Gloria Ferris

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

Archive for the ‘Cleveland’ Category

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?

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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

enter image description here

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

(1) Walk with the Trees in W.C. Reed Park

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Here is some ancillary material Larry Cornett posted to this coming Saturday’s Facebook event. I present it here so that it will be available on the internet for a long, long time. I think the reasoning here is incredible. Whenever federal money shows up, common sense, individual rights, and intrinsic values fly out the window.

Larry Cornett

US EPA currently plans to cap Reed Park and remove most of the trees. Reasons given for removing the trees include:
* It would cost money to save them
* Only a few people at public meetings focused on saving the trees.
* 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
* 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
* If a tree blows down, exposing the roots, subsurface contamination would also be exposed
We need to have activists, ecologists, arborists, and others accompany the forester and EPA in the park on Saturday.
A previous brownfields study in the park showed concentrations of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) above those acceptable for direct 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 analyzed to determine if it presents a significant risk from direct contact. Fungus and other microorganisms in grassy topsoil have been found 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_Hydrocarbonsn.

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 ESTABLISHED, although there would be a need to rebury or treat contaminated fill material that would be excavated where and when the City does any construction in most of the park.
For more details, see:
http://freindsofwcreedfield.ning.com/
https://www.facebook.com/events/218610251634716/permalink/218663454962729/See More

Comparison of Trees and Grasses for Rhizoremediation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons

www.academia.edu

“Rhizoremediation of petroleum contaminants is a phytoremediation process that depends on interactions among plants, microbes, and soils. Trees and grasses are commonly used for phytoremediation, with trees typically being chosen for remediation

(1) Walk with the Trees in W.C. Reed Park

Walk with the Trees in W.C. Reed Park

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On Facebook, Larry Cornett has publicized an event that deserves the participation of everyone who believes in the preservation of our commonly held assets, such as mature trees.

And while I’m at it, here is an intelligent article for your delectation and delight about the effect of trees on market values in a neighborhood: http://www.naturewithin.info/Policy/Hedonics_Citations.pdf

Please come join the tree dialogue in Brooklyn Centre this weekend. This is an issue that affects not only our neighborhood but all of our urban areas.

  • Saturday, September 28, 2013
  • 1:00pm until 4:00pm
  • W.C. Reed Park 1700 Denison Avenue
  • Please come! We need your help!
    US EPA coordinator James Justice has scheduled a walk through the park with ODNR Urban Forester Alan Siewert.
    1. Mr. Justice thinks because we didn’t focus on the trees at the Public Meeting therefore, they are not an issue….
    2. Mr. Siewert is a FORESTER not an arborist. He sees trees from a timber perspective not an environmental and ecological perspective.
    3. Mr. Siewert has identified 8 trees worthy of saving of the 61 trees in the park.
    WE NEED YOUR HELP! We need people there who have an environmental and ecological perspective as well as people who understand the value of urban trees to the beauty of a neighborhood. If you can, please come Saturday. If you can’t please give us arguments and reasons WHY existing trees and soil are good remediators for PAHS toxins and should NOT be removed from the park.

Walk with the Trees in W.C. Reed Park

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 25th, 2013 at 5:08 am

“Trash To Energy” Just Keeps on Giving

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But, not to the people of Cleveland. We just keep on paying.

Correct me if I am wrong. It is my understanding that Cleveland Public Power is owned by the public who buy electricity from the company. Therefore, Ms. Harper Hall ‘s assertion that taxpayer’s money is not used for the settlement may be technically correct, but the fact that Cleveland residents “own” the utility means that it is their money used to pay Mr. Tein. Just another pocket is used.

Tein agreed to a $250,000 settlement City Hall spokeswoman Maureen Harper Hall said. None of that money comes out of taxpayers pocket, she noted.  It is paid by revenue generated by Cleveland Public Power.”  Wednesday, 18 September 2013 Cleveland Plain Dealer Cleveland’s Settlement on trash plant stinks editorial Page E02

 

Read the whole editorial here.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 18th, 2013 at 11:05 am

Proud of Ward 14 Voters for Supporting Their Candidates

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After an Election Day there is always a lot of “armchair” quarterbacking, and I have to say that in our ward it is no different.  Many are saying that 68% of voters voted against our sitting councilman.  I disagree.  The dedicated voters of Ward 14 chose the candidates they believe should make it to the general election.

