Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for April, 2007

Can We Afford Another Missing Tooth?

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I left this toothless grin comment on the Save Our Land BlogMike Gill’s Free Times article gives us a lot of food for thought.  Preservation and rehabilitation should always be considered when redevelopment in a neighborhood is an issue. Thanks to the Cleveland Restoration Society for reminding us that school buildings were community centers and a gathering place for both young and old.  How fitting if a school received a new life as a home for our older citizens so that they could remain a part of the community where they grew old creating so many memories in their lives.  Put yourself in their shoes. At seventy, will you want to be uprooted from your neighborhood looking for a new place to find new friends, create new memories, or would you rather stay in place and blossom?  

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 6th, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Is The Long Awaited Overhaul of Cuyahoga Board of Elections Around the Corner?

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Yesterday Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s son became the focus of a debate in the blogosphere as to whether Matt Naugle crossed a line when he posted John Brunner’s facebook page on his site and questioned Rick and Jennifer Brunner’s parenting.  Others have very eloquently given their reasons for the separation of private and public lives, so I will focus on the real reason for Matt’s attack on Secretary of State Brunner’s son.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has removed Bob Bennett from his position at the Cuyahoga Board of Elections because he did not have the sense to do it himself.  His colleagues on the board realized that their effectiveness had been so damaged by recent events that they could not continue to lead.  For some time I have questioned Bob Bennett’s reasoning powers, and this refusal to step down only cements that position.

The problems at the Board of Elections have been there longer than touch- screen voting machines and Michael Vu.  Anyone who has lived in Cuyahoga County for any length of time has heard the rumors of unauthorized people being in places on election night where they had no business being, the faulty statistical samplings of votes used instead of counting each and every vote-supposedly put into place durng the Bob Hughes years, the number of employees placed at the BOE for patronage purposes, and the list goes on and on.  These problems reach systemic proportions and are going to take herculean efforts to change.

Personally, I have felt for years that these rumors and suppositions have been the real cause of the deterioration of voting in Cuyahoga County.  True or not, if the preception is that your vote may not be counted, why vote?   When Meet.The.Bloggers interviewed Jennifer Brunner we talked extensively about the integrity of voting and how credibility needed to be restored to the voting procedures in the state and specifically, here in Cuyahoga County.  Secretary of State Brunner and her staff are working diligently to do just that.

Today, the Plain Dealer Metro headline “Brunner issues Ohio voter ID rules” says it all.  She is doing her job and she is doing it well.  Jane Platten, interim director of the Cuyahoga County elections board says this, “It’s set, and it’s clear, and it’s something that I can use with poll worker training as well as staff training.”  Go here if you haven’t already read it.  Republicans and Democrats alike should be reassured that she has tackled this problem head on.

I don’t agree with all of SOS Brunner’s ideas.  For instance, the idea of choosing poll workers randomly from voter registrations as juries are now chosen in my mind is a VERY BAD IDEA.  People already use not wanting to serve on a jury as the excuse for not registering to vote. Now, we want to add “I don’t want to be a poll worker” to the list of reasons.  I think that a better idea would be that poll workers should not have to take personal days or vacation days from work to serve as poll workers.  Why not treat poll workers like those serving on a jury?  People serving on juries do not have to use personal time or vacation time.  Why should poll workers? 

The high school senior that served as a poll worker at my precinct was invaluable to us all.  We should encourage more high schools to get involved giving the students who serve as poll workers service points toward the community service requirement that all schools now require. Kiwanis Key Club members could be recruited.  Of course, high schools would have a limited source pool because they would need to be eighteen.  But why aren’t we recruiting poll workers heavily from our colleges and universities? Political science professors could give extra credit points to students who volunteered to work the polls.  What better way to instill in our young people the need to become an active, engaged voter? 

And one final thought,  I am gravely concerned about a society that thinks that personally attacking a public official’s family or using information found on a website in an entirely different manner than it was intended is a rational way to talk about issues.  I think that if we don’t soon get this under control we will find it very hard to find candidates to run for judge or any other position of a public nature.  I mention judges because of the recent incidents concerning death threats against judges and their families. 

But on the other hand,  I am thankful for Tim, Wendell, Jill and Paul as well as many others who debated this issue and I hope that we will be better for the discussion.  (I’m rushed–I’ll make more links later.) 

