Posts Tagged ‘Community Investment’


December 29, 2014

Aw, come on, admit it. You’ve seen ‘em, the great big tractor trailer rigs with the huge arrow running the length of the trailer, its point ending at the cab. “Our company’s greatest asset is found here.” (Analysis dreads considering what affect this has on the driver knowing that he is being equated with other ledger sheet resources like the company’s vehicles, buildings, IT logistic system, etc.) Analysis fails when considering what such an arrow, with its accompanying hyperbole, would point to if it appeared on the top of each front page of the Gannett Company’s Newark Advocate. The “readers”, residents of Newark and its surrounds who subscribe to and purchase the paper? Doubtful. The advertisers? Too few. Major PACs operating city and county gov’t? Fewer still, and too simplistic an answer, but intriguing given that the paper and the area’s sole radio outlet comprise the total advertising expenditure on both PACs’ financial disclosures. The intellectual labor at the Gannett media factory? Close, but with its ever shrinking commitment and size (both staff and reporting, the printing operation vanished in 2014, something not covered by the paper’s annual review of the past year), not convincing enough. The Newark Advocate itself? Bingo! The paper itself (both print and online) is the Gannett Company’s “greatest asset”.

Central Licking County can do better than a media source only capable of insuring that its monopoly publication appeals as broadly as possible in order to benefit from the largest number of readers and advertisers (along with the two “captive” PACs). Let’s look at some previously prescribed portions of this made to look like, but really isn’t, meat recipe:

City residential/commercial property maintenance: The Advocate position – Well, Newark needs it badly but we don’t want to inconvenience the landlords who own 43% of the city’s residential housing. A good thing too since that might affect the rents. But we’re all for it.
Jobs/connecting Newark’s unemployed to those jobs: Advocate position – Kudos to Grow Licking County and jobs created off 79 in Heath. The health care industry park off W. Main is the community’s greatest asset (and employer)! We champion job opportunities and growth in central Ohio. We regret that little is actually within Newark itself. Celebrating the projected Canal Market District we’ve purposely elided that once we celebrated this very same space as a proposed public transportation hub for the residents of Newark to access the area’s major employers along 79, W. Main, Granville Rd. and the expanding north end. Best left unsaid since we don’t want to alienate our car dealer advertising partners.
Public funding for the promotion of religion: Advocate position – We feel publicly funded institutions should not promote religion. However, we find the necessity of an anonymous and unnamed area resident challenging such promotional activity through the use of outside representation to be utterly reprehensible. This marginalized individual should have outed themselves. Our paper strongly endorses religion with a regular Faith section featuring acceptance and forgiveness. (Analysis indicates the Advocate editorial board completely missed the strong and obvious correlation with a representative democracy determined by anonymous, er, secret ballot)
Street paving: Advocate position – Newark’s streets urgently need to be paved and bridges maintained but the property owners who benefit from the public access provided by these thoroughfares should not bear any cost. Of course, residential water users will see their rates increase but that “benefits” them by allowing for the mandated replacement of 100 year old waste lines in the downtown business district.

Had enough tofurkey?


The Children’s Home And The Jail

September 1, 2014

In the previous post (People Should Be Paying Attention) Analysis considered one aspect of the demise of the honey bee to segue into something we all share. Much as global warming, the demise of the bees is either poo-pooed or mourned as an ominous omen. Analysis has noticed that, although the coal fired mega energy providers have been actively promoting “green” conservation through light bulbs and refrigerators, few bugs swarm and dance around porch lights, outdoor flood lights and street lights (part of the new bulbs rely on fluorescent light, the same stuff of bug zappers, hence should prove irresistibly attractive). Indeed, going way back in the way back machine, just forty years ago (prior to the embrace of no till farming), cars had windscreens and bras, drivers needed to clean their windshields from all the nighttime bugs in the summer, etc. The welfare of this population of nature’s society has been of no import. Unlike the birds, there is no lobby for the bugs. The change has been slow. So slow that it is almost unnoticeable without some historical reference. But who wants to remember a bug?

Dialing the way back machine a little closer to the present (by five years) we find the first major assaults on what was (academically) termed “the welfare state” in American leadership and policy. Originally, “welfare state” described the role of the government (the state) to be that of maintaining or improving the welfare of its citizens. This would include, but not be limited to, operating in such a manner that its citizens were not threatened by devastating diseases like polio, measles, etc. (ebola), that the citizenry could read, write, count (be educated), that citizens could create (through work) and recreate (through parks, etc.). Popular culture contributed to the creation of the disparaging image (and myth) of “the welfare state” as being that of folks on the dole driving luxury cars and partying. Since then American leadership and policy has focused on the role of government (the state) being something other than the welfare of its citizens. The latest, and best, exemplar would be John the Governator’s evangelizing that government should operate at the speed of business. Returning to the trope of nature and another endangered species, the cheetah, Analysis can also say that the only thing that runs like a cheetah is another cheetah. The change has been slow. So slow that it is almost unnoticeable without some historical reference. Remember the Licking County Children’s Home? Like the moth’s circling around porch lights, it is no more (remember the yellow bulbs?). In its stead is the historical preservation of the means and power of the state to discipline and punish, the Licking County Jail.

