Apr 20, 2023 - Politics

Bibb paints rosy picture in second State of the City

A program for the 2023 Cleveland State of the City address, with Mayor Justin Bibb's face on it

All my photos of the mayor speaking were from too far away, so here's a photo of the program. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

Mayor Justin Bibb delivered his second annual State of the City address to a packed auditorium at East Technical High School Wednesday night, outlining recent policy wins and plans to spend remaining federal pandemic funding.

The big picture: Bibb reaffirmed his 2021 campaign slogan — "Cleveland can't wait" — by declaring Cleveland was open for business. He said he would continue to act boldly, even in the face of opposition.

  • "My administration is not comfortable with complacency," he said.

Between the lines: Bibb was criticized last year for failing to mention education.

  • This year, CMSD CEO Eric Gordon sat front and center, and Bibb honored him in opening remarks.

Other major talking points included:

🚔 Public safety

Bibb spent the largest portion of his speech on crime and policing.

  • Recent accomplishment: A new union contract with the division of police; the establishment of the Cleveland Community Police Commission; a 37% reduction in police use of force cases between 2018 and 2022.

What's next: A $10 million "neighborhood safety endowment fund," aggressive police recruitment, a care response policing pilot.

💭 My thought bubble: Bibb regularly affirms his support for the police in a way that sometimes feels like he's overcompensating for his support for Issue 24, the controversial ballot initiative that created the community police commission, which the police opposed.

💸 Economic development

Bibb encouraged optimism, despite Cleveland's persistent population and job loss over the past two decades.

What's next: An American Rescue Plan Act-funded $50 million site readiness fund meant to attract businesses and residents while creating 25,000 jobs.

  • Plus: Bibb plans to create a waterfront development authority to steer projects on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.

🏠 Housing

Bibb touted the city's vigorous commitment to housing code and lead hazard enforcement.

  • What they're saying: "Slumlords should be ashamed of themselves for robbing our residents of the dignity and the decency of a safe place to call home. Make no mistake about it. We will hold you accountable."

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