Ask Any Republican

January 13, 2018

Ask any Republican, and the chances are good, that the Republican won’t recall or repeat what was said. Go ahead. Ask ‘em. Josh Mandel has left the leadership stage of the Ohio GOP. No asking him. “Not a career politician” GOP U.S. Representative Jim Renacci has stepped in to fill the void in contention for the upcoming Senate seat (“When President @realDonaldTrump asks you to run — you do it. That’s why I am proud to announce that I am running for the United States Senate! I’m ready to fight for the Trump agenda and get things done in the Senate!#MAGA”). Well, Mr. Not-A-Career-Politician? “I’ve said all along the president many times says what people are thinking. I learned as a business guy that you have to be careful what you say because people pick everything up. Believe me, I’ve learned that when you’ve got a mike on, you’ve got to watch what you say.” “I know it’s difficult for the president because many times you want to say what you are thinking but in the end, I know a lot of times he is saying what people are thinking,” And he’s “a business guy going into a political career.” What could be more Republican? And as we all know from our Conservative hymnals, business guys are our salvation. What about a more contemplative, prayerful Conservative? Like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (GOP U.S. Rep from Wis.): “The first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful, but you know what I thought of right away? I thought about my own family.” Atta (good Conservative altar) boy, Paul! And the Newark Advocate’s tireless investigative reporters got these responses from our own GOP Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb: “ .” GOP Newark Mayor Jeff Hall: “ .” GOP Licking County Prosecutor Bill Hayes: “ .” GOP State Senator Jay Hottinger: ” .” And (not a politician) business guy Steve Layman: “ .” Analysis finds it reassuring to learn “what people are thinking.”  Ask any Republican, and the chances are good, that the Republican won’t recall or repeat what was said. Go ahead. Ask ‘em.

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Be Active In 2018

January 6, 2018

Analysis woke to find sub zero temps and a wind chill alert for central Ohio, AND a Washington Post headline reading: Hawaii has record-low unemployment and it’s not a frozen hellscape. Why are people leaving? (Andrew Van Dam, 1-5-18) Huh? What is wrong with this picture? “Preliminary data back up the notion that Hawaii residents are continuing to vote with their feet. Moving company Atlas Van Lines found that, among its customers in 2017 (through Dec. 15), there were three moves out of Hawaii for every two moves in. The state is clearly a very nice place to visit. But it’s getting harder and harder to stay.” Dope slapping the side of the monitor for an attitude adjustment didn’t seem to help either. “Hawaii has the lowest unemployment rate of any state in recorded history, a good economic outlook, and — most attractive at this time of year — little chance of polar vortex or ‘bomb cyclones’. Yet in 2017 its population fell for just the third time since statehood in 1959. It only dropped a tenth of a percent, but that’s a worse showing than all but four states (Wyoming, West Virginia, Illinois and Alaska), according to a recent Census Bureau release. Which brings us to the core conundrum: people are leaving Hawaii even though the labor market is stronger than on the mainland, and even though it’s the high 70s in Honolulu this week. What could possibly be driving them away?” Do tell. “The preliminary seasonally adjusted [unemployment] reading for November was 2.0 percent — the lowest of any state since the Labor Department started keeping track in 1976, and less than half of the 4.1 percent national rate reported in November.” “A recent report from Bonham’s organization  [“Carl Bonham, economics professor and director of the University of Hawaii’s economic research organization”] projected continued growth for 2018, based on another record year of tourist arrivals, steady activity in the construction sector, and growth in health and tourism jobs. So why is anyone leaving? One answer trumps all others: home prices. Hawaii has the most expensive housing in the nation, according to the home value index from housing website Zillow. Rent costs trail only D.C. and (in some months) California. Overall, Hawaii had the highest cost of living of any state in 2017 (D.C. was higher), the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness found, and housing was the main driver. It’s always been expensive to live in Hawaii, but it’s getting worse. There’s just not enough housing on the islands, and Hawaii now has one of the worst rates of homelessness in the country.” The morning’s Newark Advocate headlined their parent company’s USA Today: Report: Columbus among top 10 trending destinations in the world (Chris Pugh, 1-6-18). “The study, released this week by travel booking website Airbnb, lists the Ohio capital as the sixth most trending destination in the world based on bookings for the first part of 2018.” ““In the United States, Midwestern cities like Indianapolis and Columbus are seeing some of the strongest growth, driven by booming downtown districts humming with new restaurants, nightlife, and local arts,” the report reads.” Analysis recalls in the past Newark Mayor Jeff Hall making statements like wanting downtown Newark to be a “destination.” Butt weight, maybe that’s coming into fruition. The previous days Advocate headlined: Newark may see downtown, north end developments (Kent Mallett, 1-5-18). “Momentum from a flurry of recent Newark improvements should continue in the new year, according to commercial developer Steve Layman. Development should begin on the vacant city block bordered by South Third, South Fourth, Market and West Main streets. Front Room Furnishings will occupy the former Connell’s Furniture space on North 21st Street. And, the former Kroger property on Deo Drive could be developed this year. Other downtown and north end sites also have potential. “Newark is constrained a little bit because of available land, suitable and available for development,” Layman said. “But, I think there will be infill development — apartments, condominiums and medical offices. “The economy is good, there are jobs aplenty, and the cost of living is moderate. There’s good value here.”” More shine being peddled from the Hall of Newark: “While other cities are talking about what they can’t do, Newark is talking about what it is doing, Mayor Jeff Hall said. “You kind of have to get out and see what’s going on around and there aren’t a whole lot of cities in Ohio that got a lot going on,” Hall said.” Newark may not be an island. What is happening in Hawaii is relevant to Newark. Analysis has also recently noted that Columbus was ranked second in the nation in terms of economic inequality. The last Analysis checked, tourism is considered a service industry (along with “restaurant, nightlife, and local arts”). Service jobs make up the bulk of Layman’s “jobs aplenty.”  Where are these folks to live? And how are they to get to work from there? Nowhere in Mallett’s journalism was any mention made of affordable housing, the homeless or the inability to get to work within a greater Newark metro area of well over 50,000 lacking fixed route/schedule public transportation. Layman and company simply assume that if their real estate values increase (development), unemployment is low, and the cost of living is moderate for the upper third of wage earners, then all problems are solved (the “rising tide” article of conservative faith). The actuality of Hawaii begs to differ and throws a kink into this faith based gospel of eliding very real social problems. After all, pushing the problem somewhere else is no solution when there’s no ocean between. Eventually they bump into each other. Selling “Shine” is what our tabloid president does. Admitting the problem and addressing the reality of affordable housing and public transportation needs is a very doable first step.

