Port Authority bond rating deteriorates ...

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 18:26.

Here's the good news, because if the Port Authority is crippled, NEO will be more able to advance.  Sorry, Adam.  Thanks to ML for bringing this to my attention.

Fitch lowers Cleveland port authority's credit rating to BBB-
by tbrecken [at] plaind [dot] com/Plain Dealer Reporter
Wednesday August 19, 2009, 4:29 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland's port is studying ways to bolster its bond fund program, after a downgrade of its credit rating to worrisome levels.
Fitch Ratings this week lowered the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's credit rating from BBB+ to BBB-, one notch above junk status.
The lower rating means higher interest rates for debt issued by the port, including $3 million in bonds the port expects to float to help buy land in Beachwood for the Eaton Corp.'s headquarters.
The bad credit news "doesn't mean the end of the bond fund program as we know it," said Brent Leslie, the port's chief financial officer. "It will put us on a path to make it stronger."
The port's development fund has $77.9 million in bonds outstanding, Fitch said. The fund's relatively small size, with 22 borrowers, and its exposure to the struggling manufacturing sector were among factors in the ratings downgrade, Fitch said.
"There's limited diversification in the [bond fund] pool," said Fitch analyst David Litvack in New York. "It's not as diverse as a nationwide fund. The borrowing is concentrated in the Cleveland area. . . . There's more potential for systemic risk within the portfolio."
Fitch also issued a "negative" outlook for the bond fund program, meaning it could be downgraded again.
The specter of junk status has the port examining ways to boost the bond fund reserves, which total about $23 million.
Options include plowing more port authority money into the reserve, enhancing a letter of credit that backs it or asking state or local governments for financial support, officials said.
Leslie said he's also discussing solutions with Ohio port authorities facing similar trouble. Fitch downgraded the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority bond fund program to BBB- in March.


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port of retail

Well, well, I say they turn that corner of Cedar and Warrensville into a grassy park for a while as has been done at Lee and Meadowbrook in the Cedar Lee Business district.

It may be a long time before the Port Authority can become clear on what it can, will and should finance. This last round - no we won't fund retail development, wait, yes we will... uh... oops there goes our bond rating - that began for South Euclid on July 23, 2008 and turned around January 2009. Where is it now, I wonder.

Kudos to whoever is researching and writing the southeuclidoversight blogspot. Whoever it is, s/he s doing a bang up job of exposing the stupidity of local government (oh and the Port Authority) in that near eastside suburb.

Port Authority caught in dilemma of its own making

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority seemed to be investing scatter shot instead of sticking to projects close to its mandate. This is another insight into the wayward behavior of leadership in Cleveland.

scatter-brained is more accurate

Have you ever looked at the list of crackhead stuff they have stuck the public funding... from their "highlights"... both should be under investigation:

The financing structure enabled MetroHealth Hospital to keep a new 750-car employee parking garage off its balance sheet. Total project cost: $11 million

“The Port Authority provided an innovative financing package tailored to MetroHealth's construction project. The Port Authority's financing has substantial public benefits and builds stronger communities.”

- Terry White, former President & CEO

University Heights Public Parking Garage
The Port Authority provided financing assistance for the purchase of land and construction of a multi-level, 2,600-space public parking garage which supports a retail complex. The garage is owned by the Port Authority. Total project cost: $129 million

“Without the help of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, the University Square project would not have been possible. Their staff was extremely helpful throughout the entire process, and we are very grateful for their assistance in this project.”

- Beryl Rothschild, Mayor of University Heights

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Crackhead planning

All just a big game, to those controlling the board

All the development reporting in the Plain Dealer is part of a script that is being written 15 years ahead, by "leadership" already 30 years down the road of their undertaking, to resegregate, industrialize, disinfect and sterilize Cleveland - these carefully crafted editorials and letters are mind control. Nothing more or less.

The developments of the minds in control are in the master plans long before they are shared with the public.

I'm investigating one far more sinister piece of the master plan further down Euclid, right now.

View life in NEO as a farcical absurdist existential film noir and it makes sense, as has I suppose Nazi Germany to some millions of Germans, Americans and other psychotic people of the past and now. I don't think their millions of victims were amused, and neither should be we.

