Archive for January, 2022

One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

January 23, 2022

            The latest big news out of Licking County this past week also happened to make the national news. Intel is projecting to build (and install) a 20 billion dollar chip manufacturing facility (no, not the crunchy kind). It is to be located on the western border of Licking County with Delaware and Franklin Counties, just north of the New Albany business park complex. For someone visiting from Mars (no, not Elon Musk) it would only naturally look like an extension of Les Wexner’s New Albany (minus the white fence). Remember the multi million dollar freeway extension built specifically to link Les’s Easton with New Albany? But this digresses. Intel put out many “artist’s renderings” of the proposed project (does any reader recall the excitement over the artist renderings of the proposed “affordable” housing to be located behind Walmart on N. 21st St?). Most are from a drone cam point of view (surveillance is so today!). The prominent one being circulated the most shows a 7 story main building with the fab units receding to the zero perspective point in the back, and the main building surrounded by acres of parking lots (and cars) in the foreground. There is not a public transit kiosk or Disneyesque monorail terminal to be found. So much for IT being concerned with a carbon footprint, or building with the latter part of the 21st century in mind. No, it’s all going to happen by car over freeways, most of which lie outside Licking County. It is a race to the Los Angeles freeway rush hour bottom (or Boston, NYC, Chicago, or even, gasp, Cols.). But the breaking news announcement was staged in Newark, the county seat that identifies itself as just a small, all American town in the middle of a rural Ohio county. The fab plants’ location is a huge feather in the red MAGA cap of the county’s three GOP commissioners. It is something to continue the “Aw Shucks’ rural (us) vs urban (not us) identity paddy cake that has been going on for decades. Since the plant is on the margins of New Albany, and has access to CBus amenities, urban problems like affordable housing, child care, public transportation, hunger or access to medical care are someone else’s (what me worry?). The “Aw Shucks” rural small town of Newark can maintain its timeless aura, and appeal (like the pedestrian friendly downtown “destination” for which you need a car to access). Just so long as the 3,000 projected Intel employees pay the county taxes. JobsOhio has seen to it that Intel and its executives won’t.

The Role Of Flo In Learned Helplessness

January 2, 2022

            “Since winning a third term in 2019, Mayor Jeff Hall has faced some difficult times, including the death of Police Chief Steve Baum in March and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” (Newark Mayor: Tough times in ’21; new leaders, housing, developments in ’22. Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate, 1-2-22). There’s an insurance company ad running currently in the media. In it Flo is trying to get a focus group to talk about the product they’ve just had the occasion to watch on the big screen monitor. Their response is “what product?” They have no clue what it is about since the video featuring the product seemed too much like an ad. They just block out ads that appear on screen. Mallett’s Sunday front page article would absolutely fit in perfectly with Flo’s promotion. Who reads this stuff? Unless you are integral to the operation of the GOP favorite’s machine (as Human Resource Director Bill Spurgeon must be), own properties in town (like Service Director Dave Rhodes) or are key to their development (as in Mark Mauter, Development Director), there isn’t much there for you. Sure, Covid is in the opening line, but other than being addressed as an inconvenience to the efficient operation of the business, er, city, it is regarded as a painless nuisance. When did you ever hear Mayor Hall come out and say “I feel your pain”? Suffering the pandemic akin to suffering the opioid/meth epidemic? Naaa. Any mention of the residents of Newark, the actual people, any insights on addressing their concerns or issues? Nada. As Mallett’s headline succinctly and pithily states, there isn’t anything covered that would fall outside the purview of the Newark good ole boy’s patronage network of property and largesse. Mallett affirms this by quoting the Mayor himself: ““Your job is always to try to hire within and try to see where your talent is,” Hall said. “I think that’s preferred. To properly manage this town, you’ve got to know the town. A lot of times you can attract people from outside the community, as larger cities do, and they don’t understand the culture, sometimes, in the community. I think they need to understand Newark pretty well. So, you’re always looking internal to see what can work.” (Kinda sounds like something Sparta Mississippi Police Chief Gillespie would say. Newark = Sparta? Naaa. Couldn’t be.)  Analysis finds it to be an understatement to speculate that most local readers just shut out this political ad. The three time mayor is pretty well counting on this. It is included in his plans to run for a fourth term.