It’s Time To Defund CIC’s

            What is a CIC? The NDP (Newark Development Partners) uses the terms “Community Improvement Corporation” as part of their full name, so we’ll stick with that rather than “investment”, or the British “interest company.” In Ohio these are primarily public/private entities, or at least that is what their stakeholders claim. The “public/private” generally refers to the entire operation being funded by the public sector and administered by the private. Grow Licking County is funded not only by the county but also income from the various municipalities that it markets. Its administration is in the care of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, a private entity; public sector funding, private sector spending. Amount of funding supplied by the public is readily available (thanks to freedom of information), how it is spent and the outcomes of that expenditure not so much. The term “public/private” is confusing enough. That probably stems from its oxymoronic character. And oxymorons, as we all know, are the preferred devices for the conveyance of magical thinking and mystical alliances. But what does “Community Improvement Corporation” mean? Or is it also an oxymoron, or a near kin? Analysis of the component terms may offer a clue. “Improvement” isn’t a toughie. Defined as “better” is sufficient for understanding. The dictionary gives two relevant meanings for “community”: 1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. 2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. For “corporation” only one: 1. a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. For “CIC”, no entries found. Again, we’ve hit the oxymoronic wall. Is it a community of improvement corporations? Or is it community improvement by corporations? The oxymoronic element appears to be the contradiction of people living in common fellowship and authority under force of law. Holy crime fighters, Batman! It sure looks a lot like another publicly funded service institution in crisis today. It is no coincidence that “authority” is used in another area public/private CIC – the Newark Port Authority. That “Community Improvement Corporation” is just soap suds to screen the laundering of money is quite apparent. And the washed sums are considerable. The Licking County Chamber of Commerce was the largest in Ohio when most of LC’s CIC’s were begun back in the early years of the Kasich administration. What “better” has the fellowship of people living in common have to show for all the wealth siphoned to the top? “Places to work” we are told. Employers stress their number one need is that workers have a reliable way to get to their jobs yet Licking County has no fixed schedule public transportation after all this time. Neighboring counties do though their Chambers of Commerce are dwarfed by LC’s. Ditto for affordable housing having been built over that period as well as presently projected. Lancaster (and soon Zanesville) have the Pearl House for those without housing while Newark has the promise of shopping in the waiting-to-be-historically-designated Arcade (and other rainbow stew propaganda). It’s time to defund Newark’s Community Improvement Corporations.

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