Gloria Ferris

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

Archive for the ‘Cleveland’ Category

Reply to Jasmin Santana’s Facebook Post

with 4 comments

Ms. Santana’s Facebook post appears at the bottom of my blog post. It was forwarded to me as an email. Just as she decided to reply publicly to my invitation I have decided to do the same.

On two things I agree with Ms Santana, we need to stay focused and continue to make Ward 14 the best it can be. This is why I try to stay out of the drivel that is so much of Facebook nowadays.

I, too, abhor rumors and accusations. Since I am upset by the lies and half-truths in her public reply I find it necessary to reply in public. Words that impugn my character, integrity and honesty need to be addressed.

Her reply implies that she did not receive an invitation until it was sent to her on August 8th. This is not true.

The invitation was sent by email July 31.  Here it is.

Dear________:

We would like to invite you to participate in the Ward 14 Community forums for council candidates. As in 2013, we have a plethora of qualified candidates running for the council seat. This council seat is very important to the voters in our ward. We feel offering two forums where candidates can answer questions asked by residents is an important part of community engagement.

We are a group of Ward 14 residents who believe in this process and because of that belief formed a rules of engagement and sponsored three community forums in 2014. We have been asked to again offer this service.   We have made some changes to the format, not many, but ones we feel will make the forums even more effective and enjoyable for participants and audience alike. 

We have changed the number of forums from three to two and have decided to have one on the east side of the ward and one on the west side. Archwood United Church of Christ has agreed to be our east side venue.   On the west side we are looking at three possible sites, Stockyards Community School, West 58th Street Church of God, and Clark Rec Center. Since our east side venue is difficult for some people to navigate it is imperative that our west side venue be accessible to all. 

Providing Spanish translation proved a challenge at the first forums. This time, we would like to engage your help in finding suitable translators. Therefore, if at all possible, we would like each candidate to engage someone to be their translator. If you would rather not or cannot, we will gladly help. 

We will again offer time for each candidate to speak at the beginning and closing of the forum. Usually, we try to keep those remarks to three minutes each. The questions are asked in round robin fashion so that no one individual has the advantage of being last or the disadvantage of being first. These are shared equally. 

I have sent a doodle poll for your convenience in sharing your availability. We have chosen two weeks and three dates each week in hopes of not needing to fine tune date selection too much. 

As soon as we have confirmed dates and times, we will notify you so that you can begin sharing the information with your workers, with people you meet and greet, and on social media. We will create a flyer by pdf for you to reproduce, share or use in any way you see fit. 

We will also send you a copy of our rules of engagement so that you will be able to ask questions or offer suggestions for its improvement. 

We look forward for the opportunity of holding these forums so that you and our residents can discuss the issues that are deemed most important to our community.

Sincerely,

 

Gloria Ferris                  Rebecca Kempton

2017 Ward 14 Community Forum Initiative

She did not reply to the invitation or Doodle poll. The Doodle poll was sent July 31. A Doodle poll is sent to participants giving them dates and times. The recipient simply adds her or his name to the list and clicks on the dates acceptable to him or her. That’s all it takes. The creator of the poll is notified when people reply.

Granted, the invitation did not go out until July 31, but we needed to secure the venues before asking the availability of candidates.

Candidates had until June 29th to submit petitions to run in the primary. Technically, anyone soliciting candidates for a forum or debate would not do so until that date passed.

I did not want to be part of sponsoring candidate debates this election cycle. Although residents kept asking me if we would have community forums again I continued to wait by the third week of July, none were scheduled and I knew people wanted them.

Since I believe in the right of community engagement in the election process not controlled by the parties, I began looking for venues.

Yes, maybe it is a bit of a short fuse, but I needed to make sure we had venues in line before contacting candidates for availability.

Hence, the Doodle Poll which gave six dates and two starting times for the forums. Three candidates replied quickly with availability and two did not. Since the three candidates who replied all indicated that August 17 and August 22 were good for them, and it turned out that West 58th Street Church of God could ONLY host on that date, those dates were chosen.

If Jasmin had contacted me directly to let me know the 17th and 22nd were not good dates for her, I would have continued looking for a second ADA-accessible venue. Archwood Church had indicated that any of the six dates worked for them.

So now, I know from Jasmin’s public reply to the flyer I sent or to the invitation she received and/or the doodle she did receive notice. She simply did not give me the courtesy of a reply.

