In These Troubled Times

As the Dean of Cleveland City Council, I thought I had seen it all and experienced it all over the years. I have often said that I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. It is hard to put in words what we, as Americans, are experiencing with the outbreak of the Covid -19 or coronavirus. I never thought we would see one business after another shut down and schools closed. This is difficult enough, but then to be unable to celebrate everyday events or visit family members in the nursing homes or other care facilities is extremely difficult to comprehend. To not even be able to visit a dying loved one at Hospice or attend their funeral – is nothing shy of unimaginable. Yet, it is the reality today in Cleveland and throughout Ohio.

I am torn between anger and sympathy.  My sympathies to those who are sick and infected with the virus and also those who have lost loved ones. I am also extremely angry, though, that in America we were not better prepared for this fight, even when we all saw on TV the medical workers in China in white “space suits” with respirators. Why wasn’t that a wakeup call to our Nation’s leaders?  Now, to realize that we are dependent upon Communist China and other countries for basic pharmaceuticals and medical equipment is absolutely outrageous.

I am hoping, like all Americans, that our national leaders in Washington, D.C., and in our statehouses across the country, can come together and put forth whatever action is necessary to get a handle on this deadly outbreak. I am hoping and praying that this is a wake-up call for all Americans. For far too long one presidential administration after another, both Republican and Democrat, have looked the other way or have been a facilitator for American jobs and products to go offshore.

The late great Honorable Louis Stokes told me the day after the NAFTA vote years ago, “Mike, I hope I am wrong, but I believe we are all going to hear the sucking sound of jobs going out of the country, especially manufacturing jobs.”  Louis must have had a crystal ball, for what he feared has come true.  It is time for us, as a country, to protect our most critical supply chain and to control our borders.

I say the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” everyday – and I recite it with great respect. I expect our leaders to do everything in their power to protect Americans and their children. In these last two weeks I have questioned whether or not that those in charge on the federal level really understand the severity of the problem. The statement has been made that we are at war with an invisible enemy; one that knows no race, ethnicity or creed. Time will tell whether our leaders will have our backs and how we, as a nation, will rebound from this pandemic.

I urge all of you to take the appropriate measures to safeguard yourself and your family.  We all know by now what steps to take against this potential killer. In the meantime, I urge and beg all our residents to look out for one another, especially our elderly and most vulnerable citizens. I also urge everyone to write our U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, as well as Congresswoman Marcia Fudge to demand that critical products be mandated to be made in America.

It goes without saying, the majority of businesses in our community have been hard hit and/or forced to close.  Those which you can patronize, please do so with precautions.  Please listen to the continued updates both nationally and locally from TV, radio, Facebook and through robocalls. Please, look out for one another while maintaining social distancing and hope for the best.

I know it is not politically correct, but, as you know, I am not politically correct. I am praying, even though our churches are shuttered, for our community, our country and the world’s community. The power of prayer, I believe, can play a major role in combating this deadly virus.  Please support our medical community and our first responders who are on the front lines.

During this time, even though City Hall is closed, we are still working. You can reach my office via phone at (216) 664-4236.  Just leave a message and make sure you leave me your name and phone number so we can get back to you.  You may also send me an email at or via my Executive Assistant, Mary Louise’s email at We check these often.

Take care and God Bless.

Sincerely yours,

Michael D. Polensek

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 4:35 PM, 04.01.2020