Door To Door: Mayor Justin Bibb's agenda wheels through the snow

A snowplow drives through Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.
A snowplow cleared streets in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood last week. [Nick Castele / Ideastream Public Media]

Analysis

Mayor Justin Bibb won his primary and general election races in the summer and fall, but he has to start governing in the winter.

And that’s why a new report outlining the new mayor’s agenda — freshly printed in his campaign’s signature blue and teal — could be obscured by the shadows of the snowbanks lining city streets.

The 100-page report details the recommendations of the transition committees Bibb convened last year. It lists proposals lofty and mundane, from ensuring citywide broadband access to reforming the city’s permit and constituent complaint processes.

“This will be the Bible for my leadership team, my cabinet, all our directors and chiefs to ensure that we are executing on the vision and the mandate that we won on Nov. 2,” Bibb told Ideastream Public Media.

You can read more about the report here.

But as Bibb’s office circulated the road map for his term, his administration got an earful from a Cleveland City Council committee about removing snow from the city’s actual roads.

According to Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Teeuwen, the city has been following its typical plowing plan, which calls for all roads to be cleared within 72 hours after a major snowfall of 6 inches or more.

Teeuwen, who is about three weeks on the job, said the plan wasn’t good enough. Council members were inundated with calls after January’s snowstorm and the follow-up snowfall last week.

The city, in its attempt to keep the public informed, gave residents false hope by overpromising when roads would be done, according to Ward 16 Councilman Brian Kazy.

“How do I phrase this without trying to get political?” Kazy said. “We’re not campaigning anymore, it’s the reality of what’s happening with the city. Saying things are one thing and it’s grand and it’s wonderful, but the reality of what’s going on may be a little bit different than the ideas of it all.”

Bibb won the mayor’s race by raising voters’ hopes on a promise of change. He may have raised their expectations, too. The double-barrel snowstorms in January and February, and Monday’s council hearing, showed that change doesn’t happen easily and it requires getting bruised along the way.

Today’s big agenda rollout could end up competing for airtime with council’s big snow removal hearing. That may not be the sort of splash the new administration is looking for. But, as one well-known Clevelander likes to say, it is what it is.

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