Shalira Taylor is running for council in Cleveland Ward 12 and is asking how Kelley got them a raise and suppressed the vote to reduce council during a federal election

What the evidence shows is that Kevin Kelley, Pat Perlotti and the board of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections conspired to suppress one vote while elevating another to keep voters from deciding if council's number and wages should be reduced

CLEVELAND, OH – Fresh off a campaign to represent the 11th Congressional District in the United States Congress, Shalira Taylor has set her sights on acquiring a seat on Cleveland city council in Ward 12 in 2021.  Slavic Village is not majority Slavic anymore.  It is majority American Negro.  Like Murray Hill and North Collinwood, the Eastern European immigrants from Russia, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Hungary who populated Ward 12 or Slavic Village violently resisted the word “integration.” Today they have no choice but to live in an integrated ward.

Before he died in 1980, Call & Post Publisher & Editor William O. Walker told me during an interview that five Cleveland wards with seats occupied by Caucasian candidates could be acquired by American Negroes.  He criticized council reduction plans as way to suppress the city’s growing American Negro majority population.

The real American Negro census of Cleveland is 60 percent of 390,000.  That’s 244,000.  German Americans are 2nd at 9.9 percent.  Irish Americans – Protestant and Catholic – are 8.8 percent.  Every other ethnic group is a tiny minority.  An American Negro candidate can win in all 17 of the city’s wards.  Information like this has never been shared this way by the Russian owners of the Plain Dealer and

What Mr. Walker lamented in our discussion in 1980, as the last journalist to inteview him before his death, was that the American Negroes he saw entering council from the late 1970’s and 1980 would not seek to increase “Black” representation as none had a background in “civil rights.”  Taylor appears to be the first in Ward 12.

In studying the Revised Code of Ohio, Cleveland’s charter, ordinances, budgets and audits to learn the statuory duties of a member of council, Taylor said she like other Clevelanders questioned how voters who wanted to vote yes or no on reducing the body and shrinking the pay ended up with “that” vote “suppressed,” and the charter change tying council’s percentage increases to the highest percentage they vote to give a public employee union was approved.  

She knew Cleveland residents had successfully gathered the 22,000 signatures needed to put the charter reduction and pay raise on the ballot; and that they were delivered to the Clerk of  Council and validated by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.  What she doesn’t and wants to know is how the charter change was removed from the ballot after the circulator admitted he missed the statutory withdrawal deadline.

Last February 11, 2020, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections official Mike West released a “Media Advisory” that the unit of state government organized under Title 35 of the Revised Code of Ohio had received “official notification” that the two Cleveland charter amendments have been withdraw [sic].”  He misspelled the word “withdrawn.”

The letterhead identified the members of the board as Jeff Hastings, Inajo Davis Chappell, Robert S. Frost and David Wondolowski.  Anthony Perlatti was and is the director. Shantiel H. Soeder is the deputy director.  The announcement intended to withdraw Issues 3 and 4 from the March 17, 2020 federal primary election in which locally voters were asking for a special election to seeking to reduce Cleveland city council from 17 to 9 and cutting the public office’s pay.

If Tony George and William Ritter were questioned by United States Department of Justice prosecutors and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the two will explain their discussions with Cleveland council president Kevin Kelley.  West will explain how the information was delivered to him for publication as a media advisory. 

What Taylor and other Clevelanders know from past experiences with Kelley’s obstruction of the Quicken Loans Arena referendum know is the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections did not have the legal authority to remove the charter changes from the ballot.  What Taylor and other Clevelanders are questioning is how?

Pursuant to R.C. 3519.08(A), Ritter had to ask the Secretary of State and not Cleveland city council or the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to withdraw the petition.  Ritter had already publicly-admitted that he missed the deadline for personal reasons. 

“Notwithstanding division (I)(2) of section 3501.38 of the Revised Code, at any time prior to the seventieth day before the day of an election at which an initiative or referendum is scheduled to appear on the ballot, a majority of the members of the committee named to represent the petitioners in the petition proposing that initiative or referendum under section 3519.02 of the Revised Code may withdraw the petition by giving written notice of the withdrawal to the secretary of state.

Ritter failed to give written notice to the Secretary of State prior to the 70th day before the March 17, 2020 primary election.  Had Ritter intended to comply with R.C. 3519.08(A) he would have withdrawn with a written request to the Secretary of State prior to January 7, 2020 as required by general election laws for municipal corporations found in R.C. 731. 

