Tuesday, August 28, 2007

is this the Clinic's PILOT?

$2 million gift to link students to digital learning - Cleveland Metro News – The Latest Breaking News, Photos and Stories from The Plain Dealer -- It's good to see the Clinic taking up some of the slack. I heard a good while back that the Clinic was to begin paying about 25% of its forgiven real-estate taxes into what they call a PILOT program designated for education. PILOT is very big in other prosperous, fair-share communities and stands for "payment in lieu of taxes."

Is this $2 million the beginning of that?

Rosemary Palmer thinks she's different from Dennis

Rosemary Palmer for Congress -- Here's a piece by Anthony lighting into Dennis for not standing up for the people of his district, which encompasses a good part of Cuyahoga County. One thing we need to be mindful of is whether a candidate would be an improvement, or whether a candidate is just a change of scenery, or underwear. I don't see where Rosemary serves, or served, as an advocate for the people any more than Dennis does, or did lately. I'm thinking of wanting to see a well-defined track record of advocacy and service. In the recent abrogation of the right to vote in Cuyahoga County, Republican candidates and officeholders did hit the street on behalf of all of us, irrespective of party politics or party affiliations. Rosemary was conspicuously absent, for one who would purport to be a contender, and so was Barbara Ferris. We don't need any more lukewarm types who pick and choose what is most opportune for them.

It's easy to lob potshots at Dennis; he's vulnerable; he's odd.

It's hard to do the right thing, and to be truly useful. We've had enough posers; with Rosemary and Barbara, it's just a different pose.

I don't think they can prove me wrong. They both had an opportunity to make something happen this past month, something that would be a sea change, and they opted out.

respectfully disagree: the public financing is not clear

The real work for a convention center/medical mart in Cuyahoga County now begins - cleveland.com -- Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon and a holdout for specificity and forthright behavior and plain talk, but contrary to what this article says, the public financing is still unclear. The resolutions no. 73101 and 73102 still state that the proceeds of the increased sales tax of one and one-fourth percent go to the general fund, and there is no earmarking that I can find anywhere.

This whole project seems to be a massive hoax perpetrated upon a needy public just ready to get whipped into hysteria. I cannot see how the PD writer (oddly enough, the article I linked to is not attributed to anybody) can state, with such assurance, "So the public financing is clear, but many other crucial questions about the project remain unresolved." Of course, perhaps it's merely that I am too dense to understand, like most of the other voters, and that's why the two commissioners had to decide this for us.

Read the resolution language again for yourselves:

Resolution No. 073101 and 073102

R E S O L U T I O N:


go read Roger

Cleveland Equanimous Philosopher: Just Say "No" to Deborah Sutherland and Her Ilk -- This guy's a leader, not a follower, and has a moral compass, and does not lose his bearings. He thinks from the point of view of the best interests of the community, and lets all else follow.

officer z had the freedom to do as he pleased

Authorities detail drug case against Patrolman Zvonko Sarlog - cleveland.com -- Here's a story, at the link, about a young guy who only wanted to be known as "z" and who ran his own game, in our back yards and our alleys over here in the second police district, with impunity, perhaps with immunity. The only other parallel would be the banks and the mortgage lenders, and their TPAs. They all do as they please, unsupervised and unchallenged, and get away with stripping the equity and the value from our communities. It's time for a financial payback, on top of the usual incarceration.

This z character was actually sort of mock-comical. I remember his showing up driving his police cruiser down our narrow driveway to check on the health and welfare of a well-known neighborhood sociopath, a lady who's been dodging laws and decorum since her husband died in 1990; he tried to deputize me as one of his little helpers in keeping an eye on "suspicious activity;" he assumed I was a simpleton who wanted to cozy up to police saviors. He was actually probably keeping an eye on competing, low-grade criminal enterprise.

He should have realized that the most suspicious activity I had seen lately was a police car driving down that driveway to visit Miss Judy. The rest of them parked on the street and usually advanced in pairs, tactically. He was like a visiting relative.

one of the most pernicious ideas ever

Foreclosure task force: Save neighborhoods, not scattered properties - Cleveland Metro News – The Latest Breaking News, Photos and Stories from The Plain Dealer -- A while back, there was a rumor out that Tim Hagan was going to push for legislation so that the banks would be bailed out of their foreclosure mess in a scheme such as this: The foreclosed properties would be condemned and demolished, new money would be let out to developers, new properties would be built, and new mortgages would be let out. They might call this a public-private partnership. Well, read the article at the link. It's here. Banks, developers, unions, and developers seem to benefit, as we waste our way into oblivion.

This is one of the most destructive, indecent, proposals ever floated. It feeds off all of us and the capital and equity we've built in our communities for years. It strips us of what makes us unique in the first place. It destroys properties that would otherwise be used were it not for the gangsterism of unregulated lending interests who set aside their fiduciary responsibility to the public, and were allowed to do so. It replaces the intrinsically valuable and economical with what's basically low-value yet incredibly overpriced. It's a short-term fix at best, designed to cover up the fact that our

Here again, our elected government employees are showing they can forestall a reckoning day by going along for a while with the monied interests, as they continue to compromise the best interests of the public. They're only putting off the reckoning, not avoiding it, and making the final reckoning so much worse, so much more painful for each and every one of us, the new indentured servants who used to be the middle class.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Cuyahoga County sales tax increase at a glance - cleveland.com -- I missed this stunning mathematical justification by our mavens of medicalmart merchandising over at the PD. Hey, it's really simple, now that they've distilled it to its essence for me: If a person gets the Homestead Exemption once, that takes care of 8 years of elevated sales taxes! Avenge yourselves! Go Russo! Download! Take your community's money back, leading with your seniors!

mo' money, mo' money, mo' money...a public service announcement

New Expanded Homestead Exemption - Cuyahoga County Auditor -- Here's the link to Frank Russo's site, where people over 65 can go to qualify for the Homestead Exemption. This past July 2nd, the income restrictions were lifted from the exemption requirements at the state level, and now all propertyowners over 65, or disabled, can qualify for the savings on the first $25,000 of valuation, which the site says amounts to around $400 apiece. The link here says that the eligible households are "expected to grow from 220,000 to an estimated 750,000." I wonder if that's in this county alone? I wonder whether, if you multiply $400 times the remainder of 750,000-220,000 and get a result of $212,000,000 per year, whether this is an accurate depiction of a shortfall, and for whom?

Whatever the numeric interpretation, make sure you take care of those you know who might qualify. Here's the paperwork. Here's where to find a permanent parcel number. Please, try to make sure everybody maximizes this opportunity right now, because all paperwork must be in not later than October 1st.

In a separate and totally unrelated incident, two of three Cuyahoga County Commissioners, Hagan and DiMora, crowed over the fact that they had vanquished the initiative to put the issue of the sales-tax increase on the ballot and would be raising that tax by 1/4%, by a vote among three instead of 460,000, this coming October 1st.

The increase intends to garner nearly $1,000,000 per week for the next 20 years, for a total of just under a billion dollars. The resolution says it will go to the general fund. Nothing more. You may not have heard much about this from the mainstream media these past few weeks, but that's the way the resolution read, and continues to read. (We came to you as friends, to warn you...)

In another story a few Saturdays ago, Mike O' Malley spoke of the $1 billion decrease in property tax valuation in this county, which, by rough math, came to $16,000,000 per year.

And yet again, Jill Miller Zimon pointed us to the Center for Community Solutions comment that sales tax revenues, as of last April, had decreased for 25 consecutive months. I really have no idea of how much that is, and I would like to know.

And finally, in another unrelated story, we the marketing group hung out the first two of a plethora of +banners. As the story goes on to say, "The banners include one of the campaign's slogans--'We've got it all. Together.'--along with the campaign Web site--www.clevelandplus.com."

