Friday, October 27, 2017

Endorsement and response to Cleveland Digital Justice Campaign

I support all four of the proposed actions by Connect Your Community.  My support is indicated for each one below with some specific comments to the challenges we as a City face in implementing these solutions to promote universal digital literacy and broadband Internet access in the City of Cleveland.  I also add to the scope of work of the proposed Cabinet level position to also oversee the City's efforts to connect with civic technology and open data practices.

Brian Cummins
Cleveland City Council, Ward 14
216-664-4238 office


1)  City funding of at least $1 million a year for neighborhood technology centers that
  • Provide basic digital literacy training for community residents, and
  • Help eligible households take advantage of existing discount Internet programs.
          When: 2018 budget year or earlier.

RESPONSE - I commit to this goal and the work that it will take to seek the the minimum $1M funding resources needed.  I have been using a modest amount of funding annually of $20-$40k Ward 14 Casino allocation for the past 3 years to fund the CYC2.0 training center in Brooklyn Centre and their partnerships with CMHARET3 and DigitalC. I have seen first hand the benefit that such training centers can have on connecting people to the internet, to their family members and services and in getting the most of their technology, be it a smart phone, tablet, lap top or desktop computer.

2)  Expansion of the City’s free public wifi network to provide Internet access to residents and neighborhood businesses throughout the city.

          When: Within two years.

RESPONSE - Both #2 and #3 will require a solid plan for designing, financing, implementing and maintaining wifi networks and an optic fiber network.  First consideration should be to consider using our municipal electric utility, CPP as a bonding entity to pay for these 21st century infrastructural investments as was successfully carried out in Chattanooga TN.  I participated in a delegation of Cleveland officials and tech leaders on a trip to visit and learn about Chattanooga's GIG CITY.  Our city has faced challenges modernizing our city's internal operations digital infrastructure  It will take a renewed focus to fund and support our current tech initiatives and to launch a more public facing infrastructure that would bring great social and economic benefit to our residents and city.

3)  A City-owned, city-wide optical fiber broadband network to provide affordable, very fast Internet services to Cleveland homes and businesses — as a City utility service, a delivery option for new competitive private Internet providers, or both.

          When: Within four years.

RESPONSE - See #2 above for part of my response.  In addition, from my experience I believe that in the research and planning for an investment of a city-wide optical fiber broadband network we should give priority for installation of fiber in our core commercial corridors.  We are already focus on building and developing competitive market conditions for housing density in our prime commercial corridors.  The economic and jobs impact on getting fiber installed in these corridors can serve as a catalyst for business investment.  I support a dual delivery option of city and bid private Internet providers to both maintain ability to leverage what will be a City infrastructural asset and provide competitive pricing and services to respond to the continuing evolution in technology

4)  A new Cabinet-level executive position dedicated solely to leading City efforts to promote universal digital literacy and broadband Internet access, including the measures described in 1, 2 and 3.

          When: 2018 budget year or earlier.

RESPONSE - I support a Cabinet-level position with an expanded scope of not only leading efforts to promote universal digital literacy and broadband Internet access, but to also oversee the City's efforts to connect with civic technology and open data practices that would open our government operations and services up for greater scrutiny and accountability to the residents we serve. This would ensure rewarding and promoting our best employees, departments and implementing best-practices and make our operations and expenditures of taxes more efficient and impactful.


Work and media coverage of tech issues Councilman Cummins  has been working on or involved in -

MARK YOUR CALENDAR - Net Inclusion 2018, April 17th-19th | Cleveland, Ohio, Sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Facebook page for the Cleveland Civic Tech and Open Data Collaborative

Midtown Tech Hive will blend coworking, digital education on Cleveland's Health-Tech Corridor,  By Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer, 06.17.2017.  Note that Ward 14 UDAG funding (restricted for economic development) was used to assist this project and it is an investment that is anticipated to bring benefits to Ward 14 through partnerships with DigitalC, CYC2.0, RET3, CMHA and more.

