WE STILL NEED NEWSPAPERS #2

Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 07/30/2008 - 14:05.

Back in April I wrote an item here about the necessity for newspapers.

As I wrote then, “Talk all you want about weekly alternatives, bloggers and citizen activists – and we need them badly as prods and sometimes even more – but newspapers have the heft, expertise and man/womanpower to go in depth on issues.”

Well, we have a bit of proof in the coverage by the Plain Dealer of the latest scandal in town.

The coverage of the raids at County offices and the detail contained in the Plain Dealer shows just why we will always need a newspaper – or something very much like one - for there to be enough reporters to gather the news. It takes people to gather and sift such information from numerous sources.

I counted six PD reporters dealing with the FBI/IRS probe and related matters and likely a number of others played some small roll in three pages of information today. I counted 10 PD people who worked on the breaking news story of the targets Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and Auditor Frank Russo and related individuals. That doesn’t count editorial or all the graphic work that goes into such a story.

Even the TV coverage I’ve seen has had some “meat” to the reports and TV news made interesting viewing with its helicopter shots of the rather extravagant homes and grounds of Russo and Dimora.

( categories: )

Can't save everything

  Let's just face it/admit it--blogs are not worth saving and are not going to be saved.  They are basically PSAs, emphemera...What gets saved in hardcopy and microfilm?  Newspapers?  Ironically, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has it's own hard time:

PreservationNation Blog Maintenance

by Sarah Heffern on July 29th, 2008

Today, July 29, the PreservationNation blog is getting a much-needed software upgrade. We expect that, once it is complete, everything will function as it should. However, there are often unexpected surprises with software updates, so please bear with us if things are slightly wonky for a day or two. And, in the event that you stop receiving updates via RSS, please visit the site to re-subscribe.

Many thanks for your patience and understanding — we really appreciate it!

Update: The upgrade went (mostly) without a hitch. The only thing we seem to have lost is our categories, which means navigation is a bit scarce at the moment and we’ve had to temporarily eliminate the topic-specific RSS feeds. We’re working on getting these back as quickly as possible. Thanks again for your patience.

slightly wonky

You got that right, sister :) 

Meat of mainstream reporting on PoolGate? More like cottoncandy!

I was watching "Feagler and Friends" yesterday, which was all about PoolGate. Feagler interviewed Lawson Jones and said he must have expected something to come down... there must have been some buzz about FBI inquiries at the county level, etc. Lawson Jones looked like a deer in headlights and said he hadn't a clue anything was being investigated, or needed to be investigated. After the Lawson Jones interview segments, Feagler had his panel of political wonks, including Tom Beres, from channel 3 news. Beres said he was surprised by what Lawson Jones had said as there was lots of buzz about investigations over the last few months. So I don't sense we are getting honest facts from politicians nor hard reporting from the Mainstream Media on this matter - the reporters are not pushing the facts, even when the facts and conflicts of fact are presented to them on their own forums - the coverage is all hindsight fluff so far, and I don't think the I-Team is looking for anything more than dirty pictures for sweeps.

I believe what will be the biggest problem with news coverage going forward will be that the mainstream media has so adored and gushed over these people and initiatives now under investigation... the media has been so drunk with love of rich developers, celebrities (e.g. "King James" and some chef on E. 4th Street, who they love to eat) and powerbrokers who pay their bills... for so long, they consider themselves all part of one elite club, and do not want to rock the yacht. How to protect Hagan and Mason... how to protect taxes and MedCon... my how the spin doctors must be spinning... great time to be a power-PR wonk!!! I wonder where Nancy Lesic fits into all of this?

I think REALNEO, Scene, the Free Times and citizens in general have provided far better coverage of the Crisis at the County, over the past three years, than anyone in the mainstream media, at all! The lack of hard journalism by the PD and other well paid news outlets is what has allowed the crisis at the county to happen in the first place, and continue for so long. I do not now expect the Mainstream Media to help solve the crisis... they will continue in wine, dine, hobnob and play their PR role for local power brokers, institutions and remaining political bosses, as paid to do.

