Hamilton County Commissioners 6/18/19

got a couple of issues coming in front
of the board today that are not part of the agenda and so I want to address the
flooding issue in Northside first we do have a speaker’s card I believe Mary are
you the president of the community council president of community council
is here and she would like to give some testimony so I’m gonna have her go first
and then have Diana Christy who is the interim director of MSD speak and also
Nick Crosley the director of EMA is here as well and so I just kind of want to
make sure we have all the information in front of us today so Mary and I’m gonna
let you pronounce your last name come on forward if you don’t mind pleasure to
floor for two minutes thank you my last name is Minerich very good thanks last
night we held our monthly meeting of Northside Community Council many
neighbors whose homes had been absolutely devastated by overflow from
the basin near Martha Street so this affected Martha Virginia and other
surrounding streets related what had been happening which was large amounts
of flooding people’s cars were damaged whole first floors of houses were
damaged water was turned off power was turned off gas was turned off they
showed up to the meeting covered in mud unable to shower if this gives you any
picture so with amazing composure I think we came to a conclusion that there
were three main things that we were looking for from MSD number one was a
sense for what is the amount of time before it can be determined whether they
can provide any kind of relief so they basically said until it could be
determined that it was msds fault from the basin and its construction they
could do nothing this means that basically people who
have very little in terms of savings are often forced to find a way to live to
try to clean their homes which it was indicated should be done as soon as
possible again with no assistance so the second
thing would be trying to understand if assistance were to be made possible at
some point what would that look like what could be available the third thing
being what are the health concerns given that they are now having to clean up
their properties as soon as possible on their own that they need to be aware of
to be concerned about so those are the three pieces the representatives from
MSD who did attend our meeting told us that they could do very little until a
complete investigation had been done but that they could begin to provide some
kind of relief again not specified what if there were to be declared a county
emergency if this were to be considered a actual disaster by the commissioners
and so we sent a letter last night asking that the commissioners do
consider this a disaster given the testimony that we heard from our
neighbors so thank you very much all right great thank you for that
clarification and Diana I assume you were at the meeting last night all right
if you would please come forward and elaborate just a little bit about what
you just heard and I think we all noted the three areas of concern sure and I’m
good afternoon thank you Commissioner Driehaus and Commissioner Dumas for having
me here today I did have some general statistics as well about our overall
flood response with the rainfall in SPU and I can just hand those to you so you
can follow along and I guess I should just round this out I mean for those
that are watching that may not have been inpacted by the kind of flooding that we
saw in Northside you know we all got this torrential rain but there was this
meeting last night where this was discussed and now we’re trying to figure
out how to kind of round out this conversation all right okay so I don’t
want to spend too much time since I know the subject of the the Northside
residents in particular is what you’re you are interested in hearing about but
just to put things in perspective and we did have this rainfall on Sunday morning
mostly so it was really overnight June 15th and 16th we do have data showing
that we were receiving maximum rates of almost 5 inches in an hour in some
locations and that is in our scientific determinations and that the tracking
that we use it did exceed the 50-year storm event based on our initial runs of
that data as you can see there was significant rainfall across the county
and in our service area in particular we have received since that date as of this
after as of this morning MSD received 376 reports of water and basement
sewer backups to our hotline we have been able to complete 232 of those
investigations meaning we’ve been out to the properties and either inspected the
main sewer in the street or actually gone into the homes in those instances
where we’re able to get inside of those we have referred 94 for cleaning so that
means that our initial investigation indicated that it was possibly a result
of a main sewer overload or some other capacity issue with the public sewer the
remaining 100-plus would be issues of private plumbing or overland flooding so
they were not referred for cleaning the others are still were you know we’re
still trying to schedule about 112 of those investigations so I also provided
on the back there just kind of the visual of where you can see the
concentrations of some of these reports and a breakdown by neighborhood of those
with the highest number of SBU reports again this is prior to investigation
these are just the calls that we’ve received we had 20 plus in Anderson and
Cheviot Delhi Green Township Mount Washington Northside and Westwood so with
that I do want to then specifically talk about the issue in Northside because as
you have heard and and what the folks have heard from us last night are they
call if they’ve called this in to us as a sewer backup under that program and we
provided an investigation what we determined was that the the flooding
that occurred and the water that got into their homes was all overland flow so it
was coming down from the hillsides and into their properties from either
straight from the groundwater or into the windows and through recess driveways
and all sorts of other ways that water can get into the property our main sewer
was actually open and not surcharge during this rain event what that means
is that these properties are not eligible for sewer backup response and
that you know funding mechanism in that program that we have under the consent
decree what has been very clear and what we are aware of is that
the folks they are feel as they’re our construction project and we’ve been
looking very closely at this that our construction project may have caused or
contributed to the flooding that occurred so the project that MSD has in
this area are is a stream separation project for a CSO reduction meaning
we’re removing storm water from the combined sewer to reduce overflows this
particular project was designed with two detention basins that were that are
designed to provide up to a hundred year storm protection for the area so I’m in
addition to the CSO reduction it does have a benefit for storm water
management in the area when it’s completed so we are in active
construction we have contractors out on the site the the basins are mostly
constructed they are not fully vegetated everything is not complete and with this
level of rainfall what happened I mean it is clear that the water inundated our
basins washed over them and went right into the streets and into homes in some
instances so I think the question that everyone has and what we are trying to
answer as quickly as possible is you know is there something about our
project that exacerbated conditions in this area we do know that of course as I
mentioned it’s there have been storm water issues in the past that we were
trying to address so whether it would have flooded prior to our construction
project or not is not not something we’ll be able to answer but we do need
to take a very close look and we’re already doing that at you know at this
stage of construction where things they should be stable and they should have
been able to you know manage a storm up to a certain level so at the meeting