We've got it all. Together....We've got it, altogether....We've got it all together....

Do tell.

Are we having fun, yet?

Zack on the radio this morning, Monday morning

I got this from Gloria earlier this morning. The main number I have for the station is (216) 579-1111. I think I'll be there, on the air. Also, I think the call letters

Councilman Zack Reed will be on WJMO 1490 on your radio dial tomorrow Monday August 27, 2007 to talk about the referendum from 8 to 9 a.m. This is a call-in show and Zack's says that he would welcome calls about your experience with the campaign.

Gloria Ferris
Put It On The Ballot Team

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Drive-Thru LAST CHANCE Petition Signing Opportunity | Put It On The Ballot

Drive-Thru LAST CHANCE Petition Signing Opportunity Put It On The Ballot -- Well, our PutItOnTheBallot website is un-biffed and functional today, so we have it as backup to let people know where we're going to be until we hand in the petitions to Frank Russo at the auditor's office before he closes at 4:40 PM. Our four locations are at the link, above.

I'm hoping this turns out like a Jimmy Stewart movie, as American down-home values triumph and the crowd cheers and waves flags as they enter a new era of hope and prosperity.

We had a ball and met a lot of fine people in Tremont's Lincoln Park last night. We gave a good number of them the flyer in the post below.

We're hoping our blogging friends can help drive people to us--I guess the mainstream media are working on it, too, but I never pay much attention to them any more.

Here are the Upcoming.org locations where we'll be collecting not only signatures but also petitions for the turn-in at the end of the day--


Well, all I know now is that we're off to put a wrap on this by the end of the day. Gloria and I will be down in front of the County Administration building. We need signers, but we also think we'll need people to help us get the signatures as well. Drop by if you can.

God bless us, every one of us, as we go forth to give it one last push to bring back the functionality of the vote to Cuyahoga County. I'll be talking to you all tomorrow to let you know how it went.

Tim Ferris

Friday, August 24, 2007

PIOTB Saturday EZ-Pass Drive-Thru Event: Printable Notice

Here's a notice about tomorrow's event that's printable , for distribution.
Also, please consider mailing the link of this post to any mailing lists you have that would appreciate it.


Writes Like She Talks: E-Z Pass set up for signing petition to let voters vote on county sales tax

Writes Like She Talks: E-Z Pass set up for signing petition to let voters vote on county sales tax -- I like Jill's bringing up the E-Z Pass concept. Perhaps we'll work it into a routine for future referenda--make it easier to do business with us. This is just the beginning, to my way of thinking. People have been asking for petitions that could be printed out from an online source and circulated (the current form requires red and black ink and is 8.5" x 28").

Others have posited that we could have collected our 46,000 signatures electronically online in 12 hours or less. No wonder the politically entrenched want to tax and otherwise compromise and impair the internet.

Wendell sees daylight

Every signature counts -- Wendell Robinson sees daylight and is willing to run toward it as we prepare for tomorrow's drive-by petition-filling drill. I really don't know if anybody has tried this before anywhere else. I guess the closest parallel is going to file taxes on the last day, and lining up with everybody else at the last minute, at the final hour. Here's Wendell's take:

I got an email last night from a friend and frequent reader who’s done his fair share of grassroots political work in his time asking my honest opinion on the status of the efforts of the PutItOnTheBallot folks. We’ve known each other long enough that when he asks me an honest question, I give him an honest answer.

Here’s the email:

do you know how may signatures have been collected? i know the filing deadline is tomorrow at 4:30. was wondering if 50 signatures would make a difference. please advise.

I told him that if you had asked me the question a week ago, I might have told you that there’s no way they can get it done, but now after circulating my own petition and talking to people on the street as well as some heart to hearts with the petitioners - they have a real chance of pulling this thing off.

again, the wrong slant: we're proponents of the right to vote on our taxation

Once again, the intrepid PD reportress covering the http://putitontheballot.com/ petition drive gives the wrong facts. Our group is not opposed to the sales tax: some are, some aren't, and most haven't enough information to make an intelligent decision. What we do all have in common is that we know issues of taxation should be decided by all of us, not just two of us.

Again, too, the information is sketchy about when and where the final signature push will occur. I guess they probably wanted us to buy an ad to get that information out to the public. I hope they do a better job tomorrow. Joan has been a definite hindrance to informing the public as they should, and I think she, of marginal talent, was assigned intentionally to cover the issue, in order to cripple the dialogue. Here's the latest production of a very, very sloppy, challenged journalist:

The group opposing a quarter-penny sales tax to build a Cleveland convention center has until Saturday to gather enough signatures to force the issue to a public vote.

The group had 30 days from the day Cuyahoga County commissioners approved the tax increase to collect signatures on petitions calling for the issue to be placed on the ballot.

Even though government offices usually are closed on weekends, county Auditor Frank Russo decided Thursday to open his office on Saturday until 4:30 p.m. to accept the petitions.

Under Ohio law, the auditor receives the signed petitions and keeps them for 10 days for public viewing. After that, they will be given to the local Board of Elections, which has 10 days to verify that the signatures are of registered Cuyahoga County voters.

Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to raise the sales tax for 20 years to build a new convention center in an effort to land a Medical Mart, a collection of permanent showrooms for high-end medical equipment. Supporters say the mart could be a catalyst for economic development.

Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed, a leader of the group opposing the sales tax without a vote of the people, said members would work hard the next two days to get the more than 45,000 signatures needed. Reed wouldn't say how many signatures had been gathered so far.

"We're not giving out any numbers," he said. "We're pretty confident we'll get the number."

At the same time, however, Reed said his group was debating whether to hand in the petitions if it did not have the minimum number.

Even if the group falls short of 45,000, the auditor's office must accept them. It would be up to the Board of Elections to declare that the referendum drive failed.

Reed said the group's members were going to be walking in Parma on Saturday, and be stationed at the Lakewood, Cleveland Heights and the Orange Avenue post offices so people could drive through and sign.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
jmazzolini@plaind.com, 216-999-4563

Cuyahoga County reckoning day: what color ink to use?

Cuyahoga lowers home valuations - cleveland.com -- Here's a PD piece by Mike O'Malley from last Saturday, talking about $1 billion in reassessments dropping off the books. I wish I knew from the article how much that was, roughly, in dollars. Perhaps we can back into it.

Another thing happening is that now, as of July 2nd, all people over 65 are eligible for the Homestead Tax Exemption in Ohio. That includes Cuyahoga County. For each person now qualifying, each person who didn't qualify for the exemption before because of having a higher income, this means roughly $400 in savings, which is the amount of the tax on the first $25,000 of valuation. Somebody must have an estimate of what this will cost the county, but I haven't seen it anywhere yet. From these figures, though, we know that 1.6% of $25,000 gives us the $400 savings. Therefore, the $1,000,000,000 in O'Malley's article will cost the county $16 million in revenue they had been anticipating.

Yet another thing happening, pointed out to us by our friend Jill Miller Zimon, is that the county, for the period ending in April, has experienced 25 consecutive months of declining sales-tax revenues. I wish this were quantified in dollars, too.

In these three instances, then, there is compelling evidence that Cuyahoga County doesn't have the money to do what it set out to do, like tear down the Breuer Tower and build something new in its place. Perhaps it's time to come clean with the public; perhaps it's time for transparency; failing that, perhaps it's time for an audit.

Here's the front end of O'Malley's article:

Cuyahoga County has wiped nearly $1 billion in estimated property values off the books after thousands of homeowners complained about a 2006 reassessment that raised combined residential values by 16 percent.

