Need to Know: LeBron James starts national voting rights group, city council holds hearing on protests, and more

“Enough is enough, and I’ve had enough”: At a June 15th safety hearing with Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams, city council voiced its frustrations regarding the May 30th protests. Ward 1 councilperson Joe Jones said “enough is enough” in regards to the lack of diversity in the city’s safety forces, while Ward 7 councilperson Basheer Jones stated he would oppose safety measures until his questions are addressed. Although Ward 15 councilman Matt Zone argued “people responded well” to the curfew and police measures, Ward 8 councilman Mike Polensek said the response was “totally inadequate.” Williams responded in part by saying that commanders hadn’t yet met about the protests, the police force is diverse (59% are white men), and the 2015 consent decree is making progress but it will be two years before the city is in full compliance. ⬥ News 5 Cleveland

The power of police: Nationally, the police share of city budgets has grown in the past 40 years, even as cities have become far safer. In part, that’s because of the power of police unions, the war on crime that began in the 1960s, and the shrinking in federal aid for antipoverty programs. “If you were to go to a city mayor or a police chief and say, ‘Why are you hiring more police even though crime is going down?’ they wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, it’s because we’re afraid of this segregated black population we have in our city,’ said Stephanie Kent, a professor of criminology at Cleveland State University. Instead, those fears come out through politics, she said, “where any politician who would suggest decreasing spending on crime control — it would be political suicide to do so.” ⬥ The New York Times

Making sure everyone counts: A funding collaborative in Northeast Ohio has given $40,000 to 23 awardees that aim to increase participation in the 2020 census. among hard-to-count populations. This is the second round of microgrants. ⬥ Crain’s

Paradigm shift: “Fine-dining restaurants find themselves in a near-impossible position right now, say many local operators. While nearly all independent eateries are reeling from the Covid crisis, providers of four-star meals are contending with challenges separate and apart from those of their more casual colleagues. Social distancing and reduced occupancy is devastating to the bottom line of a business with significantly higher operating costs.” ⬥ Scene

Radio stations air talk on race: “Justice for All: A Conversation about Race, Equity and Inclusion” with Mayor Jackson, police chief Calvin Williams and others will air Wednesday, June 17th at 1 p.m. across 21 stations. ⬥ Cleveland.com 

LeBron James launches voting rights group: The Akron native “is seeking to galvanize black voters during nationwide unrest over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The Los Angeles Lakers star is forming More Than a Vote, a group with current and former basketball players aimed at protecting voting rights of Black Americans and bolstering voter turnout. The Guardian

Cleveland needs your fire: “Oh, you think you want to make a change in this city? That’s rich, Cleveland will tell you,” Hannah Lebovits writes in a fiery goodbye letter to the city. “(Actually, Cleveland would never taunt you with a wealth-related joke. It would be too scared you’d move to Gates Mills or Avon.)” ⬥ Belt

The first step of a journey: While the US Supreme Court decision protecting LGBT employees from discrimination in the workplace is a major victory, Equality Ohio director Alana Jochum said the fight is not over. “This is the first step of a journey and only applies to federal employment laws. LGBTQ Ohioans need the same protections here in Ohio, as well as protection against discrimination in housing and public accommodations, like stores and hotels.” ⬥ Equality Ohio

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