Cleveland Civitism, or love of place

Cleveland Civitism, or love of place. 

 

We have heard Council President Kelley speak of the word, "Civitism" or "love of place" to describe how many Clevelanders feel about our great city. Whether you call Downtown home, or work here, or travel here, or visit here, this emotion fills us with pride when our local sports teams win...and bind us together when they lose. However, there are other landmarks and recent improvements that also fill us with pride, including the recently renovated Public Square.

It is through that lens of civitism that we write about last Wednesday's Cleveland City Council Transportation Committee meeting. We thank Council for calling the meeting to get an update on this issue as emotions have run high in the aftermath of the decision that Public Square will "remain closed to buses." Recently the Plain Dealer/cleveland.com came out in support of the closure while Cleveland Scene Magazine came out against. And there have been many heated social media exchanges between folks with the best of intentions that challenge our continued civic, and hopefully civil, discussion.

If you're not at the table, you're whats for dinner...

However, the importance of these last few weeks shows the glaring oversight in the lack of a community voice in the discussions when the design was originally proposed, despite all claims to the contrary. There would not be so much support for the decision to close the square had those voices been heard and recognized originally. Conversely, there would not have been a sizable protest last Saturday on the square vocalizing against the decision otherwise. Whether for or against, the community response plainly speaks to this issue. 

We need to step back and get over ourselves. The fear of our organization is that the recent electoral process continues to fuel micro-aggressions between ostensibly opposing positions for reasons other than finding a productive purpose. The civil discussion has gone astray. But there is an opportunity for mitigating the consequences. What is certain is that if the the concern is safety of children in the splash pool/ice rink or if GCRTA is losing millions by adding additional minutes to go around the square, lets address those safety concerns and also mitigate, at a minimum, those expenses as soon as possible by working with the City on signalization to help relieve the congestion. The recent news that the City is working with a consultant on this last issue is helpful. 

Let's get the redesign of the redesign right. 

Now THAT is true love of place.  

Wanted: Downtown Resident input on buses through public square

Residents for Residents: Your input requested regarding
Buses in Public Square

The decision to close the square to bus traffic was announced on November 15th. "RTA and the city of Cleveland have been meeting for some period of time over this issue as to whether or not Superior Avenue would be open or closed to bus traffic or all traffic. Today, we've agreed that in the best interests of Cleveland, in particular, the people of Cleveland, the general public – whether they're Cleveland residents or not, it would be best to keep Superior Avenue closed," Mayor Jackson said.

As you know, the DCRA has not taken an official position on the matter and we have used this space to allow opinions both for and against the closure as there are very compelling arguments on both sides. As a voice for Downtown, we have been asked for input and we would like to officially ask you, Downtown Residents and Stakeholders, your opinions to present before City Council this Wednesday.

Please take this brief survey of your preferences. All responses remain confidential. 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3RM5KBY

Request for Resident input: Buses on Public Square

Residents for Residents: Your input requested regarding
Buses in Public Square

We had a wonderful Winterfest last Saturday afternoon and Downtown was bustling with activity with families enjoying the new ice skating rink and the start of the holiday season. We know it is not easy to coordinate that type of programming and the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Police Department, the Cleveland Foundation, and the DCA should be thanked for a wonderful and safe event. However, that amount of folks in Public Square gives us reason to reflect upon about the recent decision by the City of Cleveland to close traffic on Superior Avenue.  

The decision to close the square was announced on November 15th. "RTA and the city of Cleveland have been meeting for some period of time over this issue as to whether or not Superior Avenue would be open or closed to bus traffic or all traffic. Today, we've agreed that in the best interests of Cleveland, in particular, the people of Cleveland, the general public – whether they're Cleveland residents or not, it would be best to keep Superior Avenue closed," Mayor Jackson said.


As you know, the DCRA has not taken an official position on the matter and we have used this space to allow opinions both for and against the closure as there are very compelling arguments on both sides. As a voice for Downtown, we have been asked for input and we would like to officially ask you, Downtown Residents and Stakeholders, your opinions to present before City Council this Wednesday.