Due to weather event the meeting below has been rescheduled for February 3, 2018, 10-12. See you there.

Jan 13 Transportation Meeting

2018

January 1, 2018

With 2018 Analysis must admit that it has reached the end of analysis. What’s that mean? Sometimes “end” can mean finished (“The End” of the movie), sometimes “end” can mean conclusion (the projected end of a process), and sometimes “end” simply means that all the elements or reason’s for defining or pursuing something have displayed themselves, made themselves apparent, and there are no more elements to be determined or reasoning to be defined. After 5 years of writing, Analysis feels it has reached that point. The Longaberger Basket Building would be the case in point. (A ‘big vision’ in store for Longaberger basket building, Bethany Bruner and Maria DeVito, Advocate, 12-29-17). Analysis even questions the need for referencing the reporting. Previous blog essays have followed this debacle for years, almost from the inception of Newark News Analysis. Yet in Bruner and Devito’s report we read “The financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.” Why not? Poor investigative reporting or another case of “public private partnership” where the “private” doesn’t have to reveal how it is using the “public”? Wiki “corporate welfare.” Again, Analysis can point to what we do know, as reported previously (and once again on the 29th) the sale involved the city forgiving what was owed to it through various taxes, fees, and penalties. And the entire city administration and council were on board for that (“Licking County Treasurer Olivia Parkinson said the county is supposed to be receiving a check early next week for a “big chunk” of the back taxes Longaberger had owed. Parkinson said the new owners are planning to file an application to have the penalties of the most recent taxes owed remitted. Newark City Council had passed legislation earlier this month to allow the city to release some or all of the liens for unpaid water and sewer bills and other money owed by Longaberger in an effort to move the sale forward.”). The shapeshifter mayor of Newark (Jeff Hall) likewise speaks out of both sides of his mouth – “”But we do know it’s going to be a tax producing property again,” he said. “It’ll be a good asset in community instead of sitting as a vacant building deteriorating.”” “Hall said while the basket building is not very old, it is unique enough to qualify for historic tax credits. Coon will still have to apply for the tax credits, Hall said. “Without even that potential, it wouldn’t have been of interest to him,” Hall said. Hall said once the final plans are announced, it could take years before renovations are complete.” Newark’s Mayor belies his own public tax payer paid position by flaunting the new owners’ potential to not only NOT pay taxes, but also to be reimbursed by tax payer funds (“historic tax credits’). This in itself begs the questions of abatements during the “years before renovations are complete” and it becomes “a tax producing property again.” If you think this is just another manifestation of MAGA, you’d be more than correct in that the building would have to generate a ridiculous amount of tax revenue in its later years to offset the enormous bath the City and County have taken, something the early years of active business occupancy never produced. And what if the new owners choose to just flip their new acquisition? Of course, we also read “”It has been fun watching the progress in the Downtown and I’m excited to be a part of the movement,” he [Steve Coon, “a Canton-based developer who owns Coon Restoration, and his partner, Bobby George, of Cleveland, closed on the building Friday afternoon.”] said in the release. “The Longaberger Basket Building is known all over the world and I can’t tell you how excited I am to preserve and renovate this building and put it back into use.”” Where have we heard that before? (Clue– current and past owners of Longaberger since Dave’s demise) Who wouldn’t be giddy when they not only pay pennies on the dollar for real property, with few if any tax liabilities, but likewise elide full disclosure on the overall costs/benefits of the “public private” deal? We’re dealing! Shapeshifter Mayor Jeff Hall will probably pave the Cherry Valley Rd. dead end as well as the east of Dayton Rd. portion of East Main Street and sell it as “shine.” And city leaders will buy it and drink it! No, Analysis has reached its end. In the essay “Steve Bannon Declares Jihad On Infidels” (10-18-17) Analysis quoted Alternet’s Ivy Oleson’s embedded reporter’s report ““This is when I realize that what Ivy [Ivy El Zaatari, the Leadership Institute organizer/instructor] means is that Conservatism appeals to people on a level above facts: religion. Conservatives are skipping right over the whole logic bit and get straight to the good stuff. Ivy is hinting around about “philosophy,” because, like she said, “I’m talking about Conservatives, not Republicans. [..] They talk about their Bibles as much as their Constitution.” Sell ‘em a fantasy, and one with a moral, religious backing as well. Ivy has been trying to get it through our heads that the fear of God is how you can get people to vote against their best interests.””

