Rest in Peace Citizen Hauser

Submitted by Susan Miller on Sat, 11/15/2008 - 15:36.

Ed Hauser died suddenly November 14, 2008. Northeast Ohio has lost its most ardent, studied and tenacious citizen activist. Information regarding funeral arrangements will be in the Plain Dealer tomorrow.

This is a photo of Ed gathering signatures for his campaign to secure Whiskey Island as public greenspace on our lakefront for all time.

What follows is a nomination written by Martha Eakin and me, edited by Ohio Environmental Council's director, Keith Dimoff, for Cleveland's Biodiversity Alliance awards in 2007.

Sustained not by deep pockets but by dogged determination, “Citizen” Ed Hauser has worked diligently toward his goal of seeing all of Whiskey Island made into a park. Since 1998, Ed has made saving Whiskey Island a fulltime job. And a fulltime job it has been because the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (CCCPA) has planned to move its operations to the land across the river for 9 years, determined to take a portion of Whiskey Island for gravel storage and docking facilities.

With the lakefront plan languishing on the drawing boards and public access to the lake limited, Ed remained steadfast in his effort to save Whiskey Island as a contiguous group of properties – the park, the marina and the Coastguard Station. The Coastguard Station has experienced significant deferred maintenance and could have been slated for demolition, but Ed continues to shine his light on the property, demanding that the buildings be restored and brought to public use by the City of Cleveland. He has invoked the National Historic Preservation Act to save the Huletts, the iron ore unloaders that tell the story of the rise of Cleveland’s industrial heritage. Ed intends that the Island be able to tell the story of Cleveland to us and to future generations.

Ed was not deterred by being told “Ed, it's not going to happen, everybody is opposed to it. The issue is over with.” Ed’s extensive experience with the ways of government has taught him that he cannot rest until the land becomes part of the Cleveland Metroparks, ensuring that it will remain permanently protected public greenspace.

Ed has maintained a watchful presence over multiple layers of government with regular attendance at CCCPA, Cleveland Planning Commission, Cleveland City Council, and Cuyahoga County Commissioner’s meetings. He has interacted with Cleveland’s Law Department, Landmarks Commission, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office, Cleveland Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cuyahoga Valley Initiative, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who oversee the Ohio Coastal Management, and every elected official involved with these 20 acres of beautiful greenspace along the lakefront and riverfront. He joined with the League of Women Voters on their CCCPA Study bringing to the public a relevant report for anyone who wants to know more about the publicly funded body. When ODOT became involved in the City’s Lakefront plan, Ed monitored and raised awareness regarding the many possible environmental effects of the Innerbelt Project. He has engaged more than 2,100 people to sign postcards of support for the plan for Cleveland Metroparks to take over this historic property.

Ed’s efforts have saved Whiskey Island as public greenspace. The Island is the heart of the city, where the river meets the lake. It is tied to the creation of the Ohio and Erie Canal. It is a haven for birds and their watchers and for hikers. It allows for access to a natural beachfront from inner-city neighborhoods. For its history, its historic lifesaving station, for keeping its natural habitat, not dredging and bulkheading, it allows for a natural beach in the city which is important for recreation and is the only place to launch non-motorized watercraft. Whiskey Island is the beachhead for sustainability and its champion, Ed Hauser, is a powerhouse of citizen action in our region.

Ed's activism was documented on film: Link to Blue Hole Film, Citizen Hauser.

He will be missed.

ed hauser getting signatures.JPG247.84 KB
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I love you, Ed

This is horrible beyond words. I will miss Ed dearly, and I am very glad I got to know him.

He just quit smoking and seemed he would be our eyes and video camera on the establishment for all time. What will become of his archives and work? Who may even come close to replacing him in this community? How Ed is missed!

Disrupt IT

Tributes to Ed

After reading this tragic news here, I started looking through REALNEO for a good header for Ed - he was core to so many of my interests in NEO he has been a constant presence in my life for years, and that shows. The time he seemed most filled with joy was the party after the showing of "Citizen Hauser", after the Cleveland Film Fest, at the Bourbon Street on Whiskey Island... Ed was one of our greatest rock-stars, in his own way, until well past sunset... see happy times here!

Disrupt IT


This is too tragic for all of us. Unfortunately, mortality is a given in life. Ed realized this, and never avoided speaking out against injustice, inequity and corruption. We should all follow his example in life.

Dan Moore pays tribute to Ed Hauser and Lennie Stover

Dan Moore Cleveland Metroparks

Steven Litt:

Moore, who has made improving lakefront access a cornerstone of his tenure as a Metroparks commissioner, said his efforts at Whiskey Island have left him feeling very little kinship to business and community leaders of his social and economic class, some of whom tried to block the creation of Wendy Park.

Instead, he feels an affinity to activists such as Lennie Stover, the retired investment advisor who led the drive to create the Red Line Greenway.