Please take this brief survey of your preferences. All responses remain confidential. 


https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3RM5KBY

Downtown Safety

Residents for Residents: Safety

We had a wonderful Winterfest last Saturday afternoon and Downtown was bustling with activity with families enjoying the start of the holiday season. The City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Police Department, and the DCA should be thanked for a wonderful and safe event.  We know it is not easy to coordinate that type of programming.  However, that amount of folks in one area gives us time to reflect upon about safety in general and individual incidents in particular, including the senseless assault on a restaurant employee after leaving work last Tuesday morning specifically. Thankfully, the 6 alleged suspects who committed the act were all caught by CPD the same night. Details here: http://www.cleveland19.com/story/33771448/23-year-old-man-jumped-by-a-group-of-men-in-downtown-cleveland

While this was a very disturbing event and unacceptable in any neighborhood, the DCRA as an organization does not feed into the "fear frenzy" and "click bait" tactics that certain news outlets have been known to employ, and as Winterfest shows, Downtown can host large scale events without incident. Safety of residents and stakeholders is vital to a successful neighborhood and statistically, Downtown is still one of the safest neighborhoods in all of Cleveland.

However, if you are a champion of justice for Jason Bush and other victims, please ask to join our Courtwatch Program. In conjunction with the City of Cleveland Community Relations Board, this program follows cases such as these through the process and allows resident input in sentencing decisions. Please contact Trampas@downtownresidents.org for more details on how you can help. 

New Rules For Street Performers? Yes


It is a time/decibel issue, not an artist or musician issue.

 

As reported by Kevin Niedermier of Ohio Public Radio station WKSUCleveland City Council is considering legislation to reduce the hours when street performers can sing and play.  Some downtown residents pushed for the measure because they say the music keeps them up at night. Currently, street performers can work from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and 9-to-11 Saturday and Sunday.The legislation would change the hours to 9-to-9 Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. During special events like parades and festivals the hours would be extended to 11 p.m.  

The reaction to the requested legislation has pitted the wrong constituencies against each other under a false argument of the needs of Downtown residents and stakeholders versus musicians trying to make a living. Downtown Residents and Stakeholders are not against Art or Music. We are against amplified sounds that keep us up beyond a reasonable time.

The DCRA has first and foremost always advocated for the right to the quiet enjoyment of our homes, just like every person has in Cleveland. As the fastest growing neighborhood in the City, we are in full support Councilman McCormack in his efforts on this issue.


The Need for a Municipal Income Tax Increase

The DCRA comes out in support for the tax increase

It is important that we keep City services despite cuts from Columbus.

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, Mayor Frank G. Jackson briefed City of Cleveland managerial employees on the upcoming November 8 ballot measure to increase the city’s income tax from 2.0% to 2.5%.

Mayor Jackson’s slide presentation from that meeting is available to view and download below.

Highlights from the presentation:

  • .5% income tax increase would generate an estimated additional $83.5 million for the City’s General Fund.
  • First hike in the city’s income tax rate since 1981.
  • City of Cleveland has experienced a permanent annual loss of $30 million in local government fund (LGF), commercial activities tax, tangible personal property tax, and estate tax. Since 2010, the accumulated annual loss from State of Ohio Revenue is $146.5 million.
  • Over half of the municipal budget is devoted to Public Safety (58%) and Public Works (12%).
  • Successful passage of income tax increase means a structurally balanced budget and enhanced services.
  • Failure to pass income tax would mean hundreds of city employee layoffs and elimination of services.

Download the presentation here.

Cleveland shines during RNC week: Together We Rise

Cleveland shines during RNC week

Together We Rise.

Cleveland enjoyed much deserved positive recognition from the national media and delegates alike last week. The DCRA would like to thank Mayor Jackson and all the folks at Cleveland City Hall, especially Valerie McCall for all her diligent updates, members of City Council, Chief Williams and the Cleveland Police Department (as well as all the police officers from all the states that helped), the Secret Service, David Gilbert and Destination Cleveland, David Johnson and the Convention Center, Joe Marinucci and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and its Ambassadors, Joe Calabrese and the GCRTA, the Cleveland 2016 Local Host Committee, and perhaps most of all, all the unnamed volunteers and citizens of Cleveland and northeast Ohio. We should all take a celebratory bow for all the hard work to make the event such a success. There were instances where it could have gone the other way, but we as Clevelanders would not let it stand and showed the world that patience, love, and a few hugs, go a long way in changing an outcome. 

