Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND ALLIANCE STOLE ALL THE MISSING SCENE BOXES, CITING SAFETY CONCERNS (REMEMBER, WHAT HAPPENED LAST SUMMER)
Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sun, 02/12/2017 - 22:29.
DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND ALLIANCE STOLE ALL THE MISSING SCENE BOXES, CITING SAFETY CONCERNS
by Sam Allard on Fri day, February 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm
Here is the link to the article by Mr. Allard:
REMEMBER, HOW DCA (DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND ALLIANCE) STAFF HARASSED A CLEVELAND ACTIVIST LAST SUMMER (2016) (See note and references at end)
ARTICLE BY SAM ALLARD (Courtesy, Scene Magazine)
The Downtown Cleveland Alliancetook the 26 missing Scene boxes. They didn't use the word "steal" in their communications with us — they said the boxes were picked up due to safety concerns — but we're failing to see much of a distinction.
A DCA operations director admitted that the boxes had been taken over the past several weeks and are now "in safekeeping" in the organization's operations center on E. 16th and St. Clair. DCA is ready, they say, to "aggressively work with" Scene's team to get the boxes back in their proper locations.
DCA is the only non-profit organization dedicated to improving downtown — "striving to make downtown Cleveland the most compelling place to live, work and play," per the literature. Most visibly, it employs a team of ambassadors for street beautification and maintenance.
Heather Holmes, DCA's director of marketing and public relations, told Scene late this afternoon that it was due to this aspect of DCA's responsibilities — street and sidewalk maintenance — that the Scene boxes had been taken. Evidently they were becoming something of a hazard.
"Quite a few of them were flipped on their side, in the middle of the sidewalk, tipping over into the street," Holmes said, "and so [our staff] took them back to our operations center for safekeeping."
But why wasn't Scene informed?
Holmes said that DCA was actually in the midst of compiling a "very detailed report" about all the boxes — how many of them, where they were taken from, etc. — but that she personally agreed that the staff waited much too long to reach out to us.
"We'll fall on our sword on that," said Holmes. "They should've called the moment they picked up the first one. At the time, they didn't know exactly who to reach out to."
Holmes said the DCA operations team wants to do whatever it can to help Scene's distribution team more securely affix the boxes to the sidewalks. The bad winter weather had, according to Holmes, been wreaking havoc on our boxes.
But the scale still confused us. How could even the fiercest of winter winds knock over 26 Scene boxes (in at least three discrete sessions) while passing over all others?
"It could be snowplows," Holmes speculated. "If the snowplow went by and it moved a little bit, it could knock [a box] right over. I'm not sure how they got knocked down, but they were down. They were in distress, if you will."
An epidemic, to be sure. Readers, from this moment on: Please kindly apprise us when and where you see our boxes blowing higgledy-piggledy into downtown streets!
Scene was initially tipped off to DCA's involvement when an advertiser called us this morning, after our article about the missing boxes, saying that he'd seen a DCA van (or truck?) taking a Scene box this past Saturday morning. When he asked the DCA folks what they were doing, they drove away. (He did not indicate whether the box had been in distress).
A DCA spokesperson told Scene, when we first inquired, that picking up news boxes was not something they would "typically do." We certainly hope not. Those boxes are, of course, private property and permitted by (as in, with individual permits from) the city. Heather Holmes called us shortly after our circulation director, Don Kriss, spoke with their operations guy for nearly 30 minutes, begging for more transparency.
The DCA, which represents "downtown interests," might not be terribly fond of Scene. This seems worth pointing out. Both Len Komoroski of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dan Walsh, Board Chair of Destination Cleveland — both of whom were among the handful of presenters at the Quicken Loans Arena Transformation Press Conference — sit on DCA's 18-member Board of Directors, the rest of whom are comprised chiefly of big wigs from the worlds of real estate and finance.
Scene's recent coverage of "downtown issues" — our outrage over the secretive financing deal at the Q and our refusal to call the Mayor's gross mishandling of Public Square anything but an unmitigated disaster — might be just the sort of "unsafe conditions" that spurred the DCA to clean up their streets.
REMEMBER, HOW DCA STAFF HARASSED A CLEVELAND ACTIVIST LAST SUMMER (2016)
The news that the DCA (Downtown Cleveland Alliance) stole all the Cleveland Scene Boxes did not come as a surprise. Last summer, I (Satinder P. S. Puri) was harassed by DCA staff.
As a Cleveland activist, I have been opposing the renovation of Public Square a bogus $53.5 million project, since August 2014. The square has been nicknamed the Jimmy Dimora Public Square because of corruption involved in the process. In March 2015 there was a 10-day long hunger strike to protest corruption in the project. So far there have been nearly 900 hours of demonstrations first with the LEAVE PUBLIC SQUARE ALONE signs and now with WELCOME JIMMY DIMORA PUBLIC SQUARE signs. The demonstrations continue unabated with the goal of educating the public about corruption in Cuyahoga County.
On the evening of August 19, 2016, I was threatened by a DCA staff member with police action for taking photographs in the renovated Public Square featuring the PechaKucha 2016 event. DCA was a partner in the renovation.
Here are posts on REALNEO pertaining to my experience:
CLEVELAND ACTIVIST ON YOUTUBE TALKING ABOUT HARRASMENT FROM DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND ALLIANCE STAFF, August 29, 2016
CLEVELAND ACTIVIST THREATENED WITH POLICE ACTION FOR TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS IN PUBLIC SQUARE, August 21, 2016