Section 15 of Cleveland’s charter clearly affirms that in addition to its instructions, the general laws of the state apply when it comes to local elections. Two sections of Ohio law guide municipal elections.  R.C. 731 and Title 35.

Section 15 of Cleveland’s charter language is below and readers should observe the last sentence’s instructions to council is to enact ordinances “against corrupt practices.”

“All elections provided for by this Charter, whether for the choice of officers or the submission of questions to the voters, shall be conducted by the election authorities prescribed by general law of the State; and the provisions of the general election laws of the State shall apply to all the elections except as provision is otherwise made by this Charter, and except further that the Council may, by ordinance, provide measures to promote and insure the purity and integrity of the ballot, and against corrupt practices in elections. (Effective November 4, 2008) “

A story written by Cleveland Scene’s Sam Allard reveals Ritter appears to have learned he’d failed to perform the duties of a petition circulator when he missed the prior to the 70th day before the election withdrawal deadline by 24 days.  Instead of living within the limits of R.C. 3519.08(A), Ritter appears to have held secret meetings with Kelly and others to concoct a scheme to obstruct it.

The only official Bill Ritter can ask to withdraw the petitions to shrink council is the Secretary of State.

On February 7, 2020, Kelly introduced Resolution 197-2020 as an “emergency ordinance” to “repeal Ord. No. 41-2020 passed January 6, 2020 authorizing submission to the electors of the City of Cleveland of an initiative petition proposing to amend the Charter of the City of Cleveland by amending Section 27, relating to salary and attendance of Council members; and to repeal Ordinance No. 42-2020, passed January 6, 2020, authorizing the submission to the electors of the City of Cleveland of an initiative petition proposing to amend the Charter of the City of Cleveland by amending Sections 25 and 25-1, relating to dividing the City into wards and reapportionment of wards.” 

The problems with Kelly’s “single emergency ordinance” are numerous.  He should have enacted two separate ordinances to deal with each charter issue as “one subject” separate.  This derelict act on Kelley’s part violated R.C. 731.19.  “Subject and admendments of bylaws, ordinances and resolutions.”  

“No ordinance, resolution, or bylaw shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title. No bylaw or ordinance, or section thereof, shall be revived or amended, unless the new bylaw or ordinance contains the entire bylaw, ordinance, or section revived or amended, and the bylaw, ordinance, or section so amended shall be repealed. Each such bylaw, resolution, and ordinance shall be adopted or passed by a separate vote of the legislative authority of a municipal corporation and the yeas and nays shall be entered upon the journal.”

This omission is just further evidence of a corrupt practice in violation of Section 15 of the Charter.  It also dragged election board officials into felony “Misconduct” violations of R.C. 3599.16.

Misconduct of member, director, or employee of board of elections – dismissal.  No member, director, or employee of a board of elections shall:  (A) Willfully or negligently violate or neglect to perform any duty imposed upon him by law, or willfully perform or neglect to perform it in such a way as to hinder the objects of the law, or willfully disobey any law incumbent upon him so to do;  (B) Willfully or knowingly report as genuine a false or fraudulent signature on a petition or registration form, or willfully or knowingly report as false or fraudulent any such genuine signature;  (C) Willfully add to or subtract from the votes actually cast at an election in any official returns, or add to or take away or attempt to add to or take away any ballot from those legally polled at such election;  (D) Carry away, destroy, or mutilate any registration cards or forms, pollbooks, or other records of any election;  (E) Act as an election official in any capacity in an election, except as specifically authorized in his official capacity;  (F) In any other way willfully and knowingly or unlawfully violate or seek to prevent the enforcement of any other provisions of the election laws.  Whoever violates this section shall be dismissed from his position as a member or employee of the board and is guilty of a felony of the fourth degree.  Effective Date: 01-01-1983 .

Investigators will see further evidence of Kelly misusing the authority of the council president to introduce his emergency ordinance as a special privilege to Ritter’s unlawful and obstructive request to the legislative authority instead of the Secretary of State on February 7, 2020.  Was he told that Frank LaRose would not question the local obstruction to his authority?  Did LaRose even know?   The City Record of Cleveland council’s did not show it being passed on February 7th.  West’s announcement from a “statutory elections authority under Ohio laws” is dated February 11th. 

Cleveland city council did not have a “regular” meeting scheduled for February 17, 2020.  The election board’s next meeting was February 19, 2020.  The board did meet on January 22, 2020; but it came nine days before Ritter’s withdrawal request announcement.  

So there was no “official communication” Kelley could have delivered to the elections board in the form of an agenda and minutes about a resolution that had not been voted on by Cleveland city council.  Kelley seeking to enact his “election obstructing” resolution as an “emergency” is another act of voter suppression. 

