The results of poor leadership, poor management and poor strategies are measured in real econometrics, every day

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 08/14/2010 - 08:12.

As I explain to "outsiders" what obstacles to true economic development we are confronting here in Northeast Ohio, I point to the concluding half of my "Preamble: Real Co-op for Open Food, Information and Community Development 2009", where I explain "you can't manage what you don't measure. Leadership here does not want to be measured.

At that time - February, 2009 - I explained the risk from having poor local leadership was greatest then, as we had just brought into office a wonderful new President, who must stimulate bad local, state, national and global economies... we had tough battles ahead requiring good local footsoldiers, as $ billions in NEW federal funding initiatives was flowing our way.

They raise the stakes, in exploitation of the difficult economic times here, by attempting to corrupt the good will of our new President.

They have attempted to position their initiatives and leaders to divert to their corporate and institutional interests the $ billions expected in 2009 stimulus dollars for Ohio.

In Their strategic investment initiatives for this most impoverished region, with the most impoverished city in the country, social services and human welfare are lost concepts.

Where is the funding for really valuable education reform, workforce development, small business and distressed homeowner code violation repair loans... real changes where they are needed and have been promised to the people who made Obama our President of the United States of America, for change.

Where is the social equity value added in Their vision for the bottom of the new economy?

Where is there any distinct economic development value added from Their diversion of public money into industrial investments at the top of the old economy?

For this entire century, They have been forcing upon the region an industrial economic development strategy that failed the region from the beginning, and turned measurably disastrous several years ago, when it really took hold.

Knowing leadership here does not want to be measured, I explored the depths of harm caused by lack of good performance measurement and so management in our community, and was shocked to find the greatest impact is catastrophic harm to our environment and so public health, which has been an alarming realization. Through the local, regional and state government incapacitation of Federally mandated pollution monitoring capabilities and processes, the leadership of this region and state have allowed point source polluters to do as they please, meaning pollute more than may be safe, meaning harm the health of citizens. It is like our local leadership thinks public health is negotiable and of nearly no value whatsoever.

Realizing that the incompetency and/or corruption of our leadership is in fact causing harm to the public health, including my family, I have escalated my concerns about the failure of our leadership here to protect public health to the attention of the Federal EPA, SIerra Club and the White House. Here is what we all must address now:

To proceed developing a healthy, open new economy here, we must analyze, document and eliminate the root causes of economic development failure, starting with the command and control system.

At the very top, the Command and Control strategy of this region is defined through Master Planning by some leadership at the Cleveland Foundation and other foundations, driven by Ronn Richards, Brad Whitehead and many other foundation staff and consultants, empowered by their Fund for our Economic Future and its sprawling affiliate initiatives, influencing many non-profits and their leadership, the Plain Dealer and other media interests present here, Mayor Jackson and many of his appointees and department directors, many Cleveland City Council members, many in their CDCs and their staff and leadership, academics and staff at our universities, many suburban mayors, Governor Strickland, many Northeast Ohio representatives in Columbus and Washington, D.C., and an astounding number of their best friends and family, to benefit many dominant business leaders and major real estate developers with local interests here, who have a dominant control over the top of the pyramid, being the leadership of our many foundations (all hereinafter “They/Them/Their”).

That list may seem like everyone in government, industry and community development in the region, but the problem is largely a few power brokers at the top of the pyramid, and their paid lieutenants – the other 1,000s of people carrying out their plan are mostly paid employees in tough times, misdirected by a few hundred “community leaders”, some good but misguided... others corrupt, all who are in pursuit of the $ billions controlled directly by the foundation leaders.

They use Their $ billions to control many $ billions more of public funding, and They attempt to control more daily, and all parties involved are responsible for how that money is allocated and spent.

It seems the branch of government least entangled in the foundations' command and control system is Cuyahoga County - the branch being broadly-brushed and globally broadcast as most corrupt, by ruthless scores of power brokers and their lieutenants... which is one reason why I feel comfortable working with Cuyahoga County.

The other reason for my comfort is I've worked closely with many County staff and leaders core to eradicating lead poisoning in this region and they are excellent in dealing with matters of public health and community social improvement - and they have driven the growth of community gardens here, for community health reasons, which is broadly praised as the best example of "green" progress in our community.

Why I brought my proposals and concerns to Commissioner Jones' personal attention was I observed the Plain Dealer championed Debbie Sutherland, an unimpressive suburban Mayor, in opposition to Commissioner Jones' reelection for County Commissioner, in 2008. She was a shallow, poorly qualified candidate who only preached the Foundations' mantra of sprawl for the rich and Strategic Investment Initiatives against the poor – she received glowing support and formal political endorsement from the PD, and lost by a huge margin.

