Posts Tagged ‘Local’

Where’s Waldo, Er, Jeff Hall?

July 16, 2020

On 7-15-20 Ohio’s Governor Mike Dewine appealed to Ohioans to redouble their efforts in measures to counter the spread of the new coronavirus. Essentially, he said it was out last chance. We wouldn’t get another. The Ohio version of the pandemic would be out of control otherwise. Coincidentally, the 7-12-20 Sunday Newark Advocate editorial was “Our view: Licking County leaders must lead on coronavirus response.” They write “Our elected leaders must set an example for the rest of the community in how we respond to this crisis.” This was followed by some practical suggestions. No mention of what to do if you are losing, something Dewine’s leadership is ready to take on. Again, the Advocate editorial board pontificates: “Our elected leaders must be seen taking the coronavirus seriously. Why should residents wear masks when they don’t see their community leaders doing the same?” The Advocate editorial totally missed that the elected leaders of Licking County are indeed taking the coronavirus VERY seriously. They immediately self isolated and have maintained their distance from any public leadership whatsoever. Their self isolation insures invisibility which is just all too obvious. Unlike Dewine, they don’t wish to be associated with any sort of a losing effort. Give them a new building in an industrial park to crow over, or the opening of a shuttered restaurant. But anything outside of business and money making? Naaa. Analysis finds this in keeping with their track record. Public transit has been hemmed and hawed forever in Newark, no leadership there. Court evictions from sub standard housing requiring stricter codes, no leadership there. Lack of leadership on housing results in increasing number of citizens without shelter. This contributes to food insecurity, child neglect and abuse, and increases in addictive behavior. All from a lack of leadership on the part of those elected to lead. But then again, that would be leadership involving something other than the economic, money making kind.  Analysis also finds the Advocate complicit in glaringly eliding the absence of Newark’s elected leaders during this time of overwhelming crisis in Ohio (at least according to the Governor). This too is in keeping with the paper’s track record. Just as no one wants to be the leader on the losing side, so no one wants to be a cheerleader for that leadership. Give us a good business success story to cheer on instead. Otherwise, mums the word. The Advocates editorial board grossly failed to elaborate that leadership is multifaceted. It also has to do with sober projections of actions needed when things don’t look promising. The Advocate favors and stresses economic success and competence, especially at election time. As Dewine embodied, visible, present, at risk leadership is needed primarily when our side is not winning.

Newark Ohio Iconoclash

June 21, 2020

In past posts Analysis has been following the current Iconoclash rather marginally. Nationally (and internationally) the monuments and names keep coming down, the latest being Monmouth University’s building named in honor of Woodrow Wilson. No such bounty of figurative sculpture or names to be found in Newark Ohio; mostly religious icon’s or heroes of industry found on church or business private property. Why’s that? The bronze figures around the square are a pre-MAGA visualization of life as it ought to be; more a tribute to the effectiveness of Walt Disney “in reverse” surveillance technology (if you are good, Mickey will smile on you) than celebrations of any specific person or individual. And the building names, or buildings themselves? Analysis began this blog over 7 years ago enumerating who owns downtown Newark. Most properties are gov’t, church, or corporate owned, with many corporate entities established for that specific property ownership. Ditto building names. The culture has been efficiently anaesthetized through the removal of any structure strongly evocative of history, or the repurposing of those deemed “interesting.” The blog followed the demise of the old Children’s Home on East Main Street, and the repurposing of the downtown Gazebo as replacement. And what of the Roper factory smokestack, the railroad roundhouse, or the east end hospital? Evidence of the city’s actual history has been erased and replaced by branding icon’s like the Basket Building, Canal Market (next to the moldy old county jail), and The Works (Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology). The “branded history” names follow the same “made for general audience consumption” fantasy history as the bronze figures scattered around the square. Yet nationally (and internationally) the statues and names keep coming down. The Iconoclash grows more intense, threatening to topple a Presidency. The optimists point to all this as a beginning, the beginning of a genuine conversation of history, race, and the continuous effects of slavery. An uncomfortable conversation to be had, we are told. Certainly not what one would celebrate with bronze figures around the Newark Courthouse Square. Why Not? The history of slavery and the US, both AS the US as well as with the creation of the US, is premised in a conversation far more uncomfortable than race. THAT conversation IS celebrated continuously around the Courthouse Square in downtown Newark. No matter the volumes of philosophic tomes justifying the rational legitimacy of private property ownership (9/10ths of the law), in the end it comes down to the history and origins of Capitalism. At some point, somewhere, Capitalism requires that something has been acquired from nothing, which allows for the establishment of property and value; whether it be the resources of an entire continent where the inhabitants are not considered human, or labor as a resource, by being considered as owned property (or indentured — as family). Something must cost nothing (be there for the taking, with or without guile). And it is this “costs nothing” which makes the conversation so uncomfortable, and uncertain, in Newark Ohio.