What Is A Symbol Worth?

December 18, 2017

No, not what is its symbolic worth, but what is it worth to keep around, to have and to hold? What is the value of the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, the White House, etc. ? The USS Constitution, is it a symbol or a naval vessel? The Navy just spent part of its military budget to refurbish Old Iron Sides, which it still considers as a commissioned naval vessel. Its value as a warship is dubious, as a symbol, priceless. At its 12-18-17 meeting Newark City Council was confronted with this very question, and missed the opportunity to answer it. Curiously, the public comment on the value of the Gazebo was heard only as cost by the council members present. WIKI gives “In mythology, folklore and speculative fiction, shapeshifting is the ability of a being or creature to completely transform its physical form or shape. This is usually achieved through an inherent ability of a mythological creature, divine intervention, or the use of magic.” This would be an apt description of the Marvel Comics’ character of those elected, seated and charged with doing the public’s bidding. In his State of the City address, Mayor Hall touted “due diligence and open dialog” in helping to create the “improved destination” of downtown Newark, thanks in large part to all the business driving these improvements. He was long on praise for the purchase of the Cherry Valley Lodge but lost for words on the Basket Building debacle. It is reassuring to note that Newark is “poised to have another great year in 2018 with growth and improvement.” Several public comments inquired as to where the funding came for the late night massacre of the Gazebo, and what drove the decision. The halls of City Hall reverberated with innuendo regarding Hall’s move, saying the prime contractor for the courthouse renovation had “gifted” the labor, logistics and storage, eventually to be reimbursed with its reconstruction on the East Main Street site. The back story to this was all the closed door, county shapeshifter meetings held within the county annex years ago that awarded the courthouse renovation bid without regard of Ohio’s sunshine laws or competitive bidding. Other myths embraced by the city council shapeshifters were ones promoted by council person Lang regarding who he represents and why he should bother to value some community symbol. His reasoning was that his constituents don’t care. “What’s a gazebo?” he was told by one constituent, “I never go downtown” to the “improved destination.” This is the same myth that promotes publicly funded sports stadiums and convention centers as being of vital interest to the citizens of a community while appealing for those outside the community to partake and journey to the “improved destination” (and don’t forget to bring the plastic). This was another touted myth: “Have to work with private businesses” said the departing Carol Floyd. It seems the emphasis on the importance of business paying for it all (as well as benefitting from it all) by the cost conscious shapeshifters didn’t jibe with the public commenters impassioned pleas for the return of the gazebo. Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville just held a grand (re)opening. The back story is that years ago Stuart’s faced what Mayor Hall describes as “urban rehab” (demolition). Community funds were raised to restore it (and that included much more than the immediate constituency of the City of Nelsonville proper, Council Shapeshifter Lang). Shortly before its opening a fire destroyed the newly refurbished Opera House. Again the community raised funds to rebuild what was destroyed and eventually opened historic Nelsonville’s downtown symbol. Now another fire next door in 2015 almost reached the theater. Again the community was asked for funding to renovate and expand Stuart’s to its original. 12-7-17’s “The Next Stage Curtain Call Grand Opening” includes a new 4,000+ square foot lobby, and an Education and Community Center (The Athens News 12-4 and 12-7-17). Unsubstantiated is the claim that over $4 mil in funding was provided by the Nelsonville community to vitalize this symbol.  Analysis finds that to be the real sadness of the 12-18-17 Newark City Council meeting. The public commenters were saying “Why don’t you include us instead of pushing us out of downtown gentrification?” The shapeshifting council members were hearing “What will it cost in budgeted dollars and cents?” Even “open dialog” proponent, Jeremy Blake, used this as a reason for not offering an amendment (“the numbers just aren’t there”). Analysis finds the real pain to be that both sides are united in overwhelming agreement that the Gazebo most certainly is a symbol. Jefferson Davis monuments disappear because they are deemed divisive. We are unified by the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, the USS Constitution, Stuart’s Opera House and the Newark Gazebo. What is a symbol worth?

