Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 08/29/2007 - 13:36.

I consistently attempt to have a “positive” outlook about North East Ohio and Cleveland.  I consider the substance of my posts on Realneo and affirmatively select material which I believe is conducive to improving the region.  However, there can be a problem with this self steered Polly Anna  editorial policy .   Always looking at the bright side might be just perpetuating a lie – maybe always having a positive outlook is actually misleading people and leading others into the false belief that the region is doing ok, that the region is improving.  Maybe it would be more helpful if I used my blog to accelerate failure – get to the bottom of it, get it over with and start new…


Cuz all the statistics are going the other way:   Cleveland is consistently losing population, the area’s lost manufacturing for decades, the home foreclosure rate is sky high, the County has huge bonded debt for “investments” in Gateway and Browns and Hopkins, etc. which will continue to suck the area dry for years to come,   the Port Authority is AWOL and in bed with Wolstein,  Sewer District is corrupt,  taxes are about the highest in the state and the local philanthropies are too well paid and inbred…and the Dirty Dealer isn’t even shy about headlining Squire Sanders’ Fred the Fixer.   It goes On and On and On.  


So I’m going to start posting some negative reality check stuff about NEO…maybe expediting failure for the region is the way to the top….


When friends and I attended Ingenuity Fest my friend’s Honda had its window smashed out and the dashboard and radio bashed in. 


 After viewing the cheerful fireworks display on the last (Sunday) night of the fest we walked back to where we had parked the car on a well lit downtown street.  When I walked up to the side of the car I noticed bits of glass on the ground – not a good sign – and looking up from the ground I got the rest of the bad news - A  chunk of concrete block was lodged in the inside pocket of the driver’s door.  Shards of glass were all over the seats and the rugs.  The trunk had been rifled…


A telephone call was made to the police, and they said they would come by to take a report, but after waiting 40 minutets no police showed up so we drove to the District police station.  As we drove past the station I saw a homeless person sleeping in a cardboard sleeve on the porch of the police station.


The cop taking our report was waiting, basically to retire.  He wasn’t waiting to retire that night, but soon.


He took the report in long hand on paper.  There was no computer on his desk.  The police department doesn’t appear to have computers.  No money to buy them we were told..   He said that in the area where the car was parked it was probably a homeless person who broke into the car.  He said it happened routinely. 


When the report was filled out, the policeman made a call or two to other police records departments telling them the “code” of the smashed glass vandalism to auto or whatever.  This would have happened electronically if there had been computers. 


Frankly, the policeman was surprised that we would even come into Cleveland if we didn’t have to.  He said his advice to the public and especially tourists was “don’t come to Cleveland”.  Joe Roman, the officer's right, isn't he?


He didn’t see any reason for anyone, even cops, to come to Cleveland.  He told us that beginning cops in Cleveland are paid about $38,000.   He said a relative had just gotten a police job in another nearby suburb where the starting salary was $64,000.  So why come to Cleveland?


He's right, isn't he...



Smashed car glass in Cleveland.jpg92.82 KB


Will there be a new category of award show for mash-ups?  This is a mash-up, right?  I can't stay au courant to everything, but Jeff, your photo mash-ups are really starting to approach art!  STAND TALL.  (and move to Cleveland to take advantage of our decline :) Who needs a car anyway?  Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland...which city will take the prize for most pathetic city?  Hey, we're not the poorest anymore!   Let's get to work.

maximum pessimism...maximum opportunity

Jeff, this changeover of yours is probably a really good sign. I equate times of maximum pessimism with times of maximum opportunity.

If you had kept that Pollyana stance, you'd have to align with the civic boosterism of the GCP and Cleveland+, and there are just certain things you can't do with any conviction. What was it Yeats said, something about "the worst are full of passionate intensity, while the best lack all possible conviction." Of course, I do realize you've been out and about, trying to get yourself convicted lately, or is it convinced?

Anyway, I think that Yeats piece came about during the troubles of 1917, which is when we had the Easter uprising. Must refresh my memory on that stuff--really obscure.

