Council Meeting Highlights (5/23/2022)
May 23, 2022
Cleveland (May 23, 2022) – City Council held its regular Monday meeting tonight, both in person in Council Chambers and through live streaming. Due to Memorial Day next Monday, there will be no regular council meeting. A special council meeting will be held prior to June 4th to vote on the tax abatement policy. The next regular meeting will be June 6, the last meeting before summer recess. Here are tonight’s highlights:
Crackdown on Illegal Riding: Council introduced and passed new tougher laws tonight against the so called “dirt bike” riders and off road ATVs, increasing penalties for all noncompliant vehicles.
The legislation would increase fines to $500 and then $1000. Currently, fines are $50 and then increase to $100. The new legislation also broadens the rules against operating a vehicle to make “unreasonable noise”, or to “disturb the peace”, or be “detrimental to the life or health of any individual.”
Another section addresses a vehicle that “blocks or impedes an entire intersection for the purpose of…trick riding” as well as “trick or stunt riding or driving of any vehicle upon any part of a sidewalk, street, or other public property of the City.”
Additionally, the new legislation outlaws drivers in cars taking over streets doing “donuts” and burning rubber. For instance, “operating a vehicle in a circular direction for display.” The legislation was sponsored by Councilman Mike Polensek, chair of the Safety Committee, and Council President Blaine A. Griffin. Ord. No. 547-2022
Making Cleveland Homes Lead Safe: Council approved legislation sponsored by Council President Blaine A. Griffin allowing the city’s Department of Community Development to enter into one or more sub-recipient agreements totaling $17 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation for a lead safe program to provide grants for repairs to create lead safe housing and emergency housing assistance. Council had previously established the public-private Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition to ensure all rental homes are lead safe. The initiative is being expanded with the council appropriation and other private money ($50 million recently from the Cleveland Clinic) to ensure all Cleveland homes are lead safe. The legislation allocates the ARPA funding for expenses included between March 3, 2021 and December 31, 2024. Ord. No. 119-2022.
CPP Appeal Process and Updating Agency Name: Council approved changes to Chapter 523 of the codified ordinances relating to Cleveland Public Power. First is the establishment of an appeals process for customers facing disconnection, by establishing a three-member arbitration panel. Another is to officially codify the name from the Division of Light and Power to Cleveland Public Power and clean up some other language. This legislation does not affect any CPP charges. Ord. No. 472-2022
A Helping Hand for International Newcomers: Council authorized the city to enter into a contract with Global Cleveland, a non-profit agency, to provide services to immigrants, refugees, international students and new citizens of Cleveland. Global Cleveland attracts, welcomes and connects international newcomers to economic, social and educational opportunities in Cleveland.
The one-year contract is not to exceed $150,000. Ord. No. 491-2022.
First Energy Urged to Remove its Name from Stadium: Council introduced legislation calling on FirstEnergy Corp. to relinquish its naming rights to the city’s publicly owned pro-football stadium, citing the company’s role in a bribery scheme currently under federal investigation.
In 2013, the naming rights to the stadium were sold to FirstEnergy for a reported $107 million. A federal investigation uncovered that First Energy spent nearly $61 million to conspire with and bribe public officials in an effort to secure the state subsidies provided by HB 6, a $1.3 billion bailout by ratepayers of two nuclear power plants.
“Council believes,” the resolution reads, “that FirstEnergy applied pressure using phony citizen groups and paid out significant dollars to restrict or destroy our publicly owned Cleveland Public Power.” The stadium receives its electricity from Cleveland Public Power.
Councilman Brian Kazy, a sponsor of the resolution, commented, “I don’t believe that the municipally owned stadium that the Cleveland Browns play in should bear the name of this tainted company.” First Energy has agreed to pay a $230 million fine for its central role in a bribery scheme. A corruption trial on the issue is scheduled for early next year. Res. No. 541-2022.