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.
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.
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.]