Gloria Ferris

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

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Reply to Jasmin Santana’s Facebook Post

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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

The Arrogance of Power is appalling.

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Let it be known that these House Reps holding our country hostage are NOT I repeat NOT in any way shape or form the least bit like the revolutionaries that formed our country. Those men and women faced bankruptcy, ruin, homes destroyed by fire, loss of life and oh so much more.  These yahoos continue to draw salary and reap benefits from special interest lobbyists for global corporations which have no loyalty to country only to shareholders.  

I am appalled! For this man to compare himself and this Congress to the American Patriots of the American Revolution is the epitome of ego gone wild.

Virginia Representative Morgan Griffith and others of his ilk should be voted out of office as soon as possible.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/328185-house-gop-powwows-as-debt-limit-looms


Written by Gloria Ferris

October 12th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

(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

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

Cleveland’s Hispanic Enclave Density & Country of Origin by Census Tract

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Cleveland's Hispanic Enclave Density & Country of Origin[1]

***The white areas on this map have fewer than 1000 Hispanic people per Square mile.***

Given the recent events of Ward Redistricting I thought it was a good time to pull it out and see where the concentration of Hispanic people lived.

Seems to me that it should be relatively easy to create a ward that has a 41% density of Hispanics without causing major disruption. Then again, maybe not.

Written by Gloria Ferris

April 9th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Since When Does An Acronym “SPA” Replace a Neighborhood?

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Since When Does an Acronym “SPA” Replace a Neighborhood?

It doesn’t. For those of you not “in the know” SPA stands for Strategic Planning Area- a government nom de plume to designate those areas of a town or city that will divvy up the federal funds allotted to that town or city.In the past, these areas reflected the neighborhoods of Cleveland. Presently, SPAS are being combined and a many neighborhoods will no longer be the designated as a SPA.  Some neighborhoods will be combined with others, essentially, wiping out that neighborhood’s name on the map.  Here in Cleveland, as we have all know by now the $$$ that we send to the federal government that come back to us by way of HUD and other entities are constantly shrinking. Let’s pause for a moment- our dollars going to the government, the government taking a cut, and then, our much leaner $$ come back to us. Of course, those “in the know” would tell you that this routing of money is “fairer” because those areas that are “poorer” benefit from the largesse of the communities that have “more”. I never have truly believed this statement, but neither have I taken the time to research it. It just seems to me that a community that can keep money recirculating within the community rather than constant side trips would prove more useful.

It is my understanding that for an SPA to work well, the area must have a certain amount of “designated poverty” neighborhoods so that the area will qualify for federal funds, hence, the necessity to gerrymander the existing SPAS into “new and improved” areas. Over the past few days, my Gmail account has overflowed with the new nomenclature suggested for these SPAS. My question to you all is “why”? Why are we caught up in a discussion on “naming rights” and not the more important question of how does this benefit each neighborhood of the city?

A strategic planning area is NOT a neighborhood and does not replace a neighborhood. It is something created around a table by a group of planners, political wonks, and elected officials for doling out federal monies. It does not define your neighborhood or you unless you allow it to do so. Kamm’s Corners, Stockyards, Brooklyn Centre, Tremont, Barbara, North Broadway, Mt. Pleasant, Glenville, Shaker Square-each and every one of these neighborhoods will survive as long as the people within that neighborhood identify with that community of people. A neighborhood dies when the last person who knows its origins stops relating memories about its past and stops striving to keep it alive and well.

For some, the problem arises when neighborhoods are split in two or those on the edge of an SPA are not given clear direction as to who, what and where their services are provided. I personally have witnessed this situation during the creation of the Ward 14 CDO (community Development Organization.  An organization created before the NEW designations, and therefore, many neighborhoods have experienced confusion, frustration, and inadequate services. This problem is something that certainly needs to be addressed with the creation of these new SPAS. I for one would hope that ward boundaries would not designate how services are dispensed because they will continue to shift throughout the years. Rather, I would suggest that neighborhood boundaries be considered when creating new SPAs so that no neighborhood is split in two and that each neighborhood knows how services will be dispensed.

