Poughkeepsie High School
Qualifications for office
Community activist, organizer, active community member
Yes I support the police accountability initiative that will be on the November ballot. I have signed on and canvassed for Citizens for a Safer Cleveland ballot initiative that would make elements of the police consent decree permanent.
Clevelanders need public safety that involves the decriminalization of homelessness, poverty and substance abuse. My goal is to reallocate resources from policing and criminalization to put towards community care and a co-responder model of public safety that will truly support our neighbors and transform our neighborhoods. I will join the Council’s Safety Committee, replacing Polensek and thus bolstering the progressive caucus within the committee. I will fight to ensure a robust, equitable system of care and support services to address the causative factors of the afore mentioned issues.
Cleveland has lead poisoning rates 4x higher than nationally, disproportionately affecting Black children and causing life-long struggles for our community. First, on City Council I will work to make sure that the 2019 lead-safe housing bill is fully implemented. That bill will ensure that the rental homes in Cleveland are tested for lead before a child becomes poisoned. We need strong leaders on Council, so that the bill becomes a reality and not just empty piece of paper
Second, I will make sure that we expand testing programs for water at schools and daycares. We need to make sure that lead is not getting into our children’s bodies at the places they are supposed to be safe and learning.
Lastly, we need to make sure every child has access to affordable healthcare so that testing from ages 0-2 is more prevalent. Right now 25% of children entering some CMSD kindergartens already have elevated blood lead levels, but that’s based on less than half the kids getting tested.
I would ensure that federal COVID economic recovery relief funds reach Cleveland wards and residents through participatory budgeting. This will give the residents direct access and information and the opportunity to provide insight on what ways the funding can directly be used to enhance the lives and communities of Cleveland.
The city should address the displacement stemming from gentrification of neighborhoods by providing mixed and low income housing in all areas of the city. The city should also provide incentives and informational & educational workshops for home purchases to the black community and communities of color who are directly impacted by redlining and gentrification. This will give these communities access to better employment and other opportunities that they've been denied without relegating them to a redlined area.
I will communicate with my constituents via social media, social community gatherings and I would enjoy having virtual/in -person monthly meetings that will provide updates and insight to/from constituents and provide an opportunity for me to deeper engage with the community. Ward 8 would definitely benefit from expanded language access for city services.
Graduate of Collinwood High School
Qualifications for office
Elected for 12 consecutive terms overwhelmingly since January 1978. My voting, attendance and legislative record are unequaled.
I have concerns and questions about the accountability initiative. From what I have read from independent analysis, it looks like the proposal can strip the Mayor, the Safety Director and the Chief of Police from their powers and authority. If that is the case, this will create serious problems in the City. So, I need additional information. We need to hire additional police officers to replace the 200 we are down so far this year. With the new Administration coming in, we have to collectively work together to redefine our priorities within the Division of Police. Greater attention must be paid to recruitment, training, professional conduct, accountability and community policing. We should all remember what it says on the side of our police cars; that is, to "protect and serve." That should be our mantra and ultimate goal.
First of all, I believe we have made great strides in the City with regard to the Lead contamination problem. Yet, much more must take place including: more demolition of vacant, derelict and condemned properties especially those severely lead contaminated; an increase in inspections through the Departments of Public Health and Building & Housing for alleged contaminated housing units, specifically rental units; and, increased testing of all school-aged children within the City of Cleveland regardless of the schools they attend. There is no doubt a connection between child behavioral issues and lead contamination. This must be a priority of the new Administration working with City Council and we should all be on the same page moving forward. In addition, we must be working with the Division of Water regarding possible contamination in waterlines, specifically in older homes. I believe by working together we can make significant inroads.
This a major concern of mine. For, as I fill out this questionnaire, the Leadership of Council has not scheduled a meeting to discuss the American Rescue Act funds. I myself have sent in two official requests and once again, at the most recent Committee of the Whole and Council Meeting, I raised the question as to when are we going to meet to discuss this. There was no definitive answer. I am a firm believer though, that residents, community groups and organizations need to have input into the process. In fact, at recent community meetings I asked residents in attendance directly for their thoughts and recommendations and requesting their feedback. I have my own recommendations, and have put those in writing to the Council Leadership.
The issue is much broader than just the black community or other communities of color. Look at Tremont and sections of Ohio City. These were not traditional communities of color but rather European immigrants and Appalachians. Theirs is a perfect example, though. They were displaced by developers trying to jam as many upscale housing units as possible into a small neighborhood. This is a major problem and something I have paid great attention to especially in my ward, which is 80% African American. I have made it perfectly clear to developers who are looking at my ward, that I would not support any development project designed to displace moderate and low income families. We must maintain balance in our neighborhoods. I am not opposed to higher income residents moving into the community, but it cannot be at the expense of long time residents, the elderly or low-income families.
I do four (4) newsletters a year from Council and mail out street-specific updates when needed. In addition there are five (5) community meetings held traditionally on a monthly basis which I attend, faithfully. I take calls, emails and letters from constituents on a daily basis and have a good record of response to these inquiries. I visit constituents' homes and businesses when requested. We are also one of the few neighborhoods in the city which has our own newspaper in the "Collinwood Observer" to which I contribute a column monthly. Communication has not been an issue in our community and language issues have not been a problem, either, to the best of my knowledge. We also have the greater Collinwood Development Corporation and other organizations and institutions which disseminate critical ward and city information.