budgeting] is not to sideline people who traditionally hold budgeting power, but, instead, to give voters more opportunity and reason to be civically engaged,” Ahn said.

ARPA Funds

ARPA legislation passed: Council passed legislation that would use about $5 million of ARPA funds to expand the city’s co-responder program. Cleveland’s five co-responder teams include one police officer and one mental-health professional. The city aims to increase the number of teams to 10 to 12. Council also passed legislation that would use another $5 million of ARPA money to support the rehabilitation of abandoned properties. 

Watch the full public comments or read transcripts edited by Documenter Carolyn Cooper on Public Comment CLE (website created by Ohio City resident Angelo Trivisonno).

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