Cleveland's Real Corrupters

The Cleveland Corporate Corrupters had a big meeting yesterday. They’re already deciding how to spend tens of millions of dollars we don’t have.

It’s an act of piracy seldom defined by the mass media. The media simply play it as “that’s the way things are done” apparently.

No other voices need be raised. The PD, our major source of information, doesn’t have the imagination to even prompt dissent or an alternative view. It’s not in the mass media’s DNA.

One of the greatest needs in Cleveland is a new Public Square, according to these masters of the county’s universe. These people set our civic agenda for their selfish private needs. Never expect less.

The headline in the Plain Dealer says, “Business leaders see $100 million in new income.” So let’s grab it guys,” should have been the subtitle.

These plutocrats already have it spent. On things THEY decide WE need.

These same people – corporate leaders – have been setting the agenda in Cleveland forever. I’m familiar with what they have done since the mid 1960s. It’s always been shameful. And selfish. And largely mistaken. Just look at where we are.

It started with an urban renewal program that helped destroy much of the east side of Cleveland, forced a black migration, then white flight and promises never realized. They sent tens of thousands of people out of their homes without providing adequate replacement housing.

That’s why a federal urban affairs official told me, “Cleveland’s our Vietnam. We’d like to get out but we don’t know how.”

Our corporate and legal leaders – changed in name only over the years – have continued to set the agenda as THEY see it. Typically, they want welfare for themselves. The hell with the rest of you.

Some 500 of these vultures met under the auspices of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, a corporate front group that leads politicians around by their noses under the auspices of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, our chamber of commerce.

The latest theft derives from what they say will be an extra $100 million a year. THEY know how it should be used. The money, they say, will come from cutting Cuyahoga County’s budget by $50 million and adding another $50 million from casino revenue. Lick your fingers, guys.

The article appears in this morning’s Plain Dealer here.

This is undiluted propaganda. The Plain Dealer doesn’t ask anyone to give a contrasting view of how such money - if it ever is realized, should be spent. Can’t expect the Pee Dee to report honestly of the duplicity of these business front organizations. They are one and the same on such issues.

What do they want? These takers.

Another renovation of Public Square. They never seem to get in right. So let’s do it again.

Put more retail and housing on the lakefront, they say. Great idea? Except you’re just shifting the business from one downtown spot to another. At public cost. And even as we are greatly subsidizing the same kind of development in the Flats.

Corporate leaders, according to this report, are “thinking boldly.” Who’s to prove that? Not the Plain Dealer. Thinking greedily would be more accurate. We won’t get that kind of truth from our morning paper.

There are many needs in our city and county. Needs that go unmet. Ordinary people’s needs.

Nothing is said, for example, about one of our great needs – public transit.

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) keeps cutting services and thus losing business. Never hear the big shots cry about this. They have Mercedes. BMWs.

Two hundred million dollars is okay for the bus service up Euclid Avenue from Public Square to University Circle. This fits the corporate desire to bolster downtown and the Circle area. One wonders whether there is any validity to this. Isn’t it just another bus line? But more productive? More meaningful to those who use it?

But bus service for people who depend upon RTA to get to work, to the hospital, to doctors, to shop. Well, we have to cut that. Don’t have the money. Don’t have the resources. Can’t pay for it.

Little voices don’t get heard.

I’ve been pressed by people who say the RTA has eliminated the bus service on the No. 25 Madison Ave. line in Cleveland.

RTA, they say, reversed itself and nixed the elimination of the route into Lakewood. They see RTA bending to Lakewood Mayor Edward Fitzgerald. He’s running for County executive and that, of course, could affect RTA in the future. Suspicious but with a hint of truth.

“How are these poor people going to get to the West Side Market and Lutheran Hospital without the No. 25 bus?” they ask. They also complain that RTA didn’t hold a public hearing on the Cleveland change.

RTA says that one of its rail stations is right across from the West Side Market. However, you’d have to be on a rail line to get there. Minor point.

The point here, however, is that corporate leaders appear privileged to decide. It’s as if there is no alternative way to decide. The community agenda is set by these high muckety mucks. Others don’t have a seat at the table.

So sit back and what you need will be decided by Joe Roman and the boys. Joe made $451,241 in pay and bennies in 2008. Nice work if you can get it. And he does.

Isn’t this the leadership that has put us in the dire straits that we find ourselves? Can’t we ever get rid of it?


I can't agree more with much of the article. When I was young (circa 1975-80) Cleveland still had many vibrant neighbourhoods, good public transport and a healthy downtown. Lots of great memories from my youth. Today a lot of that is gone - how is it possible that the RTA can keep contracting so much (with the latest cuts the bus fleet is just over half of what it was in recent years) on its 1% sales tax is beyond me, with little concern about genuine rider concerns, as they constantly kill off successful services due to "budget problems" or stupidly assume express bus riders will take the Red Line which will normally involves a significant time penalty. No real understanding of how to run or market a successful transit system here!

Although some have been good, the majority of projects in Cleveland generally that have been completed since the early 1980's have not contributed to the quality of life of most of the people living in Cleveland and many have been absolute disasters. We really need a new group of people in charge, assisted by people who have experience of successful urban development instead of the same old people who are only looking after theirselves and their mates.

Roldo is correct..having lived in the Cleveland area for over 50 yeras, the corportate/chamber of commerce/Growth Association/Cleveland Plus crew has demonstrated time and time again how inept and out of touch they really are.
Sadly, the PeeDee continues to be the mouthpiece for this gang of theives.

Small wonder the new census figures will show Cleveland to have a lesser population than the likes of Fresno, California.

Media is right to an extent. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it will be, there isn’t anything you can do about it. First of all they are supposed to make a needs analysis and the money is pent before its even allotted. That’s bureaucracy people get used to it. That’s the way things move. Even if one of us good people gets in the ring you would be playing the same game. It takes someone real guts to stand up and make real decisions for people that really need something.