Leave it to the Greater Cleveland Partnership to be on the wrong-headed side of yet another issue. My initial thought was, "What on EARTH business does GCP have sticking its nose in on THIS issue?" The pretext is pretty thin, even by the gossamer-thin standards of Chamber-speak...Then I remembered...Fred Nance OWNS GCP, and he's the Browns' general counsel...
When The Men Behind The Curtain are willing to hijack the Ohio Constitution to get what they want, normal political checks and balances no longer work in a community. When the powerful can raise taxes (already the highest in Ohio) without a vote of the people, to benefit themselves, jailing a few chucklehead politicians will not suffice...the corporate oligarchs (and their institutional enablers) need to be embarrassed publicly, again and again and again, until they go away...Where's Batman when you need him?...
The unfortunate reality is that the geniuses behind this project have never particularly cared whether it worked or not. Whether the facility is profitable,or even useful, is irrelevant to GCP, Positively Cleveland, and their corporate enablers.
Their only priorities had to do with what investment bankers and law firms would get the deal to float the bond issue; who would broker the deal for land acquisition (for a healthy commission), and who the contractors and vendors would be. The fact that a few hundred construction workers would be on the project for a couple years was the real extent of their "vision" for the project.
For these clowns, the only "economic development" they care about is developing the economies of the developers, lawyers, and other transaction processors to whose sticky fingers that $800 million might adhere...Once the thing is built, and open, the complex somebody else's problem. This egregious arrogance is what passes for leadership in Corporate Cuyahoga County...and shaking up a few elected officials will do nothing to clean it up.
What makes all the super-hyped-up advocacy for "government reform" so laughably ironic is that, while it's easy and fun to shoot elected fish in a barrel, the REAL bad guys...the ones in the nice suits...just keep on rollin'. This is just the most current example.
Much of the "reorganization" of our civic and economic development institutions has been about an attempt to re-write the political and civic history of the past 20 years, when the political larceny of Mike White was enabled...and in some cases, facilitated...by THE VERY SAME group of individuals who have brought us "reformed" County government, a shiny new casino and Medical Mart, and a convention center which the electorate overwhelmingly rejected at least twice before these guys decided that hijacking the Ohio Constitution and buying some politicians would be faster and cheaper.
Those Crack Investigative Reporters at the PD might want to look up from their corporate press releases and do some real investigating of the REAL bad guys in town. A good start would have been a little more skeptical look at the question of how more that 20% of the money raised by New Broom Ed FitzGerald this year could come from one company...Medical Mutual of Ohio...whose co-chair is...one of the usual suspects...
If one reviews the biggest publicly-financed boondoggles of the past two decades, essentially the same group of names arises: (Pick your greedy and/or malleable elected officials), Nance, Roman, Miller/Ratner, Roche...A Cavalcade of Stars...The pack of goniffs who learned the art of looting the public treasury during The White Administration are the same guys still hijacking the Ohio Constitution in increasingly brazen attempts to shake loose public financing to promote the interests of private developers...whether the project succeed or not. Worse, Cleveland's "civic leaders" are well aware of the outrage, and those who are not directly complicit are either too disengaged or too queasy to do anything about it.
You can "reform" government all you want; until these guys are exposed to the light and run out of town, the only "economic development" we can expect to see is development of the economies of this handful of latter-day robber barons...
Congrats to Melt!...It's probably worth pointing out to the economic development gurus that, all by himself, Matt Fish has created 200 jobs...That's 50% of the total jobs which JumpStart takes credit for creating...with about $10 million a year...Let's give Matt an extra million, and see what he does with it!...
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