Cuyahoga County Plastic Bag Ban January 2020

      
Thank you Governor DeWine for supporting home rule and protecting Lake Erie.

Please tell your Ohio State Senator to let local areas determine their own laws, especially on plastics which can harm our lakes and rivers

This from the Sierra Club of Ohio:
EVERYONE make calls to Governor DeWine’s office applauding his position against the container law preemption bills and for local government freedom to develop solutions to plastic pollution. (Pats on the back are always nice, and hopefully it will encourage him to hold strong on his position and veto any bills that may make it to his desk)  (614) 644-4357

To find your Ohio State Senator (or Rep.), click here

Here are tools we can use to educate about the Cuyahoga County Single-Use Plastic Bag ban

 

“Experts say state needs bail reform” by Julie Hullett

Summary of “Bail Reform” forum held at Cleveland Hts/University Hts Public Library on Thursday December 12, 2019

Experts say state needs bail reform
By JULIE HULLETT
The pdf is here


left to right: Nick Castele- Ideastream, Claire Chevrier ACLU Ohio, Judge Charles L. Patton Jr., Cleveland Municipal Court, Judge John J. Russo, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS — Panelists at a Thursday forum concluded that the state of Ohio is in desperate need of bail reform, a slow yet necessary process to even the scales as defendants stand before the justice system.

The Greater Cleveland Chapter of the League of Women Voters sponsored the event at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library on Dec. 12, in addition to other sponsors such as Case Western Reserve University Siegal Lifelong Learning, Heights Public Library, Ideastream and First Interstate Properties, Ltd.

Nick Castele of WCPN/Ideastream moderated the panel, which consisted of advocacy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Claire Chevrier, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Charles Patton, Jr. and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Administrative and Presiding Judge John Russo.

“In Ohio, we have a two-tier system of justice in which wealthy individuals who were assigned cash bail as a condition of release get to go home to their families,” Ms. Chevrier said. “Those who don’t have deep pockets and can’t pay for their cash bail as a condition of release stay in jail.”

The video from the forum is here:

Pretrial services

Judge Patton said that Cleveland did not have a pretrial services department two years ago. A representative from pretrial services greets people in custody directly after their arrest and gathers information such as their employment and housing status. Judge Patton said that a risk assessment tool is used to determine if the person is a risk to the community and the pretrial services department gathers that information.

He said that there are currently 90 people in Cleveland Municipal Court jail. Several years ago, there was an average 200-300 people in jail on any day, according to Judge Patton.

“During this year, we have reduced our jail population by more than 50 percent by utilizing the pretrial services,” he said.

Risk assessments

Ms. Chevrier said that risk assessments cannot be objective. Although some are better than others, she said, risk assessments are based on underlying biases and criminal policing. For example, some assessments would flag defendants who live in a high crime neighborhood, which Ms. Chevrier said is criminalization of poverty. Other biases include number of former arrests and convictions, which can have racially disparate outcomes, she explained.

“There’s a lot of coercion under cash bail system,” she said. “That is not an objective measure.”

Closing the gap

Judge Russo explained how Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court works in coordination with Cleveland Municipal Court. He said that 60 percent of the felony charges in the common pleas court come from the 13 municipal courts in the county. The county court must manage 15,000 to 17,000 cases per year, he said.

Six years ago, Judge Russo said that defendants waited an average of 30 days in jail between appearing in front of the municipal court and the county court. He said that the gap is now four days because dire consequences come from being stuck in jail.

“We closed that gap for a number of reasons…[like] how it can affect someone’s life in a matter of three days, losing a car, a job, a home, whatever it might be,” Judge Russo said.

Moving forward

Judge Russo was a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio’s task force on bail reform and the group published nine recommendations, including requiring a risk assessment tool and the presence of counsel for an initial appearance, considering alternatives to pretrial detention and use text or email reminders for court dates, according to the report.

Judge Russo said that Ohio needs a “centralized data-based system for criminal justice system” so every region of the state can collect and compare data equally. Judge Patton compared the costs of keeping people in jail or releasing them until their next court date.

“We are spending between $100-150 per night per defendant in jail,” Judge Patton said. “We are spending less than $10 for every night they’re on the street.”

