Fund For Our Econ Future

Extending Community Home Online - the ECHO for universal access is about to return home

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 11/28/2006 - 03:38.

On next Wednesday, December 6, 2006,  it will have been two years since I proposed to Northeast Ohio that we can easily and inexpensively bridge the digital divide for East Cleveland, and other communities in need in the region, by deploying mesh wifi networks here and distributing recycled computers running open source software (see original posting below, and linked with other related files here). I called this vision ECHO - originally "East Cleveland Homes Online", renamed "Extending Community Home Online". While I've driven some ECHO progress, over these years, especially deploying to people in need recycled computers running Ubuntu, the mesh is still to come. The time has come.

Gen-X speaks and the establishment doesn't listen - can we try again

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 11/25/2006 - 13:16.

There is an important article in the NYTimes today titled "Cities Compete in Hipness Battle to Attract Young" which, in the closing paragraph, briefly summarizes what I feel has been one of NEO leaderships' greatest weaknesses: “The real issue was, is your city open to a set of ideas from young people, and their wish to realize their dream or objective in your city,” he said.

Rembrandt in the Rust Belt - what makes art work in Erie may work in NEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/20/2006 - 18:16.

A friend sent me the folllowing article from the Wall Street Journal, suggesting it may be an excellent model for Northeast Ohio. I'll plan to make a visit and report further some time I'm passing through Erie, which is frequently. In the mean time, this article paints the picture well, and makes a good case for "Rembrandt in the Rust Belt"

Fascinating alternative energy entrepreneur in Toronto: founder of Beach Solar Laundromat

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/08/2006 - 16:13.

 

Dozens of best practices to be learned in this posting... From the North Coast of Lake Ontario comes the following story of an entrepreneur for sustainability in Toronto who has found “There is no longer a paradigm conflict, Renewable energy doesn’t have to cost more”. This entrepreneur, Alex Winch, found his strategy for retrofitting a run-down Laundromat to solar has paid off... "He’s kept prices low—lower than his competition—while tripling revenues and charting an annual 10% rate of return on investment." I'm exploring working with Alex and Toronto-based glass and neon artist Alfred Engerer to use solar and perhaps wind to generate the electricity for a major off-the-grid, hand blown neon installation in Toronto, while, in the big picture, Mondial is looking to go public. As you'll read below, "Alex Winch puts his money where his mouth is and, these days, he laughs all the way to the bank." For all the attention leadership of this community puts on renewable energy, what do we really have to show in the community. Perhaps a NEO Solar Laundromat would be the best next step.

Happy 2nd B-Day, REALNEO

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 10/26/2006 - 02:22.

Two weeks ago saw the second birthday of REALNEO. I started REALNEO in October, 2004, to provide “Regional Economic Action Links for North East Ohio” and implement for the region some exciting open source social networking technology. While the outcomes have not been entirely what I expected, and these years have in ways been rough, I've been thrilled to help drive and support some great developments in the community.

Greater Ohio briefs candidates

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 10/16/2006 - 16:16.

Want to know what Greater Ohio has been saying to gubernatorial and legislative candidates this election season? It's in the book - the Greater Ohio's briefing book for candidates, officially titled, "If Sprawl Meant Jobs, Ohio Would Have Full Employment: Policies for Redeveloping a Great State" (also available from Greater Ohio's home page).

Ohio State Representative Mike Foley press conference on lead eradication funding

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 10/16/2006 - 14:26.
10/17/2006 - 11:30
10/17/2006 - 12:30
Etc/GMT-4

Ohio State Representative Mike Foley (D) will be holding a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday October 17 at 11:30 am at the gazebo at Lincoln Park (W. 14th and Starkweather), located in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland’s west side..  

Location

Lincoln Park
W. 14th and Starkweather rain or shine
Cleveland, OH
United States

Akron joins East Cleveland and Toledo in litigating over lead - Cincy and Columbus expected to follow

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 10/16/2006 - 12:38.

 Thanks to Ed Morrison for forwarding to me an Akron Beacon Journal article about Akron filing a lawsuit against U.S. paint makers over lead hazards in their community. I don't believe the Cleveland Plain Dealer bothered to report on this important development, and the PD certainly didn't do as good a job of reporting on related litigation in East Cleveland and Toledo, a few weeks prior. Wonder why? As defendant Sherwin Williams' spokesman Bob Wells said, "Ohio is the last place we thought cities would bite their own'', and, in the case of mainstream local media, that line of reasoning holds true... they earn money from Sherwin Williams advertising and don't cover the lead issue in Northeast Ohio, even as 1,000s of children in Cuyahoga County are lead poisoned each year and so fail in life, trapping our core population in toxic poverty. With such a realization that our economy is held hostage by large corporate interests, it is time for the community to get serious about this issue... especially as Sherwin Williams and their attorneys act to intimidate our cities and deceive the people and the courts. Read on!

