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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Several Videos and a Whole Lotta Gloss: Dispatches from the State of the County

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 1:36 PM

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“Timid communities...just do not do these kinds of projects. But we do.”

That's one way County Executive Ed FitzGerald described the Cleveland Convention Center, in which he was giving his final State of the County address today. He really loves that place. And he also loves that the building and its counterpart, the metal box formerly known as the Medical Mart, came in under budget and ahead of schedule.

Among other surface-level topics, that sort of self-congratulatory praise made up the bulk of FitzGerald's Feb. 19 speech. This year's iteration was certainly less thrilling than last year's, when an homage to the 1936 Great Lakes Exposition was promised.

A few notable news items from this go-around:

- The county is bringing Euclid and Cleveland jails under its umbrella
- FitzGerald is urging $50 million in bonding capacity to knock down vacant homes and "protect and restore" the properties
- The emergency operations center in Broadview Heights is on its way
- Regionalism! Shared services!
- Visit readynotify.cuyahoga.us sometime in March to get up-to-date emergency news items from the county
- Heroin is bad

The flow of everything was broken up by four videos - unseen by alt-weekly writers streaming the speech from a newsroom littered with old Lou Reed posters - and at least one minute-long pause where FitzGerald, I guess, forgot where he was in his speech. Those were the highlights.

The rest of the time spent at the lectern crossed circuitously among topics like public safety, housing, economic development, Regionalism!, transparency, and heroin.

FitzGerald took questions every so briefly and ended the Q&A session by touching on how difficult it is to measure the health of Lake Erie. It's unclear what point he was trying to make. Then, another mild highlight of the afternoon, someone rang the City Club's bell/gong thing and the event concluded.

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