Roldo: Government by Institutions, for Institutions in Cleveland

This article was written by Roldo Bartimole for the Cleveland Leader and reprinted with permission of the author.

In a modern version of “let them eat cake” the town’s civic/business/media handlers are pushing Opportunity Corridor down the community’s collective throat. With an assist from Gov. John Kasich looking for love in the wrong place.

This is a $350 million answer to a non-existing need.

Anything to help the Institutions – and Cleveland is a big institutional city. From the Cleveland, Gund and other foundations to their instrument the Greater Cleveland Partnership they do the heavy lifting for the Corporates. Never doubt that.

The need for this opportunity is in the minds of people like “Mr. Sunshine” Steve Litt, his boss publisher Terry Egger (who should be going soon; his job as executioner at the PD is about over), and the promoters of every deal in Cleveland but its people and where the live.

Egger is “spear-heading its promotion,” said the PD. No doubt. The PD is a virtual sales drive. It’s certainly not a newspaper anymore. Just check its articles on the subject. A Plain Dealer editorial (noted for shallow thinking) said that the corridor would be “a means of curing blight, boosting neighborhood prospects and contributing to economic growth.” And tomorrow we’ll all live happy, prosperous lives.

Ironically, the first “public meeting” about the road took place with Egger. Where? At the Plain Dealer, of course. You come to me. You didn’t vote for him or them, you say. Well, too bad. That’s the way it works.

This unnecessary road, of course, got the blessing of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson as he played jester once again to King Kasich, proving once again that he’s more Republican than Democrat. (Don’t worry our weak Democratic Party here won’t say a word of disapproval of Jackson.)

Why do we need a road that cuts through the ghetto (remember where you came from Frank) when many streets already get to the prime destination – University Circle and the Cleveland Clinic?
The obvious answer is that we don’t want to inconvenient white people from the West Side from have intimate contact of riding along streets where some black people may walk or live.

Isn’t that a description of Racism? I do believe so.

The road would go from the East 55th Street exit off I-480 and wind its way to a widened East 105th Street.

Do we really need more roads? More cars on streets? Should we just put RTA, except for the Healthline and the Waterfront Line, out of business?

Lower income residents who depend most on RTA can learn to walk, can’t they? Or we can raise the rates.

I seem to remember that the Regional Transit Authority spent more than $200 million to run a line up Euclid Ave. to the exact destination that the less than three mile $350 million cut through goes. I seem to remember than one can get to the same location with little trouble by auto via Chester, Carnegie, Cedar, Woodland and other streets, not to mention I-90 via scenic MLK drive.

The propaganda use of the word Opportunity for the corridor is too Orwellian even for Clevelanders to swallow.

“Opportunity”, named perfectly by those who, as said by Edward Bernays, manipulate public opinion. Bernays in a 1926 book “Propaganda” described how this was done by “engineering of consent.”
We got a whole bunch of that around here.

I’d like to know also by opening a quick ride from Western suburbs how many jobs will be lost to those who live around University Circle. If you haven’t noticed the residents are predominately African-American.

Would anyone from Case Western Reserve University’s SASS or Poverty Center or Cleveland State’s Urban Affairs Dept. care to examine this issue? I doubt it, as they are too eager to please the powers that be.

And where are the black leaders?

In a city distraught by the events of young girls kept captive for a decade, others raped and murdered, still others raped, murdered and desecrated and in a city where police go rabbit hunting by the hundreds and kill likely confused citizens with a 137 bullet shower should we wonder at the concentration on an unneeded roadway?

Aren’t there more important issues for our attention? A unneeded road?

Cleveland is a town that has paid little attention to the needs of its people and many of them are still answering by leaving. What they don’t know is that the same decision-makers are following them. Or are already there.

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