Flier sent to ALL candidates on August 9.

[to be added later]

I am glad that Jasmin mentioned the League of Women Voters in her public reply so that I could share a bit of background with her and the public. Four years ago, the Cuyahoga County League of Women Voters was the first group I reached out to when we began to explore the possibility of community forums.

At that time, their representative informed me that as a rule they do not hold community forums for Ward candidates. She did steer me toward the California League of Women’s website where there were instructions on how to conduct such a forum. The format worked perfectly for our purposes. If she had contacted me with her concerns, this is what I would have told her.

I must admit this time I simply decided to use the League of Women Voters’ format that we previously used. I decided my time was better spent securing translation equipment from the Cleveland Municipal School District and looking for two simultaneous translators. I am still looking.

If anyone knows of translators with this skill set, I would greatly appreciate contact information. Mine is 216-351-0254 or gloria@gloriaferris.net.

I am not sure from where the information of me being “a strong Cummins supporter” originated, but I think that those who know me would find the statement a bit incongruous.

Throughout the years, people who know Brian and me know that we have had our differences of opinion. We often do not agree. In fact, I ran against Brian, Rick Nagin, and Emily Lipovan one year.

There is one thing I admire about Brian and that is his willingness as an incumbent to face his opposition in an open forum. I am also thankful for Nelson Cintron Jr who never steps away from the public engagement. I am grateful to newcomer Omar Medina who also stepped up to the plate. Sadly, I wish that the two candidates who did not reply to the invitation had.

Since all questions are submitted in writing by the audience and vetted by a committee chosen by the candidates and read by the moderator, I am not sure where “bias” enters into the conversation.

I beg to differ with the statement that this forum cannot be seen as a place for the public to hear from the candidates honestly and openly.

Over the years. I have heard from many people who attended and participated in community forums I have conducted. I am proud that two words “fair and impartial” are used when describing them.

I intend to continue to offer the best community-based forum for the candidates and the voters I can. I will not and cannot be sidetracked by a candidate who did not reply to an invitation, but waited to respond when it was indeed too late to accommodate her.

And yes, a primary season that is two months long followed by a general election two months later is not the public’s friend.

From Jasmin Santana:

My Response to the Invitation to Participate in the Biased, Cummins Supporters Sponsored Candidate Forum

Recently I received an invitation to participate in a candidate forum. I will not be attending the forum for several reasons.

I will be out of town for the first one with my family keeping the commitment I made to my husband and children to spend time with them before school starts. 

The second forum takes place at the same time as an event that I had already placed on my busy campaign calendar. 

To announce in the beginning of August a candidate forum and expect candidates to attend is truly unfair to dedicated candidates who are meeting with voters daily. 

This forum is also being hosted by two women who are strong Cummins supporters and are perceived as biased.  

One of them recently stated "Jasmin has about as much chance of getting elected as a snowball in hell has a chance of surviving.”  

A statement like this shows complete bias and therefore, this forum cannot be seen as an opportunity for the public to hear from the candidates honestly and openly. This has been the case in the past and now that his campaign is struggling, they have hastily put together this forum to help his campaign. 

I refuse to attend on that principle alone. If the forum were being conducted by the League of Women Voters, or an unbiased, non-partisan group, I would happily attend given enough notice.  

To all of my wonderful supporters, I know that there will be a lot of rumors and accusations, some people are going to be upset and might say things to try to hurt the campaign or us, so, let’s stay focused, and continue working to make Ward 14 the best it can be! 

Palante!! Seguimos enfocados en hacer lo mejor para nuestra comunidad

Written by Gloria Ferris

August 10th, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Please Bring Clarity to this “Class Divide” article

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Channel 19 shared Stephen Ohlemacher’s Associated Press article Report: SOcial Security overpaid nearly half on disability. citing a government study which says Social Security overpaid nearly half of those on disability.

The copyright says : Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.  Therefore, I am not sharing, but you can find it most anywhere-ABC NEWS, CNN, AOL just Google Stephen Ohlemeyer social security.

Here are my questions: Who was overpaid, why were they overpaid and how has this been corrected?  From personal experience I am flummoxed to see that these overpayments seem to be made year after year.  In my opinion, this kind of reporting does little else expect put fuel on the fire of “class divide” between those who fund and those who receive. Where is the outrage for those charged with administering these funds? Why are corrections not placed into the programming to “catch” these mistakes?