Side by Side comparisons of how the existing SPAS work and how new and improved SPAs will be better should be done before any changes are made.  In the long run, when SPA boundaries shift throughout the years how can metrics be compared and how can we know that monies are used efficiently and for best practices.  If SPA areas combine how will statistical data be used to make sure that the neighborhoods encased in a given SPA area are receiving the best value for the dollars invested,  and, if they are truly receiving the dollars that should be invested there.

I think we are on a slippery slope when our identity as a neighborhood is verified or nullified by an SPA designation. I serve on the Ward 14 steering committee, and I have asked my colleagues to resist the urge to name the organization with a combination of the three neighborhoods presently associated with the CDO because it was apparent that this debate would soon be upon us. In my mind, it is better to name the “thing” and say that the neighborhoods of Stockyards, Brooklyn Centre, and Clark Fulton are served by the “thing”. Right now, Brooklyn Centre is served by two councilmen and two CDOs. Who knows what our fate will be when all the new lines are drawn?

What I do know: Brooklyn Centre was settled in 1812, in 2012 it celebrates its 200th birthday, and my neighbors and I are working hard to ensure that it survives another 100 years as a strong, prosperous community. Will we use the services of our local government? Absolutely! Will we demand accountability and transparency from our elected officials? Absolutely! However, strength and prosperity will come from the residents and businesspeople within the neighborhood, and therefore, it is imperative that we all understand and acknowledge what a neighborhood is and does. A neighborhood reflects the values and aspirations of its residents and business owners, not the name given it by the people who work for it. Neighborhoods will not be destroyed by people around a table; rather, they will die of natural causes when the last neighbor is gone. An SPA on the other hand will continue to shift as the dollars shrink and the workers gather around the tale.

Written by Gloria Ferris

July 7th, 2011 at 11:13 am

South Euclid Council says :Big Box Retail-It’s a Good Thing

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oakwood cfo image

may just have something to say about all that.

As more people opt for walkable bikeable communities with boutique commercial districts, South Euclid’s elected officials buy into an outmoded business model with the promise of it  “being green”.  You tell me how taking 144/54 acres of green space and replacing it with much less is  “being green”.  Obviously, someone is keeping South Euclid’s government occupied so they don’t see all the studies showing that those communities with parks for walking and biking are the ones where people are now settling.  I haven’t seen any studies lately on the hordes of people moving to be close to “big box retail”. I have seen a lot of news articles about the eyesores and blight left behind when “the big box” moves to the next community willing to sell its soul.

I am thankful for my friends Susan and Carla and so many others  willing to devote precious free time to combating Mitch Schneider’s latest venture to make his investors and himself rich and to make South Euclid/Cleveland Heights poorer.  Here is the link to their face book page:

 https://www.facebook.com/#!/citizensforoakwood

Here is an email I received from Susan earlier today.  I asked her if I could post it on my blog because I want her reasons for standing up against this development known.  Please sign her petition asking for sustainable land use and take the time to read what she has to say. It’s good stuff. Oh and those of you talking about “class warfare” shame on you.  We are into this together and when we allow what makes us all “rich”- the beauty of our land to be plundered- those “selling out”  for the short term are the ones who are waging class warfare. You are taking what made our area prosperous and selling us all into poverty.  

If you feel that we have enough big box retail in the Heights Hillcrest area and need not destroy precious green space to build more, you may wish to add your name to the petition linked here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-ripping-up-green-space-to-build-shopping-centers-support-sustainable-land-use?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email

Here’s the long story of why I’ve directed so much time and attention to this:

You may or may not know that I have been involved with a group called Citizens for Oakwood. We’re trying to save 144/54 acres of green space – the former Oakwood Country Club. We’d like to see it become a public park (and improve it’s ability to be a sponge for stormwater by allowing it to be a passive park). First Interstate/Legacy Capital Partners would like it to be big box retail. Of course, Jane Goodman, city council person in South Euclid where he’s begun the rezoning for big box process, promises that this will be a green infrastructure exemplar. Since South Euclid is in such a fiscally dire situation, it is clear to most that it is not a lack of retail, but rather downward (economic) pressure that is driving this. I think most adults know that we can’t buy our way to prosperity. Some are still fooled I guess. What was that Bush said about fool me once, keep right on foolin’ me – I’m feelin’ foolish?

