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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dismal Retail Outlook

A recent ABC News report paints a dreary picture of the retail industry.

Should all this time, money and effort be devoted to Cedar Center?

Please click on image below to view full size.

Please see other related posts at South Euclid Oversight:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Public Debate!

Public discussion and debate have been a rarity among these Council members. However, at the South Euclid City Council Meeting held on December 22, 2008, Council members Ruth Gray and Robert Hartigan not only debate, they stood their ground and voted against the majority.

  • time: 7 min. 55 sec.

The First Step

City officials have taken the first step by disclosing some details about Cedar Center. This information was brought to the public eye when a Key Bank representative acting on behalf of South Euclid, made a presentation to the Cleveland Heights/University Heights School Board on December 16, 2008.

South Euclid officials have responded to "observers" by posting "Cedar Center Information" on their website as of December 29, 2008.

We would like to see more informational generosity in the New Year, and with the price tag attached, please.

Please click on image to view full size.

Please click on the following link to view financial information:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Waiting For The Financial Timeline...

The Sun News repeatedly and consistently portrays the Cedar Center project as being a “$40 million” development. Applications for funding submitted by South Euclid to Cuyahoga County indicate the project amount at nearly $69 million. This information and supporting documentation had been made available to the Sun News many months ago.

In The Sun Messenger article below, Keith Benjamin, Director of Community Services states, “Despite the challenging times and the many challenges presented by the economy, Cedar Center is moving forward, that’s the main point.” No – the main point is – how much is this costing the taxpayers? And for how long? It was presented to the public as being purchased and developed by the private sector.

The citizens NEVER got the memo that they were footing the bill to the tune of $56,083, 729.00! And that's just for the construction. That does not include the previous accumulated expenses to date, such as property taxes paid, interest on current debt financing, legal expenses, property surveys, studies and evaluations. Why would a financial commitment of this magnitude not require a vote?

Please click on document below to view full size.

Please click on the following link to view the entire text of the "COMMERCIAL REDEVELOPMENT FUND - PUBLIC ENTITY APPLICATION", as submitted to the County by the City of South Euclid:

Please click on article to view full size.

Below is an article which appeared in The Sun Press, December 25, 2008 edition. The financial circumstances regarding the project in Euclid suggests an eerie pattern emerging, although Mayor Cervenik doesn’t appear willing to commit any public money.

It is perplexing as to why the Sun News did not publish this article in The Sun Messenger, as well as The Sun Press. The citizens of South Euclid may find this information interesting.

Please click on article to view full size.

The video below contains relevant clips from the Cleveland Heights/University Heights School Board meeting on December 16, 2008. Jeff Rink, Director, Public Finance, Key Bank - "sells" the idea to the Board members. To view the entire presentation, please see, Failure To Communicate .

A reporter from The Sun News was in attendance at the School Board meeting during this presentation. It is unknown why there was no mention anywhere in their publication, regarding the announcement of such a significant financial commitment, and the TIF proposal.

  • time: 9 min. 26 sec.

Please also see:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Political Will?

  • time: 0 min. 51 sec.

The truly noble and courageous action to take right now would be to come clean about Cedar Center. Open up the books and let’s see how the money is being spent.

When did "buy the property and sell it to a developer" turn into a "partnership" between the City of South Euclid and The Coral Company?

When will our elected officials decide to reveal their financial strategy to the taxpayers? If there wasn't a clearly defined strategy in the first place, as noted in The Plain Dealer, that's simply inexcusable.

Please click on the link below to view Resolution /Ordinance 57-08 and Resolution / Ordinance 58-08:

Please see additional posts regarding Cedar Center:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Citizen Generated Content

Below is an excerpt from "The Diane Rehm Show" broadcast on National Public Radio. The topic was, "The Newspaper Industry and The Future of Journalism."

This particular "video" is audio only. Included below is a short description in print of the 4 minute 56 second audio clip.

Please click on image to view full size.

  • time: 4 min. 56 sec.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Failure To Communicate

  • time: 0 min. 24 sec.

