Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Congresswoman Fudge denounces recall effort against Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson as divisive, says she will convene a community meeting on that issue and the DOJ report of systemic problems in the largely White Cleveland Police Department, other community grievances....By Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news

11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH)
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
Cleveland NAACP Attorney Michael Nelson Sr. speaks to about 30 people during a meeting held Thursday evening , March 19 on Cleveland's largely Black
east side relative to a recall effort against Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.  To the direct left of Nelson is Norm Edwards, and to his left is Ken Bender. Edwards and Bender lead the Black Contractors Group of greater Cleveland. 

WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, whose largely Black 11th congressional district includes the city of Cleveland and its eastern suburbs of Cuyahoga County, issued a press statement on April 14 expressing opposition to efforts by a group of citizens, led by local criminal defense attorney Michael Nelson Sr. and Black contractors Group leaders Ken Bender and Norm Edwards, to recall Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
from office.
"The campaign to recall Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is not warranted and is counterproductive," Fudge told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper. "It detracts from community efforts to move the city forward and bring about meaningful change on important issues such as police reform, infrastructure improvements, and neighborhood redevelopment."

One of only two Blacks in Congress from Ohio, Fudge said that "in its December 2014 report on the Cleveland Division of Police, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) identified a series of concrete steps that, if fully implemented, can  lead to lasting police reform."  

"Much will depend on continued citizen engagement,' the federal lawmaker said. 

It is Jackson's initial opposition to the controversial DOJ report issued last December that found systemic problems in the largely White Cleveland Police Department, including illegal excessive force killings and cruel and unusual punishment against innocent women and children and the mentally ill,  that is the impetus for the recall effort. 

Other issues of concern, say recall organizers, are the improper allocation of resources to big business, and Cleveland police killings of unarmed people, mainly Blacks, including 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Brandon Jones, Malissa Williams, Timothy Russell, Daniel Ficker, and Kenneth Smith. 

The mayor says now that there are institutional problems in his police department and that he sought ongoing police reform also as a former city council president. 

Edwards, a community activist, along with Nelson, also an attorney for the Cleveland NAACP, has vowed to take out petitions by May 1 and to collect the roughly 12, 000 signatures by June 1 to get the recall effort on the ballot.

Edwards and Nelson say that the three-term Black mayor is beautifying downtown Cleveland while the inner city goes to hell in a hand basket.

"We will have the signatures," said Edwards, at 
a recall meeting last month on the city's largely Black east side.

He then went on to criticize the mayor, citing a litany of concerns.

Nelson said at the meeting that Jackson is running the city in the ground and has forgotten about poor Black people and other disenfranchised types.

Edwards says that Jackson, whom voters reelected by a landslide in  2013 in a non-partisan runoff over millionaire businessman Ken Lanci,  is the worst mayor in the city's history, and is giving police a pass to murder people with impunity.

Fudge disagrees with that perception of the mayor, whom she has repeatedly endorsed, and supported. 

"Any effort to remove the mayor from office," said Fudge, "serves only to divide rather than to unite our community at this critical juncture."

But the congresswoman says she sympathizes with their concerns.

"I too feel the frustration many residents are expressing, and I stand ready to convene a meeting to discuss their grievances and work with responsible parties to achieve a positive path forward. " ( / (