We’ve previously written about Cleveland’s lawsuit against 21 big banks over the mess that was created by the foreclosure crisis.
This article in Cleveland Scene summarizes the case nicely:
“The case against the banks isn’t a class action about individual homeowner losses, or whether they were tricked into signing commitments they couldn’t keep. (Attorney Joshua) Cohen knows that’s a common misunderstanding. Instead, it’s about the big picture from the city’s point of view — an attempt to recover money Cleveland has been forced to spend cleaning up the mess Wall Street left behind.
The foreclosed homes often end up as abandoned, ugly board-ups that are a haven for crime. The city is left to mow the grass when neighbors complain about rodents. The police end up dealing with festering drug problems. All of that costs money. And ultimately, the city must demolish thousands of these derelict properties at a cost of $7,000 each or more. But Cleveland is not alone: A similar case filed by the City of Buffalo, New York, claims the maintenance, police attention, and eventual demolition of foreclosed homes totaled as much as $16,000 per building. Of course, Buffalo was left holding the tab.
‘Was it irresponsible lenders or borrowers?’ Cohen asks rhetorically. ‘You could argue that until the cows come home. But whatever conclusion you reach, Cleveland was an innocent bystander. It’s amazing to me that the financiers have not been called to answer for this in any meaningful way.'”
Where does the case, filed in 2008, stand now?
Headed for a long-shot run at the US Supreme Court.
In addition to Cleveland, similar suits have been filed by Buffalo, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Memphis, the article states.
We’ve been writing a lot about sprawl and race relations lately. I think that is because these issues are tremendously important to the discussion of the current conditions in Rust Belt cities.
Well, I’ve got to thank UrbanSTL for pointing me to this illuminating interactive map that shows how white flight and sprawl transformed the metro area over the course of decades.
You have to visit this site to see it unfold. I think this really mirrors development over the past six decades for Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Buffalo and many other Rust Belt cities.
Notice how the application is called Mapping Decline.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but nevertheless:
In chart form, if you prefer--via the Plain Dealer.
#5. St. Louis
Poverty workers in Cleveland blame the increase on unemployment.
This should send a message to the federal government. If we’re serious about addressing poverty in this country, we need to address the way the economic restructuring has affected Rust Belt cities. Taking tax dollars from the people in these cities and giving it to bankers in New York isn’t much of a solution.
Leadership in the city of Cincinnati has been campaigning to develop a streetcar line, for quite some time, and it has been a controversial issue.
Here is the mayor and city manager promoting the initiative. During the last week, the city assembled $86 million for a rail and streetcar line that will connect the University of Cincinnati to downtown. Yesterday, city officials approved $64 million in bonds to support the project, according to The TransportPolitic.
City voters endorsed the measure this fall, despite an effort to block the initiative.
It is hoped that the streetcar will support the redevelopment of Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine neighborhood and other sites in the central city.
Our friends at Great Lakes Urban Echange (GLUE) alerted me to this event: a film screening Tuesday, (Nov. 24) at 7:30 pm at the Drexel Theater, located at 2254 E. Main Street, in Bexley, Ohio.
The film is The New Metropolis, about America’s first suburbs and the problems they face. For a more detailed explaination of the film, click the link to the movie’s web site (above), or read a more detailed explanation from Cincinnati CityBeat.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion. The screening is being hosted by Greater Ohio.
Next April is going to be a very bad time to be a transit-rider in Cleveland if RTA moves forward with proposed service cuts. For a system that’s been devastated with fare hikes and service cuts over the past few years, this might just be RTA’s nail in the coffin.
Something particularly important that caught my eye in the Plain Dealer story is this quote from RTA’s general manager, Joe Calabrese:
“We will spread the cuts among the seven days,” [Calabrese] said. “The staff feels it is more detrimental to have any day completely eliminated.” While routes will be evaluated by ridership, geographic coverage is also key, he said. “We don’t want to abandon the suburban territory where it is important for people to get to for work,” Calabrese said.
Based on my analysis, Cleveland’s RTA already has one of the highest base fares in the country. If the proposed cuts occur, I think few will disagree with me in saying that no system with higher fares will have less useful service.
For the most part, RTA’s fares are consistent throughout the system. You’ll pay the same fare whether you’re traveling 2 miles from the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood to Public Square or 20 miles from Strongsville to Downtown. The only exception is if you park at one of the suburban park-and-ride locations, then you’ll have to pony up an extra quarter to ride one of a few plush buses straight to your destination.
Is this the most socially responsible way to provide such an important public service?
Even throughout the Rust Belt, Cleveland is fairly unique in the way it prices transit service. Columbus’s has different fares for “local” and “express” buses. Cincinnati uses a tiered system with fares ranging from $1.50 (within Cincinnati) to $3.50 (the longest routes). Pittsburgh’s popular ‘T’ has tiered fares ranging from $1.50 (downtown zone) to $3.50 (zone 3) and special fares for rush hour and events.
Why haven’t these options been explored in Cleveland? Every RTA fare hike has been across the board, and now Joe Calabrese has shown where his priorities are when it comes to slashing service.
Ohio voters recently passed a constitutional amendment that will allow for the construction of four casinos in the state for the first time.
One will be located in each Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
Ohio voters have turned down ballot initiatives like this one before. But it seems this time the need for jobs and the pervasiveness of casino gambling in neighbor states helped sway the electorate.
Anyway, there’s been a lot of debate over whether this will ultimately be good or bad. I thought it would be interesting to hear from other Rustifarians about their cities’ experiences with casino gambling.
What’s the word Pittsburgh? Detroit? St. Louis?