Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Update on Ward 15 Redistricting

Old Brooklyn Blogs last left readers with a summary of the events that transpired up until last Saturday afternoon. Here are the most pertinent items from the last six or seven days.

* As noted, an illustration of how Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre have been proposed to be gerrymandered was posted by Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins. In it, Ward 15 is spliced into four pieces, which are incorporated into Wards 12 (Slavic Village), 13 (Downtown, Tremont, Ohio City, St. Clair Superior), 14 (Ohio City, Tremont, Clark-Fulton), and 16 (Old Brooklyn, Stockyards). The entire plan still has not been made available for public review and comment.

* A group of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre residents is organizing a mass protest on the steps of Cleveland City Hall on Monday, March 16 at 6pm. Protesters will then move to city council chambers to have a presence and demonstrate that they will not accept the destruction of the fabric of their neighborhoods nor the process by which redistricting has been performed without citizen input and in a politically-motivated fashion. Transportation via bus will be available beginning at 5pm from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo east parking lot. Attendees are strongly encouraged to come with their neighbors, family, and friends and to bring signs.

* South Hills Association members held an emergency meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the proposal for their neighborhood to be incorporated into Ward 12, which is currently comprised of Slavic Village (North and South Broadway SPAs) across the Cuyahoga River and suburbs of Newburgh Heights and Cuyahoga Heights. According to the Ohio Daily Blog, about 100 residents attended on just a few days notice, and are furious and prepared to fight. South Hills residents have a four-part plan that focuses on contacting city council members en masse to convey their displeasure, organize as many residents as possible for the Monday protest, invite Ward 12 Councilman Tony Brancatelli and Ward 13 Councilman Joe Cimperman to hear their complaints firsthand, and possibly pursue legal action.

* There's been conversation about when city council will vote to approve the recommendations of Triad Consulting, the contractor hired by leadership to calculate population estimates by tract and draw new ward boundaries. Council must adopt new political districts to take effect in 2010 by April 1, or Mayor Frank Jackson will assume that decision-making authority. To date, a depiction of the new wards has not been released. News reports indicate that, in addition to Ward 15, Councilman Zack Reed's Ward 3 is slated to be eliminated under Triad's current plan. Both Councilman Reed and Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins have both been considered two of Council President Martin Sweeney's most outspoken critics.

* Bette Meyer, who served as facilitator of the forum to garner public input about Cleveland's political redistricting, sent an email to participants and how the process is very contradictory to the five major consensus principles that were identified by more than 200 citizens. In her message, she implores Clevelanders to contact the Clerk of Council and media to express that they want to see the proposed changes make available to members of the public for their consideration and input. A similar meeting for the East Side of Cleveland has been scheduled by community leaders on Tuesday, March 17.

* This week, WKYC Channel 3 broadcast two pieces about Ward 15 redistricting. A full interview of Councilman Cummins from Thursday is available here, and a story about how South Hills residents feel about their neighborhood becoming part of Ward 12 is here.

* Finally, fellow Old Brooklyn blogger Will at Skorasaurus has a full timeline of the redistricting process.

New information will be posted as it is received, so please bookmark Old Brooklyn Blogs for further details about redistricting as well as much more from Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood. Have additional info, a link to share, or remarks? Please post in the comments below.

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