Letters published May 28, 2008

Port of Cleveland Pie in the Sky

"That Sinking Feeling," May 14

Contain Your Enthusiasm
Container-shipping scheme won't float: Thank you so much for the comprehensive article by Bradley Campbell. At least one media source is raising legitimate, as yet unanswered questions about the port's intended move to a giant 200-acre industrial site at East 55th Street. You have finally exposed the emperor (the port) to be naked.

Other media have railed for years against the city's lack of vision and planning for its lakefront. "Why can't we have a lakefront more like Chicago's?" they have complained. Yet the city recently created — with the input of thousands of residents — a comprehensive plan that would open up more of the lakefront to public access. Now the port — with the knee-jerk acquiescence, even enthusiasm, of the city, county, state, business leaders, and media — has proposed to can the plan and drop a massive industrial site into the center of the East Side lakefront, creating a barrier, for generations, to public access.

In addition to the solid points and questions raised by your article, here are some additional concerns:

1. The Army Corps needs a new dredge disposal facility to keep the harbor and river open for shipping. The port must pay 25 percent of the cost of the dike. The port must pay 100 percent of the cost of extending four sewer outfalls at East 55th and any other utility moves. The breakwall must also be extended at an immense cost.

2. The previous dredge facility took 20 years to fill its 88 acres. How long will it take to fill 200 acres — 40 years or more? Then it has to dry out and settle to allow it to be built upon. The entire 200 acres may take until well after 2050 to be ready to use.

3. Even if there is container-ship business out there for Cleveland to grab, will it still be there 25 to 50 years in the future, or will it bypass Cleveland for other ports? And if the port does not need the new site to draw the container business, why incur this huge expense and destruction of the lakefront at the public's expense?

4. The port wants to make money on the development of its current site to pay for its move to East 55th Street. But the port is on property owned in trust for the public by the state. The port has no right to sell or lease it.

5. There is much public support for opening the north end of M.L. King Boulevard as a nature preserve. The likely impact on a natural area caused by a 200-acre industrial site built a half-mile away — with lights, noise, and pollution — has not even been mentioned in the media or by the port. A decision to build a new port should not be made until the environmental impact is evaluated.

Bill Gruber
Shaker Heights

Port watchdog keeps on growlin': Thanks for putting the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and its relocation plan in the middle of the radar screen for all to see. The port has always sailed under the radar, undetected by public scrutiny. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a new day to change this arrogant and unacceptable behavior.

I have followed the port's activities and plans for 10 years. Not because I have nothing better to do, but because as a proud American, I will hold public servants and agencies accountable for their actions. The port needs to provide answers to the many questions raised about its relocation plan and its behavior.

The one thing that upsets me most is the port's blatant disregard for public involvement. Without releasing the million-dollar relocation study for public inspection and comment, the port conducted the only public meeting, and the city planning commission approved the relocation. Remember, this is one of the largest public projects in Cleveland's history and will cost taxpayers well over $1 billion. We need more investigative reporting like this, now that the port authority has been detected.

Ed Hauser
Maple Heights

"Divorced From Reality," May 7

Annulling the Truth
Drawn-out divorce case would leave Judge Judy screaming: I found her both entertaining and inspiring. It opens up so many new strategies toward all of life's conflicts. How is this different than a village idiot claiming there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and then going totally ballistic about it? Very much like Hitler's lies. Inspiring.

Forever Seven

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