Kevin Kelley Launches "Kelley Talks" Podcast with Basheer Jones, Continues to Trash Issue 24

click to enlarge Council President Kevin Kelley and Councilman Basheer Jones cut ribbon at Carrie Cain Park in Ward 7 after Kelley receives Jones' endorsement, (9/29/21). - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Council President Kevin Kelley and Councilman Basheer Jones cut ribbon at Carrie Cain Park in Ward 7 after Kelley receives Jones' endorsement, (9/29/21).

Cleveland City Council President and mayoral candidate Kevin Kelley has launched a podcast with councilman Basheer Jones in which Kelley fields questions about his platform and vision. Jones ran for mayor, placing fifth in the September primary, and is now backing Kelley

In the inaugural episode, a 19-minute conversation that appeared Monday on YouTube, and which Jones twice refers to as "Episode 2," the topic under discussion is public safety. Kelley declares that public safety is the most important issue facing the city of Cleveland and tells Jones that addressing gun violence will be a "day one issue" for his administration. 

The conversation quickly turns to Issue 24, the grassroots ballot initiative that Kelley is working overtime to make the marquee consideration for voters on election day. The measure would give expanded oversight powers to a 13-member civilian review board, giving them the last word on officer discipline. (In the past, Safety Director Michael McGrath and Police Chief Calvin Williams could and would simply ignore the recommendations of the board.) Kelley's opponent, Justin Bibb, is in favor of the measure. Kelley is opposed, and has characterized Issue 24 as an effort to "defund the police."

In the conversation with Jones, Kelley reiterates the key talking points in the anti-Issue 24 campaign literature. He says the measure would hand over power to an "untrained," "unelected" civilian body who would be subject to pressure from the population. Kelley refers to this pressure as "lobbying." He also says he believes the Consent Decree—the settlement agreement between the Cleveland Police and the U.S. Department of Justice to restore constitutional policing in Cleveland—is working and that the city is already on the path to reform. He warns that hundreds of officers would quit the force or retire if Issue 24 passes, so terrified are they (according to Kelley) of facing the wrath of civilian oversight. 

He concludes with his vision for the division of police. He wants to demand far more community policing, with increased foot patrols, bike patrols and the return of neighborhood "mini stations."

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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