Right

December 12, 2017

Computer dictionary gives: “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way”. WIKI, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, elaborates: “Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.” In a 12-11-17 Washington Post Op Ed piece, Emily Miller (deputy press secretary at W’s State Department) writes about the current proposed federal Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Notable: “Donald Trump is the first president who has a concealed carry permit. Trump is one of more than 16 million Americans with a concealed carry permit legally exercising the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Now that Trump is president, gun owners are pushing for legislation to make it federal law that a permit to carry a gun be valid when crossing state lines, just like a driver’s license.” Analysis finds the correlation to “driver’s license” to be abhorrent to the notion of “Right”, something near and dear to 2nd Amendment aficionados. Further on she drills deeper with: “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act allows a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun in any other state. The bill says the person must be eligible to possess a gun under federal law, meaning that he or she is not a felon, dangerously mentally ill, a domestic abuser or any of the other disqualifying factors for having a gun. The bill specifies that a person carrying a concealed gun must have valid photo identification on hand. Also, the person has to have either a valid concealed carry permit or be eligible to carry concealed in his or her state of residence if the state has “constitutional carry” (which means it doesn’t require permits for law-abiding citizens).” Analysis finds this to be a “Right” that is qualified with layers of who has the right and who doesn’t (If sexual harassment were considered as domestic abuse, the apprentice president’s CC permit would be in jeopardy!). This is something 2nd Amendment followers have vehemently denied as part of their “right to bear arms” without qualifications, in the same vein as the right to practice religious belief, the right to speak freely, the right of the press, etc. (see dictionary and WIKI above). After this she writes: “A key addition to this bill from previous versions is that if the gun carrier is arrested and charged for carrying in another state, but then found innocent because of this law, the state pays the defendant’s legal fees and the defendant has the right to bring a civil action for damages.” Analysis finds this very curious (and disingenuous to say the least). The mindful reader will immediately recognize this provision as the one that Big Pharma’s Dale Butland (the opposition spokesperson) used extensively to denigrate Issue 2 in Ohio’s 2016 election (you know, the drug price control thing). Now it is OK with regard to concealed carry across state lines. Analysis likewise notes the distinction, in regards to Right, of the “concealed carry permit” legitimization of some states within the US, and the “constitutional carry” of other states, which doesn’t require a permit. In an interview with Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs (Columbus Police Chief: ‘Our Resources Are Being Taxed’, 12-11-17) Adora Namigadde for WOSU records the Chief as saying: ““Our resources are being taxed. Our overtime is significant at this point because of the increases. And our garage was full over the weekend, Saturday night, with cruisers that are arresting people,” Jacobs said. “It’s not that we don’t arrest people. We arrest people all the time, many times for violent crime and carrying guns.”” Analysis clearly points out that the Chief is charged to consider “carrying guns” in a much different manner than 2nd Amendment Right stumpers, or the proposed Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. “Well, this is an approach to the second amendment “Right” as an entitlement, a privilege that can be lost if not meeting certain qualifications, mumble, mumble, etc. (with lots of hand waving)” say the stumpers. Not like the “right to remain silent” Analysis concludes, but a qualified privilege and entitlement. More like a driver’s license with photo ID, or state authorized photo ID to exercise the right to vote, or an official party in power imprimatur as to what is considered as news (and what is discredited as fake). Analysis notices a drift in the definition and application of “Right” from something inherent, unearned and undeniable to something which is a purchased entitlement, maintained through privilege and status. That’s not right.

