Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for August, 2017

Reply to Jasmin Santana’s Facebook Post

with 4 comments

Ms. Santana’s Facebook post appears at the bottom of my blog post. It was forwarded to me as an email. Just as she decided to reply publicly to my invitation I have decided to do the same.

On two things I agree with Ms Santana, we need to stay focused and continue to make Ward 14 the best it can be. This is why I try to stay out of the drivel that is so much of Facebook nowadays.

I, too, abhor rumors and accusations. Since I am upset by the lies and half-truths in her public reply I find it necessary to reply in public. Words that impugn my character, integrity and honesty need to be addressed.

Her reply implies that she did not receive an invitation until it was sent to her on August 8th. This is not true.

The invitation was sent by email July 31.  Here it is.

Dear________:

We would like to invite you to participate in the Ward 14 Community forums for council candidates. As in 2013, we have a plethora of qualified candidates running for the council seat. This council seat is very important to the voters in our ward. We feel offering two forums where candidates can answer questions asked by residents is an important part of community engagement.

We are a group of Ward 14 residents who believe in this process and because of that belief formed a rules of engagement and sponsored three community forums in 2014. We have been asked to again offer this service.   We have made some changes to the format, not many, but ones we feel will make the forums even more effective and enjoyable for participants and audience alike. 

We have changed the number of forums from three to two and have decided to have one on the east side of the ward and one on the west side. Archwood United Church of Christ has agreed to be our east side venue.   On the west side we are looking at three possible sites, Stockyards Community School, West 58th Street Church of God, and Clark Rec Center. Since our east side venue is difficult for some people to navigate it is imperative that our west side venue be accessible to all. 

Providing Spanish translation proved a challenge at the first forums. This time, we would like to engage your help in finding suitable translators. Therefore, if at all possible, we would like each candidate to engage someone to be their translator. If you would rather not or cannot, we will gladly help. 

We will again offer time for each candidate to speak at the beginning and closing of the forum. Usually, we try to keep those remarks to three minutes each. The questions are asked in round robin fashion so that no one individual has the advantage of being last or the disadvantage of being first. These are shared equally. 

I have sent a doodle poll for your convenience in sharing your availability. We have chosen two weeks and three dates each week in hopes of not needing to fine tune date selection too much. 

As soon as we have confirmed dates and times, we will notify you so that you can begin sharing the information with your workers, with people you meet and greet, and on social media. We will create a flyer by pdf for you to reproduce, share or use in any way you see fit. 

We will also send you a copy of our rules of engagement so that you will be able to ask questions or offer suggestions for its improvement. 

We look forward for the opportunity of holding these forums so that you and our residents can discuss the issues that are deemed most important to our community.

Sincerely,

 

Gloria Ferris                  Rebecca Kempton

2017 Ward 14 Community Forum Initiative

She did not reply to the invitation or Doodle poll. The Doodle poll was sent July 31. A Doodle poll is sent to participants giving them dates and times. The recipient simply adds her or his name to the list and clicks on the dates acceptable to him or her. That’s all it takes. The creator of the poll is notified when people reply.

Granted, the invitation did not go out until July 31, but we needed to secure the venues before asking the availability of candidates.

Candidates had until June 29th to submit petitions to run in the primary. Technically, anyone soliciting candidates for a forum or debate would not do so until that date passed.

I did not want to be part of sponsoring candidate debates this election cycle. Although residents kept asking me if we would have community forums again I continued to wait by the third week of July, none were scheduled and I knew people wanted them.

Since I believe in the right of community engagement in the election process not controlled by the parties, I began looking for venues.

Yes, maybe it is a bit of a short fuse, but I needed to make sure we had venues in line before contacting candidates for availability.

Hence, the Doodle Poll which gave six dates and two starting times for the forums. Three candidates replied quickly with availability and two did not. Since the three candidates who replied all indicated that August 17 and August 22 were good for them, and it turned out that West 58th Street Church of God could ONLY host on that date, those dates were chosen.