More than 29,000 homeowners successfully argued that the collapse of the housing market meant that values assigned to their properties were too high. Another 6,000 complaints have yet to be resolved.

tying the Breuer demolition to the sales tax deception

CLEVELAND'S BREUER DESIGNED TOWER’S PENDING DEMO FEATURED IN GERMAN ARCHITECTURAL MAGAZINE REALNEO for all -- Susan Miller ties the planned demolition of the Breuer Tower to the deception of the bait-and-switch sales-tax increase. If what we hear about the county's being flat broke is true, then we need to stop all spending and stop giving them more money until we have a thorough audit. It seems that things at the county have gotten too fungible, too fungible for words. Perhaps we should put it to music. Here's Susan's wrap-up. The entire post is very enlightening and gives good background and perspective.

There are only a few days remaining for the opponents of the demolition to gather 46,000 signatures necessary to retain the Breuer Tower which exemplarily represents a blind spot in the preservation movement. It is neither new enough to be loved nor old enough to be protected. Each generation resents the young/more recent inheritances of their parent’s generation the most.Note -- The idea that we must have 46,000 signatures to retain the tower relates to the fact that despite suggestions that the tax increase is being implemented to build a convention center to leverage a medical mart, the approximately $880 million that would be raised is not slated for building a $350 million or even $500 million convention center -- but goes to the general fund which would allow the county the money it would need ASAP to begin demolition of the tower and building of the KPF/Madison county govermnent mall in the financial district. The question has been raised repeatedly, but not answered by the BOCC -- where would you get the cash to vacate all the offices you currently occupy, raze the tower and other buildings and build a new office building. I guess we know -- from the tax hike. (www.putitontheballot.com)

Another note: Some have suggested that when federal money was made available for the RTA's Euclid Corridor project, a certain number of jobs coming to the avenue was tied to that money. We have wondered aloud repeatedly what is the economic development in moving existing jobs from one block of the city to another. If the county moves their jobs to the corner of 9th and Euclid, this may be the easy (though expensive) way for them to achieve this caveat of the funding promise. Since the construction of the Euclid Corridor has not been a streamlined effort with crews working round the clock or even in many locations simultaneously, the avenue is bleeding businesses and jobs. Moving county government to the corner of 9th and Euclid (BOCC choosing this site despite many more reasonable options such as the already buildingless corner of Public Square) is a quick finger in the dike of losing that funding.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to decieve! [sic]

new perspective on CPAC

I was talking to an academic last night at Edgewater Park about Tom Schorgl and the payback price for Issue 18, and found out there is a new interpretation of the acronym CPAC around town lately: Commissioners' Political Action Committee.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

drive by Saturday, and sign

I got this in about an hour ago, yet another unique tactic of the PutItOnTheBallot petition drive to restore to the voters of Cuyahoga County the vote that two of their commissioners hijacked.

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2007
Contact: Councilman Zachary Reed
216-410-5734 or


Your last chance to put the sales tax issue on theballot by signing a petition will be Saturday, August 25, 2007 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Come join the
putitontheballot.com volunteers at the following drive-thru locations:

Main Cleveland Post Office, 2400 Orange Avenue, Cleveland 44101
• Lakewood Post Office, 1475 Warren Road, Lakewood 44107
• Cleveland Heights Post Office, 3 Severance Circle, Cleveland Heights 44118
• Cuyahoga County Administration Building, 1219 Ontario Street, Cleveland 44113

On July 26, a .25% sales tax increase was passed for Cuyahoga County. The tax goes into effect October 1st (for 20 years) unless 46,000 signatures of registered Cuyahoga County voters are submitted by 4:30 pm Saturday, August 25, 2007. If the citizens of Cuyahoga County want to vote on this issue, they must turn out and sign the petition.

clown central

Disinformation central -- from our friend Wendell Robinson, a report that WTAM lives up to expectations again as it goes off half-cocked and with half-baked comments. I wish we had some sort of professional standards for these clowns; it's not right that they should derive income from disseminating disinformation, but, what the heck, Nancy Lesic has built a career on it around here, and everybody sits still for it.

For the record, http://putitontheballot.com/ is about putting the issue on the ballot in March of 2008, more than 5 months after the commissioners intend to begin collecting added revenue October 1st to balance out their sad and sorry books this year. Isn't it about time for Cuyahoga County to hear from the state auditor's office?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

inculcate a sense of urgency, now

This whole thing is turning into some sort of morality play, a titanic struggle between good and evil. I just got this email from Gloria--

We need each and every one of you to be the patriots you are.


PLEASE TURN IN YOUR PETITIONS AT the places listed on the website or at EDGEWATER PARK THURSDAY August 23, to me. I'll be up top, same basic place as before, near the picnic pavilion with the clay tile roof. Pick up additional petitions for the final push through the weekend. I will be wearing a red straw hat. You can't miss me. Each and every other volunteer should be on the streets getting as many signatures as humanly possible.

On good authority, I have found out that the GCP (Greater Cleveland Partnership) and its partners, the opposition, believe we must hand in petitions by August 24th at 4:30 p.m.

Essentially, this does not allow us our entire thirty days given to us by law. Our thirtieth day is August 25th, a Saturday.

They believe we must hand in our petitions early. We, and our legal counsel, believe that we should have the right to exercise our right to work up until midnight of our last day. We also retain the right to continue to obtain signatures on Sunday, August 26th, because we cannot turn our petitions in until Monday, August 27th. They will be scrutinizing each and every signature. We must have EVERY available signature that we can.

This, then, is our strategy:

1) Hand in all signatures you have by Thursday so we will be ready for any contingency.

2) Continue to gather signatures through the weekend.


Gloria Ferris, Put It On The Ballot Team

here are the referendum drive results from Lorain County

Stop The Lorain County Sales Tax Increase » News -- In Lorain County, they needed 10, 063 signatures, they had between March 9th and March 30th to collect those signatures (from what I could see), and they finished with 4,893 more than they needed. They took back their right to vote on their taxation. Click through to browse around their Stop The Lorain County Sales Tax Increase website, and see how they handled the situation.

here's the reporting from when Hamilton County forced the sale tax issue onto the ballot

The Enquirer - Jail-tax foes to deliver petitions -- click through to see how the Hamilton County referendum was reported by the Cincinnati ENQUIRER. There is a clear process here, and it is laid out in the sidebar. The goal of "jail" seems to be clearly identified and targeted, unlike ours, which just says "general fund," even though the propagandists and the airplane advertisers would have you believe it is "medical mart." They needed 28, 750 signatures. We need 46,000 or so to put the issue on the ballot, so it can be resolved by the vote of all of us, not just two of us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

surreal times: Do your civic duty ~ Don't vote

Yesterday was a long day, and as I lay drifting into half sleep, I had the most surreal vision of the past mashed in with the present and the glimmer of a fearsome future: We had just exited the Winking Lizard downtown, and were heading over to Jacobs Field, when we spotted an airplane trailing a banner and flying back and forth over our heads. The banner read, "Do your civic duty: Don't vote!"

On the streets in front of us were troops of boy scouts, a youth corps mobilized for the partnership, all freshly indoctrinated in the new ways, all looking strangely like Joe Cimperman, all with pointy little teeth and huge vacuous grins, explaining to the older folks not only why it was now good not to vote, but also why it was in their best interests to suppress their families' and their neighbors' votes, and let their elected leaders lead.

In the vision of my half-sleep, Jesuits wept softly in the shadows of Jacobs Field.

I am still disturbed.

PIOTB now Norm's splash page

PutItOnTheBallot.com is now the splash page on Norm Ezzie's StorminNorm.com, "your digital town crier." Thanks, Norm.