The Creep

December 7, 2017

Ever notice how stereotypes never really go away? Of course you don’t. That’s because the messenger is usually forgotten once we’ve heard the message. This association of the the stereotype with the message, the ideology or behavior generally takes for granted that the messenger will be unemployed, once the message is dealt with, thus having no more to contribute to the discussion. But stereotypes are enterprising entrepreneurs who don’t care to find themselves in the ranks of the unemployed. They migrate and switch sides. Sometimes hopping back and forth like mercenaries shifting allegiances for whoever pays the most. Case in point would be the police in America. Seems like forever that they have been trying to shed the 1930’s strike buster stereotype with its black leather boots, belts and cudgels. That “stereotype” also concurrently played out across the Atlantic, much to the chagrin of the FOP. So the stereotype hops from shielded black clad riot police to shielded black clad neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville, indifferent as to the right and wrong of where it appears (It doesn’t help that the rural Bundy crowd dresses in the same camo that the urban SWAT team wears. Or is it urban SWAT teams wear the same camo as the rural Bundy crowd? Fashion statement? Doubtful, not much greenery in the urban setting). The 1950’s stereotype of the nuclear scientist who holds the future in his hands has re-emerged as the 21st century’s corporate government economist. The racial stereotype that cost Emmett Till his life has switched sides to become the contrived image of racial integration and harmony found promoting a lot of consumer products. “Silent march in Poland honors man who set himself on fire” by the AP, 11-6-17, reported “Hundreds of people marched in silence Monday to honor a man who set himself on fire to protest policies by Poland’s ruling party that he said are destroying the rule of law and democracy in the country.” Significant was “Many of the marchers dressed in black and carried signs around their necks that said “I, an ordinary gray man.”” Not too many stereotypes for ordinary middle gray around today. Why’s that? It is important to dress the part to enact the role, part of what makes the stereotype such an effective (and unnoticeable) messenger. Remember Fidel Castro? Who could forget the cigar and the military green fatigues that he always wore, and that his brother inherited. Talk about militancy! That look was picked up by countless tinhorn dictators in how many revolutions – from Idi Amin to Hugo Chavez. Even today we find demagogues appearing on stage wearing military fatigue green, and not because it’s cold, but in order to turn up the heat. Stereotypes, they slowly creep in where you’d least expect them.

Steve Bannon

Peter Lives In Newark

December 3, 2017

With the previous post (11-25-17 It May Not Be Racial, But It Is Very Real) Analysis continued the relationship of homeownership and politics in Newark with a look at the material effects of redlining, steering and reverse redlining in the area. This was primarily a historic reckoning with comparison to like events in other communities. Headlining “Licking County 911 Center moving to Heath” The Advocate’s Kent Mallett (11-28-17) gives a current materialization of these trends in policy today. “The Licking County Commissioners and the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority reached agreement on a 10-year lease for use of an 8,500 square foot facility north of the Horton Building.” “The agreement allows the 911 Center to vacate a 25-year-old building that has been settling for years and has structural problems, at 119 East Main St. The 911 Center and Licking County Sheriff’s Office dispatching merged into the new center in 2014. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission shared concerns about the East Main Street building’s structure with the commissioners in July, citing a report recommending the building be abandoned and demolished due to the probability of excessive settlement, a sudden and abrupt drop and the possibility of a sinkhole.” “Rob Terrill, the 911 Center coordinator, said the new center will allow for 20 dispatch work stations, instead of the current 14. The Emergency Operations Center, now in the basement of the Licking County Sheriff’s Office, will also move into the Heath building.” “”I think we’re saving the taxpayers money by not going to an interim site and then a permanent site,” Commissioner Tim Bubb said. “One move is better than two. We’ve got enough time to do it right the first time. We found a long-term home for the 911 Center that makes sense. This is a very good solution.”” Is it? What is being solved? Analysis reveals more questions than answers, problems than solutions. None of which are being asked (or answered) by Mallett, community “leaders”, or members of Newark’s city council (more interested in raising their standard of pay than the standard of living in their community). There aren’t any vacant 8,500 square foot buildings within Newark City Limits? Another abandoned building/vacant lot to be found on East Main Street? And what of the loss of related city commerce and income tax revenue from the jobs not only moved from the current site, plus the ones from the Emergency Operations Center, but also the added new positions and related business? “”It is a place, even though not an Air Force base, the presence there is very security-minded,” Platt said. “We’ve had a 55-year history of a national security workload. This is a natural fit to continue that legacy. I’m confident our tenants will welcome having them on campus.”” Even though Newark’s champion and number one salesman and promoter justified the late night gazebo demolition with a rational of “Security concerns, Hall said, played into the decision to avoid having people sitting at tables, with backpacks, near the government building.” (Advocate 10-6-17), his silence was deafening when it came to the move of the 911 Center out of Newark and west to Heath. Where were the dump trucks filled with sand during the recent court house lighting that attracted huge crowds on the open streets of Newark’s courthouse square? Do terrorists take a break during the holiday season? Do “security concerns” only arise when there is profit to be made? No, this call center move was just another materialization in the continuing history of redlining and steering in Newark. Mallett et al fail to ask “Who sold them on this move?” As well as “Who benefitted from this long term lease agreement?” After all, Bubb and company all are members of the Port Authority (a public/private partnership). According to past Advocate reports, this is where the hottest commercial real estate is to be had. Why does a tax payer government office need to be located in the high rent district, the area’s version of Trump Tower? Analysis finds it to be a matter of religious belief, a cliché of robbing Peter to pay Paul (see this blog 10-18-17, Steve Bannon Declares Jihad On Infidels). Only in this case Peter lives in Newark, and Paul is anywhere but Newark.