That Their choice to replace Jones was Republican Sutherland, backed by other suburban Mayor and Republican Party Boss Bruce Akers, who together are leading an out-of-county collaboration of Plain Dealer editors and Columbus Republicans to “reform” just Democratic Cuyahoga County government, to further the Fund For Our Economic Future's regionalism strategy, shows how partisan and foolish all this and most of our regional economic development agenda have become.

They are also playing Their interests against public and County interests right now in the ongoing Plain Dealer editorial approach to coverage of the MedCon, in support of Foundation and industry interests, against County and public interests.

The PD editors, and the parties they enrich, use the tactics of McCarthy's America... Cheney's America... not our America under Obama.

I grew up in a conservative “Eisenhower” Republican family - a great uncle was Republican mayor of Toledo. I was raised and educated in the bosom of the region's Republican power.

My family are all liberal Obama Democrats now, and I write all this knowing it challenges many still-Republican family friends. But, it is time for change, so I challenge my friends.

I grew up friends with many families with foundations in their last names, and I intend to challenge these old family friends directly, as well, to encourage them to consider driving change in their foundations' strategies, and in support of a better region.

It is a new day in America, we have a great new President, and we must reposition this region to be worthy of his support, and respect.

To change the economy here for the better, we must challenge the modus operandi of the current Power-Brokers head-on.

Their strategy is simple... they pursue to control all of the government workforce, health, education, social services, research, economic and other community development money and opportunities that come into or through this region, from any sources, that they may, and direct as much of that as possible to inside interests... often with flagrant patronage for direct friends and family.

Through CDCs and other non-profits, a small number of foundation leaders and operatives have developed private workforces of indirect employees controlling $ billions a year in public money, in Northeast Ohio alone. This represents the privatization and misallocation of $ billions in taxpayer economic development and other money to inside interests, with government blessing and assistance, without consulting taxpayers. In fact, all of this has been done behind closed doors.

A current example of their modus operandi in action is exploiting $10s millions of HUD urban redevelopment money through the Cleveland Foundation's Strategic Investment Initiative, benefiting Their friends and closest stakeholders, like the Cleveland Clinic.

They've been doing such things for years, but now They raise the stakes, in exploitation of the difficult economic times here, by attempting to corrupt the good will of our new President.

They have attempted to position their initiatives and leaders to divert to their corporate and institutional interests the $ billions expected in 2009 stimulus dollars for Ohio.

In Their strategic investment initiatives for this most impoverished region, with the most impoverished city in the country, social services and human welfare are lost concepts.

Where is the funding for really valuable education reform, workforce development, small business and distressed homeowner code violation repair loans... real changes where they are needed and have been promised to the people who made Obama our President of the United States of America, for change.

Where is the social equity value added in Their vision for the bottom of the new economy?

Where is there any distinct economic development value added from Their diversion of public money into industrial investments at the top of the old economy?

For this entire century, They have been forcing upon the region an industrial economic development strategy that failed the region from the beginning, and turned measurably disastrous several years ago, when it really took hold.

Their regional economy-depressing economic development initiatives have included the Voices and Choices :community engagement”, Dashboard of Regional Economic Indicators performance tracking system, and resulting SII/Connecting Cleveland 2020/More Sustainable Cleveland economic control directives.

The people behind the strategies are easily identified and network-mapped, and their performance is easily measured.

Why would we look to these people for innovation, vision, leadership or financial integrity, much less solutions to the problems caused by them?

Their visions for our region are expressed in top-down, industrial initiatives benefiting small numbers of insiders... the “Opportunity Corridor”... the Lakefront Plan... the Strategic Investment Initiative zones... worst, the Wolstein blight-zone that was the East Bank Flats Historic District. The collateral damage and opportunity lost in the community as a result is enormous.

The MedCon appears to be a battle-ground between Their interests and Cuyahoga County leadership, and it is still open for analysis.

The choice of the Mall site was an impressive show of bold intelligence by the commissioners, assuming MMPI actually proves the project is worth undertaking at all, and cost effective there. That the plan reuses good public assets is highly appealing. If it restores historic plans and architecture of this once and still great city, it has great promise.

I question the value of spending $1 billion from public taxes for economic development on this, but I also believe we need many sectors in motion and this may be an opportune project. Time will certainly tell.