As a side note, even though Norm is probably better known nationally than he is here, he is our neighbor in Ward 15, where he advocates the proposition of local production for local consumption. A hostile tax environment makes this more difficult.

enough is enough; together, we can take back our county

A lot of the Republicans around here are sorely vexed with their county party leadership for reneging on support of the PutItOnTheBallot.com referendum drive. Here's one Republican who knows his duty. Mike Dovilla, from Iraq, is exhorting his Dovilla's Guerrillas and the rest of us to wage war back here on the home front to take back our vote and our county. I just got this email this morning:

Dear Fellow Greater Clevelanders,

As you probably know, Cuyahoga County Commissioners Jimmy Dimora and Tim Hagan have raised our sales tax by an additional ¼ percent without a vote of the people. "Put It On The Ballot," a non-partisan campaign organized by Democrats, Republicans, Greens and Libertarians, seeks to place a referendum on the ballot for citizens to decide whether this tax hike should stand.

While this is, indeed, a non-partisan issue that impacts all residents of our county, it is yet one more example of the unbridled arrogance demonstrated by the Democrat incumbents, who have occupied all three seats on our County Commission for well over a decade. As such, I am compelled to reach out to you, my loyal supporters from last year's Congressional campaign and fellow fiscal conservatives, to ask for your assistance.

We Clevelanders can no longer afford to stand by while an irresponsible, unaccountable county government continues to drive businesses and residents out of Cuyahoga County by repeatedly raising taxes and wasting revenue on an expanding bureaucracy and ill-conceived projects such as the proposed destruction and reconstruction of the county administration building.

These failed policies have led directly to the mass exodus of our fellow Clevelanders, which has in turn shrunk the county's tax base. At the same time, however, we must ask: why are ever more dollars required to provide services for ever fewer residents? Talk to your friends. I guarantee someone you know who used to live in one of our communities now lives in North Ridgeville, Brunswick, or one of a number of other cities just beyond the county line – and the reach of Jimmy Dimora's voracious appetite for your hard-earned tax dollars. Enough is enough.

To place this issue on the ballot, we must to collect the signatures of over 45,000 people who are registered to vote in Cuyahoga County by noon this Friday, August 24, 2007. The proponents of this initiative have made excellent progress during the last couple of weeks, and we need one final push to ensure enough signatures are submitted to the Board of Elections to reach the minimum – and additional signatures to cover those that are thrown out, something that always occurs in this process for a variety of reasons.

I encourage you to participate or pass this message to someone who is able to do so. Please contact Tim Ferris at 216-255-6640 or
TAFerris@gmail.com this week and volunteer to help circulate petitions.

For more information, visit
www.putitontheballot.com .

Thanks for your consideration. Together, we can take back our county.


(Standing the watch in Baghdad, Iraq)

Executive Committee Member &
City Leader, Middleburg Heights
Republican Party of Cuyahoga County

Monday, August 20, 2007

a classic, for posterity

CoolCleveland.com - Roldo Link Take From The Poor Give To The Rich -- Roldo Bartimole is in fine form this week, skewering those who deserve it, using their own attempts to gain momentum against them. This guy is one of our best advocates, one of our premiere debunkers, and what he's produced this week is classic and deserves emulation. Are we entering a new golden age in which satire and lampooning can thrive? We certainly have enough material to work with lately.

the big push; setting up the TOC

I just sent this out to the troops in the campaign to Put It On The Ballot. I'm sharing with all of you. Just jump on in.

There's a big push going on in Northeast Ohio to preserve basic American freedoms, specifically, the right to vote on whether or not, and how much, we are taxed (http://www.putitontheballot.com/about). Two of our three county commissioners have decided to raise the sales tax effective October 1st by 1/4%, from 7.50% to 7.75%. They could have had us vote on it in November, but they opted to bypass getting public approval for what, over the next 20 years, will amount to over $800 million dollars collected and spent. Their resolution shows the money going to the general fund, unrestricted.

The public is now tasked with collecting 46,000 signatures on petitions for a referendum to put this sales-tax issue on the ballot. We feel we are about 2/3rds of the way done, but will not start calling in our circulators Tuesday with all of them in hand by late Thursday night. Our petitions are due at The County Auditor on Friday. We currently have enough petitions on the street to bring back as many as 130,000 signatures.

We have great potential and momentum and want to put this one over the top; we want to leave no margin for error as we restore our right to vote on our taxation, in March of next year.

This afternoon, Monday, August 20th, the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) for the Put It On The Ballot (PIOTB) referendum in Cuyahoga County will open at 2 PM--1400 if you want to get all military about it. It will stay open 24 hours a day until Friday, August 25th at 1400. It will be staffed at all times. We will be handing out petitions at the front door, printing walking lists and maps for anyone who wants them, and taking finished petitions back in and transporting them off-site for safe-keeping. There seems to be more at stake here than we originally realized.

Website: http://putitontheballot.com

Location: 4022 Denison Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44109, near where I-71, I-77, I-90, I-176, and I-490 all come together. It's just off I-71's Fulton Road exit

Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=4022+Denison+Ave,+Cleveland,+OH+44109,+USA&sa=X&oi=map&ct=title

Based on our experience on the street the past few weeks, we have a county in which at least 90% of the registered voters want to sign our petitions. They thank us for taking the time to help protect their interests. They come looking for us, saying a friend told them they just had to find a petition and sign it. We simply need more circulators to get the petitions out to the signers. We need more troops on the street, door to door, house to house, during the day and into the evening, in the libraries and in the senior centers, in the rec centers and at the Rapid stops.

For a referendum campaign like this one, circulators need only to be residents of Ohio.

Please advertise our request for assistance with circulating the http://PutItOnTheBallot.com petitions to all blogs, other electronic media such as email and other social networking mechanisms, and all mainstream media such as newspapers, television, and radio. Having alternative media in support of traditional media, or vice versa, is our signal advantage here, and this is the first instance that we know of nationally where a strong blog network can make a compelling difference. Working together, here in NorthEast Ohio, we can change the way we conduct our political business

Our support from all of you volunteers, friends, and media professionals has been excellent thus far, and we just need to put more troops on the street this last week to ensure a proper, decent, and equitable outcome in Cuyahoga County.

Tim & Gloria Ferris

216-373-4955 FAX


incredible, remarkable reports from the field

Here's a tidbit I got in yesterday from one of our PutItOnTheBallot.com workers in the field. My initial reaction was that I found this sort of behavior simply incredible and really remarkable. I have obtained permission to post this anonymously and present it here for all to see. Let me know how it makes you feel.

Yesterday morning I attended...a meeting of CPAC - Community Partnership for the Arts and Culture. The ostensible point of this meeting was to discuss the role of the arts at Medical Mart...The meeting was a rally for Joe Cimperman, Tim Hagan, and Fred Nance - a way for them to force down the throats of local artists (and I am not convinced how many of them were actually there and how many members of the audience were shills) why Medical Mart and the new convention center are critically needed in Cleveland. In my opinion, this was one of the most corrupt and blatantly political misuses of public time and information I have ever witnessed. I felt like I was watching Chicago politics in action (a friend pointed out that I was but the difference is Chicago actually accomplishes things).

One of the biggest accomplishments of CPAC is the successful campaigning this group did to get an arts referendum on the ballot and then to get arts funding passed – it is a citizen/artist action group that really is concerned about NE Ohio, the arts, and survival of the region. But this meeting, called on very short notice, allowed all three boys to hammer home a nasty message to the CPAC membership. Cimperman, Hagan, and Nance repeatedly instructed this audience to tell their friends NOT to sign petitions for the referendum, and to make sure that they themselves did what they could to guarantee the failure of the referendum effort. They told CPAC NOT to exercise the rights of citizens to get an issue on the ballot - rather, the opposite: make sure it doesn't go to referendum. Unreal!