An even more glaring and exemplary actuality of the shift of government’s role from that of the welfare of its citizens to that of business, by business, and for business occurred just recently. The Licking County Transit Board, headed by Grow Licking County Board member and Licking County Commisioner Tim Bubb, voted to cut citizen’s transit services in favor of jobs creation. The same county that opts to fund the Chamber of Commerce with a quarter of the 4% real estate transference tax (in addition to a yearly contribution that amounts to 125% of what it provides for citizen transit) and agrees to not only build but receive the waste from a business dedicated to waste elimination, all in the name of “jobs creation,” reduces the ability of its own citizens to access work under the guise of fiscal responsibility. According to the 8-22-14 Newark Advocate (Transit Board Approves Cuts, Hannah Sparling), folks opposed to cutting service knew there was something uncouth with what was about to come down. But the Children’s Home is long gone and only the Jail is being restored. A large chunk of the argument presented followed the WWJD line. To which Bubb defended this assault on his virtue with righteous indignation. Indeed, the Commissioner took responsibility for running government at the speed of business. Responsibility is a virtue ensconced in property law but precedence in gospel verse is indeed a stretch of biblical interpretation (check any insurance policy for verification and lack of WWJD reference). The change has been slow. So slow that it is almost unnoticeable without some historical reference. But who wants to remember a bug, or the welfare of orphans?

And The People Sang Themselves Free

July 23, 2014

Serendipity found one of the local WOSU channels (34.2) airing “To Breath As One”. Quotes from the online synopsis courtesy WOSU: “Every five years, 30,000 people gather on the same stage in the small country of Estonia to join voices at Laulupidu, the National Song Festival, to become the largest choir in the world. More than a song festival, Laulupidu is an Estonian miracle that at least twice in history gave freedom to that country.” The origins of this festival stretch back to 1869, when Estonia independent was not. Estonia came in and out of being in the ensuing years with the identity maintained through song. Asked why such huge choirs would gather to sing Stalinist era Soviet songs at the time, the reply was it created a unity and recognition of capacity which by its actuality could not be denied. Later, in the post Stalinist Soviet years, traditional Estonian folks songs were reconfigured as choral works to justify re-instituting the festival. During the years leading up to the Gorbachev era (and Glasnost), works incorporating Lenin’s writings were used as justification to enlarge and expand the scope of the festival. Everyone knew how to read between the lines. Finally, the demise of Glasnost and the Soviet hold of Estonia likewise came during a huge rock concert where the audience spontaneously broke into patriotic song. The concert, along with the gathering, as well as the songs given voice did not have the proper permits. The gathering swelled and moved to the festival site where it grew and continued for four days. The crowd was too immense to arrest, detain or deport. The “Singing Revolution” had begun. The production portrays “the unique role that music has played for Estonians for over 150 years, as an integral force in maintaining strength and identity for a people who have faced cultural genocide – more than once. From the filmmakers of the acclaimed, “The Singing Revolution”, the film reveals that for Estonians singing is not just a means of cultural expression, but a defining part of their identity.”

Save The Facade

July 19, 2014

“Newark hotel now officially part of Hilton franchise” Jul. 18, 2014 by Maria DeVito (The Newark Advocate):

““We’re trying to put a different facade … on downtown Newark,” [Hotel owner Jerry] McClain said.”

Save The Facade

Community Investment, Er, Reinvestment Action

July 16, 2014

[All from the Newark Advocate this past week]

Transit Board may cut Sunday service: Director says money being lost with few people riding Jul. 10, 2014 by Emily Maddern
““We’re just trying to find a way to survive and not go broke,” he [Licking County Transit Board Director and County Commissioner Tim Bubb] said. “It’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t do any good if you have to go into the red and shut it down.””

Heath council to review tax breaks for three sites on James Parkway Jul. 12, 2014 by Kent Mallett
“The Heath City Council will consider requests for Community Reinvestment Area tax abatements for all three locations. Approval could come at the July 21 or Aug. 4 council meetings. The requests come from the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, Southgate Corporation and ISO Technologies.”
“The three applicants seek 100 percent tax abatements for all real property, after construction has finished, [Heath Zoning Chief John] Groff said.”

Newark woman says goodbye to church because of possible transit cuts: Local woman says goodbye to church Jul. 16, 2014 by Emily Maddern
““If we’re going to save money, we’ve got to take action,” he [Licking County Transit Board Director and County Commissioner Tim Bubb] said.”