Public commenters urged City Council to make repairs to the city-owned West Side Market, to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and to recognize the toll of child abuse.

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.

West Side Market repairs

Don Whitaker, a West Side Market tenant for 32 years, said the city-owned market has 70 small businesses and more than 250 employees. Whitaker said 46% of the market’s shoppers live in the City of Cleveland, in every ward. The market serves shoppers who are eligible for SNAP and other food-assistance benefits. He asked city officials to invest in basic repairs to the historic West Side Market’s roof, plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems and elevators.

I do understand you’re also working to hold landlords responsible for the upkeep of their properties. Like you, I believe this landlord needs to take responsibility for this property too.”

Don Whitaker, West Side Market vendor

Watch Whitaker’s full comment.

Flavored tobacco ban

Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

Carmele Cuizon, a medical student, urged City Council to pass legislation to end the sale of flavored tobacco and menthol cigarettes and for tobacco retailers to be licensed by the city. Cuizon spoke of the highly addictive nature of tobacco and of patients she has worked with whose smoking led to long-term health problems and disease. Some said some feel defeated and have given up on trying to quit. Cuizon shared the story of a pregnant teen mother who knew smoking was putting her unborn child at risk but struggled to quit. Another patient who had quickly spreading lung cancer feared they wouldn’t live to see a grandchild graduate.

Think about what they have to go through and imagine having to accept the fact that a shorter lifespan might just be easier than quitting tobacco smoking. Now think of our children, who are most vulnerable to tobacco addiction, and how easily they can access these flavored tobacco products.”

Carmele Cuizon, medical student

Watch Cuizon’s full comment.

Child abuse prevention

Jennifer Johnson, who directs Canopy Child Advocacy Center, said that six Cuyahoga County children died after being abused last year and 12,000 reports of abuse were taken in for investigation. Johnson asked council members to support a resolution for Child Abuse Awareness Month and to recognize the importance of providing support and services to families in order to prevent child abuse.

I don’t know any of you that haven’t been children before, and that don’t want children to thrive. In order for them to thrive, they need to be safe. In order to be safe, they need to have the services and support that they [need] to be able to grow and to heal and to experience safety, health and well-being.”

Jennifer Johnson

Watch Johnson’s full comment.

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