Monday, November 25, 2013

Proposal for $120 million Capital Repairs/Improvements Browns Stadium & Legal Memo outlining City obligations

The following are documents Cleveland City Council is discussing this morning as pertaining to the $120 million proposal by the Cleveland Browns for Capital Repairs and Improvements and the request for the City of Cleveland to make a contribution of $30 million on other considerations by both parties.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Browns Stadium Lease Analysis - Section 14. Capital Repairs

The following is an attempt to review, analyze and excerpt important portions of the lease that should be considered in reviewing the Browns proposed $120 million Capital REpairs and Improvements.

See the previous post - Browns $120 million proposed capital improvements, Ordinance #1578-13: Join the conversation at the Civic Commons, for a description and explanation of my perspective of the proposal and the ordinance to be considered by Cleveland City Council commencing at 9:30 am tomorrow, Monday, November 25, 2013.

To review the copy of the lease as well as summary information about the cost of construction and revenue and expense information, see the post from January 18, 2013 - Cleveland Browns Stadium gets new name as old sin tax expires in 2015.

For those interested in following the Council proceedings, the morning Committee meeting will be streamed live on-line beginning at 9:30 am - on the City's TV20.

http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/MayorsOffice/tv20/watch


The meeting at 7:00 pm will not be streamed.  Both the morning Committee and evening Council Meeting are public meetings and all are invited to join us.  No public comment can be made at either meeting, although the Chair of the committee meeting in the morning, can agree to allow public comment if scheduled and arranged before hand.

It is expected that Council leadership will call for a vote on the Ordinance under an Emergency vote at 7:00 pm, during the regularly scheduled Monday evening meeting in Council Chambers.  That vote, if sought, will require a two-thirds majority, or 12-votes (It is anticipated that one members - Reed- will be absent), conversely it will take 7-votes to block the vote for the emergency measure, which would thereby postpone a vote on the Ordinance.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Browns $120 million proposed capital improvements, Ordinance #1578-13: Join the conversation at the Civic Commons


This is a version of a post at the Civic Commons.  Please join in the regional conversation with your thoughts and opinions about the Browns proposed improvements as well as the stated intent of Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Browns CEO Joe Banner to renew the Cuyahoga County sin-tax in order to continue to help cover the expenses of the three pro-sport's facilities.  

See here to review the important and underlying Lease Agreement between the City of Cleveland the the Browns, as well as Ordinance # 1578-13 that will be discussed in Council this coming Monday at 9:30 am.  You can watch the hearing LIVE on-line on Cleveland Channel 20. Please also consider coming to the Cleveland City Council Meeting in our Council Chambers on Monday at 7:00 pm, where we anticipate the Council leadership will move to approve the legislation as requested by the Mayor the same evening, less than one-week after the proposed deal was announced.  Please also see the most recent coverage from the Plain Dealer that offers a good description of the deal and issues that will be discussed on monday.


Join in on the conversation at the 
POSTED BY Brian Cummins, Friday, November 22, 2013.

Thanks to the Civic Commons for getting the conversation started.  We have two days before Cleveland City Council hears Ordinance #1578-13, to approve Cleveland Browns Proposed $120 million capital repairs and improvements to FirstEnergy Stadium and authorize a new obligation by the City of Cleveland of $30 million.

First off, given the information I have, if voted on today, I would vote no.

Although the underlying lease agreement between the City and the Browns is hugely, no grossly lopsided, we are nonetheless obligated under the law to abide by it.  Although I have some confidence in the Mayor's Administration in terms of the stated negotiations with the Browns, I've not received sufficient information to be confident this is the best deal we can get.

NOTE: The Ordinance and Lease Agreement can be reviewed at the link posted here.

My biggest concern today, as we head into the weekend, is that Cleveland City Council as a legislative body, will likely not take the time needed to conduct what I believe should be thorough due diligence.  Secondly, apart from due diligence on this specific legislation, there has not yet been proper due diligence and public discourse on the proposed (by the Mayor and Browns this week) renewal of the sin-tax.