Ms. Chevrier and the ACLU are advocating for “a presumption of release” unless the judge or prosecutor asks for a hearing because they notice something concerning in the facts of the case or the person’s history that could make the person a public safety risk.

Audience members and mental health professionals Dr. Megan Testa and Annette Amistadi said that the forum was informative. Dr. Tetsa of Shaker Heights, a psychiatrist at University Hospitals, said that she often works will patients who are mentally ill and need treatment rather than jail time. Ms. Amistadi of Parma said that she came to the forum to learn more about how the justice system can treat people fairly and work as efficiently as possible.

“Women’s Health in Ohio” a forum on Sept 17, 2019


“Women’s Health in Ohio
Tuesday September 17 6:30pm
The flyer is here
The video is here

with panelists:
Dr. Carla Harwell, University Hospitals
Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
Dr. Amy Hise,  CWRU School of Medicine
Tracy Carter, VP Government Relations, MetroHealth

Moderated by Marlene Harris Taylor WCPN/Ideastream

We’ll explore the state of women’s health in Ohio and the U.S. today and what can be done to improve it.

Ohio is ranked 32nd in overall health rankings for women (and children), according to a 2018 report published by America’s Health Rankings with: *high drug death among women
*low percentage of infants exclusively breastfed for 6 months
*low percentile of publicly-funded health services needs met

 In Ohio, black women are two to three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women while nationwide, American women are 50% more likely to die in childbirth than 30 years ago.

 And while there has been a shift toward including women in clinical drug trials in the last 25 years, there is still a long way to go in terms of robust representation of women. 

(Good news: for the first time since 2004, more women than men applied to U.S. medical schools. Women were also the majority of matriculants (new enrollees) to medical school for the second year in a row)

The statistics can be alarming, but what can be done to reverse these trends and inequalities? What role do our lawmakers play in our heath?   Where do we go from here?


Marelene Harris Taylor, Ideastream
Lakewood Public Library Main, 15425 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Cosponsored by Ideastream, LWV-Greater Cleveland, CWRU Siegal Lifelong Learning and Lakewood Public Library

  

“The 2020 Census: what does it mean for Ohio and Cleveland?” a forum on September 12, 2019

“The 2020 Census: what does it mean for
Ohio and Cleveland?”
Thursday September 12 7pm

the flyer is here
the forum write-up is here
the forum video is here

with panelists:

Lisa Neidert, Univ of Michigan Institute for Social Research

Daniel Ortiz, Policy Matters Ohio

Michele Pomerantz, Cuyahoga County Government

The forum will begin with brief comments from County Executive Armond Budish, Co-Chair of the Cuyahoga County Complete Count Committee of the 2020 Census

Moderated by Rich Exner Cleveland.com 


Rich Exner, cleveland.com

CWRU Siegal Beachwood Landmark Centre
25700 Science Park Dr., Suite 100, Beachwood, OH 44122

Cosponsored by Cleveland.com, LWV-Greater Cleveland and CWRU Siegal Lifelong Learning
   

 

2020 U.S. CENSUS FORUM: Accurate census vital to Ohio’s future by Julie Hullett 9/12/19

Photo: left to right: Michele Pomerantz, Daniel Ortiz, Lisa Neidert, Rich Exner, mod.Accurate census vital to Ohio’s future
By JULIE HULLETT
SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
The pdf is here
The video is here

BEACHWOOD — Local government officials and activists are doing everything they can to get an accurate count for the 2020 census, which will affect redistricting and funding for various programs and projects, according to a panel of experts.

Lisa Neidert of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Daniel Ortiz of Policy Matters Ohio and Michele Pomerantz, director of regional collaboration for Cuyahoga County spoke on the importance of the census and how they are working to count every individual, in addition to brief comments from county Executive Armond Budish. Rich Exner, data analyst editor for cleveland.com, moderated the panel discussion, which drew a crowd of more than 50 people at the Beachwood Landmark Centre on Sept. 12.

“The county has been putting a lot of resources into this effort because it is so important. We need everyone to be counted,” Executive Budish said, who is also co-chairman of the Cuyahoga County Complete Count Committee.

“So many of the things we do depend on a complete census. We provide Medicaid, SNAP, Head Start, foster care and the resources that come through those programs to people who need it depend on the census.”