Bob Stark and panelists will discuss a vision for downtown Cleveland

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 10/12/2006 - 13:25.
10/17/2006 - 16:00
10/17/2006 - 18:00
Etc/GMT-4

"Make no small plans" is developer Bob Stark's sentiment toward visioning the future of Northeast Ohio with which I agree completely. Next Tuesday, October 17th, the public is invited to a forum at the Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University, hosted by Dean Rosentraub, featuring Mr. Stark's development vision for Downtown Cleveland, with a panel discussion featuring Steven Fong, Dean, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Kent State University, and Valerie McCall, Chief of Government Affairs, Office of the Mayor, City of Cleveland. It is exciting to see such a collaborative approach to planning forming around such core stakeholders and the public. The opposite of the command and control process that is giving us the ODOT bridge from hell and so many other bad outcomes in NEO, this public multi-university, public-private exploration has the potential to connect important agendas for consensus building around sophisticated visions of the future of our region, starting with the heart of it all, downtown Cleveland.

Location

Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
1717 Euclid Avenue Glickman-Miller Hall, Atrium
Cleveland, OH
United States

Lead poisoning a good cause for those who recognize "those who destroy the Earth shall be destroyed by God!"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 10/11/2006 - 21:29.

There were two important shows on WVIZ/PBS public television tonight. First, locally produced Ideas featured a segment on lead poisoning. Second,  "Bill Moyers on America: Is God Green?" explored  how "Millions of evangelical Christians in America have taken on care for the environment as a moral and Biblical obligation. They believe that as Christians it is their duty to take action against global warming, the loss of species and toxic chemicals in our air, food and water." So, we saw the greatest problem in our local society today... toxic contamination of at least 20% of people's land and lives in Cleveland... followed by the solution, being the 65% of Americans who believe in Christ coming together to battle such toxins. To care about any of these matters without caring about all is to live an incomplete and evil life as, apparently taken from the scriptures,  "those who destroy the Earth shall be destroyed by God!"

The public must defend East Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus against Sherwin Williams, Jones Day and Plain Dealer over lead poison

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 10/05/2006 - 09:50.

 

The Plain Dealer finally has their headline article in the battle to protect citizens against lead poisoning - Sherwin Williams is suing East Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus for them filing suit against Sherwin Williams over lead poisoning... this, rather than the impacts and history of lead poisoning, is what has made the headlines in the paper, featured on top of the business section (rather than the front page, where the news belongs). So, Sherwin Wlliams and their local attorneys Jones Day feel they can intimidate or perhaps bankrupt Ohio cities by attacking them over what has already been determined against Sherwin Wiliams and Jones Day in Rhode Island and is in court in 26 other states, all because  Sherwin Wiliams and Jones Day believe Ohio and our courts are so in the pockets of this rich and powerful local company and law firm they will endorse Blackmail.

The biggest economic development story in NEO this year: East Cleveland litigating over lead

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 09/29/2006 - 18:00.

If you read REALNEO, you know the huge burden of lead poisoning on our region's children and adults, the community's quality of life, and our education system and economy, and you know that, since May, East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer has been planning to work with Motley Rice to bring litigation over lead poisoning to Ohio courts. Today, the Plain Dealer published word the litigation is finally here, as East Cleveland is expected to file suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court over the public nuisance lead causes in their community, as has been done in 27 other states to date. East Cleveland is the leader bringing such litigation to our state, and it appears other cities and the state of Ohio are preparing to follow suit. I take great pride that I helped advance this development, and I look forward to helping East Cleveland, NEO and all Ohioans win, as a result.

Join Meet The Bloggers with Issue 18 campaign director Eric Fingerhut

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 09/24/2006 - 16:53.
10/13/2006 - 10:00
10/13/2006 - 11:00
Etc/GMT-4
On Friday, October 13, State Sen. Eric Fingerhut will Meet.The.Bloggers in Suite 105 of the Tower Press Building.

Location

Tower Press Bldg - Suite 105
1900 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH
United States

Fascinating developments from Chávez speech at UN

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 09/23/2006 - 13:05.

