our treat

Submitted by Susan Miller on Thu, 02/12/2009 - 07:47.

Going dutch on the medcon? "Naw, let us treat", said the BOCC. "Well, thank you very much", said MMPI and Vornado REIT. "You're welcome", said Mr.s Hagan, Dimora and Jones. "It's the least we could do. After all, we've been wanting someone to come in and save Our Town". "What about Mr. Jackson, our server", said Mr. Falanga. "Oh, don't worry about him, he'll step and fetch it real fast if we give him a big tip". "Yeah, you know this whole thing is about tipping well; tip the servers, the cabbies, the bellhops, even tip the laundress and the shoeshine guy. Soon Cleveland's economy will be humming along like a big ole diesel truck! Good work guys! Boy, I knew Cleveland was the place for this new mart - ya'll have the stupidest taxpayers anywhere in the nation and you sure do have 'em on a short leash". "Yeah, said Mr. Hagan, I just always tell them, this is representative democracy - that always takes care of any upstarts or naysayers. Then there's Mr. Nance. He's a real charmer and has everyone mesmerized even though he's real good at not letting anyone know anything about the deal". "You know, said Mr. Falanga, we have marts in all the major markets in the US and Cleveland is the first city, where ya'll offered to buy it for us. Thank you so much."

Works like this - we pay for dinner and we serve it up nice and juicy ($1 billion over 20 years) - they eat, they pick up the tip ($20 million).

Boy this is real innovation. A first of its kind. Will it set a new standard for public/private partnerships? Is this the sort of gentility we had in mind? We taxpayers sure are flush with cash. Breaking news: One of nation's poorest cities with failing infrastructure, foreclosure out the wazoo taxes it's citizen to help bail out Vornado REIT. Cuyahoga County straps itself into more indebtedness for 20 year term.

Jim Nichols of the Pee Dee asks the billion dollar question: Why wouldn't taxpayers own the Medical Mart?

I am still scratching my head. Given no information on the return on investment for county taxpayers other than "bellhops will earn and spend" I can only resort to the old WAG (wild assed guess). I guess we're just not smart enough to understand these high level machinations.


( categories: )

they'll get theirs

they'll get theirs

Any coverage ?

  Did any one attend the CDBG meeting or the Medical Mart meeting today?  Any reaction?

group hug

MMPI's presentation was a defense and walk through of why they picked the mall site. No one asked why we're paying for it. No one asked if in other communities the taxpayers picked up their bill for development.

Since this is the way Clevelanders now think, I suggest we slap on another quarter cent for Doug Price and another for Wolstein and even more for Dick Jacobs. Just think of the jobs we could fund with construction going forward at the northwest corner of Public Square, Flats Eastbank and the corner of E9th and Euclid.  These, too, are important historic sites in Cleveland and given the excitement and energy around this medcon project which will be born on the backs of county taxpayers all of whom are VERY willing to pay more, I say PAY MORE! Why stop here? Let's crank this shit up and raise the sales tax all the way to 8%.

Bellhops and cab drivers and servers and laundresses will be employed at minimum wage, but they'll be earning so much that they alone will spur a grand renaissance of Cleveland's economy. So, bring it on BOCC! Like everyone has been saying, we NEED the Medical Mart and the Medical Mart will cause regional offices of furniture designers, device designers and office spaces now vacant should fill to capacity in a matter of a couple of years.

As I sat stunned that no one simply articulated anything but thanks for the MMPI presentation, I thought of the woman who is finally just glad to be out of the strained position - blindfold off. She can see now her exploiter, she feels maybe she can bargain with him. She may be wrong, but she is one step closer to seeing her predicament. Still, she cannot see clearly through the panic and fear, the reality of the situation. She's in denial. While she may not be killed, she has surely been violated and robbed and she thinks she'll get away with her life. Sad.

I was sure someone was going to ask this question about "our" return on investment, but maybe it was just too cold or too sunny - my question (I didn't sign in because I felt sure someone would ask this question - Brian Cummins? No. Mulready, not interested enough to be there. Ed Morrison - not there. Anastasia Pantsios? Nope. Anyone else from the BFD discussion? Not that I heard.)