It is my believe that without a full review of the total future legal and other anticipated obligations for all three pro-sports facilities, there should be no agreement for any new obligations for additional payments for any of the facilities.

Some initial questions:

1.     What is the legal case for the City entering into agreement to take on these additional repairs and improvements?

2.     What is the urgency for this to be considered and passed under emergency ordinance?  I’ll be asking Monday to delay any such vote until after the new year.  To be asked to approve within less than two weeks from when the Brown’s proposed this, and only a week before a holiday is unacceptable given the fact that it represents an additional $30 million in obligations to the City’s General Fund and other changes to the current lease.

3.     What is the make of the Brown’s current and propose jumbotron scoreboard(s)?  The current is claimed to be only several years away from being obsolete or unable to obtain replacement parts?  This is related to the above question of urgency and for some form of confirmation of the actual cost of the new replacement board – stated by the Browns to be $20 million.

4.     Why would the City concede control and direction of any future increase in admission tax as is being proposed?  This in fact begins to tinker with the existing lease, which the Mayor’s Administration stated was not to occur.

5.     Has there been any consideration or financial models developed to explore other sources of revenues such as increasing the admittance tax, increasing the City’s income, food and beverage or other such taxes or fees, trying to negotiate with the Browns a payment in leiu of taxes - they currently pay no taxes on the building and the City payed $646,922.84 in property taxes in 2012.

6.     Why is the Mayor proposing to pay the $30 million new obligation from the General Fund as opposed to some other source more appropriate for capital investment, i.e., bond or other fees or taxes. The $2 million/per year for 15-year obligation is unprecedented and too onerous to place on future administrations and Councils.

These are only the immediate questions and should help in getting the conversation started.


NOTE:  There has been some confusion as to what the deal actually represents as pertaining to the current obligations the City has and how this deal would change those obligations.

The underlying lease and therefore this deal are very complicated.  Here is an attempt to explain the deal and its implications.

The City would commit $30 million in the form of $2 million payments per year for 15 years.  Although both the Administration and Browns take pains to state the obligation is worth only $22 million, given the present value of the obligations, in fact, if paid annually, the City will be paying out $30 million.  The only way this could be spun as a $22 million dollar contribution and not $30 million is if it were paid today!

This $30 million represents payment for: $20 million jumboTRON scoreboard (check out the Houston Texans’ new $16.5 million 277-foot-long video board); $5 million new sound system; and $5 million control room.  In addition, in our briefing earlier this week the following expenditures were also discussed: field lighting $3 million, ADA improvements $3 million, and painting/carpeting $7 million.

Also, part of the deal is allowing the Browns more control of what and when $12 million is spent on capital repairs.  The City’s obligations for capital repairs, both current and the new proposed are:



The City is proposing to give the Browns more control for spending earlier (beginning in 2016) $12 million.  This $12 million is part of approximately $24 million currently available from collections of the sin-tax.

The confusion in some media reports and on-line blogs and comments sections is that some have mistakenly led people to believe that the $2 million annual payments for 15-years ($30 million), would off-set future payments of capital repairs as detailed in the remaining payments listed above in what is called the Lease Agreement’s Schedule 14(f).  Or, that the expenditure of the $12 million of the current $24 million of sin-tax proceeds would reduce the balloon payments and total amount from Schedule 14(f).  The fact is that the $30 million is in addition to the current $39,450,000 Capital Repairs that the City is obligated to pay.  This will bring our total obligations to $82,500,000.

It is correct, that by giving more control over the proposed $12 million (so that it could be spent as early as 2016) would reduce the balloon payments that start in 2021. But, it is also true that by moving these payments up the City would forgo some $1 million in interest (this is the flip side of the future value of money argument).
And, people seem to forget or not mention in these reports that the City still owes some $134 million in principal and interest on the initial $202 million in municipal bonds that were issued to pay for the $330 million stadium.