In my mind, this type of article does more to promote a "class divide" instead of shedding light on how a government agency with so much technology at its beck and call cannot figure out the "right" benefit to give. Making it so funders and recipients alike are left with inadequate data.

For a short time in 2009, I received disability payments. It took just 6 months to get approval on what I would receive, when I would receive it and how long I would receive it. The government wanted to divide it into 3 payments. I asked to have it in two since I had already waited six months. After submitting expenses for those six months, I received the first of two payments. It was cut and dried. I have a friend who receives payments as well. Each year adjustments are made- the first in January when her check is increased- this year it was $10. In July, her rent is recalculated-it will go up $2; therefore, she will be able to use the $8 to pay the increase in her phone bill because she is still forced to keep a land line for life line (the discount has expired because supposedly soon she will be able to have a cell phone instead). With this kind of micromanaging which is neither here nor there, I just want to know HOW the government has overpaid these people for supposedly years.

A study is cited but I have been unable to find a link to that specifically. The article says ”according to a government watchdog”.   The next sentence says “in all, Social Security overpaid beneficiaries by nearly $17 billion, according to a 10-year study be the agency’s inspector general.  Who is the government agency and who is the inspector general?  Lots of questions, few answers. 

 

This link is provided: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 7th, 2015 at 12:44 pm

PUBLIC MEETING: Aragon Ballroom

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PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE

ZONING APPEAL

Aragon Ballroom

3179 West 25th Street

Thursday, January 22nd at 6:00 pm

At Lincoln West High School 3202 West 30th Street

Park and enter from the NORTH parking lot

The owner of Aragon Ballroom (Ali Faraj) would like to renovate the historic building as an event/conference center. The use will be allowed if it doesn’t negatively impact the neighborhood.

 

I would suggest anyone living near the West 25th corridor, whether it is close to the Aragon Ballroom or not, should attend this IMPORTANT meeting. Since this will be the FIRST MAJOR renovation along a street where MANY upgrades and changes are planned, we need to do this right and the COMMUNITY should be included.

Among other things to be considered is a PARKING variance. Rumor has it that already an agreement with Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the owners has already been struck. My question why isn’t the vacant lot on West 25th Street very close to the venue considered for parking? When the corridor booms a well placed parking lot should be in the mix, correct? The area surrounding the ARAGON is VERY residential and how will on street parking be handled?

If the seminars and business activities do not meet expectations, what type of “entertainment” will the venue book? What type of liquor permits will be requested? A lot of questions need to be asked and answered. Solutions need to be found for the community’s concerns.

An historic preservation of a building is only ONE of things to be considered here and should not be used as a smoke screen for the very real impact on the surrounding community.

Please consider taking the time out of your very busy lives to attend.

 

Written by Gloria Ferris

January 21st, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Talking Points for First Energy PUCO Hearing January 20, 2015

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First Energy PUCO Hearings – Talking Points
• Roughly one in three Ohio households, 1.4 million in all, are considered cost burdened by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards, paying more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing and utilities combined. Ohio families can’t afford a monopoly power plant bailout.
• According to the 2013 Home Energy Affordability Gap Report, more than 300,000 Ohio households pay over 30 percent of their annual income just on their home energy bills alone.
• FirstEnergy is asking the PUCO to permit its subsidiaries, Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison, and Cleveland Illuminating Company, to buy from FirstEnergy’s own power plants, at a premium, instead of from the PJM wholesale market where they are required to buy – as part of the deregulation FirstEnergy itself petitioned for.
• If this bailout goes through, consumers will be on the hook for FirstEnergy’s bad business decisions – at a projected cost of over $3 billion over fifteen years.
• If the ESP is approved, FirstEnergy would realize a revenue surplus of around $2 billion over operating costs for the fifteen year arrangement.
• FirstEnergy is fudging the numbers. To get an Electric Security Plan instead of a Market Rate Offer, FirstEnergy has to show a cost savings for customers. But even though they’re asking for a three year ESP, they’re claiming customer savings not over three years, but over the life of the 15 year power purchase agreement bailout they want. And even those numbers are wild speculation.
• When FirstEnergy’s own projections are limited to the 3 year span of the actual ESP, instead of the 15 year extended rider they’re seeking, FirstEnergy’s own projections indicate a $400 million net ratepayer loss.
• FirstEnergy’s proposal is anticompetitive. Getting this bail out would mean that FirstEnergy can undercut more efficient producers in the wholesale electricity market. Driving out those producers will limit energy choice.
• FirstEnergy says efficiency upgrades are costly, but they want these subsidies because they are losing out in the wholesale market – to wind and natural gas.
• Because with this rider, FirstEnergy recovers its full “cost” of generation, the rider would create an incentive for FirstEnergy to inflate its costs, which are not totally transparent to the PUCO.
• FirstEnergy is saying this plan will save customers money in the long run – but if that’s true, why don’t they want to take the risk and realize those cost savings for themselves? They’re asking PUCO to force customers to take a risk they’re not willing to take themselves.
• FirstEnergy has successfully petitioned the PUCO not to release cost and revenue figures so the public can learn the full story. If this plan really will benefit consumers, then what do they have to hide?
• FirstEnergy is asking the government to enforce a monopoly. Even though customers may want to choose a different supplier, those served by FirstEnergy power lines would still have to pay the surcharge – even though this surcharge is for subsidizing unprofitable plants, not for grid maintenance.