Tim Hagan spoke first, and set the tone and the message for the meeting. He did this in his urbane-yet-folksy way -- that is what is most dangerous about him: he has a weird charisma. It seemed to me that, of all three, the audience paid most attention to him. As he developed his rationale for why this tax is so vitally important to the survival of NE Ohio, I was stunned by the politically inept points he made. He said that he had been a County Commissioner for 19 years and in that time he had seen the population of Cleveland dwindle from about 700K to 400K and 280K+ of that current population lives at or below poverty level. He said Cuyahoga County, during his time in service, had gone from 1.7M to 1.4M and that more than half our high school students do not graduate. This is a good track record – this is a “leader” that I should follow? He said that we have to do Medical Mart for the Cleveland Clinic and because, as the Clinic is the biggest employer in the state of Ohio (30K+), it has the economic edge. Hagan went on and in more disgusting blah-blah details. Repeatedly he reinforced the No Referendum mantra. Sycophantic at best.

Fred Nance was scheduled to speak next but he was interrupted, quite rudely, by Mr. Cimperman – who, busy man, had to leave but couldn’t do so without ramming home his message. Cimperman, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a thug masquerading as a boy scout, told this house that it should step aside and let the "leadership" handle this - the leadership knew what it was doing, and was tired of citizens questioning its actions: for once, the citizens should just get out of the way and let the leaders do it: and if the citizens don't like it, elect someone else next time! This struck me as the same approach Cimperman has taken in his support for strip clubs in the Stonebridge neighborhood and the disastrous and ill-conceived “Remove the Ramps” campaign currently threatening the Edgewater/ Cudell neighborhoods, which I believe he supports. Uncaring – that was the impression he left me with – uncaring and out of touch.

Fred Nance was unreal - he did a PowerPoint that was any eerie shadow of a presentation recently done by Bioenterprise Inc in its "We need Pittsburgh as our partner" meeting. Mr. Nance claimed that it is a good thing that outside VCs (venture capitalists) are investing in Cleveland bio-enterprise. In fact, Bioenterprise Inc. had pointed out that out-of-state investment dollars in NE Ohio are not a good thing as they benefit outsiders and could lead to new NE Ohio bio-enterprise start-up companies being lured out of Ohio to other locations and taking their business, dollars, and knowledge with them – as has happened already. Ill-informed at least.

Big fear factor moments: Time might be on the Stone's side but not on Cleveland's: Hagan told the audience (and Nance supported him) that “we” have to act now – “we” can’t let this go to referendum! Hagan and Nance told the CPAC audience that they needed to support the "leadership" and kill the ballot effort because MMPI, the investor, was looking at New York City AND Cleveland as potential sites for the Medical Mart development – “and we don't need to lose to New York City”!

What really struck me the most was this: these three were addressing artists and yet they did NOTHING to couch their argument(s) in terms that the audience could perceive as beneficial to the arts and to their own enterprises. Instead, the three banged home the message that the leaders of the county want this done, they know better than anyone what should be done, if you don’ t like it elect someone else the next time but for now just get out of the way. NO attempt at all to address the needs of the audience and to show in real terms how Medical Mart and a new convention center would benefit the arts of NE Ohio. Insensitive.

According to Fred Nance, this new Medical Mart and Convention Center would be managed by MMPI (Merchandise Mart Properties Incorporated – out of Chicago) and would be no headache to the city, AND (he we go!) would “create jobs” (he told us not to think about that promise when it was made on the Gateway project – this was different). Nance went on to say that MMPI would bring in all sorts of trade shows around the clock and throughout the year; and, oh yeah, arts would be supported by MMPI in Cleveland as they are in Chicago. Mr. Nance had to admit that he could not provide statistics and examples of how MMPI supports the arts in Chicago, because he did not pay close attention to that part of the MMPI presentation when he attended their presentation in Chicago. Instead, he reminded CPAC that at the back of the room were magazines (reminded me of the ones on airplanes) that MMPI published showing their support for art. Inept.

...The wind-up for the CPAC presentation was a Question and Answer period. Usually the CPAC Q&A session are marked by the intelligent and informed questions that people ask – and they are not always friendly questions and remarks. But this Q&A session seemed to be LOADED with people who were merely bowing and scraping. About 4 questions (observations really) were allowed -- all of them lauding these three men and the Medical Mart effort. One foolish man actually said that he was an artist and a trade show presentor and that he could tell us, from his own experience, that trade shows want to come to Cleveland and not to New York and other big cities because they are just plain tired of traffic and congestion - and Cleveland has no congestion and no traffic snarls(?). Actually, this respondent didn’t say anything new; he merely restated what Tim Hagan had said earlier. Insane.

I tell you this was a disgusting attack on the ballot effort - crooked and hateful. I kept waiting for Boss Hogg, the Kingfish, or Richard Daley I to walk into the room. Unacceptable.

perhaps it's not about the medical mart at all . . .

Here's something I posted as a comment over at BrewedFreshDaily a couple of days ago, and it seems to have gained traction. Based on some other intake I got over the weekend about a dog-and-pony show put on this past Friday by three desparate guys--Cimperman, Hagan, and Nance--this past Friday, I'm going to float the idea here. I say they're desparate because they're doing and saying things a prudent politician would not normally do or say. Are they on the ropes? Here's comment #22 to Jim Moran's letter, originally posted over at George's blog the day Gloria's Dreamhost server went down:

I’d like to throw out an idea or two here: The October 1st tax increase had nothing to do with any medical mart or convention center.

It merely had to do with getting increased cash flow into the county’s general fund by the end of the year.

The language of the REFERENDUM PETITION speaks to “the matter of increasing the sales and use taxes…by one fourth of one percent (1/4%) for a period of twenty years for the purpose of providing additional general revenues.” The resolutions themselves (#073101 and 073102) speak of “INCREASING THE RATE OF THE EXISTING COUNTY SALES [or USE] TAX FOR THE COUNTY’S GENERAL FUND TO THE RATE OF ONE AND ONE-FOURTH PER CENT.”

The county commissioners could have quite easily allowed a vote on the matter in the November 2007 election, which would have allowed the tax increase, if approved, to be effective the first quarter of 2008.

Can one quarter of cash flow make that much difference?

Now, if and when the referendum succeeds, the vote comes in March of 2008, and the cash begins to flow, if approved, in the second quarter of 2008, not the fourth quarter of 2007.

Was this increase without voter approval the desparate act of desparate men who need merely to balance a budget at the end of the year? If they are out of balance, what does that do to their future “bankability,” or their bond rating?

What are the rumors we heard at the Cuyahoga County fair this past weekend of the state auditor’s office having a sincere and genuine interest in scrutinizing Cuyahoga County’s books really soon?

What is the import of what Jill posted here yesterday, from the Center from Community Solutions newsletter, about dwindling sales tax revenues for the 25th consecutive month?

Is anybody else getting a different overall picture here, one that has nothing to do with a medical mart or a convention center?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Meet the Bloggers: Joe Marinucci, President & CEO, Downtown Cleveland Alliance

Meet the Bloggers » Joe Marinucci, President & CEO, Downtown Cleveland Alliance -- We had the opportunity to talk with Joe August 8th at Gypsy Beans; it was an iced-coffee day. This is an intelligent, congenial guy who knows numbers, knows process, and has a wealth of experience. He's an NEO asset. Our conversation ranged over downtown nonprofits, business development districts, cross-pollination and cross-marketing, yellow and black, critical nuances, conservation easements, preservation, air rights, tax credits, and his own background on Murray Hill and in Columbus. We also covered TIFs, PILOTs, and hybrids, wrapping with how Euclid is the heart and soul of the city and a perfect historic preservation project. We've got it all. Plus.