I'm sure everyone who follows news and current events knows about Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' speech at the UN, declaring US President Bush the devil. In today's NY Times there is an insightful expansion on this story, as they report that during Chávez' speech he held up a copy of retired MIT Professor Noam Chomsky’s book “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance,” a critique of American foreign policy, and urged his audience “very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it.” The NY Times reports sales in America of the book have since spiked - I certainly now plan to read it. Hegemony is preponderant influence or authority over others. Chomsky writes: "One can discern two trajectories in current history: one aiming toward hegemony, acting rationally within a lunatic doctrinal framework as it threatens survival; the other dedicated to the belief that “another world is possible,” in the words that animate the World Social Forum, challenging the reigning ideological system and seeking to create constructive alternatives of thought, action and institutions. Which trajectory will dominate, no one can foretell." Another quote from the book, and the NY Times article are below...

What’s the Economy for, Anyway? Measure NEO by Genuine Progress Indicators

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 09/22/2006 - 00:53.

 

 “If they can get you asking the wrong question, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

There is much effort put into rationalizing our current economic conditions in NEO, but I don't see anyone in NEO analyzing our genuine progress... our GPI (see America, above... how's NEO doing?). At the core of this challenge is, what's the economy for in the first place? An article at the New Dream website asks that question, and states "It’s time to demand that champions of the status quo defend their implicit answer to that question.  Do they actually believe that the purpose of the economy is to achieve the grossest domestic product and allow the richest among us to multiply their treasures without limits?" "But what if we answer the question... The greatest good for the greatest number over the long run.” "In that light, economic success cannot be measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or stock prices alone.  It must take into account the other values that constitute the greatest good — health, happiness, knowledge, kindness — for the greatest number — equality, access to opportunity — over the long run — in a healthy democracy and sustainable environment." Based on that, are the NEO and American economies healthy? Read the rest of the article to see what you think...

Another tragedy on the West Side: 1300 is closing

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 09/20/2006 - 14:10.

While hard to compare to shootings and murder, I can't think of a worse development for NEO, local arts and culture and my neighborhood than the news I recieved just now - Gallery 1300 is closing. I don't know enough details to know if it is "our" fault - not enough money flowing from the community to the gallery and artists - or just that the smart, great people who have made 1300 a core part of the NEO scene have other opportunities to pursue, but I know we all owe it to their team to really put out for them in their closing months. More to come on this as I learn details... for now: the Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           

Title of the Exhibit: Leave ‘Em Wanting More – The last shows of 1300

Opening Reception: 

5 - October 20, 7-10 – Grant Smrekar, Paul Sydorenko, Bill Rupnik

Essential Elements of a college Entrepreneurship Program, and the three best in Ohio

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 09/18/2006 - 15:07.

I was very interested to learn today that three Ohio Universities were rated among the top 25 colleges for entrepreneurship by Entrepreneur.com and the Princeton Review, and I was surprised by which, and why. Most insightful, from the Entrepreneur.com website: "10 Essential Elements of an Entrepreneurship Program...Whether you're looking at one of the schools on our list or have found another program that intrigues you, here's what to look for to make sure you'll be successful in your studies:..."... read on.

Tomorrow is Software Freedom Day... here's how this is celebrated in Toronto... what about Cleveland?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 09/15/2006 - 12:43.

I'm on Wireless Toronto while up here (very cool free social change program) and saw on their events calendar that tomorrow is Software Freedom Day, and the core activities in Toronto are being organized out of our building on Spadina... here are the details below. I checked the Software Freedom Day site and there are teams in Ohio in Wooster and Dayton but not in Cleveland (OMG!)... if I'd known before I would have helped organize one there... a must for 2007... for now, if you want to get up the curve on free open source software (FOSS) and declare social software freedom, set up an account at realneo and comment here and we'll get in touch with you to help. Read on...

It's the soot... "In Gamble, Calif. Tries to Curb Greenhouse Gases" a must read on NY Times

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 09/15/2006 - 08:54.

Imagine a day when the NY Times writes about NEO not just because of great real estate visionary David Perkowski but for political visionaries like in California. NEO leaders talk of how large our regional economy is, and the world knows how large a producer of greenhouse gases we are, so we should be ranked with New York and California in addressing greenhouse gas emissions. In the NY Times today there is an excellent article digging deeper into programs in California, developed by their democratic legislature and republican governor, addressing California's role in the global pollution crisis, and their respnse. We have an election coming up in Ohio in November to choose a new governor and a bunch of other politicians and the number one question of candidates should be how are you going to put Ohio on the same high level of global consciousness about global warming as has California leadership. We must raise the consciousness on this if we are to develop a new economy here, ever... here's how the Times writes of California... "This is the state that in the early 1970’s jump-started the worldwide adoption of catalytic converters... this is the state whose per capita energy consumption has been almost flat for 30 years, even as per capita consumption has risen 50 percent nationally... California, in fact, is making a huge bet: that it can reduce emissions without wrecking its economy, and therefore inspire other states — and countries — to follow its example on slowing climate change." Read more about CA's brave public leadership and the highly-paid, cowardly energy industry lobbyist-attornies below...

