Cleveland's Mayor Frank Jackson blocks certain citizens from receiving City Mayor's twitter posts

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Tue, 05/02/2017 - 12:44.

 The Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio is one Frank Jackson.    From meeting Mr. Jackson and knowing his "it is what it is" very low energy style I can confidently suggest that Mr. Jackson does not personally populate the twitter account of the Cleveland Mayor linked here.    

Today's Realneo header is a copy of a "you are blocked" message to one Cleveland citizen.   

How's this work that the Mayor can deny certain citizens his public office communications?

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Frank Jackson HAS to GO!

From Eric J Brewer:

If you're a resident of Cleveland you should be pissed at what I'm about to share. There's no audio recording of the council meeting that resulted in $88 million in admission tax money being appropriated to renovate the Quicken Loans Arena. There are no minutes although Section 121.22 of Ohio's revised code requires them. What's claimed to be “minutes” by Council's deputy clerk, Alan Dreyer, are the yea and nay votes in the City Record. That's it. You've already read my previous post where Ohio courts have ruled how a yea-and-nay-vote-record-only is inadequate. He's the man with the folded hands.

The regular city council meetings where public business is supposed to be deliberated in public includes no discussion whatsoever from the council majority about how the ordinances came to be created by the members of council. Only the naysayers were vocal and Kelley limited their dissent. There's no discussion of whether or not employees, and the council president, complied with the law to enact them. What you'll learn from reading what I've shared is how Ord. No. 305-17 Mayor Frank Jackson signed was written by a private attorney and not the director of law. Zack Reed's question to Deputy Law Director Richard Horvath revealed that the law department was not involved in the preparation of Ord. No. 469-17.

While the City Record creates the illusion that councilors verbally voted yea or nay, that's not what happens at a Cleveland city council meeting. They've got some convoluted process where all votes are assumed to be “yeas” unless the council member verbally says “nay.” Folk. I have no idea who concocted this “monkey donkey” bullshit, but I ain't never seen anything like this in my life.

If Jackson had fully examined the process for how ordinance numbers 305-17 and 469-17 were created by employees under his supervision, and enacted by the council Kevin Kelley led as president, he would have vetoed them. The process was “rigged.” Mandatory duties were avoided or criminally obstructed. It's no different than how the U.S. Department of Justice revealed Jackson's unconstitutional policing. What occurred was an $88 million theft of public funds without any hint of public accountability; not even from the bought-and-paid-for-media. Fuck It's owned by Advance Ohio. It's not a newspaper but a public relations firm.

Here's what I've learned.

In support of my asking a Cleveland municipal court judge to cause the arrest and prosecution of Council President Kevin Kelley, Director of Law Barbara Langhenry and Deputy Law Director Richard Horvath I visited the offices of the mayor, council and the department of law on Monday, May 8th.

I've already shared with you the email I forwarded to Clerk of Council Pat Britt's deputy clerk, Alan Dreyer, seeking public records relative to ordinance numbers 305-17 and 469-17. Instead of waiting for Dreyer to deliver the records I chose to visit city hall to “inspect” them. It's a legal right pursuant to R.C. 149.43(B)(1). Here's how it reads.

“Upon request and subject to division (B)(8) of this section, all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours.”

You can read R.C. 149.43(B)(8) but it doesn't apply to me. So when I visited council's office Dreyer had a duty to permit me to “inspect” the records I was seeking. This is especially since he had advance written notice I was requesting them as of May 5, 2017. It's also a duty of the Clerk of the Council, of which he is a deputy clerk, to “... keep the records of the Council ...” That's in Chapter 5, Section 31 of Cleveland's charter.

Here are the instructions to Dreyer and every other official across Ohio about how they're supposed to keep public records organized pursuant to R.C. 149.43(B)(2).

“To facilitate broader access to public records, a public office or the person responsible for public records shall organize and maintain public records in a manner that they can be made available for inspection or copying in accordance with division (B) of this section.”

The records I wanted were public according to an unsuspended general law of the state. I didn't arrive at council's office 5 minutes before closing. I arrived at council's office after 1:30 p.m. The time was reasonable.

