City Council Caucus Meeting [IN-PERSON ONLY]

Cleveland City Council
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Monday, Nov. 13, 2023
12:00 p.m. — 2:00 p.m. EST

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601 Lakeside Ave Cleveland, OH 44114 (Directions)

Cleveland City Hall, Room 220 (large conference room)

NOTE: This is an in-person-only meeting.

A City Council Caucus is an informal gathering of Cleveland City Council members. Council members use the meeting to discuss and gain clarity on issues and processes and to hold political discussions. They do not vote on legislation in this meeting.

Council caucus meetings are held in person and are NOT broadcast by TV20 or live-streamed to council’s YouTube channel.

Documenters: Two additional hours will be added to your paid assignment hours. Be sure to bring your photo ID.

Find Documenters coverage of past City Council meetings here: https://cleveland.documenters.org/reporting/?agency=181

For more information visit to Cleveland City Council’s website: https://www.clevelandcitycouncil.org.

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Reporting

Edited and summarized by the Cleveland - OH Documenters Team

Live reporting by Alicia Moreland

Officials discuss limitations on public comment

Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative
Hey folks, documenter Alicia here. I'm excited to say I'll be live-tweeting the Cleveland City Council Caucus starting at noon today for @cledocumenters and @signalcleveland. And guess what? Yours truly will be there IN PERSON. 😲🫢🐰!!
#CLEdocumenters

10:17 AM Nov 13, 2023 CST

Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 2/21
It may be a spicy sesh of heated debate🌶️👈😅as we're going to be covering the possibility of council making changes to/getting rid of public comment at the Monday night city council meetings.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 3/21
And as a reminder- a City Council Caucus is an informal gathering of Cleveland City Council members. Council members use the meeting to discuss and gain clarity on issues and processes and to hold political discussions.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 4/21
This meeting is NOT live-streamed, so I'll do my extra best to give you all the relevant info. Stay tuned- the caucus starts in 45 minutes.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 5/21
Ok folks. I’m here. Standing room only.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 6/21
It’s about 10 after. Blaine Griffin is laying down the rules. Everyone is welcome, but questions need to be directed to Council lawyers. “This is not a chance for you (the public) to give your feedback”
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 7/21
Council President Griffin is going over why we’re here: public comment has grown very contentious and disruptive in the last several weeks, especially with the recent conflict in the Middle East. Hate speech has become a problem.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 8/21
A draft of changes to public comment policy was passed around.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 9/21
Rachel, a lawyer representing Council, is going over how the 1st amendment applies to public comment in this situation. City Council meetings are a limited public forum, not a true public forum, like a street corner, where the government cannot interfere with free speech… (1/2)
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 10/21
Within the limited public forum of council meetings, it is legal to restrict speech. (2/2)
The main change being proposed is “Speaker comments shall be limited to one item currently under consideration by Council.”
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 11/21
Rebecca Maurer spoke out very strongly against changes to the public comment policy. “It feels like we’re punishing the public like they’re a teenager that did something we didn’t like.”
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 12/21
Rebecca Maurer also mentioned she wasn’t happy that the caucus was held while she and others were finishing up in a concurrent committee meeting.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 13/21
Several members have mentioned the problem of non-Cleveland residents crowding out Cleveland residents when registering to give comment.
Members are discussing how to handle that… maybe Cleveland residents have priority.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 14/21
Joe Jones and Blaine Griffin respond to Maurer- we deserve to feel safe and run the meetings with decorum.
Maurer replies: Eliminating public comment will not change the issues of safety.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 15/21
Earlier, Rebecca Maurer mentioned that eliminating/limiting public comment makes it seem like Council is scared of its residents and what they have to say.
This comment, which she stands by, seems to have offended several of the (notably male) members of council.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 16/21
Her comment was called “asinine” at least twice. That did not feel good to me. She spoke forcefully but respectfully.
Public comment during committee meetings were brought up as an under utilized resource. It’s not clear to me what the procedures around this is…
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 17/21
Kazy suggested moving public comment to the end Council meetings. He doesn’t think we should restrict the speech. “It’s only 3 minutes. Let them have their say”
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 18/21
“We’re trying to make this fair for everybody” says Blaine Griffin. “That’s what this is about. We want a safe, productive meeting with decorum.”
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 19/21
Kazy also mentioned getting the contact info of commenters, in case council members want to follow up with a speaker. He too, mentioned prioritizing Cleveland residents.
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 20/21
The caucus meeting ended at exactly 1:30pm. It was fun guys!
Alicia Moreland @DDutchCreative 21/21
Have questions? Think we got something wrong? Send any inquiries on the meeting or these tweets to @cledocumenters. Or email us at cledocumenters@gmail.com

Attachments

By Doug Breehl-Pitorak 11/13/2023

Agency Information

Cleveland City Council

Cleveland City Council is the legislative branch of the government of the City of Cleveland in Ohio. There are 17 elected Cleveland City Council members representing the 17 wards of the City of Cleveland. Each ward has approximately 25,000 residents. Council Members are elected to serve a four-year term. Council members serve two roles in their duties: to draft and enact legislation for the city of Cleveland and act as ombudsmen for their constituents.

Find meetings streamed at: *online on TV20 at: http://www.tv20cleveland.com/watch-now/

*The meetings are also streamed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ClevelandCityCouncil/

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