There is a lot more information and things that should be considered, not the least being how much are the obligations for debt and maintenance on all three pro-sports teams?  The obligations, both legal and anticipated that would need to be covered by a renewal of a sin-tax or to be covered by some other form of funding. In January, I began my research into this issue and the information developed is available on my blog at the following links:

·       Cleveland Browns Stadium gets new name as old sin tax expires in 2015
http://brian-cummins.blogspot.com/2013/01/cleveland-browns-stadium-gets-new-name.html
·       Councilman Calls On Sports Teams To Boost Investments In Cleveland
http://brian-cummins.blogspot.com/2013/01/councilman-calls-on-sports-teams-to.html
·       What to do when the sin tax for the sports facilities ends in 2015?
http://brian-cummins.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-to-do-when-sin-tax-for-sports.html
·       Pro Sports Player Salaries & Anticipated NFL TV/Media Revenue come 2014
http://brian-cummins.blogspot.com/2013/01/pro-sports-player-salaries-anticipted.html
·       ROLDO on pro sports teams - pay the costs themselves
http://brian-cummins.blogspot.com/2013/01/roldo-on-pro-sports-teams-pay-costs.html

I look forward to hearing other’s perspectives and opinions on these important issues, and what actions can be taken to increase public education and public discourse.

PS: in light of the request of the Browns to replace their JumboTRON with two new JumboTRONS at a cost of $20 million and the control room and kick-ass state-of-the-art stadium sound system, here is a picture of my family's 16-year television that still works and delivers excellent picture and sound of Monday Night Football and PBS NewsHour.  Some of our neighbors have asked me to put dibs in for the used Browns JumboTRON for movie nights in my Ward.  Maybe I can work that out with the Browns as part of a side-deal on Monday.  Stay tuned...

Cummins family's 16-year old TV
still in operations delivering a high
quality entertainment experience.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cleveland Convention Center Headquarters Hotel Project City Council Presentation

Cleveland, Ohio - Here is the Cuyahoga County Proposed $260 million Convention Hotel presentation given to Cleveland City Council's Community and Economic Development Committee this morning.  The related legislation approving a non-school tax incremental finance deal and $8 million tax exempt bond contribution to the project passed with one opposition vote (Cummins).

Cleveland would enter into a collaboration agreement with the County and Port Authority. Cleveland is being asked to contribute $8 million to the deal, plus a non-school Tax Incremental Finance deal for the project. This would be a publicly owned hotel, owned by the County and run by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Presentation by County:



Other resource information:



Sunday, August 11, 2013

New down payment assistance program to launch for home purchasing in the City of Cleveland

Attention Cleveland Home Buyers!

Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland is proud to announce the availability of $3.7 million of down payment assistance available exclusively in the City of Cleveland!  The program is part of the CityLIFT program in partnership with Wells Fargo Bank and NeighborWorks® America.   Cleveland joins 18 other cities that have partnered with Wells Fargo.  Funds will be available to qualified home buyers as a forgivable, second mortgage of $15,000 per home purchased!




An opening event is planned for September to explain the program's details and eligibility requirements.  Conference registration opens tomorrow, August 12th and a press conference will be held on Tuesday August 13th.

The Cleveland CityLIFT Event at the Cleveland Convention Center
  • Thursday, September 12, 2013: 10:00am to 7:00pm
  • Friday, September 13, 2013: 10:00am to 7:00pm

    Registration opens on August 12th, 9:00am at www.nhscleveland.org
  • Registration opens August 12 at 9:00am
  • Press conference August 13, 10:00am

CityLIFT is a Down Payment Assistance program funded by a Wells Fargo Bank and Wells Fargo Foundation in partnership with NeighborWorks® America. CityLIFT provides $15,000 in down payment assistance to eligible homebuyers who are purchasing a home within the city limits of Cleveland. The CityLIFT down payment assistance funds will be disbursed at closing.