Feagler & Friends airs: WVIZ/PBS: Fridays - 8:30 PM, Saturdays - 8:00 PM, Sundays - 11:30 AM; The Ohio Channel: Mondays - 1:30 PM | 9:30 PM, Tuesdays - 5:30 AM

Disrupt IT

Mason next?

Norm: Let's not mix up TV

Norm: Let's not mix up TV news, especially Feagler, with what I wrote about the need for newspapers.

The Plain Dealer has expended a lot of energy and continues to do so on this story thus far.  If I know reporters they would like to do even more. They need to get some encouragement to be even more aggressive and go beyond the greed of public officials to the people feeding and nourishing them. In other words, the to real meat of this story.

We know all this could not happen without major developers and contractors feeding into this system of corruption.

There should be a team of reporters going after the Forest Cities, the Dick Jacobs, the Rismans. How much have they gotten in subsidies? What tax reductions have they gotten in the value of their properties. I remember researching one city subsidy deal with Robert Risman's involvement and the city's file I examined mistakenly had given his net value - as I remember it - at $100 million. So there's plenty more to be done and we ought to be encouraging the troops to force their bosses to allow them to get further into the muck.

PD coverage getting more interesting and in-depth

I've been very interested to read the more recent coverage of PoolGate in the PD - especially "Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo, Cuyahoga County's enduring political partnership" by Christopher Evans... and the on-line version has a fun photoshop treatment of Dimora and Russo worth checking out. Seems like Evans was already getting in-depth about this dynamic duo and the investigation gave him great context.

Where I buy the PD, the owner said the PD delivery man said he hasn't been picking up many unsold copies, since the Crisis in Cuyahoga County hit, so the PD should be thrilled, and invest all available resources in covering this story. If they had such real meat in every issue, like recently, they would be much more successful... and so would Cleveland and NEO.
Disrupt IT

From here to Timbuktu

Saving our history doesn't come easy.  Right Mrs. Peak :) 

Norm: I think the PD

Norm: I think the PD realizes it has a newspaper sales bonanza in the Dimora/Russo story. Good that they are covering it. Not good that they are overdoing some of it by making a joke of the two culprits, even if they lend themselves to such description.

However, there is no investigation of the med mart/convention center deal. This is most needed.

That's the next corruption barrel. And by Thursday it will be a bigger corruption barrel than it is today.

However, exposing its problems would force the PD to take on the private sector here and they are not about to do it.

So I have very mixed feelings about the rabid coverage of the Dimora/Russo story, which so lends itself to easy mockery.

But that's been the way here as long as I can remember. They went after the bad, sometime silly, behavior of Kucinich but didn't examine the banks that put the city into default, after having rolled over the same loans by Ralph Perk without even a question.

And so it goes...

My understanding is Jones Day bankrupt Cleveland

In a May 1996 Cleveland Magazine profile of Kucinich:

"His two-year term was marked by explosive confrontations with virtually every powerful entity of the city, revolving mostly around an issue that erupted on Dec. 15, 1978, when Kucinich refused to yield to bankers who gave him a choice: Sell the Municipal Light System to the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. or the city will go into default. The mayor said no. And the city went down. And the legacy has been his ever since."

As the story was told to me, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. wanted to take over Muni but Kucinich blocked that so Jones Day orchestrated the bank defaults to eliminate Kucinich.... I believe that is Dick Pogue's personal legacy, bankrupting Cleveland. Do you have any Point of Views or insight on that subject?

When I arrived at Tulane, in New Orleans, for college, in 1979, coming from Cleveland, I was ashamed of Cleveland, because of what turned out to be the action of a few powerful lawyers and greedy executives. But the only thing anyone down there (from all over the country) knew about Cleveland was our Boy Mayor who took on the establishment... everyone loved him... early indication of his national potential and appeal.

