Ed Hauser: Prudent observations at the Oct 2008 Midtown Brews conversation: The Changing Landscape of Public Advocacy

Submitted by Betsey Merkel on Mon, 12/15/2008 - 12:45.

I wanted to take a minute to revisit what Ed Hauser added to the Oct 2008 Midtown Brews conversation, NEO Next: Chapter One "The Changing Landscape of Public Advocacy: Citizen-Community Priorities and Web 2.0"

Here's a clip from our round-the-room introductions...

My name’s Ed Hauser. I started this about ten years ago (working to save Whiskey Island as a green quality, connected public place). My background is computer process control engineering and I went to my first meeting the first public process ten years ago. I saw the processes were broken. Ten years later it’s getting worse and worse in Northeast Ohio community. We have the Port Authority who wanted, is taking over the Lakefront. We went through this Three Year Plan with Mayor Campbell and that’s in the garbage can, we spent all this time and money and now we’re doing it again. What I focus on, I have my opinions about what is important in this community…but I follow how the government and the business community run the processes here to develop our community. And it’s broken – completely broken. And that is what my mission is, as I tell my story, but along the way I try to inform everybody we need to do things differently but we’re going to continue to fail, we’re a failing city and if we don’t change things and people don’t get involved and really dog our public officials and leaders, we’re going to continue to fail, because the processes are broken.

And then later as the conversation got going...

Ed Hauser: A few observations and some experience. I’ve been involved in these billion dollar projects that are going to change the face of Cleveland: Lakefront planning, Cleveland Convention Center, Innerbelt, and some historical preservation types…and the way I’ve approached it is being a foot soldier, going to these meetings, doing public recording plus getting up and Brian Cummins probably knows me at City Hall and just being relentless. But, I don’t see a lot of other people by my side…getting up to microphones, writing letters to the Commissioners…so there needs to be a plan for getting foot soldiers out and really getting involved, going to the meetings. It’s difficult if you have a day job and if you do have a day job you’re burned out to do this so…but, how do you get this network of Bloggers from different web sites and get people to get to these meetings? To the bigger issues…and it doesn’t have to be a million dollars…just something significant, but that’s what we have to figure out how to plan.

I'd like to share what Ed's parting words were to Bill MacDermott and myself walking out of the October Midtown Brews: "Don't let this go. This was a good one. Keep everyone connected. This was the Kick-Off. From here go on and have followup working meetings about the things we all care about."

You can read the full transcription of the forum and watch the live broadcast here.

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And Ed Morrison once said the Problem Is Our Foundations

Thanks for posting this. Ed Hauser was so right, always.

After Ed Morrison got forced out of REI, and REI was destroyed, by the Powers That Be, Ed was very open that the problems here are rooting in the Foundations. I'd suggest we concentrate our efforts on that.

Will you host a Midtown Brews titled "The Role Of Our Foundations in the Failure of Cleveland"? I'LL COME TO THAT.

Disrupt IT

Thanks Norm. We did have a

Thanks Norm.

We did have a forum May 3, 2005 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History when still at REI focused on "Giving Models for Funding the Civic Space."

Like your suggestion, but I think the 2005 title still sticks. We're working on the 2009 schedule now and we'll get back to you about a month. Who else would you like to see in the conversation?

Let me do more research

We'll see who is still standing at the foundations in 2009.

Anyone seen any analyses of how much of their own money the Foundations around here have lost in this aweful economy they funded creating?

Disrupt IT

footsoldier training

Thanks for these powerful quotes, Betsey.

How about a MidTown Brews on "Office of Citizen: Footsoldier Training"?

I'd like to get a better handle on rights and responsibilities, on "going to these meetings, doing public recording, plus getting up [...] just being relentless", pulling records, where and how to do this sort of research, who to trust -when...

Training and building a networked community of care and assistance.

Jeff, What a great idea!


What a great idea! Sounds valuable and useful for many.

What month(s) would you like to start the conversation?

Who would like to work on this?

What is important for people to know, learn?


Reliable sources

That is a great plan. The Cleveland Law Library Association has a Frequently Asked Questions: Public Records site which is a great resource. Perhaps the folks there would have other suggestions.

And maybe we could include a recently retired reporter for that experience and background.

Knowledge is one thing, trust is another matter... I understand Madoff could use some new investors