These funds will be in the form of a secured mortgage written by NHS of Greater Cleveland. CityLIFT is a 0% interest mortgage and if its conditions are satisfied it will be forgiven at 20% each year for five years. The mortgage will cease and the prorated balance will become due, payable upon demand, if the property is sold, refinanced, transfer of title, foreclosure or other default occurs within the first 5 years.

In order to be eligible for CityLIFT down payment assistance, the homebuyer(s) must:
  • Have a household income not to exceed 120% of the Area Median Income for Cleveland when the first mortgage is a conventional loan, or
  • Have a household income not to exceed 115% of the Area Median Income for Cleveland when the first mortgage is an FHA loan.
  • Completed an 8 hour NHSGC Homebuyer Education Course.
  • Purchase a home within the city limits of Cleveland.
  • Agree to maintain the home as a primary owner occupant residence for the five year period.
  • Obtain a first mortgage loan from an approved CityLIFT lender, DOES NOT HAVE TO BE WELLS FARGO.,
CityLIFT Cleveland will begin with a Launch Event on Thursday, September 12th and Friday, September 13th at the Cleveland Convention Center. More details regarding the CityLIFT Cleveland program are available at NHSGC's website. Event registration is open as of August 12th. Register today.

NOTE:  For residents living in neighborhoods served by Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummins, Please contact the local development corporation that serves your neighborhood for help in qualifying for this program and identifying a home for purchase:
  • Stockyard, Clark Fulton & Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office (SCFB)
    3167 Fulton Road, Suite 303, Cleveland, Ohio 44109, 216-961-9073 xtn. 207.  For event and community news and information see: SCFB web pageSCFBC Calendarfacebook page, and send an email to sign-up for their bi-weekly e-newsletter.
  • Tremont West Development Corporation
    2406 Professor Ave  Cleveland, OH 44113, 216-575-0920,  For event and community news and information visit: tremontwest.org, facebook page.




Public Meeting announced to discuss remediation plans for W.C. Reed Park Aug. 26.




MEETING NOTICE:

Remediation Plans for W.C. Reed Park
Monday, August 26th, 2013 at 6:30 pm
St. Barbara's Church Hall
1505 Denison Avenue, Cleveland OH 44109


W.C. Reed Park was closed to the public in November of 2012 after the City began preliminary work on a $350,000 parks improvement project.  There was an emergency meeting held last December and since that time, the City has been working with the Ohio EPA to develop an environmental remediation plan.

Much of W. C. Reed park is situated on a landfill and former ravine - see previous post for photos.  The closure and required environmental remediation is due to soil tests done in preparations for park improvements.  The City has not yet released to the public the environmental study documents.  There have been reports of funding approval by Ohio EPA for as much as $2.5 million in clean-up funds.  There have also been reports of the much of the site needing to be re-capped with a protective barrier and as much as two-feet of  top soil to be placed on the site.  Residents have also been informed that there is concern for as many as 60-trees that are endanger of being removed, although recent reports have indicated that the City will be working to save and maintain as many trees on the site as possible.

This scheduled meeting will be important to inform the public, and give people an opportunity to ask questions concerning the remediation and future plans for W.C. Reed Park.  Some questions posed by residents so far include:
  1. How will the remediation plan for this park affect me?
  2. If living along the park, is my yard part of the old land fill?
  3. Is there any danger from these contaminants when the soil is excavated, will these contaminants become airborne?
  4. How will the construction affect this community?
  5. How will the beautiful and healthy trees of this park be protected?
  6. Are my safety and legal rights being protected?  
  7. What is the timing and phasing for the remediation efforts and then for the park improvements?
  8. How much is this all expected to cost and what funds are being used?
Please attend this important meeting!


WC REED Play Field EPA August 2013 by Brian Cummins


Resources and links to media reports:











Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Community Focus - West Side Community House - Youth Programs - SISTERHOOD





In an effort to promote our community's unique programming and services here is information about the West Side Community House's (WSCH) Youth Program, Sisterhood that focuses girls and young women ages 10 to 18.

A live performance is scheduled for Monday August 9th - see the flyer below.

