Environment

U.S. EPA Wants to Fine Midwest Landlord $$$$ Over Lead Paint

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 12/30/2006 - 14:38.

In a link on Brewed Fresh Daily today (which has really stepped up to create awareness about lead poisoning in our region), I found an interesting article on former Plain Dealer Cincinnati Reporter Bill Sloat's blog "The Daily Bellweather" titled "U.S. EPA Wants to Fine Midwest Landlord $$$$ Over Lead Paint", which illustrates one of the important steps essential to the eradication of lead poisoning in our region - ENFORCEMENT. In "The Daily Bellweather" report, regarding the EPA, we see "Earlier this month, the agency's Midwestern regional office moved to slap a $52,724 penalty on a landlord for failing to warn tenants and buyers that homes and apartments may contain health hazards from lead-based paint."

Canton joins East Cleveland, Toledo, Lancaster, Columbus and Cincinnati suing paint industry over lead paint...

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 12/28/2006 - 21:51.

Thank you again, Ohio Republican legislature, for bringing a second city into litigation against Sherwin-Williams and the paint industry in a single day, December 27, 2006, as Canton has joined Cincinnati demanding that those who created the public nuisance of lead poisoning now clean up their mess, that has harmed 1,000s in these communities. From the Canton Repository: "In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Stark County Common Pleas Court, the city says the paint industry knew lead was toxic as early as 1900 but continued to add the metal to paint and even promoted the product as having health benefits. The city wants the companies to pay for the removal of lead paint and for public education about its dangers, as well as reimbursement for money the city has spent dealing with lead-related hazards."

Cincinnati also to litigate against lead poison public nuisance - and their Enquirer puts PD to shame in covering issue

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 12/28/2006 - 16:18.

 Cincinnati Enquirer Lead Inspection Graphic

If we have anything to thank Ohio Republican legislators for, and especially Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican,  it is that their cloak-of-night passage of Substitute Senate Bill 117, which seeks to outlaw cities suing polluters for public nuisances they cause, and legislate-away other consumer rights for Ohioans, has driven our state capital of Columbus and now huge Ohio city Cincinnati to storm their courthouses to sue Sherwin-Williams and other paint companies over the public nuisance of lead poisoning in their communities, which is a legal position proved valid in the courts of the State of Rhode Island. In Columbus, the Mayor has said it was the action of these Republicans that forced them to sue. Of course, Ohioans' greatest appreciation goes to Mayor Brewer, of East Cleveland, who was the man who brought such public nuisance lead litigation to Ohio to protect his residents, the most effected by lead poisoning in the state, and so he is protecting all citizens of Ohio.

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Sheryl Harris gives holiday gift to keep giving until 2008

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 12/26/2006 - 15:03.

On Sunday, December 24, 2006, Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Sheryl Harris wrote a column I thought to write myself, titled "My holiday gift to you: A list of Ohio politicians who sold you out", "a list of the Northeast Ohio legislators who voted to curtail your consumer rights" by passing lobbyist, lawyer and industry-benefiting Amended Substitute Senate Bill Number 117, allowing significant corporate entitlements to soar through the Ohio legislature without community debate. The amendments are most significantly designed "to prohibit the use of enterprise theories of liability against manufacturers in product liability claims, and to include public nuisance claims under the definition of product liability claims", meaning to protect the paint industry here from liability for the public nuisance they have caused by selling lead based paint nearly a century after it was known to harm humans, as proved in their loss to the State of Rhode Island earlier this year. The amendments also protect car dealers, scam loan sharks, manufacturers, etc. from real accountability for harming the public. The legislators who are guilty of this abuse of their offices were listed in the PD article with the suggestion that is "a keepsake you could clip and save." Local blogger Jill Miller Zimon repeated the list on her excellent blog, "Writes like she talks", and I repeat it here, so it may be as present in cyberspace and available to the world as possible. We will need this list over the next many years, until all of these anti-Ohioan men and women are driven from public "service", as they have shown they do not protect public interests. By having this information in as many public places as possible, I hope we the people will be more successful protecting the public than has our legislature under current rule. The list of sell outs and further harms they cause the public is as follows, from Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Sheryl Harris:

Radiating from The Star, transformational redevelopment is coming soon to Cleveland and East Cleveland

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 12/26/2006 - 01:42.