He feels the same way about the late Ed Hauser, an electrical engineer laid off in 2001 from LTV Steel who earned the nickname “Citizen Hauser,’' for his advocacy of public access to Whiskey Island.

“He was really a thorn in everyone’s side, but he was terrific,’' Moore said of Hauser, who died of a heart attack in 2008 at age 47.

Moore said he’d be proud to have his name considered along those of Stover and Hauser.


Lennie Stover does have a message that needs to be heard - sent to many people :

Below is a link to the article. 

While most of the volunteers who worked for years to build it probably disagree, a blind plug for Metroparks and the local CDC's can override the judgement of trail and greenway professionals. Had Scene done even a modest amount of inquiry, say calling Metroparks for their opinion, they would have found that even they do not think of it as more than "a good start". The long standing Cleveland mantra is again at play; "At least we have a trail". 
Quite frankly, after volunteers spent 42 years clearing the area we expected more. The volunteer work reduced the cost to build the greenway by $2 million and was directly responsible for both major grants the greenway received yet the budget was still not enough to provide basic amenities such as:
 - grass
 - benches
 - trash cans
 - water fountains
 - bathrooms
 - access to the bridge over the Cuyahoga River, one of the key features
What we did get are:
 - at least 400 fewer mature trees than what existed before construction
 - narrow passages with tall fences on both sides.
 - Limited access points (more can be added over time)
 - at least 13 fewer parking spaces on Franklin Ave, the greenway terminus.
 - the possibility that RTA will destroy the only remaining urban forest on the greenway for the sake of money (only a 4% interest) and a handful of potential riders. This would eliminate a certified wetland and the historic 100 plus year old metal catenaries that now grace the greenway near the West 25th Street station.
If you live, work or play in this area or simply care about quality trails, please consider advocating for a better greenway and for a stop to the plans to destroy trees for an unwanted and unneeded building by writing to the RTA Board of Directors at gcrtaboard [at] gcrta [dot] org. If you have written already please write again as RTA has changed developers and has expanded its plans to cover the tracks and the greenway by building over the top of them. Refer to the "Columbus Road Development" in your letter. 
If you have any questions please email me or text me at (440)-537-6461. 
Lennie Stover
Red Line Greenway

Believe in a dream

What a sad, sad loss. His tireless commitment and genuine enthusiasm is a rare commodity around here. And to have it directed toward preservation rather than development, was a priceless gift to us all.


When I was corresponding with Ed recently regarding the mismanagement of ODOT's PDP(project development process...or some name close to this), he included the article below that appeared in the Garfield Maple Sun News.
I told Ed, "if only you would be Cuyahoga's czar but unfortunately you are too smart and uncorruptible, so it won't happen."

And now NEO has lost the opportunity to open up its civic space in time to really listen and learn from Ed.

Citizen' Hauser is champion of Whiskey Island
Article Link:

Photos Link:

Thursday, October 30, 2008
By Ken Baka kbaka [at] sunnews [dot] com
Garfield-Maple Sun

The man some call "Citizen Hauser" has come home.
Ed Hauser moved from an apartment near Edgewater Park -- close by his cause celebre Whiskey Island -- to the house in which he was reared.

From that house on Beechwood Avenue, Hauser recalls the joys of growing up in Maple Heights, such as going to the pool in Stafford Park and eating hot pretzels at the May Co. at Southgate U.S.A.

"When you come back you realize what a really nice community Maple Heights and southeast Cleveland was," he said.

Returning to Maple Heights has nothing to do with nostalgia but with need: The family was unable to sell the house at a fair price after his mother died.

In that house, he grew to love and admire an older brother so much that the brother's problems later in life led Hauser to be an activist and government watchdog worthy of the "Citizen Hauser" tag.

The tag stems from Hauser's 20-year fondness for Whiskey Island, the peninsula west of Cuyahoga River, and his 10-year crusade to save it as a park and not become a stockpile of sand and iron ore used by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

Committing himself to that crusade occurred like an epiphany.

Here's why. When he first defended Whiskey Island, it was out of self-interest as a sailboater and kayaker, a hobby picked up while attending Cleveland State University. He knew the island for its rubble. Then he heard a woman extol its nature.

He climbed a hill, looked at the shoreline, the sun, the river, birds and the downtown skyline.

"This lady was absolutely right. This isn't about boating. This is about this awesome green space," he recalled.

That was his epiphany. Next was a quest.
"I thought to myself, Are you going to take this on?' I said, Yes.' "

He became a citizen activist.

That meant attending public meetings of the port, the city and the county, where he is known to speak in soft, measured tones. It meant exercising the public's right to documents so that he speaks informatively.

As a trained engineer he was accustomed to research and eliminating error.
"I follow the process very carefully," he said. "Are you treating me fairly?' Like a professional engineer: input, feedback and desired output."

