Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Cleveland's Two-Tier Reality
Submitted by lmcshane on Sun, 04/01/2007 - 11:30.
I was struck by Sam Miller's comment in today's Plain Dealer editorial Come Together:
"If you people out in Gates Mills and Pepper Pike and Beachwood and Westlake and Bay Village want to turn your back on this problem, then figure out how you are going to maintain good school systems and get a good price for your house. You are not. You will get caught in the same decline that is overtaking Cleveland now."
- Sam Miller
Yet the two-tier agenda continues with the Euclid Corridor planned for the hoi polloi and the "Opportunity Corridor" planned for the exalted ones and their magnificent vehicles. In Sam Miller's defense, I will say I saw him WALKING downtown on a regular basis. Imagine that!
Unified government is region's only hope, Sam Miller says
Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH) - Thursday, March 29, 2007
Readability: 10-12 grade level (Lexile: 1190L)
Author: Joe Guillen, Plain Dealer Reporter
Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are doomed by the poor performances of business and political leaders, and the only way the region can survive is with a unified government, says longtime civic booster Sam Miller, a philanthropist and co- chairman of Forest City Enterprises.
Miller hopes his strong words and cash jolt civic leaders to action. He pledged to provide money for two years for "a communitywide process to look at the way we are governed."
"We are confused, leaderless and apathetic," Miller told attendees of the NEO Success Awards on March 22 in Mayfield Heights, according to a printed copy of the speech. "But worse we are in a gloomy contemplation of our future and have forgotten what made this city great.
"We have become the Tower of Babel."
Cleveland State University's Levin College of Urban Affairs is contemplating aiding his quest.
Mark Rosentraub, dean of the college, said in an e-mail that he and his colleagues have since spoken with Miller and are considering working with groups who can achieve the vision Miller wants.
In his speech last week, Miller did not offer specific ways to change local government. He did not elaborate when reached for comment Tuesday.
Many of his remarks chided divisions between Cleveland and its suburbs and an overall unwillingness to put in hard work to reap rewards. He said local politicians are too interested in protecting their own turf and suffer from a parochialism that is paralyzing the region.
He cited the recent plight of Myers University in Cleveland, which was suffering financial problems and on the verge of shutting down. Miller said he called the school's president, who told him no one had called to offer help.
"Almost everyone is hiding under the banner of 'regionalism,' " Miller said.
"But when the hard question challenging the central issue of the way we are governed is brought forward, it is met with mouth-gaping cynicism."
He stressed the need to unite as one community. He complained that there were too many nonprofit groups with the same agenda when the area needs just one good one.
In his speech, Miller did not name specific leaders to blame for his description of what Northeast Ohio has become. Instead, he testified to the erosion of a risk-taking mentality and the stature of Cleveland that made the region so powerful several decades ago.
"It used to be that the mayor of the city of Cleveland was the titular political leader of the region," he said. "But today City Hall no longer has the resources or the political reach to even begin to fulfill that role."
Andrea Taylor, spokeswoman for Mayor Frank Jackson, said he is dedicated to promoting a regional economy and solving its current problems.
Others echoed Miller's sentiments that Northeast Ohio must unite.
"We do need to band together as a region," said Carin Rockind, vice president of marketing and communication for Team NEO, a regional economic development group.
Miller also called on those who have left Cleveland for the suburbs to recognize the region's problems and help fix them.
"Simply put, if you people in Gates Mills and Pepper Pike and Beachwood and Westlake and Bay Village want to turn your back on the problem, then figure out how you are going to maintain good school systems and get a good price for your house.
"You are not. You will get caught in the same decline that is overtaking Cleveland now."
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