The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, The Siegal Lifelong Learning Center at Case Western Reserve University and cleveland.com.

Self-reporting for 2020 census

Ms. Pomerantz noted an important change for the census. The 2020 census is the first one that will offer the option to self-report online or on the phone. In the past, a U.S. Census Bureau employee, known as an enumerator, came door-to-door to gather information or the census was mailed for residents to fill out and return.

“Self-response is the first and preferred way that we ask of those to respond,” according to Susan Licate, partnership specialist at the Philadelphia Regional Census Center.

She explained the process for reporting census information this year. There are four “touch points.” In early March, households will receive the invitation in the mail to respond to the census online or by phone. One week after the first notification arrives, the household will receive a reminder in the mail. If a household still does not respond, it will receive another reminder. The fourth reminder comes as a paper census page in the mail to fill out. After that, an enumerator will come to the door to gather census information, including name, age, race, sex, relation to the head of the household and whether the person rents or owns the home.

Protecting underreported populations

Mr. Ortiz serves as the chairman of the county subcommittee on Hard to Count Communities, including minorities, homeless people and those living in poverty. He said that although the technical process has improved over time, the U.S. still has a history of undercounting certain populations.

“It’s something that’s always been political. There’s a history of people not being fully counted,” he said of the census, which has occurred every 10 years since 1790.

He noted that black Americans were not fully counted until after slavery, Native Americans were not counted until 1870 and Hispanic and Latinx individuals were counted as Mexican in 1930 and then counted with the term Hispanic in 1970. The census committee is looking at ways to target hard-to-count communities to ensure that they are informed and prepared for the census.

Ms. Pomerantz added that after the census is over for regular households, enumerators will spend several days in communities to count homeless people, whether they are on the street or in a shelter.

Earning trust for the census

Ms. Neidert said that it will prove to be a challenge to gain the trust of individuals filling out the census and convince them that the information is necessary for leaders to efficiently govern. Mr. Exner noted that there will not be a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

“Even when the president decides to create havoc about the citizenship question…[committees] are put together with those individuals who already have the relationship so that this continues to be an outpouring of a message that the census is safe to take,” Ms. Pomerantz said.

The panelists said that the challenges arise in finding every person to count and convincing each one that their information is private and will not be misused. Ms. Neidert also noted that following WWII, census data was used for Japanese internment.

Funding the effort

According to Ms. Pomerantz, Ohio legislators did not appropriate additional funds in the biennial budget for the 2020 census.

“If the state of Ohio was to put extra funding in for the census, even just for promotional materials, it would go a long way,” she said. “But we have not seen that funding and we were pretty surprised about that.”

Ms. Neidert said that the state has been “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” and that the money will not be useful if it comes too late. According to Ms. Pomerantz, the county census team has relied on the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation for their philanthropic efforts.

How to get involved

Armed with knowledge by the end of the discussion, attendees asked how they can get involved in the 2020 census. Panelists advised them to spread the word with their family, friends and community neighbors about the importance of the census. The bureau is still seeking enumerators and those interested can gather more information at cuyahogacounty.us/2020census.

Melanie Biché of Cleveland Heights said that she came to the discussion to learn more about the census and gerrymandering.

“I’m very concerned about gerrymandering and I want to understand how the census will impact us,” she said. “I didn’t realize the amount of money that is involved in this. I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the census was. Right now I have more questions than answers.”

As for the census itself, committee members and census bureau employees are working to make it as clear and straightforward as possible. They are hoping that the process will be easier to complete with the option of sharing information online or on the phone, according to the panelists. Nada Martinovic, who represents Cuyahoga County at the Philadelphia Regional Census Center, said that people can respond in 12 languages online and 59 languages on the phone, in addition to English online or by phone.

