You will do as I say

Submitted by lmcshane on Sun, 08/03/2008 - 08:24.

Today 8/3/2008, Chris Ronayne gets a front page editorial on the Forum page of the Plain Dealer.  Chris lives in Cleveland and drives to work every day.  I know his commute, because I made a similar commute when I worked at Metrohealth Hospital in the eighties.*  My drive time?  Ten minutes from University Circle to Metrohealth Hospital. Sure, sometimes, it was 15-20 minutes, if traffic held me up, or, if it took forever to get out of the parking lot, but I literally made the commute every day with my eyes closed.  It scared me so much to realize that I was driving in a trance, that I committed myself to public transportation. 

Driving is hypnotic. Are we all so hypnotized that we don't realize the reality? Why did we invest in the Euclid Corridor to just duplicate the effort in a superhighway for the rich folk?  Parallels astound me.  Also, in the Plain Dealer today, the Travel section highlights the stops along NEO's real Opportunity Corridor--the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Ohio and Erie Canal.  What should be a major stop on the trail?  Metrohealth Hospital--also featured in the editorial pages of today's paper. 

So, what's the real opportunity?

The easy answer?--Make both employment hubs liveable and walkable and appealing destination neighborhoods for the nearby families that depend on the health services and the employees, who work at both the Clinic and University Hospitals and Metrohealth. 

The predictable NEO reaction?--

Pour more concrete.

(*why did I live in University Circle?--I was young and wanted some place fun-- close to arts and music. Also, I originally thought I would be working at CWRU's campus not at Metro.)


Four syllables. It's a BIG word!

Chris and Natalie Ronayne have a new child born in the city. Congratulations to the Ronaynes! Believe it or not, h-e-l-i-c-o-p-t-e-r is one of the first words the "disadvantaged" kids in my neighborhood learn from seeing and hearing the big yellow bird in the sky every day and every night.

Driving the "Opportunity Corridor" will not get patients and doctors to the Clinic any faster than the existing infrastructure, but a HELICOPTER will. Talk to Metrohealth. The helicopter has a name--it's called Life Flight.

So listen Chris

We're friends.

Did you read Philip Fragassi's editorial on Metrohealth? Phil went to Miami University just like you and just like me. He puts his pants on one leg at a time. We are mortal and we are not far removed from the vulnerable described by Dr. Phil.

Let me reprint Phil Fragassi's somewhat veiled plea to the Clinic and UCI:

Cleveland is truly a Mecca of medical care. People come from all over the world for the medical care we have to offer.

But there are disparities. Some hospitals have billion-dollar surpluses; others that care for the most vulnerable are struggling to stay afloat. Some people with insurance drive many miles to go to a physician when the solution is in their back yard. Some people are still evaluated and told to go to "the county hospital."

Do I have to tell you what he is saying here?

Applewood Center

Did you know that after passing Issue 15 the County dried up funding to the independent living program at the Applewood Jones Home? Wow, wouldn't it make sense to offer nearby daycare to the employees at Metrohealth at the Jones Home? Wouldn't it make sense for the Clinic and University Hospitals to do the same? Wouldn't it be great, if those same employees could walk over and visit their kids on lunch break and then walk home afterwards. With Cleveland Public Libraries near both major medical facilities, you could pick up books and movies on your way home. With excellent Cleveland Metropolitan School District high schools--John Hay and the Cleveland School of the Arts, on the east side, and Lincoln West High School, on the west side, also within walking distance, consider the opportunities for co-op job training and STEM school campuses. Wow, and both John Hay and Lincoln West High School have indoor swimming pools that can be used for hospital staff recreation and physical therapy work-outs. Wow, so many opportunities and so little action.

As long as I've been in

As long as I've been in Cleveland (1965), UCI has been about

keeping an expanding black community from its turf. It has, unfortunately, dominated the elite community's decisions involving the UC area. It has meant destroying some older housing that would have made the area alive, it has caused the bunker buildings that you see from the  rapid station at Cedar and it has caused a sterile atmosphere where it should be one of the most alive neighborhoods in the city, especially with the influx of students, mostly young, every year.

And the new corridor is more of the same.

Why we need a world-class plan for University Circle

I agree, and what I've seen of all current plans for the expanding UCI world, now including Glenville, Central, Fairfax, Hough and the Cleveland Clinic compound, pretty universally suck... the only bright spots may be some of Ari Maron's intentions, and the new CIA and MoCA buildings, if they ever materialize and are good (so for, an unknown).

The job of President of UCI is yes man to and salesman for the most powerful institutions in NEO... the ringmaster of a very strange circus, I'm sure. I feel sorry for Chris... although he probably makes more in a year than I'll make in a decade, so I don't feel too sorry for him.

Disrupt IT

Does Chris want us to pay the "Opportunity" cost?

I was not at all surprised to see an editorial by Chris Ronayne front and center in Suday's PD... I'm sure that may be arranged any day he likes. What surprised me was that the editorial was so pointless.