last night I did want to clarify I think there was you know trying to answer
questions and give people a timeline is very difficult in this instance and I
think that the need for immediate relief is really on the minds of the folks that
were there they have you know needs for cleaning services and and help and
assistance and getting their furnaces and hot water heaters and things
repaired quickly and immediately and you know in sharing with them that I’m not
able to do that under the sewer backup program
because these you know really don’t fit within the confined to that program you
know I think there was a desire to understand why and what else they could
do so I think you know a little bit confusion on the declaration of an
emergency and our ability to convert that into some kind of immediate
disaster funding I think you know ultimately what I can commit to is
getting an answer on whether there’s you know some responsibility here on MSD or
its contractors part but I can’t you know provide disaster funding for that
immediate response okay I’m gonna call Nick up next to talk about this
emergency relief piece but have you on standby because I do want to direct some
answers to the questions that were asked but Nick I want you to please describe
the emergency declaration process and what that means so truly an emergency
declaration on behalf of the county is notice to the county as a whole that
we’ve experienced an event that goes above and beyond the ability of the
county to deal with either financially or physically handle it also notifies
the state that we might have a problem it really doesn’t have legal effect and
technically we don’t have to declare to ask for state assistance so what we’ve
done in this event as we do dealt with many of these events in the last four
years is we have we reached out we were on a phone call with Cincinnati Sunday
morning to talk about their response their building department is out
gathering the impact so we have to assess the level of flooding in each
home and we use the state and FEMA guidance for what that threshold is and
that determines whether or not we can ask for state or federal assistance it’s
it’s it’s a program that is limited in scope so there’s the public assistance
side which we’ve had no reports of public damage and then there’s the
individual assistance side that the state has a program that mirrors the
federal program that does require 25 properties private property uninsured
that is 18 inches into the first floor of the home or above
and so we’re still waiting on data from Cincinnati to see if they what they’ve
seen so far we have information on one one dwelling so far that got in the
first for there may be a few more based on what what she was saying but we still
need to have access to these federal and state programs it is it is a higher
threshold and if you look at the last four years of these events that we’ve
had we haven’t had one no matter we’ve had a lot of basements fill but
unfortunately the while an emergency to the people and impacts and it’s very
serious because I’ve had it in my basement that it doesn’t meet their
criteria and so but it but every time this happens we go out we do this
assessment work at Cincinnati specifically right now on their
neighborhoods and I’m still waiting on that data to see if we can but I have
been in touch with the state i’ve also reached out to the Red Cross and I’ve
sent I’ve asked for a local case manager from the Red Cross to reach out so I
sent a number to the Northside Council for the residents to call for
temporary assistance and then I’ve also reached out to we have what’s called a
coalition of organizations active in disasters its community-based
organizations so I’ve reached out to their chair to ask them to discuss it
and I’m going to reach out to a few more of their members to see if there’s any
assistance they can provide and so that’s pretty much what we’ve been doing
up to this point so might you have a better idea by Thursday as to whether or
not we have enough properties impacted by the flooding to meet the criteria I
hope so so I’ve let Cincinnati you know the city
know their representative that I really need the data as soon as possible it’s
sort of on their time frame but I’ll reiterate to them that we hope to have
it by Thursday Leslie has taken away your microphone I don’t know I don’t
know why well there it is yeah okay well I will fix that we’ll fix it it was like
I was just distracted I apologize so alright so we have a meeting on Thursday
is the reason I’m asking and if we find that we
enough properties to get us to that threshold that you’re referring to then
we could file a declaration of emergency from the county in the hopes of we would
get some help or support or assistance from the state or the federal government
relative to the flooding right so what I would do is take that data submit it
to the state recovery office then they would have to verify the data with us
and then if it met that threshold the governor could request a federal
declaration from from FEMA and from the president okay so we just don’t have the
information we need right now – okay all right thank you for that all right so we
had a couple of questions we were talking about the flooding and Northside
so there were some three very direct questions I can’t see you past that podium I apologize so there was some talk about this MSD and so I want to draw this distinction – between
the SBU program and what Diana was referring to with the Overland flooding
they’re two different things so these properties don’t qualify for the sbu
because it wasn’t a sewer backup I think we understand that however there may
have been an impact from the work that MSD is doing out in the neighborhood so
the questions then were the time before that would be determined and if it is
determined that there was an impact there what the assistance might look
like so can you address those two things yeah certainly and good afternoon
Commissioner Portune as well so yes I mean I think it’s key to understand you
know with our SBU program we have an established claims process that’s
somewhat you know it’s it’s dictated pretty clearly and it’s abbreviated in
the sense that people don’t have to hire a lawyer and go to court and all of that
so you know and fortunately or unfortunately we’re not going to be
dictated by that if we do in fact determine that there is some
responsibility here by MSD or one of its contractors I would like to commit to
having you know a determination within a week sooner if possible but I just think
there’s some pretty specific things that we’re looking into and as far as the
construction the design of the basins and you know really the sequencing of
construction and what is you know expected for performance of something at
this time in addition to the rainfall and what you know we could handle even
if it had been fully constructed so you know I was thinking by the end of this
week we should be able to have some more discussion with the administration about
what we believe you know have may have occurred if there is responsibility this
really is or are they a legal process that I think we would have to determine
with Council you know likely both for MSD and with county administration and
County Prosecutor’s Office we could do we could structure things really I think
we have leeway to structure them in a way that we could provide settlements
upfront but it really is all I think just too early to tell as I mentioned I
know that folks are most concerned about the immediate need for assistance with
cleanup and with you know essential mechanicals and and things like furnaces
and hot water heaters so I believe that the sooner we can make a determination
one way or the other is the most important thing at this time okay and my
last question I’m going to turn it over to the vice president and Commissioner
Portune as well but the last thing that was asked was if somebody has this
in their basement what should they do right now in kind of what are the safety