Written by Gloria Ferris

January 6th, 2015 at 9:26 pm

Second District Commander Sulzer Steps Down WHY???

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To Mayor Jackson, Safety Director McGrath,  Flask and Chief of Police Williams:

If your intent was to make the citizens of the Second Police District feel unsafe you achieved your goal.

Last night, I went to bed uneasy knowing that now when the drug dealing on both sides of my home becomes intolerable I no longer have Commander Sulzer to email to let him know about the increased activity both day and night. I am sure that replacement Tom Stancho is a fine and capable person, but you see it takes years to gain the trust of a community. We had a Commander who had the trust and confidence of his community built on years and years of serving us well. You don’t simply interchange that kind of person with another cog in the wheel.

Knowing that Commander Sulzer would use the information that I forwarded to him from myself and others so that we would again have a quieter, more peaceful existence was a constant reminder that we were safer and more secure with him at the helm.  He used the information we gave him to deploy his officers effectively and efficiently

This morning, I woke up before dawn realizing that I wasn’t as safe as I was yesterday because Commander Sulzer no longer leads our team of police officers who protect and serve my community.

You have taken from us a man who was a true leader.  He knew that being a policeman was much, much more than commanding his troops. He knew that enlisting the help of the community to be his eyes and ears was essential to our well-being as a community. He knew that working together was how we would all be safe and secure.  He made sure by being visible in the community and being part of our social fabric that we would continue our daily lives with a surer step- a little bit more confident that our decision to make Cleveland our community of choice was a good one because hw was a member of the team..

Yesterday, I had hope in achieving our community’s  goals because we had a very sturdy rudder to guide us through some, at times, pretty heavy seas. Today, my councilman Brian Cummins along with other leaders in my community are demanding some answers on why such a devastating decision was made that will harm our community. And, I no longer have the optimism and confidence I once had.

Unfortunately, in my heart I believe I know the answer to this devastating turn of events-politics. I have heard that the decision to demote a commander lies with the police chief.  I have no reason to believe that this decision was made any differently.  We will be given a rash of statistics and reasons as to why this demotion and disgrace of the best police commander I have ever known was a needed outcome of events in our community.  But, I say to you that Commander Sulzer is the best commander to ever serve in the City of Cleveland because former Second District  Commander Greg Baeppler ,who has always been my comparison when sizing up our police force, told me so.  I have always believed that Commander Baeppler speaks the truth, and through the years, I have learned for myself that his statement is true.

I am saddened to think that this decision was probably made for a much more personal reason than “the good of the community” although I am sure that crime statistics will be the official reason. Looking at statistics can be misleading and are  not a good way to evaluate the strength of a police force and its commander. Recently, I have seen reports of crime being “up” in the second district. Subtle hints in the media to show that we are not as “safe and secure” as we perceived,   targeted specifically for us to doubt ourselves.  Has anyone ever reasoned why this may be?  Could it be that more people report crimes because they are confident that something will be done, that their complaints are taken seriously, that the new way to deploy officers is to strategically place them in areas with more reports of incidents of crime works but only because people report crime?  Did the very rules devised to make us “safe” cause the one thing that will make us “unsafe”?    

