Further ruin for Showplace of America

Submitted by Lee Batdorff on Fri, 10/23/2009 - 14:04.

What is sustainability for Cleveland? Recently Major Frank Jackson lead an acclaimed three-day “Sustainability Summit,” which brought together 700 excited business people, students and environmental activities in feel good optimism while the Jackson-lead city government slogs along to Cleveland’s oblivion as usual.

Over $200 million in tax money was invested in building a state-of-the-art bus rapid transit line on Euclid Avenue. According to the  Plain Dealer (July 2nd, 2009: “The $200 million transportation renovation of the Euclid corridor has piqued investors' interest in Midtown.”), this investment has excited private developers in returning to Euclid Avenue. Unfortunately the economic downturn has temporarily hampered large scale private investment just about every where including on Euclid Avenue.

Instead of waiting to catch a really big taxpaying fish the City of Cleveland has agreed with the Ohio Department of Mental Health to place a regional mental hospital, reputed to include a ward for the criminal insane, on the largest developable property, (according to Cleveland State University adjunct faculty executive-in-residence Tom Bier), along the newly revived Euclid Avenue, what was called a century ago the “Showplace of America.”

While this hospital will have hundreds of income tax paying jobs, like all public hospitals it will not pay a dime in real estate taxes. Accompanying the mental hospital proposal is a proposed nearby pair of subsidized housing projects for homeless and low income people. While the housing is likely to pay real estate taxes the combination of large mental hospital and housing for the homeless is not likely to attract private business such as research companies that will increase property values (and increase real estate taxes) to settle on Cleveland’s main thoroughfare.

Through a small study kindly conducted at my request by the Cuyahoga County Treasurer’s office there are currently at least 12 properties on Euclid Avenue, some large, that are now tax exempt between E. 46th and E. 86th Streets. This does not include the mammoth tax exempt properties of the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University with are further east along Euclid. At the least these institutions could serve as a catalyst for real estate tax paying private investment along Euclid.

I don’t have a problem with institutions working for the public good not paying real estate taxes. I don’t have a problem placing a mental hospital in the city, especially if it is in a neighborhood where there are services for patient families, which the E. 55th Street and Euclid Avenue site does not have. I don’t have a problem with mixed low and high income housing. This is being done elsewhere and a little bit in Cleveland’s warehouse district.

I have a problem seeing the opportunity for private development provided by a multimillion dollar investment paid with tax dollars to revive our town’s main thoroughfare damaged by continuing to place large land uses that are likely to depress property taxes of surrounding property.  Instead of bringing catalysis for development and helping put real estate taxes along Euclid Avenue on an upswing, the City of Cleveland chose an unsustainable tax destroying approach for our “Showplace of America.”

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 Thank you Lee--I have a problem, too:

 I have a problem seeing the opportunity for private development provided by a multimillion dollar investment paid with tax dollars to revive our town’s main thoroughfare damaged by continuing to place large land uses that are likely to depress property taxes of surrounding property.  Instead of bringing catalysis for development and helping put real estate taxes along Euclid Avenue on an upswing, the City of Cleveland chose an unsustainable tax destroying approach for our “Showplace of America.”

See: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/10/metrohealth_medical_center_sue_1.html

A little history here--this new psychiatric hospital will pull the jobs from Northcoast Behavioral in the Metrohealth complex.  See comments to above article.  Please also note--why is it that John Carroll not sentenced at all and former Metro board president is now at CWRU?


my opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer, my spouse, my cat, my neighbors, my extended family or anyone I happen to acknowledge on the street, bus, etc.

Some commentary and clarification

Thanks for your insights, Lee : Your statement:

What is sustainability for Cleveland? Recently Major Frank Jackson lead an acclaimed three-day “Sustainability Summit,” which brought together 700 excited business people, students and environmental activities in feel good optimism while the Jackson-lead city government slogs along to Cleveland’s oblivion as usual ...

