April 16th, 2013

Roldo Bartimole writes:

I had to chuckle reading Steve Litt’s lead on his umpteenth piece ballyhooing a revamp of Public Square.

“Cleveland’s drab and gray Public Square…” Litt starts the latest propaganda push for more downtown public dollars. Public Square is an essential property for the city. Is that why we put a gambling joint at its doorstep? To dress up the place.

Good thinking.

Litt didn’t mention that the present configuration of Public Square was the lady bountiful project of Iris Vail, the wife of former Plain Dealer Publisher Tom Vail. It gave me my chuckle.

Of course, helping to lead the latest grab ($40 million to start) for public monies for Public Square is Plain Dealer Publisher and CEO Terrance Egger. Was it ever so! Change is sooo hard.

They just never do stop. They can’t help themselves.

You’d think there was nothing else in town that really needed attention.

Watching a TV news clip of neighbors protests the rape and murder of two women and another almost victim in a small east side area I noticed film of the desolate surroundings. People decried the poor conditions of the streets and surroundings.

They know the score.

They said rightly it gave evidence to them that nobody cares if rape and murder happens where they live. The city’s clear confirmation by neglect tells residents what they are worth. Nothing.

In contrast, a recent letter in Crain’s Cleveland by the chairman of the Warehouse District Development Corp. bragged that his small downtown area was getting $2 million in street paving improvements and $650,000 in streetscape updating. Meanwhile, a short distance away in the Flats some tens of millions in public investments flow. And we’re going to keep the riff-raff out this time.

The PD business page last Friday had a four column, 5-3/4 inch photo of Mayor Frank Jackson and Downtown Councilman Joe Cimperman smiling at each other. Happy days are here again! The subject: “Downtown improvements.” What else? Among the goodies producing political smiles: $1 million for wider sidewalks, benches and bicycle racks downtown between St. Clair and Lakeside.

You want it. You got it. I remember that was the motto of Dennis Kucinich when he ran for mayor. However, he was talking to Cleveland residents, not its business leaders.

Now bike riders have more pull at City Hall than the entire population of poverty neighborhoods. What’s new?

The poor have NO pull as a report on infant mortality shows.

“Within three miles surrounding the University Circle area, infant mortality exceeds some Third World countries,” said a doctor of neonatology at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital on a radio program, also reported in the PD. Don’t let Litt know.

“We found that two neighborhoods, Hough and Mt. Pleasant, had infant mortality rates above 27 per 1,000 – worse than in North Korea, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Samoa, Maldives or the Gaza Strip,” noted the PD article.

It was worse in areas bordering University Circle, inferior to Bangladesh, Haiti, Rwanda and Uganda among others, at 67 deaths per 1,000. It’s a small sample but the neighborhood is close to some of the best hospitals in the nation. Cleveland Clinic – and board member Egger – where are you? Same for University Hospitals. Both close neighbors. At the doorsteps.

Pretty disgraceful.

We’re so fucked up that we don’t know how fucked up we are.

Not even any fight left in us.


  1. mary jo says:

    Infant mortality rates at 67 per 1,000 is a tragedy. How can we let this happen in Cleveland?

    • Jeff Hess says:

      Good morning Mary Jo,

      It happens when we, as a society, take the attitude that our responsibility to children ends at birth.

      Do all you can to make today a good day,


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