precautions as it was that kind of you were all right so I’m gonna restate that
because you are not on the mic so the question is it talks about long-term and
short-term health effects from the cleanup that’s necessary in the homes
yes so in response to that you know really any kind of flooding whether it
is you know river flooding creek flooding or just overland in street
flooding is is just as significant of a health issue as a sewer backup the kind
of contaminants that the water carries are essentially you know going to be
problematic and ultimately result in the growth of mold in any instance if it’s
not properly cleaned up so you know our advice is to hire a certified there’s
Blackwater flood remedial response companies that around town and they
should carry a certification I did not bring the exact title of that
certification I can grab that before we leave and make sure that that’s where
people can also go to our MSDGC.org website on the SBU page we have a lot of
information about proper cleanup from floods but you know I I think the most
important thing to understand is you know really anytime you get water in any
kind of silt in your basement the possibility of contamination is
there regardless of the whether it you know carry it any direct sewage or not
okay thank you I’m going to turn it over to Vice President Summerow Dumas thank
you madam president most of my questions have been answered I but I did want to
make a comment you indicated that they were not eligible through the SBU
consent degree decree and understand that but you also stated that it was
clear to you that the water went over the basin into the homes and so that
raised a red flag for me the fact that you’re clear about that so the option of
possibly that MSD or the contractors may have some something to do with their
projects that they’re doing I’m hoping that we can look at that part
quicker and a little closer I know you’re working on that now you said
maybe a week but that did raise a red flag
me that you were able to determine that that quickly so I know there’s more
investigation to go so I’ll be waiting anxiously to hear that Madam President
thank you in Interim Director Christy thank you so much for being here today
on short notice and giving this report I know that each of us has received
forgive the use the word a flood of phone calls and emails and the like from
citizens of Hamilton County just wondering what to expect in light of the flooding
I did see that that the two day event and I’m assuming that that’s how we’re
looking at this is a two day or a 48 hour event rain event that was a 50-year
storm is that now this is being has been established yes that’s the what the data
is showing that it’s a 50-year storm and that would be really it started late
Saturday night June 15th and continued through Sunday June 16th In general the
system that we have is rated at is it a ten year storm capacity at least today is
not to be designed to carry any storm water there was a time when it was
designed to be a combined system in certain areas with the discharges and
that’s why we’re in this consent decree to eliminate all those discharges but
that system itself whether designed to such or just through inflow and
infiltration was never set up to assume that any rainwater storm water that got
into the system would be such that would exceed a ten year storm type
of a rated capacity am i right on that yes that’s correct
this rate of rainfall is not it exceeds you know even today’s design standards
for for sewer There have been 58 cleanup services that have been accepted 94 referrals
what distinguishes between a a referral yet not accepted and those that have
been accepted we’re just breaking down the numbers essentially those are just
scheduling those getting the getting the calls placed saying that you know we
will schedule for cleaning and actually putting them on the calendar so
typically those are being done we’re already you know deploying those
contractors out to do the cleaning but actually having them scheduled is just
those those last few As we sit here today Tuesday June 18th
how many clean up accepted cleanup service referrals have actually been
performed and how many are still yet to go I don’t have that in front of me but
I can find out okay yeah we can we could provide an update on Thursday or prior
to Thursday’s meeting and hopefully have we still we’re receiving calls at a
pretty high volume still yesterday they seem to have tapered off the
rainfall we had this morning it was not as much of an impact I’m sure we’ll
still get some more but hopefully we’ll be able to make significant progress in
the next 24-48 hours Is there anything about the forecast for the
balance of the week that suggests we might encounter a similar in excess of a
10-year storm event so the folks that we work with them the city’s EOC Emergency
Operations Center and folks monitor this very closely while we do have rain
predicted for the next I don’t know how many days it’s not looking like it’s
going to be as intense and significant so the only concern is still that the
ground is very saturated and the water doesn’t have anywhere to go but in terms
of the intensity we’re hoping those predictions are right and it is you know
dropping off and we’ll be able to get ahead of this
I did want to add the the basins in the area where these floods occurred in
Northside you know we’ve had to go back out there we’ve had we’ve had not only
some of the city’s DPS crews helping to clean the streets were trying to make
sure all of the infrastructure the intakes that were overtaken in that you
know in that event we’re all being cleared and some of the basins structure
itself are being restored so we’re doing as much as we can in case you know and
that it does get we do get another significant rainfall in the next couple
of days any other info from the National Any other info from the Weather Service that might would augment
what Interim Director Christy just shared with us no I mean MSD follows the
weather probably as well as we do so it’s gonna rain I tend to look at it
about maybe 12 hours in advance to be honest with you I don’t think we this is
happening more and more and I don’t know that the forecaster really I’m not
faulting anybody so I look at about 12 hours maybe 24 to gauge it so and some
of their data showed some pretty heavy rainfall in that period 5 inches in some
areas which wasn’t as bad as 16 that we went through because that was in an hour
but you know in you know I’ll never forget that the but the the issue is
that the ground is just saturated and we need a drying period and and it’s up to
mother nature at this point so I would encourage if I may for residents to take
a minute and evaluate their risk if they experience anything in the last couple
of weeks if any of their neighbors did they should just check out their own
space their own houses check around their houses make sure their downspouts
are cleared make sure everything is running correctly
because this this rain I was just looking at the 12 to 15 day forecast and
it’s just rain rain rain sun rain rain rain sun so I think it’s an opportunity
for everybody to take a minute and and again we’re going to monitor what’s
going on in Northside I’m reaching out to the voluntary agency to see if they
can help and then we’ll hopefully get the data
from Cincinnati by Thursday seewhat we can do on the emergency declaration
applications should we encounter future rainfall events that would be considered
of the type that may qualify us for a request for an emergency declaration
again is there anything about our initial application that we should do to
keep the door open for supplementation No, each right own occurrence yes independently
it’s each event is its own occurrence so basically what we do the minute the
minute it starts to rain or before it starts to rain we are evaluating any
especially any we combine both looking at the impacts to private property as
well as if there’s any impact to the public side you know roads and bridges