Despite the distractions of the voices of protesters, politicians, and pundits, whose purpose seemed to be to heighten fears due to recent tragic events, we stood united in the face of division. As Rev. Thomas Chulak, (visiting Cleveland by way of  Ghent, N.Y.), was quoted in a
column by David Maraniss of The Washington Post, "There was all this false talk about what lives matter, but the reality is that we are all now black and blue. We are all black and blue because we are all bruised."

Make no mistake: Four days of a Cleveland "block party" does not overcome years of mistrust. There is much work to be done in our community to heal past wounds. But as last week shows, we have comfort in knowing that we can have the dialogue using Cleveland's long held personality traits of stamina of effort, persistence of interest, and just plain dogged determination. This allows us to have the discussion without damaging and unproductive pronouncements from either side.

A wise man once told me that the best way to predict the future is to create it. Lets not waste this opportunity to capitalize on genuine good will to continue the dialogue that last week started.

Open Letter to the Development, Planning, and Sustainability Committee

Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee

Chair: Anthony Brancatelli Vice Chair: Phyllis E. Cleveland
Members: Brian J. Cummins; TJ Dow; Kerry McCormack; Terrell H. Pruitt; Matthew Zone

April 18, 2016

RE: Ord. No. 30-16: Cleveland Occupancy Tax

Dear Committee Members:

On behalf of the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association (DCRA), and the 16,000 residents and stakeholders for whom we advocate on various issues, we write to share our input on the proposed Cleveland Occupancy Tax legislation before your committee. The DCRA supports the proposed legislation.

With the recent agreement reached by Cuyahoga County and Airbnb, it only makes sense to regulate and tax this industry. By regulating short-term rentals, Cleveland levels the playing field in the lodging industry. Applying lodging taxes to these transactions at least partially removes an unfair advantage these rentals have over hotels, and the source of funding to various agencies this tax supports, including Destination Cleveland.

One legislative item that was vigorously debated by our organization was the owner-occupancy minimums proposed by the ordinance. Understanding the necessity of those limits in markets in other larger cities, after discussion, we feel that this component of the legislation makes it unlikely that corporate entities will be able to purchase previously-available rental properties and legally operate them as de facto hotels. These limits would reduce the likelihood that such short-term rentals would tighten the rental market and negatively impact the buildings that currently house the majority of Downtown residents. The limits also ensures that such rentals do not become a means to avoid Ohio's landlord-tenant law.

Many Downtown residents are directly affected by this new platform and the legislation proposed to regulate it, either as hosts or those affected by visitors. Cleveland would benefit from generating income to pay the public costs associated with transient visitors, such as police and fire protection. Some of the revenue could also be used for enforcement of the building code. But we need to make sure that taxes are collected, safety rules are followed, and neighborhood residents are respected. Only then will we be able to say that these new platforms are leading to what we all want - a more vibrant City of Cleveland for community members as well as visitors.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of our input.   

Sincerely,

Joseph Giuliano

Joseph Giuliano

President - Downtown Cleveland Resident Association

# V spotlight: Voting

3 V spotlight: Voting

Join the Party!
Vote in the March 15 Presidential Primary Election

Take advantage of your opportunity to join the political party of your choice by casting a ballot in the Presidential Primary Election on March 15, 2016. You may choose to vote an issues-only ballot if you prefer to be considered a nonpartisan voter.

In Ohio, the only method voters may utilize to establish or change their party affiliation is by voting in a partisan primary election. Last year more than 150,000 Democrats and nearly 27,000 Republicans lost their party affiliation because they did not vote in a Primary Election for more than two years. This makes voting the March 15th Election extremely important for people who want to be affiliated with a political party or re-establish their party affiliation.

If you vote by mail, vote early at the Board of Elections, or vote on Election Day you will also be asked to choose the type of ballot you wish to vote. The ballot choices include: Democrat, Republican, Green, Issues-only, and other.

No matter your party affiliation, you may always choose to vote early at the Board of election offices: 
Board of Elections | 2925 Euclid Avenue | Cleveland, Ohio 44115 | (216) 443-VOTE

Weekdays - March 7, 2016  -  March 11, 2016 - 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday - March 12, 2016 -  8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday - March 13, 2016 - 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday - March 14, 2016 - 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.