Disrupt IT

Ward 14's Crack Politics

  Where does Ward 14 figure into the scheme?  Why are the near west side machinations are so important to the current administration at City Hall?  

Hint: Drug money....

The down grade is related to

The down grade is related to a reduction in manufacturing and the port being raw material based. It has nothing to do with what they have financed already, it has to do with there ability to finance in the future. that causes the interest rates to rise as with the risk.

They issue bonds, then offer financing of that capital, the variance is and should be a gain or break even. If it changes it’s an additional cost.

It is a capital stream, it’s being used to leverage, that does need to be monitored as to insure they are not gifting to friends. But the method of financing is sound as long as it is recovered over time.

They have been looking at redeveloping the port, and logically over time, but they get slapped for that as well.

It is a raw material port, it has relatively predictable revenue stream. The underling issue is competitive rates, and costs, the markets. The rates are on things that cannot be moved in or out any better way, lowering rates increases the share of the market. We are not on the coast and not open to china so we are not competitive. However for a while we were selling steel to Europe, as the dollar fell in value we became competitive. The rates are not controlled, not fully, directions can change. If products are made here they have to be competitive in the market. If the market changes and it will then the port should be adaptable to that change.

Having a port that is interlinked with rail and the interstate, is ideal, then having manufacturing/wholesaling and warehousing that is built on those lines is most efficient.

Then its about labor, material, taxes….the costs of supplying the lines.

They are financing what is today’s market, service based, they cannot and should not finance what is not competitive.

If they own the garages then they lease them, they better be, they are not chartered to offer anything free to anyone.

Creative financing is not bad thing, unless nobody is watching.

Port Authority Financing and Unethical Bloggers

Thank you Oengus for pointing out the truth about how financing works for economic development projects and how financing economic development projects does not effect the Port's bottom line - and helps stimulate and revitalize our communities. Susan, I have always enjoyed your comments - but your remarks about the Cedar-Warrensville project are way off base. That project, and many other important economic development projects are critical to the future of Cleveland and its inner-ring cities. For decades our state and federal governments have been financing Urban Sprawl through the spending of billions in transportation dollars (Thanks, ODOT!) and, because of a lack of regional tax base sharing, cities have to take steps to maintain neighborhood housing values and taxes. If we don't revitalize our urban core - then we will continue our exodus and sprawl from Cuyahoga County and into the cornfields. In addition, I have checked out the link to the website you commended and could find nothing of real value there - as a matter of fact, I was appalled. Whoever runs it seems to offer nothing but negative, biased commentary mixed with half-facts. To post a PD article about the Port's credit rating and then try to tie it to the Cedar Center Project and a school TIF recommendation is less then honest and factual and is a demonstration of the lack of ethics that now exists with some of our "citizen journalists". I applaud watchdogs that truly care about and work towards bettering our Greater Cleveland community. But those who try to spark or create controversy for no apparent reason - except maybe to push their own personal agenda(s) - should not be given commendation of any sort from our hardworking and ethical Greater Cleveland blogosphere.

ClevelandWatcher has the truth, the ethics, & the anonymity


Cleveland Watcher has deigned to enter the Realneo fray to let us know “the truth about how financing works for economic development projects and how financing economic development projects does not effect the Port's bottom line”.  
And to scold those less ethically endowed for thinking otherwise.
I love it! How tall you stand!
Whatever the Cleveland and Cuyahoga Port Authority finances, according to CW, automatically is “economic development”. And naturally, CW would have to acknowledge that if the Port finances it (some project or other), it (the project) isn’t stupid, is economic development, and doesn’t affect the Authority’s bottom line.
So on one corner of Cedar and Warrensville the Port Authority owns the land and empty , falling down, 2600 car parking structure which can only be used for the adjacent “vertical” mall built by an out state developer.  That  mall “development” is basically empty – royally screwing University Heights because there are very few employees in the empty mall paying payroll taxes.   The vulgar TIF goes to pay the bonds.   
The benefit-only-the-developer TIF structure of all the Authority’s deals is killing NEO, not advancing anyone.
Now CW says one of Realneo’s “citizen journalists” “demonstrations a  lack of ethics” for suggesting that the Authority isn’t too bright for considering building another empty mall kitty corner across Warrenville and Cedar from the University Square empty mall.
What about the markets CW. You know CAPITALISM? If any of these purely commercial structures were an intelligent economic move, they would need no bond funding/backing from the Authority.
This goes for the Browns’ Stadium, the money losing Gateway projects and parking structures and all privatize the profit, socialize the costs projects backed by  the Greater Cleveland Parntership-Blogosphere) (which is ethical).   
You think Roldo is “un-ethical” too?