 Star Complex East Cleveland Half Mile Radius and Zones

Since late June, 2006, a growing team of innovative community leaders has been working together with Lamond Williams, the owner of Hot Sauce Williams BBQ, and East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer and Community Development Director Tim Goler, and government leadership in Cleveland, to determine how best to redevelop the historic Hough Bakery Complex, formerly the Star Bakery, which Lamond also owns. The objective is to use that redevelopment as a catalyst for transformation of the neighborhoods surrounding that significant property, located on Lakeview, partially in both Cleveland and East Cleveland. On the map above, the Star Complex is in magenta, and the green circle marks a 1/2 mile radius surrounding that - the other colored areas are key neighborhoods and assets within that radius.

Did you know Columbus joined East Cleveland, Toledo and Lancaster suing Sherwin-Williams?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/18/2006 - 04:09.

One might think when the capital of our state sues one of the biggest companies in our state, Sherwin-Williams, which is based in the Plain Dealer's home town of Cleveland, and is defended by one of the world's most powerful law firms, also based in our hometown, seeking over $1 billion, that story would rank a few real column inches in the local paper... perhaps hit Section One, or Metro. Not in the Sherwin-Williams Plain Dealer...

Ed Hauser's Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Public Records Request - one man for the citizens

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/18/2006 - 01:25.

 There is lots of major news related to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and their plans for the region, these days.

A story where individuals are making differences, for good and bad: The Historic Coast Guard Station

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 12/17/2006 - 17:30.

 

I met a few days ago with Ed Hauser - the "Citizen Hauser" who single-handedly saved Whiskey Island for the public - to see what he's been up to for the past few months. In brief, besides helping save Northeast Ohio from ODOT and their foolish pursuit of their ill-conceived Innerbelt Bridge and Trench plans, and continuing to single-handedly challenge the Port Authority's ongoing attempts to destroy Whiskey Island, Ed is taking next steps in his one man, multi-year battle to save the remarkable National Historic Landmark Coast Guard Station, at the tip of Whiskey Island, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga, designed by J. Milton Dyer, also architect of Cleveland City Hall. Ed mentioned to me he in the process of pressuring the city of Cleveland Law Director Robert Triozzi to seek a court order to force the city to comply with its own landmarks-preservation law, which requires owners of city landmarks to keep the properties secure and water tight, and, if the city fails to act responsibly and lawfully, Ed intends to file a citizens lawsuit against the city. Today, the Plain Dealer picked up the scent of the story, and shared some of the sad commentary of some of those related to the sorry state of this landmark, and the declining historic integrity of this city.

Premiere community screening of "Cleveland: Confronting Decline in an American City"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/11/2006 - 10:43.
12/11/2006 - 18:00
12/11/2006 - 20:45
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The premiere community screening of Cleveland: Confronting Decline in an American City, the latest documentary in the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s “Making Sense of Place” film series. This event is in conjunction with University Circle Inc., Cleveland Homebuilders Association and Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition.

Location

Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Drive University Circle
Cleveland, OH
United States

Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Wood

Submitted by Zebra Mussel on Fri, 12/08/2006 - 22:57.

I saw some Forestry Stewardship Certified (FSC) timber products at Home Depot.  2 years ago they pledged to sell 40% FSC certified timber products.  Last year 60%.  The word on the street is that there is not even enough supply on the street yo.

Plain Dealer goes on personal attack against Mayor of East Cleveland, source of lead litigation in Ohio

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/04/2006 - 13:04.