It has raised three issues for me and for many of us.

1) Golf clubs are dying – Landerhaven was first, Oakwood is now, Acacia is next (now that it’s out of litigation). Then which golf/country club private course will fall to a developer? Seneca just sold to Metroparks. Hmmm… Which golf course will go next? While the focus will undoubtedly be on our poor relation, the City of Cleveland, you are aware, I’m sure, that poverty is creeping outward, just as population has. Now it’s also the inner ring that’s feeling the pressure. Please consider the golf courses and work with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to help these clubs to stay green space. By the time all the planners have finished their studies and identified the "value" of green swathes to our Lake, big box retail may have ruled the day and the tiny municipal governments in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights despite our efforts. I have tried to make the argument that this is more valuable to South Euclid and Cleveland Heights as open green space from a water quality and quality of life standpoint, but I don’t have the metrics. Tacit knowledge is much harder to convey in a world where everything is a transaction. South Euclid just rewrote their entire comprehensive plan to accommodate this development. They did it in two weeks with two people. For golf courses, the WRLC exemplar is Orchard Hills – admittedly "out there", but still a good example of what could be "in here".

2) The downward pressure might be lessened if these balkanized municipalities had merged years ago. I’m going to keep exploring this for our future. It would be good to fold in the value of water absorbing green space when that muni mapping becomes a part of that discussion. The idea? What if Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, University Heights and South Euclid were one suburb? What white collar efficiencies might be gained? And could those efficiencies result in some greater resiliency and redundancy in our shared green space?

3) At a forum sponsored by Future Heights on land use and Oakwood, Terry Schwarz mentioned that the metric for jobs and parkland is 1 job per acre. I realized that agricultural land has no metric. Why is this important? Because, growing food, farming in the city has no value. It may not now, but it will shortly. The day will come (sooner than later in my estimation) when refrigerated trucks from the valleys of California will not arrive in NEO. We will need to be reliant on what can be grown and raised locally. We may tear down buildings just to be able to farm. Impending doom – energy crisis? Yes. It is upon us. We may look back and say, "Boy! We sure wish we’d saved this land for growing food!" 154 acres is a substantial bit-o-farmland. I’ll be meeting with farmland and farming experts to discuss how to discover per-acre metrics for ag land so that local food can enter these planning discussions.

In an article in Ecowatch Journal, it is noted that new project efforts at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens will include this issue: "Based on existing work being done in the region and success stories in other cities, identify barriers to implementation of green infrastructure as targets for future action and develop strategies to overcome them." Funny. I asked NEORSD if there might be a land use aspect to their big stormwater plan. You know like, residents of municipalities that have retained green space would get a tiny automatic  credit. They said – no, NEORSD doesn’t get into land use. I guess NEORSD will be in these discussions though. Land use and such best management practices as downspout disconnects where appropriate (most places in NEO) are the low hanging fruit of addressing our water quality issues. Mother earth is a filter. We have abused her mightily, no doubt, but she is still there, still willing like any mother to help her children.

It may be too late for Oakwood unless we all come together to stop this madness. We’re not giving up, but South Euclid’s government seems to have. They’re in a deep hole at Cedar Center – $19 million deep. What could be another piece of Ginny Aveni’s County Greenprint – the Emerald Lace that connects our Emerald Necklace, the Cuyahoga River Valley and Lake Erie, may be paved to put up a parking lot. No pink hotel, no boutique – big box retail. We don’t plan to stop our arguments now and we hope you’ll raise your voice as well and participate in this democratic practice. We need to do everything we can to keep the bulldozers from rolling over Oakwood. At rallies for SB5 I heard the now familiar chant, "This is what democracy looks like!" Letting our elected officials know how we feel is democracy. Democracy isn’t just voting; it’s a state of being, a way of life.

