October 4th, 2015

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The city may be drowning in blood. But our downtown still floats on green.

Green as in cash. No expense spared.

Last week the Plain Dealer reported that the Public Square redo (I should say “iconic” redo, as PD Steve Litt calls it; but he calls almost everything he writes about “iconic”) was $5 million short. The Greater Cleveland Partnership, which runs the portion of Cleveland called “downtown”, wants the state legislature to “tuck” in $3.5 into the iconic needs of the Square.

I hate to say I told you but I did. In February:

Why don’t we know the costs of Public Square for example? It’s said to be $30 to $32.5 million. But that doesn’t really add up.

If you believe the PD both the city and county have pledged $10 million each, that’s $20 million; the Regional Sewer District $3 million, that’s $23 million; the Cleveland Foundation, $8 million, that’s $31 million; the Gund Foundation $5 million, that’s $36 million; the Kent Smith Foundation (you know the corporates are behind this when foundation money pours out) $1 million, that $37 million.

But it doesn’t stop there. Oh, no.

More public money will be flushed in over time.

Because the property taxes from the Higbee-Horseshoe Casino building, which supposedly might help finance police and firefighters and more, won’t go to the county and city, as it should. No this tax revenue will be diverted to the Square project too. Who knows how much over time? One price tag has it at $18 million.

So the $37 million plus the $18 million suggests to me that the cost will be $55 million.

That doesn’t include a lot of infrastructure costs that will have to be done, especially for RTA as it has to divert its buses to make space for the next Public Square.

The $18 million results in a tax incremental financing deal via the city.

The loss of that $18 million in property tax revenue will have to be

made up somewhere. I guess you know where.

The GPC and “Mayor” Joe Roman haven’t finished. No, they now need a bridge (“iconic” writes Litt, what else?).

The-always-say “Yes” City Planning Commission, fully appointed by Mayor Frank Jackson, last week approved “unanimously” a $33 million ($8 million short already) bridge from Mall C to the lakefront (Browns, Rock & Roll, etc.) What is neglected by the astute Litt, Mayor and Plan Commission is that RTA already financed at its own cost some $69 million for that slow rapid train that goes from Tower City right to the same destination. Why walk when you can ride?

Does it end there?

No. The County—not a hotel chain—is building a $276-million hotel. A hotel destined to lose money. You know who will make up that deficit. You! You have paid sales taxes of $289.8 million as of the end of August to support this County money-loser. Expect to shell out plenty more. The tax goes to 2048! No one brings that up in our news media. Neither the iconic Steve Litt nor the “Hey Taxpayer” Mark Naymik.

But we already apparently needs more. How could you have guessed?

Hotel guests require usually parking. The Plan commission also approved a tunnel from the hotel across Lakeside Road to the Huntington Garage, which must undergo some $19 million in renovations. Litt did not describe the tunnel as “iconic,” but notes that it will have “attractive lighting” and “public art.” But of course.

The garage is attached to the County Court House and is listed for use by the Convention Center, the Justice Center & now the hotel. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of room, folks. Take your time.

The art of bullshit in this town is what’s iconic. Really. Can’t you feel it?

Now we get to the city’s red. As in blood.

I don’t have to repeat the losses in the last month of young children gunned down simply because they were in the wrong place when idiots fire indiscriminately.

It’s clear there are gang gun battles going on here.

And I feel for Police Chief Calvin Williams when he breaks down having to speak of the killing of a months-old child. Or with police officers who see too much. Tears are shed.

However, I wonder why the Cleveland police have not been paying the attention that the mothers and fathers of these children deserve.

I wonder why the police force, which constitute the force that patrols these streets, doesn’t have more intelligence to crack down on those who are wreaking this havoc. There are police gang units at local and other levels. Shouldn’t we expect more?

It is not enough Chief Williams and Mayor Jackson to call upon those suffering under these sieges to come forth with information about who is doing these open gun battles.

I would think that an alert, interested police force would have knowledge about these individuals. It’s the job. Tears are not enough. (How else to react to the shooting deaths of Major Howard, three; Ramon Burnett, five, and 5-month old Aavielle Wakefield? Tamir Rice is already forgotten.)

I’ve already lost confidence in the U. S. Justice Department’s task of reforming the Cleveland Police Force.

I hope I’m proven wrong. But I sense a lot of window dressing and little reform. And a large cost.

We’re going to be too busy gussing-up for the GOP national convention to care much about what’s happening in our shooting gallery streets.

We don’t want the Republicans and the nation to see our red. Blood red.

Wonder if Germany will take some suffering refuges from some Cleveland neighborhoods?

By Roldo Bartimole…


  1. jim lawless says:

    I remember one day when on Thursday, the “iconic” Public Square redo was going to cost $28 million and Monday it had jumped to $32 million with no explanation. And the beat goes on. When does it end?

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