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lena's not lying guy has video of dec.18 twdc - Old Tremont Block Club resists Historic District designation on Scranton Rd.
Submitted by Quest-News-Serv... on Tue, 04/06/2010 - 21:46.
guy has video of the dec.18, 2010, twdc board meeting and when jerleen question the board and chris garland was there also on who wrote and authorized the "unauthorized letter" no one would admitt anything except as jerleen wrote about dean - all of a sudden my good friend chris is stating lena is not telling the the truth and that lena was the one that "authorized" the unauthorized letter - someone is not telling the truth and lena and the group wouldn't authorize said letter that is not in their best interest - since said citizens violation of civil rights and fraud with federal and other funds are in volved - along with jerleen and others we have sent the said information for an investigation to the federal burea of investigation and inspector generals of state and federal agencies and attorney generals and including elected officals and media and the american civil liberties union.
yogi and guy
Old Tremont Block Club resists Historic District designation on Scranton Road
Submitted by lmiller on April 6, 2010 - 8:00pm.
Old Tremont Block Club resists Historic District designation on Scranton Road
(Plain Press, April 2010) A number of Ward 14 residents living on Scranton Road have found themselves living under the dark cloud of the foreclosure crisis looming over the City of Cleveland. With more than twenty Scranton Road properties recently being in and out of foreclosure, most homeowners are struggling in hopes of finding solutions and pulling out last-ditch efforts to save their homes to keep a roof over their heads. Cleveland City Council and the Landmarks Commission, along with a few of the more well to do residents, are attempting to add to the economic burden by supporting an Emergency Ordinance to establish a short section of Scranton Road as a Local Landmarks Historic District.
More than a year ago, homeowner John Briggs teamed up with architectural historian Craig Bobby and nominated approximately one and a half blocks of Scranton Road, between Mentor and Castle Avenues, to be designated as the Scranton Road Local Landmarks Historic District. Creating any Historical District for special historical or aesthetic value would raise the standards and add to the financial load for all homeowners located within the boundaries of the described area.
On November 19, 2008, residents and other interested parties attended the community block club meeting and discussed their plans for establishing a Local Landmarks Historic District. The block club membership did not agree to support the landmark proposal. The Old Tremont Block Club is one of three Ward 14 organized neighborhood groups that falls within the service area of Tremont West Development Corporation (TWDC). Scheduled meetings The Old Tremont Block Club are held in the lobby at Scranton/Castle for the purpose of discussing community concerns, neighborhood necessities and goals for the future. For the past three years, the block club and its members have been under the leadership of Co-Chairs Lena Jackson and Julia Smith.
Often times Jackson fires up her motorized wheelchair and along with co-chair Julia Smith, who must rely on a cane for traipsing the sidewalks, they take to the streets handing out flyers in the neighborhood hoping to elicit more active participation in the community discussions and decision making. Co-chair Jackson stated, "On one such outing, during the time the Historic District was on the block club agenda, John Briggs was noticed entering his property. My partner called his name and hurried back to hand him a flyer. Mr. Briggs just crumpled it in his fist and tossed it in the trash can."
On March 16, 2010, life-long Tremont residents Mary and Gilbert Martinez attended the neighborhood monthly block club and joined in the decisions. Mr. Martinez stated, "For ten years, I have lived in that house and John Griggs hasn't even looked my way. I see a movement, the first step to gentrification of our neighborhood just like Tremont which drove everybody out. They're driving away the rif-raf. We're the rif-raf. We don't have 4 years of college and we live on incomes from thirty-to-fifty thousand. It would cost me thirty grand to meet the required specifications if this were to become a Historic District."
While three TWDC Board of Trustee Members listen to residents as they expressed their heartbreak and despair as well as their fears of having to keep up with the "Briggs," Councilman Cummins stated that TWDC and other community organizations offered programs that those suffering hardships could be eligible and qualify for, however, this provided little comfort since qualifying to fill out the program applications does not necessarily make a homeowner eligible to actually receive the assistance.
Other residents attending the meeting expressed their discontent with TWDC. Leah Adams stated, " I used to go to all the meetings at TWDC until it became apparent that nobody wants us. Tremont don't want us and Stockyard don't want us. We're orphans. Nobody recognizes us or this area."