Council's desk clerk told me at first Dreyer said the records weren't ready because they had to undergo a “legal review.” Bullshit. I told her to tell him that pursuant to R.C. 149.43(B)(1) I wanted to “inspect” them. What I was seeking were the two “departmental requests” for ordinances numbers 305-17 and 469-17. Not a big fucking deal and there was nothing about them for the law department to review. Dreyer was creating an unnecessary delay.

The desk clerk walked back to Dreyer's office with my “inspection” request and returned with the message that someone would be with me. Dreyer didn't come out of the office. That “someone” he sent was Rachel Nigro-Scalish, council's “special counsel.” She brought a 6'3” bearded Caucasian male with her and identified herself as “council's lawyer.” That wasn't true. Council's lawyer pursuant to Chapter 15, Section 83 of Cleveland's charter is the director of law. Those duties aren't shared with an employee of council even if she is an attorney. It's not just Cleveland's charter that makes the director of law council's lawyer. It's also a general law found in R.C. 733.51.

Nigro-Scalish tried to dissuade me by sharing that the documents weren't prepared, and that Dreyer had time to deliver them. I insisted on inspecting them. That's when she said both the “departmental requests” for ordinance numbers 305-17 and 469-17 were in the custody of the department of law.

I wanted to know from Nigro-Scalish how “departmental requests” for legislation were created under the rules. She explained that the department directors asked in writing for ordinances or they were requested “informally.” There is no form. By “informally” she explained that legislation could be requested by phone. She said council didn't receive the legislation requests only the legislation. Below is how the requests are required by council's rules to be responded to by the department of law. Kelley's duties are to ensure they're enforced.

“Rule 38-2. Request for Legislation. All legislation shall have indicated at the end thereof the date of preparation and the initials of the draftsman and typist; and all legislation originating in administrative departments shall contain in addition thereto the name of the head of the department or division for whom prepared and the name of the member of Council introducing such legislation shall be followed by the words “By request” in parentheses.

You can read for yourself that pursuant to Rule 38.2 we're all supposed to know “the name of the head of the department or division for whom [legislation is] prepared...”

Examine ordinance numbers 305-17 and 469-17. Do you see the name of the requesting department head identified in either of them? 
It's also interesting that council allows legislation to “originate” from an administrative department, and to be requested by a department head. That's not an authority granted department heads under Chapter 11, Section 72 of the charter. The mayor has the right to introduce ordinances. Department heads have a right to discuss them.

“ … the Mayor shall have the right to introduce ordinances and to take part in the discussion of all matters coming before the Council; and the directors of departments shall be entitled to take part in all discussions in the Council relating to their respective departments ...”

Instead of departmental requests legislation coming from department heads should bear the name of the mayor. East Cleveland and Cleveland's charters are similar. What I've shared is how my Director of Law, the late Almeta Johnson, interpreted the same duties for me. All of the administrative legislation during my 4-year term of office bears my name. It forced me to review and deny some of the departmental requests.

One of the police chief's I supervised had backdoor lobbied council to try to get an ordinance making it a requirement for local businesses to hire off-duty East Cleveland police. I pulled it. A mayor is a fool for letting department heads run their own legislative agendas. Look at Reynold's communication. Jackson wasn't even copied. I created weekly reports for my directors. Their internal and external communications and requests were required to be in the reports and delivered to me by 3 p.m. on Fridays. They were my weekend meetings for my Monday 9 a.m. cabinet meetings.

I left the council office and visited the law department. Mariah Crenshaw joined me in the law department. There, I was provided with two email. Both are shared with my post.

You can see the March 10, 2017 email from Andre Reynolds exists under the subject “legislative request introduction March 20th city council meeting.” Reynolds is a “project coordinator” in the finance department, not the department head identified in council Rule 38. Sharon Dumas is the finance director and she was copied.

You can read for yourself who else was copied. Under the “CC” or “carbon copy” I see the name Ronda Curtis. I know her to be an attorney in the department of law who formerly worked as a deputy law director for East Cleveland ex-Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor. I know Valarie McCall's name. I don't know the others.

