Council recall petitions filed in Ward 14
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, November 2007) Sparing between Ward 14 Councilman Joe Santiago and former Ward 14 Councilman Nelson Cintron, Jr. has escalated to a new level. A group led by Cintron, Jr. turned in petitions with 808 signatures to the Cleveland City Council Clerk’s Office on Friday, October 26th in an effort to call for a special election to recall Ward 14 Councilman Joe Santiago.
If the recall petitions are in order and enough signatures are in place, a special recall election would be held in Ward 14. The Cleveland City Charter requires signatures of 20% of those who voted in the last council election in Ward 14 or valid signatures of 598 of the 2,990 people who voted in that election.
In the event that the recall is successful, Cleveland City Council would appoint a temporary councilperson. Another Ward 14 City Council election would then be scheduled within a required period of time.
The petition drive started on September 27th when Cintron submitted an affidavit for removal of Councilman Joseph Santiago to the Cleveland City Council Clerk’s Office. The affidavit was submitted as a step required by the Cleveland City Charter to begin a recall petition.
In the affidavit, Cintron says he is seeking the recall of Santiago because “Councilman Santiago does not represent the best interests of Ward 14, nor the best interests of the residents of Ward 14.” The affidavit goes on to cite Santiago’s failure to fill a promise to move into the ward, his failure to attend Ward meetings, and his failure to oppose the Mutt Hutt and La Copa despite wishes of residents. The affidavit also says Councilman Santiago violated Ohio law by attempting to purchase memberships to Clark Metro Development Corporation for non residents and hold an illegal annual meeting.
Councilman Santiago responded to the petition drive with a letter to residents of Ward 14 written in English and Spanish. The letter thanks residents for their support and reminds them that they selected him to represent them in City Council in November of 2005. He further says “former Councilman, Nelson Cintron, has not been able to accept that you have chosen me to represent you.” Santiago goes on to say that Cintron “tried to halt or interfere with progress in Ward 14 in an attempt to make me look bad and in his desperation to get a job.”
In closing the letter, Santiago says, “should a recall occur, I pledge to fight for your right to have honorable and reputable City Council representation.”
He further states that Cintron “never addressed the issues facing this community in his eight years in City Council. The state of liquor establishments, vacant boarded-up homes, vandalized property and visible poverty of this ward are testament to Cintron’s failures.”
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