Cleveland City Council Reduction

Submitted by lmcshane on Sun, 05/04/2008 - 08:10.
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all along the borders

From Cleveland City Planning: "The city is devided (sic) into 21 Wards, each ward has a elected council person. Each ward will have approximated same population. The city council has produced new ward boundaries based on the Census 2000 Public Law file. In general, the ward boundary does not cross Census Block. The new ward boundaries will take effect on Janurary (sic) 2002."

A gentleman who does business (land acquisition for home building/urban infill) once gave me an interesting perspective on this. He said, "Councilpersons don't want to work on projects that lie along their ward borders and Community Development Corporations, aren't interested in them either. This is where you will find the most dangerous areas, the least investment and likewise, guns, drugs, prostitution and other activities that give the city its dangerous reality. No one in the watchtower is looking at the borders as places of strategic investment. It may not benefit them in the long run." With a little thought, I realized why. As the population changes and census tracts shift, ward boundaries are redrawn by redistricting. If I invest in a project along my border today and it is a feather in my cap, it could well be a feather in my fellow councilperson's cap tomorrow. Now why would I expend money and support and staff time to assist my fellow councilperson when it is more appropriate for me to work in the geographic center of my ward where the feather is more certain to remain a mark of excellence for me?

Further, it is mind-boggling to consider on a true map (one that includes street names and numbers) where these boundaries are and how the boundaries of the CDC service areas intersect and overlap them. If a ward is redistricted based on census changes, does the CDC shift to accommodate that change or not? Who takes care of these alleyways, these porous border communities? It is like shifting sand. Who is my CDC and who is my councilperson today, tomorrow? If I need help, to whom do I turn?

Further complicating matters is Neighborhood Progress, Inc. with their strategic investment initiative. I understand that there is limited money and time, but the selection of certain neighborhoods  (Buckeye, Detroit Shoreway, Fairfax, Glenville and Wade Park, Slavic Village, and Tremont), leaves me wondering about the others. What are you to do if you live in an unchosen neighborhood, buy a shotgun and an iron security door? Put bars on the windows? By concentrating resources on some neighborhoods and abandoning others do we not, by neglect, create ghettos in other areas? Are we going to start relocating people? Is Cleveland becoming like Appalachia where clans live in  hollers cut off from their neighbors not by a mountain, but by investment initaives - those that have and those that don't? Woe to the people whose homes are on the wrong side of the borders... How might they have known years ago when they purchased a home in a neighborhood that would not be "chosen"?

I recently checked out a book I had read a long time ago and found this:

“They called for more structure, then, so we brought in some big hairy four-by-fours from the back shed and nailed them into place with railroad spikes. This new city, they said, was going to be just jim-dandy, would make architects stutter, would make Chambers of Commerce burst into flame. We would have our own witch doctors, and strange gods aplenty, and site-specific sins, and humuhumunukunukuapuaa in the public fish bowls. We workers listened with our mouths agape. We had never heard anything like it. But we trusted our instincts and our paychecks, so we pressed on, bringing in color-coated steel from the back shed and anodized aluminum from the shed behind that. Oh radiant city! we said to ourselves, how we want you to be built! Workplace democracy was practiced on the job, and the clerk-of-the-works (who had known Wiwi Lonn in Finland) wore a little cap with a little feather, very jaunty. There was never any question of hanging back (although we noticed that our ID cards were of a color different from their ID cards); the exercise of our skills, and the promise of the city, were enough. By the light of the moon we counted our chisels and told stories of other building feats we had been involved in: Babel, Chandigarh, Brasilia, Taliesin.

At dawn each day, an eight-mile run, to condition ourselves for the implausible exploits ahead.

The enormous pumping station, clad in red Lego, at the point where the new river will be activated…

Areas of the city, they told us, had been designed to rot, fall into desuetude, return, in time, to open space. Perhaps, they said, fawns would one day romp there, on the crumbling brick. We -were slightly skeptical about this part of the plan, but it was, after all, a plan, the ferocious integrity of the detailing impressed us all, and standing by the pens containing the fawns who would father the fawns who might some day romp on the crumbling brick, one could not help but notice one's chest bursting with antici­patory pride.