Nowhere in his request for legislation does Reynolds identify a “departmental emergency.” The “emergency” appears to have been something Kelley added to advance the legislation quickly and stifle a possible voter referendum. Chapter 5, Section 36 of the charter identifies an “emergency” as being needed because it's “providing for the usual daily operation of a Municipal department, in which the emergency is set forth and defined in a preamble.” Reynolds didn't define a finance department emergency in his request nor was one “set forth” in the preamble.

What should also be of note is Reynolds does not ask that the legislation he's proposing authorize the director of finance to sign the “cooperative agreement” between the city and the county. That's in the language of Ord. No. 305-17 as enacted by council. The mayor signs contracts for “the city,” not the finance or law directors.

Pay attention to how Reynolds seeks an “amendment” to what appears to be an “existing” agreement, which is why the legislation for me becomes more troubling.

Reynolds' proposed legislation language never identifies any specific “amendment” to the proposed cooperative agreement with the county. The amendment to Ord. No. 195.03 is identified in that it seeks to extend the admissions tax connected to the original 1992 Gateway bonds. Reynolds never identified what was supposed to be amended in the cooperative agreement between the city and county.

The other document I received is what appears to be either an altered email or actual memo to Dumas. It raises more questions. Reynolds asked Dumas if she concurred with his proposed ordinances. Pay attention that the cooperative agreement he discussed is not the same as the community benefits Kelley claimed to have negotiated.

The name Nancy Lanzola appears across the top of both records I received from the law department. Lanzola is a council employee. She appears to be responding to Dumas' request for the legislation Reynolds requested. What's missing from the records I requested from the law department are Dumas' email and the others connected to the enactment of ordinance numbers 305-17 and 469-17.

Lanzola appears to write that the legislation is on hold. “Just getting the paperwork together so that when everyone is ready for it to go, it can go with no delay.”

Deputy Law Director Horvath was asked if the department of law made changes to the legislation its employees received from the county's “outside legal counsel” and I was told “yes.” When asked to identify the law department's changes to the legislation prepared by the county's outside legal counsel, Horvath said he couldn't. Horvath said he couldn't also identify the law department's amendments to the cooperative agreement.

If you examine the image of Ord. 305-17 as it was printed in the April 26, 2017 City Record you'll note how the record does not provide the public with a full copy of the cooperative agreement. It doesn't identify the original cooperative agreement from the county or any of the alleged amendments Horvath said he couldn't identify. The City Record also doesn't show council voting to approve any of the undisclosed amendments Horvath said were made and agreed to between the city's law director and the county's private bond counsel. Council was never shared nor did the body vote to approve whatever amendments Horvath claimed the law department made to the legislation the city received from the county's “outside legal counsel.”

Based on Horvath's statements to me, and Mariah as a witness, unexplained changes were made to the original legislation the law department received from the county's outside legal counsel and not a single one of them was ever discussed in a public meeting as required by R.C. 121.22. More specifically, none of the changes were either known or approved by council in a public meeting. None of the public's business was discussed in public. It was all discussed, if Horvath's claims are true, between employees of the city and the county's outside legal counsel. I have the county's records, but I'm still reviewing them.

Mariah was curious about the identity of the “outside counsel” who Reynolds wrote was delivering the legislation for council to enact. Horvath identified him as attorney David Goodman from Squires, Patton & Boggs (formerly Squires, Sanders & Dempsey). It' the firm attorney Fred Nance leads. The question has to be asked why “outside legal counsel” and not the city's director of law preparing legislation for council to pass? Chapter 15, Section 83 of Cleveland's charter states in plain English that the director of law “shall prepare all contracts, bonds and other instruments in writing in which the City is concerned.” I'll place emphasis on the word “prepare.”

All I'm sharing above should have been questioned by every member of council. They should have demanded and reviewed the email I'm sharing with you, and not simply accepted what was presented to them by Kelley.

I've taken the time to annotate this post with specific charter, law and rule references to demonstrate why I believe Kelley's conduct and that of the other officials was criminal. Each elected or appointed public office comes with “duties” the officials holding them can't change. In passing the two Quicken Loans Arena ordinances there are duties elected and appointed public officials and Squires' as a vendor either avoided or obstructed. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why. Dan Gilbert wanted $88 million from Cleveland.

Thank you Mr. Brewer

 Mr. Brewer sets an  excellent  example for a public records requests.

 The city of Cleveland fails to respond .