The effort meant sacrificing part of his life for what he thought was a greater good with no pay -- "not a penny" -- even though he often put in 40 hours a week, he said.
The effort put him face to face in some unfriendly conflicts.

Once was when the former executive director of the port told Hauser, "I'm not going to do it, I don't want to do it," to which Hauser recalled replying, "I told him I wasn't going to put up with it."

His almost single-handed effort helped save -- perhaps only for now -- the island as a park and, with others, the huge Hulett ore-unloaders from being scrapped.
The effort gained him notoriety. A 2006 documentary called "Citizen Hauser" won an award at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

That film's producers have a second film, "Walking the River," which Hauser helped by escorting producers for seven miles in kayaks he lent. That film will air at 10 p.m. Nov. 6 on WVIZ-TV.

The nature of Cleveland politics soured him. The job he did should have been done by councilmen, the mayor, county commissioners, he said.

Still, in "Citizen Hauser," some of those same politicians praise Hauser for the way in which he served as a citizen activist.

"I'm very well respected," he said. "But I don't put up with any monkey business."
The Whiskey Island/port issue was not Hauser's first. He honed his activism by serving on a citizens board of the former Hawthorne State Hospital in Sagamore Hills. His brother, Tom, was a patient there in the late 1980s.

"I was sick and tired of the operation there," Hauser said. "I just stuck up for him -- whatever I could do."

He became his brother's keeper by immersing himself in mental health issues. He researched. He wrote the governor.

"That was my first taste of, you know, don't trust these guys, stand up for what you believe, don't blindly follow the government."

He's not done. He is watching the port's plans for a 200-acre container loading site near East 55th Street.

"It's bad for the lakefront and bad for Cleveland," said Hauser, who wants port activities to be built upriver.

Plus, he's watching the state's plan to rebuild the Innerbelt and the bridge and the county's plan for a Medical Mart convention center.

Let us give Thanks For Ed !

Folks, he has crossed over to the other side to do his work on a different level. It is up to us to fill his might big shoes and keep his working going and alive.

Long live Ed Hauser.

What a Guy!

Ed's energy and commitment, for Wendy Park and other issues, were an amazing force for change and open government.

the day Ed met the bloggers - not fade away

Meet The Bloggers: Ed Hauser

"we talked of the structure of the Port Authority, 6 coming from the Cleveland mayor and 3 coming from the County Commissioners, John Carney, Robert Stark, conflicts of interest, cronyism, acting with relative impunity, lack of transparency and accountability, and subversion of the public trust. Next came a startling revelation of how Chapter 4582 of the Ohio Revised Code has been amended to repeal public hearings, why this is bad for America and bad for Cleveland, and why we need to find the voting record on that change to see who went along with this massive sellout of the people of our region. Also discussed were making appointed and elected officials personally liable, stripping away the protections that allow them to operate as near-racketeers, the section 106 public process and the Huletts, the possibility of damages, Maple Heights, Lorain County, CSU, The Friends of Whiskey Island, the insincerity and near-fraudulence of the public hearings, “tell us your dreams, and they give us a gravel pile, people who “realize that their voice doesn’t mean very much, 3700 signatures, Cool Cleveland, ODOT, The Trench and The Bridge, “Scream all you want, ODOT and public officials do nothing, dog & pony shows (at this point, the equine metaphors took over), pretty pictures, NOACA, CDCs who claim they represent the public, putting the cart before the horse, the tale of Joe Marinucci as a horse’s patoot, the Alternatives Report that’s 8 months after the fact yet has a major impact on the 106 review, ponying up, horse-trading with projects, Ken Blackwell’s transparent Transportation Summit, The Opportunity Corridor as a pawn, The Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Tomorrow, the old boys’ network, 9 plan changes for Whiskey Island since 1995, the Maritime Study for $200K, the Relocation Study for $800K, and Dennis Madden speaking for the County Commissioners.

If you listen to the broadcast, you’ll see why Ed continues to do what he does. If it weren’t for Ed, I wonder whether we would have any representation at all. Listen to the podcasts, judge for yourself the magnitude of the sellout going on here. Are we being conned out of our heritage, or are our elected, appointed, and hired representation just not equal to the task at hand?"

And this was taped in August 2006! Ed was treading water in the middle of a sea of corruption. He was still living in the city near his beloved Whiskey Island. He had not yet lost his brother and his mother in close proximity; he had not yet begun to spend his retirement fighting the good fight on behalf of the citizenry of Cuyahoga County. 

From a recent Cleveland Magazine article (Brining the Pain-Cleveland needs more activists like Ed Hauser to strip the facade from our government and reveal the awful truth of how insiders manipulate the public.) speaking of county government reform: “The existing political leadership will never do it,” he said. “They are too comfortable, and smug with self-interest. Such a change will have to come from the people, and that will not happen until the pain becomes unbearable.”

