Welcome! This free speech community journal was created so the Maple Heights African American community could share videos, photos, events, articles, posts, ideas, thoughts, and information.  We're now exclusively on Facebook, so don't forget to also check out our Facebook page.  Have a fantastic day!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Saturday, March 30

Free Lunch will be served at Jones Road Church, 8000 Jones Rd., Cleveland, on Saturday, March 30, beginning at noon. All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Calling for Passage of a Fair Minimum Wage Act in Cleveland

At Brothers Printing in Cleveland this week, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown called for passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in three steps and provide the first minimum wage increase to tipped employees in more than 20 years.

“Northeast Ohio citizens work hard, play by the rules, and should be able to take care of their families. But too many Ohioans are working harder than ever – and barely getting by,” said Sen. Brown. “Working full-time in a minimum wage job in Ohio pays about $16,000 per year – which isn’t much to live on when you’re trying to put food on the table, fill your gas tank, send your children to school, and provide a safe place for them to live. Ensuring a fair wage is good for middle class families and good for our economy.”

Sen. Brown was joined by Brothers Printing owners Joe and Jay Kaufman, of Cleveland, and Synergistic Systems owner Carlynn Canny, of Willoughby Hills, who explained their reasons for supporting an increase in the Federal minimum wage and called on their competitors to do the same.


“I strongly support raising the minimum wage as proposed,” said Canny. “As a business owner, the value of my company is the work force. Having a strong minimum wage helps everyone, as workers feel better about the company and about their jobs and spend more and contribute to a robust economy. Every person who works hard should earn at least a living wage. In the end, it also costs all of us less, and it is the right thing to do.”

Also joining Sen. Brown was Chris Barksdale, a former social worker, who told his story and recalled the stories of countless others who struggled to survive and support their families on the minimum wage.


“Conscientious people know it is impossible to live on less than $10 an hour in today’s society,” Barksdale said.

Sen. Brown is the cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage. The bill would:

  • Raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25—in three steps of 95 cents—then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living;

  • Gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers—which currently stands at just $2.13 an hour—for the first time in more than 20 years, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage; and

  • Give more than 30 million American workers a raise under Brown’s bill.

Workers who are paid a minimum wage in Ohio earn only $16,000 per year, which is more than $3,000 below the poverty level for a family of three. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would boost the minimum wage to $21,000, lifting families above the poverty line. According to the National Employment Law Project, the minimum wage has lost more than 30 percent over the last forty years. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be worth approximately $10.55 per hour today. Increasing the minimum wage would boost GDP by nearly $33 billion and generate 140,000 new jobs over the course of three years as workers spend their raises in their local businesses and communities.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I'm always fascinated with stories of African Americans who have persevered, though with harsh  obstacles, and have excelled in leadership.
So, naturally, when I ran across an article called "Explorations in Black Leadership" I was delighted.

Learning about one's ethnic history is essential for growth, and I say, if you're an African American, you must know Black history to become fully empowered.   Knowing you come from a powerful and awesome race of people lifts you up and gives you an enormous sense of pride.  Knowing you come from a powerful and awesome race lets you know that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Anyway, enjoy the article, and never stop learning about your awesome history.
 To Be Continually Updated

Monday, March 25, 2013


The pen is a powerful thing; however, it will take more than the pen to break the back of Institutional (systemic) Racism in this country.   It will take political, economic, and legal empowerment of minorities to break its back.
At every level of government, but expecially at the local and state levels across this country, minorities are facing Institutional/Systemic Racism.
Michelle Alexander talks about it, Shirley Sherrod talked about it; and it's the reason why there is an NAACP, an Urban League, and advocacy groups.
We are seeing enormous push back to maintain the status quo (a lack of diversity). There are mayors and governors who resist ethnic diversity and fairness. There are legal  (justice) departments (city, state, federal),  that resist racial/ethnic diversity and fairness and will do everything they can to prevent minorities access to political, economic and legal empowerment. 
From time to time  we're going to focus on Institutional Racism, it's history,  ... and solutions in overcoming that kind of racism; and we're especially  going to talk about organizations that resist racial/ethnic diversity and are the most heinous and dangerous, and  therefore have made it  extremely difficult to root out systemic racism.