Merits further clarification and conversation.  I have, as hundreds of other grassroots lovers of Cleveland and our region have, worked diligently before, during, and after this first Summit iteration to drive grassroots connection and progress in twenty-eight important domains that help holistically drive positive outcomes for our city and region.  The latest developments and efforts by City leadership post summit reflect the Mayor and new Sustainability Chief Andrew Watterson's continued commitment to progress and it represents some of the most exciting positive change work in town.  I'm personally engaged in several of these teams and help facilitate and track progress and add value to these discussions.  There is an open and welcoming forum to allow for your best inputs in any of these groups and they welcome you to join them to help make a difference.

See:  http://clevelandsummit.ning.com/

See:  http://clevelandsummit.ning.com/forum/topics/mayor-jackson-issues-three

As for your other criticisms, there are two sides to every coin.  But the mayor's office, the community development office, and the economic development offices at City Hall are all open and accessible to your inputs and suggestions for genuine positive change.  So I would recommend organizing and acting, as many of us are.  I laud your awareness raising.  Now help do something about it!  If I can support your work, let me know.   Peace.

Note : my mapping process:  http://realneo.us/content/model-mapping-meaningful-social-change-kade-me...

has been embraced and is now being used by two summit teams already - and more are considering it now.  You can make a difference by offering your smart alternatives and why they make greater sense to implement, should that be the case - I've had the opportunity to meet and speak with our mayor five times in the past month - he is very accessible - talk to him!




Your "people" missed Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Sudhir, thank you for the rose colored view into our future.

Your glass of unsustainable Cleveland-sprawl non-attainment sewage water is certainly half-full.

Lee, thank you for having your eyes wide open, and seeing half a glass of sewage still stinks.

You should see how they are screwing up my end of the Health Line, at great public expense... very unhealthy - we need to get together!

Sudhir, you do realize Frank's Cleveland is in one of few EPA non-attainment areas in America, which is completely unsustainable.

You do realize Frank and his followers missed Lead Poisoning Prevention Awareness Week entirely, which is completely unsustainable.

You do realize your Case, world-leaders in "Appreciative Inquiry" and sponsors of Sustainable Cleveland 2019, are world leaders in polluting, and want to build additional coal burning capacity in East Cleveland (you may not know that, as THEY keep that pretty secret), which is completely unsustainable.

You do realize Cleveland has become an economic disaster area, under Frank and his friends, despite all the blind appreciation people like you show for your leadership, which is completely unsustainable.

Sudhir, your personal commitment to your personal work, university, and friends and supporters in the community may be commendable, to some, but all that and a box of crayons does little to solve the type of problems we must address here, like pollution, lead poisoning, dirty coal and dirtier Foundations.

Your school, mayor and many of your friends have been responsible for the failure of our community to become truly sustainable, healthy and prosperous, for decades, as demonstrated by science that does not appreciate toxic contamination.

I do not believe in Cleveland, under the current leadership, despite appreciation for little steps in positive directions by 100,000s of really cooperative people in Real NEO, not named Frank Jackson, Ronn Richard or Sudhir Kade, and not invited to be Sustainable in Cleveland in 2019.

We are REAL COOP, and we make Cleveland and Northeast Ohio brighter and greener every day, despite the failure of our leaders and their lack of appreciation for all the good people of this region.

Disrupt IT

Lee you said it very well. 

Lee you said it very well.  Most of this "sustainability" goes to the big developers that will be the ones to reap the benefits in the end.   You ever notice that in all  the "tax exempt" properties, there is no tax exempt for the poor.  The people who can afford to buy and "sustain" are given the tax breaks while those living on crumbs from the table are still held up to keep the revenues coming in to keep these big project going. 

Everytime I hear the word "sustainability" anymore, I just want to go mad, because I know it's going to go down some road where big time developers will be involved with some big fancy named project paid for by tax dollars from poor peoples pockets - exempt from the rich folk's dollars, and in all likelihood is not going to benefit the REAL people of Cleveland one little bit.  The only thing that is going to happen is big time "Jackson" will wine and dine in some swanky eatery, travel on poor folk's money to some other country, and live high on the hog making a good sale for the rich developers who are going to take all the cash they can get and high tail it back to the lair until the next big bucks deal comes along and then they'll come out with their hands out again.