If that is the case, we need two things: more pain, and more people like Ed Hauser to deliver it."

With the passing of Ed Hauser, we're gonna need an army to replace his activism. Some of us will mourn the deep loss of his friendship, others will simply relegate him to the history books. Unless we pick up the torch he carried so proudly, his selfless work for the citizens of Northeast Ohio will be forgotten like so many rusting Hulett ore unloaders.

"When Ed Hauser once challenged Hagan on an issue, he says the commissioner responded by saying, “If you don’t like what I do, don’t vote for me.” In the recent election, Hagan ran unopposed. 

Ed was David to NEO's government Goliath. Unfortunately our David has faded away. After we wipe the tears, let us not fade away.


Services for Ed

  A memorial article appears in the Plain Dealer today and services will be held tomorrow.

Edward J. "Citizen" Hauser    
J. "CITIZEN" HAUSER, beloved son of Walter and Theresia (nee Greif)
(deceased); dearest brother of Harold, Sylvia, Thomas (deceased), and
Caroline Widemann (husband Reiner); dear uncle of Nicole and Erik; dear
friend of Cathy Stahurski; dear nephew, cousin and friend to many.
Services Monday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at VITO-NERO FUNERAL HOME, 6130
receive friends MONDAY 4-8 P.M.


This is written for a column

This is written for a column to appear next week but I thought I would share it here:


As I prepare to send this article off to its respective web spots, I read in the Sunday Plain Dealer of the death of Ed Hauser at the early age of 47 years.

If that isn’t tragic enough, the loss of his voice and his activism makes my thoughts below even more sad for me and Cleveland.

I saw and talked with Ed at meetings in the past, particularly at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

He was always humble but noble in his pursuits.

His attention to detail, filming of public meetings and unwillingness to be cowed or embarrassed by the disdain and officiousness of elected and appointed officials made him not just a thorn in the side of officials who don’t easily countenance the public. He gave them worry and some caution.

To them he was often a nuisance. That’s the role of a real citizen.

Ed was quiet but persistent.

I was one of I assume many that he took personally to view Whiskey Island to reveal its potential and why he so desperately wanted it saved, as I hope now it will be forever.

He was a civic activist of the Nader tradition – a selfless “citizen” of which we have so few and need so many. That makes him a treasure lost before his tasks were completed. Who will pick up his mantle?

Let's Get Going

It's going to take a number of us to keep up Ed's efforts. We need to start this week to figure out who will attempt to take on which projects. Ed covered all the Port meetings and kept track of the Army Corps' doings in NEO, and ODOT's, and on and on, as all the previous posts have acknowledged. We need to look up upcoming public meetings and not so public meetings and figure out who will take on what. This is serious stuff and our follow up will be a very real way to show Citizen Hauser that his work was not in vain.

I'm afraid it is not so easy

I certainly learned activism from Ed, and so am a better citizen as a result, and I am not alone in that... but there are no other people capable of doing what Ed was doing - he was the region's environmental engineer. It was the mind of Ed that mattered, and that is gone. What we may take forward in all our work, as activists for all our causes, are the many lessons we learned from observing Ed in action, knowing him as a friend, for those so fortunate, and working with him to make this a better world.

For a refresher and as a guide for future generations, there should be annual screenings of Citizen Hauser in his honor.

His archives must be preserved and may be needed for analysis and action in the future, so arrangements must be considered, for that. Should these go to the Western Reserve Historical Society?

His REALNEO account will be preserved, and we certainly dedicate this effort to Ed, who was very important to our founding and development!

As we mourn Ed's loss, we must renew our commitments to the causes we have been fighting for together - Ed worked on many fronts and at many levels and 100s of people worked with Ed on these causes... we know who we are and what we must continue to do!

On with the citizen's revolution.

Disrupt IT

wrhs for Ed's papers and tapes?

"Should these go to the Western Reserve Historical Society?"

GOD, NO!!!!

The Western Reserve Historical Society is a black hole of NEO's history. I know, I gave them my archives, which will not see the light of day until well after I am dead if ever.

Maybe Cleveland Memory (I trust Bill Barrow) or into a new museum of waterfront activism at the Coast Guard Station - Ed was after all the one who guarded our coast more diligently than anyone else.

I know it won't be easy

I don't think anyone is thinking easy...but just taking the Port as an example, if some one or ones don't agree to be at every meeting to try and look and listen as Ed did, how will any of us know what they are up to....we have had it too easy...we were doing our own business while Ed was minding the store for us.....I am well aware we can't be Ed, but he would be discouraged with us if we did not at least try to keep an eye on the projects he was following. We can talk about it and say it is impossible, or we could be hopeful and together attempt the impossible.
You are right that we know who we are..but perhaps there are some new folks willing to join in.