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 6th, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Cleveland,Ohio,politics

“Downtown, Things Will Be Great When You’re Downtown”

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This song belted out by Petula Clark was popular when I moved to Cleveland. Back then I loved downtown on Saturdays because I could ride the rapid and spend the day exploring Higbee’s, Halle’s and The May Company, munching on food from Alvies for lunch, and then spending my afternoon at the Library until closing time. That was the seventies. Then there were the eighties when I worked downtown and we would use any occasion to have lunch at one of the many restaurant choices.  I still rode the bus but it was more of a 9 to 5 orientation except some days we would stay after work for happy hour and some conversation outside of work.  And then it was 1990 and downsizing began, there went my nine to five mecca with shopping at lunchtime.  The next fifteen years was spent as my own version of a soccer mom, track and field mom, actually with the first daughter with the little one in tow and then the years with the second one with her art portfolio in tow.

And that brings me to today.  Today was a beautiful day in Cleveland.  The sky was blue, the wind was cool and the temperature was hot.  A great day to ride the bus downtown to a meeting at Playhouse Square with Rich Weiss of the Ingenuity Festival and others.  First thing I did was fire up the trip planner to see what bus I should take from Tower City.  I knew the best route from home was to step out the door to the circulator, hop off at the W. 25th station and ride the rapid downtown.  So with my trip choices in hand I went to the RTA Customer Service Station at Tower City where they have every bus schedule imaginable.  So I picked up a 35 bus schedule which winds its way down Prospect Avenue and a 326 which travels straight down Superior.  Now, this all seemed incredibly strange to me because I wanted to be on Euclid Avenue.  Aren’t there any buses that go down Euclid?  I thought well maybe because of all of the construction they have rerouted everything.  So I walked up to the two lovely people who work at the RTA Customer Service booth and asked them what stop would I get off the 326 to be closest to Playhouse Square.  The very helpful man asked me where I wanted to go.  I told him, and he said you should take the “6”.  His countermate agreed telling me that a bus left from in front of Terminal Tower every ten minutes.  I looked at my wonderful trip plan and nope, no Bus 6 even mentioned.  I said to them both, “Well, it certainly doesn’t look like you are going to be replaced any time soon with the kind of information this trip planner hands out.

Even with the construction, it was an easy commute down Euclid, and I arrived way ahead of schedule.  Another reason today was such a great day in downtown Cleveland was the color orange.  Everywhere I looked there were orange T-shirts, orange hats, BIG Orange “T”s.  I almost thought I was in Knoxville instead of Cleveland.  For those of you who are unaware Coach Summit and her Lady Vols are in the NCAA Championship game tonight.  It was fun offering suggestions to people for lunch and to give directions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Cleveland was bustling today.  And then, I realized that really if there wasn’t all the orange there really wouldn’t be much pedestrian traffic on this beautiful afternoon.  The people from Tennessee have always been friendly when we travelled to see our older daughter when she attended UT, we marveled at the graciousness of the residents.  Her husband and she have decided to settle there, and Tim and I are pleased because we always enjoy our trips South, but it sure was fun to have some of that Southern hospitality up North here.  I told them that we scheduled the weather just for them, since it appears that later on this week we will again experience snow. 

I love this shrinking city, and I am not so sure that smaller isn’t better. My daughter says that Knoxville is experiencing growing pains because they are growing so fast that the infrastructure is left far behind.   Let’s strive for quality not quantity.            

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 3rd, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Meet The Bloggers Rolls On In April

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Just like a rolling stone, we are gathering no moss.  We have a lot planned for April, and May is shaping up to be another month chock full of a lot of different conversations as well.   But here is what we have going in April.  This week we are interviewing John Zayac. former Cleveland Councilman who now owns a Project Management company at Gypsy Beans and Baking Company on Wednesday and on Thursday we are back there to sit down with six to eight Max Hayes Seniors to talk about the State of the City Schools.  That evening we will be taking our six packs to Midtown Brews for a roundtable with RTA about The Euclid Corridor Project.  And next week, is DeFrag at Lorain CCC where we will be on Thursday, April 12 and April 13.  We round out the month with Nikki Gillota, the talented owner of Gypsy Beans and Baking Company and John Zitzner, founder of ePrep School.  Both are exciting personalities that give hope and vision to our fair city.

And if that isn’t enough we will be talking to the Ingenuity Festival folks about a site for Meet.The.Bloggers at the festival and we are also in talks with Arts Collinwood about having Bloggapalooza II during The Waterloo Arts Festival.

Meanwhile, we continue to support our friend Jeff Friedman in his ongoing quest to bring truth and action to the Global Warming issue that faces us all.  Jeff was chosen to act as one of the 1000 ambassadors by Al Gore to bring these issues to the communities of America on a grassroots level so that we become a part of the dialogue and we can drive public policy on these issues. Stay tuned for details of a community dialogue at Nightown sometime in the middle of the month.

Check our schedule out at upcoming.org and our website at meetthebloggers.net and listen to our latest interview with Mike Roberts.  We have just added the transcript for Tim Ryan’s interview with us last August.  Both are worth a listen. 

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 2nd, 2007 at 11:03 am