Cleveland+, it is like Swiss

Cleveland+, it is like Swiss cheese all kinds of holes in it.


What is the average income for Cuyahoga County, their site claims $41,696.00.  


When you market a product, then that adds to the cost of the product.  Therefore, you had better sell more or the advertising is waste of capital.  It is not difficult to count sales and see if the advertising/marketing worked.   So, what are the benchmarks for Cleveland+, how do we judge if it is a success or a failure?  Could it be average income, well not really since it is sell a large region, could we do it by growth in employment?   Never mind, it cannot be measured, it’s success cannot, its all subjective and so is much of the information it presents. 


How much vacant land exists in Cleveland?  The Cleveland+ “data center” says ten parcels; that is missing so much it is gross.   Its search engine or index has office space/buildings listed at 600 for just Cleveland, better I think but it does not have a way to query on the CBD, it allows address searchs, but not just a street.  It also lists a single building multiple times.  For instance, it listed the Hanna building at 1422 Euclid 68 times.  So does that mean that over 10% of the available office space in Cleveland is on the corner 14th and Euclid?   No, it means they are only really listing Grub Ellis listings and not all of their lisitngs even.  It also demonstrates that the Hanna Office Building is nearly empty. 


The point is this, it is not a data center, not really, it is not data driven, and it and they have no comprehensive way to objectively and fairly list all available office space.  It is not even close to comprehensive.  In fact, if it lists the same building multiple times it is actually generating false counts.  It may only have 50 our so actual buildings and there may actually be 1000’s available.   Swiss cheese!


I also could say that there is a number, that being the actual number of office spaces, which could be detailed with available sq ft and a percentage that is occupied.  That would be away to benchmark and then advertising, fills that space, a way to measure the value of that advertising.   


What Cleveland+ is doing is what a chamber of commerce would do, just not in a new way and not any better than it has been done in the past.  It is doing things or regurgitating information that already exists.   


If a regional government existed then all office-zoned parcels could be listed, with the sq ft and the occupancy rate.  What is occupied is taxable income, what this represents is an inability to calculate and inherently makes it very likely that much of that actual income is not clearly defined and you can bet it is not likely paying taxes in full. 


It is very unlikely that an individual will choose Cleveland+ to seek office space, it is not comprehensive at all it does is send them back to the agent/broker.  It would have been more efficient for them to attempt to list all brokers.  If a company is looking for 15,000 sq ft they will or should contact many brokers.  This site could steer, it is a not for profit and really needs to be careful.   Who gets to list, funders?  


I really do not care other than it will not improve occupancy ratios, it is not comprehensive and will add very little value, and since nobody is really keeping track perhaps just counting listing, then how does anyone tell if it is working. Perhaps they just say it is and then spread around the feel good.   


Positive is good, but spreading falsities is not, contrived value is actually negative once it become apparent. 


If a system is not data or process driven with systems to benchmark and measure success or failure, it becomes riddled with corruption, or just contrived delusional value.  They sometimes make them selves and their entities existence the most important factor.  It is self preservation, not actually making a difference, just convincing  everyone that they are.        


Look at goggle, does it start page have all kinds of distractions? 


If I go to Cleveland+ and enter offices, assuming its front page is only a data entry field. like google.

The next page offers purchase, lease, or both.

Then I get a map of the county, and click on an area of interest. 

Then I get an option to set limits of either space or price.

But the results need to be every parcel zoned as office and the list include of all spaces recorded as not leased with a contact name/phone/email. 


The county has 500,000 parcels, how many are zoned office?  That list does not exist because a regional government that tracks all parcels their uses and inherent taxability does not exist.


So 3.5 million was invested in Cleveland+ and it addresses what? 


In a month, I could have a picture of every office, how much time and how much money would it take to separate and identify every office space in a database that already exists. 


Is it that we can not have this because an owner of a building may claim they have 1M in receipts from leases, but then we would know they have a fully occupied building that leases at 2M?   


