Posts Tagged ‘Local’

Not Quite Ready For Prime Time Stand Up

March 6, 2018

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A young man at the corner of Cedar and East Main asks a bent over elderly gent how he could get to the hospital (or Zanesville, Columbus, or New York City, any or all of the above). “Can’t get there from here, Sonny” replied the octogenarian. (Thank you, thank you very much. You’re too kind) Unfortunately the old coot would be correct. Just prior to the old coot’s infancy, there was an interurban that operated from Newark (and surrounds, like Granville) to Moxahala Park just south of Zanesville. The park is long gone but the vestige of the town remains in its name (the tunnel at Black Hand Gorge isn’t because someone wanted to remove everything that wasn’t a tunnel). From the same period, Cedar Point benefitted and grew from the public transportation provided so park goers could get from Cleveland to Sandusky. There was city wide public transportation in Newark as well as passenger train service to Anytown USA (what do you thing that “station” is just south of the Canal Market?). Half way to now, the grey dog stopped in Newark. Now to access the grey dog requires getting to Zanesville or Columbus (“can’t get there from here”). Flying to NYC involves the same “can’t get there from here.” Newark, another “destination” like Moxahala? “The future is flying cars!” we are told. Those unable to afford a new one can just make do with a used one. Maybe it won’t fly as high, or as long, or crash and burn, but they will have to make do. It’s all about the future (everything’s up to date in Newark city!). Unfortunately right on, but wrong. The future is self driving cars, autonomous vehicles. And in case you were thinking of buying a used one, read the tea leaves again. The big car makers aren’t collaborating with the big internet companies in order to sell these puppies. The major hurdle yet to be resolved is liability (and yes, Virginia, congress will have to pass laws). Which precludes much individual ownership. More like buying a service and paying whatever the service provider charges whether you use it or not. Sound familiar? Sigh! But then again there’s always the future, like hyper loop. There’s even talk of running one from Cleveland to, you guessed it, Cedar Point (get to the Point). But these, like the old interurbans, will be “mass” public transportation – i.e. lots of folk traveling in the same compartment. OMG The future is actually Public Transportation! Yes, Virginia, busses, light rail and autonomous vehicles are all part of the future unfolding before us. So much for flying cars. The last time the future roared through these parts, Newark was left behind and its downtown languished. If you don’t wish for a Ground Hog Day scenario, come to the Public Transportation meeting at Trinity Episcopal Church, 76 E. Main, 10 – noon, Saturday March 10 and help plan the future. “What possessed Analysis to go in depth on something like this” you ask? “Local leaders receive award for historic preservation efforts” Kent Mallet headlined for the Advocate, 4-5-18. “The award recognized preserving historic assets, including the investment to preserve the Licking County Courthouse, historic rehabilitation in downtown Newark, and advocacy for the World Heritage designation that includes the Newark Earthworks.” Unfortunately, you “can’t get there from here.” Thank you, Thank you very much. You’re too kind!

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Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

February 23, 2018

Leadership isn’t an award bestowed on top achievers, a trophy for top earners, a category for a sanctioned few. On March 24, 2018 Newark Ohio will be a sister city in solidarity with major cities around the globe – March For Our Lives. Don’t just plan to attend. Rather, be there and participate in actual solidarity and promotion of tomorrow’s leaders today.

In Need Of Invitation,Not!