Nothing like seeing a good old lynching by newspaper editor to make people "Believe in Cleveland" and Northeast Ohio. In an editorial today from the power-brokering "We" of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the "editors" make a move everyone in the know has expected from them since September 29th, 2006, when the City of East Cleveland sued "dear friend" of the Plain Dealer Sherwin Williams for making East Cleveland "perhaps Ohio's most troubled city" by creating a public nuisance and economic and health crisis by selling lead-based paint long after it was well known and proved to cause permanent physical harm to humans. In a strong retaliation against the mayor who brought lead litigation to the State of Ohio, Eric Brewer, the Plain Dealer is creating dubious scuttlebutt about a situation in which the editors acknowledge "We don't know where the truth lies." To the Plain Dealer editors, this is personal... from their editorial: "as we've stated repeatedly, we do know Brewer can be rash, reckless and extraordinarily vindictive." The logical observation is that one of the world's most powerful and troubled companies, Sherwin Williams, and one of the world's most vicious law firms, Jones Day, (which have sued East Cleveland for suing Sherwin Williams) have partnered with the region's most powerful media outlet, to which Sherwin Williams certainly pays $ millions for advertising, and they are all attacking the mayor of East Cleveland in as "rash, reckless and extraordinarily vindictive" ways as they may. Is it the duty of a newspaper to focus on facts, and allow due process, even when the publishers fear that bites the hands that feed them? No, the only purpose of a newspaper is to make the owners money. Read the opinion of the editors of the Plain Dealer here and imagine being the PD's next victim, if you ever hurt their feelings or threaten their bottom line:

Study: Sewage Threatening Great Lakes

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/29/2006 - 11:22.

Bill MacDermott forwarded to me the following insight on a problem most of us are aware of, but which must stay ever-present in our minds: "We need to change our ways and stop treating the Great Lakes like a toilet,"... this is a multi-billion-dollar issue we as a region must address.

TORONTO (AP) - The untreated urban sewage and effluents that flow into the Great Lakes each year are threatening a critical ecosystem that supplies water to millions of people, according to a study by a Canadian environmental group.

Even though municipalities in the Great Lakes region have spent vast sums of money in recent decades upgrading their wastewater plants, the situation remains appalling, said the Sierra Legal Defense Fund.

Nanotech products harm the environment!?!

Submitted by Zebra Mussel on Thu, 11/23/2006 - 14:21.

In a striking change of direction the USEPA has decided to regulate an ever growing part of consumer culture....  pesticides built into our products.

As you may have noticed you can get just about anything these days in "antibacterial" form.  Windex, socks, deodorant, zebart tidycar antibacterial car wash, hell even my keen sandals have "no odor footbeds" impregnated with what Ray Anderson CEO of Interface calls " Microbial Inhibitors".  Dont be fooled fellow citizens for the fancy terms used in place of the regulatoraly defined word pesticide.  That word, with all this organic food fan fair can cause negitive vibrations.... rightly so, maufacturers are shying away.

What should word of the year "Carbon Neutral" mean to NEO's future?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 18:27.

 As an excellent sign of the times, on November 13, 2006 it was announced "Carbon Neutral" is the Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year. Unlike what is typically defined here as underpinnings of sustainability, being Business as Agents of World Benefit, I see this trend toward individual social responsibility reflects the real world, being Individuals as the Agents of World Benefit, and, in fact, I believe it is only through individuals as agents that businesses act as agents of anything, and so the rising of Carbon Neutral as the word of the year is very hopeful for the future of the world... this reflects social consciousness becoming mainstream.

Tide uses their product advertising to broadcast important energy conservation concepts to the masses

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 02:00.

 

I recently caught the end of a TV ad that said "If we all washed in cold with Tide Coldwater, we would save enough electricity to light up homes in 1,000 towns". Now this is fascinating in many respects. Here we have a massive consumer products company, Procter and Gamble,  advertising their detergent in a way that promotes the product, but also raises environmental consciousness... I suppose this is an example of Business as an Agent of World Benefit, promoted by Case. While I'm sure Zebra Mussel can explain all the greenwashing of P&G and this product promotion, it is better to use advertising to raise social consciousness than not. Visiting the Tide Coldwater website, you see many other smart references to energy efficiency. This represents a new "tide" (pun intended) in social consciousness.