It is theocrats, bureaucrats and touchy feely bullshit, brainwashing.  You want this you need this, I care what you think, we really need to and work together.  I personally would like to remove the veil, lets look at what it really is. 


Cuyahoga is a continuous populated area, it is all Cleveland, we do not need to address a quarter of the state before we can identify what is happening on a parcel of land, do not present me with summarize and then tell me you know they are accurate, you do not have that ability.   If we do not present ourselves as revolutionary, we will not stand out.


The highest and best use, it is also permanent and sustainable. Efficient and environmentally best.  It is a prefecture, it is saying this is the criteria and adhere to it. 


A tiered system of regional government, from a parcel to the county.  All of the information that this entity (Cleveland+) presents would be a function of the data resulting from the process of a regioanl government.  It would change from research to a data query.



Clearance Sale

  My best friend from college, who hails from Naperville, Illinois (although, he will say Chicago), jokes that he knew he had met the "right one" when his wife-to-be uttered the words "Guess how much I paid for this?"  Right then and there, he knew he could not pass up a beautiful girl from Cleveland, Ohio (as in really Cleveland/Collinwood).  He said that he would one day write a play about Cleveland called Clearance Sale. 

So, people, don't pass up the opportunity.  Life only happens once.

William Butler Yeats: The Second Coming

The Second Coming

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight:  somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at laSt,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


  Don't you know Tim?  Without a link, literary allusions are lost on the Web 2.0 crowd.   They  won't leave their computer for a book.   Is this W.B. Yeats guy on MySpace?  How many friends does he have?


W.B. has been in OurSpace for a good while. I think Maud Gonne is a friend of his, at least for a while, and they exist in very interesting times.

What is it that Darren Hamm is calling his kids' group over here, where we are all to be giving ancillary instruction and tutelage soon?

pardon the interruption

I had to jump on on this terrific thread - I love the idea of literary links - educate while we empower.  I enjoy Yeats and 'Second Coming' was a very time-and-place appropriate source. 

While we're on the topic of  exploring ineptitudes and discussing potential solutions - we may be hitting right at the core of a persistently prevailing perpetuated condition indicative of our region's ails.  And as appreciatively inquiring a fellow I am, I can't help but be critical of the problems plaguing our teaching and policing systems at large here in Cleveland.  These systems need massive overhauls, no doubt.

One solution?  Pay those responsible for these mission-critical posts better and recognize the heroes for what they do.  We all want humble heroes, but this is the real world. 

And this is (my home), Cleveland, Ohio.

Reality check

Jeff, the current minimum salary for a Cleveland Patrol Officer I is $48,832, according to the 2007 city budget.  And Cleveland patrol cars have been equipped with laptops and microwave network access for years.  Did he try to sell you the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, too?

Cleveland Police use paper and pencil

 Good Morning Bill!

That's not a keyboard the officer has his hands on.   No computers at this desk - that's why I included the photo above.     I have been visiting a few of the police facilities lately and I will continue to write about what I have observed and heard and experienced.  

The public safety mantra is for more police to be hired - what about improving efficiency so the same quantity of police get more work completed?  The police operations that I have seen recently are unprofessional and perhaps even intentionally inefficient.

It would be informative if you linked us up with the Cleveland city budget salary info...

yep no computer on that desk

I can attest. It is my auto pictured above, and I sat while the officer who Jeff quotes above filled out the "paper" work by hand.
Yesterday, I visited the third district with Jeff and saw the same thing in action. A woman waited while we waited as the woman at the desk filled out a report by hand, often interrupted by others. One gentleman said he came to get his gun permit renewed. She said, "you don't have the weapon with you, right?" He said no and she sent him into the back of the station. No metal detector, no search, just walk on in... The whole business made me feel a little uneasy. Sort of like Mayberry RFD.

Third District

I am not necessarily defending it, but can you see why the current administration wants to close down the Third District? 

Not directly related, but I am in favor of eliminating 4 council wards.  Funny, how streamlining improves efficiency.

As a public employee, I will be the first to admit that I am forced to work harder when there are less staff swimming around me than more.  I am forced to work harder.