Inequality is more than a paycheck matter.
The financially troubled in Cleveland are cheated in more ways than meager pay and higher regressive taxes. Hard to count how many.
The major force in this defrauding of the citizens is the Greater Cleveland Partnership. GCP is the leading corporate and legal interests in the city. They set Cleveland’s agenda. What to do. But also what not to do. It will be explained as we go along.
I have tried for some time to spotlight how the established forces take – really steal – from the economically deficient. They’re takers.
The one that’s bothering me now is the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s intention to raise fares and cut services.
This damages transit-dependent people, especially working people who MUST use public transportation. Hurting the least of us.
It’s not totally RTA’s fault. In fact, little of it is since the area’s major transportation facility receives small public investment. Primarily, RTA receives one percent of the 8 percent in sales tax you pay in Cuyahoga County.
Here is where the public interest’s attention should be directed.
Have you seen Joe Roman of GPC talking about the necessity to relieve RTA of burdening its riders with an added 25 cents atop $2.25 ride or more than a 10 percent increase? Say you’re a worker who rides RTA to and from work. That’s 50 cents a day or $2.50 a week for a 5-day week.
That’s a meaningful sum for many people, especially if two people in the family work at a minimum wage job.
You don’t see Cleveland’s civic, business or political people seeking a solution. Pushing to find a better answer. Why?
Now I have outlined over and over the hundreds of millions of dollars that have gone to sports owners, all three very wealth men.
Indeed, recently the Cuyahoga County Council, which voted itself a 15.5 percent pay raise, was planning to let bonds of $65 million more to further fix-up Progressive Field. Tim Offtermatt, who is Gateway’s chairman and also the County’s bond advisor (cozy), said the bonds would be paid off in 10 years.
Hey, no problem. We’ll find the money somewhere.
We know the County will spend $256 million for a hotel where its offices once stood. A big loser. But the big bosses want it. So it shall be.
Hey, no problem. We found the money. A quarter percent sales tax added by the old County Commissioners. Expected revenue: $800 million.
We need to spruce up Public Square. $50 million or is it more. No problem. We’ll scrounge around and find the money. (Oh, it may cost RTA some financial cost since its busses always used that area so changes will be required.)
A bridge. Oh, sorry Steve, an “iconic” lakefront bridge. Cost $33 million, already $8 million, or already near 25 percent above estimate.
Even RTA gets caught in this game. It spent $69 million for that workhorse Waterfront Line. Why? Because the same people wanted the line built quickly no federal funds were even sought. It could have been 85 percent federally funded. Be quick, they said.
Don’t forget the unnecessary $300-million plus Corridor road through the depressed east side from E. 55th to the doorstep of the Cleveland Clinic and University Circle. Oh, we just have to have it.
It was a must despite the $200-million plus RTA Healthline. I’d like to see the cost figures of running that up and down Euclid Ave. compared to the old bus method.
I haven’t even scraped the top of the subsidy heap.
Why do these things get attention? How do the tens and hundreds of millions appear for these “needs?” It’s greased.
But funding to keep transit-dependent people—some who might even lose their jobs with RTA cuts and higher rates—just doesn’t seem to appear as these other huge amounts do. Be realistic. Can’t afford everything!
GCP has all the big law firms—Squire Sanders Boggs, Jones Day, Baker Hostetler, Calfee—on its board. These big bats swing Cleveland and Cuyahoga’s agenda.
The Indians, the Cavs, the Browns have members on the elite board, too. They have so much to gain.
Eaton Corp.’s Sandy Cutler, who moved Eaton out of Cleveland (with heavy, heavy subsidies) and moved Eaton out of the United States to avoid paying taxes, is on the board. Likely he’s the biggest welfare client in Cuyahoga County. And a chiseler at that.
Big cheeses of Sherwin-Williams, Cleveland Clinic, Key Corp. American Greetings, Lubrizol, PNC bank, Northeast Ohio Media Group (you know them, PD), Forest City, AT&T Ohio, Dominion East Ohio Gas.
Yes, they’re all represented. All the big eaters.
The 1 percenters. The takers. The grabbers. The piggies.
And they run these parts. Not Joe Roman. Not puppets like Armond Budish or Frank Jackson. Those behind the curtain.
The people have to wait on a bus in the rain, in the cold. Who cares about them? Raise the fare. Take another slice of their slim earnings. Why not, we can do it.
Who’s going to find a solution to this problem? Sorry, Bernie.
No one is.
There is no movement. There isn’t even knowledge of the Game being played by the GPCs of our nation’s cities.
The game is fixed, as Bernie says.
Inequality, in all respects, is soaked into our system.
The goodies go to those who pay to have their names on buildings and walls. The good robbers of our city.
Now Reggie Rucker has been a bad boy. No doubt about it.
But the Big Boys were buying something with Reggie. (The Cleveland Foundation didn’t know he was stealing? Or didn’t want to know.)
They don’t want any trouble. Racial especially.
It’s an old game of how to divert any whiff of real angry opposition.
In the second issue of a newsletter I started back in 1968 tells how this Rucker game is played and surely Reggie knew the rules. He was being used, too. As the Browns used him. But he wasn’t playing straight.
It was a lot cheaper to buy off people in 1968. Yet the game remains the same.
History repeats itself.