In the many cities in which MMPI has developed these marts, which other city has paid the full fare for your profit making venture? Didn't get asked. Someone asked about reporting and sunshine laws and Kennedy stumbled and said, "I don't know what they are, but we will abide by the law". Robert Rosenberg was the guy who asked that question. But everyone else was celebrating and handing the trio a shovel. The only friction that was felt came from a stung Forest City representative, David LaRue, who asked to come back to MMPI with a lower cost estimate for their river site. Clearly they are crying big tears over at Terminal Tower. Too bad.

MMPI didn't choose a Cleveland architect. Architects began to leave after that was announced. They seem to be choosing Turner Construction. More people left. Wolstein's rep assured them that Developers Diversified stood ready to build the needed hotels and make money off their venture here (subsidized by taxpayers).

No one cared to know why in the world we are to pay for this. Is it the Cleveland Way? I guess, so. We are resigned, addicted to the dream of low wage jobs and wishfulness.  The meeting closed with rousing rendition of Kumbaya. Or was that a dull thud?

Steve Litt went to the earlier session. You can find how he was convinced here. His biggest question: "Can a good result can come from a lousy process?"

I'm not convinced, but in Cleveland, it's go along to get along, right?

At the meeting's end, someone was asking Barb Shergalis if the MMPI folks needed a ride to the airport. I suggested they walk a block to the train in Tower City. No, they had their own transportation. The good news? If they are renting cars or taking cabs, the three of them are already supporting Cleveland's economy.

As I walked back across the mall I gazed at the west facade of Public Auditorium, soon to be a private enterprise. I read the words written in stone across its frieze: "A MONUMENT CONCEIVED AS A TRIBUTE TO THE IDEALS OF CLEVELAND BUILDED BY HER CITIZENS AND DEDICATED TO SOCIAL PROGRESS INDUSTRIAL ACHIEVEMENT AND CIVIC INTEREST PATRIOTISM PROGRESS CULTURE"

Is this what those city beautiful fathers had in mind when they built Public Auditorium, a taxpayer funded private enterprise?

(This from the report on the morning meeting "MMPI and the county plan to ask City Hall to waive property taxes on the $425 million development. Unabated, those taxes would total roughly $2 million per year. "If there are property taxes, then we'd have to change what we plan to build," Kennedy warned council." from Medical mart's would-be developers breeze through session with no time left for critics)

MMPI didn't choose a Cleveland architect.

Wow--what a surprise?!

Thank you Susan.  The PD reports "no time left for critics."  Is that true?

You say:

I was sure someone was going to ask this question about "our" return on investment, but maybe it was just too cold or too sunny - my question (I didn't sign in because I felt sure someone would ask this question - Brian Cummins? No. Mulready, not interested enough to be there. Ed Morrison - not there. Anastasia Pantsios? Nope. Anyone else from the BFD discussion? Not that I heard.) 

Was an opportunity provided for public comment?  I thought that this was the intent of the "Public Meeting"?

there was time

As usual in "public hearings" there was a sign up sheet for public comment. And this time there was even a dialogue. Usually questions are not answered as elected officials sit there like stones while members of the public pound them with questions. I was surprised to hear McCafferty say at the end "the public hearing is now over." It was more of a dialogue especially when Chris Kennedy snapped back at LaRue from Forest City's indictment of MMPI's process.  Maurer, Falanga and Kennedy answered questions, like the law one posed by Rosenberg - we'll follow the law. I suppose I could have asked to be heard, but I was sort of in shock. The "who will pay?' was alluded to by a couple of commenters, but no one asked any pointed questions about their making profit from taxpayer funded development. 

I think this sets a precedent, but maybe I just don't know enough. We've paid for profit maker's wealth before as is laid out in these pages day in and day out by Roldo. I mean, we built and continue to pay for the playground of the Cleveland Indians, right? If a for profit corporation needs help, we lend a hand to save jobs, right? But I am unaware of taxpayers paying for a profit maker's development just like that - we will pay for it, you make all the decisions and run it and make a profit and don't pay tax. I am new to all this high level finance stuff. Is this how it works everywhere all the time?