Journal of a frustrated but energized Councilman…
After meeting with Council consultants on Thursday late afternoon, I had to prepare for a Councilman's report for a 60-year old civic association that serves the eastern portion of Brooklyn Centre named Southwest Citizens Area Council.
I had an hour to calm down from my anger in realizing that the neighborhoods that I currently serve have been targeted to be cut-up, divided, and distributed to two additional Wards.
I questioned myself if I should break the news, or wait for a calmer moment and different time and place to break the news to the leaders of the organization. Clearly the news could not wait. The splitting into two wards of Brooklyn Centre and the potential loss of being able to represent any of Old Brooklyn had to, and needs to be, shared immediately and with as many people in Cleveland as possible.
The neighborhoods of Ward 15 are being proposed to be cut, divided and reapportioned into four different wards. with only the western half of Brooklyn Centre being combined and folded into the majority of the area now known as Ward 14. The remaining portions of the ward would be divided up between Wards 12, 13 and 16.
The Brooklyn Centre neighborhood is proposed to be split in two, using Pearl Road as an east-west dividing line between two different wards (current Wards 13 (Councilman Santiago) and 15). The eastern portion of Brooklyn Centre would be reapportioned as a part of what is currently known as Ward 13 (Councilman Cimperman). As described above, the western portion of Brooklyn Centre, between Pearl Road and Fulton Road, would become part of the new Majority-Minority Hispanic Ward that is currently (for the most part), known as Ward 14.
The Old Brooklyn neighborhood portions of Ward 15 would be eliminated in their entirety and reapportioned to three different wards: current Ward 12 (Councilman Brancatelli); Ward 13; and, Ward 16 (Kelley).
Proposed reapportionments of Ward 15, Old Brooklyn:
The current Ward 12 situated on the City’s southeast side would be extended westward, across the Cuyahoga Valley to include the southeast area, i.e., the area that borders Brooklyn Heights from W. Schaaf, to Broadview, to Tampa, to W. 20th, to 19th, portions of Treadway and then using Valley as the boundary to the west.
The current Ward 13 situated in portions of the northeast, downtown and northwest areas of the city would extend southward to incorporate portions to include Valley Road to the east, Pearl Road to the west and Broadview road to the North.
The current Ward 16 (Councilman Kelley), currently situated in the south and northwest section of Old Brooklyn and southern portions of Stockyards would expand eastward and northward to include the remaining Ward 15 area from W. 57th and Memphis to Pearl Road.
Proposed maps have not yet been distributed but have been reviewed with the consultant.
NOTE: Descriptions and proposed boundaries are not exact and are NOT anticipated to be changed by more than 1,000 persons before being finalized.
When I have more time I’ll try to post a map that can provide a visual for what I described above.
Essentially what was presented at this past Wednesday's public meeting (and I assisted in writing the talking notes) was false. If I found out on Thursday that the draft maps and boundaries were pretty much set in place without anticipation of significant change, we should of told the public the truth. Instead, false statement were made under the pretense that nothing is set, or nothing is certain yet.
In fact, as I found out less than 24-hrs afterwards, Council Leadership knew that an eastside and a westside ward would be eliminated. They knew for certain that an eastside ward would have to reach broadly and deep into the Westside to take in population due to the large loss of population from the eastside. How large of a loss is a mystery as no detailed information has been provided to me with regards to the block by block population estimates we received from CSU.
I have not been informed of the details of any other newly proposed Ward boundaries other than those areas of other Wards impacting Ward 15.
Although requested previously and requested in writing today, I have not been provided with any detailed population estimates (estimated by block), which the consultants hired by City Council obtained, under sub-contract from Cleveland State University. The consultants for City Council have explained that this information is normally not made public until the proposed new ward boundaries are finalized by the legislative body.
Due to the extreme degree of changes being proposed to the existing neighborhoods of Ward 15, I am in the process of requesting the population detail information as well as draft maps being used to explain the proposed new Ward boundaries to individual Council members through the Clerk of Council.
The reason for my request is to be able to understand more clearly the rational for the consultants proposed changes and if there would be any other alternatives that would mitigate the detrimental results of separating our historic neighborhoods into multiple new ward boundaries. It is my contention that the information that I am requesting falls under the requirements of the State of Ohio’s Public Records Act and should thereby be made available and not held private until the new Ward boundaries are finalized for council’s approval.
NOTE: The median population figure and generally acceptable variance for each of the 19 Wards with an estimated population of 427,000 as of February 15, 2009 is: 22,473 persons; with a variance of +/– 5% = 1,124; representing a range of 21,349 - 23,597 persons per Ward.
Council will be deliberating and then voting on a finalized version of the new 19 Wards by no later than April 1, 2009. I will make any new information I receive pertaining to the reapportionment process for Ward 15 available on this web site.
After a long and spirited discussion (after I explained what is proposed and after the official civic association meeting - a 501c3), there was, and now continues to be actions in organizing protests at City Hall this coming Monday and every Monday thereafter until these extreme measures to break-up these neighborhoods are reversed or at a minimum tempered so as not to damage both of them so brutally.
Cleveland City Councilman, Ward 15
Cleveland Councilman Brian Cummins could be an odd man out as the council downsizesNew boundaries that will shape Cleveland's soon-to-be-smaller City Council are beginning to come into focus.
Council consultants favor a plan that would combine a tiny piece of the West Side ward Brian Cummins now lives in and represents with a much larger portion of the ward now led by Joe Santiago. That would set up a potential showdown between the two in this year's elections.