(Note – throwing in the following ad hominem flair for our friends over at Blackheart  Cleveland)  CW, I would invest in a thermometer, ophthalmology exam, and perhaps a philosophy course.    I’m no doctor but I think you may be running a high fever, causing loss of clear vision, and additionally a moral loss of what is right and wrong….

Also, as my last jab (right now) I will say that I sense from your blind and ignorantly condescending criticism of the Realneo “citizen reporter”  that you have a personal interest in the Cedar project, I suggest that it is you that is un-ethical for posting anonymously and not divulging your relationship to the crazy project.
Oh, and BTW, welcome to Realneo!


You make many implications

You make many implications in your comments about me which you assume are factual - or lead other people to assume are factual. You are correct that not all economic development is good development. But I do believe that the public sector (yes our tax dollars) have a role in lifting our urban cores out of devestation that decades of sprawl has allowed. You found it really easy to criticize my comments and assuming some personal gain, yet, chose to ignore the fact in my comments that we are in this mess because of the government funded programs (again our tax dollars) that helped create it. That being said, I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I was in favor of Gateway, and other similar projects that revitalize areas and promote continued private economic development. East 4th Street would not have been transformed if Gateway had not existed. Ask the Marons. They simply would not have made that kind of investment in the area had the Gateway project not sparked private investment opportunities. And, the vertical mall at Cedar and Warrensville? Obviously, as you point out, there are some major issues with the parking garage design from day one that should have been noticed and they need to be resolved before smaller retail move back in. However: the anchors continue to perform well - Target, Macys and Applebees all soldier on at the location - despite the economic recession. As far as me posting anonymously? Well, for one, I am new to this blogsite, having recently discovered it and the easiest way for me to get rolling when I wanted to comment was for me to "sign up"! Secondly, I have no problem with "anonymous bloggers" posting their opinions or making comments. As I stated in my last post, I have a major problem with entire websites that claim to be "the media" posing as a news-site and clearly misrepresenting facts or telling half-truths - all while hiding under the "anonymous" umbrella. That was my point in the previous post - and I apologize if I didn't make that clear. As for what appears to be a sarcastic, half-hearted welcome to this site: What good is discussion if all viewpoints that are represented are all the same? Why am I being taken to task and scolded for having a minority point of view on this site? Should the simple fact that I disagree with the majority of comments on THIS PARTICULAR POST concerning economic development harbour such venomous, sarcastic comments? Am I any less interested in public discussion because I am new to this website. It certainly wasn't made aware to me that I had to "earn the right" to freely speak my mind prior to posting comments. With such an incredible welcome - why would I ever want to be anything but anonymous?

Sorry for Jeff B, Cleveland Watcher

I agree we need open discussions on all viewpoints, and respect for all sincere communications. I thought Jeff's response was rude, but he can be that way (as may I), and is passionate about REALNEO and this garage and the Port Authority... and, I agree with Jeff, this and most other Inner Ring infill big box retail developments are failures.

There are many among us, myself included, who will also make strong cases why Gateway was a poor investment, and E.4th Street is not a worthwhile outcome for the tax dollars spent in the area, and that alternative plans and planning would have better value - I believe that is a core discussion always in play here: what is the real value of the outcomes of our leadership?

As an economist, I welcome these discussions and want analyses of related facts - we are not getting good vaule for our economic and community development dollars anywhere around NEO, I can think of.

What do you consider Cleveland and NEO's greatest economic development successes of the last four decades?

The sports facilities? The Port? Our suburban shopping centers? Our Freeway system? Our power plants? Lolas?

Or is it the little things?