Ethnic Diversity


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

NMAAHC public programs in March and May 2013

Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, A Conversation between Deborah Willis and Lonnie Bunch
Deborah Willis Envisioning-Emancipation_sm.gif
Monday, March 25, 2013, 7:00 pm
National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
First floor, enter through Constitution Ave doors
Metro: Smithsonian or Federal Triangle

Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will moderate a discussion with Deborah Willis, chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, about her latest work Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery. The publication is a collaboration with Barbara Krauthamer, professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Through rare photographs and documents, the book focuses on black enslavement, emancipation and life from 1850 to1930. Recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher and MacArthur fellowships, Willis is a founding member of the museum’s Scholarly Advisory Committee.

Books will be available for sale and signing following the program.
For more information, visit http://go.si.edu/site/R?i=cqTTSrOnEfQGXqDVZZQN8A or call (202) 633-0070. Admission is free and on a first come, first serve basis.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland w/ Dr. King
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland walking beside
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Mulholland,
film screening and discussion

Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

The Artisphere
1101 Wilson Blvd.,
Arlington, VA 22209
Joan Trumpauer Mulholland grew up in the segregated South and emerged as an activist who fought fervently for the rights of others. Attacked and beaten during the courageous Freedom Rides of 1961, Joan was imprisoned and hunted but never wavered in her beliefs. An Ordinary Hero is a moving chronicle of Mulholland’s life, containing rare images and footage from the Civil Rights Movement. Following the film will be a panel discussion featuring Mulholland, her son, Loki Mulholland, who is the writer and director of the film, and William Pretzer, Senior Curator of History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Co-sponsors of the event are NMAAHC and the Arlington Public Library.

For more information, visit http://nmaahc.si.edu/Events/calendar or call (202) 633-0070. Admission is free and on a first come, first serve basis.

On Art and History: Natasha Trethewey Reads and Discusses Native Guard

Monday, May 6, 2013, 7:00 pm

National Museum of American History, Warner Bros. Theater14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
First floor, enter through Constitution Ave doors
Metro: Smithsonian or Federal Triangle

Natasha Trethewey, appointed the U.S. Poet Laureate in June 2012, will read from her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poems titled Native Guard. Trethewey gives an impressive interpretation of the Native Guard, one of the first mostly black regiments to fight in the Union Army. The Native Guard was composed mostly of former slaves who enlisted and were assigned to guard Confederate prisoners of war. According to Trethewey’s poem “Elegy for the Native Guards,” the presence of the African American soldiers has gone unrecognized. She also explores her life from the mid-1960s through the early 1980s, a time of tremendous upheaval in Mississippi. Native Guard provides a thoughtful, long view of a tumultuous century in American History. The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band led by Sharde Thomas of Sardis, Miss., will open and close the program.

Books will be available for sale and signing following the program.
For more information, visit http://go.si.edu/site/R?i=mRoNuGxz3dJPmbecC7PxVA.
Admission is free, but reservations are suggested, call (202) 633-0070.


Help us build Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture by becoming a Charter Member today!
If you are already a Charter Member, would you consider helping us with another donation today?


Don't forget to attend Maple Heights City Council Meetings

1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month

Time: 7pm / you are allowed to speak
caucus is at 6:30pm in a separate room from council meetings (you can't speak in caucus, but you can listen)

Where:  Maple Heights Senior Center,15901 Libby Rd., Maple Heights, OH 44137


1. The city's finances (are we in debt and how much?; Do we owe more than we have coming in as revenue? & if so, How long has it been that way?)

2. Maple Heights crime statistics and where to find them online, or elsewhere ..

3. What employees are protected from being laid off?  How many of that group are African Americans and what's the %age of the total group?

4. How many African Americans were laid off this year and last year?

5. Will the 2013 "Music in the Park" and the "Mayor's Splash Parties" have a significant # of African American musicians that are proportional to the # of African Americans in this city; and will there be an effort to have more of those musicians be residents of  Maple Heights? 

6. What department had the most layoffs?  How many African Americans were in that department?

What other questions would you like to ask, or comments would you like to make?   

African Americans are 70% or more of Maple Heights population (2010 census pop # 23,138)  

Meetings during the months of June, July, and August, are held only on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at the same time and location. 

Monday, March 18, 2013



Speeding up Home Sales

One sure way to reduce the deficit is to strengthen the economy—so more Americans have good-paying jobs and can support themselves and their families rather than relying upon the safety net to make ends meet. We have grown our way out of past recessions through a strong manufacturing sector and a robust housing market. But when empty homes are scattered from Cleveland Heights to Kennedy Heights, we know that the housing market still has a long way to go before it recovers.