Reasoned decision making and good judgment are traits that any good leader should have but are especially crucial for a police chief or those who choose that leader.  On the surface, the decision to force Commander Sulzer to resign and accept a demotion appears not to be seasoned, reasoned or based on sound judgment, so why was it made? Tell us.

The Second District community deserves answers and not only should one of our elected representatives ask, but all of our councilmembers should be asking this question in unison.  If it is one thing I know about my friends and neighbors, we will write letters, we will make phone calls, we will stage protests until we get the answers we deserve regarding the untimely and ill- conceived demotion of Commander Keith Sulzer. We will demand answers.

I will not go so far as to suggest that this decision should be reversed because heaven knows that takes a true leader who knows it is better to reverse a decision than to ride it down to the end.  Of course, when decisions are made by a “lame duck” administration it isn’t that administration that lives with them but the community that will be left to pick up the pieces.

Council leaders should certainly question why the Police Chief made this decision and demand concrete evidence to show why it was made. It is time for council to show true leadership and not allow a lame duck administration to continue to make decisions that will affect our lives long after it is gone.

Friends living in the 2nd District or anyone else who lives in Cleveland and cares about our relationship with our police force should call and express our thoughts about Commander Sulzer to the following people and numbers: Police Chief Calvin Williams 216-623-5005; Safety Director Michael McGrath 216-3716; and the Mayor’s Office 216-664-3990.

How strange that a few short months ago I worried that Commander Sulzer would be promoted to police chief and we would lose this fine man to the greater good. Never did I dream that we would lose him for  reasons that are so very wrong.

 

Reframing the Money Dialogue

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Recently, I told someone that I think we do not discuss the poverty rate and the day to day reality in our neighborhoods in a way that causes any real action on how to change it.

This comment was in response to yet again another discussion about the yearly “go around” when the City and the Cleveland City Council takes on the subject of Community Development Block Grant funds and how the ever shrinking pot will be dispensed. You might wonder why this would be a topic of conversation for me on a daily basis at this time of year. I serve as the Chair for the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Advisory Council, and that is the reason.

Disclaimer:  This blog post is strictly my own thoughts and views on the subject and does not in any way represent an official viewpoint of said Council or anyone else for that matter.

Our economic strategy is based on scarcity rather than abundance. in essence “the haves and the have nots”. It doesn’t matter what commodity the discussion is about: food, oil and gas, money, transportation, water, land,  you name it,  and what it boils down to  is who has it and who doesn’t. In the case of CDBG funds who holds the purse strings and how it is dispensed is the topic of discussion.

Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900’s built libraries instead of soup kitchens based on the premise that people’s minds should be fed as well as their bodies. Kind of a “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” philosophy. Cleveland Public Library’s “The People’s University” comes to mind.

Last year, I had the opportunity to hear Peter Block, one of the authors of “The Abundant Community” and Dr. Olivia Saunders, an economist from the Bahamas at an all day seminar hosted by River’s Edge.  Since I was in college, I have always had an avid interest in economics, but their discussion about The Economics of Abundance turned everything I thought I knew  upside down and has had me looking at things differently ever since that day. Dr. Saunders held up a tomato and asked this question “ How many seeds does this tomato have?” Then, in small groups, we were to figure out how many seeds were in that tomato. The answers varied from the hundreds to the tens of thousands.  Her answer: “enough”.

As long as we see “getting the money” as the end rather than the means, we will continue to believe “there is not enough”.  Collaboration, partnering, and developing “new” ways of doing things is how we transform our ability to “do more good with fewer dollars” because we have the skill set to do it within each community in Cleveland.   Peter Block voiced how we are taught that the answers are “out there” and “somewhere else” instead of right there within a community itself.

This article “Is It Taboo for You Too?” by Richard Wagner on www. worth living.com  asks some good questions on how we could reframe the dialogue into some meaningful discussions . How we could ask some questions that could actually begin to change our mindset about money as the tool it is rather than the end goal. Put it all in perspective as it were.

