Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 12/07/2007 - 12:55.


“We’ve got it all, together” here in Cleveland, Ohio!   And I'm not talking about the Nutcracker rats, either!


According to   Natoya Walker of the Office of Mayor of Cleveland Frank Jackson, there are “24 boroughs (sic) of rats” in Public Square.  And the DirtyDealer printed the rat news with  boroughs instead of burrows.


Now with all the anti-homeless, anti-kids, and anti-public access push from the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Joe Cimperman, and the Terminal Tower Mall owners, this BITING RAT news - just before the shopping season - from the Cleveland Mayor’s office is suspicious, at best. 


But not if you take the correct meaning of boroughs ,  A borough is an administrative division.   Because there are indeed rats in the Downtown Alliance administrative division. 


I know the rats are in the boroughs rather than in the burrows because I called the Cleveland Department of health.   I asked the person I spoke with if there was any document or map which showed the location of the 24 burrows (so they could be baited and tracked).  


No, I was told.


I learned that the Department was made aware in September that rats in Public Square was a Department priority.


I asked if they knew who complained about rats in Public Square. 




But the person I spoke with said that they had seen the rats personally.  They said that they had also personally done some of the poison baiting in these burrows.  They explained that baiting for rats in the downtown area was not unique or unusual – and has historically been part of the health department's normal “maintenance” – and is for urban areas across the county. 


They said that the ground cover (plantings) in the NE quadrant of Public Square contributed to the rat infestation.  Food - it wasn't clear whose food - was also mentioned as a contributing factor. 


I asked if the streets (where the “burrows” are) being dug up for the Euclid Corridor work could be what disrupted   rats and made them more visible.


“Yes, that could also be true”, was the response.



Here’s what I take away about Biting Christmas Rats in Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio:


The homeless people and the charity food distributors are being conveniently and hypocritically and falsely  singled out as the Rat Vector.   The people and the charity vendors – including Bill Wagner -  have been there for YEARS,  25 years for Mr. Wagner.


This BITING RAT POLICY is a hardening  of  financially desperate downtown Corporations.  They want Public Square to be like Legacy Village.  Private.


However, moving charity feeding operations to a location where they are out of the Public Eye is exactly what we should not do. 


Moving the charity food distribution out of sight is consistent with the “don’t give where it can’t help” campaign which Norm Roulet and I have reported here on Realneo and consistent with the recent curfew in Public Square reported by Clevelandhomeless and consistent with the phony named “parental involvement program” of Forest City.  


The Biting Christmas Rats is not new or news, it is the same Downtown Alliance using another arm of the “borough” – the Health Department – as cover for their distasteful,  insensitive and self- interested agenda.   It is an agenda which will lead to more people shunning downtown Cleveland, Ohio – the GRINCH CITY. 


Not only is Cleveland poverty stricken, Cleveland  wants to deny its poverty and hide its homeless and hungry.  Cleveland and the Downtown Alliance are reacting like a kid who goes to hide in his closet when the house is on fire.  Downtown Cleveland, like a child in a fire whose fear makes them crazy, will die in the closet.   


The images from Nam of death and human self-immolation helped bring an end to the Vietnam War;  similarly it is healthy and imperative that the public have a clear and frequent view of those who are in need of charitable feeding.   When we exercise our humanity and resources to help our homeless and hungry – rather than hide them – that is when Downtown Cleveland will be healthy too. 


N.B.  I was impressed by, and appreciated, the Health Department’s punctual and sincere responses to my inquiry.  I didn't get a run-a-round as I frequently have in other City departments.  But without a map of 24 burrows, that number is suspect.





Cleveland Rats.jpg513.4 KB

Who did the great rat drawing?

Great image and insight Jeff. When I drive by the City Mission at 55th and Carnegie I really appreciate how lost our leadership is, just moving walking dead around with the deck chairs. What I notice downtown is that the street people are especially desperate right nowm and angry... if that is the Alliance plan it is working... I'll stay away from downtown to avoid the bad energy in all directions... mean spirited isn't good for the mean or the objects of the meanness... no Merry Christmas in any of that. "Rot in hell, 95% of Clevelanders" seems a better caption for the Cleveland+ Christmas card.

Disrupt IT

Bah humbug

Local borough rats?  Hmmm....who could they be??!

Ft. Lauderdale treats the hungry homeless like RATS

Punish the victim.  Punish the least capable.  

That's   Good for local business.    Homeless and hungry?   don't get near the affluent  - you are an eyesore and repugnant.    

For people who are empathetic and have the urge to help the homeless - let's pass a law penalizing the Good Samiritan. 

Read about the Fort Lauderdale anti-rat feeding ordinance here at

Cleveland's Public Square was sanitized of rats and Ministers like Bill Wagner  feeding the hungry  in about 2008.

Cle is ahead of it's time!

Next step for Cle?   close the streets in Public Square too!