Although many prospective home buyers have made legitimate, good-faith offers to purchase a new home, they often encounter banks that ignore or slow walk those offers when sellers owe more on their mortgages than the selling price of these homes. And right now, this is the case for nearly 25 percent of Ohio homeowners.

To help sell these homes and keep our economy moving forward, a short sale often makes sense. Short sales are real estate transactions that must be approved by the bank because the seller owes more on their mortgage than the proposed sale price. Both parties agree to the short sale process because it allows them to avoid a foreclosure – which typically takes longer to complete, involves hefty fees for the bank, and leaves a negative mark on the homeowner’s credit report.

For too many buyers and sellers, the time that it takes to complete a short sale is anything but short. Too often in a short sale, once a buyer makes a written offer and has paid her earnest money deposit, there is a break in communication between the loan servicer and the buyer of the short sale property. The breakdown deprives buyers of knowing whether their offer has been accepted, rejected, or countered – which prevents them from making offers on other homes.

This lapse in communication – especially when big banks are involved – makes it harder for families to move to Ohio. Kathy Hlad discovered this when she put her house, located in Lake County’s Concord Township, on the market in August 2010. Although a buyer submitted an offer on her house, her bank did not respond for eight months. When she finally heard back, the buyer was out of the country for an extended period of time and could not be reached to approve the counter offer. Because more than 30 days elapsed, the deal fell apart and the buyer walked away.

Simply put, homes aren’t being sold – even when there is a demand. Potential buyers – fed up with the waiting game that lasts for months on end – simply walk away. And sellers who may need to move for a new job – either don’t move or take a huge financial hit.

More efficient short sales could make a difference for our economy. If we’re going to recover from the housing crisis, we need to make it easier for qualified candidates to purchase homes.

That’s why I have introduced bipartisan legislation, the Prompt Notification of Short Sale Act, to improve the process for buyers considering a short sale. 


First, the legislation would achieve creating greater accountability for the loan servicer and improved communication between the buyer and loan servicer by requiring a written response of an acceptance, rejection, counter offer, or extension within 30 days of the homeowner’s request. Last year, I met with a group of Ohio community bankers who said they could make a decision on a short sale in less than an hour.  What a million-dollar community bank in Ohio can do in thirty minutes we're asking multi-billion dollar banks to do in 30 days.

And it would help to bolster our housing market and our economy by providing homebuyers with certainty and assurance by giving them a final date at which they can close the transaction, or move on.

This common-sense legislation would help prospective home buyers – and distressed homeowners alike – while helping to rebuild our neighborhoods and fostering long-term economic growth.

This is about stabilizing home values – shoring up our economic future, and standardizing processes that make sense for Ohio families. It’s about ending a waiting game and stopping the delay that represents a dangerous drag on the housing market and our nation’s fiscal health. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Now is the time to stabilize the housing market and stabilize our economy.



Sherrod Brown
U.S. Senator


Cleveland.com  has a section called "Community News".  On that page you'll see "Read Your Community Police Blotter".  I was curious as to the reason why Maple Heights is not listed. 
I've mentioned before about Maple Heights government's problems with transparency, as well as accountability.  We need a police blotter either in the Neighborhood News or posted on the internet (if it isn't already).  Nevertheless, we still need an Independent Citizen's Review Board.
Keep watch 


Police Blotters for Northeast Ohio Suburbs  (from Sun News)

Letter regarding a Colorado civilian review board

Cleveland Crime Watch

Emailed the following to Mayor Lansky on February 12, 2013 (still waiting for a reply) / This was not a public records request:

Dear Mayor Lansky,
I am requesting that members of the police department not come to any resident's home after the hours of 8:30 pm on routine business matters (such as signing statements). The resident should be called and given the choice if they would like the member/s of the police department to come to their home, or if resident would like to come to the office regarding that routine business matter (such as signing statements). If the resident chooses for a member/s of the police department to come to their home on a routine business matter (such as signing statements), the resident should be allowed to specify what time or time period and day. The resident should be able to request, if they so choose, a time or time period after 8:30pm.
Regarding the above, when member/s of the police department arrive at the resident's home, they should knock or ring the door bell, and ask if they can enter the resident's home.
Further, I am requesting that no more than one police car be assigned, and no more than 2 police officers regarding the above. If there is any ambiguity regarding my request, please let me know; and please only reply either by email, or fax or regular mail only within 10 business days.