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cleveland watcher

Your welcome would have been less half hearted if you took responsibility for yourself and stated your real name.  If you want to make claims and be taken seriously, then say who you are so that you can move beyond that to what you are trying to address. Otherwise you remain an anonymous whiner and attacker of other posters.


Can't we just read what

Can't we just read what people write and consider their ideas without knowing who they are?  Are we so influenced by who someone IS that we can't listen to what they say without knowing this?  One of the things I like about the internet is that ideas can be exchanged....just pure ideas....not influenced by the trappings of the things that money can buy, i.e. clothing, cars, shoes, homes, education, etc.  For these reasons I like anonymity because it lets me listen to what someone has to say without all the added influence of these trappings. 

Building trust networks

REALNEO is a community of REAL COOP members, who are real voting, shareholding participants in a valuable collaboration. One vote per real member. We as a community must decide how we allow members to interact - it is possible to allow one person to use many identities, depending on situation - some realneo members have historically done just that. I beleive the overall membership has found that troubling - I like to know who I am communicating with, in that we are building relationships.

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I don't typically give anonymous much credit. i mean - is it sO much to ask to provide an identity?

don't hang anything out the car window you don't want to lose.

I guess I am personally more

I guess I am personally more interested in learning about ideas....I don't need to know the identity of the person who shares the idea.  I like not knowing who the person is so I am not influenced by it.  Not knowing eliminates the chance of having a prejudiced response to an idea or thought or comment based on any of the things that people make value judgments about; it eliminates all the little status symbols that are so prevalent in our society and allows us to concentrate on the idea rather than the person who generated the idea. 


you make some really good points. 

Real names on REALNEO

Before we may dismiss a member for not giving their real name, we must set in place a real coop policy on identity and authentication... we will move to a rich profile and open identity participation. We are still operating in that grey area between real virtual community participation and legacy lurker cyberspace behavior.

When I see members use screen names, I view it more as habit than intent to deceive.

I appreciate each sincere new member, whatever they choose to call themselves, so long as they are ultimately very real.

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making it real at realneo

 I think that using screen names is fine. I may even change mine so that my real name isn't so "out there". But, Norm and Ward14, I feel that what it is really about is saying who we are, what our experiences are, defining ourselves regardless of what we call ourselves. When someone comes on to any site and spews  either hate, basic misinformation, or post what I call "disinformation" to question or malign  another person, I have a problem with that. Ward14, I have never met you but you have shared enough of yourself that I know you. If you offer a critical post, I have a sense of where you are coming from even if I disagree. So while I want to know who I am dealing with, knowing the names will not solve all the issues. I will ask though, again and again, when the position of the poster is to pose as an expert such as cleveland watcher. 

When realneo does develop a policy, I'm sure that people will still want to use screen names. Who will have the information as to identity and will that be disclosed? No matter how pissed off we get another another poster, anonymous or not, would the administrator ever "out" them? I have been bothered by a poster using a user name, and demanded to know who she was and she refused to say. I now know who she is, but I will never "out" her. I think that doing so would be an unethical as her postings. 

jekyl and hyde

i've been involved with some community blog type situations where aliasis the norm. i found that when i met the person in person, they were often not at all like their screen "persona".

Maybe that informs my prior statement. I think identity keeps it real.


Laura McShane--Cleveland Watcher may make valid comments, just as Eternity, Metroparks Muse, AngelNWard14, Oengus and others have here at REALNEO.  And, the identity of some of these folks is not too hard to figure out, even with the cloak of an anonymous moniker.

Unfortunately, however, there is little credibility when the poster remains anonymous.  It's important that we speak and are willing to stand by our comments--or retract them, on occasion-- by using our real identities. 

I know we have whistleblowers our there, but could you all do us all a favor and email one of the longstanding posters here to post your information, if you feel personally threatened by that information? 

In the meantime, we all benefit from more transparency.

please explain

what is happening at Cedar Center and why and by whom and for whom and with whose dollars. I look forward to hearing the REAL story of the corner of Cedar and Warrensville, Cleveland Watcher. Lay it out for us and for southeuclidblogspotter, too. I know you have all the details. I asked a city councilperson, and she said that SE got a grant, so the demo would be completed. Then what?