Listen. There's value here.

skeptical about bait-and-switch tactics

Skeptical about where new Cuyahoga tax will actually end up - letter to the editor - cleveland.com -- I just noticed this letter to the editor over on the PD website; this reader has focused on the critical issue of the Hagan/Dimora/Cimperman/Nance bait-and-switch tactic, dangling the promise of a medicalmart and then using the anticipated increase to balance the books. Where's the accountability here? Why aren't we holding these guys to a standard of telling the truth about where the money is really going?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The new county sales tax is only 0.0025 percent ($250 on every $100,000), so why am I and droves of petitioners out to stop it? Because I have no confidence that the money will be used for what Cuyahoga County Commissioners Tim Hagan and Jimmy Dimora say it will be used for.

The tax goes into the general fund. All we have is their word that the revenue will go toward building a convention center and securing the Medical Mart deal. Meanwhile, the county has other financial commitments to fund, including a $13 million small business loan fund, the new Juvenile Detention Center (a mere $140 million for 150 detainees) and the creation of an empty lot on East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue, where the Ameritrust Tower now stands, to make way for a new County Administration Building.

If the commissioners would be up front about their actual budgetary needs, I would gladly support a new tax. But under the circumstances, I want it on the ballot.

Eric Greenberg

Saturday, August 18, 2007

being really free really takes a lot of effort

Here's a reminder note I just sent out to our circulators for the PutItOnTheBallot.com petition-signing campaign.

Tonight at 5 PM, there's going to be a PutIOnTheBallot.com rally at The FreeStamp just to the west of East Ninth Street and Lakeside, at Willard Park. You may have already heard this on the radio yesterday or seen this on Cool Cleveland a few days ago--

"Put It On The Ballot Rally-- With over 10K signatures already in place, the folks at Put It On the Ballot are making a big push. They're trying to get the necessary numbers for a proposed increased sales tax in Cuyahoga County (for the Medical Mart and new Convention Center) on the ballot. People on the other side of the issue are getting nervous; an airplane at Jacobs Field circled recently with a banner telling the crowds massed below not to sign the petition. Have you ever thought how counterproductive it is telling Clevelanders NOT to do something? Come to Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s Free Stamp located in Willard Park downtown on Lakeside on Sat 8/18 starting at 5 PM and see what the noise is about. Sign your name to protect your right to vote. Let your politicians know it's not okay with you to have your rights circumvented."


Come by, help us collect signatures and hand out more petitions to new circulators. We have no shortage of ready, willing, and eager signers in this county, but we need more circulators to hold the clipboards and "man" the signature ironing boards while they sign. Given the constraints of time, we need to add a greater number of circulators to make sure we slam dunk this on the 24th.

We already have potential to get 130,000+ signatures in Cuyahoga County+

I will also be posting this event at Upcoming.org to help with directions.

Willard Park is named after one of our patriotic painters, Archibald Willard, who was from Bedford, where I grew up. Willard's best-known piece embodies what made this country great, The Spirit of '76. Once again, we have to rally to protect our basic freedoms, 231 years later.

Let's crank up the The Spirit of 2007 tonight at Willard Park. By the FreeStamp.

Remember, freedom does not come "free."





Friday, August 17, 2007

scripting for success

Here's something I wanted to share. So many of us do so much better when we are comfortable with a presentation and therefore with ourselves. Scripts are critical to staying on point, or on task, and are ultimately considerate of the listener. Gloria and I pieced together some script guidance for the PIOTB petition drive, and here it is--

Dear Tim--

Some of you have asked for some scripting to assist in "cutting to the chase" in the Put It On The Ballot (PIOTB) petition drive, so here goes--please feel free to email us back with any suggestions, additions, or emendations.

So often, we wonder what to say and how to say it when it comes to asking our neighbors for signatures in a petition drive. What are the perfect words to charm, cajole, and convince? Should I talk a little or talk a lot? Should I inform fully or work in sound bytes? What will it take to get the job done?

In this case, the job entails getting 46,000 valid signatures by August 24th, so we have to be brief and to the point. Here's what I've found works for me, or what I've observed works best for others.


(big smile, lots of teeth, friendly, engaging, lots of eye contact, nodding head yes, yes, yes)

--Sir/Ma'am, are you a registered voter in Cuyahoga County?

--Would you please sign this petition?

--It's a petition to put the sales tax issue on the ballot, so we can ALL vote on it.


--As of October 1st, our sales tax will increase 1/4%

--We will begin paying 7 and 3/4 percent

--Two of three county commissioners decided this

--We believe the voters of Cuyahoga County should decide this

--(Question: Isn't this for the convention center, or for the medmart?) Answer: That is what we were told. But, the resolution says it is for the general fund. (this is stated on your petition in the resolution area)

--This is almost a million dollars a week--42 million dollars a year--880 million dollars over twenty years--We feel the voters of Cuyahoga County should decide to spend that kind of money, and not just two county commissioners.

(Don't spend time with a person wanting to debate with you. There are 30 signers for every three who don't want to sign. The debaters almost never sign and waste your time. Thank them courteously, beaming that winning smile, and turn your attention to somebody else. Life is too short...)


Thank you very much!

See you at the polls in March!

Hope this helps shorten your learning curve and gets you rolling
faster quicker! Tell us about your successes! Have fun! This is by far the
easiest petition drive we've ever done!

--Tim & Gloria Ferris
taferris@gmail.com and gloria.ferris@gmail.com



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

protecting the innocent, by Miss Nancy

Banner over Cleveland urges against sales-tax petition - cleveland.com -- I'm sure we all feel better now that we have Nancy Lesic and the GCP spending to protect our innocence. The reporter forgot to mention that the resolution the two commissioners are seeking to slide by us says nothing about the medicalmart, but only about the general fund. Makes you wonder. This is some heady stuff:

Don't sign petition, banner says

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sarah HollanderPlain Dealer Reporter

An advertising method typically used to hawk drink specials or pop the question has been called into duty for Cuyahoga County's sales tax debate.

Volunteers collecting signatures to force a public vote on an upcoming tax hike said they were surprised to look up and see a plane trailing a banner that read "Don't Sign the Petition. We Need the Med Mart."

The Greater Cleveland Partnership paid $2,000 for four hours of aerial advertising in downtown Cleveland to challenge the petition drive.

The plane flew around Jacobs Field an hour before Indians games Friday, Saturday and Sunday and around Cleveland Browns Stadium an hour before Saturday's preseason game. Volunteers from labor unions and the hospitality industry also handed out leaflets.

"We wanted to reach people who might innocently sign a petition without knowing what the consequences would be," said Nancy Lesic, a spokeswoman for the Partnership. "The petitions could kill the project."

Cuyahoga County commissioners voted 2-1 last month to raise the sales tax 25 cents for every $100 purchased to pay for a new Cleveland convention center. The city needs a new center to attract a Medical Mart, which would house permanent showrooms for health care equipment and products and use the convention center space for related trade shows. The county will begin collecting the 20-year tax in October unless the referendum group collects more than 45,000 valid signatures from registered Cuyahoga County voters by Aug. 24.

Lesic said the partnership learned of the referendum group's plans to blitz sporting events through a news conference held by Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed last week. Reed, a leader of the referendum movement, said telling people not to sign a petition might backfire and anger voters.

Petition efforts will continue at city and suburban festivals and door to door in areas such as Parma, Parma Heights and North Royalton over the next couple of weeks, he said.

At last count - Friday morning - the group said it had collected around 10,000 signatures.

To learn more about the referendum effort, go to putitontheballot.com. To learn more about the convention center and Medical Mart proposal, go to ashotinthearm.org.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

word of mouth creates a verb and lots of traffic

word of mouth -- I just happened to notice the number of comments on posts (131, 162, 231, 251, 287, hike! yikes!!) over at Scott Bakalar's WOM, and also noticed that WOM has morphed into a verb. Lorain is on fire, figuratively speaking. They're in the process of taking their city back, together, and a community blog is driving it.