Why is Plain Dealer still ignoring impact of Lead Poisoning in education and economy?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 09/10/2006 - 16:03.

The Plain Dealer is taking a high road right now in dealing with politicians and the local economy - the same high road of Ronn Richard and the Cleveland Foundation, and most other community leaders in town... we need good education to have an effective economy. The PD quotes Cleveland Foundation President Ronn Richard as saying, at the City Club Friday, "Any plan to reinvigorate Northeast Ohio has to include reinventing, not just improving, public education... In fact, overhauling our educational system must become a national priority". In the Sunday, 09/10/06 Plain Dealer, the PD proudly proclaims: "Newspapers aim to set the agenda for election"... "Some of Ohio's largest newspapers are banding together to urge candidates in the governor's race to focus on three critical issues: kids, college and jobs." Yet neither Ronn Richard or the PD acknowledge the silent crisis of lead poisoning (and, BTW, mercury in our lakes, rivers and Perch-fries) that guarantees each year 10,000s of children in Ohio will not be able to be educated, or become effective members of the economy or society, and will instead be lifelong burdens. As the Washingtonian acknowledges (large PDF) in their more intelligent August 2006 coverage of social issues in Washington, DC, "In DC, hundreds of children are being damaged every year—and the results will be more school dropouts and more crime." For NEO and Ohio leaders to talk about improving education without attacking the lead and toxin crisis is either ignorant of deceitful. I tend to lean toward deceitful, as in the same PD that proposes to care about education, the business section features a puff-piece on the CEO of Ohio coatings manufacturer RPM, which is in the middle of major litigation over asbestos, and the PD uses this opportunity to position that litigation as fraudulent. The interview with RPM CEO Frank Sullivan features he joking about his relations with Sherwin Williams CEO Connor, who is fighting for his life to battle litigation all over America (except in Ohio) against his company over lead poisoning millions of Americans... to these people, harming millions of people is just good business, and the PD celebrates that.

I got my Voices and Choices choicebook feedback. Did you?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 09/09/2006 - 06:03.

Yesterday, I got an email from Voices and Choices providing feedback from the Choicebook I completed online in July, in preparation for the community meeting they are holding next weekend. Did you complete a choicebook and get your results? Based on the data, showing at best only around 539 other people completed choicebooks, I assume you did not. That means you do not have a voice in how the establishment will steer $100s of millions in "Fund for the economic future" foundation and public money and attempt to steer our economy over the coming decade.

Ronn Richard at City Club: Is There Hope for Revitalizing the Nation’s Poorest City?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 09/06/2006 - 21:54.
09/08/2006 - 12:00
09/08/2006 - 14:00
Etc/GMT-4


Is There Hope for Revitalizing the Nation’s Poorest City? Cleveland Foundation’s Ronn Richard at The City Club of Cleveland


CLEVELAND, OHRonald “Ronn” Richard, president and CEO of The Cleveland Foundation, will speak on the topic “Revitalizing America’s Post-Industrial Cities: Some Lessons from Cleveland” at noon on Friday, September 8, 2006, at The City Club of Cleveland.

Location

City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Avenue 2nd Floor
Cleveland, OH
United States

Making Cleveland a healthier community by supporting bicycling

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 09/04/2006 - 18:18.

One thing I love about Ohio City is seeing so many people of every sort riding about on bicylces. I see 100s of bicyclists go by my home an hour, during the day and evening, from entire families, to parents with their children in tandem, to clearly down-and-outs with all their Earthly possessions strapped on board. Good for them, and the environment... a core benefit of livable cities.

A step in the right direction for dealing with blight: good work, Judge Pianka

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 09/04/2006 - 17:19.

The 09/04/06 Plain Dealer has a blurb about an important step forward in the fight against blight in NEO, writing that "Starting tomorrow, Cleveland Municipal Housing Judge Ray Pianka will order that every abandoned house in foreclosure on his docket carry a sign identifying the owner and the owner's phone number. The name and number of the mortgage company also will be listed, along with the court case number and a contact number for someone at the court. "These owners and mortgage companies have anonymity now. Well, OK, if the case is before the court, now everyone will know who is responsible.""