Submitted by jerleen1 on Fri, 08/19/2011 - 11:28.

With TWDC's second largest funder, Neighborhood Progress, Inc., President/CEO topping the agenda for last night's (Aug. 18, 2011) regularly scheduled meeting, there was no quorum.  Out of the fifteen elected Board members, only six showed up for this all important get-to-gather.  Two ex-officios did attend as well.

Even though TWDC Board President Chris Alvarado could not call the meeting to order and no official business could be conducted, he did go forward and turn the floor over to NPI President/CEO Joel Ratner.  Ratner took the lead by expressing his views, recommendations and suggestions on CDC Board system governance, policies and procedures.

During the discussions, one subject led to another and Ex-Officio Board member Georgiann Franko shared some of her experiences and conversations with other residents living in her neighborhood.  She provided some insight as to why and how other area residents have negative feelings for TWDC.  Georgiann brought up the issue of certain residents being referred to as "stupid hillbillys."  I confirmed her statement since it was my knowledge that some TWDC board members have referred to people, including myself, as "stupid hillbillys."

I also took the opportunity of this "non-board" meeting to join in with comments and questions.  Since they were discussing how to entice more residents in to participate in the organization's goin's-on, after raising my hand and being acknowledged by President Alvarado, I chimed in.

My examples covered the "silent" squeeze out of long-time residents as well as the poor and poverty stricken.  I went further to explain how the board (currently made up of six lawyers and a judge) could be and was intimidating to many of the every-day lay-people.  That most of the old-timers had spent their life working in the steel mills or factories and often got lost in trying to understand the "legal-ees" during discussions.

When the "non-meeting" adjourned, everyone made their way out onto the sidewalk and as so-longs were passing about, TWDC's Board President actually made my case for me.  He gave me a royal dressing down about my gaul for speaking freely.  Basically gave me a strapping for daring to say that "the board" was intimidating - even though other heads were nodding in agreement at the time.

About two seconds into this admonishment, it crossed my mind that somewhere in the Constitution of the United States it states that I and others were afforded the liberty of freedom of speech.  What I found more astounding was that he had nothing to say about being nine (9) board members short on the evening that President/CEO Joel Ratner took the time to attend for this so-called all important meeting.  One (1) additional board member did arrive more than an hour late and left in a huff before the "non-meeting" was over.

Board Member Tim Jenkins who was present during my brow-beating, later stated that TWDC does do good things for others but nobody hears about it since they (TWDC) doesn't brag.

That and two dollars might buy you a phone call.

My way of seeing it is that, if our Nation's leaders can go head-to-head, balk and play tug-o-war over our country's debt deficit, surely, American Citizens living in little-ole Tremont have the right to speak out.  Typically, just another case of "if you don't go along to get along------you don't belong."


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Anybody want to help me get this on the front page?


The damn hillbillies

Nothing like a stupid hillbilly to screw up everything.   I think a bunch of us hillbillies should get together and attend their next meeting.    

Jerleen, break out the moonshine!    Guy, put your overalls on.    Dianna and DW, dig out your best country hats.   I will put my teeth in for the special occassion so I can chew out those idiots.

I wonder how they refer to the black people in Tremont that they also dislike?   I think referring to a certain class of people as 'stupid hillbillies' has the same effect as calling blacks 'niggers'.  And I have heard from several people that many of those at TWDC do refer to blacks as niggers.   It is called discrimination.  I think members of Tremont West Development Corporation are long overdue for some diversity training.

 Time for a good old fashioned hootenanny.

 The Tremont Hillbillies







Jeff Buster decides on the home page

Jeff Buster decides on the home page; since there is a lot of copy and paste on the home page, I am sure that your original post will make it there when he gets around to it.

Good post, BTW. When are these folks to learn?


Thanks, I once learned how

Thanks, I once learned how to post on the front page but somehow I can't do it anymore. 

There is so much more to the events of that evening.

Since most everybody that sits on that board wants something, it crossed my inquisitive mind as to just what was the board president after?  Maybe he's getting in line for the TWDC Executive Director's position, or, perhaps he's inching up to NPI in search of a job.

