WHY CAN'T THEY HEAR ED HAUSER?

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 03/07/2008 - 21:06.

When Ed Hauser speaks during the public comment period of a meeting – he is organized.   He has his camera running, and he has his visuals – his documents.

Unlike the majority of the members of the boards and commissions he appears before,  Mr. Hauser has done his homework.  Mr. Hauser has the pertinent documents in his hands, and Mr. Hauser has read them and understands them.

 

But in most of the dozen or more meetings I have attended where I have observed Mr. Hauser,  his presentation falls on willfully deaf ears. 

 

Must be very frustrating for Mr. Hauser.   You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. 

 

That was the situation today when Mr. Hauser spoke before the Cleveland Planning Commission which was holding a hearing to consider the approval of a resolution concerning the relocation of the Port of Cleveland to East 55th Street.

 

Mr. Hauser suggested to the commission that the Campbell Lake Front Plan (the document Mr. Hauser is holding in the photo above) is more than 80% obsolete. 

 

“We need to reconsider the entire lakefront plan, not just the East 55th Street relocation.”  We need to consider the $1.5 million dollar taxpayer paid for study (the document which Mr. Hauser later held up) which has never been released to the public.   Mr. Hauser asked the Board members if they had read the study – and it was clear than none of the Board Members had read it – or even knew what he was talking about. 

 

Pathetic.

 

Mr. Hauser pointed out to the Board that still in the Port plan was the EXPANSION of the Cleveland Bulk Terminal – the CBT is the area just to the east of the Westerly Sewage Treatment plant.  Mr. Hauser showed the Board the plans for this expansion in the Port documents.

There is EXPANSION and there is RELOCATION.

 

But the Board didn’t get it.  The Board acknowledged that they had not read the $1.5 million dollar study – but the Board Chairman, Mr.  Coyne, deferred to one of the staff members (Linda Henrichsen) who said she had read it.  

 

 I’m not convinced she had. 

 

I thought this hearing was a sad example of why Cleveland is going down the drain.  The Board, not even understanding or having fully read or understood  the resolution offered by Bob Brown, were too chicken to even defer their approval for a week or two.  No one on the  Board made any effort to negotiate for a better resolution.

 

They just moved to approve it, there was a second, and all murmured aye.

 

For more than 10 years Mr. Hauser has been attending public meetings in his pursuit of the goal of ensuring Whiskey Island is preserved as a public park – he has the patience of Job.

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Add up what these failures have cost taxpayers like Ed

In the past few years I've been keeping track around here, the foundations, counties, cities, state, ODOT, port, and others have spent $10s millions planning things like the Lakefront Fiasco, and the Trench, and the Signature Bridge and other big ditches they didn't have the ability to deliver, which has wasted taxpayer money, time, and the attention of paid employees who should do productive work rather than chasing rainbows - the shitty planners screwing this region up are really starting to cost big money and take the region far off track. Worst is the opportunity cost of all this stupidity and of the projects not undertaken - smart planners would have accomplished great things in NEO in the time stupid planners wasted.

In the mean time, citizen Ed actually saved Whiskey Island, as he paid the taxes that paid for the fialures who fought him until others proved him right.

In other words, most community leaders, planners. politicians, and media folk don't deserve to sit at the same table as Ed, they know that, and it shows.

Disrupt IT

Priceless

Today's header and taking back the community from the party machine and unscrupulous developers--priceless.

port play

Cleveland port's move approved by Planning Commission, county commissioners (annotated - italics mine)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tom Breckenridge

Plain Dealer Reporter

The Cleveland port's big move got a big nod Friday. Looks like it was a big sleepy nod... In Jeff's photos, these guys look a bit shell shocked like they had been sleeping all semester and the prof just walked in and said "the final exam has been moved up in the calendar to today and will cover all the information I have lectured on so far in the semester. So, sharpen your pencils, kids because today you pass or fail." These are the signs - raised eyebrows, dropped jaws, that puppydog-eyes look that seems to be trying to get some personal internal concession for an uninformed or knowingly out-of-whack moral compass and the beleaguered head propped up on a forearm. The staff by comparison looks bored and complicit. Ultimately, they all appear to be complicity machines. Cleveland City Planning more and more resembles a cold portion of canned noodle soup -- mostly water and salt, corn and sugar with a few representative bits of meat and vegetable to allow it to pass muster as real nutrition/value.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission voted to approve a sprawling new port off the East 55th Street lakeshore, with some conditions.