On December 16, 2008, the current developer of the Cedar Center project, Peter Rubin, President and CEO of The Coral Company, gave a presentation to the Cleveland Heights/University Heights School Board. His presentation was followed by Jeff Rink, Director, Public Finance with Key Bank. Mr. Rink presented a basic overview of the 30 year "Tax Increment Financing" proposal.

The following links provide a definition of "Tax Increment Financing" from various sources:

It could be viewed as peculiar, the first acknowledgement of significant financial responsibility, a 30 year long encumbrance, did not take place in a South Euclid venue, but at a school board meeting in another municipality in front of their residents.

It is most unfortunate that the financial circumstances surrounding the city owned properties have yet to be revealed to the taxpayers of South Euclid. The Plain Dealer published rare commentary from South Euclid city officials concerning the use of taxpayer money at Cedar Center. Those statements were extremely vague, inconsistent, and admittedly ambiguous.
Please click on article to view full size.

City officials have not yet revealed the amount of money they intend to request from the CHUH School District. According to applications submitted by South Euclid for public funding requests to Cuyahoga County, $13 million was the estimated "minimum."
It is unclear why the Mayor, or any city official, did not attend to address the Board personally, or participate in the presentation. Law Director, Michael Lograsso was in the audience but was non-participatory.

Please reference the following link to view the full text of an application for public funds submitted by South Euclid to Cuyahoga County:

A number of questions come to mind:

  • How is it possible that the City of South Euclid and The Coral Company entered into a development agreement which presumptuously uses “Tax Increment Financing” as a significant factor of their financing equation, without having secured approval from the CHUH School District first?

  • What will happen to the financing plans if the CHUH School Board members turn down the proposed TIF arrangement?

  • If the CHUH School Board agrees to a 30 year commitment of a minimum $13 million for the construction of a shopping center in another city, how will the CHUH taxpayers respond the next time a school levy increase is needed?

  • Exactly how much public money has gone into this project thus far?

  • What is the total amount expected to be spent including all financing obtained from public loans, grants or other funds, plus, legal fees, interest on loans, property taxes, heating, electric, snow plowing, landscaping, maintenance, etc..........

To view evidence of significant financial undertaking, please see:


Peter Rubin, President & CEO of The Coral Company presents his financing and development considerations to the Cleveland Heights/University Heights School Board:

  • time: 9 min. 55 sec.

Jeff Rink, Director, Public Finance, Key Bank gives his preliminary pitch, minus any actual dollar amounts, to the School Board and the people of Cleveland Heights and University Heights. This video clip is in a two part format:
  • time: 9 min. 48 sec.
  • PART 1


Continuation from video above.

  • time: 7 min. 45 sec.

  • PART 2

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Slap In The Face

City officials held a “public” meeting with South Euclid landlords/property owners on Wednesday, December 3, 2008. The meeting was called due to the highly contested change in fees and requirements for the issuance of a “Certificate of Occupancy” for rental unit dwellings. It is unclear as to how and when this meeting was advertised. The city did not contact all landlords/property owners to inform them of this meeting.

The meeting was inconveniently held at 10:00 A.M. on a Wednesday. According to one eyewitness account, the attendees of the meeting were irate. Sources reported that some individuals were prepared to face jail sentencing in defiance of the unreasonable rate hike and intrusive new processing procedures imposed by the city.

There was further discussion on the matter at a Committee Meeting and City Council Meeting on December 08, 2008.

In the video below, Housing Manager, Sally Martin reads a prepared statement at the Committee Meeting.

  • time: 7 min. 12 sec.


Mayor Welo cites the "Good Neighbor Committee" as being the impetus for Ordinance 55-08, increasing the fees and requirements for "Certificates of Occupancy."

Welo speaks as if the “Good Neighbor Committee” is an arm of the city government. This group is not sanctioned by voter approval, nor do they have any legal power. Is it possible that people were selected and appointed based on their willingness to promote this administration’s policies?

1. Who exactly comprises the “Good Neighbor Committee?”

2. How does one go about being “appointed” to the Committee?

Also on the video, Councilwoman Ruth Gray gives her opinion.

