Gloria Ferris

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

Archive for March, 2018

Ward 14 Town Hall Meeting

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending the first town hall meeting hosted by Councilwoman Jasmin Santana, her assistant, Maranyeliz Miranda, and her volunteers.  It was an enjoyable, informative meeting. I hope,as Ms. Santana said,it will  be the first of many.

This town hall  was a community forum with many city officials as well as non-profit advocates discussing housing issues and solutions with the audience.  This first forum’s participants included:

Special Guest: MetroHealth

Chief of Staff. Jane Platten.  Walter Jones, Senior Vice President in charge of campus transformation accompanied her.

Cleveland Build and Housing:

Ayonna Donald, Interim director Cleveland Director B & H.

Housing Partnership Network, FKA Cleveland Housing Network

Kate Monter Durban, Assistant Director

Neighborhood Housing Services

Mahria Harris, Director of Homeowner Services

Christina Keegan, Land Trust Program Manager

Cleveland Housing Court

Heather Meljkovic, Magistrate

Peter Hotchkiss, Housing Court Specialist

Community Development Organizations.

Metro West Development Organization

Keisha Gonzalez, Managing Director

Tremont West Development Corporation

Cory Riordan, Executive Director

Pastor Gordon Martin, Prince of Peace Outreach presided as facilitator and fielded the written questions from the audience. Since the topic was housing, he informed us  that all the other questions would be handled on-line since people had failed to add contact info to the questions. 

As always, there were a few in the audience who refused to believe that the rules applied to them and they shouted their questions from the floor. When Pastor Martin was unable to get them to understand that the written questions served two purposes-the question topic would be housing and that all others would be handled in writing on- line,  the councilwoman and he handled the impromptu questions quickly and efficiently so that the discussion on housing issues could continue.

There was a lot of useful information exchanged. The housing court personnel handled eviction questions as well as what the procedure is if you end up in court. 

“Who is the code enforcer?” was handled by Metro West’s managing director, Keisha Gonzalez and Ms. Arnold of Building and  Housing  who has  over 20 years experience both in the field and in management.

Ms. Gonzalez shared that Metro West conducts four Code Enforcement Area (CEA) studies a year. When an area  is chosen  for closer scrutiny a house to house outside inspection is conducted. These inspections are to identify potential Building and Housing violations before they become a problem for the homeowner when code enforcement kicks in.

If you receive a letter, call Metro West. There are resources that can help home owners. any people accomplished home repairs which alleviates anxiety and enhances their own quality of life as well as their neighbors’.

Ms. Arnold made everyone understand Metro West, Tremont West or any other CDC does NOT have enforcement authority.

Many questions centered around affordable housing and what programs are available to residents as well as the deposition of the YMCA building on Pearl. An added plus was Jane Platten from MetroHospitals who addressed the new transformation plan for the hospital and how those plans do not call for the displacement of current residents near the hospital. Ms. Platten was glad to be able to dispel the rumors at a public forum.

Rebecca Kempton and I recorded the meeting on Facebook live. It is available in two sections. If you are interested please take the time to watch it. There are two sections I and II. Click on  Gloria Ferris. Scroll down.

Again, I would like to thank everyone who participated in last night’s meeting, but most of all, to thank Councilwoman Santana for using the calls to her office as her basis for the Town Hall topic.

I look forward to the next one.

Sticking a Bit Closer to Home to Identify Heroes

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Today Is International Woman’s Day. A very important day and there are many heroes I could mention-Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Blackwell, Beverly Cleary,  Elizabeth Jane Cochran, every woman who marched, faced ridicule, sat in jail, and worked tirelessly so I and others would have the right to vote, and many, many more.

But today, for some reason, I am thinking of heroes much closer to me in my life. Not those I read about growing up, thanks to teachers who encouraged me to explore these incredible women, but those women who influenced my life in ways that shaped me into who I am today-my mother and her sisters.

My mother is dead. She has not been physically in my life since July 2, 1990. It doesn’t mean she isn’t with me every single day of my life because she is a piece of my heart. When her mother died in 1971, my mother was 49 years old. I remember my aunts were 39, 37, and 27 when Grandma Esther died. In 1990, I was 40 years old when my mother died.  I remember Mom telling me that it didn’t matter what age your mother was when she left you it would be too soon.

I remembered those words on the day of her funeral. I also remembered that she  told me that, although I was an only child, I would never be alone because I had aunts who loved me just like she loved their kids. And how she loved those kids from the time they were born through the trials and tribulations of adolescence to when they became parents

My mother expressed her love for others through her actions. She was a woman of few words but when she spoke you knew what she said was true and not lightly spoken. She had a laugh that began slowly, rose in volume and continued until it faded into silence.  She was my rock. She was my confidante. She was my mother.

She was right. My aunts did become like sisters to me. They invited my family and me to participate in large family gatherings as well as small get-togethers with them. They loved my children as my mom had loved theirs.

Their love for my family and me was never more apparent than November 2008 when I suffered a massive heart attack and three strokes. A time when it was surmised that I would not live longer than six months,  if at all. Tim has said that he does not know what he would have done without the incredible faith of “the Aunts”.

Against great odds, I did survive. I did recover from the paralysis of my left side. My heart did heal and I have had my aunts by my side every step of the way.My Aunt Janice called me once a week just to talk and I never told her  how welcome those phone calls were because it was like my mother was right there with me through a very difficult time.

My Aunt Mick was there too. She was the one that made sure that I did not withdraw from family. That I continued to be a part of something much larger than myself. She knew my tendency to become the only child who could do it all herself.

My Aunt Connie was six years old when I was born. My mother was 28. I grew up thinking of her more like a sister than an aunt although I always knew she was “the little sister” making her very special to my mother and my aunts. Together, they had a bond that was forged in a way that would never break.  My aunts all told me stories of my mom’s job at the Flxible Company during the war and how when the young men came back from war she quietly returned to her former job leaving the supervisor’s position that she loved. She paid for music lessons, she bought a camera for them for Christmas and all the other things she would do for her younger siblings. All three kept my mother alive for me.

Now, it is only Aunt Connie, me and my cousins who remind me of their mothers in such wonderful ways who carry on the values and traditions forged through the years. Aunt Connie continues to give me the hope I need and bolster my faith that those who go before us are with us each and every day.  I realize that all four of these women taught me how without hope we are nothing and with hope we have the faith to carry on.

Throughout my life, I told them all I loved them, but I don’t think I have had the courage to tell them they were my heroes. I am glad that I still have the time to tell Aunt Connie.  I can feel the warmth of the smiles of the other three wrapped around me as I write.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 8th, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Posted in general