and infrastructure and buildings and so we just we didn’t see that with this
event unfortunately we saw some basement flooding and that’s why but
that’s why we’re following Northside and we worked with again Cincinnati was on
top of it this weekend and we’re just waiting on their data but each event is
separate you’d have to declare it every time we’re talking about the Northside
Basin now which is has become sort of a new Basin we’re familiar with some of
the others in the past Muddy Creek being one of them in particular but with
respect to those issues Muddy Creek included is there any further discussion
director regarding response to those homeowners that have historically been
flooded out and what the the ultimate answer will be with respect to them
and their situations we’ve talked about a variety of different things including
in some cases actually purchasing properties so any update on that and
then the second question is simply this we started a few years back with MSD
working to do a macro analysis of whether with climate change and what
we’re experiencing and again not to get in the debate of why there might be
changes in climate but I don’t think anybody can argue that we’re
encountering a whole different set in series of weather events that are
unusual for this part of the hemisphere we began to look at whether we needed to
redefine what was considered a ten year storm or 25 or a 50 or 100 year storm
given the frequency with which we are having these different weather events I
know that began at some point there wasn’t much follow up a lot of other work
being done that seemed to be more urgent and pressing than that but I just
wondered what the status was of coming to completion regarding that study and
whether there was any reassessment of what now constitutes a ten year storm by
what we’re doing and and related to that are other communities doing the same
thing with respect to whether mapping you know through FEMA or otherwise
regarding what is a 10 year or 25 or 50 year storm given the change what appears
to be a change in climate sure so I mean yeah it you know it’s very clear when we’re standing up here talking about 50 year and hundred year storms more than
once in a couple years that those that terminology doesn’t mean what it used to
I think that the analysis you’re referring to a particular focus on on
that piece of it really is not something that we’ve brought to any completion or
are able to report on you know it is really part of what our watershed
operations and our and our folks are doing really every level of MSD and
evaluating our projects and planning for the you know the the additional consent
decree work and also what we can control within our existing watershed but as far
as you know that effort that broader effort to redefine those what my
understanding is and I’d be happy to you know to talk more about this and go back
and kind of pull back out what we were talking about a couple years ago is that
you know from an industry standpoint I think it’s not so much coming up with
new you know 50 or 100 redefining that but it’s really you know getting away
from using those as a guidepost to what we design and instead trying to design
in a more resilient fashion when we’re looking at the you know solutions to our
combined sewer overflows and looking at them in a way that we’re also addressing
you know the issues that were facing today with the additional rainfall so to
me it really goes to the integrated planning and such that we’ve discussed a
lot and so I’d be happy to you know kind of give a new focus and look at that but
we have not hasn’t been a priority really in mind you’re there sure
and the other issue on specific solutions or proposals for properties
that are plagued with ongoing flooding that we have you know been exploring
options and whether there’s you know any option or if a purchase of a property is
the only resort I think that is something that I am prioritizing and
trying to get back up to the top of our list to address you know those areas and
and Muddy Creek is one in particular and I think is probably the most significant
and which are aware of and I do think we we need to have some answers on that
very soon it’s similar to what we’ve talked about in the past there’s those
those few that purchase of the property might be you know we might be at that as
the last resort Madam President thank you for me so much
thank you all right so to be clear then we’ve had some questions answered but we
will expect an update on Thursday relative especially to the emergency
declaration to see if we met that the challenge I think we’re doing it now is
that if we don’t meet the criteria I would hate to have expectations be such
that people think something’s going to happen if it’s not and so that’s my
hesitation here so in two days hopefully we’ll have a lot more information and be
able to make a more educated decision about that so let I’m let’s put that
Jacquie if you would on the agenda just for an update at the Thursday meeting
and then MSD is going to I’m sure communicate with the community through
the community council representatives about what happens here with your
assessment of MS the impact of MS these project to the flooding and so if you
could we don’t meet again until July 9th so for us they have an update on that
next week is not going to happen but if you could include us by way of a CC on
any communications you are putting out to the Northside residents I think that
would be helpful to keep us in the loop so we know what the conclusion of that
was and then you know what the remediation if any looks like I am
assuming that will happen before our next meeting on July 9th and so I just
think we the three of us would like to be in the loop okay all right great
thank you is there anything else I think okay all right very good thank you all
for coming in appreciate it thank you for coming in we have a couple of
lighter things to discuss next before we get to our actual agenda the first one
is I just want to make a quick announcement
Alex Linser my chief of staff his wife auntie have welcomed their seventh child
I know right seven so yes I know congratulations to Alex and his family
Franklin George Linser nine pounds two ounces which i think is a pretty big
baby but that baby was late two weeks late so anyway congratulations to Joey
and to Alex and the family were very excited about that
bigger than my twins combined I’m I know it’s – it’s really big my kids are a
little tiny anyway so congratulations to him the the
other thing that’s not on the agenda that I know we’re going to deal with is
the Juneteenth Proclamation and so there was a celebration on
Saturday the annual celebration of Juneteenth and I know Hershel Daniels is here
and Lydia Morgan is here and they are going to accept the resolution from the
Commission so is I think you have it in front of you Commissioner Portune got
that resolution put together thank you very much for the privilege to offer
this proclamation in recognition of the 32nd annual Juneteenth Cincinnati
festival that took place on those rainy weather event days June 15th and 16th
although honestly I remember attending many a Juneteenth celebration where it
poured down rain on those two days something something about the weather
I’m not quite sure that weekend but we not only recognize the celebration and
the event and those involved in organizing the annual Greater Cincinnati
Juneteenth celebration including Lydia Morgan and all the volunteers that come
together from so many communities to make what is a great a great festival
and a great celebration I regret I was not able to attend this weekend but
again you know we all celebrate Juneteenth and I want to extend as well
thanks to Herschel Daniels mr. Daniels reached out to all of us
about making sure that that the board did not lose sight of the actual date
original date for Juneteenth which is June 19th and that we take steps to
recognized the reason in the history of Juneteenth and it’s very very long