Chris ends his preaching for the Opportunity Corridor with "Let's start this road to somewhere from University Circle", but never explains how. Okay... so are we having a bake sale? Did you want us to bring some mulch somewhere to help fill in some brownfields. I mean, what is the point... what is your objective, Chris... what do you want "us" to do?

What I think rich UCI institutions and rich UCI "backers" like PD published Egger and the 1,000s of rich doctors working around UCI should form a private cooperative to put up their private money to acquire the land between Carnegie and Woodland. Put in a private drive, at their expense... any major development requires private investment in infrastructure... put it all the way to 490, and charge a toll for everyone using it, and develop all the land around it for profit. Sell UC/Clinic area employees FastPass cards and include the "Opportunity" cost in employee compensation, or let them pay it with heir parking (I'm sure they ain't giving that away).

I don't see why the public should object to some good-old free enterprise in Cleveland, nor a private toll road through a development zone. It is the tax the poor corporate charity bullshit I don't like... and it smells like that is what Chris and his bosses are cooking up, to me... what about you?

Disrupt IT


Did you notice he used the words "hatched" and says  "The Opportunity Corridor is not a pork-barrel "bridge to nowhere." I give Chris more credit than his handlers.  He may be controlled, but he still has an ethical barometer under the suit.

We'll see how well that "ethical barometer" functions

...when we learn how Chris and his handlers propose Clevelanders, including school children without funding, will pay for the yellow brick road from Xurbia to Xanadu.

Disrupt IT

what does corridor entail?

Chris refers to the "corridor" as a boulevard, a road, a bridge. What is it exactly?

I think it is a highway - the continuation of I-490. It may slow gently into the ER at the Clinic, but so does E93 or E105 take you there. Bring the businesses, gardens and refurbished old homes - return the lovely streets and get those folks a map. Or get them a rail pass and a park and ride. It's the Red Line, stupid!

Do you want a highway built in your neighborhood? I prefer agriculture personally...

Think ODOT is gonna get the Cleveland Botanical Garden's biodiversity award for the Opportunity Corridor?

Note how "corridor" is like a chameleon - the name was changed from the "Euclid Corridor" to the "Silver Line" to the "Health Line". Will we call this the "Health Highway"? Is that an oxymoron?

If it isn't a highway, then it is like the West Shoreway - curbcuts for developers...

keeping commuters safe from the natives

Susan, the Opportunity Corridor gives suburbanites the opportunity to totally avoid contact with Cleveland natives; they will be able to go from home to job and never touch down on the same street or sidewalk as a resident, to exit the car in the parking garage and never be breathed on by a resident; it's bad public policy and a huge waste of public funds; it's car-oriented; it smacks of Disney-fication; it's sooo 1958; it's about moving tons of money and having the chance for bond issues; it's about short-term union jobs. It's about a nonproductive, parasitical leadership trying to squeeze in one more project before the game is officially over. It's about suggesting a bogus fix for something that is just fine as is, and just needs a little TLC. It's about cowards, elitists, and cheats. It's about having no new players here for the past two generations.





Transportation priorities

Of course, now we know why RTA is especially reeling--state funds are prioritized for the big shots in the big cars and ODOT road projects.  Why didn't they say so sooner?

GZ says–”The time has come to ask the politicians in Washington and Columbus why they drastically cut their funding to RTA and to the other transit authorities in Ohio.”

Over 600 people attended the meeting at the Cleveland Public Library downtown today 8/5 to protest proposed cuts in RTA service, especially circulators. So, who’s the bad guy in RTA’s book? The State and state transportation funding. 

RTA is asking riders to petition state reps for funding on par with other states, which receive 23 percent of their funding from state funds, while Ohio provides less than 3 percent to public transportation here.

heck with defense, let's go on offense

We need to change the way we're talking about this RTA thing. Many people are defending against the cuts; we need to bypass cuts and talk about increases, extensions, more generous funding than ever, and free fare as a driver of the new Cleveland-based economy.


And, we need to confiscate the sales-tax increase ostensibly earmarked for the MedicalMartConventionCenterWelfareProject.

brilliant! move the tax from Medcon to RTA

Now that's a brilliant idea and I would happily see that quarter cent sales tax go to supporting RTA expansion instead of a big box cantilevered out over the Cuyahoga OR dug into the Mall. Keep the Richfield Coliseum in your mind as we continue down this path and wonder how our grandchildren are going to deconstruct it when the boodoggle is bust.

This morning's reminder of the fact that Forest City will cavalierly rent the Higbee Building to MMPI for $1/year (not including renovation costs) to leverage the purchase of their riverfront land for the Convention Center is just so freakin' heartwarming, I need a chest air conditioner. As usual the PD has the KY jelly in hand to prepare us for the Forest City deal that's coming.