More to the PoolGate point, I think the big story will turn out to be Doan Pyramid and the whole VA mess, because that is Federal, has involved demolishing historic buildings and trees, already in construction, and like $130 million in bonds are approved but not yet issued by the Port Authority... and half the mess is based in burbilly Breksville... so there are many huge and suspicious players involved, and the amounts are even larger than with the MedCon, and being Federal means Mason can't offer protection.

The MedCon con needs to be fully aired, starting with the chief county administrator going to work for the Con. I say kill the con, return the tax revenues, and bite the bullet at the county level. Cuyahoga County will probably be near-bankrupt, since the County Commissioners and Administrators probably already spent the tax income through general funds... anyone know where it's gone?

I'm especially interested in the Breuer fiasco and all those contracts to folks like Madison, who performed poor service at great expense to taxpayers.  I saw the firm speak about the situation to the Cleveland Planning Commission, I believe it was, and they were dead wrong about everything, and should return any fees paid to them (as well as for designing those ugly bus stops on the Euclid Silver Line... uch). I'm sure that lots of other "professionals" involved in that self-inflicted train wreck wasted $millions of our money.... the deal to sell the building now should be thoroughly investigated. as well.

Oh, and then there is the Juvi Justice complex on Quincy... been to that mess yet? Lots of steel and concrete... so many wires... no oversight? Right in the Opportunity Corridor, though... hum!?!?!

Bottom line, every big county project and contract needs to be reviewed, lots of people certainly need to go to jail, and far greater care must be made to monitor government behavior here in the future. I'm sure the crooked politicians love to be able to do their crimes in the dark, away from the media, so the shrinking news scene in NEO is like a white collar ticket to steal. We the people need to police and reject these crooks, which mean we the people need to get serious about our community and WISE UP... the days of getting by on lead-dead brain-power is over, and failed!

The PD needs to dig all they may on all of this... the reporters are just putting together their sources and getting perspective themselves, so this will take a long time... we haven't seen below any surfaces of this cruddy place yet.

I hope the PD covers a new County Crisis fiasco or con a day for five years... even fluff like the Russo endorsement of the Mirage... and I hope that increases their sales and the management sees a new light, that real news sells... then the PD won't need to fire so many reporters.

Disrupt IT

Laughing at them vs. with them

I've been around lots of corrupt politicians and business people over the years... especially in uber corrupt Louisiana, before the floods. They get away with incredible cons right before the public's eyes, and the media is never anywhere near the action, which all happens at private lodges and back rooms of restaurants we wouldn't even bother to eat in... steak houses are very BIG! They sing lots of Sinatra... "New York, New York" is always big... and tell off-color jokes, and go hunting and fishing and to Vegas... they all go to Vegas, over and over... and the business people pay for everything and cover gambling loses and provide escorts, etc., etc., for politicians... such a cliche

If you want to "Map this Mess", map who were in Vegas at the same times, and interview the casino staff and management

Disrupt IT

Transfer of HUD properties

Roldo, why is no one examining the feeding frenzy on unloaded HUD properties in NEO and the revolving door of LLC transfers that bury the trail of demolition liens on foreclosed properties?  The rumor mill in Ward 15 has some favored residents being allowed to pick up some of these HUD properties that are going to revert to the CDCs or councilpersons for $1.00.  If these are rumors, I don't hear any one disputing the rumor. 

I heard Joe Sidoti explaining this at CPC

Stopped into a Cleveland Planning Commission meeting last spring to see what was up, and on the agenda was a presentation about the $1 homes being offered to the city by HUD. I think that it was the day that Barb Shergalis popped up unannounced on the agenda so I went down to get an update on the County Administration Project.

Members of the CPC had never heard of this - HUD sells the homes to the city for $1 and the city gives them to CDCs to renovate. It breezed through of course...

I know it doesn't answer your question directly, but these things are out there online. thing 1 and thing 2.