ROLDO: Joe Cimperman & the Lies Some Pols Tell

By Roldo Bartimole

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how inventive politicians can be to support the unsupportable.

Long-time Councilman Joe Cimperman’s quote in the Plain Dealer supporting bridges over streets that debase historic buildings downtown is a model of deceit. Then Joe always was putty in the hands of downtown developers. Joe is so self-serving. Don’t think he can even recognize it anymore. Sad.

Here’s what the PD says Cimperman said about two over-the-street bridges that would connect downtown structures:

“We are talking about projects that yield jobs.” And, “Historic preservation, at its heart, is still about economic development.”

No and no.

In fact, bridges could mean fewer jobs as suburbanites drive into downtown Cleveland, visit their destination and NEVER step foot on the streets of Cleveland. They are spared the contamination of walking the city’s streets. Thanks Joe.

Secondly, historic preservation is about preserving our history not making room for some profit-making venture. Must everything in life require a profit? It seems so with these people.

Cimperman – to help his business friends – will be inventive and creative, even if unreasonable. After all, they are his contributors.

Joe has spent so much time and effort serving downtown interests that he no longer remembers why he first ran for City Council. The long-ago youth of idealism and compassion. It so quickly disappeared. It so decisively vanished.

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County Casino Cash Misdirected

The County Council recently caved to County Executive Ed FitzGerald’s desire to satisfy downtown interests by directing its casino revenue for the first two years to the downtown area.

It’s as if the rest of the city doesn’t exist. Though it is overflowing with poverty and problems.

County residents already provide literally tens of millions of dollars for downtown projects. This benevolence doesn’t seem even receive a discussion.

Who makes this agenda? For whose benefit?

The most obvious downtown subsidy is the unvoted sale tax increase of about $200 million paid already for the medical mart and convention center. The tax increase started in January 2008. It is a 20-year tax – $800 million expected.

The second most obvious is the “sin” tax. It has provided about $100 million for Browns stadium financing. The tax started in August 2005. There already is a push to extend it another 10 years.

I believe both facilities are in downtown Cleveland. Well, of course.

This outpouring of public money ignores other needs. Some desperate needs.

There are very serious needs in other parts of the city and in some suburbs.

Why is this? Because powerful forces – Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Foundation Fixers and the range of interests that live off these projects – ignore people needs. With the help of the news media.

From lawyers to architects to investment bankers to contractors these big projects mean profits. The needs of ordinary people just don’t tabulate in this game.

They sell big projects as progress. And news outlets act as bullhorns for them.

The reasoning always declares that these efforts are job-producing. Yet invariably jobs don’t increase. Remember the 28,000 Gateway jobs? They seem to do the opposite. Jobs for those who desperately need them vanish. Real public needs are ignored.

There really needs to be a strict accounting of this money and somehow a reasonable democratic process of distribution of these casino funds. We also should not forget the fact that these casinos are TAKING that money from somewhere, someone.

FitzGerald has had his way. Will any of this change?

I’m not holding my breath. Neither should you.

And I’m wondering when construction will start on the REAL Horseshoe Casino, not the poorly located Public Square/Higbee site. Another hold your breath moment.

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Walmart the Enemy

One of the most despicable ad campaigns is being waged here by Walmart.

You’ve seen the full-page ads in the Plain Dealer. One ran this week.

Walmart lists a number of grocery items selected by Walmart. It is a full-page ad, hard to miss. The list gives prices on one side of the full-page ad at Walmart. On the other side of the page are the same items listed at Giant Eagle.

Of course, the Walmart list, in larger print by the way, totals less cost than Giant Eagle’s items. By $25.03 on a $181.14 total bill. The ad says, “Same items, 12 percent less!”

Of course, the items are chosen by Walmart. They don’t say anything about specials at either store.

But what it does say to me is that here is a blatant attempt to put someone out of business.