It May Not Be Racial, But It Is Very Real

November 25, 2017

Analysis has found itself considering the close relationship of home ownership and politics in Newark Ohio. Many statistics and definitions must be borne in mind for insights, some of which have been covered extensively in past posts. Some, such as the near 50% of residential housing being non-owner occupant or the low rate of voter turnout, are essential to continuously bear in mind. Others, such as the existence of polarization, gerrymandering or redlining, are a little more difficult to grasp. The interrelationship of all of these does not materialize trippingly on the tongue. Redlining is described readily enough on Wikipedia. However, it is generally associated with racial segregation. According to the census bureau, Newark’s racial diversity is way below the national ratio. As mentioned in the previous posts, polarization appears non-existent within the workings of Newark City Council. And with at large council representation, gerrymandering would be difficult to ascribe to the city’s ward/at large governance. But the recent late night gazebo move brings polarity to the fore (ranks closed tightly along party lines) And past Newark Advocate reporting that has questioned why so many of Newark’s representatives, government administrators and “leaders” all reside in the 5th ward makes gerrymandering more than real for Newark voters. Redlining? In Newark? Naaa. Redlining, steering and reverse redlining have primarily been associated with racist dispositions and denial of access to opportunities. The recent T Day week end Columbus On The Record featured a rerun of a Chasing The Dream panel. One of the panelists, Beth Gifford of Columbus Works, described a recent drive through the streets of her childhood neighborhood, the south side of Columbus. She said it doesn’t look much different today than a half century ago, except the places of employment are gone (manufacturing base) and the stores have disappeared along with it. Only the residences remain, more of which become rentals with each passing year. The south end of her youth was a vibrant mix of restaurants, bars, department stores, large and small employers and church/community identity, etc. Sounds a bit like what currently comprises Newark’s 1st, 2nd, and 7th ward, doesn’t it? Like the south side Columbus of Gifford’s youth, the east side of Newark was an equally vibrant mix of employment, residences, stores, restaurants and church/community identity. For reason’s beyond the scope of one page posts, Newark’s “leaders” decided (a half century ago) to relocate the hospital from its east side home to the farm fields of the west side, on West Main Street. This was accompanied by development of employment facilities as well as housing, schools, churches, etc. (all the ingredients needed to form “community” according to Chasing The Dream). Ditto the north side, all of which currently comprise Newark’s 3rd, 5th and 6th wards. While these political districts flourished, the 3 on the east side languished. “Well, it’s where people want to be” we are told. Analysis finds this a cliché way of avoiding the answer to the more pressing question of who sold them on this end of town? And who financed it?  Just as today all the “commercial development” and places of employment magically appear outside the Newark City limits (for reasons only known to Grow Licking County and Newark Development Partners), so half a century ago Newark began expanding away from the east end. Not that there wasn’t open farmland or highway access on the east side. And someone thought it was a “safe bet”, “good investment”, “progressive thinking” to provide residential loans as well as underwrite business/commercial ones. Now it may have nothing to do with race, but providing mortgages for one area and eschewing another defines redlining. Aggressively selling one area while disparaging another likewise approximates steering. Saying it’s “too costly” or “risky” to finance maintaining properties in a designated area is akin to reverse redlining (driving up the cost for residents who own these properties). So redlining has history in Newark. The relationship to gerrymandering (and polarization) is apparent when one considers what areas comprise the wards and where the boundaries are drawn. It may not be racial, but it is very real.

