Mayor addresses Pride Fest concerns

by Dan Holland

May 6 city council meeting

Mayor Sam Alai during a May 6 meeting of Broadview Heights City Council addressed issues regarding Pride Fest, which will be held at the city amphitheater June 8. Residents voiced opinions both in support of and opposition to the event, for which the city is a co-sponsor, during council work session meetings on April 15 and May 2. Alai was not in attendance at the May 2 meeting.

Alai’s clarifications included comments relating to council notification, the location of last year’s Pride Fest, Section 820 of the city’s codified ordinances, use of city tax dollars for events and a response to allegations of his denial of a particular event.

Alai said he emailed all members of city council on March 8 of the planned event and received no questions or concerns at that time.

“An even smaller number indicated that they found out about it by texts from residents rather than from me,” said Alai. “My marked email verified that council was notified along with my department heads.”

Claims of a server issue delaying delivery of the email were made by some councilmembers during previous work session meetings. “What concerns me more is that they have known for weeks and were informed by me on March 8, and there were no attempts to conceal that event was happening,” he said.

Alai noted that BBH Pride held the inaugural Pride Fest last June at Brecksville-Broadview Heights Middle School. The school is located in Broadview Heights near the city border with Brecksville. “The approval process did not go through the office of the mayor; it went through the school board, as it should have,” said Alai. “I wanted to make this clear so that there is no confusion about our city hosting the event last year.”

Alai added that Section 820 of the codified ordinances, as currently written, applies only to non-sponsored city events that would require a special permit. A proposal at the May 2 work session by Ward 3 council representative Brian Dunlap, if approved, would add language to Section 820 to provide councilmembers the opportunity to review all applications for both sponsored and non-sponsored events in the city.

Tax dollars will be used for the June 8 event, Alai noted, to pay police, fire/EMS and service department personnel working at the event. He added that Pride Fest is also providing its own security and insurance in addition to the city mandated requirements.

Alai also refuted claims made by Councilperson Glenn Goodwin at the May 2 meeting that he had denied a Christian youth group from holding an event in the city.

“This councilman knows that is false, because the person who was cited in a third-party email to council at the meeting on April 15, it had to be clarified that he had contacted the recreation department about renting the amphitheater and was told that we do not rent it.”

A resident involved in the request verified the account at the April 15 meeting.

In other business, council approved:

An agreement with All Year Roofing & Construction for roof repairs to the “Circle Buildings” on the city campus at a total cost of $50,000.

An agreement with Sedgwick for inclusion in the Ohio Association of Public Treasurer’s Group Retrospective Rating Program for 2024.

A resolution for a mayoral representative on the 9-1-1 program review committee. ∞