My son has graduated from college and moved away to Seattle for work. There he can take public transportation, ride his bike, pay his college loan instead of a car loan and visit the wonderful parks that the city has protected. How I hope that someday he can move back to Cleveland Heights and appreciate similar amenities here – NEO – the region that woke up and got busy turning what seemed like a burden into a blessing! This  would be an even better story of how Cleveland beat Wall Street. That’s the story I want to hear when I’m passing into another world.

Currently we’re all feeling the downward pressure. It’s palpable in Cleveland and the region, in the state, in the nation. We just want our fellow citizens to look farther, longer and with an eye to water quality, air quality, quality of life. We want them to see that there is a world water crisis that will not bypass the Great Lakes. We want them to think not so much about the hardship they’re enduring, which will increase in the near term, but to consider the outcomes in the long term, however difficult that may be. We’d like to make a gift to future generations. As Ellie Strong said speaking of the "little old ladies in tennis shoes" who saved the Shaker Lakes, "to each generation there is something to save."

Susan

SPEAK UP AND BE COUNTED. VOTE NOVEMBER 2, 2010!

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I Received the following from a friend of mine in Brooklyn Centre.  He is right. I have seldom if ever heard Bob speak his political views at a community meeting.  Therefore, I can only surmise that the incident must have been pretty reprehensible for Bob to send this missive to his email list.  I must concur that he is right this political season has had some of the most reprehensible and downright disgusting advertising I have seen in my lifetime.  And, yes, I have turned away and said nothing as so many, but where to start and how to end, but my friend speaks the truth.  We MUST fight back by not succumbing to their intimidation tactics and to use our own words to bring reason and sanity back to our political process.

Bob’s email:

Friends:
I try to limit my political views, but I can only do so to a point. I was at a community meeting earlier this evening where a local public official noted that it’s good we’re going to see "change" during this election. He didn’t clarify however whether he was referring to just county offices (thank god were seeing change there) or to all levels of government. (state and national) Just that we’re "going to see change".

What the hell is going on in this country that so many people are sitting back, accepting and even believing the Republicans, Tea baggers and other right wing extremists as they continue with their distortions and the type of political philosophy that got this county in the economic mess we’re now in? Not to mention their troubling domestic and international policy agendas.

Make no mistake folks, the bulk of the American public lies closer to the middle, despite the efforts of the major media (Plain Dealer included) that naively struggles to bring "balance" to their readership by steering them towards the extreme right. I’m afraid due to their success and the lack of courage on the part of so many others, this country will take a drastic turn for the worse. Please everyone – many of you being public officials yourself – prove me wrong, speak-up and spread the word that we need to stand up to the extremists and stay, and even strengthen the course, before its too late.  
Feel free to forward this message.

Robert H. Gardin
Cleveland, Ohio 44109

My response:

Well said, Bob!  Besides being an educated voter and voting EVERY time, I think that as citizens we need to do what you do Bob and attend these meetings and voice our opinions.  Unfortunately, I see too many people –elected officials, government employees, private citizens who do not express their opinions in public, and therefore, we have no dialogue only demagoguery.  We need to allow for differences of approach and ideas in civic engagement, but too often there is no civility.  I believe we need to embrace freedom of speech and have "true" town hall meetings.  Too often, one side or the other takes the reins and shouts down everyone else, and therefore, our society as a whole is made poorer because we have not been enriched by many ideas and actions, but are governed by only a few, not because the plan was made by using best practices but the loudest. 

My friend Jill Miller Zimon  has been incensed by how many well-qualified women candidates have either been vilified or ignored  by so many citizen and mass media journalists. My apologies for the choice but the title is just so wonderful and it gets readers to where I wanted them to go.   She has also called out Josh Mandel and his ill-disguised attempt to use religious intolerance to capture “voting by fear”. my term not hers.  How sad to see how far we have fallen because of silence.  I am truly blessed to have friends like Bob and Jill.  They keep me centered.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 19th, 2010 at 10:31 pm

The Ballots Are Coming! The Ballots Are Coming!

with one comment

 

Today was the day that the Cuyahoga Board of Elections started to mail ballots to those who have applied by mail.  In September’s primary 29,000 voters voted by mail while 4000+ trudged to the polls.  All of that early voting, essentially, changed the way that voters find out about issues and candidates.  Forget candidates night the week before the November 3rd election-more than 3/4 of the voters will already have mailed in their votes. 