Did we hear them say, "Hey MMPI, how about a Cleveland building for a dollar?" This is becoming a popular refrain. "Cleveland - buy real estate for a dollar..." Will they be given some slick tax abatement for their renovation efforts/occupancy, too? The property, as far as I can tell in the auditor's site is valued in the market at $1,050,000.00. Forest City paid $29,377.18  in property tax  last year for the "full line department store". Will this be a write off for the corp, if they give it to MMPI for a dollar a year? Why would Forest City be willing to pay that much tax while renting the space for $1? Somebody please help me to understand this high level math.

MMPI should build or renovate their own mart with no subsidy if they want it here. (Forest City offering the Higbee Building for a dollar is starting to resemble HUD with their have-this-house-for-a-dollar plan.) If a Mart requires a big meeting hall, they should build that, too. I'm not trying to be unwelcoming, but I just don't see why the poor folks of the city of Cleveland (CMSD students in particular) should foot the bill for these rich guys. No one seems to be reporting on the tax revenues the new Mart will contribute to our fair town. Oh! Am I sufficiently confused yet?!? If Eaton moves and builds its new headquarters inside the RTA Loop on the eastbank, will they be building a tax abated building? OK Clevelanders - raise your hand if you're paying taxes. OK, now raise your hand if you're not...

Do you think that Chicago, NY or LA taxpayers would offer to help a billion dollar company build their purported moneymaker? Haven't we already given enough in tax breaks to the medical industry, sports industry here? Do we have to do this so MMPI will stop eyeing the opportunity to build it in Dubai?

What ever happened to those PILOTS that Cleveland Clinic was going to pay, that Doan Electric Pyramid Scheme was going to "look into"?

When the FBI has gone through the 3 UHaul trucks and connected the dots (if they do), maybe we will get a chance to erect some old school structures on the public square.

Those folks at the statehouse who have decided that a paltry sum toward public transportation from all the gas tax they collect is adequate, may have to be transported from Columbus to do their stints. This is the other end of the feudal equation. When the Lord is dragged from the Manor...


I 2nd moving the tax to RTA, if they go Chinese

What I see happening at RTA is a bloated high cost institution failing, having everything to do with poor executive and high level management. I'd agree public transportation must be well supported, and I'd rather pay sales taxes for public transportation innovation than for the MedCon (I'd rather see it go toward just about anything rather than a MedCon), but I am unimpressed by everything about our current RTA world and I have zero confidence anyone in leadership at RTA is innovative or effective. I'd like to see comparisons for RTA versus other world-class metro public transportation systems for headcounts, staff costs, % breakdown of administrative and operating costs relative to revenues, and lots more data than I believe anyone at RTA may provide. And that is just to see how badly RTA is skrewing up now. Then, I want to see a global best practices analysis to determine what innovations may transofrm NEO into a public transfrmation based community, rather than a sprawling mess held together with weak threads of buslines.

RTA needs a far outside audit and management review... hire a Chinese transportation consulting firm that the GCP can't influence. What I expect to find is a corrupt political dynasty overpaying for everything, including ineffective, poorly trained, unmotivated often nearly hostile staff, which makes using their service nearly unbearable.

While we have some smart Chinese consultants helping us, let's get them to look at that moronic port plan so they can explain to all of us how laughable our 30-50 year projections are, based on economic development in times of Chinese global economic domination, global warming and a new economy leaders here are not planning for at all.

where does abating taxes leave off, and racketeering begin?

These cowboys are playing fast and loose with the money and the preferences. The more I see it, the more I realize that all preferential or uneven treatment, that which is done selectively and aside from the norm, falls into the category of bribery or racketeering.


It's time not only to stop it. It is time to repeal it. We're in the mess we are today because of freeloaders. Welfare has shifted quickly and gone upscale.


It's time to take our money back as we stabilize the cash flow and spread the operational burdens out evenly.

how much is really illegal?

Just a thought following my last comment: How much of the tax abatement done over the past 30 years could be construed as illegal?


Racial discrimination is illegal. Gender discrimination is, too.


Can we revoke tax abatement? Can we recapture foregone revenue from tax racketeers? Can we level the playing field and treat everybody fairly, and not burden one group to favor the other groups?

Emotional Intelligence game

  My coworker clued me in on the  Emotional Intelligence game.  Really, I don't know the rules any more, not that I ever did.  But, basically, you say what administrators want to hear and you move ahead one place on the game board.  Obviously, this is Chris Ronayne's strategy at UCI. 

And, not a surprise, some major local (publicly funded ) institutions use "the EI game" to justify the awarding of high salaried jobs.

Token gestures

One of our region's best writers  tip-toes around the obvious message of the Opportunity Corridor--that there will be no real effort, now or in the future, to rid ourselves of cars. 

Save $9,499

Some of my coworkers don't believe me when I say that I saved close to $10,000 last year by eliminating my commute.  Who's laughing now?