Thank you.
Elaine Stone

Sunday, March 17, 2013




From the Firefighters ABC's Diversity page:

"The Firefighter Diversity Recruitment Council

Our Diverse World

America's population has become increasingly diverse and continues to do so. So to have the communities that we are sworn to serve without regard to race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. In fact, the combination of ethnic groups and women alone yields an overwhelmingly diverse population.

Critical Questions:

  • Does your fire department mirror the increasingly diverse community that you serve?
  • Does your department have a diversity mandate or initiative?
  • Do you have a comprehensive & long-term diversity recruitment plan?
  • Does the recruitment of qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds seem like 'finding a needle in a haystack'?
Even fire departments that are fully committed to realizing diversity face severe roadblocks.

Diversity is Challenging

On the road to diversity, most fire departments face the following difficulties:
  • Resource limitations due to the inescapable and perpetual 'budget crunch'.
  • Highly talented and motivated recruitment personnel that, unfortunately, are short on community outreach and target marketing experience.
  • Few available candidates due to the difficulty of extending diversity recruitment efforts beyond your traditional geographic boundaries.

  • An ongoing focus upon your next application event gets in the way of developing a longer-term, sustainable plan that keeps your diversity recruitment pipeline filled with quality candidates.

If you can relate to some or all of these issues, you are not alone in being diversity challenged. Nor are you alone in having viable solutions readily available."

Saturday, March 16, 2013



Missing: Leadership and Core Values

It will not be sufficient for Morehouse College, for any college, for that matter, to produce clever graduates, men fluent in speech and able to argue their way through; but rather honest men, men who can be trusted in public and private—who are sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society and who are willing to accept responsibility for correcting the ills.”

