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Taking a Break, Passing the Baton

By Steve FitzGerald publisher

After several years of editing and publishing Roldo Bartimole commentaries at Lakewood Buzz, followed by the publication of 215 of his columns here on Read Roldo, it’s time to take a break… and to let others enjoy the privilege and responsibility of spreading Roldo’s observations and perspectives on Cleveland and Cuyahoga County politics, poverty, greed and economic development to their audiences.

To read the latest commentaries by Roldo, please visit Cleveland Leader or Cool Cleveland or Jeff Hess’ blog Have Coffee Will Write.

To read much earlier commentaries, including Roldo Bartimole’s Point of View newsletter, visit the Cleveland State University “Cleveland Memory Project” by clicking here.

Keep reading. Read Roldo.

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Knee Deep in Civic Corruption… Anyone Noticed?

June 13, 2010… So why have we wasted all the time and energy with a supposed “reformed” Cuyahoga County Government when Joe Roman and the Greater Cleveland Partnership can decide for us.

Why bother with any democracy? Who needs it.

The Plain Dealer – it its usual uncritical manner – reported last week that Joe Roman, according to the paper, “said community leaders discussed extending the sales tax increase more than a year ago as a possible way to fill gaps in medical mart funding.”

They want more bucks for downtown, of course. Another couple of hundred million dollars.

Why do we need a County chief executive? Why do we need a County Commission of 11 elected officials?

We have Joe Roman – the $451,241 a year GCP boss – to tell us what we need. How we should tax and what for.

“Roman,” said the Plain Dealer, “said the business community supports a transformation of the malls, Public Square and other areas in the central business district. He also recommends addressing the improvements before construction of the medical mart begins in October.”

Let the rest of the city rot.

Well by all means everybody, let’s get busy.

The arrogance of the Cleveland corporate community is amazing. There is no countervailing power to even hint at some balance.

I thought there might be a little more punch to the Plain Dealer editorial posture once Brent Larkin left and Betsy Sullivan took over. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

I guess the PD only deals with certain kinds of corruption. Certainly it doesn’t bother ever with civic corruption. Not even a whisper. It’s rampant in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County but it never riles the PD top honchos. Never seems to cross their minds.

Go get those pikers – Jimmy, Frankie and Gerry.

Mayor Frank Jackson – now Mayor Go Along – has appointed a committee (what a novel idea) to, I guess, try to improve on the 100 year old historic Daniel Burnham Cleveland Group Plan as part of the Joe Roman & the Corporates’ latest desires. Is there no one to scream, “NO. PLEASE, NO.”

Cleveland Planning Chairman Tony Coyne has been named to head up this committee.

Is this a joke? It must be. Tony Coyne hasn’t done one spirited or even near courageous thing in the 20 years he’s been on the City Plan Commission. He’s a dud. I guess then he’s perfect for the job then. Poor Mr. Burnham. Hacks to hack away at his work 100 years later.

They all also keep talking about the $425 million Medical Mart & Convention Center.

However, we know that the 20 year tax will bring in at least $40 million a year and that doesn’t equal $425 million. It equals at least $800 million – without possible overrun costs.

Let’s be honest a little honest about the cost. Interest is a cost as much as principal when you construct. And somehow it has to be paid. All with taxes.

Now, if you’re going to put, as they seem to suggest, big fancy stuff atop the underground convention center on the historic Malls it will mean you’ll need extra strength for the convention center ceilings. I just speculate that.

I suggest this will be the way MMPI will get out of the supposed deal it has with the county to absorb overruns. How can you hold them to the deal if you change the deal? Drastically.

To add insult to injury, Joe Roman and the Corporates – also eager for the $350 million Opportunity Corridor to University Circle – will be pushing Terry Hamilton Brown for the County chief executive spot. She’s their front for the short, expensive road to the Clinic. Opportunity Corridor has been pushed by the usual funding sources – the Gund and Cleveland Foundations. They gave $100,000 each.

But once again we see the powers that be – foundations and their corporate interests – wanting all public resources going to their agenda. Downtown and University Circle. The rest of the city, ah well, it can struggle on.

And our major source of information. Well, the Pd publisher Terry Egger sits on the Clinic Board and co-chair of the Opportunity Corridor. All aboard? Of course.

It’s business as usual. The road leads only one way. Down, folks.

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