MIA

May 22, 2020

In one of the recent Le Show broadcasts Harry Shearer posed a rhetorical question in regard the journalistic/cultural slant on the current Economic Depression. He made the observation that for the last 2+ months all the articles, talking heads, etc. speak of the “economy shutting down.” In actuality, according to Mr. Shearer, only half the economy has shut down. In addition to certain segments of the economy which are booming (i.e. Amazon), the financial sector hasn’t exactly withdrawn into a shell. As of this writing the DOW is only 10% off from its all time high. Shearer has a point. Pre Covid 19 debt obligations have not “shut down” or disappeared. Credit card companies, mortgage servicers, utilities, etc. all still post their bills and collect on them (electronically, so convenient! Save a stamp and all). They, along with the Wall Street financiers, are doing OK, thank you. So it was curious to read the Washington Post article headlined: “U.S. taxpayers might lose money helping companies. Economists say it’s a good thing. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged this week that some of the $500 billion in aid to companies might not be repaid.” As the article pointed out, Obama’s TARP Act, meant to address George W. Bush’s financial meltdown of 2008, lost some taxpayer money “But overall, TARP ultimately made several billion dollars as most companies repaid the loans and some of the stock the government took as collateral turned out to be worth a good bit more when it came time to cash in.” Trump/Mnuchin’s CARES Act isn’t structured around repayment or collateral. Besides, who would report if it failed? We’ve become so inured to Dear Leader’s policies and practices of big business – the firing of those deemed disloyal, the hiring of corporate executives to regulatory positions, the dismissal of regulations, the neglect of institutions, etc. – that we don’t notice their presence (or absence) in our everyday surrounds. Nothing comes from nothing, and what is favored nationally is ditto found locally. In a 5-19-20 article, Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlined “Licking County Chamber announces Facebook grant for local small businesses”. “The Licking County Chamber of Commerce announced it will coordinate a $100,000 grant from Facebook to help support small businesses battling through economic challenges.” In the text Mallett quotes LC Chamber Pres and CEO Jennifer McDonald and Facebook’s Community Development Regional Manager Amber Tillman, and no one else. 5-22-20 Mallett headlines “Downtown Newark survey shows public uneasy about reopening businesses amid coronavirus”. “A Downtown Newark Association survey showed considerable uncertainty and unease about reopening businesses after a two-month shutdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” Again, he presents a stenographic rendition of the survey, quotes DNA President Trish Newcomb, and no one else. What do we elect civic leaders for? Where’s Newark’s Mayor Jeff Hall in all this? What about LC Commissioners Tim Bubb, Duane Flowers and Rick Black? Is there no interest that the Facebook grant money be distributed fairly, equitably and appropriately by those elected to insure such? Is there no want of direction, guidance and leadership on prudent measures for safely interacting within the war footing of a Covid 19 response? Have we become so lock step and attuned with the abdication of leadership and direction on the Federal level by our Dear Leader, as well as the journalists covering him, that we are OK with our own local MIA’s? Analysis finds that Harry Shearer  is right. Only half the economy shut down with the spread of Covid 19. The business half is still running everything. Only now they are doing it so overtly that the corporate news journalists don’t even bother with any other reality.

