EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Some East Cleveland homeowners like Lateek Shabazz maintains the effort to recall Mayor Brandon King is not politically motivated, but rather a reflection of the Mayor's track record.
Shabazz, who is a registered voter, told News 5 he believes Mayor King has not done a good job administrating city safety services in many East Cleveland neighborhoods over the five years he's been in office.
“I think that he’s getting bad advice," Shabazz said. “I know him personally, he’s a nice guy, I just don’t like the way he’s taking care of business. This is business it’s not personal.”
"In my ward, every other street light is out and some of the street signs are down. So when it’s dark like that, you are inviting crime.”
However, some East Cleveland city leaders like Nathaniel Martin believe the effort to get the Mayor King recall on the Nov. 8 ballot is very political and damaging to a city that needs unity to deal with its many financial issues.
"The recall effort against the Mayor is not productive," Martin said. "But, I will wait for the recall process to unfold."
Still, other East Cleveland leaders like Councilwoman at-large Patricia Blochowiak told News 5 the recall vote is needed based on how Mayor King has handled a wide variety of issues.
“He’s giving contracts to his friends; he’s spending money that hasn’t been appropriated by council,” Blochowiak said. "He’s not giving information that’s public information.”
Blochowiak told News 5 Mayor King has now turned to East Cleveland Law Director Willa Hemmons who submitted a request to the Cuyahoga County Board of Election to de-certify the recall petition against Mayor King.
Hemmons claims the recall petition was unlawfully certified, alleging 43 people who signed the petitions did not vote in last November's election, leaving the recall petition short of the 311 signatures required to bring the recall issue to East Cleveland voters.
However, Councilwoman Blochowiak believes it's Mayor King and Law Director Hemmons who are out of line, claiming a law director paid with city tax dollars should not be representing the Mayor in this case, claiming it's a conflict of interest.
“Willa Hemmons is asking for attorney’s fees; well she’s paid as a full-time employee of the city. She shouldn’t be asking for attorney’s fees on top of that," Blochowiak said. “She is supposed to be working in a non-partisan way for the city, not in a partisan way for the Mayor’s campaign to stay elected.”
News 5 reached out to both Mayor King and Law Director Hemmons for this story, but we're still waiting for a response.
The Cuyahoga Board of Elections told News 5 the recall will remain on the Nov. 8 ballot, but if a late ruling is made to have it removed, voters will be given a note on election day stating their vote on the issue will not count.
Homeowners like Shabazz believe there will be a strong voter turnout if the recall remains on the ballot, and is predicting King could be removed from office if voters ask themselves one simple question:
“Are you satisfied with your city services, yes he will be out," Shabazz said. “We’re probably projecting about 5,000 people will come out to vote, and I think he will lose.”