Submitted by Roldo on Sat, 05/16/2009 - 10:35.

Do you recognize propaganda when you see it? The Pee Dee had a perfect display of it in today’s newspaper.

The Pee Dee has fallen in love with the so-called “Opportunity Corridor.” It is a proposed roadway that will slide people through poverty areas to University Circle from I-490 and East 55th Street. The drivers won’t have to see much as they speed along the proposed $350 million project. An overly expensive bypass, don’t you think?
“Few road projects hold so much promise for so many people,” wrote Karen Farkas. What data revealed that gem of a statement? The story doesn’t say. That’s because it’s made up by our local propagandists from the business community.
“The Opportunity Corridor, a proposed 2-3/4 mile parkway extending from where Interstate 490 ends at East 55th Street to East 105th Street, could lead to economic development,” the story says. Well, at least she used “could,” not “would.” But again, nothing to back it up.
It also “could” lead to community development for “neighborhoods ravaged by unemployment and foreclosure,” the article says. Again, nothing to back it up. And highly doubtful.
Indeed, it “could” lead to a heavy expenditure of public money to satisfy a small self-interested elite that’s well-connected. In fact, it will.
Corruption doesn’t always mean a politician or building inspector taking a pittance of a bribe. Corruption comes in many forms.
And selling this as a project to help poor people is as sick as it gets.
The article calls a private committee set up by the Greater Cleveland Partnership (our Chamber of Commerce) as an “independent committee.” Hardly independent. It’s set up by business leaders. Nothing more, nothing less.
She does at least quote one Council member who gives an honest assessment for the moment. Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland is quoted, “In my community they say it is an ‘Opportunity for whom?’” She serves Ward 5, once headed by Mayor Frank Jackson. I remember Jackson raising questions about this road at least five years ago. He now supports it with funding.
The key to remember, however, is that the reporter’s boss, Terry Egger, Pee Dee publisher and president, is co-chairing the Opportunity Corridor committee.
You want to please the boss. Or at least you don’t want to put your thumb in his eye. That’s how propaganda gets sped along.
Maybe Egger should keep himself in the telling-the-news business rather than in the creating-the-news business.
There will never be honest reporting about the PR-named “Opportunity Corridor,” especially when the paper’s boss is so intimately involved.
Terry, stay in the news business. Leave the propaganda to the Greater Cleveland Partnership and its partners. They take pride in doing it.
( categories: )

Who really governs?


Dear Roldo--Thank you for sending me my FREE copy of Who Really Governs?  What an eye-opener.  Take advantage of the offer, people.  We have been taken for a ride by big business/aka Greater Cleveland Partnership, foundations, et al, for too long.  The Opportunity Corridor is the last straw.

Opportunity Corridor - will it be a public process?

Another tireless cheerleader for the Opportunity Corridor, Steve Litt sees some potential problems with a private group planning the (in his mind and in the minds of Cleveland's powerbrokers) forgone conclusion that the Opportunity Corridor is a good idea and a great way to spend taxpayer money.

Steve - Remember Ed Hauser and how he continually pushed for open and transparent processes when it come to spending public funds? Remember how Tim Hagan continually admonished him with "this is representative democracy!!!!"? You were not there when Tim McCormack spoke of how Ed was ridiculed, denigrated, etc. for his dedication to Whiskey Island and public process in our public projects, but you can see it here on realNEO.

It takes 10 minutes to get from I-490 to CCF/UCI. Why not improve the existing route? Why another road? Why not just a map?


Litt seems at odds with himself at this intersection. On the one hand, he laments the disposal of one of Cleveland's deco buildings. On the other, he is ready to give up anything to get this poor man's version of the Lee Clark Freeway. He asks some important questions though. You've heard them before.

While I chip away here with my ramblings about this disadvantaged corridor plan, please do not think me a naysayer. Rather see the glass half full and know that I am a map advocate and a tax dollar saver. In this case, it is not an "if you build it, they will come" situation. CCF and UCI will not be deterred in their expansions. Students and doctors and patients find them selves at these locations everyday. People of all stripes already come and manage to "find themselves at University Circle". So be it. We don't need to spend money to grease this chute. Stop studying. Use a map. Improve the city's streets rather than tear them out and build a new undefined roadway (is it a toll road, highway 490 continued, or a boulevard?). It's not a problem that needs fixing. Some brain surgeon from North Ridgeville just needs a map, a RTA pass or to move in to town nearer the Clinic.