February 3, 2018

As rescheduled, the Community Meeting For Public Transportation presented by the Freedom School in Licking County took place at Newark’s Trinity Episcopal Church, Saturday morning (2-3-18). It was very well attended by those affected by the glaring inadequacy of Newark’s public transit, people actively engaged with public transportation as well as community advocacy, and a smattering of politicians. The dense population of attendees “in the know” spoke out about the need for public transportation, the various actually existing incarnations present within other Ohio municipalities and counties similar in size to Newark and Licking county, and various wish lists for our own situation. There were attendee testimonials of the absolute maddening INABILITY to rely on Licking County’s current mode for any kind of scheduled/rescheduled appointments, job access or medical/disability necessities. Maps and statistics from the failed 2011 attempt’s researched studies showing the concentration of those who would benefit most from such access and the prime destination on the other side of town (or county) were trotted out. In addition, recently updated census statistics showing the area’s 21% poverty rate as well as over 50% ALICE “one step away from poverty” rate were cited. These in turn were reinforced by anecdotal evidence. Yes, Virginia, there is a great need for public transportation in Newark and Licking County. All the facts, reasoning and logic were plainly on display. Invisible was the Central Ohio business community. No one from Licking County/Newark’s large employers took an interest, showed up, or spoke up (out walking with a doc?). It was mentioned that they needed to be invited. Analysis finds this already to be an elitist class approach as a large crowd actually appeared without invitation, from contemporary postings and announcements re: the community meeting (no RSVP required). Their lack of presence appears to indicate that the large businesses in Central Ohio have no “need” for public transportation. But this is the irony of it all. Amazon gives it as a prime criteria for location of its projected 50,000 employee HQ. Several recent news reports show employers in Ohio reaching to Puerto Rico to enlist workers for jobs going unfilled (and paying their first 3 month’s housing, education, etc.). At a Newark Think Tank on Poverty meeting with Jay Hottinger, Mr. Hottinger initiated the conversation by stating his recent interaction with business leaders reveals that they can’t find employees to fill their job vacancies. Continuously we are told by our government “leaders” that there are jobs out there going unfilled. This was likewise borne out at the meeting itself by testimony from administrators of Licking County’s current system . Though budgeted to employ 45 drivers, they can only fill less than 35 positions. Their wish list is 60! Yes, Virginia, large businesses need people who can get to work. Analysis finds it indisputable that the “really clicking” central Ohio economy needs people who can show up to fill job offerings each and every day, reliably. Analysis likewise finds it appalling that these same “needy” businesses couldn’t be bothered to show up and take an interest in helping to create a solution.

Next meeting in 3 weeks, be there.

Impressions Of The 2018 Newark Women’s March

January 20, 2018

Driving south on Mt. Vernon road to participate in the 2018 Women’s March there was a bottle neck on the brand spankin’ new bridge over 16. Why is all the traffic veering toward the center when there are clearly two south bound lanes? Turns out there was a young man pushing a baby stroller (with small child) walking in the roadway. The sidewalk portion of the brand spankin’ new gateway to Newark was untouched, thickly covered by new fallen snow as well as what the plow pushed off the roadway. Analysis hearkens the reader to the debate over eliminating the pedestrian bridge over 16 just to the west of Mt. Vernon Road’s brand spankin’ new “development.” The justification by the all white, all male Newark City administration (as well as Newark Development Partners) is that pedestrians can use the brand spankin’ new bridge. And who will clear the sidewalk so it is useable by pedestrians (without the danger of sharing the road with cars and trucks)? This was the stuff of the 2018 Newark Women’s March. The large rally was very well attended by a diverse demographic, youth and elderly, female and male, and all in between. It was an active crowd, intently following and vociferously responding to the speakers, not just obligatory applause. The speakers, a small sampling of Newark/Licking County’s vast bounty of women leaders, told it like it was. They spoke truth to power. Since you can’t tell the players without a program, Analysis can’t differentiate individuals with what was said (there was no paper program of speakers/topics). Equity in access to drug rehabilitation, shelters from violence, as well as equity in pay, benefits and health care were just part of the demands. But the demands mainly revolved around the irresponsibility of city, county and state administrators who cater to the private economic power base (through the utilization of public funds) while eschewing human services, such as insuring that a young man and his child can safely cross over State Route 16. It was refreshing to hear speakers plainly articulating what needs to be addressed and is not, and has not been, by the Newark Advocate, by Newark/Licking County’s elected officials, by the businesses who profit from customers not being served by their elected officials. It was an honor to witness and actively participate in this outpouring of peaceful civic action in downtown Newark – something sorely lacking and certainly long overdue. If you missed it, you missed the sound of grass growing under your feet, breaking through the pavement and asphalt, rising up. Did you hear that? It is the sound of women seeking a place on the ballot, and votes being cast by women; the greening of America.

Get Active In 2018

January 18, 2018

Women’s March in downtown Newark Ohio on the courthouse square Saturday January 20, 2-4 PM.

Finally!