Denison timeline

Talking about our heritage with d.a. levy and the upcoming show at Art House reminds me there's a good amount of activity swirling around 3117-3119 Denison lately.

Last Friday, August 10th, Steven Litt, the PD art & architecture critic, helped Art House executive director Sheryl Hoffman announce her move to SPACES Gallery. We're grateful to Sheryl for all she's done locally to promote the arts and the neighborhood, and for being a good neighbor over on Mack since she arrived here in the late '90s.

Then, this coming Monday, there's the section 106 review about the proposed treatment of the historic Wirth House, from which Art House originally derived its name and its mission. This second meeting of the consulting parties for the section 106 review will be held at the Cleveland Public Library's Brooklyn Branch at 3706 Pearl Road at 6 PM. The date this coming Monday is August 20th.

Then, on August 21st, Art House hosts a gala d. a. levy reprise, featuring the recently reprinted "UKANHAVYRFUCKINCITIBAK", which I was talking about in my prior post--So much happening--So little time.

leveraging a levyfest

Our friend George Nemeth over at Brewed Fresh Daily gave us the heads up on what's going on 10 blocks down the street a week from today. I've lived here since 1983 and promoted the area since 1979, and I never really knew that d.a. was a Denisonian. Here's some of what George sent us:


Bottom Dog Press and Mac's Backs will co-host a reading at Art House to
celebrate the release of two new books related to d.a. levy., the poet who grew
up down the street on Denison in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood. This
event features works from d.a. levy and the mimeograph revolution and the
tribute to levy ukanhavyrfuckincitibak as read by both books' editors
-- including former Clevelander Russell Salamon.

Check it out Tue 8/21 at 7PM.
3119 Denison Ave.,
Old Brooklyn.

d.a. levy grew up in your
man. i'd organize an annual levyfest or something...

Monday, August 13, 2007

the airplane and the ironing board: a fable

Gloria's asked me to frame a fable for you, something along the lines of David and Goliath, or the movie It's a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart trumps the evil rich banker Mr. Potter, or perhaps even the story of the grasshopper and the ant, or the tortoise and the hare. It's about the airplane, and the ironing board.

The airplane buzzed regally above the town. It gazed upon the teeming masses below, at the ballpark and the fairgrounds, and knew they could not resist its sleek beauty, its shiny expensive wings, its irresistible message flouted by a trendy tail banner that told the people all it thought they ought to know, about the medicalmart. They didn't need to lift a finger; the airplane and the golden beings who hired it would take care of everything for them. Everything. From the cradle to the grave. And all they had to do was trust them, and forego the vote.

Down below, the little ironing board with the four petitions spread across it's single wing just pressed on; it let the people walk up to it, and touch it, and in a way it looked people in the eye and told them all they needed to know to make an intelligent decision for themselves. It spoke to the homely values of self-sufficiency and independence. It let people read the fine print, about the general fund, before they signed. It told them how difficult it was to get 46,000 good signatures in order to force a vote, and how easy it was not to vote, how easy it was to surrender and to sacrifice their birthright, for the promise of the shiny plane way up in the sky.

The moral of this story is most people look straight ahead when pressed, and have more sense than to be walking around gawking up at the clouds, especially when there might be pigeons present.

DAM: back from the future

Nead Brand Partners :: Nead in the News -- David Allen Moss (DAM) is now in the for-profit sector, which means the region will begin winning again for the first time in years. David has good instincts. Click through for a synopsis of the formation of the new team and a teaser as to their plans for the guy back from the FUTURE.

good news from the big lunatic tent in the middle

Cleveland Equanimous Philosopher: Top Ten Reasons Why I'm A Lunatic Who Doesn't Want Cleveland to Move Forward -- Great points here from Roger B. I guess we're all bozos on this bus, the lunatic fringe becoming mainstream. They've driven us crazy, and it's time to get our vote back, and then to get our money back.

Make sure you click through. The 10 points should be required reading for all who value a straight-up dialogue. Roger's keeping us all on task and sorting through the dross and the disinformation. We're up against progagandists.

One thing I want to find out is who is orchestrating the lies and the cheap-shot anonymous flyers, and who is renting the planes with the banners, and who's paying for it all? Even though it's working to our benefit in galvanizing the public, I still want to find out.

Yesterday, people paid the admission to get into the county fair, found us at our stall in building 20, signed the ballot, and left for their regularly scheduled Sunday.

Our county commissioners' stall at the fair was empty, according to intelligence brought back our scouts.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

how much have we given away already?

We were just down at Jacobs Field to collect some signatures for the PIOTB petition, and coming out of The Winking Lizard, we saw an airplane circling overhead trailing a banner telling the masses below not to sign the petitions. That made us feel good. I just wish I knew how much the plane and the banner cost, and who paid for it. I like to know who's getting nervous, and who has what at stake.

At the ballfield complex, the staff was fully briefed to escort us off the property where our circulators had performed quite well previously, on other days. We asked where the public property began, and it turns out that we have given over a lot of what used to be public streets and sidewalks to a private entity. I'll bet very few people know that. I certainly didn't.

When the dust settles on this petition drive, I want to find out who owns what down around the ballfield, who has rights where, how many city streets and sidewalks we have handed over to private interests, and how we can go about getting our property back and settling up the score. At first glance, it seems that public property has been converted to private use covertly, not even with a bang, or a whimper.

the battle of little can top

TRASH CAN DEMOCRACY REALNEO for all -- We had some fun yesterday, with Jeff and Martha and Phoebe and Emerick. Wendy Park was beautiful.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

today, the river burning, tomorrow, the Indians rampant and the county fair

Hey, writing "county fair" in the title above made me think of the oxymoronic (pertaining to a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms), and the just plain moronic (two commissioners who could have scheduled a vote for November of 2007, and now compel a referendum to PutItOnTheBallot for March of 2008). These guys, Jimmy and Timmy, are spending our weekend time for us, again, and here's a little of how we're allocating that time, circulating petitions. The good news is that everybody wants to sign, all except those who think they benefit from preempting the public's right to choose their taxation, and thank goodness that's a very small group.

One prescient young fellow, Brian Cummins of Ward 15, this morning pointed out that this ballot initiative changes the next 80 years. It will make the difference as to whether we control and guide our community's destiny or become the indentured workers of the government deal-makers.

Today, we're going to be at The Burning River Fest, and we had planned on being there anyway. Our friend Stefanie Spear has offered her Earthwatch Ohio booth as a place for us to cool our heels, and we'll be there from about 1 PM until the end.

Tomorrow, it's off to the Indians/Yankees pre-game from 11 to 1, and then over to our PutItOnTheBallot booth in building 20 at the 111th Cuyahoga County Fair from 2 to 8.

a new face on planet NEO

Rob Hawkins has redone his aggregator Planet NEO, and it's lovely. Note the functionality of the tag soup.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

being aware is half the battle: two weeks, and counting

In the matter of putting the issue on the ballot so we can vote on our being sales-taxed in Cuyahoga County, as of today there are two weeks worth of days left before circulators need to get their ballots back in to their sources on August 22nd. There are currently enough petitions being circulated to bring in 126,000 signatures. Roughly one-third of that amount is needed to get the issue onto the ballot for March. Remember, the commissioners did forego the opportunity to put this on the ballot for our vote in November; this delay is squarely their choice. They think the people of Cuyahoga County will not be able to muster the signatures, yet in fact the Ohio counties of Hamilton, Lorain, and Ashtabula already have successfully risen up in the face of such arrogance.