Thrivability for all

Several of our action teams serve the poor directly, with their best interests at heart - they are partly comprised of great souls from that demographic that are being heard and helped with every passing meeting.  Social Justice is being served - if you listen and participate you'll see it.

And terminology is shifting as well  - from a self-limiting term, sustainability - to models embracing thrivability .

Social Justice is being served

No, it is not.

Disrupt IT

The next Buddha may take the form of a community

“The next Buddha will not take the form of an individual.

The next Buddha may take the form of a community;

a community practicing understanding and loving kindness,

a community practicing mindful living.

This may be the most important thing we can do

for the survival of the earth.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh


From the home page of the Thrivability Insititute.

They offer workshops and classes.

Disrupt IT

Sudir, I believe that you

Sudir, I believe that you may have your heart in the right place but if you listen you will hear that the people that actually LIVE here in Cleveland do not have much trust in our city leaders.  For some 'sustainability' just means more money in their pockets.  It is sad but true.  The people that live in Cleveland are tired of getting thrown a few crumbs by the elite that take the money and run to their nice homes outside of the 'blighted' areas.  We would like to see real progress, progress that benefits the people that actually live HERE. 

It's so funny, except it's so sad

Apparently Sudhir Kadhu nor any of the other 699 additional sustainability activists who attended Cleveland's Sustainability Summit brought up the City of Cleveland's approach to development of land in any meaningful way during this summit. In their discussions with the mayor did all of them really overlook the plans for the prominent property at E. 59th Street and Euclid Avenue? And now little me is supposed to approach the mayor after he's made his mind up?

The idea of hundreds of yes men and women  following the mayor around and saying yes like he was an Egyptian Pharaoh who finally caught the truth of sustainability is hilarious, given that at the same time the Pharaoh is sadly raping potential property values and taxes for Cleveland schools.

Responses versus rhetoric

Lee, my name is Sudhir Kade Raghupathy - just to clarify - and I am a pragmatic-idealist who is not at all out of touch with reality.  Of course my heart is in the right place (Ward 14 resident) - and if you have problems or issues I am simply asking folks to act on these by communicating to the leaders you are complaining about.  Act - don't whine.  Simple as that.   I do LIVE in Cleveland, and have for twenty years - thirty five years total in this region called NEO.  I love this place.  And I'm not ignorant to the fact that leaders have historically made bad choices and acted unfairly through the years - its a problem endemic to many places.   But this is the here and now.  And change is happening.

I've repeatedly said that you are all welcome to join any of the multitude of action teams working to improve city conditions, and I was at the lead meeting at City Hall , Norm (held just recently while we met with the Fund for our Economic Future on our summit team's citizen-driven, grassroots, community-funded CLEVA modeling).  After that meeting on the 19th, I listened to leaders on lead abatement and safety (right there at City Hall) where I also got an excellent CD, update materials, and more.  Do you really think the mayor didn't know about that whole effort, right below his office?  I am now coordinating with two consulting groups to make a difference for our community. 

On the federal level, officials from Green for All and Green the Block have been meeting with us over the past two weeks to work to integrate all manner of grassroots greening of underserved places - and our discussion has included toxicity cleanup and lead abatement of large scale housing development and revitalization paradigms and approaches that were successful in Portland.  Our local team coordinating on behalf of that national effort is making a difference already, mapping a translation for Cleveland.

I've spoken passionately to great MBA students of the Sustainable MBA  class at Case for a full hour on mapping and driving positive change work and many good connections have come from that.  I'm speaking about our grassroots change efforts at Glenville and Hitchcock at our upcoming Bioneers Cleveland Conference, and again teaching Sustainability as a Driver of Innovation and Change at Devry Management School Tuesday, and then participating in two panels and workshops at Power Shift in Oberlin later this month. 