High in the air, working on a setback faced with alternating bands of gray and rose stone capped with grids of gray glass, we moistened our brows with the tails of our shirts, which had been dipped into a pleasing brine, lit new cigars, and saw the new city spread out beneath us, in the shape of the word FASTIGIUM. Not the name of the city, they told us, simply a set of letters selected for the elegance of the script. The little girl dead behind the rosebushes came back to life, and the passionate construction continued.

Donald Barthelme, from Overnight to Many Distant Cities (ISBN 0-399-12868-9)

Is this what’s going on here in Cleveland? Are we bursting with anticipatory pride yet? Or is that just some among us?

Insightful

  Susan says: 
Further complicating matters is Neighborhood Progress, Inc. with their strategic investment initiative. I understand that there is limited money and time, but the selection of certain neighborhoods  (Buckeye, Detroit Shoreway, Fairfax, Glenville and Wade Park, Slavic Village,Tremont), leaves me wondering about the others. What are you to do if you live in an unchosen neighborhood, buy a shotgun and an iron security door? Put bars on the windows? By concentrating resources on some neighborhoods and abandoning others do we not, by neglect, create ghettos in other areas? Are we going to start relocating people?
...

All good questions that beg answers from those of us in the forgotten neighborhoods.  What's the real agenda?  I would like to see council districts redrawn to reflect the new police districts--five wards.  Period.  Five CDCs (NPI has six).  Something is cooking and it ain't going to be pretty, but why not make all the existing councilpersons run against each other in 2010 for the remaining wards--they have to run, anyways? 

Five wards. Period.   5

An even better solution

I would abolish the Cleveland city government and all of the other city governments in Cuyahoga county and instead divide the county into 25-40 governmental units, with cleveland proper divided into 10-15.
I think the proper way for this to happen would be for the county to be divided into civil townships, each maintaining its own street maintenance, parks and zoning. That way instead of people living in neighborhoods that could be redistricted at any time they would live in wards/townships/villages that would have stable boundaries and their own government. Best of all, by having partisan, elected officials so close to the residents of the city they would have an advocate when dealing with higher levels of government.

Also, If the Blacks feel that the city council is unresponsive to their needs they would instead have a local town board that reflects them and their needs.

fodder for the city council reducing diet

Found this comment at cleveland.com following the story about Sweeney's reducing diet for Cleveland City Council:

"Here is a summary of ten minutes' research on the big cities of America and their city councils (ranked by population size) :

#1New York, pop 8,274,527, 51 council reps, 162,246 people/rep

#2 LA, pop 3,849,378, 15 council reps, 256,625 people/rep

#3 Chicago , pop 2,833,321, 50 council reps, 56,666 people/rep

#4 Houston, pop 2,144,491, 14 council reps, 153,178 people/rep

#5 Phoenix, pop 1,512,986, 8 council reps, 189,123 people/rep

#6 Philly, pop 1,448,394, 17 council reps, 85,200 people/rep

#11 Detroit, pop 918,849, 9 council reps, 102,094 people/rep

#15 Columbus, pop 733,203, 7 council reps, 104,743 people/rep

#40 Cleveland, pop 444,323, 21 council reps, 21,158 people/rep

Summary =>

NO OTHER MAJOR US CITY HAS THE KIND OF OVER_REPRESENTATION THAT CLEVELAND CONTINUES TO WASTE YOUR TAX DOLLARS ON!

The City of Cleveland is SO BLOATED with dead weight that they are sinking much faster than they can raise your taxes to support their fat arses!

And to boot, they pay each of the 21 council members an average of $70K! I'd love to see their resumes to learn how qualified they really are to earn that kind of bread ---- part time!

It's statistics like this that keep people calling Cleveland the "mistake by the lake". Get a clue and join the 21st century, Cleveland, before you cause the whole county to go into default!!!!"

Makes you wonder if these guys are doing the homework or if their aides are searching blogs for this sort of information?