All ordinances and resolutions of council are subject to a referendum of the city’s voters if petitions are delivered challenging any that has been enacted within that time period.  Kelley’s use of the “emergency” enactment procedure on all legislation is tautological and illegal.

“Emergency Measures.  An emergency measure is an ordinance or resolution for the immediate preservation of the public peace, property, health, or safety, or providing for the usual daily operation of a Municipal department, in which the emergency is set forth and defined in a preamble. … no measure making a grant, renewal or extension of a franchise or other special privilege, or regulating the rate to be charged for its services by any public utility, shall ever be so passed. (Effective November 4, 2008)”

There is no discussion in any public record associated with Ritter’s request, and Kelley’s seek to enact it as an “emergency,” that would give Cleveland electors “a meaningful opportunity to determine” whether “their representatives did have valid reasons for the necessity of declaring that the ordinance was an emergency.” State ex rel. Moore v. Abrams, 62 Ohio St.3d 130, 580 N.E.2d 11 (1991), 

Kevin Kelley obstructed Clerk of Council Patricia Britt from accepting 22,000 signatures from registered Cleveland voters who wanted to decide yes or no on the $88 million he had enacted an “emergency” ordinance to give Dan Gilbert to renovate the Quicken Loans Arena. Standing next to him are two American Negro members of council. Phyllis Cleveland and former member Terrell Pruitt. Pruitt was Nina Turner’s choice to lead Ward 1 after she left for the Ohio Senate. Imagine a U.S. soldier and an American Negro standing silently by while an Irish Catholic anarchist obstructs hard fought for civil voting rights for American Negroes. Cleveland is an attorney. Disgraceful.

It’s already been well-settled by the Supreme Court of Ohio that, “Section 7, Article XVIII of the Ohio Constitution authorizes municipal corporations to adopt and amend a homerule charter.   Sections 8 and 9 of Article XVIII prescribe the procedures for adopting and amending a charter. State ex rel. Semik v. Cuyahoga Cty. Bd. of Elections (1993), 67 Ohio St.3d 334, 336, 617 N.E.2d 1120, 1122.”

It is clear from the plain words of the Constitution, the cases applying the Constitution, and the statutes that the policy of the law is to favor the right of citizens to amend the charters of the municipalities in which they live. For that reason, the law does not, among other things, give a city council the right to act as a quasi-judicial body and substantively attack citizens’ rights to place charter amendments on the ballot.

On petition of ten percent of the electors, the legislative authority of the city must “forthwith” authorize by ordinance an election on the proposed charter amendment. In a unanimous opinion we recently followed well-established law and held that the authority of a city council in determining the sufficiency of a petition is limited to the form of the petition and does not include substantive matters. Morris v. Macedonia City Council (1994), 71 Ohio St.3d 52, 641 N.E.2d 1075; see State ex rel. Polcyn v. Burkhart (1973), 33 Ohio St.2d 7, 62 O.O.2d 202, 292 N.E.2d 883.”

West’s “news release” identifies acts of “neglect of duty, malfeasance, misfeance, or nonfeasonce in office, on the part of the board and its employees; and it identifies willful violations of Title 35.  Pursuant to R.C. 3501.16 on the surface of his news release alone, and the implications of criminal acts it reveals, the Secretary of State may remove or suspend “any member of the board of elections, the director, deputy director, or any other employee of the board” for what it clearly affirms are Title 35 violations of law.

“The secretary of state may summarily remove or suspend any member of a board of elections, or the director, deputy director, or any other employee of the board, for neglect of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, for any willful violation of Title XXXV of the Revised Code, or for any other good and sufficient cause. Except as otherwise provided in section 3501.161 of the Revised Code, vacancies in the office of chairperson, director, or deputy director shall be filled in the same manner as original selections are made, from persons belonging to the same political party as that to which the outgoing officer belonged. If those vacancies cannot be filled in that manner, they shall be filled by the secretary of state.”

What neither Kelly nor the board can do is identify the specific section of Cleveland’s Charter or Title 35 of Ohio’s Revised Code that authorizes the legislative authority of a municipal corporation, and not the Secretary of State, to remove the two issues from the ballot and using a statutory “emergency ordinance enactment” process to do so.  The board can’t cite a section of Title 35 that authorized them to accept the withdrawal and to comply with Kelley’s vote suppressing acts during a federal election.

Shalira Taylor says the voters of Cleveland deserve answers.

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.


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