The Sisterhood Program is headed by WSCH Youth Services Director, Allison “Ms. Ali” McClain and a cadre of artists and volunteers. 

"West Side Community House has provided services to children and youth since 1890.  Current programs are geared toward building strong educational values, self-esteem, self-discipline and independence.  We provide children with the opportunity to learn and grow in preparation of becoming self-sufficient adults and to recognize their fullest potential.  Please take a look at our Sisterhood and Summer of Sisterhood programs to learn more."


 


What is Sisterhood?

Sisterhood is an after-school and summer arts program (Summer of Sisterhood) that prepares girls ages 10 - 18 for womanhood and their life beyond.  Throughout the school year, arts and creativity are interwoven into the cycles (see list below). 

During eight weeks of the summer, Summer of Sisterhood continues its drive to help girls reach their fullest potential as we focus on a specific arts project designed to teach the girls how creative expression can transform a community and positively impact public perception.

Sisterhood fosters a belief in girls’ self-worth based on their skills, unique talents, and spirituality rather than on appearance, popularity, sexuality or negative gender and racial stereotypes.

Sisterhood encourages and challenges young women to be strong and independent, to exercise self-discipline, to respect themselves and one another, to value education, and to know when and how to give help and receive it.

The following are five YouTube videos created by Sisterhood as part of their "Cleveland Girls Rock" Music Video Diary.




World Premiere of "Dreams and Nightmares" - Published on Aug 27, 2012 - This is 1 of 5 music videos from the Cleveland Girls Rock DVD - a summer arts project (2012 Summer of Sisterhood) at West Side Community House. All songs written and performed by 2011 Summer of Sisterhood participants.



World Premiere of "Just Wait and See" - Published on Sep 11, 2012 - This is 2 of 5 music videos from the Cleveland Girls Rock DVD - a summer arts project (2012 Summer of Sisterhood) at West Side Community House. All songs written and performed by 2011 Summer of Sisterhood participants.



Cleveland Girls Rock - Published on Oct 12, 2012 - This is 3 of 5 music videos from the Cleveland Girls Rock DVD - a summer arts project (2012 Summer of Sisterhood) at West Side Community House. All songs written and performed by 2011 Summer of Sisterhood participants.



Tylenol and Tissue - Published on Nov 26, 2012 - This is 4 of 5 music videos from the Cleveland Girls Rock DVD - a summer arts project (2012 Summer of Sisterhood) at West Side Community House. All songs written and performed by 2011 Summer of Sisterhood participants.



Come to My City - Published on Dec 5, 2012 - This is 5 of 5 music videos from the Cleveland Girls Rock DVD - a summer arts project (2012 Summer of Sisterhood) at West Side Community House. All songs written and performed by 2011 Summer of Sisterhood participants





City announces series and first Open Houses to Discuss Future Waste Management Solutions

The following news advisory was released from the Mayor's Office.

_______________________________________________


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 23, 2013


News Advisory

City to Hold Series of Open Houses to Discuss Future
Waste Management Solutions


CLEVELAND – The City of Cleveland is committed to lowering its overall level of waste output. Recently, a consultant submitted various solutions to reach that goal.

That is why Cleveland is “Talking Trash!” in a series of open houses to be held in July, August and September. The open houses will provide residents an opportunity to see displays on a variety of topics around waste management including recycling techniques; listen to a presentation of proposed waste management solutions; and to provide feedback on the proposed solutions.

The first public meeting will be on and at the following:

WHEN:  Tuesday, July 30, 2013 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Estabrook Recreation Center 4125 Fulton Rd

#
_______________________________________________

Related Information and Resources:


  • CREG CENTER, YouTube Video, Jan 9, 2012
    The Cleveland Recycling and Energy Generation Center (CREG) will increase recycling, reduce the City of Cleveland's carbon footprint, save the City money and generate energy by recapturing materials that would otherwise go to the landfill.





