OPPORTUNITY - A CORRIDOR DRIVEN BY PD'S EGGER

Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 06/02/2009 - 16:38.

Steve Litt had to swerve and swivel in writing about the Opportunity Corridor - the road Cleveland’s Establishment now finds irresistible. The reason: His boss.

 

Litt, the Plain Dealer’s architectural critic, did well in being honest about a touchy issue for a Plain Dealer writer. However, he had to tread lightly in Sunday’s article.

 

After all, Terry Egger, his boss, is co-chairing the panel put together by the Greater Cleveland Partnership to push the “Opportunity Corridor.” Egger is publisher of the PD.

 

Why he would put himself into this situation can only be read as a need for power. Don’t see it any other way.

 

Co-chairman Egger had the public panel’s first meeting held incommunicado from the public, which will pay for it. Where?  In his Plain Dealer’s offices. Weeks ago.

 

There is nothing like guarded secrecy from the same people who demand transparency of others. That’s the Plain Dealer.

 

Litt is a big booster of the road but he outlined some of the problems of a panel chosen to tell us that “We need this!” It’s the cry for another big project.

 

As someone mentioned to me today, I thought the Euclid Corridor was the highway from downtown and the interstate roads to University Circle. Didn’t we just spend more than $200 million for that? Yes, we did.

 

For that matter shouldn’t we be moving away from encouraging private transportation? Should we not be improving public transportation, doing everything we can to encourage people to use mass transit rather than getting in their auto. Shouldn’t we be moving people away from trying to save two or ten minutes by constructing multi-million dollar roadways?

 

I think the answer is YES.

 

As usual our leadership – the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Plain Dealer, Cleveland Foundation and Gund Foundation, prime funders of the panel – moves us in the wrong direction. Very expensive wrong direction. The foundations anted up $100,000 each for a phony public show. Just give us slogans.

 

The less than three mile road – from E. 55th & I-490 to E. 105th – will cost an estimated $350 million.

 

Litt correctly gives us citations from the Federal Highway Administration Web site about requirements that the public be involved in such decision-making.

 

That’s like saying children should behave or be quiet.

Not going to happen.

 

He quotes Egger saying that his “point of view is that the public’s business needs to be done in public.” Publicly? In his office. Are you kidding?

 

Egger says that even as he holds the panel meeting in his own offices at the Plain Dealer. In private. No press allowed.

 

What utter nonsense. None of this “planning” is going to be done with any real public input.

 

Litt and Chris Warren, Mayor Frank Jackson’s director of regional development, credit the panel with being more diverse. Litt cites membership by three Cleveland City Council members. Pleeeze!

 

We have another stacked deck, citizens. They could change the name of the city to Rigged Ohio. Nobody would notice and the foundations would pay for it.

 

 

 

 

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Roldo on the Opportunity Corridor

  Roldo--I agree with you.  We emphatically do NOT need an "Opportunity Corridor."  But, please don't stop with this one post in response to Steven Litt.  You know several of the panel members.  Why are they on the panel?  Don't you see a conflict of interest?
 

opportunity to keep our friends in work

"With so much vacant property near the proposed Opportunity Corridor, the development possibilities are limitless, said Terri Hamilton Brown, project director of the group that will coordinate and promote the project." Don't I recognize that name? What was it? Uh, president of University Circle Inc, dubbed "Cleveland's other mayor"? But didn't she move on to something else? Didn't she work for National City Bank? Oh yes, here's the resume:

Prior to joining National City, Brown served as president of University Circle Incorporated, a nonprofit organization established to promote and provide direct services and real estate development activities in University Circle – Cleveland's premier arts, education and medical district. From 1998 to 2003, Brown served as executive director of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, where she was responsible for providing affordable housing, safety and social services to approximately 50,000 residents. Previously, she spent eight years with the City of Cleveland Department of Community Development, initially establishing the Housing Construction Office and later serving as director. She has also served as development officer for the Cleveland Office of Enterprise Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to making affordable housing available to low-income families.

Brown is significantly involved in the community, serving as a trustee for The Cleveland Foundation, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland, United Way Services, Shorebank Cleveland, The President's Council Foundation, Gilmour Academy, First Tee of Cleveland, and In Council with Women. She earned a bachelor's degree in economics from The University of Chicago and a master's degree in city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Well!! No wonder! But she left National City, eh? Oh my, I can't recall hearing that news, but according to websites, she is still on board there. Great, I mean if Ronn Richard can head up the Cleveland Foundation and also dole out the federal stimulus dollars coming to Ohio and visit Halifax with Port Authority officials, why should someone else be employed to do that job or this one, eh? These folks are working overtime. OK, Richard is volunteering to read through the zillions of stimulus proposals, but here we have a Ms. Brown being paid:

Brown will be paid through two-year grants of $100,000 each given to the Partnership's Economic Growth Foundation by the Cleveland Foundation and the Gund Foundation. 