Being aware of time available is critical in the successful accomplishment of any task or, when you're at war, any mission. The fourteen-day countdown looks like this:

9 Thursday
10 Friday
11 Saturday
12 Sunday
17 Friday
18 Saturday
19 Sunday
22 Wednesday

We're going to be at the Cuyahoga County Fair at the Berea fairgrounds this weekend. One of our supporters has paid for a booth. Check out PutItOnTheBallot.com for other places you can go to sign a petition, if you haven't already.

Talk to your neighbors; there are some really interesting dynamics at play here. This issue is uniting and galvanizing the community as nothing has before. This is some really, really good stuff, something we can all agree on. As one of our vets, a union guy, pointed out, we went to war 230 years ago over stuff like this. The people, our neighbors, are telling us what to do. They're giving us our lines. They're framing the issue for us. This is getting to be sort of fun.

Monday, August 06, 2007

our alter ego works cage fighting into the workweek

» How Does a Bestseller Happen? A Case Study in Hitting #1 on the New York Times -- my younger and more sibilant alter ego, Tim Ferriss, has just popped up to the top of the NYT business booklist. Back at his blog, you can see how he attributes this, largely, to the concept of the "meme," an idea virus that captures imaginations and takes on a life of its own.

Note, too, that he achieved the #1 spot with no offline advertising or PR.

This cage-fighting schtick has some appeal, along with being the dancing master as well. It must have something to do with the Ivy League -- I have a Dartmouth friend who, at the Fort Benning pre-RVN cattle calls, billed out as "a lover, a fighter, a wild bull rider," until his old lady (as we called them back then) put two and two together. They later married, and are still so.

the relativity of wealth

In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich - New York Times -- Wealth is relative, as this NYT piece reminds us. The good news here is that people are saving and investing and talking about what used to be a privacy issue and a taboo subject. Putting "money" into the public dialogue will go a long way towards ending the unhealthy overconcentrations of financial assets we have in certain places, with certain intermediaries.

We also need to ponder how much of being "wealthy" really has to do with money alone, anyway. Think, from your own experience here locally, how some of the people with the most money and property are also tacky and low-class, even as octogenarians, and no further infusions of more cash or real estate will make an iota of difference.

As I've said before, a lot of the money around here is in the wrong hands. Maybe some of these Silicon Valley types can give us some different ideas about sharing the land and spreading the wealth. If the rising tide lifted all boats there, then it certainly can do so here. We have a great starting point; NEO was already wealthy before we came along, and much of that wealth is intrinsic--it goes with the territory.

james o. and the shebbels of superior

Jamie Janos Photography -- James O. Janos, one of Brooklyn Centre's native sons, emailed us a heads up on the installation last Friday of some new public art. In our construction company years ago, somebody used to call these things "shebbels," and somehow this artwork made that word surface again:

Public Art Update: Excavation Bucket Installation Date: Friday August 3rd, 2007 After a strenuous Friday installation the "Excavation Buckets" where hoisted, leveled into placed and bolted down. Possibly the most complicated of the three Urban Lanterns for the Superior Avenue streetscape, the Excavation Buckets lead the ways for the unfolding of the next two installations. The second Urban Lantern in the series, "The Woven Dome", is targeted for a Wednesday-Friday of this week. And finally, the "Watering Tower" aimed for the following Wed-Fri. Once successfully installed the three Urban Lanterns will be lit simultanteously at a ceremony to be announced. For now, please review the beautiful photography by Jamie Janos of the days work.


Stephen Manka
Urban Design + Public Art

Jamie Janos Photography
2400 Superior Ave. E. Suite 206
Cleveland, OH 44114-4258
BEST# 216.965-7678 216.357-2947 917.553-3189
http://www.jamiejanos.com/ jamie@jamiejanos.com

Friday, August 03, 2007

from the front page of today's online NYT: the MTB catchphrase has cachet and gains currency

I noticed this phrasing on the front page of the online New York TIMES this morning. Too bad they mentioned that KOS character in the same context, along with the word "liberal." We bloggers get tarred, or smeared, with the same brush all the time by the mainstream media, and it really isn't fair, or accurate. But what the heck, isn't that what they're all about lately? Forget reporting--they'll form public opinion so "those people," the public at large, don't have to strain themselves. Here's the snippet:

The Caucus Blog
The Democrats Meet the Bloggers
At the second annual YearlyKos convention, liberal bloggers are being courted by almost all the Democratic presidential candidates.
Also in The Caucus:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

interesting traffic, two months after the fact

Meet the Bloggers » Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek -- I happened to drop by MTB today and noticed that there was a late flurry of activity on the Polensek content, after his letter to the kid --1 initial comment, 8 later, and of all them, only 1 opposed to Mike's stance, to date.

Bloggapalooza 2.0+

We'll have to do this often, and annually.

This is our second run through, and it keeps getting better. This has come to be our annual review: I see things changing in our local community, and I see people undergoing transformations. They are coming together and beginning to trust in and rely on each other. They aren't looking beyond themselves for solutions. They are finding out that they themselves are the answer and hold the secret to finding the new keys.

This has come to be about MeetTheBloggers, and lots more: the NEO and the Ohio blogospheres, CoolCleveland, the new media, BrewedFreshDaily, RealNEO, art, aggregators, politics, community, books, coaching, ideas. Communicating. Integrating. Changing. Becoming healthy and wealthy again.

This entire dynamic is leading to other things. There are new players. There's a new game in town.

I want to let everyone know that I want and appreciate the friendships we've established over these past few years circulating throughout the blogosphere and Ohio; without MeetTheBloggers, the Cleveland Weblogger Meetups, and George, things wouldn't have gone so quickly, or so well.

A confederacy of coaches: Stephen Post on the radar of The Christian Science Monitor, and then comes Jack, and Sarano's in town, too

Researchers say giving leads to a healthier, happier life csmonitor.com -- Last week, The Christian Science Monitor ran a review of Stephen Post's latest book 'Why good things happen to good people.' Stephen recently met the bloggers, back on Flag Day, and we had a great discussion that definitely needs to be continued; we merely scratched the surface. I feel so good when our local writers get noticed in national publications. I get the sense that it's all happening right here, right now, and we're at the epicenter.

At the table that day was our friend and fellow blogger Jack Ricchiuto whose sixth book, Conscious Becoming, subsequently came out in July. Gloria just picked up a copy yesterday, and it's autographed. (as is Stephen's, too, by the way.) I also just got word late last night that Jack will MeetTheBloggers on August 16th, two months and two days after Stephen. Details will follow on Upcoming.org, or whatever those yahoos call it these days.

Finally, after Gloria scored Jack's book yesterday in the early morning, in the mid-morning we hiked on over to The Embassy Suites off Rockside to see our friend and coach Sarano Kelley, from whom we picked up a new copy (3rd printing) of The Game: Win your life in 90 days. This copy will go to Jack, whom, along with Valdis, we must introduce to Sarano. This can be a truly powerful network.

It's all converging. Right here. Right now. In Cleveland and in Columbus and in Pittsburgh. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FCE, take note: If it's good enough for Second Life, it's good enough for Ohio

Second Life's Virtual Gamblers Told to Fold - washingtonpost.com -- It pleases me to see a society, or a community, taking the route around the pastime promoters, the addiction-formers, the dependency-builders, and the time- and money-wasters. Second Life takes a stand to eliminate parasites:

All bets are off in Second Life this week. The casinos of the virtual world have closed shop after a decision by its founders to forbid gambling in their online society.

"Because there are a variety of conflicting gambling regulations around the world we have chosen to restrict gambling in Second Life," Robin Harper, senior vice president of marketing and business development for
Linden Research, which runs Second Life, wrote in a posting to the company's blog July 25.