Tim Ferris: putting wiring and cabling underground

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Our meeting tonight, January 9, 2014, about the proposed utility work on Denison needs to address things that have been discussed here and legislated here for over 100 years. See this piece from 2007:

Saturday, June 23, 2007

putting wiring and cabling underground

FindLaw for Legal Professionals – Case Law, Federal and State Resources, Forms, and Code — Since prior to the First World War, in the times of Mayor Newton D. Baker, the City of Cleveland has had fairly intelligent ordinances on the books for the discreet handling of public utilities. This link speaks to electrical wires, and the same ideas should apply to telephone wires and fiber optical cable, and refrigerator-sized boxes on treelawns. I’d say that now we have SB117 rolling towards us, we need to revisit why it’s in the public interest to put utilities underground, out of the way, out of sight, out of mind, and secure against compromise by terrorists and nasty weather, and the occasional careening automobile.
Let’s start talking about making the utilities invisible. We’ve had the idea for about 100 years and, like the 1903 “Burnham and Root” plan, The Group Plan, we still haven’t fully executed it. That says something about our community, and about us.
We need to make sure the interests of the public are served first, and those of the utilities are served someplace after that. I wouldn’t want to build a business in a city where my lifeline, my electrical and fiber optic cable hookups, were exposed to as much risk as they are in Cleveland. Cities with thriving commerce like Dublin, Shanghai, London, and Paris realized this long ago; business goes where it’s generally welcome.
Here’s a writer’s recounting of the wireless renovation of Brugge that paid dividends, once it created community capital. Like Cleveland, Brugge was at one time one of the richest cities in the world:

The city fell on hard times and became such a backwater that neither side bothered to bomb it during the war. The place was poor for a long while, and only began to recover during the 70’s.

 

But then Brugge found that History had dealt it the same kind of weird backhanded favor it did when it made Ireland too poor to put chemical fertilizers on its fields and pastures (for which reason its grass-fed beef is now famous all over Europe, and its organic produce
is becoming that way). Brugge had been ignored… and hence all the great old buildings of its medieval inner city had been perfectly preserved.

The city began renovating itself and (in a very smart move) putting all its utilities underground. Phone, electric, cable, fiber, everything went under the paving stones. Satellite dishes are not permitted to be visible on the outsides of buildings: everybody in town has affordable thousand-channel cable and broadband, and if you want something more exotic, as long as you can hide the hardware from the tourists, you’re fine.

As a result, you can walk through the Markt and all the streets around it and see nothing that reminds you of this century…except the things inside the shop windows. A big problem, there, for this is one of the great shopping towns of northern Europe.

Posted by Tim Ferris at 6/23/2007 10:03:00 AM

Labels: undergound utilities, urban planning

Tim Ferris: putting wiring and cabling underground

Written by Gloria Ferris

January 9th, 2014 at 11:37 am

My letter to Councilman Cummins and others about the “State of the Art” Scoreboard

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Dear Councilman/Councilwoman –

The Cleveland Browns needs to share revenue with the City of Cleveland  to the extent that football is supported by the public purse.

I do not favor giving the Browns any more money for the stadium unless we the people become full and mutual partners in the revenue–not necessarily, just in the profits.

What the public has invested now needs to be calculated honestly, and what the owners have invested now needs to be stated transparently and completely. From that point on, further capital contributions can be tracked, and concessions and incentives can be tallied. Revenues should then be divided. Profits come after that.

Let them move the team if businesslike terms aren’t palatable. This extortion must end. Living with a lease negotiated while Mayor Jackson was President of Council, surely, does not mean we should continue to give and give more than necessary.

As one of our elected officials meant to counterbalance the City Administration, please do your due diligence and remember those who believe in your ability to stand up to bullies.

Also, I believe support of the team should be regional, not merely shouldered solely by the City of Cleveland.

Sincerely,

 

Gloria Ferris

Written by Gloria Ferris

November 25th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Walk with the Trees in W.C. Reed Park

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Here is a bit longer commentary by Larry Cornett, posted to Facebook late this afternoon, Friday, September 27th.

Larry Cornett

At last report US EPA plans to cap Reed Park and remove most of the trees. Reasons given at the public meeting on August 26, 2013 and subsequent conversations included:
* It would cost money to save them.
* If a tree blows down, exposing the roots, subsurface contamination would also be exposed
* The roots of trees only extend 8” below the surface, and putting two feet of fill above the roots of the trees to cap the soil would deprive them of oxygen and eventually kill them
* Only a few people at public meetings focused on saving the trees
* Many of the trees are old
* Some trees are sick or dead
* Some species of trees are undesirable
* Some of the trees are not structurally sound and could fall on children

Most of the above rationales could be applied to trees throughout the city, etc. As a result it looked like the government was going beyond what is reasonable to try to justify the removal of most trees from the park to try to make their removal as part of the proposed remedial action more acceptable. That approach backfired.

