Follow The Money... who decides which brownfields are cleaned?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 10/24/2007 - 20:47.

There are many big industrial sites around Cleveland I pass regularly - some are active brownfields, like the Flats, and some are abandoned. Some feature Cleveland Landbank signs and are in stages of redevelopment... the one featured here is on the West Side of Cleveland, at Bishop Road and Madison, by W. 117, and the city has clearly spent $millions clearing up this huge property of many acres.

As it is apparent so many "development" decisions in this region are made for political and corrupt freasons, and political and corrupt people are spending $millions on "landbank" and "brownfield" development around here, I am very concerned who is watching the store? Who decided this site would be cleared - who owned it and owed money on it - who paid taxes on the property or did not - who are the neighbors benefiting from this redevelopment - who will profit from the demolition, salvage and future development rights?

More important, has corruption led to wasting brownfield money on political interests rather than public interests - are the sites most dangerous to the public being addressed in priority? Any regional landbank and brownfield experts out there who can shed some light on such matters here?


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How timely... the PD responds

In today's PD is the answer... the our corrupt regional and local government officials and their bosses will use public or perhaps foundation money to fund a study to determine how our corrupt and political regional leadership can further tax the public to assemble money and land to profit corrupt political friends, as always, but now at a higher public cost and greatly accellerated pace.

That'll solve the problem.

Gee, and all the government folks really needed to do was the honest days work taxpayers already pay them to do... for managing government, providing public services, preventing corruption, enforcing laws fairly upon all, etc.

I think it is time for the public to stop accepting people being elected, appointed, stupid, overworked or union as excuses for failure in our economy... time for accountability. And, in this shrinking economy, time to fire 1,000s of government workers, and it is very important the worst go first (start with the leaders).

County commissioners have underfunded social services while wasting $millions enriching Dick Jacobs and Kennedy friends, for example, all whle dragging the best people of the city and region through the global mud, over the Breuer, with Dim-aura concluding government is an art and that the commissioners are shitty artists... and far from scientists. Hello, do we tollerate such stupidity, because that is the correct word for such BS and failures.

Our leadership rewards such evil with great wealth... it is the Cleveland way and has been since before the original Indian killers started taking their corrupt wealth and naming our local learning, arts and cultural institutons after themselves... time for real change.

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Each demolition cost US money

  A house sitting vacant does not cost US money, but tearing them down does cost US money-- $8,000-15,000 minimum--and puts money in some contractors pocket.  We are allowing politicians to destroy our cultural heritage.

There are better solutions to this county-wide problem.

And while on the topic of bulldozers--Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals are on their own crusade to destroy local landmarks along Euclid Ave... the Nurses Dormitory (1928 Georgian Revival/Coolidge, Shepley, Bullfinch, and Abbot Architects) and Thwing Center.  Steve McQuillin, please elaborate here(!?)

Great Observer at Case, for Case Main

Wow... a sign of intelligent life in University Circle. Great reflections in this editorial...

Imagine if the last many decades of our region's leaders hadn't shat in our home... we'd have one of the most beautiful historic communities in the world... Millionaires Row, and a vibrant Cambridge-like University Circle, with treasures like this...

Since this was just demolished in 1972, we can easily make a list of all the cowardly and incompetent Case board members, faculty, trustees, and major donors and other community leaders who were so stupid and unsophisticated as to let this happen - they should be publicly humiliated. So, let's make this list, FOR CASE MAIN, and then proceed to the Breuer. Knowing that in this permanent, digital, open age of communications mistakes will never be forgotten should give current leaders something to think about. Time to show them how this will work.

First, it is interesting to note the money to found what is now Case, er CWRU?!?!, came from an opportunistic land-grabber, as noted in the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History: "From 1827-55, Case was an agent for the Connecticut Land Bank, acquiring large amounts of land from debtors during the Panic of 1837." Of course, all Case land and so wealth was stolen from Native Americans shortly before then, but that is another level of social consciousness thinking few in this region are ready for right now, if ever... so,

Regarding demolishing Case Main, the CWRU site lists the timely President (now dead, so historic preservationists may only spit on his grave...) as:

Louis A. Toepfer (1970-1980)
So, who else made or let Case Main go down? Who were the architects of the region, of the time, for and against? Where were the preservationists? What were community leaders thinking?

What are they thinking when they make the same sort of short-sighted decisions today, like with the Breuer? And who should be on the Breuer Spitlist, besides Hagan, Dimora, Cleveland city and Cuyahoga planners, most of the local university and economic development "gurus", and Robert Madison?

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Case land grab of 1837 and 2007 panics

We think things have changed so much. Have they? Who knows any real facts about the "Panic of 1837" and Case "acquiring large amounts of land from debtors", being the foundation of his wealth? I picture that ignorant investors who couldn't even read contracts were coerced to get over their heads in debt to corrupt, political loansharks, who then stole back the land they sold the fools through evil agents like Case, just like is happening today, with names like Lerner (MBNA), Miller and Ratner (Forest City), Jacobs, Wolstein, Carney and Stark. Will their kids prove better than the robber-barons, like did the son of robber-baron Case, as he funded CWRU's origins with part of his inheritance.

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Spend $8,000 for Nance to sue?

For $8,000, the city could hire Fred Nance for at least an hour and he and his politicos and media circus could go after one local bank with a foreclosed property, and it would probably have more impact than anything else being done by everyone else. But then Fred Nance wouldn't do that (or would you).

If not, then are their any other lawyers in NEO with clout? How about suing some banks and landlords?!?! How about suing some cities and counties?

This is a matter of public health, safety and public nuisances, like with lead poisoning... do we need to ask for Motley Rice to help us on this one too? Are all NEO lawyers working for the man?

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What legal recourse do we have?

What legal recourse do we as citizens have to recoup monies lost to our community by the local CDC and political mismanagement?  Can we sue?

I am being told by my council rep that my CDC needs to "build capacity."  I like that line--so, Brian, how many houses need to be torn down to "build capacity" for my local CDC to pay off their $15,000 deficit? 

The local CDC (Old White Brooklyn) transfered a complex of historic buildings on a historic thoroughfare (bought by the CDC with public funds)  to a non-profit for a $1.00 (no strings attached) and awarded the non-profit with more public funds to demolish our cultural heritage for a parking lot. 

And, the commissioners now want to BUY back foreclosed properties from the banks...I am going to be sick. 

No new property to county

I got so sick over the succession of events this past year I had to step back and just think for a while... the Cig Tax for arts and culture followed by planning to demolish the Breuer, followed by the the Med Mart Tax for the Kennedys, with County commissioner Hagan and PD editors in the middle of everything. We need to shrink local and regional government, yet the county acts to bloat it, despite obvious incompetence and corruption of leadership.

Not only do I not think we should entrust any additional real estate or public funds to the County leadership, I believe we should repeal the Cig and Sales taxes recently passed, giving funds to the commissioners for arts and culture and the convention center. Two of the current leadership cannot be trusted to manage such funds and assets, as proved by their disgraceful performance relative to all aspects of the Breuer Battle, still raging. Until the dust has settled on that commissioned-disaster, all serious new plans for reorganizing significant public assets around current county leadership control should be taken off the table.

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