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CLASH group to launch petition drive for lead safe legislation this afternoon

February 15, 2019 GMT

CLASH group to launch petition drive for lead safe legislation this afternoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio-- CLASH -- Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing – will file a petition at City Hall today in order to begin the process of getting its lead safe legislation on the November ballot.

The group said it will begin gathering the necessary 5,000 signatures tomorrow morning at the West Side Market.

The advocacy group’s legislation, released earlier this month, would require owners of most Cleveland rental homes to prove their properties are lead-safe by 2021 or face fines.

CLASH includes Cleveland Lead Safe Network (CLSN), which assembled the coalition, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus(CCPC), Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County, Organize! Ohio and the Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America.

https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2019/02/advocacy-groups-proposed-ballot-initiative-requires-older-cleveland-rentals-be-made-lead-safe-by-2021.html

The group’s proposal would create new requirements for landlords to disclose whether their rental was registered with the city as “lead safe” and to include that information in advertisements. It also would build in protections for renters whose homes are found to have hazards.

Homes built after 1978 or rented to direct relatives would be exempt and large apartment buildings would have to comply by proving 10 percent of units were “lead safe.”

CLASH partners, like a separate coalition that includes city, private and non-profit groups, say that financial support is needed to help low-income landlords pay to assess their homes for lead hazards and to make fixes to ensure they are safe

CLASH’s plan would jumpstart such a fund by doubling the current cost to register a rental with the city from $35 to $70 dollars, which could raise about $4 million a year.

CLASH said that likely would not be enough help but would be a start.

The Lead Safe Cleveland coalition today is holding its first public stakeholder meeting since announcing its efforts on Jan. 22. Its members are broken into committees led by community partners that will plan a summit for this year, plan community engagement and education efforts, examine ways to pay for remediation and study legislation and policy.

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley said he would refer CLASH’s proposal to the policy or legislative committee to review.

CLASH member Yvonka Hall said in a news release that while the coalition has said it is committed to addressing the lead poisoning issue but have released no timeline for action. “They continue to talk but our children can’t wait, we must act to solve this public health crisis in Cleveland.”

With CLASH’s petitions now filed, the group will have to collect signatures from 5,000 registered voters in Cleveland in order force City Council to consider the legislation. CLASH member and former city councilman Jeff Johnson has said the group is aiming to gather 10,000 signatures.

If City Council doesn’t adopt the legislation or an amended version that is acceptable to CLASH’s members, the group says it will proceed with putting the initiative up for a vote in November.