Cleveland Memory

  Bill Barrow has established a vital resource at Cleveland State University and in many ways his mission of recording our local history echoes Ed's own commitment to document the truth. 

 We will have to see what it will take to endow Ed Hauser's collection, but I find some solace in knowing that at Cleveland Public Library and Cleveland State University--there are dedicated archivists who will honor Ed's legacy.

Using Ed's files

I'm inclined to think that Ed Hauser's files and contact lists should end up in the environmental building on Lorain Avenue. Surely an environmental organization there would take them in as an ongoing resource for activists.

As to the Western Reserve Historical Society, it is a good archive for them, after they are not needed for day to day, year to year, work. I know from experience how to make more likely the files you donate are quickly catalogued and thus made accessible. Cataloguing a large collection is an extremely labor intensive activity. One or more scholars or journalists (but particularly academically based researchers) have to ask to use them. They likely then will go to the head of the list for being organized and catalogued.  You should not fake this, of course; instead you or your organization should work to make what you have donated known to the academic community.


  Thank you for emphasizing how much work goes into cataloguing materials to make them ACCESSIBLE.  Fortunately, Ed was a methodical guy, so half the battle has been won.  Priority for digitization, dedicated space and preservation treatment also figures into any archiving. 

As you have pointed out--because of its significance, Ed's research should go to the head of the list for this attention.  I would hope, as you also point out, that environmental organizations such as the Biodiversity Alliance/former Ecocity/Green City folks (no longer on Lorain, at Natural History Museum) and potential funders such as Dan Moore, will come together to insure that Ed's work is not lost to chaos and mismanagement.

Adding Ed Hauser to Wikipedia

Ed Hauser was a man who I felt truly honored to call my friend. He is so missed.

Perhaps the REALNEO community can collaboratively post a Wikipedia page about Citizen Hauser. This would be a fitting memorial, and could help keep Ed's work easily accessible to a wider audience.

Thanks to RealNEO

Thank you Norm, Susan, and everyone else at RealNEO - both for these moving tributes, but also for your long-term committment in providing support for Ed and a forum to disseminate his ideas and advocacy.

We will all miss Ed. This city sorely needs more souls like him.

Yes, thanks.

Thanks so much for collecting the memories of Ed. He was such an inspiration. I admired the way he never shied from speaking truth to power, and armed himself with all the information he could get his hands on. Ed was steady, unflinching and dogged – all traits that made him the best citizen activist this town has seen in a generation.

I was thinking the same thing about preserving Ed’s work documenting the proceedings for Whiskey Island, the giant Hulett ore unloaders, the Innerbelt Bridge and on. The Natural History Museum has a new/old librarian, Wendy Wasman, who we can ask about the accession procedure.

Ed, your presence will be sorely missed.

a forum to disseminate his ideas and advocacy

For any newcomers to realneo, might I suggest you search Ed Hauser here. In later years, we posted about his efforts, but early on Ed worked with Norm and others and had his own blog here. Ed Hauser's blog. Ed was at home here at realneo - Norm listened to him and encouraged him to share his ideas here where others could find them even when elected officials waved him off. As Norm said in an earlier post, Ed taught him a lot about activism. Ed taught many of us.

I encourage newcomers to sign up and post your memories of working with Ed.  We'll need many memories to reconstruct and carry forward his work.

An Ed Hauser Citizenship Forum

I think it is wonderful to see so many people show their love for Ed here and anywhere they may... I've mentioned Ed's passing to a wide range of people all around town and can say he is broadly know, appreciated and missed.

When I saw the title of the comment above - "a forum to disseminate his ideas and advocacy" - I thought it was being suggested people come together as a forum, and I think that would be a good idea, very soon and each year. It should probably be held on Whiskey Island, so in the Spring... at the Bourbon Street Grill...

We'll show his film then, as well... perhaps a citizenship film night...

I'll be on the planning committee. Anyone else, let me know.... we should start planning it now.

Disrupt IT

Keeping up, carrying on

So we can carry on and have actual advocacy to honor Ed we need to list the meetings he covered and their regular schedules so others can step up and follow through. Even if one person can't always be there still someone can show up and report back to others.

Bet they'll all honor him now - a great time to pin them down on real commitments.

In due time: A celebration of an amazing life and dear friend

I have been in shock and at a loss for words, fighting own battle in the hospital for the past few days but this of course is something I had to respond to as soon as I as able. I am very sorry I missed the funeral - don't know if I could have handled it given the past few days.

I have so many stories, shared experiences, confided exchanges, that will help somewhat but never nearly enough when it comes to Ed Hauser. I had the deep privilege of knowing him for the past six years, as part of our realneo core and I hope we can have a memorial service redux as I was convalescing til now. Sharing many a beer and his favorite Cognac at AJ Roccos, putting me up during a difficult time, Saving Whiskey Island, demonstrating the infinite strength when passion meet knowledge and planning - he was my hero and fellow environmentalist but most importantly a great friend.