Uninformed In Licking County

April 16, 2020

Politics was once the news. Now Covid 19 has usurped that title. Currently politics is attempting to wrestle the title back to itself. Evidence for this is Dear Leader’s claim of “total authority” to determine when it is over and safe to come out. Would you take his word for it? Since Dear Leader is without a plan, relying mainly on being a “stable genius”, the when has shifted variously – first “Poof” it will just disappear, then 4-12-20 (Easter), now 5-1-20 (has little to do with International Workers’ Day). When it will actually be determined resides with the virus, according to Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Who determines is the politics, only the virus has little regard for democracy. It votes without registering or being qualified. And it votes more than once. The Newark Advocate has once again shifted its coverage of the numbers. When the pandemic first started up in Ohio, the Advocate gave the daily box score of diagnosed infections in Licking County. Then when the numbers increased, the daily show ceased and went to weekly. Now with the numbers approaching 100, the daily tabulation has returned. Why does this matter? In California the Governor, Gavin Newsom, laid out the state’s plan for reopening. It has six major conditions that need to be met for the qualified “all clear” to sound – capacity for testing, isolating, follow up, etc., protection of vulnerable population, the health care system can handle resurgence, therapies are readily available, public institutions can operate while facilitating social distancing, and the ability to quickly reimpose self isolation if necessary. For the sake of generating public confidence, it is a plan based on qualifications that can only be achieved through open and available reporting. As of this writing the Licking County Health Department is reporting 91 cases of diagnosed Covid 19 in Licking County. Does anyone other than the Health Department know where these are located? When the Advocate ceased its daily tabulations Licking County was second to Delaware County in reported cases for the 6 counties adjoining Franklin County (Columbus). Franklin County is one of the major centers of the virus in Ohio. As of this writing Licking is now 4thbehind Delaware, Pickaway, Fairfield counties (in that order). All the counties adjoining Franklin now have almost half as many cases combined as the total in Franklin. The diffusion of the virus is inevitable. Is anyone reporting on this? For a plan based on conditional requirements (like Newsom’s) to work implicates open and accurate reporting. How would one know conditions are being met without such reporting?  Of the 91 current cases, what percentage of cases border Franklin County? Are in Newark? Or are they in Hebron, Hanover or Utica? For the sake of expediency, does the Newark Advocate/Dispatch prefer  the authoritarian “all’s clear” to a thoughtful and engaged reporting of what conditions really are? Crimes are reported by neighborhood, where registered sex offenders reside, as well as notification of habitual DUI’s (yellow license plates), even product safety recalls are grounded in specificity. When it comes to the Covid 19 virus, why are we so uninformed in Licking County?

Both Side-ism

February 20, 2020

One of the major criticisms of contemporary corporate media is its use of and reliance on both side-ism. The emphasis and priority has shifted from the journalism school’s basic of cross checked facts to one of ostensibly scrupulous fairness. The Washington Post has kept a running tab of Dear Leader’s lies, misinformation and fabrications, currently at over 16,000, in the past three years. But when he continues to, some spokesperson like Kellyanne Conway will soberly back up the lie and continue its trajectory with a sincere straight face. The corporate media (NY Times, Washington Post, all the BC’s plus Fox, etc.) choose to cover the statements as news, rather than point out the lack of truth, factuality of the event, etc. In the name of fairness they will get “the other side’s” take on the lie or misinformation, hence the name “both side-ism.” Critics say this normalizes corruption, since, well, corruption is just the news and is given fair coverage from both sides (remarkable as it seems). Some of the media, like AP, will assuage their lack by running a separate fact check column, with no immediate link or connection to the lie. This has raised great consternation in the midst of a national election year where, well, things matter. The practice insinuates that the electorate is more interested in reality show celebrity likes/dislikes than real competence, experience or just downright honesty. In Newark Ohio the opposite seems to be the case, along with simply not covering the news at all. In the past week The Advocate headlined the basketball accomplishments of Newark’s Jordan Dartis at Ohio University without bothering to report the large spontaneous demonstration that welcomed the “gun girl” at the same school, same week. In Newark this past week The Advocate presented its bizarro world rendition of corporate both side-ism; that is, just a one side-ism. Kent Mallett’s “Syringe exchange program supporters take case to Licking County health board” (2-19-20) extensively covered the recent demonstration and public input appeal at the Licking County Board of Health monthly meeting. Most of those involved advocating for the sense and need of a needle exchange program were given ample column space to present their reasons and point of view. The only thing missing was any interview or reasons for keeping the county wide ban by the board members themselves. Maybe Kent was pressed for time and couldn’t be bothered to ask the public officials to speak on the matter. Curious, in many ways the corporate media coverage by The Advocate differed little with that evening’s NBC Nevada Democratic debate coverage. Along with Michael Bloomberg’s speaking on camera, on stage during the debate, he also appeared in the ads during the commercial break. Mallett’s online report likewise appeared next to a Licking County Board of Health advertisement listing its various services, location, etc. Analysis finds this spares The Advocate the embarrassment of any both sides culpability.