--Dr. Benjamin E. Mays
President, Morehouse College
"Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Morehouse College’s president from 1940-1967, said this about the kind of men and leaders he expected Morehouse to produce. As a student at neighboring Spelman College, I heard and saw Dr. Mays often and had the privilege of singing in Morehouse’s Sunday morning chapel choir and hearing this great man’s wisdom. Of the six college presidents in the Atlanta University academic complex Dr. Mays was the one students looked up to most. He inspired and taught us by example and stood by us when we challenged Atlanta’s Jim Crow laws in the sit-in movement to open up public accommodations to all citizens. Dr. Mays taught us that “not failure, but low aim is sin” and warned that “the tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities.” As students we hungrily internalized his unerring belief that we were God's instruments for helping transform the world, and like many others who heard him frequently, I often repeated his words. One of the many Morehouse students Dr. Mays helped shape was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. whom he lovingly eulogized on that campus after his 1968 assassination.
Who are our Dr. Mayses today – our moral compasses in crucial sectors of American life? What a contrast Dr. Mays’ example is to that of a college president in the headlines recently, Dr. James Wagner of Emory University, who was criticized for praising the 1787 compromise declaring that every slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of state representation in Congress as an example of “noble achievement” that allowed Northern and Southern White congressmen to “continue working toward the highest aspiration they both shared—the aspiration to form a more perfect union.”
We have struggled for over two centuries to overcome the crippling birth defects and glaring hypocrisies between the eloquent words that “all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights” in our Declaration of Independence belied by slavery, Native American genocide, and exclusion of women and non-propertied White men in our founders’ deeds. That tragic hypocrisy resulted in a bloody Civil War that took more than 530,000 American lives and a post-Reconstruction era with Jim Crow laws, decades of struggle, and many lost lives, countless marches, lawsuits, and legislative efforts to achieve major civil rights legislation. And we must still be vigilant and fight to protect the hard earned social and racial progress over the last half century from being undermined by voter suppression, the Cradle to Prison Pipeline, mass incarceration, and pervasive economic and educational inequalities. What kind of message did Dr. Wagner’s words send to Emory’s Black students, who were quickly joined by some White students, faculty members, and others in denouncing his endorsement of the decision that codified less-than-fully-human status as “5/5ths outrageous”?
And what message did it send to students and citizens of every color when Dr. Mary Jane Saunders, the president of Florida Atlantic University, sold the naming rights to its stadium for six million dollars to the private prison company GEO Group? At a protest rally on campus, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union cited GEO Group’s “well-publicized record of abuse and neglect,” and quoted from an order of U.S. Judge Carlton Reeves describing one of their correctional facilities for minors and older teenage prisoners in Mississippi as “a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions” and “a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world.”
I do not believe this is the ideal of universities producing leaders “who are sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society and who are willing to accept responsibility for correcting the ills” that Dr. Mays sought and taught. Who are the successor leaders today to Dr. Mays? Where are today’s moral leaders in other critical sectors who challenge and set the example for the rest of us? Where are today’s Abraham Joshua Heschels or Reinhold Niebuhrs or Eleanor Roosevelts or Dorothy Days? Where are Senators like Phil Hart and Wayne Morse who helped set a tone of political discourse too missing today in our legislative bodies? Where will the next leaders we can look up to as courageous and sacrificial champions of justice like Dr. King, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Medgar Evers, Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner, and James Chaney come from?
At the same time that we have a crisis in visible servant leadership examples we have a crisis in core values. Are we content to be a society where virtually anything is available for profit or for sale, including the sale over the counter at Wal-Mart and other stores of deadly assault weapons capable of gruesome and senseless mass destruction like that which ravaged twenty small Newtown children and their teachers? Are we content to have deadly assault weapons treated as normal consumer products like toasters or vacuum cleaners? How have we come to normalize violence and unbridled commercialization unmoored from common and moral sense and public safety.
Is this the best we have to pass on to our children and grandchildren and the next generation of leaders the nation and world need today and tomorrow? Do corporate profits from dangerous products or harmful practices trump children’s security and safety in our nation? Is compromise that allows gross or some significant human injustice the best we can expect from American democracy? Isn’t it time to engage in a fuller discussion about the breakdown of core values in America and the values we do agree on and need and want to instill in the next generation? What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean to be a human being? Robert Kennedy said this to students at the University of Kansas in 1968 about the need to rethink how we measure success in America:
“Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that—counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.”
Senator Kennedy continued: “Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”
I hope and pray we will not raise a new generation of children with high intellectual quotients and low caring and compassion quotients; with sharp competitive edges but dull cooperative instincts; with highly developed computer skills but poorly developed consciences; with a gigantic commitment to the big “I” but little sense of responsibility to the bigger “we”; with mounds of disconnected information without a moral context to determine its worth; with more and more knowledge and less and less imagination and appreciation for the magic of life that cannot be quantified or computerized; and with more and more worldliness and less and less wonder and awe for the sacred and everyday miracles of life. I hope as parents, educators, and faith, community, public and private sector leaders that we will raise children who care and work for justice and freedom for all."


Tuesday, March 12, 2013



I would like to take this opportunity to update you on two very important and timely issues confronting the 11th Congressional District and our nation. If you would like more information on these topics or any other federal issue or program, please call my district office at 216-522-4900, send me an email through the Contact Form on my website, http://www.fudge.house.gov/ or send a letter through the mail. The addresses for my district office in Warrensville Heights and in Washington are located at the bottom of this page.

Automatic Spending Cuts (Sequestration)

At a recent meeting of SEIU Local 1199 in Cleveland, I answered questions about the impact of automatic budget cuts
On Friday, March 1st, the federal government will begin to implement mandatory, across-the-board cuts to federal programs, known as sequestration. These cuts, totaling $85 billion, will harm Ohio families, our men and women in uniform and thwart efforts to grow our nation's economy. This is not the prescription to move our country forward. I fully support enacting a balanced approch of responsible cuts, increased revenues and growth with jobs. We must eliminate wasteful spending in the tax code that only serves the interests of Big Oil, big corporations and the wealthiest individuals. I have joined with my colleagues to call on the House Republican leadership to do what is right for our families, as well as the nation’s economy and security and take action this week on a balanced plan to avert these damaging and mindless spending cuts. Too much is at stake. With every passing day, the security of Ohio families, some of our most vulnerable citizens and the safety of our neighborhoods are in jeopardy.
I would like to emphasize that some programs are specifically exempt from sequestration. Benefits to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients will not be reduced. Veterans benefits, Pell Grants, SNAP (food stamps) are also exempt. However thousands of other federal programs, including vital safety net programs and the Department of Defense will be mandated by law to make immediate and indiscriminate cuts. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that the spending cuts could reduce U.S. economic growth in half and result in the loss of more than 700,000 jobs in 2013. The Obama Administration has prepared a state-by-state summary of the impact of sequestration. 