Ethics aside, I with the help of the SE blogger were simply pointing out that a mere 6 months after the Port Authority said they would not finance retail, they agreed in an email exchange between South Euclid Mayor, Georgine Welo and Port Director, Adam Wasserman to do just that. I'm confused. I think the port is confused... read the shipping news lately?

Is Garfield Heights an inner ring, outer ring, non ring suburb or what... City View. There's no landfill below that corner in SE is there?

Coral Company was to erect some high dollar condos on Lee between Meadowbrook and Tullamore and then they weren't and another developer came in to save the day, but the day has actually been saved by the city of Cleveland Heights, turning that cleared space into a park. It could happen in South Euclid. I'm just sayin'. It could be a nice park. There's a library right there and more retail than you can shake a stick at.

What tenants are in line awaiting storefronts in the new development? Any who represent the local economy? Any small business owners from South Euclid? I must have missed the article since I don't get the sun press anymore. Fill us in, will you?

stealing from the blind, deaf, and definitely dumb...

this image  is from  a link to the South Euclid Economic Development city site.   I suspect persons that work for South Euclid EC are hot to see the crazy mixed use on Cedar and Warrensville proceed (paychecks can make you blind, or worse)

Here is the level of competence in TIF evaluation:  You take the "Advisor" - Strnisha - of the developer -Coral - who (hopes) will profit from the TIF and let that "advisor" tell your school district that "over a few decades" the district will take in more money with the developer's development than without the developer's development.

You think the source of the advice is suspect?

I would demand a insurance bond.  Your project produces the tax revenue you project, or the insurance pays us the difference - plus a penalty.   Kinda like a performance bond in contracting.

But the towns all suck for the tif speil, and are too stupid/co-opted to request insurance bonding the projections.

and the developers love it!  Coral/Mr. Rubin do your thang!

Victim similarity between Mayors Welo and Rothschild?

So I am nosing around on the internet doing forensics on who might be the anonymous “Cleveland Watcher”  – the new Realneo user who dissed - as an “unethical civic journalist” - Ms. Miller, and so I go to the South Euclid web site (the town in which the stupid Port Authority Cedar project is) and I look at Peter L. Rubin’s self serving say nothing letter to the Mayor of South Euclid – and déjà vu – the Mayor of South Euclid is Georgine Welo, (shades of  Beryl E. Rothschild of University Heights) IS the victim.
Then I go to the bottom of Mr. Rubin’s letter and I see it is cc’d to Keith Benjamin, Community Services Director of South Euclid, Alexis Boothe, and Jeffery Epstein.
So here is my viewpoint: Ms. Rothschild ignorantly/innocently allowed her community to get wasted by Bonder Wilcox (from Climaco), and now Mr. Rubin is trying his Music Man hypocrisy on Mayor Welo. 
And one of the three South Euclid employees cc’d in Mr. Rubin’s fantasy note has stepped up to protect their paycheck.  Probably the head guy, Mr. Benjamin.  His paycheck is bigger.   More incentive. You know.



 When you start out by thanking Oengus for "pointing out the truth in how financing works", (after I stopped laughing and got off the floor), I went on the rest of the posting from someone who apparently thinks that s/he can post this absurdity: "is a demonstration of the lack of ethics that now exists with some of our "citizen journalists" while hiding behind an user name. 

Get real.

I'd like to see the benefits of inner ring projects audited

Having grown up at Shaker and Attleboro, in Shaker Heights, where my parents still live, I have shopped regularly in the Heights my whole life - we always had a great mix of good local small businesses... until the malls arrived - first Severance, and Randall Park, then Beachwood Place, then others... they killed the inner ring economy. Adding more of that - and big box new apartments like Avalon Village, or whatever that sinkhole in Shaker is - does more harm than good for the economy.

Most big box is a bust, in the Xurbs, burbs, and inner city - our leaders have spent our next generations into debt trying to create in our valuable inner ring what failed in our sprawling farmlands - wrong model, in my opinion.

Shaker Town Center is no better now than it was 30 years ago, before Shaker taxpayers took on the burden of redevelopment there.

Has there been any positive economic benefit to any of this InnerSprawl?

Disrupt IT

Norm, typo - you meant "bandits" of inner ring projects?