"We're very pleased," Adam Wasserman, president of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, said after the unanimous vote. "We're committed to coming back and telling the commission more. We've got a lot of work to do." I'll say you do! Adam, you got some 'splainin' to do as Ricky Ricardo would say. As it is, this is looking sorta like I Love Lucy.

Cuyahoga County commissioners also signaled their support for the 200-acre project. No kidding!?! I'm shocked!

That means city, county and business leaders all support the move, which would free up the port's prime downtown location, west of Cleveland Browns Stadium, for lakefront living and public access to the water. Oh yeah, the GCP gave their blessing. For readers accessing this later than 3/22/08, search for “Greater Cleveland Partnership to lobby candidates for 3 projects” in the PD archive at CPL.org

But growing support doesn't mean the project - estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars and years in the making - is a done deal. Well no. Did they say who would pay those hundreds of millions?

The port authority will need the approval, and partnership, of numerous federal and state agencies, in particular the Army Corps of Engineers. And the taxpayers? Do they need approval of the taxpayers?

The city and port authority are working with the corps to develop a giant, diked storage area at East 55th, to serve as the port's base.

The East 55th site is among four the corps is considering for disposal of dredged muck from the Cuyahoga River shipping channel. Why don’t we put this stuff in train cars and send it to fill mountaintop mining sites in the Appalachians? Do we really need it?

Friday's vote did not come without controversy. Several skeptics questioned Wasserman's enthusiasm for the growth of container cargo, cited as a reason for doubling the port's current size.

The port has little such traffic now. Port watchdog Barbara Martin noted that containers would flow from the East Coast down the St. Lawrence Seaway, open only nine months a year.

And she cited a port study of container traffic done last year, which concluded that containers are not a "slam dunk" at the Cleveland port. A study!?! Did we do a study!?! Actually I seem to recall that we did several. I think I recall that we paid millions for them. I know how this goes though; “get a study to say that what we plan to do will work. If it doesn’t don’t show it to anyone.”

Railroad and trucking competitors would not give up container freight easily to Great Lakes ports, the report said. Yes, I bet the rail and trucking companies are surely readying for a fight.

And other ports will be as eager as Cleveland to snap up whatever container cargo comes down the St. Lawrence Seaway. That is when it's open - not in winter, so reduce that by 1/4 of the year. In winter how will these containers get to Cleveland or out of Cleveland?

But Wasserman said manufacturers are telling him there will be a demand for container cargo at the Cleveland port.  Which manufacturers? Are these the hundreds of thousands?

These days, Cleveland's port is relevant only to a handful of industries that deal in stone, iron ore and steel, he said.

"We could be relevant to hundreds or thousands of companies in Cleveland and beyond," Wasserman told the Planning Commission. Could be? What if we’re irrelevant to them?

Before Friday's vote, Planning Commission member Lillian Kuri urged the port and city to report back soon, in detail, how they intend to establish an "international trade district" on aging, underused land south of the new port along Interstate 90. You’d think planning commission would have wanted to see this before approving the move, no?

The proposed district covers some 500 acres, from East 30th to East 88th streets. Wasserman described the district as a series of business parks that could receive a foreign trade zone designation and other business incentives, to lure companies and thousands of jobs. Wow! Really!?! May we see the list of companies you’re hoping to lure, please? Let us all remember that hope is not a strategy. Which companies do we have lined up for this luring? Field of Dreams, Field of Dreams...

