"An informed voter is our police department's best friend. If the residents of East Cleveland know what's at stake, they will certainly vote with their conscious and we believe that they will vote to keep the security that we have in East Cleveland," said Mayor Norton.
"We'll lose 44 percent of the police, 50 percent of the paramedics, 31 of the firefighters and then 44 percent of the service workers," explained Officer Brandon Tisdale, as he spoke to residents.
Then he asked them if they were giving out Milky Ways or Snickers on Halloween. He just wants to know what houses he plans to hit this weekend.
East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton told residents this week that if they vote in November to get rid of the city's traffic cameras, he would have no choice but to lay off police, fire, and other city workers to offset the loss in revenue East Cleveland makes from the cameras.
The city employees some 200 workers. 68 of them, including 50 police and fire, got layoff notices Tuesday.
Norton says East Cleveland's annual coffers are at $22 million with $1 million of that coming from traffic cameras. That's quite a strong play from Mr. Mayor in a city like East Cleveland, playing the one-two combo of threatening to take cops off the streets while appealing to residents' sense of safety.
"These cameras have always been about safety . . . not about money," Norton told more than 50 people at the City Council meeting Tuesday night. "We are better crimefighters in the city of East Cleveland as a result of having these cameras."
Debate has been vigorous on both sides, interest and participation in meetings high this week, and rhetoric civilized and restrained.
Oh, and there was music from "Rocky."
Community activist Art McKoy, who opposes the cameras, entered the meeting accompanied by the theme of the movie, "Rocky."
He urged citizens to vote against the cameras next month, calling the cameras a "bailout" for the city.
"Here's what's going to happen, trust me. In the next six months or a year, the city will ask for another bailout, and you think they have a lot of cameras here now, 19, they'll be asking for five more," he said.
East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton was not present when the meeting began, but somebody brought a cardboard prop with his likeness.
Fox 8's coverage of the meeting includes video of both stunts.
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