Sunday, November 24, 2013

By Kathy Wray Coleman: Annexation meeting tonight, all 5 members of East Cleveland City Council oppose proposed city merger to Cleveland pushed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, George Forbes: East Cleveland City Council President Dr. Joy Jordan speaks on it to Cleveland Urban News.Com, annexation meeting is at 6 pm today, November 24, 2013, Community Temple Lord and Christ Church, 1740 Hayden Ave in East Cleveland, phone 216-249-5949, community activists vow to fight against any merger

Outgoing East Cleveland City Council President Dr. Joy Jordan


George L. Forbes, (left) and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson


By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News.Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's No 1 and No 2 online Black newspapers (www.clevelandurbannews.com) and (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com). Reach us by phone at 216-659-0473 and by email at  editor@clevelandurbannews.com

"The members of East Cleveland City Council are against any proposed merger, the citizens of East Cleveland need an East Cleveland City Council to represent them, and we intend to keep the autonomy or independence of our city to protect the best interests of our community," ....Quote by East Cleveland City Council President Dr. Joy Jordan in the article below

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio-All five members of East Cleveland City council, including outgoing council president Dr. Joy Jordan 
, are voicing opposition to a controversial proposal  by former Cleveland NAACP  President George Forbes, also general counsel for the Call and Post Newspaper, and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to merge the city of East Cleveland with neighboring Cleveland. (Editor's Note: A meeting on the proposed annexation will be held today, November 24, at 6 pm at Community Temple Lord and Christ Church, 1740 Hayden Avenue in East Cleveland, Tel: 216-249-5949)

The first suburb of Cleveland with a per capita income of roughly $15,000, East Cleveland is city of some 18,000 mainly Black people, and Cleveland is a majority Black major American city of nearly 400,000 people. Both cities have colorful politicians with a passion for the city they love, and any merger will not become a reality without a fight, say Black leaders of East Cleveland, aside from East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton, who supports a merger.


In order to materialize voters in both municipalities must approve the annexation proposal, if and when it becomes an official measure placed on the ballot. 


"The members of East Cleveland City Council are against any proposed merger, the citizens of East Cleveland need an East Cleveland City Council to represent them, and we intend to keep the autonomy or independence of our city to protect the best interests of our community," said Jordan, a Cleveland area dentist who chose to forgo reelection to her at large city council seat and  lost an election this year to  Norton, a former East Cleveland city councilman who won a second four-year mayoral term in November. 


Jordan said that Cleveland officials have less respect for unions and the collective bargaining agreements they want compliance with. And she said the Cleveland Municipal School District is worse than East Cleveland schools in terms of educational outcomes.


"Some of the things they do to unions in Cleveland, we do not want to happen in East Cleveland, like undermining workers rights," Jordan told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leading digital Black newspaper. "And as a former 14-year school board member I certainly do not want our school system merged with Cleveland schools because we are ranked higher on the report cards, standardized tests, and other assessment measaures by the Ohio State Department of Education."


Both largely Black and impoverished school districts rank in the bottom quartile on state mandated standardized testing, partly because of a state devised unconstitutional public school funding formula. 


East Cleveland usually ranks second to last, and Cleveland, dead last, public records show. 


Forbes and Jackson argue that East Cleveland is in debt and a merger will heighten the population in Cleveland while rescuing East Cleveland from poverty, though Cleveland ranks 10th by Forbes Magazine among cities nationwide on crime.


 How much debt the city of East Cleveland has is debatable, some officials claiming a $6 million shortfall, and  other public figures in between $2 million and $4 million.


The five-member all Black East Cleveland City Council now includes Jordan, Nate Martin, Chantelle Lewis, Barbara Thomas and Mansell Baker. Jordan, who lost an election for mayor earlier this year, and Lewis chose not to seek reelection to city council. 

Martin won reelection to his at large seat in November, and Baker and Thomas' seats are not yet up for grabs . Brandon King won the at large seat held by Jordan, and Thomas Wheeler won election to the East Cleveland Ward 3 seat currently held by Lewis.

"The East Cleveland City Council is against the merger, all five of us," said Councilman Baker at a Black on Black Crime meeting Wednesday night.


East Cleveland City Councilman
Mansell Baker
Though Forbes, a former Cleveland City
City Council president
 who lost a race for Cleveland mayor against Michael R. White more than two decades ago, is no longer an elected official, and neither does he lead the local NAACP, he still has influence, and he owns several homes and other real estate in East Cleveland, data show.

East Cleveland Community Activist Art McKoy, a founding member of Black on Black Crime Inc., said that it does not matter what he thinks about the proposal because it is a done deal.


"They sold out on this issue long ago," said McKoy, though voters must still approve any annexation measure if and when it is brought before them.


Activist Al Porter, a Clevelander and the vice president of Black on Black Crime, said that he is against the proposed merger and that community activists will fight to save East Cleveland.


"I'm against any merger and we will fight it," Porter told Cleveland Urban News.Com. www.clevelandurbannews.com