Panel discussion on "Sustainable, Affordable, Innovative Housing Design in Cleveland"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/20/2006 - 19:56.
12/06/2006 - 17:00
12/06/2006 - 19:00
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As part of the "Home House Project," the Cleveland Institute of Art will host a panel discussion on "Sustainable, Affordable, Innovative Housing Design in Cleveland." Participants will include Cleveland City Planning Director Robert Brown; developer Nathan Zaremba; Columbus architects Beth Blostein and Bart Overly; and Jeffrey Bowen, director of the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity.

Location

Cleveland Institute of Art
11141 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH
United States

Now this is progress: Green Affordable Housing showing at CIA

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/20/2006 - 18:01.

 

Cleveland Institute of Art Reinberger Gallery Director Bruce Checefsky has a deep personal interest in green affordable housing, so I was not surprised to learn the CIA was hosting an exhibition on the subject. Still, when I had the pleasure to preview the show "The Home House Project", I was overwhelmed by the breadth and originality of the content. This is an innovative exhibition on innovation in planning, design, construction and architecture, which is timely and opportune to help this community move from generally bland, resource depleting sprawl to intelligent community redevelopment for an age of global conservation, smart planning, urban renewal and economic transformation. This show is all about visioning our new economy at its foundations, literally, as it explores 100s of concepts for building "green" affordable housing... the anti-McMansion show came to town, and it is fascinating.

East Cleveland not being intimidated by Sherwin-Williams

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 11/18/2006 - 15:50.

I was very pleased to be joined by the new Director of Development for East Cleveland, Tim Goler, last Monday, November 13, 2006, at the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (GCLAC) Steering Committee meeting. Tim has an undergraduate degree in early child development, and has taught kindergarten and 4th grade, and he has a master's degree in urban planning from Cleveland State University, and has been active in that field, nationwide, including working in environmentalism in NEO. So, he is an excellent addition to the team in East Cleveland, and to the war against lead poisoning in our region. Short story, he has assured me East Cleveland is not intimidated by Sherwin-Williams suing them for suing the paint industry over the public nuisance of lead poisoning in that community, nor efforts of State Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, who hopes to tweak previously passed legislation that would prevent cities or anybody else from using the state’s public nuisance law to sue the lead pigment manufacturers - Tim Goler is in step with East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer and their law department in pursuing due process and justice and they will drive an aggressive battle against lead poisoning in this region.

Targeted Grants to Reduce Childhood Lead Poisoning, Request for Proposals for FY 2006

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 11/16/2006 - 22:58.

EPA is soliciting grant proposals from eligible entities to conduct activities to reduce incidences of childhood lead poisoning in vulnerable populations, including projects to: (1) Reduce lead poisoning in areas with high incidences of elevated blood-lead levels; (2) identify and reduce lead poisoning in under-studied areas with high potential for undocumented elevated blood-lead levels; and (3) develop tools to address unique and challenging issues in lead  poisoning prevention, especially tools that are replicable and scalable for other areas. Activities eligible for funding include outreach and public education, data gathering, monitoring, training, inspections and assessments, and demonstrations of new and innovative approaches for identifying or reducing lead poisoning. EPA is awarding grants which
will total approximately $3,000,000. The Agency anticipates awarding individual grants of $25,000 to $100,000.
http://epa.gov/lead/pubs/nofa2006.pdf
The closing date for applicants to submit proposals under this announcement is January 12, 2007.

Sherwin-Williams Plain Dealer posts latest in the war to save 1,000s of NEO youth from lead poisoning each year

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 11/16/2006 - 01:21.