 

Making Sense of  Ohio’s Court System Saturday, October 12, 2019 Heights Library

The flyer is here
Making Sense of  
Ohio’s Court System
Saturday, October 12, 2019
10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Heights Library Main Branch
2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights 44118

Eager to learn more about Ohio’s court system, how judges are selected, and how you can take action to ensure our courts are fair and impartial? The Ohio Fair Courts Alliance is a nonpartisan engagement project designed to educate Ohioans about challenges and opportunities facing the justice system. In this training, you’ll learn how Ohio’s court system impacts us—from voting rights, gerrymandering, the environment, and education to bail reform, healthcare, and immigration—and what citizens, like you, can do to improve it.
Free and open to the public

Training facilitated by Common Cause Ohio and Ohio Voice

RSVP here for Cleveland Heights
Training facilitated by Common Cause Ohio and Ohio Voice

How Do We Increase Voter Turn Out? a forum on May 29, 2019

The flyer is here
The forum summary is here
The video is here

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 7:00 – 8:30pm
How Do We Increase Voter Turn Out?
(aka where are the next 50,000 Cuyahoga County voters going to come from)
Rocky River Public Library 1600 Hampton Road 44116

Panelists
Erika Anthony, Director, Cleveland Votes

Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director, All Voting is Local

Anthony W. Perlatti, Director, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

Moderated by Jen Miller, Director, League of Women Voters-Ohio

Cosponsored by Rocky River Public Library, Lakewood, Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, Rocky River & Westlake Chapters

Making Sense of Local Judicial Elections a forum on May 7, 2019

Making Sense of Local Judicial Elections
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
7:00 – 8:30pm
Heights Library Main Branch
2345 Lee Road Cleveland Hts 44118
The flyer is here
The handout from the forum is here
The video is here

Panelists
Deborah Coleman, Esq., Chair, Judicial Candidates Rating Coalition

The Honorable C. Ellen Connally, Cleveland Municipal Court (retired)

Judge J.J. Costello, Cleveland Heights Municipal Court

Judge Robert C. McClelland, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas

Moderated by Catherine LaCroix, LWV-Greater Cleveland

Did you know that far too many Ohio voters skip the judicial portion of their ballot? Some call it ballot fatigue, or the SAT effect—but the reality is that most voters don’t know who or what they’re voting for. Our panelists will explain the structure of the Ohio judicial system and the role local judges play in our everyday lives. And they’ll give you the tools you need to research judicial candidates so you can make informed choices on Election Day. Please join us on Tuesday, May 7 – and bring a friend!

Free and open to the public
Cosponsored by
Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University
League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Corporate sponsor: First Interstate Ltd.

MONEY IN POLITICS:  The impact of unchecked campaign financing and what we can do about it – April 10, 2019


MONEY IN POLITICS:  The impact of unchecked campaign financing and what we can do about it
The flyer is here
The video is here

WHEN:  7-8:30pm, Wednesday, April 10, 2019
WHERE:  Olin Hall, Room 124, University of Akron, 361 Buchtel Common, Akron 44304
MODERATOR:  Bruce Winges, Retired V.P. and Editor, Akron Beacon Journal
PANELISTS:
Cyndra Miller Cole, Lecturer, Bliss Institute for Public Policy, U. of Akron

William D. Rich, Emeritus Professor, University of Akron School of Law; Chairman, Summit County Board of Elections

Catherine Turcer, Executive Director, Common Cause Ohio

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

It’s been nine years since The Supreme Court issued its Citizens United Ruling. While we know campaign financing has increased exponentially, what we don’t know is where all the money’s coming from.  Dark money, money from non-profit political action committees (PACs) that do not require source disclosures, has become more prevalent in state and local office campaigns.  What can we do, if anything, to shed light and stem the flow.

CO-SPONSORED BY:  The Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron; The League of Women Voters of the Akron Area; The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland; Common Cause Ohio

“Plastics and Lake Erie” a forum on Tues Dec 4, 2018


Tuesday December 4, 2018 at 7:00 pm
“Plastics and Lake Erie”
The flyer is here
The video is here

Rocky River Library, 1600 Hampton Rd, Rocky River 44116
Moderated by Elizabeth Miller, Environmental Reporter, Ideastream
Panelists:
Jill Bartolotta, Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant College Program
Crystal M.C. Davis, Policy Director, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Erin D. Huber, Executive Director and Founder, Drink Local Drink Tap


Elizabeth Miller

Co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, Case Western Reserve University Siegal Lifelong Learning Program, League of Women Voters-Greater Cleveland, Cleveland.com, Ideastream, Rocky River High School Environmental Club and Bay Village Green Team
Corporate sponsor: First Interstate Properties, Ltd.