Stating the obvious

Thank you Susan for stating the obvious--you would think that the Plain Dealer would champion other more obvious needs for infrastructure improvments in this town. 

What exists between Cedar

What exists between Cedar as a north boundary and I-480 as a south boundary and all area East of the river to East 116th Street?

Define the area as Newburg and that then requires a comprehensive inventory.

Housing, Commerce and industry.

Comparing that to other areas, as defined by the historic township boundaries.

What exists in the area and what is missing?

What are the demographics of the area, what is the income and employment levels? What are the largest and who are the employers?

That area does not have any interstate within it, but it has commuter and commercial rail traversing it.

That area may have the highest concentration of federal housing projects in the city?

This if anything is an opportunity to call for a more comprehensive study of the land use of that area. The rail to be studied and comprehensively. Study green space and seek out opportunities to expand it, study the infrastructure, sewer and water, the electric supply grid. Define and develop industrial clusters, define commercial zones, define the residential areas…

That requires a comprehensive application "CAD" and linked to all related data feeds. It does not exist look at the google maps, were are the options for show only rail and rail stops, show only water lines, show the electric grid, show only public works it is incomplete.

That $20M in federal money is being applied at the wrong point on the line, it is not being used to create a comprehensive method of review and analysis. That method and or tool could be universal across all areas and based on township boundaries as districts. Those areas large enough to establish economically self sustaining districts, sustainable diversity of people and goods and services.

Invite Google to come to Cleveland as a application developer of Urban Planning application software. All funding of computer applications linked and resulting in a comprehensive tool.  A regional system.

Will that corridor include a central trunk for the power grid? The telecommunication grid, water lines, sewer lines, will it offer a more naturalized water shed? Will it integrate rail?

What is now and then what comes after, did anything improve? It is all measurable, if you had the tools. The purpose is to empower the economically disenfranchised, to get them self sufficient. That area is highly subsidized and not generating revenue that would directly support it's needs.

People apposed to regionalism cannot see the larger picture, the subsidizes are coming through a larger cycle and loosing much value when they return.

All the money coming in and all the money going out, that is about parcel by parcel and then in collectives of defined districts. All operating under the same system.

woodland, cleveland , oh

Power play

There is a power shift going on Roldo--please comment.  If we swap out Hagan for Cimperman and Rokakis becomes de facto mayor of Cleveland via land bank and CDCs, where does it leave us?

BTW--I received a call last night on my opinion of local politicos, specifically ward reps--some outfit called SJC Strategies, supposedly based in Fargo, ND.  My guess is the call was funded by Cleveland City Council...deciding who to float in Ward 14.

Interesting, Laura

What kind of questions did they ask?

Telephone poll

 The caller asked if I was satisfied with city services--how I would rate Brian Cummins, Joe Santiago and Nelson Cintron.  He asked my opinion of Martin Sweeney and Mayor Frank Jackson.  He asked me to identify my political affiliation.  That was about it.  I tried to trace the call, but it was undisclosed.

Did you see this article?  http://www.ohio.com/news/45235452.html  It's related in a way--the trend towards non-profit representation is killing us in the City of Cleveland...and now it moves to county and state level.  Great :(

Ignorant gerrymandering by Sweeny et al?

This telephone poll should have been done - assuming it is being done by Pres. Sweeny allies  and not Cummins or Santiago or Cintron or another yet unannounced candidate -  before Council hired their consultant to chop and channel the Reed and Cummins Wards.   
Man, then Mr. Sweeny really could have gerrymandered house by house and telephone number by telephone number.
Without knowing who is conducting the pole, how do we know if political campaign funds are being used properly or improperly?  Are funds coming from Pres. Sweeny's pot of cash?
Of course, most people don’t even have land lines – so the “results” of this poll will be pretty vapid. 
I always ask for a call back number - and then call the poller to do the poll.
The interviewer gets paid for your time.   Nice equitable balance.




Sweeney says it's not him.

Buster :)

  I asked the guy for a return phone number...he gave me a whole Fargo line...I thought, for sure, it was a prank from someone...but the fact that the number was undisclosed was pretty fishy.  I thought maybe you...!   Were you bored last night ? :)

Worth investigating

I'm not sure what a "Fargo" line is but I am interested in who is spending money here to controll our minds, media and politics.