I wonder how much a senior vice president at National City brings home these days anyway? Not enough? Well at least she is still married to Darnell Brown, CEO of the City of Cleveland. I guess that helps with remaining over employed. Did she leave National City? Anyone know? It sure is cozy at the top echelons of Cleveland planning and politics.

Does anyone recall early opportunity corridor planning? "Mayor-elect Jane Campbell stressed throughout the fall campaign that she would be a champion of city neighborhoods, and she's driving home that point with transportation experts who are designing the Cleveland Innerbelt study. Ms. Campbell, who assumes office Jan. 7, last week made clear her opposition to a proposed University Circle freeway connecting I-490 from East 55th Street to I-90. She said the concept put forth by the Ohio Department of Transportation would prove a physical divider to the Glenville neighborhood it would intersect."

So what? Glenville gets a pass and Slavic Village, Central and Fairfax salivate to have a freeway built through their neighborhoods? Next we'll have to have noise barriers for the roadway. What's wrong with this picture?

But back to the Farkas piece you linked to Laura: does it not seem unethical to anyone besides me that Terrance C.Z. Egger should have his newspaper as the propaganda perpetrator on this issue? This has been a confusing issue so far - for one, we don't know what is proposed - a boulevard, an interstate highway or a toll road, but we do know that this is a moving target whose length (once 3 something miles ("The Opportunity Corridor is a 3.3-mile road that would connect Interstate 490 to University Circle."), now 2.75 miles) and price tag (once $300 million, then $350 million, then $374 million, now $375 million). We also know that Terrance Egger publisher of the one newspaper in town is "all for it". He'd better be - the study is not to know if it makes sense, but more like a public relations campaign to see that is gets done. He's got Farkas and Litt (maybe others, I can't keep track) in line to make sure we're all sold on it. I'm not sold. Keep those reasons coming Mr. Egger. Here's whose steering us cause inquiring minds want to know:

1.  Terrance Egger, Co-Chairman  President & Publisher, The Plain Dealer
2.  Jamie Ireland, Co-Chairman  Managing Partner, Early Stage Partners
3.  Mayor Frank G. Jackson  Mayor, City of Cleveland
4.  Lt. Governor Lee Fisher  State of Ohio
5.  Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland  Cleveland City Council, Ward 5
6.  Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell  Cleveland City Council, Ward 6
7.  Councilman Tony Brancatelli  Cleveland City Council, Ward 12
8.  Jim Rokakis  Treasurer, Cuyahoga County
9.  Joe Roman  President & CEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership
10.  Vickie Johnson  Executive Director, Fairfax Renaissance Corporation
11.  Tim Tramble  Executive Director, Burten Bell Carr Development Corp
12.  Marie Kittredge  Executive Director, Slavic Village Development
13.  Chris Ronayne    President & CEO, University Circle Inc
14.  Harriett Applegate  Executive Secretary, North Shore AFL-CIO
15.  Mark Barbash    Ohio Department of Development
16.  Jolene Molitoris    Director, Ohio Department of Transportation
17.  Joe Calabrese  Executive Director, Regional Transit Authority
18.  John Anthony Orlando  Executive Vice President, Orlando Baking Company
19.  Joe Lopez  President & CEO, New Era Builders
20.  TBD  Neighborhood Advisory Council Representative

Note #20... to be determined. I guess so.

Check out the list

See posts above--make a note of these folks, especially the elected ones and make sure you don't vote for these folks, ever again:
 

1.  Terrance Egger, Co-Chairman  President & Publisher, The Plain Dealer
2.  Jamie Ireland, Co-Chairman  Managing Partner, Early Stage Partners
3.  Mayor Frank G. Jackson  Mayor, City of Cleveland
4.  Lt. Governor Lee Fisher  State of Ohio
5.  Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland  Cleveland City Council, Ward 5
6.  Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell  Cleveland City Council, Ward 6
7.  Councilman Tony Brancatelli  Cleveland City Council, Ward 12
8.  Jim Rokakis  Treasurer, Cuyahoga County
9.  Joe Roman  President & CEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership
10.  Vickie Johnson  Executive Director, Fairfax Renaissance Corporation
11.  Tim Tramble  Executive Director, Burten Bell Carr Development Corp
12.  Marie Kittredge  Executive Director, Slavic Village Development
13.  Chris Ronayne    President & CEO, University Circle Inc
14.  Harriett Applegate  Executive Secretary, North Shore AFL-CIO
15.  Mark Barbash    Ohio Department of Development
16.  Jolene Molitoris    Director, Ohio Department of Transportation
17.  Joe Calabrese  Executive Director, Regional Transit Authority
18.  John Anthony Orlando  Executive Vice President, Orlando Baking Company
19.  Joe Lopez  President & CEO, New Era Builders
20.  TBD  Neighborhood Advisory Council Representative