Even before any formal forum I would like to have a celebration for Ed, one which is uplifting, celebrates his many roles as unparalleled activist, tenacious fighter, keen intellectual and analytical talent, and most importantly kind-hearted soul. Sometime after some time to collectively mourn.

I would like all who cared or respected him to attend, we can plan the details together as part of the healing process. It might serve me well for my own healing, as I've just been diagnosed with an still undetermined but likely systemic autoimmune condition with serious nerve pain and limb numbness issues. Not knowing or how much time or what outcome is ahead, I will focus intensely as possible to ensure delivery of my most valuable ideas for and contributions to humanity knowing these things, punctuated by the fragile mortality we all share and at one time or another face squarely in the face.

Ultimately when our hand is called, and our time is up, the best we can do is look back and say we lived with dignity, and passion, heart and soul. Ed epitomized all these like none other. The original Good Guy.

I miss and love you so much man.

Sudhir - here's a photo I

Sudhir - here's a photo I had of Ed at work in your old office at the Caxton Building.

Ed Hause at REALNEO office in Caxton Building Cleveland Ohio


Martha and I had gone down to visit him and discuss the NEOBRIDGE web site. Best to you Sudhir!

Our collective conscience

Sudhir, you beautifully articulate the pain and sorrow we all feel over the loss of our friend Ed Hauser.  I wish I could have a copy of the eulogies given last night, because it would give you some comfort.   The pastor, especially gave a moving tribute to Ed's significance as a friend and champion of community. 

Full text of my PD letter

Though it was nice to see the PD use my letter this morning, they left out some key points just to make it fit with the other letters into one column. I figure this is the best forum to share this in, because I suspect we're all ready to be more like Ed, which is what he'd want:


Our lakefront activist Ed Hauser has unexpectedly passed away at a mere 47 years of age. We should all be inspired by his tenacity that constantly challenged the city, the Port Authority and development plans. Not to be overly humble, but I feel inadequate among the true activists. I've often found myself living vicariously through the efforts of Ed and another outspoken advocate who died a few years ago, John Perera, just glad that somebody is a lot more assertive than I am. When I've guided tours of the Steamship William G. Mather over the years and people ask if I worked on ships, I say no, the reason I volunteer is to encourage public access to Cleveland's greatest asset, the lakefront. I gesture at the vast lakefront of Cleveland and say it's mostly private property. Clearly some people were put on this earth to challenge that. Some people at public meetings found Ed an aggravation, but change doesn't happen if you let up on pressure from the citizens. Our right to enjoy the water is usually outweighed by stubborn business decisions. All we ask for is a little more balance. Rest in peace, Ed Hauser.
Frank Barnett



Mr. Ed The Mayor of Whiskey Island

I was at the dedication of the new bridge to Whiskey Island this summer. This bridge was a symbolic validation of the perminance of whiskey Island... and every dignatary there knew it. Big Jimmy our commissioner made a point of paying tribute to Ed. He reflected that Ed's persistance was not always an endering quality but that we would not be dedicating this bridge without his dogged determination. He called him the "Mayor of Whiskey Island."

I have been at countless planning meetings where I could count on Ed being there with his vidio camera. Ed had a dogged determination and a tolerance for govermental policies and proceedures. I remember being amazed at his determination. Over a beer I was amazed on how much he had spent on freedom of information requests and just copies. The stuff Ed would research was often so dry my head would flake if I had to read it. I was quite sure that the regulators were periodically surprised by Ed's analysis. I could just picture one whispering to an aide, "did we say this...?" Ed ripped reports down to the bone.
I was amused on how appropriate the term, "Citizen Hauser," was. I thought it important to brainstorm with various friends how we could make Ed and Ed's work sustainable... because the role Ed played was important and strangely unique. Perhaps you could say that was the role of the press ... but I think not. Ed acted in a role akin to a "client advocate," for the average citizen. While I did not always agree with him. I knew his role was important to the city he loved. I might be crazy but I think that the Port Authority should honor him. His dogged determination was cause for them to rethink, double check, and make sure. His looking over their shoulders kept them from being complacent in their power, and most likely kept them out of trouble considering the headlines as of late.

Ed earned his title, "Citizen Hauser." Perhaps to honor him, We need to figure out a way to make citizen activism / advocacy as a integrated part of the checks and balances of the system. Unless it is a lot easier nobody but Ed would do it.

Hey, Big Jimmy there is a bridge that needs a name.

Thank you Ed.