REF: Related Blog Posts

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ohio's job loss and lackluster recovery persists, tracking poor jobs and economic performance from 1996 through 2013

In June, George Zeller confirmed that in the last 17 years, OHIO HAD A SUB-PAR EMPLOYMENT PERFORMANCE relative to the Nation FOR A STAGGERING 14.3 CONSECUTIVE YEARS, March 1996 - June 2010!  REF: Economic Indicators project.

But this week our neighbor, Detroit's bankruptcy filing overshadows Ohio's jobs reports. I hate it when George put's out his updates!

George reports that once Ohio broke the negative streak in June 2010, we then saw an 11-month positive streak, a year of erratic performance and now - I hope you're sitting down - WE'RE BACK at the negatives WITH A NEW 11-MONTH SUB-PAR STREAK.





George Zeller goes on to say that with the lethargic current job growth rates, it would take Ohio another 17-years to recover the jobs lost over the last 17-years. And, in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, we're taking the brunt of the pain -

" In Cleveland the recession has been horribly catastrophic, with Cuyahoga County losing a staggering 16.5% of all its jobs, a job loss of 132,712 jobs...Current data show that the Ohio labor market never recovered from the 2000s recession, which has been over since 2002 in the USA, but which lingers in Ohio to this day, and which has been made much worse by the 2007-2010 United States national recession.

In addition to George Zeller's reports, others report on similar issues.  The following is from Kyle Fee, a Senior Research Analyst at the Cleveland Federal Reserve the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

"To see how Ohio’s business cycle compares to those of other states and the nation, we examine the state coincident indexes published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. These indexes combine nonfarm employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and real wages and salaries into a composite measure of economic activity.

Several patterns stand out when comparing Ohio’s coincident index and the national index. First, Ohio’s index declined during the five national recessionary periods that have occurred since the late 1970s, including the current recession. Second, Ohio’s index falls more sharply and for a longer period of time during recessionary periods than the national index. This likely reflects the fact that Ohio has a larger share of cyclically sensitive industries, such as manufacturing, compared to the nation as a whole. Third, while the coincident index for Ohio generally tracks the national index between the early 1980s and the early part of this decade, the indexes diverge in the recovery cycle after the 2001 recession. Ohio’s economy has clearly underperformed the national economy, as Ohio generated particularly weak employment growth over this period."



REF: Economic Trends - Ohio’s Business Cycle, 1.7.2009

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WCPN, Sound of Ideas - Should We Extend the ‘Sin Tax?’

If you missed this morning's radio show regarding the Sin Tax being considered for renewal by the County, here is the audio stream provided by WCPN 90.3, Sound of Ideas.

See below for a full listing of blog posts regarding this issue.


 


The Indians enter the All-Star break on fire, sweeping Kansas City in Progressive Field, a ballpark built with taxes on smokers and drinkers. Was the 'sin tax,' passed to build the ballpark and an arena for the Cavaliers and extended to build a stadium for the Browns, a good deal? We'll talk about that Tuesday morning at 9:00 on The Sound of Ideas, and we'll consider a new plan to seek a sin-tax extension beyond 2015 to keep these sports places in good shape.

    50:43 minutes

Guests:
  • Jay Miller, reporter, Crain’s Cleveland Business 
  • Marty McGann, VP, state and local advocacy, Greater Cleveland Partnership 
  • Victor A. Matheson, economics professor, College of the Holy Cross 
  • Brian Cummins, Cleveland City Councilman 


Other related WCPN News Story:

Should Cuyahoga County Voters Renew a Sin Tax to Pay for Cleveland Stadiums?
Tuesday, July 16, 2013, by Nick Castele

    03:43 minutes

Guests:
  • Joe Roman, the head of the Greater Cleveland Partnership
  • Brian Cummins, Cleveland City Councilman
  • Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College Professor



Additional Information:

Previous Blog Posts regarding Cleveland's Pro Sports Facilities and Sin Tax:

Other Recent Media Coverage:

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Some favorite quotations


"The association promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in any prior decisions."
William O. Douglas 

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies."
Groucho Marx

"There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship."
Ralph Nader

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road—the one “less traveled by”—offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”
Rachel Carson

“The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.”
Susan B. Anthony

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
Cesar Chavez

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Response regarding concerns of passage of legislation increasing number of Cleveland traffic cameras

I'm supportive of red light and speed cameras and am most concerned with ensuring safety.