The Planning Commission approved the East 55th site with the understanding that the Army corps and the port will address a raft of community concerns. A “raft” huh? Would that be a “life raft”? There was one public meeting during which a “raft” of local cheerleaders (probably called to “testify” on behalf of the port plan) gave their “Amen!” to the project. Few questions were raised, there were a few cautionary comments (Ed Hauser stands out, of course) - no questions answered – no public dialogue, just a long cardboard poorly presented dog and pony show on a snowy evening in a remote location in Glenville.

Sounds familiar doesn't it. Just like when Cimperman said, "They are our brothers... "of the BOCC Administration building debacle. Sometimes it is hard being a family member and telling your son, daughter, sibling, parent, cousin, etc. that despite the fact that they love that drug, you are there to help them kick the habit. Could City Planning get some teeth and do their oversight job -- the one they are charged to do for us - to exercise their skills and abilities as knowledgeable planners and not throw caution to the wind? They seem to act like the frustrated single parent in the grocery checkout line who succumbs to the desperate cries of the toddler for the candy bar - yes the not nutritious, not part of a healthy diet placator - full of empty calories. "Just have it and shut up" the beleaguered Mom appears to say.

They include water quality within the east breakwall and effects on nearby assets, including the Quay 55 apartments, Burke Lakefront Airport and Rockefeller and Gordon parks. Water quality!?! Who cares about water quality!?! I mean really – we need jobs and this might bring them to us in say 20 years or so, so never mind water quality, let’s get busy with this port move - like yesterday! After all, we should have water quality to match our air quality – both in non-attainment means they are at least coordinated.

Within four months, the port must submit a layout of warehouses, cranes, outdoor storage, docks, container-handling equipment and links to nearby roads and rail lines. What's with these fast tracked insta-infrastructure deadlines for things that will last for generations? AMP 50 years, but we gotta do it now! Carnegie Medical Building becomes history in two meetings to be replaced with surface parking for the foreseeable future - bada bing in two meetings. The Port relocation slips right in (without even discussing the expansion of the CBT (let's keep that under the rug, because we'd rather wear the "Diamond Tiara" of Whiskey Island for long enough to placate the downtown developers who have finally recognized the benefit of lakefront greenspace to their developments). The plan is shortsighted and born of desperation. Rather than look at the entire shoreline of Ohio and Lake Erie when it comes to world trade and geography - how can Ohio benefit from short sea shipping and container cargo moving via inland ports? Don't ask - we gotta move now, approve now quickly and with only one public meeting to advance this idea, get the necessary signatures even if we don't have the ducks in a row, even if we can only see a few of the ducks and even if those ducks are a part of a declining population of waterfowl.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

tbreckenridge [at] plaind [dot] com, 216-999-4695

Seriously, who supplies the lubricants for these decisions?

This is a Once in a Lifetime opportunity so let’s listen to a couple of tunes as we prepare for this new round of boondoggles.

Here are a couple of scores for this occasion: Once in a Lifetime – David Byrne for Wasserman (cause he’s younger and might recognize this)

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack…where is that large automobile… this is not my beautiful wife… Water flowing underground…same as it ever was…

Charade –Henry Mancini for Carney (cause he’s older and will remember Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

When we played our charade… We were like children posing…
Playing at games, acting out names… Guessing the parts we played…

Clueless: the Montage!

Here's the montage from this post.  Headers are now conveniently stored on the toolbar.  Kudos Jeff.  
PLAY NICE--Tim (!)

horticulture

Jeff, you reminded me of one of my favorite Dorothy Parker ripostes: "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think." Applicable here?

Can't get enough

I can never get enough of Ed Hauser.  When Ed talks, I listen :)  Cool Cleveland picks up the Ed bandwagon this week.   Now that we are coming out of our winter comas, let's LISTEN.