Although we did not get a definitive answer, it really sounded like Ratner was, in a nice roundabout way, saying that either TWDC get the organizations by-laws changed to suit their (NPI's) system of goverance or the funding stream just might dry up. 

In essence, NPI is actually TWDC's largest funder - in line with the City of Cleveland. 

It was almost comical - at one point Henry Senyak, TWDC's First Vice President, in a discussion with Mr. Ratner, referred to NPI as "the boggie man."

I also used the Low-ball LJ Minor property acquisition offers that were sent out to the resident homeowners living on West 19th as an example of the type of "insult to injury" many residents experience.  I told him (Ratner) that the so-called "fair market value plus ten percent" wouldn't even make a down payent on the up-scale homes being built in Tremont should they (homeowners) want to stay in that area.

The comments made by board member Tim Jenkins totally blew me away.  He said that he had driven around the properties in question and $23,000 or $40,000 looked like a good price.  $23,000 was the lowest offer and $40,000 was the highest.  Apparently, he hasn't moved in 25 years.  There are many residents living in rental properties on that block and relocating can be a stressful, mindblowing and highly expensive venture, especially if you don't have funds to do it with. 

I can tell you that from the one "non-meeting," I became disgusted enough to make a decision that I've been thinking about for some time.  While I cannot comment on that decision just yet - but in a few days.






God Bless You, Jerleen for being subjected such TWDC Actions...

Even some houses being sold at 'SHERIFF'S SALE OVER THE LAST YEAR IN TREMONT" have gotten over $75k for "dumps"... You are right; that is an "INSULT!" 



Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"

As far as my part, no damage

As far as my part, no damage done.  This type of crap rolls off my back like water off a duck's back and I'm used to it.

My question is, how many of the nine missing board members were excused?  I don't think there have been that many empty board chairs in three or four years.  Just for my own need to know, I started going back through the Board Minutes as far back as 2006 today just to see when the last time this happened. 

I do believe that on Thursday board member (Judge) Lynn Murray was at her fundraiser at PJ McIntire's around Kamms Corner.  One member was on her honeymoon - where the other seven were is anybody's guess.

I don't know about anybody else but, from where I'm sittin,'  it seems to me that some of those holding board seats have mega conflicts of interest.

Being that TWDC has a lot going on and sitting on the board is a very time consuming position, I do wonder how some of them pull it off?  Reasonable minds have to wonder how much time these board members put in conducting TWDC business while clocked in on the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County's timecard?  Maybe this is one of those situations where a big hat, sunglasses, dark sedan with tinted windows and a video camera would come in handy.








Jerleen, you raise some good questions

Jerleen, you raise some good questions about conducting the development corporation business while on the publicly funded clock. A lot of large for profit businesses allow some time to certain employees to volunteer their services on the clock to non-profits. However, the City of Cleveland and the various departments of the Cuyahoga County government have designated people assigned to work with non-profits, and this does not extend to employees who sit on boards or committee of CDC's. If Board members who work for the City or the County are conducting TWDC related business while on the clock, they need to be outed. 

Since they live or work, or have a business interest in Tremont, the Board members need to conduct TWDC business on their own time, not on your, or my, tax paid time.

I have a large hat and wrap arounds if you need to use them.

Thank you DW.  I will keep

Thank you DW.  I will keep that in mind.

Kill the *itch

Jerleen--It's almost a badge of honor to be submitted to this treatment at a public meeting.  I was told that it's actually described in urban planning classes at CSU--a strategy described as Kill the Witch...


The non-meeting itself went

The non-meeting itself went off very well.  It was orderly, no one got out of line or spoke out of turn, however, you could feel the tension bouncing off of several people.  You could almost hear the teeth clinching, including Joel Ratner.  It was after the non-meeting adjourned that President Alvarado found it plyable to dress me down. 

Even though conducted in a civilization manner, the underlining snide remarks coming from some of the board members let you know they would rather you close your trap.



Cleveland Hillbillies come in ALL COLORS...

But "DISCRIMINATION" is matter how you slice it or dice it.


I recall my family earning the nickname "Cleveland Hillbillies" on the way to Phoenix, Arizona in 1986 when a truck being towed behind our UHAUL blew a tire down to the rim and it looked like the fourth of July on the highway til we got pulled over to repair it! 

