The day is finally here: After passing legislation allowing public comment, city council posted the signup form this week. Residents who wish to speak can sign up for a three-minute speaking slot beginning Wed., Sept. 29 at noon for the Monday, Oct. 4 meeting.
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Cleveland City Council’s habit of invoking legal technicalities that alter the normal process for passing ordinances may seem mundane or bureaucratic, but it raises questions about why the rules exist if they are almost universally disregarded and how these practices bear on government accessibility and civic engagement.
On an early September evening, about a dozen neighbors gathered in the backyard of Phil and Christina Buck on Cleveland’s west side for a meet-and-greet with City Council president and mayoral candidate Kevin Kelley. The candidate, dressed casually in a short-sleeve shirt and leaning forward in his lawn chair, listened intently as an Ohio City resident complained about absentee landlords.
Cleveland City Council is set to vote Wednesday, August 18th on a rules change allowing the Clerk of Council to establish rules and procedures for public comment at its meetings. The vote follows months of public debate and wrangling about the need for public comment, intensified by pressure from advocacy groups amidst the elections. All 17 council seats are up for grabs this fall, and council president Kevin Kelley is running for mayor.
Northeast Ohio residents got the opportunity to question seven candidates for Cleveland mayor about their priorities on public safety, racial equity and more last week during a mayoral debate coordinated by Ideastream Public Media and the City Club of Cleveland.