Jon Eckerle

Jimmy D was at Ed's Funeral

At the memorial service for Ed they had a TV showing "Citizen Hauser" over and over again - I watched it twice and it made me feel much better. Especially as I saw the filmmakers there, as well as actors Jimmy Dimora, Chris Ronayne and Paul Alsenas, at least... most of the cast was there, paying tribute to the star.

Disrupt IT

Thanks Ed. We all miss you.

I have great memories of Ed Hauser. I am very sad as i write. Ed always called A.J. Rocco's, Trisha's Place, after my wife. We are all fortunate to know him and are better people for it. We had great times here at the Caxton and A.J. Rocco's. Cheers to you Ed. God Bless

Toasting Ed at Trisha's Place

One of the first places I went to remember and celebrate Ed's life, after I learned he died, was AJ Rocco'... here's to Ed

Dead Can Dance - Don't Fade Away

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A role model for all citizens

Our founding fathers would have been so proud to know Ed. In a time of such political apathy and selfishness Ed Hauser is a shining example of how democracy should work. His tireless efforts to make our leaders accountable has made Cleveland a better place. I feel very privileged to have known Ed. I know I could never fill his shoes, but he will be an inspiration to me for the rest of my life.

I thought I might pass on

I thought I might pass on the thoughts I posted on my list, What's Up in Northeast Ohio concerning Ed:

The death of activist Ed Hauser in the prime of his life is a

and in a way irreplaceable, loss to the cause of Cleveland's environmental viability. I made his acquaintance a few years back and I was impressed with how he put his engineering training into the methodical pursuit of the common good. He dealt with public officials and corporate suits who flit from deal to deal with a relentless, and egoless, pursuit of the facts, the specifics of plans and regulations, the agreements once reached but now ignored. He realized that if we, the public, want to win we have to know where the bodies are buried - we have to know as much, if not more, than the self-interested who run our society do. And we have to mobilize, and never, ever give up. While we grieve his loss, we have to imagine that the county port authority, usually in practice accountable to no one, is now exhaling a collective sigh of relief. We cannot easily reproduce Ed's individual combination of talents, but some of us must make sure that his filing cabinets full of public documents are preserved, maintained, and put to good use in the years and decades ahead. His painstakingly put together lists of media contacts must be maintained and added to. Some people take some of their millions and put their names on big buildings so they will be remembered after their deaths for more than being grabbers and takers. Ed didn't have any of their millions, but his name is mixed in the very soil of Whiskey Island and there it will stay.

The ever-growing stream of

The ever-growing stream of workers commuting to laptops instead of offices suggests that cafes are going to have a major growth spurt in the near future. The question, however, is whether fruit turnovers, lattes and free wi-fi will be enough to 



Rest in Peace - Dave Vasarhelyi

  I don't know how long this site will be archived.  I became involved with REALNEO out of concern for local memory and because of Ed Hauser, who I met through West Creek and through his involvement in preserving significant green space.  I tend to hitch my passion to crazy folks who lead,  like Ed  (and you guys- Norm Roulet and Lennie Stover).

Dave Vasarhelyi was a leader.

Dave and Ed were so alike - so self-effacing - and SMOKERS.  Why did they have to die so young? Dave, I don't know if your smoking killed you - but I FEEL your impatience with the world and your constant stress and worry.  I am so sad, but you made such a difference in this world.  Your family has to know and be so proud of your accomplishments.  With love, Laura - your pesky, Magyar friend.

With great sadness we share the news that Dave Vasarhelyi – visionary, conservationist, and friend – died from a stroke on March 8, 2020.  Dave founded West Creek Conservancy in 1997.  He shaped and led the Conservancy through its first decade and served on its board for 15 years.  Dave’s commitment to parks and people was lifelong.  His impact on the well-being of our communities, especially in Northeast Ohio, will be indelible.

“Dave Vasarhelyi was not only a colleague but a dear friend,” says Derek Schafer, West Creek Conservancy executive director.  “From the founding of West Creek Conservancy to the protection of thousands of acres, special public treasures, his impact will live on for generations.  Dave’s legacy truly cannot be put into words and I only hope that all of us at West Creek Conservancy can live up to the tenacious aspirations he held.”

Born in Cleveland and raised in Parma, Dave become a ranger with the National Park Service at age 21.  He loved living and working in some of our greatest national parks.  At Badlands National Park, he met another love, his future wife Jennie, also a ranger.  In 1995 they returned to Ohio, both for fulltime positions at Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area.  Dave soon learned that the nameless woods and little stream from his childhood were being eyed for development.  Within two years, the threat and Dave’s response to it took shape.

In 1997 he and Jennie reached out to people interested in protecting this hidden valley.  “Here is where Dave and many of us found adventure as kids,” recalls Jeff Lennartz, West Creek Conservancy board chair.  “For kids like Dave and me, those adventures planted a seed that instilled an appreciation for nature and a love of the outdoors that changed our lives.  Every child and adult needs those opportunities that Dave worked tirelessly to provide.”