April and May 2017 News for Open Cleveland, by Will Skora, OpenCleveland, 05.17.2017

Room packed for City Council digital inclusion hearing, By Connect Your Community, 05.14.2017

CLE Housing Hackathon, 04.18.2017

TechniCLE Speaking 2016: Fostering Innovation, 04.14.2016

DataDaysCLE 03.02.2017
Interview at the first annual DataDaysCLE.  Plans are in the works for our 2nd Annual DataDaysCLE, being planned for March 2018. Contact our office if you are interested in helping out and or participating!

The Cleveland Civic Tech + Open Data Collaborative, Northeast Ohio’s first annual celebration of data, civic technology, and the doers working to improve the region. By Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), 03.13.2017

Cleveland Should Embrace Civic TechBut without City Hall support, it could fizzle just as the movement is taking off. By Sheehan Hannan, Cleveland Magazine, 01.30.2017

By Connect Your Community 2.0, 01.13.2017

Connect your Community (2.0) computer training center to open in June (2014), By Brian Cummins, 06.16.2014.  Announcement of Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center and CYC 2.0 launch of the “Next CYC” approach in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood of Cleveland.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

El Refugio and other efforts to coordinate relief for Puerto Rico and displaced families coming to North East Ohio

In Cleveland there has been an outpouring of support for the relief efforts in Puerto Rico and a growing coordination of services and assistance for those displaced from Puerto Rico due to medical and overall infrastructure problems on the Islands.

In total, estimates are that more than 300 tons of donated materials, supplies and medical goods have been shipped to Puerto Rico from North East Ohio.  More than $150,000 has been donated to relieve efforts in Puerto Rico and for helping families arriving in North East Ohio.

The generosity is not surprising given that North East Ohio is home to the State of Ohio's largest Puerto Rican population.  Of the total 110,000 people of Puerto Rican origin in the state, Cleveland has the largest share with over 30,000 and our Metro area has over 63,000, or two-thirds of the total in the State.

REF: Lorain and Cleveland have strong ties to Puerto Rico: Statistical Snapshot, By Rich Exner,, 10/13/2017

Now five weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, families and organizations across North East Ohio have begun taking in relatives and helping others that have been displaced settled into life in Ohio.  As the major relieve efforts to get goods to Puerto Rico winds down, our community is coming together to assist families coming to North East Ohio.

The following are some organizational documents, minutes and notes for some of the efforts here in Cleveland.  Government officials, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations and community leaders are called on to help join in the collaboration and share information about their activities and efforts to ensure the maximum amount of assistance and effectiveness for the relief and assistance efforts here in North East Ohio, in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean.

Monetary and materials and supply donations are still needed, as the relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico are anticipated to take months to years, and efforts to assist families coming to North East Ohio are anticipated to increase in the next few weeks and months.  It is already estimated that more than 200 people have traveled from Puerto Rico to North East Ohio since September 20th.  That number could grow to thousands for the region through this coming Spring.

Please consider donating money for the relieve and assistance efforts in Puerto Rico and North East Ohio.

MONETARY DONATIONS are encouraged to be made to:

The Cleveland Foundation's online giving platform for Greater Clevelanders to help support the ongoing hurricane recovery and relief efforts in the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Donations are being accepted through Nov. 30, 2017.  Note that all donations are to be delivered to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation for disbursement and use in hardest hit areas.  More than $100,000 has been raised so far in North East Ohio with generous donations from Cleveland Foundation, The Jewish Federation of Cleveland and KeyBank.


To help families arriving in Cleveland and surrounding areas:

To help families arriving in Lorain County:


Both the Spanish American Committee in Cleveland and El Centro in Lorain are also taking material donations.  In addition the following organizations listed below are also collaborating to receive and disburse donations to needy families that are re-settling in North East Ohio.  These organizations also help need families in general in the Cleveland and Lorain and surrounding areas.  Agencies are not encouraging donations of goods and supplies to be made for the relieve efforts in Puerto Rico at this time.