history all of which is embodied in this Proclamation and Madam President I’d
like to yield to you to read that lay that out because I think it does bear
noting why we celebrate Juneteenth each year why it’s so important in the
Greater Cincinnati community and that all people understand the history of
Juneteenth and why it’s such an important festival well we all got it
together I know this was a combined effort from all three board offices but
again I do want to specifically thank Herschel you for you know reaching out
to us to make sure that this got on our calendar and that we we did have this
and of course again you know miss Morgan everybody for all the work that was done
in annually putting this festival together it’s not easy to get something
like that done we all know that and yet you do it it’s a great festival and
thank you so very very much for doing so the proclamation that we have in front
of us recognizes Juneteenth because it’s also
known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day
it’s an American holiday commemorating June 19 1865 which was the announcement
of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas and a lot of people don’t
understand that that that singular event in in that state is what promulgated the
annual recognition most enslaved slaves lived in rural areas but more than a
thousand actually resided in the cities of Galveston and Houston by 1860 with
hundreds of others who lived in large towns
and then you know there were a lot of slaveholders and planners who migrated
to Texas from Eastern States to escape the defeats in there fighting for
slavery so you know you’ve had during the American Civil War this migration of
pro-slavery individuals who wanted to perpetuate slavery and they moved to
Texas and so that’s the the importance of the state of Texas in this you know
the movement from 1862 increased by tens of thousands such that by the end
of the Civil War in 1865 there were an estimated 250,000 enslaved African
individuals in the state of Texas and you know that number is is astonishing
when you consider what had occurred during the four years of the American
Civil War and notwithstanding the Emancipation Proclamation that was
issued two years earlier and so on in the advancement of the Union Army which
brought forth with it the enforcement of the proclamation you know Texas was
largely removed from as anyone who follows the history knows was largely or
largely escaped if you will the the movement of federal soldiers into that
part of the United States or the the seceding States during that time periods
why there are so many enslaved individuals in Texas by the end of the
Civil War On June 19th though Major General Gordon Granger of the victorious
Union Army arrived in Galveston Texas to declare the end of the Civil War
you know the people generally think of the end of the Civil War occurring when
Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse but there was all sorts of
other fighting that took place long thereafter and pockets
of secessionist individuals who were still acting as if the war had not ended
and that the South had not surrendered and and so on but Granger arrived in
Galveston Texas and read aloud the contents of what was styled general
order number three announcing the total emancipation of all who were held in as
slaves in the state of Texas and that would not have occurred without the
courage and sacrifice of the nearly 200,000 former enslaved and free
african-americans who fought for liberty alongside of more than two million Union
servicemen and those individuals fought to defend their god-given rights of all
held in bondage as property since the founding of the country the
constitutional United States under the the US Constitution since 1788 and and
again just to the history of the Civil War the history of former enslaved and
free Africans and African Americans who fought bravely courageously with
distinction you know we the the 54th Massachusetts being one of those
regiments you know that was highlighted in the movie Glory some years ago but
that movie epitomized what was the bravery and courage of African Americans
in and former slaves who were fighting for the freedom of all alongside with
others during the American Civil War so with that history laid out and why
June 19th it’s because of that general order number three issued by Union
General major-general Gordon Granger when he arrived in Texas
and only until then then was Texas sort of officially freed and all in Texas
freed through the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation that we now
today celebrate Juneteenth as well why Juneteenth is such an important day to
remember June 19th 1865 and for us annually to celebrate that and the
importance in the history of Juneteenth for all Americans and certainly for all
of us in Hamilton County so with that it really is an honor and a privilege to be
able to present to the people of Hamilton County this resolution that the
Board of County Commissioners does hereby honor the unbreakable spirit and
countless contributions of generations of Americans of this African slavery to
the story of American greatness and that in doing so we salute Lydia Morgan who
has organized 32nd year of the annual Greater Cincinnati’s Juneteenth in 2019
this past weekend and the board further resolves that today and every day we
commit ourselves to defending the self-evident truth boldly declared by
the founding fathers that all people are created equal and that we as the
leadership of the county recognize that although we may be created equal that
Americans of African heritage have faced a flawed citizenship since it was
granted in 1868 with institutionalized and systematic racism by government in
the private sector and were committed to addressing any legacy of such
institutionalized and systemic racism to the the best of our ability and without
equivocation and without end in the means by which we may do so as the
elected body of government in for Hamilton County state of Ohio the United
States of America by order the county commissioners did
day signed and adopted by President of the Board
Denis treehouse by the first african-american county commissioner
woman or man in Hamilton County and our 227 year history
Stephanie summer L Dumas the vice president of the board and myself as our
boards third County Commissioner thank you so much congratulations for what you
have done and may God bless us all as we continue to fight systemic and
institutionalized racism wherever it rears its ugly head
throughout human County and elsewhere congratulations so I do have a speaker’s
I have a speaker’s card for you do you want to and if we could have just a
couple comments a couple thank you just on behalf of the committee I’d like
to thank the commissioners and you Herschel and all of the volunteers and
supporters that we have of Juneteenth because very honestly my husband and I
have been getting awards and pats on the backs but we could not do this
were it not for all of the people who stand behind us and prop us stuff so
thank you so very much thanks for coming in congratulations yes sir
so my name is Herschel Daniels I’m a graphic Jack wood Noah I’ve served
previously as an engineer and Todd knows me I’m going to talk about MSD because
in 2012 I presented MSD to the African scientific Institute at Howard
University to meet the engineering requirements of a 50-year requirement on
SSO 5 and we had proposed a fixed price of 235 million dollars for that and 350
million for the viaduct at that time Tony Parrott and others ok outmaneuvered
us we lost the South Fairmount Community Council and so it went nowhere but from
those days of the engineering and relative to this MSD has done
poor poor engineering and you have have reports of to the engineering failures
and I would very much look that you’ve hired a variety of engineering
consultants and I would ask you to do a review of the engineering that has been
done now I was out Hamilton County is one of two cities that has a black CER team