In Defense Of Being Homeless

November 16, 2017

Regular Newark News Analysis readers can’t help but notice that recent posts have swirled around real property ownership and housing, directly or indirectly. “Homeownership doesn’t build wealth, study finds” headlines Diana Olick for CNBC (11-16-17). Intriguing! Analysis required reading. “”On average, renting and reinvesting wins in terms of wealth creation regardless of property appreciation, because property appreciation is highly correlated with gains in the traditional financial asset classes of stocks and bonds,” wrote study co-author Ken Johnson of FAU’s College of Business [Florida Atlantic University], in a release.” This seems to be the keynote quote pursued (for actuality, efficacy) throughout the article. What follows are the pros and cons of renting versus owning with back up insights for the period covering 2008 (when the real estate bubble burst) to the present. “Still, researchers in the study claim the adage of “throwing your money away on rent” doesn’t hold up. That is because it assumes that the extra money a renter saves by not owning a home and not saving for a down payment is simply spent on goods or services and not invested.” Well, that seems clear enough. “In other words, the rent argument works only if the renter invests the rental savings instead of consuming the money.” The article then localizes the theory. “The researchers therefore went city by city, measuring home price appreciation against a portfolio of stocks and bonds that were equal in volatility. “To have a fair race, that reinvestment into stocks and bonds has to be as risky as that particular housing market,” Johnson said.” Put crassly (and simplistically) if a homeowner considers what she pays monthly for principle and balance on her mortgage against how much (percentage wise) her real property investment made (appreciates), that margin would be less than a renter, renting the same size, quality property would have if the difference between the monthly cost of renting and the mortgage amount was invested in “”stocks and bonds.” Gasp! Butt weight, there’s more. The buried lead appears at the end, after a breakdown on the requirement “if the renter invests the rental savings instead of consuming the money.” That buried lead throws shade on the initial quote by Johnson pursued throughout the article. Here it is: “As long as home values don’t fall, which has historically been the case in most markets, with the glaring exception of the last recession, homeowners are building a nest egg. They had also been getting a tax advantage. That is now at risk in the Republican tax plan, which curbs the mortgage deduction and in the Senate version, wipes out the property tax deduction. Real estate can still be a good investment, according to Johnson, but not necessarily living in the home you own. Being a landlord or investing in real estate-related stocks and commodities can be more lucrative that keeping all your capital in the nest.” Not surprising given the “Me first” focus of the apprentice president and his MAGA emphasis, and Wall Street’s insatiable demand for more sources of capital. But “Me first” “landlord[s] or investing in real estate-related stocks and commodities” don’t make neighborhoods (or community). What more, stock and bond ownership doesn’t equate with the quality of life issues associated with community. But investment is touted as the primo path to greatness, success and wealth (the GOP use this line of argument to justify the recent tax bill and its permanent corporate tax cut, etc.) How’s that in actuality? Reporting for The Independent Clark Mindrock headlined “Trump’s top economic adviser can’t contain his surprise after CEOs say his tax plan won’t make them invest more” 11-15-17. “During an event for the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, an editor at that newspaper turned to ask the room a question: “If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment — your company’s investment, capital investment?” Prompted to raise their hands if so, very few shot their palms into the air. Mr. [Gary] Cohn, the White House Economic Council director, smiled uncomfortably at the response. “Why aren’t the other hands up?” he asked, making a joke out of the spectacle. But experts say that it isn’t hard to figure out why corporations might not want to take savings from cuts to the corporate tax cut and pump it back into their companies — all you have to do is look at who actually benefits financially from the cuts. Citing a recent Moody’s report that estimate that the Trump tax plan would yield just a 0.3 percent economic growth rate for 10 years before a likely decline, Brooking Institute senior fellow William Gale noted that business leaders might be expecting declines in the long term.” Analysis shows there is more to the homeownership’s study than the math provides. The renter’s surplus investment (which will make her wealthy) can only be made with companies that themselves are reluctant to invest. “Being a landlord… can be more lucrative that keeping all your capital in the nest.” “Real estate can still be a good investment, according to Johnson, but not necessarily living in the home you own.”