How will voters find information concerning issues on the ballot.  Right now, the casino ads on television pro and con are more style than substance.  Don’t expect the Plain Dealer to offer any investigative reporting or even any balanced reporting of both sides of the issue so that a voter could make a decision on fact rather than bias.  And then, there is the County Reform issues.  There is no doubt which plan the Plain Dealer endorses, but then is that the role of the daily newspaper? Maybe again the role should be balanced reporting to allow the voter the right to make an informed decision rather than one fanned by a corruption scandal that said newspaper MUST have had an inkling was happening years before or were they truly so clueless.

How will candidates reach the voters now? Party endorsements essentially close the door to any other candidates speaking to local ward clubs. At least, this has been the Democratic Part way under the leadership of Dimora and Russo.  Alas, I don’t see it changing much with a change in the guard. Newspapers choose endorsed candidates, and then, essentially close campaign reporting.

So how are voters to be well-informed before voting? I have decided to take part in this democratic process by writing what I see, hear, and know. I intend to offer what I know to voters so that they can decide for themselves who and how to vote on election day.  I will begin tomorrow since many of you will be voting early.  I would suggest keeping the ballot handy, read it over, and then, look for information about ALL the candidates and issues . 

I am walking into territory where I have never been. I have always kept my political votes to myself, but I am tired of remaining silent when all I see are new players with the same old machinations getting endorsements and having the inside track.  The internet should make this a new day in the republic, and we should each do our part to make it so.   

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 29th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Cleveland,politics

Am I Missing Something?

with 3 comments

How can a person commit voter fraud without actually voting? I could see where it might be REGISTRATION fraud.  But can it really be called VOTER fraud before you have actually attempted to vote?

I have always thought that GET OUT THE VOTE promotions where canvassers go to shopping centers, RTA bus stops, and other places where there are large numbers of people are problematic.  First of all, you haven’t identified a VOTER you have probably identified someone who cannot say “no” and they find it easier to fill out your form and let you go away thinking that you have just signed up a voter for an upcoming election.  NOT!!  7 times out of 10 these people have no intention of going to the polls to vote.   In my estimation, this type of GOTV effort is a waste of time.

On the other hand, a neighborhood canvas identifying people who have recently moved into the area as well as those who have lived there but never registered to vote is a step up.  I would still maintain that you have not identified someone who will VOTE.  You have simply added another registration to the rolls.

And so this brings me to my estimation of this Republican version of “the Sky is Falling”   that there will be rampant voter fraud on election day.  Poppycock!  Talk about much ado over nothing.  Should canvassers who submitted multiple cards with the same names and addresses be fired?   Yes!  Should organizations that clog the voter rolls with bogus registrations be reprimanded? Yes!  Should they be warned if the registrations that they submit continue to have problems that they will not be welcome to help in GOTV efforts? Yes!  In fact, there should be a way of not allowing these organizations to participate at all. Would this include the Republican Party that sent out faulty registration cards?  Hmmm!

Again, I assert that many of the people demanding satisfaction don’t have a clue as to what they are screaming to achieve.  Or maybe they do.  Voter suppression is a much more likely outcome than any voter fraud.  People may stay away from the polls because they don’t want to be harassed when trying to vote.  More likely, they will stay away because they fear long lines and waits to vote.  Neither a good reason to stay away from the polls.

Anyone who knows who they are and where they live will probably have acceptable identification to take with them so that any challenger would not do so.  So go vote!  And to those of you so willing to say that there will be rampant voter fraud I ask how many of you are working as a poll worker in your county?  It is imperative for Ohio and the nation that we have a smoothly run election this November.  I ask what are you doing to make it so?  How sad when our political parties find it more advantageous to spend precious time in a courtroom rather than working together to make our national election safe, efficient, and credible. 

Oh and those questionable registrations by new “voters”.  They aren’t going to show up at the polls anyway.  But, wow, haven’t they created a “tempest in a teapot”.        

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 16th, 2008 at 5:39 pm