The most disturbing of The Power Brokers' strategies is using ill-gotten might to control and then demolish and redevelop the best located land of the region - location, location, location - displacing disadvantaged and vulnerable residents, property owners and businesses, to put up new housing and commercial development or simply land-bank private assets in private-controlled “public trust” for future private uses, all disguised as Neighborhood Stabalization and economic development, now always green-washed for liberal interpretation.

The Wolstein Flats demo will go down in history as one of the most disgraceful and botched examples of Power Brokers using ill-gotten might to control and then demolish the best located land of a region, ever on Earth.

Plain Dealer promotion of a Wolstein plan for the East Bank Flats Development, and now for moving the MedCon there, all designed by the Plain Dealer's architects, shows how far They will all go to dig out of that mess, at any costs to society.

What I find most disturbing about how They are conducting Their economic development strategy is that it is packaged for public programming through government, academic, media, and public relations operatives controlled and compensated by those profiting from the economic development strategy, often paying for the strategy development with funds realized through the promotion of the strategy to secondary funders, like Cleveland city government.

Recent full page Cleveland Clinic public relations advertisements in the Plain Dealer are examples of the economic return to the newspaper for supporting Cleveland Clinic interests in Their strategy, including clearing poverty around the Clinic, developing the Euclid Corridor/Health Line and Opportunity Corridor, and, most important, maximizing National Institute of Health, “Third Frontier” and “workforce development” funding to the Clinic... all totaling a return on investment for the Clinic from a few $1,000,000 in Plain Dealer advertising of $ billions over a few years.

Liberal public and foundation funding of many of our Universities' “research and development” extensions, like $145,000 budgeted to Case University NEOCANDO, from the City of Cleveland's forthcoming HUD NSP funds Case is helping itself get, shows how the game works in academe. There are many glaring examples of conflicts of interest in the work of Universities here, for economic development interests here, and it is clear funders often influence the results of the University work.

Their strategy has made this place a sprawling, blighted, dysfunctional, segregated, unhealthy, ignorant, impoverished, over-indebted war-zone, allowing industrial interests to steal the value and wealth of the region out from under dumbfounded citizens' feet.

As an economist, I have been working on analyses of the level of failure of Their strategy to-date. Realneo.us has been core to this analytic process and will drive regional economic development discussions and planning in the future.

My process has included reviewing 1,000s of pages of plans and propaganda that make up Their economic and political strategies, and the actual legal requirements from funders like HUD, and mapping the organizations, institutions, corporations and individuals benefiting from designing and implementing the strategies, and where lines appear to be crossed... organizationally and legally.

By analyzing the interrelationships and results of each aspect of the strategies and the people and organizations involved, and following the money within the strategies and through connections and interests beyond, at the Board, executive, consulting, staff and affiliate levels, you find a web of movements suspended in time.

A foundation of the process is dissecting the entire Cleveland Foundation Fund For Our Economic Future strategy and outcomes, now many years in progress, including Voices and Choices, Their Economic Dashboard, and all the beneficiaries of Their funds under control, including our public funds.

I developed the original Internet strategy and platform for America Speaks' Voices and Choices, which morphed into Advance NEO, so I am intimately familiar with that diversion of public attention away from what matters to the public, enabling misallocation of pubic money to foundation interests.

By corrupting that process, They set a corrupt agenda, which is the failure putting us in depression today.

Few recognize and discuss the implications, which may well be $ billions in opportunity costs for citizens. This process – this “civic dialogue” - was promoted to set the economic agenda for the region. In fact, the agenda was predetermined by the Foundations that funded America Speaks, and that agenda was also made the foundation of the Dashboard, and has driven a huge range of Foundation-related directives since.

To keep Voices and Choices' supposed public agenda dominant over regional economic development for as long as possible, They implanted Their Dashboard of Regional Economic Indicators into our community planning process... declaring it Their measure of OUR success. Funneling $100,000s to CSU, the purpose of the Dashboard is defending Their economic development agenda with university credentials.

This Dashboard has been leveraged to inflict great social harm, at great real and opportunity cost to the people of the region.

The Dashboard is designed to create the appearance performance measures are in place to gauge the effectiveness of Their economic strategies, when the measures are dated and generic to a degree where no relevant performance connections may be drawn.

That in a time when global data has become overly-plentiful, real-time, and interconnected world-wide, at the speed of light!

The insincerity of the Dashboard is especially glaring as taxpayers have funded significant amounts of public money developing “state of the art” geographical and other data systems at CSU, which developed the Dashboard, and Case, through NEOCANDO, and at all levels of government, all of which are intended to be funded further through our HUD Neighborhood Stabalization Program grant funds... none of which are being used effectively for economic development.