okay civilian emergency response team and I was out in in the rain okay and
when they talked about the overflow and they talked about how it may have
happened you know you have the University of Cincinnati and a top-notch
engineering you have the Innovation Center you know you need to conduct a
casualty report independent of what you receive from MSD just just my opinion
and I want to thank you tomorrow we’re going to be at the Main Public Library
covering the comprehensive economic development strategy this is going to be
one of the topics we’re also meeting with the federal reserve over the next
two days on the thirty billion dollar 5/3 or so we’re looking forward to it
we’ll be there all day thank you congratulations thank you for coming in
all right thank you all yeah you feel free to leave if you would like although
our next item is very interesting we are getting an update from the Clerk of
Courts about the legal self-help clinic that was established a week a year and a
half ago or so something like that so please come forward Aftab Pureval is
here Clerk of Courts welcome and I leave it to you to introduce your team that is
here with you thank you for coming in Madam President thank you so much for
having me Vice President Summerow Dumas thank you so much County Commissioner
Todd Portune – good to see you sir with me today is the Dean of the
University of Cincinnati College of Law Verna Williams the executive director of
our Help Center oh that’s right yep the executive director of our help center
Rob Wall a client who was helped by the help center John Mayer and then also
from my office Myka Owens is here one of our interns Skylar Oceaner a junior
at UC is here Skylar wanna wave there we go
and in the back hiding is Jenny Diaz yes the three speakers today will be
myself Dean Verna Williams and our client John
Mayer our executive director Rob Wall will be on hand to answer any operations
questions the Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center opened in September of
2017 the help Center’s mission is to increase access to justice by providing
self represented litigants with education information and limited legal
advice to help them become better equipped to understand their legal
issues and navigate the court system the help center was developed through a
partnership between the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Municipal Court the
County Commission and the University of Cincinnati College of Law the help
center model was inspired by the 2015 Supreme Court of Ohio’s Task Force on
access to justice the task force reported that open and accessible courts
are a hallmark of a civilized society and all citizens must have access to the
civil justice system however in 2018 eighty six percent of civil legal
problems reported by low-income people received either no or inadequate legal
help additionally 71 percent of low-income
households experienced at least one civil legal problem in that same year
and housing in small claims matters both in front of the municipal municipal
courts at least one party lacks representation in up to 98% of cases
each day as the Supreme Court task force concluded Ohio courts are filled with
individuals unable to secure legal representation in civil matters and are
left with no choice but to navigate an unfamiliar and complex court system
alone the gap in access to leap to civil legal assistance is not only a problem
for our courts but for our community lack of access exacerbates existing
societal and economic challenges in Cincinnati poverty and fast-growing
rents have pushed a growing number of families out of their homes in 2017
Cincinnati had the hot the 10th highest eviction rate in the country and
Hamilton County the number of available and affordable housing units
has become less available as the number of households in poverty has grown by
40% since 2000 our Municipal Court takes in an average of 300 new eviction
filings per week 300 studies have shown that experiencing an eviction has
adverse long-term impacts on mental and physical health childhood development
and the ability to secure adequate housing or credit
similarly with seven out of 10 Americans just one paycheck away from being
homeless the inability to adequately defend oneself in a lawsuit can have
ripple effects that extend to one’s family and the larger community and
landlord-tenant an eviction is just one but one issue facing self-represented
civil litigants john mayer who’s here will also talk about his personal story
as it relates to creditor-debtor issues which is also a large civil problem in
our community the problem is profound but our Help Center is the start of a
solution in fact at the help centers opening ceremony Ohio Supreme Court
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor stated I think this help center is the model for
the state she continued we’re going to see cities and counties across Ohio and
I even think across the country looking at what is being done here in Cincinnati
and realized that this is the gold standard the help center services are
free open to the public and are offered on a both walk-in and by appointment
appointment basis the help center is located in the front of the courthouse
and a highly visible and accessible location and is open from 8 a.m. to 4
p.m. Monday through Friday the main areas of assistance are evictions
landlord tenant small claims creditor-debtor and other civil
Municipal Court issues the help center is staffed by a full-time attorney rob
wall a full-time paralegal and volunteer students and attorneys a visitor to the
help center will be greeted at our front desk where the staff paralegal
determines the level of service requested or needed the front desk
paralegal provides basic procedural information and legal forms when only
quick services are needed otherwise people are directed to either one a law
student for in-depth information about court processes procedures and
assistance completing legal filings or to an attorney for a limited legal
advice session to help them determine next steps for their cases all law
students and volunteer attorneys are supervised by the help center staff
attorney mr. wall additionally the Help Center works to create informational
guides that explain court procedures and model pleadings to assist self
represented individuals plead their case the Help Center has already had an
enormous impact since its opening in September 2017 the Help Center has
served 17,000 self-represented people the majority of whom were provided with
court processes and procedural information while 962 were given limited
legal advice by our full-time attorney 97 percent of visitors reported that
they better understood court processes and procedures while 95 percent reported
that they felt better prepared for their case the Help Center was recently
recognized nationally by winning the Justice Achievement Award presented by
the National Association for court management it is literally changing
lives keeping people in their homes resolving creditor issues and expanding
justice for the people who need it and while the help center has been
enormous enormous ly successful there is still an overwhelming need for
assistance for unrepresented people in Hamilton County currently the Help
Center can take nine appointments a day just nine with our full time staff
attorney which means people are being turned away and the wait for
non-emergency limited legal advice consultation can be up to four days to
address this the clerk’s office is excited to share that we have won a
$25,000 grant from the Supreme Court of Ohio that will help in the hiring of
another staff attorney to deal with the incredible demand we have from people
all over Hamilton County additionally the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts has
been selected for a partnership with Stanford Law School’s legal design lab
and the University of Cincinnati College of Law to develop a new do-it-yourself
website that will expand online services and allow people to get help to their