If any of this purported (phonY) economic development was audited, every project would show it was a loser. That's why none of the projects have performance bonds. 

They are all theft from the public.  

concealed carry, but not with guns.

South Euclid Oversight


We are the people behind South Euclid OversightSEO is dedicated to the need for government transparency. Our goal is public awareness of decisions being made by city officials and how tax money is being spent. Information including financial documents, salaries, and videos of council meetings are posted online as a free public service to illustrate how business is conducted on the taxpayer’s behalf. Often the story coming from city hall and the local newspaper is not representative of reality.
First of all, thank you to Susan Miller for recognizing the merits of our efforts. That makes it very worthwhile. Thanks to everyone involved in this discussion for seeing things for what they are. We suspect that the assessment as to the real identity of “Cleveland Watcher” and his possible connection to S.E. city hall and the Cedar Center development may be right on target. 
It does appear that CW has a personal interest in Cedar Center. Perhaps the fear of public awareness is causing CW to lash out. The accusatory remarks concerning CW’s perception of anonymity are without merit. We did not in the beginning, nor do we now, intend for SEO to be about us. We give readers who make comments the option to remain anonymous to eliminate any possibility of retaliatory repercussions. 
If possible please, we would like to pose a few questions to CW. - Could you please elaborate on how exactly Susan Miller was “way off base” regarding Cedar Center?
Which particular posts do you contend SEOversight put forth that were devoid of truth? Please be specific in your accusations of “unethical” and “half truths.”  By all means, CW, if you have any data you would like to share, now would be a great time to enlighten us all. Kick the habit of hoarding details. We will gladly retract any misstatement that you can dispute with supporting documents.
If you know that SEOversight has knowingly or unknowingly posted false or misleading stories, then the only “ethical” action would be to report your full account to as large an audience that you can find. Start now. SEO would welcome any additional light being shed on the goings-on at South Euclid City Hall.
Cheers to all.
Emilie and Dave

The Port Authority's Mission and A Few of My Own Ideas.

The Port Authority's funding of these questionable suburban shopping centers is odd to me.  I think there are political ties and backdoor deals involved in much of it.  But, maybe it is just the best they could come up with.   Nobody is saying it's easy.  Obviously, it will take a lot of money and many more honest, savvy and driven officials and business folk to bring Cleveland the City, Cuyahoga the County, jobs, and the all-important taxpayers back from the brink.  The entire Mid-West and the Federal Government would almost have to look at this as a matter of national economic security for the future of the Great Lakes Region.  Here is my vision, admittedly on a grand scale.

I would locate the Medical Mart near University Circle and make it into an incubator for prototyping state of the art medical equipment with real patients, real doctors and real science.  The sales of successful medical innovations will take care of itself.  This location for the Medical Mart makes The Euclid Corridor more relevant.  I would extend I-490 into this area as has been discussed.  I would move the Port to the E55th Street area and then turn the mouth of the Cuyahoga River into the largest Metro Park I could possibly make it.  Hang with me here it is just starting to get interesting.  Out away from the new Port in Lake Erie is where we put the windmills.  The electricity these windmills generate will be fed underwater to the port and then underground beneath a totally revamped MLK/Liberty Parkway.  This road was once one of the most glorious drives in the world.  The wind driven electricity would then be used to power the Medical Mart.  Those Collinwood Rail Yards would be bustling once again.  Whether Westsider or Eastsider, I think we can agree that the University Circle Area has the best chance of being THE GREATEST CENTER OF DIVERSE HUMAN ACTIVITY BETWEEN NEW YORK AND CHICAGO.  We become the grand link.  The perfect 2-day journey between these two world-class cities includes one great intermission in Cleveland.  Yeah, that's right Big Apple and Chi-Town; the party is in Cleveland tonight.  Let's do this for our kids, our grand kids and all future travelers who may spend a metropolitan evening on America's North Coast. 

This is the vision of Joe J. Liptow, P.E., LEED-AP and resident of South Euclid.


Port Authority, School demolitions, Land Bank demolitions....OPM

I love this guy--Dominic LoGalbo.  How do we get him to write here?  Google:

Port 'reorientation' plan deserves cynicism