Cleveland traffic red-light and speed cameras camera locationsSource: Cleveland Plain Dealer 
In terms of the two locations on W. 25th Street/Clark and Pearl Road/Denison, both locations are listed as high accident rate intersections (out of 103 intersections), according to the NOACA 2009 Accident Study (PDF):

  • W. 25th Street & Clark - 77 accidents in the three year period (2007-2009), ranked 18th by frequency (19th composite ranking), with 20 resulting injuries; 
  • Pearl & Denison- 58 accidents in the three year period (2007-2009), ranked 36th by frequency (31st composite ranking), with 22 resulting injuries; 
NOTE: Composite ranking include info on accident frequency, property damage, injuries/fatalities and rates per number of vehicles entering intersections.

For arguments I support regarding the use of traffic cameras, please the article regarding the use of cameras in Washington D.C. (April 2013), provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

See also the NOACA 2009 Accident Study (PDF) that shows that 82% of pedestrian injuries due to car accidents happen within Cuyahoga County (73% bike accidents as well) and specifically in high density urban areas such as neighborhoods in and around W. 25th Street Pearl Road. Interesting to note that over 46 % of these crashes occurred between 3:00 - 9:00 pm.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Marilyn Wieczorek honored as Senior of the Year for Cleveland Ward 14


Today the City of Cleveland celebrated Senior Day as part of the national Older Americans Month 2013.  We're proud to feature Marilyn Wieczorek as the honoree as Senior of the Year for Cleveland Ward 14.

Each year Council members are asked to honor a senior from their wards as part of this celebration and we want to thank the the local development corporations and local block clubs and our faith community and other institutions we work with in always assisting us in the process of making that selection.

We also want to  recognize the great work of Jane Fumich and her staff at the City's Department of Aging and Mayor Fank G. Jackson for his support of this special day and for spending time and honoring the seniors.

Marilyn Wieczorekw, who hails from the Jones Home Historic District in Brooklyn Centre, was one of 19 individuals recognized today at the Seniors Day event held at the Cleveland Public Hall.

These honorees represent the thousands of local seniors who continue to devote their time and efforts to make Cleveland the great place that it is.  They have enriched our communities with their service and today is the day that we recognize them and all seniors as playing a vital role in our City.  Congratulations Marilyn and thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our community!

Marilyn Wieczorek



Ms. Marilyn Wieczorek was born in Cleveland and moved to her current home when she was 5-years old.  She has four sisters, three of whom are deceased, 10 nieces and nephews and 10 great-nieces and great-nephews.

Marilyn is now retired.  She worked for the Plain Dealer in the cafeteria and was also employed in the food service industry for many years working in a variety of restaurants.

Currently, she is very active in the community.  Ms. Wieczorek has coordinated the Daisy Avenue Street Sale for over 30-years.  The Daisy Avenue Street Sale is held the first Saturday and Sunday in August.  Ms. Wieczorek cares about the safety of residents in her community.  She belongs to her local community block club and the 2nd District Community Relations Committee.  She passes out literature to residents on how to maintain and promote their safety.

Ms. Wieczorek is committed to keeping the neighborhood nice and participates in community clean-ups.  She successfully reached out for support from various community organizations and started a community garden.

In addition to gardening, Marilyn enjoys cooking; her specialties are stuffed-peppers, spaghetti and breaded veal with mushrooms.  She is a parishoner of Mary Queen of Peace Church and is certainly an active Ward 14 senior.