We exercised our “right to vote” and now we have the two candidates who will face each other in November.  This is the American way.  There is a reason for the primary system.  I am proud of the candidates and the voters in the wards in our city where there were more than two candidates, and therefore, those voters had a “choice” to make. 

I strongly believe that the voters who cast a ballot on Tuesday or before did so not to vote AGAINST someone but FOR someone.  We need to remember why we have primaries and what they are meant to do.  They are meant to give us a choice of who we think will be the BEST candidate to represent us in a general election.

In this day and age of where we talk more about what we DON’T want rather than what we DO want, it is hard to focus on why primaries are a necessary and required part of our voting process. How else will we choose the two best candidates to represent us in the fall? In fact, I am appalled at the two major parties who choose an incumbent or one challenger while trying to discourage any other person from running because contested primaries are “costly”.  In my opinion, this control by the party system is killing our democracy.

It becomes ever harder to find young people who want to enter politics when all they see is the bickering and gridlock at the federal level in the august bodies of Congress. With partisan politics overshadowing the good work that happens daily, it is hard to get young people to vote let a lone run for office. At the state level, governance is hardly the profession young people would aspire to be part of  when the news stories continue to show that corporate and special interests are pulling the strings. At the local level, news media continue to choose those candidates they find newsworthy and the stories usually have a taint of “scandal” to them. Analysis pieces in the newspaper choose frontrunners early for what may be good reason, but how discouraging for voters to be told their vote means little if anything.  I wish journalists would stick with more  reporting and less analyzing.   

I said this a few weeks ago and I will say it again,  Ward 14 had four candidates who showed an eagerness to learn, an enthusiasm to run, and a passion to serve.  I only wish that more voters had turned out to choose.  The sad reality is if we do not “get out to the vote” and we do not exercise our right to vote then, some day we will look around and find we have lost that right.

I know in Ward 14 with candidates like Nelson Cintron, Jr., Brian Cummins, Janet Garcia, and Brian Kazy we will continue to move forward.  In this mix, we have two strong Latino voices as well as two other voices experienced in community organizing and development.  Together, these leaders can unite our community to be a force of transformation.

We have a community that wants leaders who move us forward and put the “old ways” behind us.  We have one thousand voters who made sure their voices were heard on Election Day.  Do we need more voters? Absolutely. Did we go out and vote against someone?.  Absolutely not. We went out and voted because we believed in our candidate. Many of us had a candidate who didn’t make it to the finals, but we should be proud of ourselves because we know what having “a right to vote” means.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 11th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Ward 14 Meet The Candidates Citizen’s Questions

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Recently we had two forums in Ward 14 with the candidates for Cleveland City Council.  Questions were submitted in writing by audience members.

 

I find it quite interesting the broad range of question asked by two different audience.  I will compare the topics again in a later post but right now, I am so proud of my friends and neighbors,  The are informed, knowledgeable and engaged in their neighborhoods and community.

We can learn a lot from them on how democracy works.

Ward 14 citizen questions focused on the following topics:

  • Attracting residents
  • Community development investment
  • Youth programs
  • Civility
  • Local organization collaboration
  • Senior citizen low-income assistance programs
  • "Green" sustainability program development
  • Hispanic Village development
  • Residency of government officials
  • Universal local representation
  • Clark Avenue strategic planning
  • Council and police collaboration

Ward 14 Citizen Questions Meet The Candidates Forum No. 2 by The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open)

Meet The Candidates

Ward 14 citizen questions focused on the following topics:

  • Jobs
  • Neighborhood safety
  • Faith-based economic development
  • City Dumping
  • Recycling
  • Civic engagement to inform strategic planning
  • Code enforcement
  • Street maintenance
  • Senior citizen service programs
  • Thoroughfare improvements

Ward 14 Citizen Questions Meet The Candidates Forum No. 1 by The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open)

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 4th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Cleveland residents concerned about future of contaminated neighborhood park

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Residents want input on park cleanup

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Posted: 07/29/2013
Last Updated: 3 hours and 33 minutes ago

CLEVELAND – Residents living around W.C. Reed Playfield in Cleveland are worried about the future their neighborhood park.