most common legal issues this website will work like TurboTax you’ll fill in
information about landlord tenant disputes or creditor
issues and all of your information will automatically generate giving you the
court documents you need for the case the website will allow users to
intuitively navigate through their case information identified defenses and
counterclaims and automatically generate court documents this best-in-class
technology will even provide text messages text message updates and court
reminders so that you can manage your case yourself in conclusion we’d like to
thank the County Commission for its continued support of the Help Center
from the very beginning the County Commission has been a steadfast partner
and we would not be here without your leadership we can all be proud that the
Help Center is a bipartisan solution does it that is effectively helping our
community and next to speak is the Dean of UCS law school Verna Williams welcome
thanks for being here thank you thank you mr. Provo for introducing me thank
you president Driehaus and commissioners for your support of
this Center mr. Peter Vall asked me to talk about why you see engaged in this
collaboration and I have to say that one of the reasons was in response to a
complaint or or urban legend that there are too many lawyers you’ve probably
heard it right there are too many lawyers and particularly following the
2008 recession there was a lot of people there were many people talking about
there was no need to go to law school but as you’ve heard when you have 86% of
legal needs going unmet we hardly have too many lawyers we we don’t have enough
lawyers and the other reason that frankly that I decided that it was time
for us to or it was appropriate for us to join in this collaboration was what
it was related to my reason to coming to UC in the first place
UC has a very strong and robust tradition of linking theory and practice
and as you know at being UC alums UC is the home of cooperative education and it
is no less true at the College of Law where we engage in combining theory and
practice as you’re probably aware we have a domestic violence in civil
protection order clinic we have of course the Ohio Innocence Project
is one of the most successful innocence projects in the whole movement the
international movement and we have the entrepreneurship and Community
Development Clinic which works in collaboration with many entrepreneurial
entities in the city I’m especially proud of this partnership because it is
consistent with our role and our responsibility as a public urban
institution it’s giving our students an opportunity to learn on the ground
what’s happening in the legal system to get a sense of what is happening in
court for good and for ill and to apply what they’re learning in law school it’s
also giving us a chance to lend a hand to addressing this access to justice gap
and I believe very strongly that law schools have an important role to play I
mean what better match could there be if there’s 86 percent of the knee that’s
going unfilled and we’ve got you know every year about a hundred or so law
students who are looking for something to do so I’m especially proud of this
partnership I am very proud of that it is being led by two of our alums mr.
Perot Vall and mr. rod wall and I look forward to continuing our collaboration
and once again I thank you for your support of the help center thank you
thank you for being here next Dean and next are a client of ours mr. John Mayer
welcome I’d like to thank mr. Pierre of all mr. Rob Wall for inviting me here to
speak and then I’d like to thank the Commission for that opportunity to speak
my name is John Mayer I came to the help center after receiving notice of a
lawsuit from a debt collector debt collection company that I’d never heard
of they were seeking a judgment against me
and I didn’t just want to blindly hand over my money to a company that I had
never heard of or had ever done business with so I sought to get some more
information and get an understanding on the matter I actually did receive
letters in the mail from attorneys locally and I did contact them and none
were too eager to share any information without me handing over a sizable amount
of money then I remembered a relative telling me they had received
assistance from the help center when they were dealing with an eviction so I
called the city to get the help centers numbered and then I called the help
center to schedule an appointment the help center was extremely professional
helpful and informative right from the beginning the help center attorney
helped me understand how my case worked and how to respond to the lawsuit
throughout the case I visited to help center many times to talk about my next
steps and it get help in filing what I needed with the court so that I didn’t
lose by default or not responding in time the attorney and I worked together
to file motions and requests discoveries of information from the plaintiff to see
if they actually held any claim to damages and then discuss ways to resolve
the case in the end the help center helped me settle the case with the
company in a way that I believed was fair for all involved I also learned a
ton from the experience and I was able to save a sizable amount of money that
was able to stay here in Cincinnati and be spent locally in summary I’d say that
the Help Center gave me an understanding of how my case worked and they helped me
see it through to the end of which I am truly grateful and it’s just my opinion
but I feel that the work being performed at the Help Center is inspired by higher
calling thank you thank you thank you John so Dean Williams myself
and Rob wall are here to answer any questions you might have
thank you for your presentation and we’re proud partners of the Health
Center we would not have happened without the germination of the idea with
the Clerk of Courts office of course but these partnerships are so important so
thank you so much for giving us an update on the work that you’re doing any
questions or comments thank you madam president also would like to
congratulate you once what sounds like an awesome program not only sounds like
it is from the numbers that you’ve given us 17,000 people have been served it’s
just that a quick question so the of the 17,000 did they have legal action open
case cases that after he open are you able to just go
and ask the question even if you don’t have any legal things going on at the
time so I don’t know offhand I would imagine that all or a vast majority have
issues pending in the courts or have family members with issues pending in
the courts okay I guess theoretically if you don’t have an issue pending but
you’re just curious about an area of law you could still come in and ask a
question again we have we don’t require an appointment for you to just drop in
of the 17,000 though it is important to remember that a vast majority of those
folks are really just asking questions like I got this legal document in the
mail what is it right or I know I have a court date is that in this building is
it in the Justice Center sometimes it’s in the federal building I mean folks
have truly have no idea oftentimes what’s going on in our complex justice
system so oftentimes the folks that we’re helping we’re just helping them
way find 962 though we provided an actual limited legal advice okay that’s
a huge number how are you advertising advertising this
program so our bandwidth is so narrow a Commissioner that we don’t advertise
hey there’s all word-of-mouth if we were to advertise we would be overwhelmed so
one of the one of the the challenges that we well one of the opportunities
that we have with the new hire that will come in is that it’ll expand our
bandwidth and we we are considering doing some very targeted marketing but
right now it’s it’s primarily word-of-mouth because it’s a partnership
with the Municipal Court we often do get referrals from the magistrates who will
send litigants our way to help them prepare the case because not only is it