Monday, May 13, 2013

Fund to benefit Berry, Knight and DeJesus launches web site and drop-off and spiritual reflection location

To donate to the Cleveland Courage Fund complete go to The Cleveland Foundation's donation page.



The Cleveland Courage Fund announced a new web site and their partnership with the Family Ministry Center as a drop-off and spiritual reflection location where cards, letters, well wishes and donations of goods can be made. Family Ministry Center is located at:

3381 Fulton Road, Cleveland Ohio 44109

The new drop-off location opens beginning Monday, May 13th through to June 22nd. Donations will be accepted at the south entrance of the church Monday through Fridays from 8:30-4:30 pm, and on Saturdays from 9:00 am -12:00 pm.

Up until this announcement, supporters of Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and her daughter we being dropped of at the 1st and 2nd District Police Stations.

The Fund is asking for volunteers to assist in receiving donations, please email your availability to: clevelandcouragefund@gmail.com



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Donor Fund is in the works for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight

A Donor's Fund is being developed for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight.

We are working to announce the establishment of a bank, account and a mechanism to allow for tax exempt donations to benefit these women.

Also, we'll be posting tomorrow a phone number for in-kind donations.

We would like to thank the Tremont West Development Corporation's Safety Committee, the Second District Community Relations Committee, Guardian Angels, Stockyard, Clark Fulton & Brooklyn Centre Community Development Organization and all of the volunteers that are helping the community deal with this ongoing investigation.

PUBLIC NOTICE - Meeting regarding the Berry, DeJesus and Knight Abduction Case



WHEN:  7:00 pm, Thursday, May 9th, 2013
WHERE: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 2928 Scranton Road, Cleveland, OH 44113

Being planned in conjunction with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, City of Cleveland Administration, Cleveland City Council, City of Cleveland Community Relations Board, Cleveland Division of Police, FBI, US Marshalls, Tremont West Development Corporation and Stockyard, Clark Fulton & Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office, Near West Side Interfaith Community
[intersection of Scranton and Seymour Avenue]

Complete agenda to follow.

Statements from Cleveland City Council Members on the Berry, DeJesus and Knight Abduction Cases


     “Although the community is relieved and overjoyed that after so many years these three young women and child have been found alive, it is clear that the some of the most difficult work begins today. As we celebrate their return, investigations into what they have endured in the past decade will begin until all the information is found to convict those who are responsible.
     My heart goes out to the families of these victims and I offer any assistance needed to help them begin a new chapter in their lives. Cleveland City Council will continue to support the Mayor’s Office and law enforcement agencies in their investigation and disseminating information related to this case.”
– Brian Cummins, Cleveland City Council, Ward 14


     "After 10 long years I am overjoyed for Amanda and her family that she is finally free.  Amanda's family and the community have kept this issue in the forefront, never giving up on the hope that Amanda would some day be found.  Thank God this story has a happy ending.  I wish the best to Amanda and her daughter as they begin their new lives."
–  Dona Brady,  Cleveland City Council, Ward 17


     “I cannot express the joy I feel for the DeJesus family. Gina’s disappearance shook my community, but we never gave up on her. I cannot recall the countless times I’ve met with her family to console, to support or to rally. Gina’s parents, Feliz DeJesus and Nancy Ruiz, never accepted the fact that their daughter was gone and this is a testament to their love and faith. To know that not only Gina, but two other women, have been found alive is a Godsend. It is a testament to the strength of these women, these families and of many across Cleveland.”
–  Matt Zone, Cleveland City Council, Ward 15

If anyone has information about this case or about the suspects Ariel, Onil and Pedro Castro, please contact the Cleveland FBI Tips Line at (216) 522-1400


REF:  Cleveland City Council

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Ward Redistricting boundaries approved, take effect 1.5.2014 and for 2013 Municipal elections.

The following are the City-wide and Ward 14 maps that define the new boundaries of the Cleveland City Council Wards.  These new boundaries take effect on January 5th, 2014 and will be utilized in the 2013 municipal election for Cleveland City Council.

Click on the maps to see the enlarged files.