Walmart has started a war with Giant Eagle. Apparently, it sees Giant Eagle as a first easy target. It’s only a start after all.

What grocer will be next? Heinen’s? A local chain. The real target maybe.

It wouldn’t surprise me.

This is really the rush to the bottom style business. It’s destined and designed to damage business in the east side suburbs.

What I’d like to see is when the Walmart opens – having destructively destroyed open land on Warrensville Road – are a thousand vehicles roaming the lot, packing its parking lot and making the experience of shopping there worse than hell.

Walmart so richly deserves constructive anarchy.

It is a diseased company with diseased policies. Its disease is inflicted on people all over the world. It’s called Profit Above All. To hell the cost. To hell the people.



Roldo Bartimole has been reporting since 1959. He came to Cleveland in 1965 to report for the Plain Dealer where he worked twice in the 1960s, left for the Wall Street Journal in 1967. He started publishing his newsletter Point of View in 1968 and ended it in 2000.

In 1991 he was awarded the Second Annual Joe Callaway Award for Civic Courage in Washington, D.C. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, Cleveland chapter, in 2002, and was named to the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, 2004. [Photo by Todd Bartimole.]



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10 Responses to “ROLDO: Joe Cimperman & the Lies Some Pols Tell”

  1. IndyCA35

    Roldo, what the heck is the matter with you?

    If WalMart can sell the groceries for $25.00 less than Giant Eagle, why not let the people spend less on groceries? What’s wrong with telling them they can do this?

    If, say, some chain were charging customers in Cleveland $25.00 more than in the suburbs, you’d be all over that. If WalMart were charging more, you’d try to get them shut down.

    All they are doing is pointing out that Giant Eagle charges more, and those who want to save money can decide for themselves.

  2. Roldo Bartimole

    David, we should have a coffee and catch up.

    John, I will have something to say about the levy I’m sure. Hopefully, on the port
    people are catching on that it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Cleveland

    Indy, my condolences on yesterday’s vote. I know it must have been very upsetting for you.

    On Walmart, people can decide for themselves whether it’s better to buy something one store or shop elsewhere. The tactic of a drive to force someone else out of business, I would think would not meet with your sensibilities as I’ve read them.

  3. richard

    I will never forget approaching Cimperman at at public meeting, involving a large project in which I represented a principle. I asked him about what I considered to be some very deceitful statements from developers. He quickly told me “it was all smoke and mirrors” turned his back and walked away. That gave me all the insight I needed to firm my opinion of Joe.
    You and I spoke briefly about it on the City Hall steps and a short walk, if you recall.
    Since then, I have spoken to many people in his old neighborhood(where I live) and several business acquaintances in Tremont and Ohio City.( His new neighborhood) Privately, for fear of repercussions, there’s nothing nice being said. Joe’s into deeper pockets than ours..

  4. FUTURE projects? REALISTICALLY…HOW viable..THEN again MED MART doors arent open yet…NO idea WHA affect THAT ultimately will have…SUSPECT CH to council to whutever else out of ideas,$,looking for $ whether tax or fee $ and life goes on…I HAVE serious doubts as to viability…I view CASINO as this take care of FCE…I SUPPOSE in a SENSE good cuz NOT having SERIOUS HUGE DEAD concrete lying around good ol 601 Lakeside cant do much about…to be FAIR to CH n city…CITY was rigged for a ol style of city aka electrified trolley cars,walking,horse n buggy…AND ol style mfg…I dont have to fill u in on all that…COULD get into unions,others who do work on all this stuff…