Please click here for a summary of the impact of automatic cuts in Ohio
Restore our Neighborhoods Act of 2013 Introduced
Last week, I was pleased to introduce the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act of 2013* with my Ohio colleagues, Representatives Marcy Kaptur and Dave Joyce. This bill would authorize up to $4 billion in new bond allocation for states to help fund demolition. The tax credit bonds, essentially interest-free loans to states, can then be issued directly by the states or states can allow land banks to issue them. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds would fund demolition. The legislation would also free up funds in the Hardest Hit Fund Program for demolition purposes. Of $570 million allocated to Ohio, $300 million currently remains unused.
Our communities are still reeling from the housing crisis and cannot fix this problem alone. Other homeowners continue to suffer the consequences of lower property values and blight in their neighborhoods. Cleveland alone has more than 9,000 vacant and abandoned homes in need of demolition. I will work hard for this legislation to pass. It will not increase the federal budget deficit and more importantly, we know enhanced resources for demolition can be a powerful tool to rebuild neighborhoods. In Flint, Michigan, the community invested $3.5 million in bonds and preserved $112 million in property value. It’s time to put that model to work for Ohio and the rest of the nation.

Constituent Mailbag
"I was fighting Social Security for 3 years to get back payments and you got it done in two weeks. Your staff was terrific. I was a victim of stolen identity and Social Security kept finding reasons to hold up benefits that were rightly mine. I was extremely delighted to get the $22,000 I was owed. Thank you!"

Contact Info
Washington, DC Office
2344 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7032
Fax: (202) 225-1339
District Office
4834 Richmond Road, Suite 150
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
Phone: (216) 522-4900
Fax: (216) 522-4908





Saturday, March 9, 2013


Senator Sherrod Brown Newsletter:

Promoting Comprehensive Mental Health Services

Mental illness touches all of our lives, as about one in four adults has some form of a mental disorder. But too often health services are not readily available when a person with mental illness encounters the criminal justice system. That’s why Senator Sherrod Brown joined 18 of his Senate colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation that will improve access to mental health services for people in the criminal justice system.

“Siblings, parents, children, and friends may be living with depression, an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or another mental illness,” Sen. Brown said. “That’s why we must remain committed to addressing mental health concerns throughout Ohio and the nation.”

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act would continue support for mental health courts and crisis intervention programs by reauthorizing the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act. It would also help veterans in crisis by investing in veterans treatment courts. These are specialty courts designed to serve arrested veterans who suffer from PTSD, substance addiction, and other mental health conditions. Additionally, this legislation would promote proven corrections-based programs with transitional services that can reduce recidivism rates. Lastly, it would develop curricula for police academies and training programs so that law enforcement professionals are more ably equipped to respond to individuals with mental illness.

This legislative proposal is the latest example of Senator Brown’s commitment to addressing mental health concerns. In 2008, Congress passed the bipartisan Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This law prohibits insurance companies from arbitrarily limiting the number of hospital days or outpatient treatment sessions a patient is granted, as well as prohibiting higher copayments or deductibles for subscribers who seek psychological services. This law has yet to be fully funded and implemented. That is why in December 2012, Senator Brown joined a letter to President Obama asking him to fully implement the law.

The Obama health law, which Sen. Brown also voted for in 2010, is working to improve access to mental and behavioral health services. This law immediately eliminated pre-existing coverage exclusions for children. Kids are no longer being denied coverage – or have services excluded from coverage – as a result of pre-existing conditions. Senator Brown has long held that it is crucial that young adults with existing or emerging mental illnesses not experience lapses in coverage that are common as young adults enter college or the workforce. This is a time of high risk which we cannot afford to ignore.

And, beginning in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to individuals with mental illness, and insurers cannot use mental illness as a reason to raise premiums. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also established an essential benefits package – a set of health care service categories that must be covered by most plans – that will take effect in 2014. Mental health and substance abuse disorder services are part of this package.

  In this time of shrinking budgets and increased economic stress on individuals, we cannot afford to ignore the needs of Americans with mental health and substance abuse problems. The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act is the next step in ensuring that all Americans have access to the mental health services they need.