May 5th, 2017

We don’t realize the taxes and a fee that has been added during the tenure of this mayor who was supposed to represent the city’s underprivileged and needy. He doesn’t.

But he’s been the Man. Mayor Stagnant.

The Corporates Man. Full member of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. They love him over there.

He’s now talking neighborhoods. A little late Frank. Actually, too late.

Whatever they seem to upchuck, he finds reason to find just oh, so good for us.

Even the garbage is now costly in Cleveland. Jackson added an $8 a week fee. Why not? It’s regressive, isn’t it?

He gives away city assets with a yawn. To developers, to sports billionaires.

He found a way to charge Clevelanders for the trash they must throw away. What’s next? A tax on how much air you breathe?

Cleveland badly needs a no-nonsense mayor who actually believes its citizens deserve representation.

It’s time for some rabble rousing.

Jackson certainly has been a vigorous proponent of taxing what you buy.

He has stood aside when others raise taxes too.

Even though the man from the most impoverished ward in the city knows it has to hurt his people. It is what it is though, right?

Jackson is a fraud as a rep of the disadvantaged. He has been the puppet of the privileged.

He will, of course, be endorsed by the Plain Dealer, now a subsidiary of the GCP and about as concerned for the ordinary guy as our president.

But let’s try to look at the taxes Jackson has watched or endorsed in the last few years.

Jackson has supported or remained mute as deprived people have been skewed by those that set our agenda.

You can start with the latest—the sordid Arena deal. The city will pass on to pay for the Quicken expansion at least $88 million in admission taxes that it could use for the dire needs of the City of Cleveland. It now is doing the same thing with city admission taxes that go to pay for 1990 arena overrun bonds. It has been for decades. Who’s watching? Who cares? Not the mayor, for sure.

He dodged a bit, trying to stay below the firing line. But he backed the arena tax to Dan Gilbert, the un-neediest man here.

Then there’s the quarter percent sales tax increase passed by the old County Commission, promoted primarily by Tim Hagan. This was for the convention center and the medical mart, which is anything but. An $800 million toll over 40 years.

Jackson strongly backed this deal when he was council president and then mayor. He pushed for the Forest City gang.

Almost seemed as though he couldn’t find a tax he didn’t embrace.

Then there was the $260 million additional sports sin tax. Jackson was all for it. It was voted by the city’s citizens but with strong support for the tax-crazed mayor.

There are others. Certainly for the schools.

Then another huge one – adding to the city’s payroll tax. It’s badly needed. Of course, if you give away tax revenue, as the city habitually does, you do need it.

So Jackson proposed a half percent payroll tax. It nets an added 25 percent. What the hell—working people are used to being screwed. Jackson pushed it hard. Regressive cost to taxpayers: $80 million, year after year.

Jackson pressed it to success with the old chestnut, Clevelanders don’t pay it’S only suburbanites. This is the cry of the Plain Dealer, which also sees all regressive taxes—as all these seem to be—as peaches and cream.

Then there are multiple give-aways. Hard to keep up notice. Some 1,700 parking space to the Browns owners (already skimming the city for hundreds of millions of dollars and avoiding property taxes) for $70,000, a price tag of $4 a spot for game days.

He (and Council) allowed the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, already a city welfare client, to keep the three percent added admission tax on the building, plus $2 million of the tax previously accumulated. Give it away!

Of course, almost everything built or converted downtown gets property tax relief.

The raid on city revenue is the other side of the tax ledger.

It’s time a candidate for mayor promises to curtail these gifts to corporate Cleveland.

They always say the abatement of taxes is necessary or there will be no building downtown. A ghost town.

Not true.

When Mayor Dennis Kucinich cut off the abatement faucet four major downtown buildings went up in a rather short time: the $78.5 million Medical Mutual; the $47-million Eaton Center; the $50-million Ohio Bell building and the $200-million plus SOHIO (BP) building at Public Square.

It takes someone with fortitude to make it happen.

It won’t under this squishy mayor, backed by a greedy corporate gang, a sold-out newspaper and the usual flood of downtown contributors for status quo.

We need a new mayor and new blood in the city!

By Roldo Bartimole…

First published by Have Coffee Will Write on DATE.

Also by Roldo Bartimole…



  1. A Jeff T says:

    Check this out. What coincidental timing!

  2. There is a problem that has to be solved that differs from what’s being offered in the two comments.

    It’s best described by a quote from Mayor Tom Johnson, Cleveland’s progressive mayor at the turn of the last Century.

    Tom Johnson delivered an important speech at a dinner hosted in his honor at the Astor Hotel in New York City. The former mayor highlighted the core values and experiences that had informed his fight against privilege. Johnson began the speech with a tale of an encounter he had once had with a prominent single taxer named John Paul during a trip through Great Britain. John Paul told Johnson of a dream he once had, in which there was a river with dozens of people struggling to get out. While some were pulled ashore “by kind-hearted people on the banks,” many others were not rescued and ultimately drowned. After acknowledging the good work of those who helped pull some of the victims from the water, John Paul told Johnson that it would have been better if some of them had gone upstream to find out who was pushing the people into the river in the first place. “It is in this way that I would answer those who ask us to help the poor,” Johnson told his Astor Hotel audience. “Let us help them, that they may at last fight the battle with more strength and courage; but let us never lose sight of our mission up the river to see who is pushing the people in.”

    Similarly, Desmond Tutu (maybe he read Johnson) said this:

    “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river.

    We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

    We need to look at what is causing the poverty and why it is happening.

  3. Jeff Hess says:


    Great quote.



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