In their 2008 report, the Dashboard authors write in the credits: “Special thanks go to Bradley Whitehead, Robert Jaquay, and Christopher Thompson of the Fund for Our Economic Future for continued support and guidance throughout the preparation of the report.”

Because the Dashboard data is at least two years out of date, yet the Dashboard is validated by both Foundation and University “experts”, it may effectively bury poor results of poor initiatives and poor strategies for many years, during which time $ billions in public money may be misallocated and largely squandered.

The most recent update of the Dashboard, in November, 2008, presents data from 2006, with the full disclosure the data is too out-of-date to be useful in evaluating the performance of Their economic development initiatives currently underway.

What results there are, for the period up to 2006, are dismal, showing declining performance of our economy in all but a few aspects measured by the Dashboard, with certainty most results included in the Dashboard will show further decline in 2007, 2008, 2009, and beyond, if something isn't done to change much about our current strategies, and how they are developed, implemented, and measured.

What They are instead doing is explaining away the failure of the Dashboard and results reported there, exploiting the hard economic times here and worldwide, saying all performance objectives are off – They say They can't be measured in hard economic times.

Here is their conclusion... see if you agree, and want to bank your future on their strategy.:

This study shows that the economic performance of Northeast Ohio continues to be modest in comparison to other regions of the country and even in comparison to other metropolitan areas in the Midwest that share a similar social and economic history with Northeast Ohio. Several new state and regional initiatives in Northeast Ohio began only a few years ago and the 2006 data used in this report are too recent to reflect the outcomes of those actions. Furthermore, we should not expect to be able to reverse regional growth patterns in 1–or even 5– years. With the increased momentum of the initiatives put in place in recent years and additional new plans to improve our region, we can expect that Northeast Ohio will improve its economic trajectory in the next 10- to-15 years. However, other regions have also been engaged in accelerating their economic progress, so NEO’s future performance in comparison to other regions remains unknown. Therefore it is important to continue to invest in the economic transformation of Northeast Ohio and continue monitoring the progress of Northeast Ohio over time and in comparison to other regions in the United States.

The results of poor leadership, poor management and poor strategies are measured in real econometrics, every day, and all that is easily captured and documented in near and real time, if you want useful management information.

In the words of all people involved in competitive benchmarking, you can't manage what you don't measure.

Leadership here does not want to be measured.

To prove all that, and put us on the right performance management track, we need to develop a more effective set of metrics and performance measurement and management capabilities for our region... and we need to truly engage the people of the region in the process.

I have worked at the top of the global field of performance benchmarking for nearly two decades, and know other people in that world who will help make this effort globally important and valuable, and I am working on this objective – all help is appreciated.

The results will revolutionize local and regional economic development analysis processes and develop intellectual property and proprietary methodologies and tools with significant market value - $ millions in annual revenue opportunities for Real Co-Op Info – so this is well worth the effort.

As an exciting departure from how one would usually conduct such an analysis, using consultants for data collection, we will use the public - Real Co-Op - to populate and maintain the dashboard, as a guarantee of good outcomes and complete accountability within the community.

That is the type of innovative social change enabled through ingenious applications of open social computing philosophies and practices in the real world, through Real Co-op.

You may manage what you measure.

Together, we may manage Real Co-op, Co-op Food and Co-op Info beautifully. In the process, in many ways, we shall make this a better community.

This is the preamble to the plans for those initiatives, to post shortly for your collaboration.

Please share your feedback, questions and comments on this on realneo.us now

Prior to explaining these obstacle to progress here, in February, 2009, I pointed out the following:

With Real Co-op, we are world-innovators in the application of the co-op model to the growing of intellectual property within an open source data warehouse, content management system and social network, as piloted with REALNEO.US and being perfected with REAL.COOP.

That has the potential of replacing scores of multi-million and multi-billion dollar information and social networking applications and environments with the killer “socialist” ap... “Made In Real NEO”. Much of that value may be realized at the local level, in an expanding, diverse new economy workforce and community, if provided suitable support, development opportunities, and resources.

If there is an economic sector in the world nearly as important as local food, it is growing and harvesting INFORMATION. Real Co-Op intends to be a global leader and innovator for both. Synergistically, they shall feed and nourish each other, and the people of the region.

The one thing nobody in either of these opportune new economy economic development sectors needs is command and control from anyone else on top of them.

There is an abundance of valuable resources in Northeast Ohio to help all people live happy, healthy lives here, if access to opportunity is distributed equitably... but it is not.

 

Food for thought - the entire Preamble is found here... "Preamble: Real Co-op for Open Food, Information and Community Development 2009".