If Jasmin had contacted me directly to let me know the 17th and 22nd were not good dates for her, I would have continued looking for a second ADA-accessible venue. Archwood Church had indicated that any of the six dates worked for them.

So now, I know from Jasmin’s public reply to the flyer I sent or to the invitation she received and/or the doodle she did receive notice. She simply did not give me the courtesy of a reply.

Flier sent to ALL candidates on August 9.

[to be added later]

I am glad that Jasmin mentioned the League of Women Voters in her public reply so that I could share a bit of background with her and the public. Four years ago, the Cuyahoga County League of Women Voters was the first group I reached out to when we began to explore the possibility of community forums.

At that time, their representative informed me that as a rule they do not hold community forums for Ward candidates. She did steer me toward the California League of Women’s website where there were instructions on how to conduct such a forum. The format worked perfectly for our purposes. If she had contacted me with her concerns, this is what I would have told her.

I must admit this time I simply decided to use the League of Women Voters’ format that we previously used. I decided my time was better spent securing translation equipment from the Cleveland Municipal School District and looking for two simultaneous translators. I am still looking.

If anyone knows of translators with this skill set, I would greatly appreciate contact information. Mine is 216-351-0254 or gloria@gloriaferris.net.

I am not sure from where the information of me being “a strong Cummins supporter” originated, but I think that those who know me would find the statement a bit incongruous.

Throughout the years, people who know Brian and me know that we have had our differences of opinion. We often do not agree. In fact, I ran against Brian, Rick Nagin, and Emily Lipovan one year.

There is one thing I admire about Brian and that is his willingness as an incumbent to face his opposition in an open forum. I am also thankful for Nelson Cintron Jr who never steps away from the public engagement. I am grateful to newcomer Omar Medina who also stepped up to the plate. Sadly, I wish that the two candidates who did not reply to the invitation had.

Since all questions are submitted in writing by the audience and vetted by a committee chosen by the candidates and read by the moderator, I am not sure where “bias” enters into the conversation.

I beg to differ with the statement that this forum cannot be seen as a place for the public to hear from the candidates honestly and openly.

Over the years. I have heard from many people who attended and participated in community forums I have conducted. I am proud that two words “fair and impartial” are used when describing them.

I intend to continue to offer the best community-based forum for the candidates and the voters I can. I will not and cannot be sidetracked by a candidate who did not reply to an invitation, but waited to respond when it was indeed too late to accommodate her.

And yes, a primary season that is two months long followed by a general election two months later is not the public’s friend.

From Jasmin Santana:

My Response to the Invitation to Participate in the Biased, Cummins Supporters Sponsored Candidate Forum

Recently I received an invitation to participate in a candidate forum. I will not be attending the forum for several reasons.

I will be out of town for the first one with my family keeping the commitment I made to my husband and children to spend time with them before school starts. 

The second forum takes place at the same time as an event that I had already placed on my busy campaign calendar. 

To announce in the beginning of August a candidate forum and expect candidates to attend is truly unfair to dedicated candidates who are meeting with voters daily. 

This forum is also being hosted by two women who are strong Cummins supporters and are perceived as biased.  

One of them recently stated "Jasmin has about as much chance of getting elected as a snowball in hell has a chance of surviving.”  

A statement like this shows complete bias and therefore, this forum cannot be seen as an opportunity for the public to hear from the candidates honestly and openly. This has been the case in the past and now that his campaign is struggling, they have hastily put together this forum to help his campaign. 

I refuse to attend on that principle alone. If the forum were being conducted by the League of Women Voters, or an unbiased, non-partisan group, I would happily attend given enough notice.  

To all of my wonderful supporters, I know that there will be a lot of rumors and accusations, some people are going to be upset and might say things to try to hurt the campaign or us, so, let’s stay focused, and continue working to make Ward 14 the best it can be! 

Palante!! Seguimos enfocados en hacer lo mejor para nuestra comunidad

Written by Gloria Ferris

August 10th, 2017 at 10:27 pm