Disrupt IT

It's polling

Nothing really new. But interests me because last I heard, Cummins was still undecided about where he would run, and I know that Cintron and Santiago are actively ramping up their campaigns. And, yeah, it would be interesting if the Council Leadership Fund is spending the money to decide whether to back or nudge a candidate in that race.

I'll see what I can find.

Thanks for telling us about it, Laura.



Thanks Henry for following up on this story--

Could you follow up on CDC's acquisition of HUD houses/per councilperson and what will happen to these houses ?

Also--check-out NRP/Housing Trust Fund projects scattered throughout the city (and some suburbs Lakewood)--slated to tie-into our combined sewer system.  CDCs are quietly were the demo planning and sweetheart deals for developers are being made.

public records request - TWDC voting members names & addresses


Henry, here's a start at seeking sunshine.   I have today emailed the following request to the listed recipients and CC's.   best, Jeffb
Public Records Request
May 20, 2009     By email
Mr. Robert J. Triozzi, Esq., Director
Kim L. Roberson, Public Records Administrator
City of Cleveland  Law Department
601 Lakeside Ave., Room 106
Cleveland, Ohio44114
This public records request concerns the Tremont West Development Corporation (TWDC),  which is one of Cleveland’s CDC’s and which is a taxpayer funded governmental sub-division of the City of Cleveland.
I request the list(s) of voting members (with their addresses) of the TWDC during the years 2006 to the present.
I have personally requested this  membership list from the TWDC Board at a recent public hearing of the Board and the Board refused to provide the list claiming that the TWDC is a “private” non-profit and that the membership list record is not a public record.  The TWDC does, however, selectively provide their membership list with member’s contact information to certain persons and entities without their member’s authorization, effectively waiving any claim of “privacy”.  
As a practical matter, one reason the TWDC voting members list is an important public document is because if you wish to run for the Board, the list is necessary in order to be able to contact  the voting members and solicit their vote in the manner a candidate chooses.    The  list is also important because only if it is public can its accuracy be vetted.
Just as anyone can go to the Cleveland Board of Elections on Euclid and get a CD of the registered voters (with their addresses) in each of Cleveland’s voting precincts, so should citizens be able to go to their CDC’s (or go to the City of Cleveland as I am now doing) and get a list of the CDC’s voting members. 
I believe the Ohio Public Records Law ORC 149.43 et seq and pertinent Ohio  public records case law supports this request.   Should the Law Department claim that the membership list of the TWDC is exempt as a public record, then I would appreciate your responding as  stated in The City of Cleveland Public Records Policy quoted below:
“All exemptions are to be construed in favor of disclosure as required by law and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the ORC. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing.”
Please respond by email.
Jeff Buster
            Chris Garland, Executive Director TWDC
            Councilman Joe Cimperman


good luck with that, Jeff B

 i'm still waiting (I'm on month six, i believe) for TWDC documents I put a request ing for. Ms Roberts doesn't return phone calls. Sorry i sound snipey, I'm starting to get annoyed.

All I'm saying is don't be surprised if they postpone their compliance because "their printer must have run out of toner".

We reviewed documentation of salaries and monthly work reports of Katy Hough. Sammy Catania emails... what a delight to find out "community organizers" make more than my husband and I combined...

So Henry G. - maybe if peedee asks for this stuff, they'll comply?

TWDC letter from Chris Garland

Better be careful Jeff, you might get a letter from Chris like I got.  Telling me how dishonest I was when I made a request for documents.  I don't know how to copy it on NEO or I would. 

You can post letter as JPEG or PDF

Hello Jerleen,

With a digital camera you can usually produce a jpeg image (of an 8.5 by 11 inch document) which is readable on the internet if you upload a file size of about 250kb. That's what Norm did with the letter here on REalneo - sizing it to 115kb.  If the file size is too big (maybe one megabite) it will not load into the image editor on Realneo.

If you take a digital photo of the document (taken with indirect daylight preferably) and email me the full digital file of the image, I can put it through Photoshop and make it quite readable.

If you have Adobe PDF maker with OCR (expensive) you can scan the document and make an editable text document. The benefit of publishing a pdf instead of a jpeg on the internet is that Google can search for text in the pdf but not in a jpeg.

If you (or anyone who wishes to have a document published on Realneo) mail a copy of the letter to the Real-Coop P.O. Box (see very bottom of this page)  to my attention,  I will make a pdf of the document and post it.  But be patient please cz the box isn't checked everyday.



