Need to Know: City announces recovery plan, a call for participatory budgeting, riders say RTA could do more to keep them safe

Start me up: City announces recovery plan: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson released details of the city’s ReStart CLE plan last week and held a telephone town hall meeting to answer questions. The city’s Department of Public Health is working on public health education, direct prevention support to at-risk populations, and expanded community outreach. The city is also offering assistance and support to businesses that have closed or are at risk of closing, including $5.5m for restoration of working capital and $5m for emergency working capital, as well as support for people struggling with basic needs, including rental assistance and broadband assistance. ⬥ City of Cleveland

A call for participatory budgeting: Two local attorneys, Marvin Brown and Rebecca Maurer, are asking if the budget crisis caused by Covid-19 could lead to more transparency from city hall: “In recent years, many residents have lost faith in the power of City Hall to listen and respond to their concerns,” they argue, citing the Rocket Mortgage Field House deal and fight for a $15 minimum wage as examples. “The decimation of Cleveland’s journalists only compounds a culture at City Hall that resists transparency.” They call for the city to involve the community in its budgeting process as a way to “open itself up to and re-engage with the public.” ⬥ Crain’s

RTA could do more to keep them safe, riders say: Bus and transit ridership has plummeted by more than 70 percent since the start of the pandemic, and RTA has reduced service by 15 percent to cut costs. Cleveland’s public transit system is still used by many essential workers, but wait times are now longer. RTA general manager India Birdsong says the agency must continue to collect fares because it needs the revenue. Yet riders say that eliminating fares and allowing riders to enter from the back of the bus, as in some other cities, would do more to keep them safe. Clevelanders for Public Transit are also calling for rear door entry and fare elimination. ⬥ Belt, Clevelanders for Public Transit

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