The lack of public comment at Cleveland City Council meetings has been a source of resident anger and frustration for decades. Except for a brief time in the 1920s and 1930s when the city was under a city manager form of government without an elected mayor, Cleveland City Council has not routinely held a space for public comment in its regular meetings. This is in stark contrast to other Ohio cities like Columbus, Akron and Youngstown, all of which allow residents to provide live public comment at their city council meetings. Cuyahoga County Council also permits public comment.
Clevelanders for Public Comment is a growing grassroots coalition comprised of dozens of organizations, elected leaders, candidates for office and residents of all 17 wards. They have conducted research, drafted an ordinance, and are urging City Council to act quickly in implementing a public comment period in 2021.
This forum will consist of a moderated conversation featuring Jessica Trivisonno, author of the proposed ordinance, and two City Council members who are in support of its adoption. Following the conversation, there will be 30 minutes of a simulated public comment session.
Anyone interested in participating will have up to three minutes to make a comments about any matter that concerns the legislative, administrative, or public affairs of the city. Commenters are also encouraged to make comments on how to best invest the $541 million in stimulus funds slated to come to Cleveland from the American Rescue Plan. Individuals can sign up to make a comment by completing the Mock Public Comment Form at cle4publiccomment.com or by e-mailing email@example.com.
The livestream will be available beginning at 12 p.m.