I remember walking down the street with my "GHETTO BLASTER (boombox radio) when I was maybe 8-9 years old playin' loud HILLBILLY MUSIC while the other kids played "BREAKDANCE MUSIC AT THE CORNER!"

Heck, I even waited two extra hours in the front row when  I was a very young child to see "NO SHOW, GEORGE JONES" arrive at Ponderosa Park with my grandparents!  

One thing's for sure.... being a hillbilly aint never been something to be ashamed of in my lifetime!!!! 


Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"


NPI is also failing us by funding corrupt organizations that violate the demographically disadvantaged.


They deserve to be shut down for masterminding steering millions in grant funding to unethical organizations that violate citizens regularly.

Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"

Get the Hammer Mama...There's a Fly on Brother's Head!


Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"

TWDC leadership snobs snub their "QUOTAS"

ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzZZZZZ... none of this matters....TWDC will continue business as usual because they are not held accountable and despite their bad behavior; they still get FUNDED BY THE COUNCILMAN, JOE CIMPERMAN....and others... with YOUR FEDERAL CDBG Funds....

Hey citizens, you have a right to speak up about smug leadership and public servants that act abusively.... They don't have a right to violate others.


Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"

How many members of TWDC are BLACK?

What are the membership demographics of TWDC? 

Always Appreciative, "ANGELnWard14"

NPI Collaboration...Greenspace in Tremont

NPI Collaborate to build Greenspace in Tremont and toots this info: 

Neighborhood Park Programming

I. Herman Park
In order to have a truly functioning, appealing neighborhood you must have quality parks that encourage community growth and active involvement. Pivotal to the true engagement of a community is park programming - and Herman Park, located in Cleveland's Detroit Shoreway exemplifies this notion. Without proper programming Herman Park exists only as an underutilized park and not as a healthy neighborhood-gathering place. However, through the implementation of free, quality, family-oriented events, Herman Park thrives with foot traffic and energy.

In collaboration with the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Corporation, a neighborhood teen liaison, and the North Shore Neighbors community block club, ParkWorks has, since 2003, facilitated a summertime itinerary rich with activity. In an attempt to attract an array of citizens, ParkWorks very consciously incorporates events that speak to all age groups and peoples. This strategy has proven to captivate the diversity of the neighborhood, bringing together a true cross-section of the community. Highlighted events from the 2006 summer lineup include: bi-weekly art instruction, an outdoor movie, ice cream social and visiting Motown band.

In an attempt to enhance its relationship and knowledge of the community, each summer ParkWorks selects an invested neighborhood teen to represent her community, providing input and leadership in the planning, promotion and production of summertime park activities. In return for her assistance, the liaison receives a monetary stipend, vocational experience, leadership and interpersonal development as well as a sound skill set and appreciation for park advocacy and stewardship.

By offering frequent park activities, ParkWorks fosters the development of Herman Park as a social gathering space for the community. With activities that engage residents in the appreciation of their park, residents are more likely to lend a hand in keeping the park clean, safe and used. Through ongoing programming, ParkWorks hopes to instill that Herman and other such parks are actively used as a way to build community while encouraging artistic, social and physical activity. Our intent is for communities to encourage park-goers to utilize each park regardless if there are organized activities scheduled to take place. ParkWorks wants residents to recognize that their parks offer a wide variety of free amenities such as, picnic tables, ball fields and basketball hoops in which can provide enjoyment for family members throughout the year.

II. Lincoln Park
Programming in Tremont's Lincoln Park further exemplifies the value of community park events. Now in it's 5th year, the cornerstone to Lincoln's programming is the Arts in August series. A collaboration between Tremont West Development Corporation, City Councilman Joe Cimperman and ParkWorks, this performance series involves live theatre, dance and musical performance in Tremont's Lincoln Park each weekend in August and into September. The concept of Arts in August rose out of the return of the Ohio Ballet to the Tremont neighborhood. With a captive audience within the neighborhood and the ability to promote events to those living outside the neighborhood, it was felt that due to the Ballet's presence, the month of August should be dedicated to the arts. The mission of the program has always been to expose the people of Tremont, greater Cleveland and Northeast Ohio to the beauty and positive influence of the arts and to provide this exposure free of cost. The audience ranges from families to young couples; low income to high income representing the diversity of demographics from all around Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.