Newark’s Likely Voters

November 9, 2017

Originally Analysis was going to cover the recent election. Reuters (amongst others) reported “Maine governor says he will not expand Medicaid despite vote” by Gina Cherelus, 11-8-17. Déjà vu all over again with “About 60 percent of voters in Maine approved the ballot proposal in Tuesday’s election, according to the Bangor Daily News, making the state the first in the country to vote to expand Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled.” GOP Governor LePage refuses to implement it. Sound familiar? Hint: Marijuana. That’s right, a citizens’ initiative approved by the voters of Newark re: marijuana possession in Newark was ditto refused to be implemented by GOP Mayor Hall. More recent is the cavalier late night destruction of the gazebo vociferously opposed by residents, all to no avail. These left Analysis with the question “why is the will, and vote, of the people (citizens) so impotent within a government founded on democracy?” Presently the Democrats are all Broadway musical happy after limited “victories” this just past election but, again, Newark doesn’t reflect that. This blog’s previous post displayed the inadequate attempt by Lesha Farias’s service organization to affect Fred Ernest’s 10 year “vision.” Couple that with the very low turn out Monday (11-6-17) to “protest” the demise of the gazebo and the question gets even thornier – where is the democracy in Newark? And if it’s missing, why? Again, (11-9-17) Reuters headlines “Trump’s low approval rating masks his support among likely voters” by Chris Kahn. Couple this with the actual voting outcomes reported by The Advocate (GEMS Election Results from 11-8-17). For overall county election races (like the muni court judgeship) 29.1% of eligible voters turned out. Now “likely voters” looms large. Analysis finds that though urban precincts encompass more registered voters, rural district issues and races attracted a greater percentage of voters, though lesser in number. Newark precincts involve 4-6 thousand voters each and were turning out roughly 24-25% of them to decide the contest. That’s less than the county actual (likewise likely) voter percentage (29%). Most rural precincts show way less than 2,000 possible voters (many less than 1,000) with turn out being 33-35% (Northridge School’s district precincts turned out over 50%!). Many have repeatedly asked “Why is turnout, interest and active engagement so low in the very urban city of Newark?” That is, why does the description “likely voter” include so few already registered voters in Newark? Those paid to know offer many theoretical possibilities – culture, economics, education, disinterest or even distrust of government. Analysis considers a material actuality. “Landlord doubles rent, evicts nuisance tenants to improve property” by Shelly Schultz for the Zanesville Times Recorder (11-8-17). “Following an abatement warning, the owner of an apartment complex located at 1252 Edwards Lane issued residents a zero tolerance notice for illegal activity and nearly doubled the rent.” The back story to which is “In September, several residents converged on the public safety committee complaining of a sudden increase in prostitution and drug activity in their neighborhood.” Somewhat deeper: “Tenants who have been identified as a nuisance have been evicted, according to Horvath. The rent has increased from $300 to $500 and heading towards $600. The property now mandates a background check on tenants.” (“Eriech Horvath of Newark, owner of Stone Works Development, purchased the 22 unit apartment complex in March and said he has been working diligently to clean it up.”) Back story to the back story would be from WHIZ’s report of “Zanesville Police Dept. cracking down on nuisance homes” by Matthew Herchik 6-30-17. “To be able to move forward with a nuisance abatement, [ZPD Police Chief Tony] Coury says they must prove that the house is in fact a “nuisance,”” “The ZPD has been working in conjunction with the city Law Director as well as the Prosecutor’s Office to make these homes a bigger focus.” And finally, the back story to the whole story is the Ohio Revised Code 3767.01 and .02 which define “nuisance” and “nuisance homes”. All of which sounds pretty sensible when dealing with crime and violence until one makes the connection that Mr. Horvath is using the imminent power (and actions) of the prosecutor/law director/police to justify evicting tenants and upping the rent on his recently acquired property. Given that 48% of Newark’s residential housing is non-owner occupant (rental) and that the census bureau shows over 40% of the US population as having no net worth (living pay check to pay check) it is little wonder that, though greater in numbers, so few registered voters are “likely voters” in Newark, let alone actually voting in elections. Not wanting to rock the boat and potentially be evicted from one’s rented home (for whatever reason, be it the inability to suffer an increase in monthly rent or “nuisance” designation) is a very normal response to being asked to engage in a political process. Analysis shows that having a home to come home to matters a lot.