Duck Soup

September 26, 2017

From this blog’s 6-1-17 posting (El SID And The Poppies): “Why is a SID an integral part of gentrification? To increase property values (for the non voting property owners of the district – in 2013 Analysis also found that of the remaining not government, religious, or bank property owners, few were individually named, most were corporate legal entities) rents need to be higher across the board (like the neglected house on the block determining neighborhood value). A SID does specifically that. As a tax, it increases the property owner’s costs which in turn increases the operating expense for any business located there. Marginally profitable businesses will exit as they did prior to the large scale construction of downtown several years ago. Ditto for any other renters (i.e. residential tenants). Upscale enterprises (with capital backing) move in and, Voila! The SID has functioned perfectly as planned. In the meantime Newark’s City Council will wrestle with the tsunami of legalized marijuana while this disenfranchised mandate will pass like shit through a duck.” The Newark news of today and the past week confirms this. From the Newark Advocate these headlines “Newark City Council rejects medical marijuana zoning proposal” (9-26-17), “Gazebo to move from courthouse grounds to former children’s home site” (9-26-17). Prior to that “Special tax coming for downtown Newark after Newark City Council approval” (9-21-17) and “Parking around Licking County Courthouse — ‘bad idea’ or ‘a winner’” (9-22-17). In the 9-26 Gazebo article Kent Mallett writes “The Children’s Home was demolished in 2013. It was built in 1886, serving as a county children’s home before it was decommissioned in the 1970s. It later housed county offices and a medical clinic before closing in 2009.” Sub-context to Mallett’s historic context is that justification for relocating the county jail to a “new” building on East Main was that the old jail was encrusted with black mold – impossible to eradicate (and therefore unhealthy). In 2009 commissioners chose to neglect upkeep on the Children’s Home while maintaining the “old” jail for storage. A central decision maker resulting in the Children’s Home being demolished and the “old” jail being maintained was current commissioner Tim Bubb. In the 9-22 Parking article Mallett again provides context. After reporting the meeting location as the Double Tree hotel, he states “The meeting, by Newark Development Partners community improvement corporation, included several small group discussions and reports, and presentation of a downtown parking study by OHM Advisors, a Columbus architecture, engineering and planning firm.” No decision has been made regarding the proposal promoted by NDP. Analysis finds the 9-26 Gazebo article indicates otherwise. Again Mallett, “Bubb added, “It was the only place in downtown you could do a performance. Now, the Canal Market provides a much better venue. The gazebo, in my observation, lived its life as a performance venue.”” Analysis discovers this to be the same authority on the “life” (and death) of the Children’s Home. Sub context on the Canal Market goes back to these same days (of jail, Children’s Home, and square renovation). The Canal Market was the “dream’ of a local philanthropist who controlled the essential property (adjacent the “old” jail). Analysis surmises he would not commit to “renovate” this property and materialize his dream unless the surrounding county/city did likewise (parking garage construction being the initial goodwill gesture). No coincidence that the jail was saved while the Home disappeared (and the jail as a public transportation hub was completely dissed). No coincidence that moving the gazebo was sooo important at the start of the courthouse renovation. At the time Newark resident appeal prevented the earlier move, now in play for projected parking space. In the 9-21 Special Tax article Maria DeVito writes “Now that the district has been approved by council, the next step is to create a board of people who will run the district, Ernest said. The board will have five people on it. Three who are voted on by the property owners within the district, one appointed by the mayor and one appointed by city council, Ernest said. It will be up to the board members to decide what the district should use the money for each year out of the parameters that have been set up by the district, which include services such as parking enforcement, safety and security, litter control, graffiti removal, visitor ambassadors, special projects and marketing, Ernest said.” Analysis finds this to be the same Fred Ernest, head of the Newark Development Partners (integral to downtown gentrification). Analysis finds that nowhere in this convoluted history of manipulation of public spaces, public funding, and public “interest” is there any voter input. Nowhere is there resident input. The parking meeting like the much earlier courthouse square design meeting were both held at the hotel, a member of the NPD (not at a public space like the library, school auditorium, etc.). While Rome burns (or in this case is gentrified) those elected to represent the residents of Newark are more concerned with nitpicking marijuana distribution center location (“The state has already prohibited dispensaries from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground or public park. Mangus’ proposal also would have prohibited dispensaries from being 500 feet from a residentially zoned area.” “Fraizer would also like for dispensaries to not be allowed with 1,000 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground or public park.” 9-26 Council Rejects). More circus? “The SID has functioned perfectly as planned. In the meantime Newark’s City Council will wrestle with the tsunami of legalized marijuana while this disenfranchised mandate will pass like shit through a duck.”

Fundraisers

June 5, 2017

Mention the name Kirkersville today around central Ohio and the response is similar to the mention of other names in other parts of the country, like Waco, Orlando, or Virginia Tech. For readers unfamiliar with Kirkersville, an individual with a history of violence related offenses (and incarceration) shot and killed two unrelated women co workers of a nursing home as well as the village police chief. The shooter was likewise shot and killed in the calamity. A search of  the perpetrator’s home in Utica turned up a veritable arsenal of firearms and ammunition. The tragedy that unfolded in Kirkersville has been reported, updated, re-reported and analyzed, all in hopes that “it will never happen again.” Laws are being “introduced” to facilitate this. This past weekend, in addition to more post-event investigative reporting, the Newark Advocate dedicated another Sunday editorial to Kirkersville. Newark News Analysis dares to call attention to a regular daily Advocate feature from June 2, 2017 (prior to the editorial but after the tragedy in Kirkersville). The Local News Briefs calls attention to local events, announcements, news items that are published in the public interest. The following appeared on the same day, sharing the same column space, separated only by two sundry announcements (a street closing and a summer reading series):

Chipotle having Kirkersville shooting fundraiser

NEWARK – A benefit day for the families of the three victims of the Kirkersville nursing home shooting will be Tuedsay, June 6, at the Chipotle Restaurants in Heath, Newark, Reynoldsburg and Blacklick.