I am meeting over the next weeks with Marc Canter,  Peter Whitehouse, Lisa Hong and so many others in collaborative post-summit meetings.  These are folks that really care about our city and region and working in truly collaborative ways.  All but Marc were part of the summit - and Marc has joined with his great technology offerings - are you calling all of those good people gullible yes-men to the mayor as well, Lee?  They've asked to be part of a discussion on meaningful mapping of social change and collaborative frameworks that facilitate sustainable synergy.

As for our Hitchcock project team - next week we meet with the  meaningfully with the Board of the Hitchcock Center for Women on innovative paradigms I've developed - I call that progress.  Soon after that a large, appreciative, multi-stakeholder summit of Hitchcock's diverse stakeholders is happening, and I've been asked to design and facilitate that. Women from the center are learning and getting involved in local foods and green jobs opportunity already.  Funding is coming to include and involve and enrich more of them over time.  This is real progress.  This is Social Justice.

Smart and sustainable land use is a big part
of the post-summit discussion- if there weren't issues with how past developments have went or decisions were made in the past there would be no need for positive change, would there?  Bobbi Reichtell, Terry Schwarz, Freddy Collier, Bob Brown were all at the Summit and all are open to hearing about changes and plans - there's even a Planning Cleveland FB page where everyone's input is valued - mine sure has been. This is a new administration from the federal level that is shifting in a multitude of ways all the way down to the local level.  Get energized and act positively on and with this opportunity instead of crying about every error you see.  I laud you for pointing out mistakes - but nobody is perfect, they are usually willing to admit to them.  Work with the city leaders striving to act and work in new ways.   Stop hating, start caring.

I do not in any way support a coal-fired plant in East Cleveland, either, and there is no secret and evil conspiracy driven by Case Western to make that happen with the intent of cruelly abusing East Clevelanders.   Appreciative, smart, and savvy approaches always win over spewing toxic commentary and inaccurate conspiracy theory.

Back your statements with facts and make a real difference in the world - I know I am, and so are the many working with us (a COMMUNITY), who are not gullilble yes-men to the mayor - we are community members who love this city and region and are fighting for the very least of us to improve quality of life for all of us.

Those are facts.  And many of us don't work meaningfully for 18 hours a day doing what we do now, raising year round greenhouses, training the poor and suffering to find viable vocations and rich entrepreneurial opportunities, and educating many from Glenville and East Cleveland experientially as some gullible or blind people.  We do it as caring and enlightened ones.  We act and we work hard to improve things for and the lives of others.  Join us.

I helped start this portal, this site, and created the taxonomy for it.  I consider myself just as much a part of this community and Co-Op at RealNEO.us as those of you who have not been part of it for five full years, writing with passion and meaning, connecting to our leaders and driving meaningful and progressive change since year one.  I deserve to be heard and respected - as we all do.  Stop such hating and start caring.  Act meaningfully, respectfully, with compassion and communicate directly to the leaders you complain about.   That's what our summit groups do.   You can too.





no secret and evil conspiracy

Please provide all information you have on the current state of planning for the coal fired power plant at Lakeview and Euclid, and all planning for that over the past 10 years. I'm especially interested in emails between the 700 folks involved with Sustainable Cleveland 2019.

Same applies for the Topps site, at Lakeview and Superior.


Disrupt IT

Appology to: Sudhir Kade Raghupathy

Dear Sudhir:

I'm sorry to have spelled your last name incorrectly in my previous posting.

You have written some detailed stuff which I will print off and read in the next day or two.

Yea, I've day dreamed about having a meeting with Mayor Jackson. It has to be the morning or early afternoon for me. I'd like to bring professor Tom Bier and a couple neighborhood activist in know in Unviersity Circle and Glenville along. I'll start by calling Tom tomorrow morning. Ok?

What do you think?


Plain Dealer burys an issue as best it can

Please find my letter to the Plain Dealer concerning this debacle through the link below. It was published on a Monday, which likely has the fewest readers for the week.