Dave dreamed big.  He was soon leading his fellow volunteers through a world of ballot initiatives and campaigns in Parma.  “We put our all into those drives,” says Lennartz, “but Dave’s efforts were truly heroic.”  The campaigns succeeded.  A city park was created called West Creek Preserve, now Cleveland Metroparks West Creek Reservation.  In 2019 it served over 150,000 visitors.

Dave also formed the vision of the West Creek Greenway to tie the new park to the Towpath Trail and improve public access to these gems.  In 2002, partnering with The Trust for Public Land and the City of Parma, he orchestrated an 11th-hour rescue of the 1849 Henninger House for a future greenway trailhead, saving the historic structure within days of impending demolition.

In 2005 Dave left the park service to join The Trust for Public Land as a senior project manager.  There he expanded his skills at building partnerships and managing critical land conservation projects throughout Ohio.  Even after stepping down from the Conservancy board in 2012, Dave remained a valued and frequent advisor to West Creek Conservancy.

For his conservation accomplishments, Dave received many accolades from city, state, and agency officials.  His ability to build the bridges needed to achieve a conservation goal were renowned.  But it is for his wisdom, humility, contagious enthusiasm, and, by far, his steadfast friendship that we valued and will miss Dave most.

Dave is survived by his wife Jennie, daughters Leah and Kayla, brothers John and Mark, and his parents Laszlo and Olga.  Funeral arrangements can be found at

Memorial Contributions made for Dave are being directly to a project that this organization and he worked on for 20 years, bringing to fruition that last large connection for the West Creek Reservation.

My memorial posted at Facebook:

Reminded about how Dave Vasarhelyi had to work with USGS to have the creek officially renamed in the nineties. I was arguing with him then that it should be Quarry Creek - and no surprise to me that Irene Toth managed to get the dispute archived and she and I would probably have butted heads on this entry - since Dave got the USGS designation before the West Creek Reservation designation. West Creek Conservancy When I was working at the Metroparks - I first became aware of the creek as we were doing the masterplan and Carol Poh Miller found reference to Glen Valley and I went out to hike it, because it was not made part of the Metroparks during Stinchcomb's time. Early Metroparks annual reports noted that the property was too valuable for acquisition at that point - early 1920s. It was farm and cattle ranches. The prettiest part was between Grantwood and Snow Rd. and I cried terribly when awful housing went in behind the library and obliterated cascades and rock outcrops in that section of the creek. I was working at the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization by then - housed at NOACA. Jim King and Ernest Kubasek were involved in Parma Historical Society and we were concerned about the Henninger House. I am going to post this at REALNEO. Jim was a local architect (retired?) living on Old Rockside Rd. He put me in touch with Dave Vasarhelyi - Henninger House was the impetus for organizing then. And, then Parma Mayor Day proposed a golf course for the West Creek (city land fill site and Crile Medical dump) - which mobilized Dave to create the organization and we all met up at Camp Corde (my first real recollection of a meeting) Jan Rybka drove me to the meeting, because we were friends from the CCPC where Chris Ronayne also worked - but by then she was at the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District and organizing tours of the different watersheds. Gabe Leidy remember hiking in the area before it was a park - remember the burned out cars and paint ball wars? You played a part in the recognition of the area as your birding skills got written up in the Sun Papers. : -)

Dave's story archived at CSU :

“Dave Vasarhelyi Interview, 17 June 2008,” Cleveland Voices, accessed March 11, 2020,

Thank you - President Trump


Great American Outdoors Act

This bill establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands.

For FY2021-FY2025, there shall be deposited into the fund an amount equal to 50% of energy development revenues credited, covered, or deposited as miscellaneous receipts from oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy development on federal lands and waters. Deposited amounts must not exceed $1.9 billion for any fiscal year.

The fund must be used for priority deferred maintenance projects in specified systems that are administered by

  • the National Park Service,
  • the Forest Service,
  • the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
  • the Bureau of Land Management, and
  • the Bureau of Indian Education.

The Government Accountability Office must report on the effect of the fund in reducing the backlog of priority deferred maintenance projects for the specified agencies.

Additionally, the bill makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. The President shall annually report to Congress specified details regarding the allocation of funds to the LWCF. Congress may provide for alternate allocations using specified procedures.


The last project Dave Vasarhelyi struggled to make happen - the conservation of Brandywine golf course in the Cuyahoga Valley (at same time - another golf course was also already being sold off to developer Petros Homes).  The stress of this deal killed him.

The former Brandywine Country Club in Peninsula is officially becoming part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

As part of the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump this summer, $3.8 million will be used to acquire the property.

The 215-acre former golf course at 5555 Akron-Peninsula Road has been closed since 2018 and was on the market for several months afterward, leading to speculation that the land might be sold for development.