Customers who tell the cashier they are supporting the fundraiser will have 50 percent of their purchase divided between the families of Eric DiSario, Marlina Medrano and Cindy Krantz.

Gun raffle supports Utica K-9 Unit

UTICA – A gun raffle and fundraiser to support the Utica Police Department K-9 Unit will have a drawing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Utica Fire Department.

First prize is a SAI Saint Tactical AR-15, second prize is a RFM-870 Combo, third prize is a Ruger American 9mm and fourth prize is a Glock 26 CGW. Other door prizes will also be given.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the police department and Utica Mill and Hardware Store.

 

Newark News Analysis finds the Newark Advocate’s de facto editorial stance to be no stance at all. Cosmetic tweaks are demanded while the status quo remains unchallenged. Who does the Advocate advocate for?

El SID And The Poppies

June 1, 2017

The current imbroglio obsessing Newark’s City Council is the future of marijuana in Nerk (whatever became of affordable housing? public transportation? drug addiction rehabilitation? Let alone street paving?). After dissing the local voters’ initiative to “decriminalize” its possession, the council now must wrestle with what to do with a medical legalization of this substance by the legislature (meant, at the time, to stave off a statewide citizen’s initiative). Having hemmed and hawed as long as they could, the good folks in the state’s executive branch need to finally implement the medical marijuana legalization. Ditto for Newark’s City administration. Analysis has already posted about the head slapping irony of citizens wanting something, voting for it (going through the democratic process of self governance) only to find their elected officials deciding something else is in the constituents’ best interest (another episode of Father Knows Best). Stealthily lurking behind all this is the gentrification of downtown Newark. This ongoing epic saga has unfolded over the past 10 years with nary a citizen vote. Conservative blame was needed as “conservative” by definition means “disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc. or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change” (none of which are found with roundabouts or a covered, block long outdoor entertainment loading dock). That nasty old federal EPA fit the bill marvelously, serving as a catalyst for all this “Federally mandated” change (kinda like “America First” being “printed in China”). So downtown Newark was, by hook or crook, going to be changed, gentrified. No one would vote on it. Everyone (who didn’t get to vote) would pay for it. The latest is the SID (Special Improvement District). This is a plan or rather, a gentrification technique whereby “property owners would pay 7.5 percent of the tax rate applied to the 2016 real property taxable value, providing the district about $110,000 annually. The assessment would first appear on their 2018 property tax bill. The tax would last five years, but could be renewed for an additional five years.” “Property owners must petition city council to create the district. The petition must be signed by the owners of 60 percent of the frontage feet along public rights of way in the district, or 75 percent of the square footage of real property in the district.” (Downtown property owners asked to join new taxing district, The Newark Advocate, Kent Mallett , 5-22-17) “The goal is to use property tax assessments from those within the district to pay for services such as parking maintenance, safety and security, litter control, graffiti removal, visitor ambassadors, special projects and marketing.” One of this blog’s first entries was in March of 2013, Ownership Of Downtown Newark. That research covered the area of this Newark SID. It revealed that close to 24% of the “property owners” within the area were either government entities or religious ones (neither of which would be assessed). At that time Park National Bank owned nearly 10% of all this area property (banks in total about 13%). Which leaves less than two thirds of the property owners to pay the SID. Why is a SID an integral part of gentrification? To increase property values (for the non voting property owners of the district – in 2013 Analysis also found that of the remaining not government, religious, or bank property owners, few were individually named, most were corporate legal entities) rents need to be higher across the board (like the neglected house on the block determining neighborhood value). A SID does specifically that. As a tax, it increases the property owner’s costs which in turn increases the operating expense for any business located there. Marginally profitable businesses will exit as they did prior to the large scale construction of downtown several years ago. Ditto for any other renters (i.e. residential tenants). Upscale enterprises (with capital backing) move in and, Voila! The SID has functioned perfectly as planned. In the meantime Newark’s City Council will wrestle with the tsunami of legalized marijuana while this disenfranchised mandate will pass like shit through a duck.

