How Big, Taxpayer-Funded Development Works in Cleveland

There are 6 steps:

#1. Powerful individuals decide on a concept for a big project behind closed doors.

#2. They line up the support of a handful of “community representatives” whose support they need. Heretofore, these folks will do all the work of promoting the project.

#3. A “study” is completed, paid for by the powerful people whose idea it was. The study, everyone understands, is to be a marketing tool, not an actual investigation of the project’s merits. No alternative concepts will receive formal study. The “study” will claim the powerful people’s idea will generate thousands of jobs. (As if large amounts of public spending could take place without some jobs being created.)

#4. A sham public process takes place. This is designed not really to incorporate public feedback but to make the process seem democratic and manufacture consent for the concept that was already decided a long time ago behind viagra closed doors.

#5. Our “community representatives” from step 2 do a big media campaign, repeating carefully chosen talking points about how great it will be generic cialis for the city and how many jobs will be produced. The media — which is very much a part of the power structure and answers to the same people — uncritically accepts the claims. When project critics are even acknowledged by the press, their perspective is outnumbered four-to-one by supporters who are on friendly terms with the media representatives.

#6. Clevelanders generally get on board after being inundated with information about how positive the proposal will be. If they don’t get on board, it what happens if a woman takes viagra might not matter anyway. In most cases, the consent of only a few key individuals is needed, and their positions of authority rest on complying with the idea.

The “Opportunity Corridor” and the sin tax extension are both great examples of this. Notice how in this article about the Opportunity Corridor, the ODOT spokesperson points to three changes they made as a result of public feedback. The three changes are so minor, it’s sort of amazing she seems to take pride in pointing them out. But that’s the way the process was designed. They can allow the public a few very minor changes — to make it look like their opinions matter — and really even that they feel like they should be applauded for.

Is this ever going to change? Because honestly, Columbus and Pittsburgh seem to be getting too smart for this kind of bullshit. Is that the difference between a 13 percent college attainment level and a 32 percent?

Theory: Perhaps a feedback loop where civic “elites” prey on the relative ignorance and desperation of the population, which in turn repels smart people, which makes the population that much more ignorant, desperate and pliable.

Who knows? I’m open to alternative interpretations.

–Angie Schmitt


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