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OPPORTUNITY - OR CRIME IN PROGRESS? $350 MILLION ROAD
Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 04/29/2009 - 17:01.
The Cleveland Foundation and Gund Foundation push inequality again with two grants to the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) for a road to by-pass poverty. The game goes on. You pay because they say.
Let’s zip by those poor folk and get them to pay for it.
The two foundations, which often work in tandem, are giving the Greater Cleveland Partnership $200,000 over two years for Opportunity Corridor uses.
It’s a very, very expensive short road with a PR name to hide a deformed purpose. Can we credit Chris Ronayne? I believe so.
They have labeled it fancifully “Opportunity Corridor.” Who could be against Opportunity? They don’t, however, tell you for whom it is inopportune.
Opportunity Corridor is a road that will slice through an East Side Cleveland poverty area to quickly route drivers through and past it. The lucky drivers won’t have to even glance at the unseemly sights. From the highway to University Circle in no time. Convenience has a pricy price tag, as we shall see.
Two grants of $100,000 from each the Cleveland and Gund foundations has been combined to hire former Mayor Michael White executive Terri Hamilton Brown. She is married to Mayor Frank Jackson’s chief operating officer Darnell Brown. And how convenient – she formerly headed up University Circle, Inc.
All tied up in pretty bows. As it always is when the Establishment types come to call.
It’s the kind of Establishment decision-making that produces what I’ve called the Deformed Society. We’re knee deep in it. Opportunity in the Deformed Society means just the opposite of what it says. It’s inequality posing as progress.
Within the Deformed Society they call it a public-private partnership. A win-win decision. Lots of that going around.
This Opportunity Corridor allows people to avoid unwholesome places where poverty resides. The cost is negligible to our leaders – a mere estimated $350 million investment. Of course, unless some things go wrong.
“… It represents one of the largest public projects ever undertaken in the core city.” Whoopee! That’s according to the GCP announcement of Brown as project chairman of Opportunity Corridor. It’s another opportunity for her, will attest to that.
The spin doctor, self-promoting quote makes it sound as if it benefits the Core City. It doesn’t. Is there any core left?
It doesn’t make it sound what it really is. A sneak around the poor.
Doesn’t it sound to you as if it’s a $350 million convenience for, say, the University Circle institutions or the Cleveland Clinic? The expensive but Establishment needy road goes from I-490 at E. 55th Street to E. 105th. That’s destination closes in on University Circle’s cultural institutions and the Clinic. I guess that’s somebody’s “core city.”
Here’s what Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger says about the less-than-three-mile-$100-million-a-mile corridor: “It will resurrect a new vitality within this community and position our region for substantial economic growth. Everybody in Greater Cleveland is going to benefit from it. We must come together as a community and work to accelerate this project and make it a reality as soon as possible. It’s an aptly named project. It’s a great opportunity for Cleveland, and we’ve got to take advantage of it.”
God, do people believe this crap? “Come together as a community.” Really?
You might guess that the elated PD publisher Egger co-chairs the Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee with Jamie Ireland, managing director of Early Stage Partners, a venture capital firm. He’s a former Wall Streeter. Of course, he’s also chairman of University Circle, Inc.
It all fits together.
Egger’s gleeful pronouncement sounds as if the quotes come from a file marked for such “special” occasions.
“Say, Joe, this is Terry. Will you get me Civic Sucker Quote 207? We’re announcing another public-private partnership.”
The two foundations, via the Greater Cleveland Partnership, are putting up $200,000. That’s the private side of the public-private partnership, I guess.
Gov. Ted Strickland is balancing the public side. He has awarded $20 million thus far from federal stimulus money to the project, the GCP says, and Mayor Frank Jackson has pledged the city’s cooperation. So far that hasn’t been put in dollar signs. Frank will.
So the $20 million so far - that’s the public side. Seems fair to Egger. Not you?
“Few projects are as important to the city as Opportunity Corridor. Terri Hamilton Brown’s appointment together with the allocation of $20 million in federal stimulus funds gives us the impetus we needed to move this crucial economic development and transportation initiative forward,” says Mayor Jackson. He’s really on board.
So you see the Cleveland and the Gund provide $200,000 to balance the thus-far $20 million in public funds of the soon to be $350-million (without overruns or interest costs).
The co-chairs are a couple of rich white guys. The public can read the nice quotes in the paper, maybe. That’s what they call a public-private partnership.
That’s what I call a crime in progress.