The Origins of REALNEO
Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Independence of the day: May the people of NEO find freedom from "Cleveland Works"
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 07/04/2006 - 11:28.
December 7, 2001, was the greatest independence day in the history of Cleveland, when a hopefully new real NEO economy received the greatest gift imaginable with the closing of the toxin-spewing 1,200 acre LTV brownfields in the flats. This gave NEO's 1,000,000s of citizens independence from asthma and cancer and the freedom to breath clean air, redevelop a new city worth of prime real estate where the sprawling LTV-cyst finally sat idle, and the opportunity to resuscitate entire communities in the former LTV pollution fall-out zones spanning from Central and Slavic Village east to Brooklyn and Valley View south to Tremont and Ohio City west, literally saving the lives of 100,000s of our citizens and making Northeast Ohio more attractive to all who seek a good home and place to raise children. The freedom to breath was felt immediately, and for six months Northeast Ohio was a far better region.
But the politicians and industrialists would have none of that clean air and good health for their people - they marched across bridges, held town halls and plotted, and venture capitalists swooped into Richfield with promise of foreigner-charity, and $ billions changed hands at huge profit to a few, and in a few wretched years we went from enjoying the gift of breathing the cleanest air in our modern times to suffering from the worst imaginable health conditions, with steel literally raining on our communities, and unimaginably worse toxic blight expectations ahead. The promise to the citizens in all of this was that it would "save" 3,200 good jobs, which it certainly did not... it seems there are now around 1,200 Clevelanders working for the now-Indian-billionaire-owned hell-furnace and they are far from treated well, and have far from good jobs. What was preserved in all of this was great wealth for those in shipping, and port operation, and trucking, and railroads, and perhaps fast food and some service sector businesses in the periphery of the toxic site. But at what cost to the neighboring businesses, the plant workers, and the rest of the region?
Consider, from Ohio Citizen Action, the state's largest environmental organization, with 100,000 dues-paying members:
So here was the cost to real NEO in 2003 for the 1,200 "good" jobs that came from all the politicing, and town halling, and backroom dealing, and foreign venture capitaling, per job, in 2003 - and for 2004 we know "the asthma and cancer-causing pollution has risen over 30% from 2003 to 2004" so it is imaginable the results are much worse today, in 2006:
So that was just the raw pollution emissions cost to real NEO citizens in 2003 for the 1,200 "good" jobs that came from all the politicking, and town halling, and backroom dealing, and foreign venture capitalizing, per job, in 2003. But Ohio Citizen Action data finds that "the asthma and cancer-causing pollution has risen over 30% from 2003 to 2004" so it is imaginable the results are much worse today, in 2006. But, just looking at 2004, consider the cost in health harming pollutions per Mittal employee:
Obviously all these toxins and those emitted but not mentioned here travel great distances in our air, slowly killing everyone in the surrounding neighborhoods - certainly, the closer to the toxic zone and the more in direct pathways of airflows and so the fallout the worse.
Looking at the tight satellite hybrid map of the Mittal site and surrounding areas above (larger view here - 560k) one sees the neighborhoods most immediately impacted by Cleveland Works fallout, including Cleveland Mayor Jackson's Central and Slavic Village to the east, which seems most in the site's prevailing winds) and up and coming Tremont to the west, where developers build condos literally with views of this ecological disaster. As the population of Cleveland is about 500,000, that is the number of most immediate victims of Mittal. Likely outcomes for those victims are asthma and cancer, which will reduce their life expectancies to some degree, and earning potential, and healthcare costs, and property value.
But those are just some of the costs of Mittal to our economy, and the quality of life of today's generation. This does not consider reduced value of property and business opportunity throughout all of greater Cleveland, or the lower earning potential and so economic impact of everyone here, who have less overall economic opportunity in this less desirable regional economy, nor the lost opportunities of new economy businesses that would never consider locating near a steel mill, and the smart people who would never live near a steel mill, and it is safe to say the fallout from "Cleveland Works" spreads much further than just a few miles, and a wider perspective below would indicate danger and economic harm across all of Cuyahoga County, including the inner and outer ring suburbs, from Rocky River west, to Independence south, to Pepper Pike east, and all surrounding counties that we call our region. To make a conservative estimate of that negative generational impact on our region, just of this one steel mill... "Cleveland Works"... just double or triple the conservative immediate neighborhood cost of $125,000,000,000 and you'll realize the burden on your society in your lifetime in REAL NEO could be as much as $1,000,000,000,000 - that's $1 trillion. But at least we made a few venture capitalists very rich, and the world's reportedly third richest person much richer, and in Cleveland that is what we call a major victory for the regional economy. I call that a disaster highlighting the failure of all supoosed leaders of everything here, and all their followers, and I propose we start working as an activist community to eliminate Mittal and Cleveland Works and all polluters large and small from our region. A good place to begin is by visiting and supporting Ohio Citizen Action here.
Much of Cuyahoga County and our 2.4 million person population is within a few miles of Mittal and the tons of pollution it spews on our residents.. do you live, work or play on this map (larger view here - 480k)?
And here is the likely fallout path on you today, Independence Day, July 04, 2006, as of 5PM.