    A WOLSTEIN….and His bldgs or least the NEWEST one…U tell me…the ol HUNTINGTON bank bldg tenants were all THAT hot for new digs? MAYBE cuz way anti trust laws written if DID try n SOMEHOW eliminate space,etc.MAYBE not allowable…..I DONT want to open THAT can of worms and maybe a WEAK arguement considering all the REST of the MT space &/lr nature of the animal……or COULD have been be FAIR to likes of a E&Y or other similar..AND I HATE saying NAMES there tooo..THEY use serious bandwidth..or I ASSume THEY do…LOGICALLY considering nature of THEIR biz n who they do work for…LOT of facts n stats bouncing back n forth…MAYBE HUNTINGTON just wasnt up to it…LOT of the old bldgs DO have funky corners,SMALL rooms,THICK walls,etc. BUILT w/wha HAD at the time….SUSPECT BURB aspect toooo…LESSER of 2 evils… lets face it…HOW many nice big burb buildings out there..or WOULD be convertable bldgs…I am NOT a real estate pro..NOT at THAT level anyways…

    BUT w/EmbassySUites being CONVERTED to apts. ONE has to wunder HOW viable a MED MART is… techie is touted as greatest thing since the toaster…BUT HOW much is influenced,controlled by the BigNames…proprietary in other words… talkin likes of LINUX,Windows,ORacle,etc. LETS face it…the usual Names….

  5. I SUSPECT the Dream is Med mart n similar ilk open up, mana rains down,demand increases,Nation rushes to us,more space needed… if IF works OUT THAT I WOULD BE A convert n give em a nod..I DONT like HOW ALL THAT got done…I SUSPECT the Gateways,etc.were done cuz bout ONLY THING at THAT or other time DOABLE could get folks on board with…except smokers and drinkers…Hey…BUT wha is done is done…DO I THINK it faves parking lot crew to gas stations to other..Oh yeahhh…MOST logical thing ….

  6. MAYBE could fill THOSE bldgs w/techies who develop PDA web app THAT lets one know when someone crossing the grounds of a SCHOOL…trips sensors and or cams…AND ALERTS said..A THOUGHT…PROBABLY something like THAT now..I WOULD BE SHOCKED if there isnt…THEN again…

  7. LEAST whutever ELSE happens NOT stuck w/*$*@ TRANS OHIO HI speed train…NO idea if just thrown out there &/or if THAT crew &/or strickland was serious (?)… I CAN read ANYTHING into n behind THAT…KNOW wha VOTERS said..or WOULD say…GOT FEELING ANOTHER WOULD BE DEAD DUCK…. OUR PORT AUTHORITY…FEARS of this hi risk loan stuff &/or EXPLAIN again WHA financing for WHO to build WHAT to do WHAT at a ‘profit’…I view THAT as jobsaving PR stunt but wha do I know…SURE WORKED OUT FORLIANI…HE rots in the can…UP to VA Wade Oval hospital as to whether WANT to rip HIS Name off the bldg or walls….IF any solace..DIMORA is a guidepost on THAT…IF ANY real *$@* out here…ROYANE… Toooo bad Campbell didnt take HIM with HER to DC……THEN AGAIN sillyseason already THERE… SHE SURE DISAPPEARED…Sooo are REST of em…THIS ‘sighting’….THAT whole deck cleared out..or dang near…ALMOST THANKFULLY…..

    I REALlly wish a WAY could be found to interest INTERESTS into SOMEHOW leveling UNNEEDED messed up crap and we ALL win…. CSU doesnt look tooo good in THIS either…HOW much $ shoveled into THAT place and WHA floating around…things ‘improve’ when THEY need a rehabbed bldg &/or parking lot,greenspace,stadium…

  8. On MED mart…OVERSIZED AIRY TAJ MAHAL…THAT ONE LITERALLY can fly a ultraLite plane in there…SERIOUSLY…if can believe the lobby….BUT I BLEATED my brains out probably for no purpose….

  9. I ALMOST see a COLUMBUS TAKEOVER….FRANK J is threatening HolyWar….MAYBE…or privately He is ready…

  10. YOUR Call FITZ!…maybe assuming LOT worse THEN wha THINK but HEY…U tell me how econ,DC,and rest gonna function..or not… VISIONS of DETROIT…drastic but NOT impossible…

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