It was during the evening's discussion that Co-Chair Jackson brought to the membership's attention that an "unauthorized" letter, dated November 24, 2008, and addressed to the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, had surfaced. The fraudulent letter stated that The Old Tremont Block Club supported the designation of a Historic District. The Block Club Leader stated, "We absolutely did not agree to support the Historic District." Ms. Jackson further stated that she did not learn of the phony letter until nearly a year after the fact and that to her knowledge the letter originated out of TWDC. She also stated she was led to understand the disputed document was drafted by a staff member of the organization.
Jackson went on to say that upon learning of the fraudulent letter, she immediately wrote a letter dated November 16, 2009, notifying Councilman Brian Cummins, TWDC Executive Director Chris Garland and Landmarks Commission Secretary Robert Kaiser of the impropriety.
Newly elected Ward 14 Councilman Brian Cummins stated, "from what I can tell, most of the properties are not too "bastardized" and while the letter is the smoking gun, I think we should re-set the clock and ask the people what they want." The Councilman did not disagree that property values will go up and somewhere down the line residents will be forced to pay higher property taxes. He also stated that current housing code violations were the same regardless of designating a Local Landmarks Historic District but the cost of materials required to make repairs and maintain the properties to measure up to the Landmarks District standards could add on some extra expense.
Jackson continued by explaining, "The reason why this block club did not endorse the Historic District is because of the amount of monies it's going to cost the poor residents that will be living in the District. They would have to pay more taxes and the seniors could not maintain their yards like they would be required to be."
The group leader brought the discussion to a close with these words, "The only way we would be willing to change our position is if TWDC would go door to door, talk to the people and have them sign a paper saying they wanted it. Then there wouldn't be a problem. But with the economy the way it is, nobody in their right mind is going to want to pay extra taxes and fees."
Block Club members and residents expressed their concerns that Lakewood resident Craig Bobby is the driving force behind establishing this small area as a Local Landmarks Historic District. It is also believed that the postal worker not only made the nomination, but was also in charge of drafting the legislation that ex-councilman Joe Santiago submitted to the Landmarks Commission on December 11, 2008.
The Scranton/Castle CMHA Complex is home to many handicapped, low-income, elderly and minorities. Being renters as well as being aware that the designation of a Historic District will not directly affect their living status, the CMHA residents believe that their block club and membership were used along with the "unauthorized" letter to influence the furtherance of an agenda not in the best interest of the many low-income and elderly minority residents.
On November 19, 2009, the subject of the "unauthorized" letter was brought before the TWDC Board of Directors at which time Board President Tom Cook made the motion to enter Executive Session for a personnel procedure and Board member matter. Lynn Murray seconded the motion and the Board unanimously approved. At that time all non-board attendees were ask to leave the room.
With the Executive Session ending and guests permitted back into the room, Karen Moss made the motion that all correspondence prepared by TWDC Staff on behalf of constituent groups do not leave the office without an authorized signature. R. Richardson seconded. The Board unanimously approved. Although the November 19, 2009, Board Minutes were approved at the December 18, 2009, Board Meeting, they have not been made available on the TWDC web site.
In making further inquiries as to who actually wrote the "unauthorized" letter, at the March 18, 2010, TWDC Board Meeting, Board Member Deane Malaker stated his position by saying, "I didn't have anything to do with the letter, but I can say that steps have been taken to prevent anything like that from happening again." TWDC Board Member Karen Moss suggested the request for information could perhaps be submitted via e-mail.
On March 23, 2010, TWDC Executive Director Chris Garland responded with this statement:
I have reviewed the background on the letter to the Landmarks Commission about the Scranton Road historic district that you are inquiring about. In the course of providing routine community organizing assistance to the Old Tremont block club, chairperson Lena Jackson asked TWDC Community Organizer Kristen Trolio to draft a letter on behalf of the block club in support of creating a historic district on Scranton Road.
The substance of the letter is consistent with the meeting minutes and recollections of the people in attendance. If Lena thought the letter overstated the block club’s support she could have notified Tremont West and we would have responded appropriately.
No disciplinary actions were needed or taken. Last year, the Board passed a resolution that in the future Tremont West now will only provide this form of assistance under clear request and special circumstances.
Excellent story, Jerleen.
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