If Mayor Welo would have attended the Committee Meeting, she would have realized that no one from either her Administration or City Council raised the issue of the “Good Neighbor Committee” playing any role in the decision to enact Ordinance 55-08. Both the Administration and Council members present at this meeting laid blame on increased costs of running the program, including manpower for inspections.

Welo gives the impression that the legislation was hatched from a movement of residents fed up with run-down rental properties. If this scenario is to be believed, the new policy would basically be the imposition of punishment.

Is it possible that a third explanation exists? Could this simply be one more revenue generating scheme aimed at already overburdened taxpayers?

  • time: 6 min. 28 sec.


Disgruntled landlords/property owners voice their concerns to city officials:

  • time: 6 min. 24 sec.

Deceptive Account

The Sun Messenger has conveniently left the financial details out of their article below. This leaves the wrong impression with the reader. Here are some facts.

The City of South Euclid has obtained $1.8 million in loans from Cuyahoga County to pay for the demolition of the Cedar Center properties. According to sources at the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, these loans are 40% “forgivable.”

There have been several unconfirmed explanations given to the media by city officials as to how the other 60% of that money will be repaid. In one scenario, The Sun Messenger reported that the money will be reimbursed by the developer, Peter Rubin of The Coral Company. In an article printed by The Plain Dealer, the repayment of the public funds borrowed from the county Department of Development are supposedly being paid back by a different source, the Cuyahoga County Port Authority, also public money.

In either case, there has been no transparency or effort on the part of anyone at South Euclid City Hall to explain these costly details to the taxpayers. It is unclear as to why public money is being poured into the scheme to build further unneeded shopping and housing in these unstable economic times.

Please click on the following link to view another scenario where The Sun Messenger account does not reflect the facts: A Shameful Saga

Please click on article to view full size.

Below is a page from the November/December 2008 South Euclid Update. We made one slight change indicated in red.

Keeping You Informed!? Give us the full financial details on how much this fiasco is really going to cost the taxpayers!

Please click on image to view full size.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Outrageous Opulent Spending

  • time: 6 min. 07 sec.

In these troubled economic times, was a taxpayer funded trip to Orlando, Florida justified? Councilwoman Jane Goodman is the only member of council who suggests that a junket to Florida wasn’t a prudent move on the part of city officials.

The public is entitled to know:

  • Airline ticket cost and dates of travel for each individual attending the NLC conference in Orlando, Florida.
  • Hotel cost per person including: dates, room service, movie rental and telephone charges.
  • All rental car expenses either submitted for reimbursement or charged on a city credit card and all parking fees.
  • Individual expense account forms submitted for reimbursement.
  • All records of city issued credit card purchases associated with this seminar.
  • Cost of paid registration fees and a complete list of seminars and events attended for each individual at the “Congress of Cities” conference.
  • Was this travel limited to city officials or did this travel include any spouses, family members or guests?

      To view further information regarding the National League of Cities conference, "Congress of Cities" held in Orlando, Florida, please also see: Fun In The Sun

      Sunday, November 30, 2008

      Documents Of Note

      Cuyahoga County Department of Development Community Development Block Grant Application - CDBG - Municipal Grant Program: The Cedar Center Redevelopment Infrastructure Project:

      Please click on the following link to see additional information: Citizen Participation Not Encouraged

      Please click on image below to view full size.

      Please click on image below to view full size.

      City of South Euclid, Ohio, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report- 2007:

      Independent Audit - 2007 - City of South Euclid, Ohio:

      Friday, November 28, 2008

      No "Comments Or Questions"

      There was a noticeable silence when Council President Moe Romeo asks the members of City Council for "comments or questions" about Ordinances regarding a significant sum of public money.

      At the council meeting on November 24th, packets were made available to the public which contained the evening’s agenda, including relevant Ordinances. It is unclear why the packet did not contain a full and complete copy of Ordinance 50-08. Posted below is the portion that was released.

      • time: 2 min. 40 sec.

      Please click on images below to view full size.

      • Ordinance 50-08 : Full and complete copy not provided at City Council meeting on November 24, 2008

      Please click on image to view full size.

      • Ordinance 51-08

      For further information regarding "The Greenvale 9", please click on the link below:

      Tuesday, November 25, 2008

      Cutting Costs?

