How pathetic can you get? Brent Larkin today uses quotes from four City Council members to tell us that Cleveland is in serious, serious trouble.
And as a center piece of the argument he uses the city’s $350-million mistake on the lake – Browns Stadium – to highlight somehow Cleveland’s problems.
As Mike Polensek points out it has no roof. Does he think with a roof it would be filled with activity? The city now has the right to use the stadium it pays for NINE times a year. Do you see it being used? No way.
Cleveland - with Brent Larkin, who actually wanted to be the PD sports editor - and the Plain Dealer, paid close attention to sports in the last two decades. To the neglect of so much. Even now the sports pages are the largest section of the paper. And typically with fewer ads than other sections.
Dumbing down the dumb is tradition at the newspaper. It excels at it.
Anything the sports moguls wanted they got and get. Didn’t mean anything that some of what they got came from the Cleveland schools. Didn’t mean anything that other needs were pushed aside.
What was important to our leaders for decades was that the entertainment via sports, rock and roll and other venues got what they wanted. They got the money. We paid the price.
We still pay.
Brent has been the go to guy in politics and civic life at the PD. He favored every one of these moves. Without reservation. With no discrimination as to value. Expressing no reservations with how it was done. No restraint on cost. Just do it!
Now he shouldn’t complain about results, or get others to do it for him.
Cleveland is what it is not because of the form of government – a city mayor and city legislative body.
These people don’t make the big decisions. They simply ratify what the business, corporate and foundation communities want.
Rarely does the public get involved. Usually the people are simply frozen out. But sometimes a tax is just too much for them. As with County Commissioner Vince Campanella’s desire to build a domed stadium with a property tax. That was the 1980s agenda. It got clobbered near two to one by voters. That ruined Campanella, a Republican, and his desire to be governor. But the game wasn’t over for the corporate leadership. Oh, no.
The usual suckers – voters – weren’t buying a property tax. That didn’t stop the Cleveland business establishment. Find another tax they’ll swallow. It took years – with Cleveland Tomorrow shifting its sights from the Cleveland economy to building sports facilities – to bring forth Gateway. Whoop-de-do.
A sales tax on booze and cigarettes. Hell, the little people pay that. Better than a property tax in the end.
We saved our sports teams. We lost our city.
Was that a great deal or what? Suburbanites get to drive into Cleveland, park at a tax subsidized garage, walk into a tax subsidized sports stadium or arena. But don’t get to drink the water.
Changing the form of government is meaningless unless you change the character of our civic and corporate culture.
And no one is even talking about doing that.