good for the community and self represented litigants it’s also good for
the courts because when a litigant is prepared for courts the court goes much
more smoothly and much more efficiently absolutely
in congratulations on the grant that you just received so thank you that’s all I
have Thank You Commissioner Porter and congratulations on celebrating the
time that you’ve been open on the grant you just received the partnership with
Municipal Court with this board with the University of Cincinnati College of Law
which is my college at UC of attendance and proud alumni of of the College of
Law so Dean Williams thank you for being here
Attorney wall thank you for your presence and your work in connection
with all of this I remember Clark pure of all when you first came to talk to me
about this and what struck me so much was you know you had campaigned for the
office on how the clerk’s office was more than just a place a depository
paperwork and the handling of scheduling of court proceedings and that sort of
thing but that a true Clerk of Courts can be a public servant that goes way
beyond that and and I remember so many times when as an attorney I would be a
filing paperwork at any one of a number of the civil desks and there was always
a always a sign there taped to the counter that said the clerk’s office
cannot offer any legal advice on any matter so anyone that was serving in a
pro bono capacity or serving as you know their own attorney acting individually
to try to handle matters because they could not afford a lawyer or didn’t
understand the process or whatever it was was immediately intimidated at the
courthouse when in fact the courthouse should be a place of help and service
and you had this vision and it wasn’t just this of many other things but with
respect to the civil self-help program you had this vision on
how the clerk’s office could be this beacon of health and hope for
individuals who had problems that involve the courts that were to anyone
unfamiliar with anything related to the civil process can be very frightening
and intimidating and threatening and it has been all that it was advertised to
be and more we’re all very very proud of being partners with you in this process
Dean partners with with the College of Law in connection with that with all of
this and the many other volunteers without whose help this could never have
happened and at lest I forget the Municipal Court and everything that
Municipal Court is doing because without the cooperation of the Municipal Court
this could not happen it could not be and the judges have been very very
willing to be supportive and a part of it so I’m I’m just you know very very
happy to to be a part of it play a supporting role a small supporting role
in what was your vision and in bringing this great program to life and to light
in to help for the benefit of all the people in Wilton County and I’m sure we
all are willing to do what we can to continue to be supportive as its
commissioner summer Dumas had mentioned you know as word gets out even more
whether whether by intent or whether just by word of mouth from those who
have actively experienced the benefit of the program it’s been a terrific thing
and a terrific help and I’m very very glad to know now that when anyone goes
to the Hamilton County Courthouse and is that at
these many counters that exist to to respond to filings that have been made
or to deliver paperwork or whatever the case may be that no more is what they
get from the clerk’s office of being a big hand up saying help stop don’t ask
we’ve got nothing to tell you we can’t assist go on about your business but
instead now we have a Clerk of Courts office in Hamilton County headed by you
clerk pure of all in all the terrific men and women in your office who have
completely embraced this vision and made the clerk’s office through this program
and other things that you were doing this is non-threatening unintimidating
place where people know that they can get help on the matters that they need
help on and get their questions answered and things of that nature
congratulations thank you a great big thank you I have one question can you
remind us what the financial commitment of the county is yeah I believe it’s a
hundred and ten thousand dollars i Jeffy is that about right yeah $110,000 so the
the increase in funding is partly coming from from the grant that I just talked
about and also partly coming from I think since taking office i’ve saved the
county 1.6 million dollars so we’re using some of those savings also to help
fund expansion of the health center okay just yeah we’re moving into another
budget cycle so I’m just trying to track yeah those dollars so thank you thank
you so much for being here thank you all for being here appreciate your presence
there wasn’t meant as a softball but 1.6 million dollars since since taking
office thank you and just just quickly and I know we’re running long a special
thanks to Dean Williams and the UC College of Law they really do a lot of
the heavy lifting behind the scenes particularly on HR matters and then also
to rob wall that the Help Center just simply wouldn’t exist without his
tireless commitment to our community and specifically to
those who are the least fortunate in our community you stand these words there
you are in the back there you go thank you thank you so much all right yes now
everyone’s going to leave because the rest of the meeting is less interesting all right to give people a second to
clear here all right so our next item is a resolution this is an amended
resolution it’s updating the resolution that we passed in January relative to
our meetings on the third Thursday that it take place usually not always but
sometimes outside the building and so this resolution as you can see on the
second page has identified all of the past meetings and the upcoming meetings
so that week and we’ve firmed up all these locations on these dates and I
appreciate the input from the other offices as to where we might want to go
we did try to take the map and put the pins in and make sure there we’re being
as you know out in the community and every community as much as possible so
as you all know our Thursday meeting this week will take place in Cheviot
it’s at the Shiva at field house and then in July we’ll be in Forest Park and
August will be in Anderson Township September will be an even day October
will be in Lockland November is Woodlawn and then December we’re back here at the
County Administration Building so that is the purpose of the resolution so if
there are any questions or comments I’m happy to entertain those otherwise I
would like to move to approve of the resolution amending a resolution
endorsing the concept of open meetings and updating the locations of the public
meetings second yes yes yes thank you all right is there anything else to come
before us before we move into executive session
I have nothing Madam President okay thank you all right well then we
have three executive sessions I do want to before we do so the reminder again
Thursday’s meeting is it should be at field house we’re going to have some
important updates so just to allow people to mark that on their calendars
so three executive sessions the first executive session pursuant to our C
section 121 point 22 G for to conduct or review negotiations or bargaining
sessions concerning employee compensation or other terms and
conditions of their employment the second will can I do these all together
Michael okay second executive session pursuant to our C section 121 point 22 G
for to conduct a review negotiations and davargan these sessions concerning
employee compensation are the terms and conditions of their employment and the
third is an executive session pursuant to our C section 121 point 22 G for to
conduct a review negotiations or bargaining sessions concerning employee
compensation or other terms and conditions of their employment I will
move that we conduct all three executive sessions move into executive session

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