Justus' Public Records correspondence with TWDC's Chris Garland


One of the aspects about the Executive Director’s response to Ms. Justus I find disturbing is that Mr. Garland is of the belief that before a citizen can obtain a public record the citizen must explain why they want the information and what they intend to do with the information.
In fact, every citizen has the right to anonymously obtain public records and there is no requirement that the requestor explain why they want the record or what they intend to do with the record.
 Mr. Garland sadly misstates the Ohio Public Records Law when he  writes to Ms. Justus:
 “ I find your methods to be dishonest, reprehensible, and generally I believe that your peer journalist should be disgusted. Consequently, as TWDC Executive Director, I have grave concerns in responding to any of your requests. Further, under state law governing non-profits, members must have demonstrated a reasonable purpose for requests of information/documentation. No where in your letter is there a reference to your intended use.”
Mr. Garland is also radically amiss when he writes “To be clear, you do not have my permission to reproduce any portion of this letter in any fashion”.
If a citizen writes to their government official and the official responds, that response is a public document.
TWDC appears to be in denial.


Laura, I check on all of these things

when time allows. If something is worth reporting, I report it. If you have a specific tip, that might help. But plowing through every CDC and every council member takes time.

Opportunity = Sunshine = Green

Here's a story for you--Henry.  Cummins should have polled residents on collaborating with an outfit like NRP BEFORE he paved the way for this developer to get a demolition, property, zoning variances and city land transfers on the public dime.  He is not the only councilperson in the city doing this.  Santiago comes to mind.  

Council folks are puppets for the larger scheme operated by developers who manipulate the CDCs to capitalize on federal and state monies and tax credits.  Residents lose out and developers cash in.  How much of this same strategy has been used in the development of the "Opportunity Corridor" route? Oh sure, it's all sunshine, right? I am supposed to be comforted by the "sunshine" measures to protect the public from possible graft and corruption a la the land bank?  No one questions the involvement of Gus Frangos and Board of Revision's Gary Paulenske in the structuring of the land bank?

The PD needs to ask: how many African-American families in the proposed corridor have been strong-armed to sell their homes for devalued prices to the Cleveland Clinic?   Developers are hounding Denison residents to sell along the proposed NRP project site--so I imagine the same tactics are being applied throughout the City of Cleveland.  Where's the sunshine on these stories? 

UPDATE 8/23/2009- the PD ran a link to the projects competing for federal economic stimulus funds--the request for the Opportunity Corridor is $350,000, 000--text copied from the table:

There are two primary outcomes that will be achieved as a result of this infrastructure investment. Improved mobility from the Interstate system (I-490 at East 55th Street) to University Circle (Carnegie Avenue at East 105th Street) will support on-going economic development that can occur with the addition of 3.3 miles of urban arterial roadway. The project will also improve access from the Interstate system (I-490 at East 55th Street) to the “Forgotten Triangle” (between Kinsman, Woodhill, and Woodland) to encourage economic redevelopment at the neighborhood level.  The development of this corridor could yield up to 210 acres of adjacent development potential.         The University Circle area is the second largest employment area in the City of Cleveland, with Downtown Cleveland being the largest.  This area is home to University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and many other cultural, medical, and educational institutions.  With over $1 billion in planned improvements and limited land available for development in the University Circle area, there is a need to improve access

RUN your own search here--I searched Cuyahoga County--by zipcode "The Opportunity Corridor" is listed as 44104.  This ran in February 2009, but I just stumbled upon it.  What projects have been awarded????

No surprise as http://blog.smartgrowthamerica.org/ reports Ohio and other dumbass states continue to ignore reality:

Road repair winners and losers

Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont committed to making their existing networks safer and more effective for their residents. Each of these states put 100% of the stimulus money they chose to spend on roads towards maintenance work.

Nevada, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oklahoma all spent over 90% of their stimulus road budgets on repair as well.

In contrast, Ohio, Florida, Arkansas, Kansas, and Kentucky were inflexible, out of balance and out of step with what will keep their residents safe and moving into the 21st century. Each of these states committed less than half of their stimulus road budgets on maintenance. Kentucky committed 88% of its road spending to new roads.


23,000 from the West 25th Street deal

hey guys, while you're at it see if you can find out who got raises at TWDC from the West 25th Street deal made when TWDC took over the contract that Santiago proposed.  I underastand that the first round was to end on June 30 and that TWDC was to be paid $23,000.  They probably alll got a raise.

I guarantee that nobody else benefitted from the $23,000.

thats the info

 they "ran out of toner" on...