Unedited

April 4, 2017

Analysis goes short. The Abra Cadabra of headline juxtaposition on the front page of the 4-4-17 Newark Advocate was irresistible. The large cap “Kasich, Others Tout New Amazon Center” directly over the smaller cap “Licking Co. files foreclosure on Longaberger Basket” invites “Now you see it. Now you don’t.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Advocate’s new editor came out this past week. No big surprise in that it was the interim news editor, Ben Lanka. He even took the time to pen a personal column to introduce himself. Unnoticed (or should we say Un-edited) was the disappearance of the editorial/opinion section from the everyday, week day paper. Great for Gannett’s bottom line. Terrible for Newark’s readers’ need to know (you know, “Inquiring minds” and all). Gone are divergent points of view columns. Also the editorial cartoons (another reason for why “editorial cartoonist” has vanished from high school career day). And finally, absent and forever gone is the editorial itself, once a point of pride for most publications, expressive of the local news outlet’s leadership role in the community. But hey, Newark now has a new editor for its paper. As he puts it, “I’ve always believed as a journalist my most important role is to give a voice to the voiceless and to hold those in power accountable.” Analysis indicates that, without an everyday editorial/opinion page, this has the potential of being more magical than Penn and Teller!

Local Market Place

November 16, 2016

Kroger, the world’s largest food retailer, recently reopened at a new location in Newark. The previous site of Meijer is now the Kroger test model for a revamped experiment in food retailing. It is no coincidence that the store name is “Kroger Market Place.” The geographic relocation was not far from its previous address, just down the road actually. It also did not mark a rehab for better competition with the world’s number 2 food retailer, Walmart, as that store is still its neighbor on the city’s north side. It does, however, mark a definite strategic move by Kroger to go head to head with the local farmers markets, The Canal Market District Farmers Market and the Granville Farmers Market. The interior design and lay out of the new store reveals Kroger’s intent. The similarity to a farmers market is uncanny. The visual focus and “inviting” center of attention is on the southern third of the interior. Gawking listless shoppers are immediately drawn to the brightly colored flowers on one side and fruits/vegetables on the other. This is surrounded by satellite nooks of Starbucks, “Pan Asian” offerings (Asia is a continent. Would you say “Pan North American”?), a bar (with entertainment), baked goods, deli, seafood, etc. etc. etc. The grocery part of the grocery store is rather nondescript, along narrow aisles in the middle section. It is not as roomy or airy, cheery or festive. This is the land of day to day hard core canned good necessities (better check the price). The north part holds Kroger’s recent expansion into retailing as well as its grip on healthcare and a bank to pay for it all. Along with the Canal Market District Farmers Market, Granville Farmers Market and the plethora of Ohio Proud farmers markets in city’s and small towns across Ohio (and the US) Kroger’s Market Place offers immediate on-site consumables (bakery, coffee, etc.), boutique foods, entertainment, and variety. And, of course, the emphasis is on “local.” Being indoors under one roof creates the competitive edge that ultimately makes Kroger’s Market Place, like the North Market in Columbus, so attractive. Eventually it will win out (besides, you can score the hard core day to day stuff without an added detour). Sure, on a nice day, it is quaint to “be like New England” and jostle through the crowds at an out of doors market. But on a rainy day or windy, unpleasant one….? Same “local” offerings! Besides, you get a cart to push around while you go from stand to stand instead of lugging it with you like airport luggage. Analysis finds it is the “local” moniker that dilutes the difference. The very trait meant to distinguish the small from the mighty now allows for the mega food marketer to do what Walmart has already done. For last century’s unsuspecting country bumpkin without a brand to his name, “local” meant being within the vicinity where one’s children compete against each other at “local” school athletic events, where the churches are within a reasonable Sunday morning commute (“Hurry up or we’ll be late”), and where one votes for a “local” politician to govern (what else?) “locally”. But buying Zanesville baked goods only available in Licking County at The Canal Market District Farmers Market or Granville Farmers Market (but not at the Zanesville Farmers Market, or the bakery itself) doesn’t differentiate those markets’ “local” much from the Kroger Market Place’s “local”. High school sports and politicians in Brinkhaven articulate little, if at all, with central Licking County. And attending church in Louisville would be an all day Sunday drive for Newark’s devout. Analysis finds that “local” has gone from (Webster’s) “pertaining to a city, town, or small district rather than an entire state or country” to just another quality of brand identity in the marketplace. Analysis finds little difference in whether Kroger or the Market Master makes the “local” designation.