      Please click on article to view full size.

      Please click on documents to view full size.

      Please click on the links below to view other posts at South Euclid Oversight regarding the wireless Internet proposal, including video:

      Thursday, November 20, 2008

      Fun In The Sun

      • time: 48 sec.

      The City of South Euclid is a member of the National League of Cities. Below are links to the website pages that give information about the organization NLC, including membership fees, and conferences.

      How many South Euclid city officials actually attended this conference in Orlando, Florida? What was the total cost to the taxpayers including airfare, hotel expenses, food, seminar costs, and other travel related expenses?

      About NLC:

      Join NLC:

      Membership Application:

      Conferences and Events: Congress of Cities & Exposition:

      Leadership Training Seminars - November 11-15, 2008 — Orlando, Florida:

      2008 NLC Congress of Cities & Exposition - November 11-15, 2008 - Orlando, Florida. Schedule of all events:

      Please also see other related posts at South Euclid Oversight:

      Saturday, November 15, 2008

      Citizen Participation Not Encouraged

        The City of South Euclid has introduced Resolution 52-08 for the purpose of requesting two grants from Cuyahoga County. One is for $60,000 from the County “Operation Paint Brush” program to aid in exterior home painting funds for low income and senior citizen residents. City officials have determined that the average cost of painting a typical home in South Euclid is $3,500. If the request for these funds is approved by the County, approximately 17 homes would be able to receive this assistance. According to the Director of Community Services, a lottery system would be implemented to select the recipients.

          The other request for County funds is for infrastructure improvements at Cedar Center in the amount of $150,000. It is unclear as to why the City is picking up the tab for this expenditure. The Cedar Center project was presented to the public as being a private development. All reports from city officials portrayed the financial responsibility as being shouldered by a private developer. When did that change? Why haven’t city officials kept citizens apprised of the financial circumstances? It is particularly disturbing that during the current financial crisis, the pursuit of additional retail in an oversaturated and failing market has commanded so much money and effort in lieu of basic city services and safety issues.
            Regardless of any opinion on the Cedar Center project or the acquisition of funds, it should be noted in the documents below, the intentional manipulation of the application process to obtain this public money. One of the criteria on the application is for “citizen participation.” There has been no effort on the part of the city to inform or involve the taxpayers in the decision making. The agenda for the Committee Meeting posted on the city website did not include any explanation of the subject matter. Further, the online version of The Sun Messenger was posted less than eight hours prior to the meeting.
              Please click on image to view full size.

                Please click on the links below to view the entire applications offered:  <>NOTE: 11-22-09 <>SEO has requested the following applications submitted to the County by the City of South Euclid.  It is unclear why the information provided by using the County links below have had the specifics removed.  SEO will provide the information in this location when it has been obtained.

                Please click on image to view full size.

                Please click on image to view full size.

                Please click on image to view full size.

                • time: 9 min. 32 sec.


                Tuesday, November 4, 2008

                ELECTION RESULTS

                The link below will take you to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website where you are able to view election results by customizing your inquiry to the specific contests you want.

                South Euclid Oversight will be monitoring the Board of Elections website and will make periodic updates throughout the evening regarding ISSUE 106 - "Point-of-Sale."

                Below are the unofficial results as reported by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections:


                • time of update: 8:50 a.m.

                • 26 of 26 precincts reported

                • YES ---- 4061

                • NO ----- 6282

                South Euclid/Lyndhurst School tax levy - 135

                • time of update: 8:50 a.m.

                • 45 of 45 precincts reported

                • FOR THE TAX LEVY --------- 10668

                • AGAINST THE TAX LEVY ----- 8807

                Wednesday, October 29, 2008

                Paid Advertising

                Below is an article published as a special supplemental insert to the October 23, 2008 issue of The Sun Messenger. According to The Sun News office, and confirmed by another paid advertiser, the stories were submitted by those who purchased the space.

                It is unfortunate the initial construction of this project took place prior to the money being secured.

                What was the cost for this paid advertisement? From what source did the funds originate?

                Please click on image to view full size.

                Tuesday, October 28, 2008

                Ordinance 46-08

                Ordinance 46-08 is another piece of the mystery surrounding the financial charades at Cedar Center. The Cleveland Heights/University Heights School Board has yet to sign off on any "TIF" agreement with the City of South Euclid.

                Below Ordinance 46-08 are a few excerpts from the "PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT AND CONTRACT FOR SALE OF LAND" signed in October 2007 by The Coral Company and the City of South Euclid.

                To see the entire text of the development agreement, please click on the following link:

                Please click on each image below to view full size.

                Sunday, October 26, 2008

                Greenvale 9 Review

                di·lap·i·dat·ed (-lāp'ĭ-dā'tĭd) - Having fallen into a state of disrepair or deterioration, as through neglect; broken-down and shabby, in deplorable condition; Decayed; fallen into partial ruin; injured by bad usage or neglect. "a tumble-down shack"
                SOUTH EUCLID OVERSIGHT is in possession of the Building Department inspection reports for each of the Greenvale 9 homes, inclusive of interior and exterior, for the 4 years prior to demolition.

                Under NO circumstances were those homes in disrepair, dilapidated, falling down, or blighted. There is NO viable reason they required being torn down.

                All photographs in the following posts were taken shortly before the homes were destroyed.

                Friday, October 24, 2008

                Disingenuous Rhetoric

                Please click on image to view full size.

                Please click on image to view full size.

                The Sun Messenger article brings many interesting aspects to light, but offers more omissions and contradictions coming from City Hall:

                1. How much canvassing did Welo do in the fall of 2007? She ran unopposed.
                2. One very important omission about the required escrow account is – a minimum amount of $1000.00 must be deposited regardless of the amount of the repair.
                3. Indeed. A revenue producing scheme: More permits = $ for city = higher property value = higher taxes = more $$ for city.
                4. True. Citizen questions city Law Director: Please see video - Taxation With Misrepresentation
                5. Please pay particular attention to the section entitled "Questionable Credibility" as you view the post - Not So Fast
                6. Roadblocks And Barricades
                7. Please see video - Who's The Boss?

                Saturday, October 18, 2008

                Lack Of Transparency

                In the video below, a collection of statements from various city officials reveal conflicting, and at times flat out wrong information being reported to the public.

                In certain cases it appears as if some elected officials haven’t even read Ordinance 65-05 at all. NOTE: The actual amount of money to be deposited in the escrow account is 150% of the HIGHER of 2 estimates that must be obtained by the homeowner. HOWEVER – the minimum escrow deposit required is $1,000.00 – regardless of the amount of the repair. Compare other inaccurate statements made by city officials with the actual legislation:

                False or misleading information whether given out by virtue of malicious intent or incompetence is unacceptable.

                Why hasn’t the full and complete text of Ordinance 65-05 been posted on the City’s website for all to see? During one meeting, city officials incorrectly advise residents that the legislation is available online. It is NOT. Offering to get “just some facts about Point-of-Sale on our website,” isn’t good enough. The citizens deserve complete information and full access. If this legislation is so good for the city, it should sell itself.

                The example below illustrates the lack of availability of the actual details of Ordinance 65-05.

                Please click on image to view full size.

                • time: 6 min. 05 sec.

                Other related posts :

                Wednesday, October 15, 2008

                Taxation With Misrepresentation

                While attempting to perpetrate this revenue generating legislation on the taxpayers, city officials have conveniently neglected to include the full text of Ordinance 65-05 from all forms of communication with the public. This includes the "Update" newsletter and the city website. Chapter 14 of the online Codified Ordinances has not been updated to include Section 1413 as of this date.

                A resident brings his valid objections and logical concerns about "Point-of-Sale" to City Hall. His straightforward and accurate criticism was not well received.

                • time: 7 min. 26 sec.

                Tuesday, October 14, 2008

                What Will It Cost?

                Mayor Welo reads a letter from Peter Rubin of The Coral Company regarding Cedar Center at the Council meeting on October 13, 2008. There was no mention of the complicated financing discussed in the letter or Welo's commentary. Although, she stated that "people are worried", and she "wanted to put all fears to rest.

                The matter of whether or not Cedar Center is going to be redeveloped has become secondary to the issue of how much taxpayer money will it take?

                • time: 2 min. 30 sec.

                Please click on image to view full size.

                Friday, October 10, 2008


                VOTE NO! – ISSUE 106



                • FULL TEXT OF ORDINANCE 65-05 (designated below in red)

                • VIDEO FOOTAGE OF CITY OFFICIALS (designated below in green)


                • NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

                • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR



                Thursday, October 9, 2008

                Conscientious Citizens

                Three cheers for the citizens of South Euclid who took their objections to the streets and gathered signatures on referendum petitions to put "Point-of-Sale" on the November ballot.

                The two letters below appeared in The Sun Messenger on October 9, 2008.

                We agree 100%

                Please click on image to view full size.



                ORDINANCE 65-05:

                Friday, October 3, 2008

                Ward 4 Meeting

                The main thrust of the Ward 4 meeting, held at the Community Center on October 1, 2008, was to focus on the upcoming ballot issues:
                • Issue 135 - School Levy
                • Issue 106 - "Point-of-Sale"/"Certificates of Inspection"/Ordinance 65-05

                City Council members in attendance were Jane Goodman, At-large Councilwoman Sunny Simon, and At-large Councilman David Miller.

                Other matters discussed included an update on the Cedar Center project, the Playground of Possibilities, and Langerdale retention basin.

                Below is a video clip of Keith Benjamin, Director of Community Services giving an update on the Cedar Center project.

                • time: 1 min. 37 sec.

                For further information on Cedar Center, please click on the following links:

                It was reported the “Playground of Possibilities” will not be completed or open to the public until next spring. All official reports indicate there has not been sufficient money raised to fulfill the basic financing requirement for the playground. It is unclear when the $150,000 "loan" from City funds will be repaid.

                Below is a video clip regarding the playground:

                • time: 3 min. 03 sec.

                To view photos and other information about the playground hosted at the City of South Euclid website please click on the links below:

                One topic the Council members and Administration representatives in attendance were not able to address at this meeting was how the proposed program to provide wireless Internet access at city parks is progressing. There is some confusion as to whether the initial site survey has indeed already been completed and paid for as reported at a Recreation Committee meeting held on September 8, 2008.

                South Euclid Oversight will look into this matter until this anomaly is put to rest.

                Please see other posts regarding the consideration of wireless Internet in South Euclid parks:

                Saturday, September 27, 2008

                Absurd Spending

                Below is a condensed version of the City of South Euclid Recreation Committee meeting held on September 8, 2008. It is presented in a three part video. The meeting was one hour, the video is edited to approximately 9 minutes.

                The topic of discussion was the proposed idea of wireless Internet service to be provided at Quarry Park, Bexley Park and the Victory/Community Center area. It appears the likelihood of this expenditure is imminent as the City has already invested in a "site survey" with the provider.

                According to the salesmen pitching the idea to the attending Council members, David Miller, Ruth Gray, Ed Icove, Moe Romeo, Jane Goodman and Robert Hartigan, whose voices can be heard on the audio - the up front cost will be $90,000 plus an estimated $4,000 per year in upkeep fees.

                The Mayor did not attend this meeting as scheduled on the agenda. Perhaps it's time for her to quell her unquenchable thirst for image, and concentrate on what is best for her constituents. A good place to start would be with safety and basic city services.

                • WIRELESS INTERNET : PART 1 - time : 3 min. 03 sec.

                • WIRELESS INTERNET: PART 2 - time: 4 min. 40 sec.

                • WIRELESS INTERNET: PART 3 - time: 1 min. 15 sec.

                Please see other related post:

                Tuesday, September 23, 2008

                VOTE NO - ISSUE 106

                Below is a copy of the language for ISSUE 106 as approved by the Ohio Secretary of State which will appear on the ballot in South Euclid.
                • If you are opposed to "Point-of-Sale" inspections - VOTE NO ON ISSUE 106.

                Please click on image below to view full size.

                It is strange that during the current nationwide financial meltdown, the City of South Euclid is so eager to enact this legislation.

                Please see other related posts this site, including videos:

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