A previous brownfields study in the park showed concentrations of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) above those acceptable for direct human contact in the fill material sampled to depths of 2’ or 4’ in most of the park. Three to six inches of grassy topsoil has been covering most of the surface of the park and subsurface fill material for about 50 years or more. Portions of the park are also covered with concrete or sand (in the baseball diamond). The topsoil was never separately sampled and analyzed to determine if it presents a significant risk from direct contact. Fungus and other microorganisms in grassy topsoil are known to destroy PAHs at a rate of 0.2% to 17% per month. Microorganisms associated with tree roots can also destroy PAHs. For details, see

http://www.academia.edu/2908115/Comparison_of_Trees_and_Grasses_for_Rhizoremediation_of_Petroleum_Hydrocarbons

.

Given the amount of time that has passed and natural removal mechanisms, it is reasonable to assume that the current surface topsoil (0-3” to 0-6”) have PAH levels at equilibrium with contaminant transport mechanisms from subsurface soil due to natural bioremediation. Until the topsoil, etc. are sampled and analyzed, no significant risk from direct contact with the soil at the surface of the park has been proven. Under the circumstances, sampling the top 3” of topsoil is needed to determine if direct contact poses a threat to public health, as alleged.

Yesterday, I spoke with Partners Environmental—the contractor that did the Phase II investigation of Reed Park (upon which US EPA has been basing its planning for remediation of Reed Park). He told me that at meetings with the City of Cleveland, the health department, attorneys, etc. Partners Environmental, informed them that Reed Park presented no immediate danger to public health. (This is in sharp contrast to what the City has been telling US EPA based on the Phase II study results) However the Phase II investigation did show a need to remove and rebury or treat contaminated subsurface fill material if excavated, where and when the City does any construction in most of the park. Partners Environmental proposed to the City of Cleveland that it provide a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and to help with specifications and bidding for the development of the park. They were not selected. Partners Environmental still has the key staff who were responsible for the Phase II investigation, and their experience could help EPA and their contractors avoid re-inventing the wheel in the development of an appropriate remedial action plan for the Park if hired to help in this work.

Under the circumstances, it would be appropriate to consider the configuration, past use, and plans for Reed Park and nearby areas:
• Divide it into appropriate operable units (including separate units for the baseball diamond, clusters of trees and major single trees in the park, areas where the City is planning construction within the park, homes on W 15 St, etc.)
• Take and analyze composite surface (0-3:or 0-4” from the surface) soil samples within appropriate operable units within the park and in nearby neighborhoods (subsurface sampling in nearby neighborhoods would also be appropriate)
• Determine where surface soil contamination levels are acceptable for residential land use in the park and release those areas for renewed public access and recreational land use
• Use EPA emergency response funding to remediate in those operable units where there is a significant hazard if the land use remains as is
• Remediate contaminated subsurface soil only
o Where surface soil contamination presents a significant risk to public health and the subsurface soil is significantly contaminated
o When and where excavation takes place in contaminated soil
For more details, see:

http://freindsofwcreedfield.ning.com/
https://www.facebook.com/events/218610251634716/permalink/218663454962729/

Sincerely,
Claude Lawrence Cornett, Jr.
http://cornettenv.org/resume.htm

Walk with the Trees in W.C. Reed Park

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 27th, 2013 at 7:12 pm

economics – Is the value of a tree $193,250?

without comments

Here is an interesting sign I first saw on Facebook. There will be much quibbling over the numbers, but one thing remains clear: Mature trees have great value for many reasons.

There is a sign, at the Eden Nature Park & Resort in City of Davao, Philippines, that says this:

Of concern to all! A tree is worth $193,250

According to Professor T.M.Das of the University of Calcutta. A tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide a home for animals worth $31,250. This figure does not include the value of fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees. Just another sensible reason to take care of our forests.

From Update Forestry Michigan State University

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The figure, sometimes incorrectly quoted as $196,250, is cited at various green blogs, and sold on a bright red poster at Singapore Zoological Gardens, but i haven’t been able to find the study behind it.

So is a tree living for 50 years worth $193,250?

economics – Is the value of a tree $193,250? – Skeptics Stack Exchange

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 25th, 2013 at 8:52 am