In an article that makes one wonder whether the mayor of Akron is perhape lead poisoned, the Cleveland Plain Dealer today gleefully reports " The City of Akron has dropped its lawsuit against Sherwin-Williams Co. (NYSE: SHW) and other former manufacturers of lead pigment, but it’s not saying exactly why"  and "Motley Rice partner Jack McConnell said it’s his understanding that (Akron Mayor) Plusquellic wanted the suit dismissed for the time being, but that when the outside lawyers working with the city wanted to meet with the mayor to discuss his intention he refused." I'll point out that in the term of this mayor it is safe to say more people in his domain have been lead poisoned than died in 9/11, and than the Americans who have died in Iraq, and if it is not the fault of Sherwin-Williams it is Mayor Plusquellic's fault, and he should be subject to litigation. He has been mayor for five terms and, as Wikipedia reports: "He is widely praised and criticized by both sides of the aisle--and some affiliated with neither Parties. In 2006, it was announced by an independent watchdog group that the city was 1.1 billion USD in debt, more per capita then any other city of its size in Ohio. The public school system has suffered due to a very strong tax abatement structure Plusquellic employed to bring new development to downtown Akron. Some complain that the City does not run like a municipal body but a business, complete with press releases and news conferences." More to follow on this shift of responsibility for lead poisoning to the Mayor of Akron.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has a green home

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 01:32.

I just caught Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the Kimmel Show and Jimmy mentioned to Julia that he heard she has a solar home, and she expanded to say it has solar power, heat and hot water, recycled fiber carpet, renewable wood, etc... also drives an electric car. Imagine if those in the media in NEO bothered to be socially conscious like this, and the media here promoted that. Imagine if the newscasters here bothered to live green. Louis-Dreyfus is politically active and otherwise socially conscious, yet seems very unassuming. Good for her - step up NEO media leaders... get green and then feel free to brag about it!

Fascinating alternative energy entrepreneur in Toronto: founder of Beach Solar Laundromat

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 15:13.

 

Dozens of best practices to be learned in this posting... From the North Coast of Lake Ontario comes the following story of an entrepreneur for sustainability in Toronto who has found “There is no longer a paradigm conflict, Renewable energy doesn’t have to cost more”. This entrepreneur, Alex Winch, found his strategy for retrofitting a run-down Laundromat to solar has paid off... "He’s kept prices low—lower than his competition—while tripling revenues and charting an annual 10% rate of return on investment." I'm exploring working with Alex and Toronto-based glass and neon artist Alfred Engerer to use solar and perhaps wind to generate the electricity for a major off-the-grid, hand blown neon installation in Toronto, while, in the big picture, Mondial is looking to go public. As you'll read below, "Alex Winch puts his money where his mouth is and, these days, he laughs all the way to the bank." For all the attention leadership of this community puts on renewable energy, what do we really have to show in the community. Perhaps a NEO Solar Laundromat would be the best next step.

E-Mail from Barack Obama

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 10/26/2006 - 22:12.

Last week, my lifelong Republican now Democratic parents told me there is a promising candidate for President in 2008. Barack Obama. They are entusiastic, and even gave me a Time Magazine about Barack. I hadn't had a chance to think too much about this until today, when I got an email from Barack encouraging my support for the Democratic ticket this year. So I went to his website, and saw something very positive about the man... "Since coming to Washington, Senator Obama has made the elimination of childhood lead poisoning one of his top priorities." Add to that, "Senator Obama has been a strong supporter of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration and is a cosponsor of the Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act (S. 508)" "He is a cosponsor of the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (S. 1151)"... etc.

Happy 2nd B-Day, REALNEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 10/26/2006 - 01:22.

Two weeks ago saw the second birthday of REALNEO. I started REALNEO in October, 2004, to provide “Regional Economic Action Links for North East Ohio” and implement for the region some exciting open source social networking technology. While the outcomes have not been entirely what I expected, and these years have in ways been rough, I've been thrilled to help drive and support some great developments in the community.