The park was closed by the city of Cleveland in November because of soil contamination. It’s a case now being handled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but residents said they’ve had very little input as to how the park will be cleaned up.

Members of the Southwest Citizens Council contacted NewsChannel5 hoping we could get them more answers as to how the park will be cleaned and renovated in the coming months.

Residents like John Baran, who’s family has lived near the park since 1924, are worried an overly aggressive cleanup will do more harm than good.

“They want to scorch the earth, remove the trees and remove all the vegetation in the neighborhood,” Baran said. “The vegetation and the trees cleanse the soil. Is that correct approach, should the city and the EPA handle it that way?”

Baran told NewsChannel5 residents are being left out of the loop and are being given very little information from the EPA on how the cleanup will be handled.

Ward 3 Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman agrees.

“The last meeting that was held and I wasn’t even told about it,” Cimperman said. “I really feel this should be a city-led project, and many of the trees at the park should be preserved and not removed.”

Residents report the 12.5 acre park was built on a landfill that was used for the dumping of industrial debris in the 1940s and 50s. Residents told NewsChannel5 the city was set to renovate the park, but discovered soil contamination when it took a series of core samples in 2012.

Cimperman confirmed the city has set aside $350,000 to renovate the park, but with a $2 million EPA cleanup looming, residents are wondering what will be taken out during the cleanup.

Baran is concerned opening up the landfill and moving tons of soil will create more health risks.

“It’s been capped, why open it? Why permit these toxins to become airborne, and possibly effect the health of these residents that live in these neighborhoods,” Baran said.

NewsChannel5 contacted the EPA Region 5 office in Chicago in the search for information. We asked if there will be yet another public meeting concerning the cleanup at W.C. Reed Playfield and whether residents would be allowed to have input into the clean-up process.

The US EPA responded, it told 5 On Your Side it will save several large trees on the park property, and it will not move forward with the project until it meets with the residents to discuss clean-up options.

Meanwhile, residents are hoping the park can be cleaned with minimal damage to the trees and landscape.

“We just want more information on the cleanup plan,” said resident Gloria Ferris. “We want them to save our trees. Fifty to 70-year-old trees that will be coming down and replaced with 2-inch saplings?”

Residents are so involved with the preservation of W.C. Reed Playfield, they have set-up this website on the subject.

NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will keep you updated on this developing story as soon as information become s available.

Cleveland residents concerned about future of contaminated neighborhood park

Written by Gloria Ferris

July 29th, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Freakonomics » Should We All Just Give Cash Directly to the Poor?

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Soon, we’ll hear the cry of the secular nonprofits, in one voice, shrieking, “What about us?”

To paraphrase Niehaus, is it fair to say, “A typical poor person is poor not because he is irresponsible, but because he was born in a ghetto in Cleveland”?

Perhaps it would be better to give directly. Certainly, it should be better than funneling funds through the city government, the city council, and the local councilperson.

Silicon Valley heavyweights like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and Google have a new favorite charity: GiveDirectly, an organization that makes direct transfers (via M-Pesa) to poor people in the developing world. From Forbes:

“Instead of building hospitals, why don’t we just give poor people money? Research shows it’s effective,” [Hughes] said. Hughes, who purchased The New Republic magazine in early 2012 and serves as publisher, also joined the board of GiveDirectly.

Backing up Hughes’s point was Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Giving at Google. She told the crowd Thursday night that one of her superiors at Google was extremely skeptical when Fuller first suggested that Google back GiveDirectly. “I was told, ‘You must be smoking crack,’ ” Fuller recalled. But GiveDirectly had exactly what Google wanted: lots of data on how the recipients of cash used it to improve their nutrition, their health and their children’s education. After looking at the data, Google donated $2.5 million to GiveDirectly.

GiveDirectly stems from economist Paul Niehaus‘s research in India, where to limit corruption the government  makes direct cash transfers via mobile phones.  “A typical poor person is poor not because he is irresponsible, but because he was born in Africa,” says Niehaus, adding that GiveDirectly’s transfers have had positive impacts on nutrition, education, land, and livestock — and haven’t increased alcohol consumption.  The charity is also No. 2 on Givewell’s list of recommended charities.

Freakonomics » Should We All Just Give Cash Directly to the Poor?

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 4th, 2013 at 10:24 am