Needed Items:
  • winter coats
  • gloves, and scarves
  • sweaters
  • school uniforms
  • toiletries; soap, diapers, shampoo, tooth brushes, tooth paste, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, facial tissue, deodorants, body washes and lotions
  • shoes, socks and winter boots
  • household cleaning supplies
  • blankets, sheets, pillows

Iglesia Nueva Vida
, Holmden Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109,  Pastor Jose Reyes, 216-741-0511,

May Dugan Center, 4115 Bridge Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113, Andy Trares, Deputy Director, 216-631-5800 xtn 121,

La Sagrada Familia Church, 7719 Detroit Rd, Cleveland, OH 44102, Elizabeth Martinez, 216-631-2888,

Collaborating Organizations

If you would like your organization to be added to the list of donation drop-off sites, or to be included in local organizing efforts for El Refugio and more, please contact Taylor Henschel at 216-664-4238,

Organizing Efforts to assist people coming to North East Ohio

Pastor Jose Reyes of Iglesia Nueva Vida began to convene meetings several weeks ago for the creation of "El Refugio".  The documents provided below are related to that work.

El Refugio - Introductory Document by Brian Cummins on Scribd

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cleveland City Council passes resolution urging Congress and the President to take stronger actions in their federal relief efforts to assist U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico

1210 17 ERes Hurrican Maria Puerto Rico by Brian Cummins on Scribd

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito joins pols from across the U.S. in writing Trump to push for more aid for Puerto Rico

DAILY NEWS, 10.03.2017

The following letter was spearheaded by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's, a native of Puerto Rico, and signed by 65-elected officials from around the country.  We call on President Trump's Administration -

 "...that the Federal Government act immediately to deploy additional resources to the islands, lengthen the Jones Act suspension period, and expand the “local match” waiver for FEMA funds..."

" everything humanly possible to reach every corner of Puerto Rico and the USVI with food and supplies, as we also grapple with the desperately needed restoration of power to the island. The lives of 3.5 million U.S. citizens are hanging in the balance."

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also stated,

“There is this view that, somehow, we don’t merit that level of concern or attention or respect from this government,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the speaker of the New York City Council, comparing the response in Puerto Rico with areas struck by recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas. “Somehow, we’re a burden and we’re mooching. That’s the kind of language this president is throwing around.”

On Sunday October 8th the 10-day waiver of the Jones Act expired.


Speaker Mark-Viverito, Elected Officials Across the Nation Demand President Trump, Federal Government Deploy Additional Resources, Extend the Jones Suspension Period for the Humanitarian Crisis in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, NYC City Council, 10/4/2017.

Melissa Mark-Viverito joins pols from across the U.S. in writing Trump to push for more aid for Puerto Rico, DAILY NEWS, 10.03.2017

Trump Letter (Joint Letterhead) by Brian Cummins on Scribd


Lawmakers seek Puerto Rico exemption to law that slowed aid
The Washington Times/Associated Press 10.09.2017

Trump should continue to waive the Jones Act: Puerto Rican Governor, Fox Business, 10.09.2017.

Trump faces decision on new Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico
The Hill, 10.06.2017

DHS Will Allow Puerto Rico Jones Act Waiver to ExpireThe Maritime Executive, 10.06.2017

“We believe that extending the waiver is unnecessary to support the humanitarian relief efforts on the island. There is an ample supply of Jones Act-qualified vessels to ensure that cargo is able to reach Puerto Rico,” said DHS press secretary David Lapan. Lapan added that the Department of Defense has not asked for an extension – the formal mechanism required for a temporary waiver in the interest of national defense – and noted that no vessels have taken advantage of the waiver to date..."

DETAILED STUDIES regarding the Jones Act.  Please comment below if you have other sources of information that can be helpful in understanding the impacts of a repeal or modification of the act.

THE JONES ACT IN PERSPECTIVE: A survey of the costs and effects of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act

by Grassroot Institute of Hawaii | Apr 9, 2017 | Blog, Jones Act, Policy Briefs

PUERTO RICO Characteristics of the Island’s Maritime Trade and Potential Effects of Modifying the Jones Act
United States,  Government Accountability Office, 2013.

Monday, October 2, 2017

MedWish International to hold donation drive at its World Headquarters in Cleveland

See the MedWish press release and supply list for their Puerto Rico Relieve - donation drive occurring this Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, at their World Headquarters located on 1625 E. 31st Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44114.  A personal thank you to Leslie Estremera from Case Western Reserve University for reaching out and helping to share the news and get the word out.

NOTE:  For other information about relieve efforts in Cleveland, see: