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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Now What?

For those without audio capability on your computer, the video below provides the following information:

It appears the development agreement between the City of South Euclid and The Coral Company has expired as of April 30, 2009. When questioned about the “game plan moving forward,” the Mayor can be heard in the background saying “no comment.”

Council President / Ward 2 Councilperson, Moe Romeo responds, “We can’t answer that right now because we don’t know. No comment at this time.”

  • time: 47 sec.

Please see the previous post regarding Cedar Center:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On The Defensive

  • time: 2 min. 10 sec.

City officials have an emotional reaction when being asked questions about the “Playground of Possibilities.” A number of things come to mind regarding this dialogue and Mayor Welo’s apparent pre-planned response to questions about city worker’s being authorized to work on what was billed as an “all volunteer” undertaking. It is unclear why the Mayor states in the following video that the authorization for this was for only “one day”, when in fact that is NOT the case.

It is most important to note: Of course the act of city service workers being tasked to work at a city park is not the issue here. It is the misrepresentation of the facts by our elected officials. All it would have taken to avoid this controversy would be the admission of mistakes, and honesty regarding what it required to fix those mistakes. Instead, failed attempts to spin or rework the facts only resulted in the further appearance of ineptitude or impropriety. What did your Mom always say about honesty? Yes, it would have been the best policy.

  • The financing for this project was not secured prior to the scheduled “build week,” including the acquisition of all the individual playground “components”. The anticipated donor purchased playground components were unfortunately not accounted for before the build date which facilitated the taxpayer “loan.”

  • For what ever reason(s), ample volunteers were not obtained which facilitated the need for the service department bailout effort.

  • Mayor Welo states the need for service department workers to work on drainage issues to alleviate potential flooding. Her comments are difficult to rectify because: prior to pouring the rubber base for the playground, it is necessary to provide a gravel base. That is standard procedure. An employee of the contracted company can be heard on the previous video Two Different Stories , saying that the gravel shoveling going on (shown in the video) is usually done by the time his company arrives. He also states that volunteers were supposed to complete this work, but that did not occur.

  • Eyewitness reports have city service workers engaged in the actual building of the playground while allegedly on the clock.

  • In an apparent attempt to minimize or ignore the questions presented them, city officials opted to go ballistic and vent their anger on the person asking the questions. The chosen strategy for evading the issue at hand is not effective, relevant, or becoming. Nor is it legally sound. It would be wise for city officials to review the Ohio Sunshine Laws. Particularly this portion:
  • Any Person” may make a request
  • “The requester need not be an Ohio or United States resident. In fact, in the absence of a statute to the contrary, foreign individuals and individuals living in a foreign country are “persons” who are entitled to inspect and copy public records. The requester need not be a human being, but may be a corporation, government agency or other body.”

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them….To cover with the veil of secrecy the common routine of business, is an abomination in the eyes of every intelligent man.” – Patrick Henry

“A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” - James Madison

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know, but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” - John Adams

“Information is the currency of democracy.” – Thomas Jefferson

  • To view additional information regarding the Ohio Sunshine Laws and the Open Records Act, please see the SEO post, Not Fulfilling Their Duties. To view the entire text of the Ohio Sunshine Laws, or to obtain your own FREE copy, please see the previous post, Your Right To Know.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two Different Stories

Below: A portion of the open meeting segment at the City Council Meeting on April 13th. Council President Moe Romeo fields questions on the topic of the “Playground of Possibilities.” For those without video access on your computer: It is alleged that although city officials have presented the playground to the public as fully funded and constructed exclusively by donations and volunteered time, tools and supplies- all with no public money- indeed that is NOT the case.

  • time: 3 min. 19 sec.

Below: City workers are hard at work on the “Playground of Possibilities" on Thursday, April 23, 2009, 10 days after the discussion in the video above. The installation of the rubber surface necessitates that the contracted company remain on site from April 22 through April 30th. It is unclear if the authorization of utilizing city workers and equipment will continue through that date or beyond.

  • time: 3 min. 10 sec.

Please click on image below to view full size.

Don't miss the previous post: You WILL Be Donating

Please review more information regarding funding for the playground at the following links:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spin The Budget

Many Administrative pay raises are included in Mayor Welo’s version of “budget cuts” as referenced in the article below. The 2009 “Salary Ordinance” will be getting its final polishing by your elected representatives at the committee meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 27th. The meeting is open to the public.

Also noted, from the Plain Dealer commentary by Mayor Welo; “(Welo) expects the tightening to continue as cities are forced to charge residents for services such as trash pickup.”

Could this be a glimpse at things to come?

Please click on the article below to view full size.

Please click below to see related information:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Making It Up As They Go Along

Please click on image to view full size.

The following is a replica of the email sent to the Sun Messenger on April 12, 2009 regarding the previous article:

Mr. Wittenberg-

I read with great interest your recent article in the Sun Messenger concerning Peter Rubin dba The Coral Company and the development at Cedar Center. A few things have come to mind:

At what point in time did this project become a public / private partnership? At the time the original concept of eminent domain was presented to the public, the Cedar Center redevelopment did not include tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. When did that change? Why did the public not get the opportunity to weigh in on that decision? Please review the information presented at the following link:

The original “Development Agreement” between South Euclid and The Coral Company expired in January 2009. It does not have any clause which allows for an automatic renewal or extension of the contract. Has there been a new or revised contract signed? Here is a link to the original agreement:

A number of fascinating questions have been raised concerning Cuyahoga County and the public money being used for the Medical Mart. Those questions are valid for the Cedar Center venture also:

  • Who will provide oversight for the project?
  • How will the public keep track of how its money is spent?
  • How can the City choose to partner with The Coral Company without public bidding?

The Cleveland Heights/University Heights School District has not yet agreed to the $14 million TIF proposal. According to my sources, the City of South Euclid has extended the deadline for CHUH to render a decision until the end of this calendar year. Any public statements made by either South Euclid or Peter Rubin regarding the commencement of construction prior to the approval of the TIF proposal by CHUH would appear premature, inaccurate and misleading.

What will be the financial result if CHUH does not agree to the TIF proposal?

South Euclid Oversight has provided a host of public records and documents regarding Cedar Center. Below are some links:

I sincerely thank you for your time and interest in this matter and look forward to your reply.

Here is the response received on April 13, 2009:

"Thanks for your e-mail. I am busy working on deadline today and tomorrow, so I will read the links you sent later in the week. I actually don't know if I will be doing any further articles on Cedar Center, as I was just filling in for Jeff, who is on medical leave. But I will be sure to share your e-mail with him when he returns. "

Please click on the following link to view more information regarding "TAX INCREMENT FINANCING" (TIF) including videos of the actual presentations to the CHUH School District made by Key Bank, (on behalf of the City of South Euclid), and Peter Rubin, President of The Coral Company:

On April 13, 2009 at the South Euclid Council Meeting, the Law Director responded to questions about Cedar Center. The video is located below.

  • The “development agreement” was extended for 90 days, which would make the expiration date of that document April 30, 2009. Then what?

  • The “TIF” has not been approved by the CHUH School Board and will “hopefully” occur sometime before the end of this calendar year.

  • time: 1 min. 39 sec.


******************RELEVANT LINKS******************


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Developing Pattern

Apparently, City officials aren’t willing to operate in a transparent manner. Just how much public money has gone, and will continue to go toward paying property taxes for Cedar Center remains a mystery. The closest estimate can be found on an application for County funds. Lest we not forget, the money obtained from Cuyahoga County to demolish Cedar Center is still taxpayer money.

Leathers and Associates of Ithaca, New York is the company who orchestrated the construction of the “Playground of Possibilities.”

The 2009 Budget information has been provided.

Please click on image to view full size.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rhetorical Question & A Call To Action

Please click on the letter below to view full size.

coming soon: Salaries 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Budget 2009

Please click on the link below to view the City of South Euclid Budget for 2009. The box in the upper right corner of the display on "scribd" will provide full screen access for easy viewing.

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