In 2005, the series included performances by Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland Shakespeare Festival and the Ohio Ballet. We estimated over 5,000 people took part in Arts in August, with the largest audiences participating in a signature event - the Ohio Ballet Summer Festival. Summer Festival is a free, fun, casual, and family-oriented way to experience professional ballet. It includes the Ohio Ballet company of dancers, theater-quality staging, sound, lighting, and costuming. Audiences of all ages are encouraged to bring picnics, blankets or lawn chairs and enjoy a magical evening under the stars. Turned Out Tikes- an interactive training session opened up the magic of dance to small children by teaching them basic ballet moves-is also part of the Summer Festival. Often, this performance series is an inauguration to professional ballet for both our young and adult audiences. In 2005, the Arts in August program was the only Cleveland performance in the Ohio Ballet Summer Festival Series.

The consistency of quality arts and cultural events in Lincoln Park has enhanced and brightened the lives of those engaged. ParkWorks is committed to developing healthy, vibrant neighborhood parks that serve as an important component of urban life. With the Arts in August series as a catalyst, Lincoln Park has developed into a prime example of this commitment. With a growing audience over the last four years, this series has brought vibrancy and fostered community not only within Tremont, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. Lincoln Park has become a highly identifiable greenspace throughout Cleveland and the suburbs due to this exposure. It is in this way that performance series such as the Arts in August Series not only offer exposure to the arts for a whole new audience but also enhance the quality of life and competitiveness of Cleveland's urban communities.

III. Clark Field

Neighborhood Branding by NPI includes this outline: 

From the very beginning, Tremont West Development Corporation (TWDC) and the Tremont

residents have asserted that welcoming visitors and residents to the neighborhood is a main

objective. To this end, ParkWorks has assisted TWDC and local residents in establishing a

priority list of sites and thoughtful and easily maintained design schematics that accentuate the

character and brand of the neighborhood through community gateways.

“ParkWorks projects and programming bring added vitality to the Tremont neighborhood.

Over the years, working with ParkWorks, Tremont West has been able to enhance long

neighborhood centers and breathe new life into underutilized Greenspace.”



Chris Garland, Tremont West Development Corporationth and Starkweather and the eagerly anticipated Transit Waiting Environment at Lincolnth

Street, above the Steelyard Commons site – a captivating lotus flower and crown of the

neighborhood’s south end. Current and future gateways not only welcome people to Tremont,

but create a sense of community for all of Tremont and begin the process of rejoining the

corners of a neighborhood divided by a major highway.


The Taste Of Tremont brings in a mean income of $95,000.00 year for TWDC...

TWDC also cites that the average median income of Tremont is only $24, 086 with a special note that many older residents live on fixed incomes of $15,000 or less... but many newer residents average $50-70k and up! 







ParkWorks has worked with Tremont West Development Corporation (TWDC) and landscape

architect McKnight & Associates to establish designs for gateways at Scranton Road and Wade,

West 7

Park. These succeed the newly built Quigley Road Turnaround at the terminus of West 14


Good Evening All,
Effective immediately, I will no longer be actively participating in TWDC Commities, Central Tremont Block Club, etc., on a personal level.    As a means of removing any conflict of interest,  further attendance, interest (questions, research) and/or affiliation with the aforementioned community organizations/groups will be as a Plain Press Reporter.
This includes any and all public meetings (City of Cleveland/Neighborhoods) as well as the Board of Zoning Appeals.
I will, however, as a resident, retain my voting privileges as a member of the Tremont West Development Corp.
Thank you.
Jerleen Justus
Plain Press Reporter

cc:  Kristen Trolio, Interim Director TWDC, Chris Alvarado, TWDC Board President,  Henry Senyak, TWDC Board Member-First Vice President/Chair TWDC ED Committee, Yvonne Bruce, TWDC Board Member/Co-Chair TWDC Safety Committee,  Ward 3 Councilman Joe Cimperman, Ward 14 Councilman Brian J. Cummins, Central Tremont Block Club Co-Chairs Jason Beudert and John Corral.