PRESS RELEASE SUBMITTED
Cleveland, OH — Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) announced today that
the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (BOE) has officially certified its petitions for a proposal for a city of Cleveland law mandating a “Lead Safe” standard for all rental housing and day care centers. CLASH filed petitions on April 2 with signatures from 10,338 Cleveland residents. The city charter will now require City Council to review the proposal for no more than 90 days and vote it up or down. If the proposal is rejected by City Council the charter allows CLASH to request that the BOE place it on the November 5th election ballot.
“It has been a privilege for us to work with thousands of Cleveland residents to advocate for the change necessary to protect our children,” says Jeff Johnson, CLASH member and former City Councilman. “This is what democracy looks like. This petition process is exactly the type of citizen action that the city charter encourages. We hope City Council members respond to these residents by seriously considering the legislation and voting to pass this proposed lead safe law.”
CLASH appreciates the hard work of hundreds of citizens who talked with thousands of Cleveland residents about the proposal and secured their signatures of support. Over 250 volunteers and others worked over six weeks understanding the urgent need to end the lead crisis in the city. CLASH thanks them all.
“For 6 weeks in the cold of February and March our volunteers spoke to Cleveland residents about this ordinance,” added Milo Korman, CLASH and DSA member as well as an active signature gatherer, “We heard thousands of stories from mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins about their loved ones who have suffered from the terrible condition of childhood lead poisoning. The support for this legislation was overwhelming. The people of Cleveland have spoken: they ask that City Council take lead safe housing seriously. If not, then the citizens of Cleveland have the right to have their voices heard at the ballot box.”
The proposed ordinance and ballot initiative will activate the most important investment in city housing in generations. The proposal would require that all Cleveland rental properties and day care center buildings built before 1978 be tested for lead hazards and be certified as “Lead Safe” by 2021. It also includes protections for tenants, creation of a city fund for public and private contributions to assist landlords and other requirements that will educate the public about the dangers of lead poisoning to neighborhood children.
CLASH, on behalf of the citizens who signed the petitions, is looking forward to working with City Council, Mayor Frank Jackson, and the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition to pass this proposal. The charter requires within 90 days for City Council to hold public hearings during its consideration of the CLASH proposal.
“We ask that City Council review our proposed new law and work with us knowing that it has significant support from their constituents,” says Rebecca Maurer, CLASH attorney. “We should all have the same goal: change the law to protect our children from lead poisoning. We hope we can achieve that goal collaboratively with City Council and the members of the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition. We seek passage of our proposal by City Council this summer, but if not, CLASH is prepared to go to the November ballot to ask the citizens to decide.”
ABOUT CLEVELAND LEAD ADVOCATES FOR SAFE HOUSING
Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable citizens in the City of Cleveland. Member organizations include the Cleveland Lead Safe Network, Single Payer Access Network, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County, Cleveland End Poverty Now Coalition, Organize!Ohio, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America.