American Factory

February 15, 2020

The Oscar winning documentary, American Factory, will be screened this coming Thursday eve, 2-20-20, at the USWA Local 244 Union Hall, 350 Hudson Avenue, Newark Ohio. It begins at 7 PM with an open group conversation to follow its airing. This is the February feature for the Third Thursday Film series sponsored by The Freedom School In Licking County. When informed of such group gatherings to watch a flick, the knee jerk response usually runs something like: “I can get that on Netflix. I’ll be sure to watch it.” Analysis determines this pretty much misses the point. In the first half of the 20thcentury a Russian literary critic, Mikhail Bakhtin, introduced the idea of a dialogic reading or viewing. For Bakhtin, when a work or text is considered by more than one individual, a richer, fuller, more complete sense of the work is available to those assessing it. Simply put, an individual person can’t see the back of their own head. But they can see the back of their friend’s head. Together, in conversation, the two can arrive at a richer and fuller understanding of each other’s makeup, which is incomplete when assessed individually. The same can be said for watching a film or reading a book. Dialogical consideration enhances the understanding by filling in the blind spots. Along with countless others, Newark News Analysis has written of the demise of the commons, and the detrimental impact it has made on social interaction in America. The pre-industrial age commons was an open space available to area residents for leisure, congregating, gathering, celebrating, play, etc. The voracious need for workers and consumers by the captains of industry exorcised the state sanction of the commons, essentially eliminating them entirely. Vestiges of this space for communal (common) interaction can be found with neighborhood parks and some city squares. These of course are subject to regulations, hours of admission and limits to interactions (permits). Netflix could be considered as antithetical to the space of the commons. Along with the demise of the commons was the fall of festival, the communal gathering of play, usually located in the space of the commons. Comparisons of play designated within the communal space of contemporary parks and the play found within the notion of festival would be akin to comparing New Orleans Mardi Gras and the NFL or MLB. True, there is a sort of competitiveness found between the tribes or the crews sponsoring individual lines or parades. But this is not the designated and deliberate (specific) competitiveness incorporated within the layout of most parks (individual or group sports). Improving one’s individual jogging time or winning the league tournament is not the stuff of festival. Both bring people together for play but the time and ends of festival differ from that of competitive play. Mardi Gras has no beginning though it does end. Parks have designated times when they can be accessed. The play of competitive sports is predetermined, hence some are better at it than others (some play while others can only spectate). The play of festival is all inclusive and enhanced by diversity. Competitive play results in active participants (players) and passive spectators (fans). Festival play is one of open participation. Festival participants make their play while most competitive sports spectators have it made for them (are not players). Watching American Factory individually on Netflix, with personal phone distractions and preoccupations (multi tasking) is not the same as attending a common space viewing with an active conversation afterwards. Festival makes for a dialogic understanding (celebration) by virtue of its all inclusive and diverse participation. Individual Netflix perusal is incomplete. The blind spots are never even noticed.

Whatever Is Good Will Appear

February 9, 2020

In the previous post (Food For Thought, 2-6-20) Analysis wondered what the barriers of voter suppression were in Newark Ohio. Even more importantly, why was no one speaking of them? As a partial response to the novel coronavirus, a 1,000 bed hospital was just built in China in 10 days. The Empire State Building was built in one year, in the midst of the Great Depression. Last year an abandoned 9,000 square foot Family Dollar building was purchased with the announced promise of becoming a homeless shelter in the heart of Newark Ohio (Evans Foundation to buy former Family Dollar for Newark homeless shelter, Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate 7-27-2019). Also in 2019 the city’s public/private partnership, Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation, “announced the purchase of the Arcade. The purchase includes all real estate located at 15 Arcade Place, including the entrances facing North Third and North Fourth streets, commercial property extending east and west between the entrances, approximately 22 commercial spaces inside the arcade and the potential for 15 to 20 residential units above the area.” (Historic downtown Newark Arcade sold, renovations planned, Benjamin Lanka and Kent Mallett, Newark Advocate, 11-23-19), also in the heart of Newark Ohio. Which development do you believe will be completed first? Indeed, to call the Family Dollar building a ‘development’ would be a gross misnomer, verging on (Gasp!) misinformation. Though the word ‘development’ appears in the name of Newark Development Partners, which was involved with both projects (along with Newark’s shadow prime minister, Dan DeLawder), the word ‘development’ doesn’t appear at all in Mallett’s Evans Foundation article. But the final lines of Lanka and Mallett’s Historic downtown piece say it all: ““Our community is excited about the progress that has been made downtown.  Sustainable success requires patience and investment into various aspects of the area, from physical improvements to business climate to residential opportunities and more,” [NDP Executive Director Fred] Ernest said in a release. [NDP Chairman Dan] DeLawder added, “This purchase was made possible through extraordinary philanthropic support from several local parties. We are grateful for the continued generosity of the Newark community in helping accomplish the goal to promote and foster economic development in our city.”” Through the legal entity (corporation) of a public/private partnership, public government becomes an enabler of private corporate development (not far removed from an addiction enabler). The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority is an excellent example of this, constantly touting its money making commercial development adjacent to the Newark Heath airport. Indeed, it has been so successful in money making money that some years ago it purchased the PIME Seminary property for projected development 20 years in the future. Development is simply money making money. Only catch is that one has to have the money to make the money, which is where the government’s public financing comes in (along with tax abatements, credits, infrastructure improvements, etc.). Roughly half the residential housing in Newark is non-owner occupant (rental). It is easy to correlate 40% of Newark’s population with that of the rest of the country in terms of having less than $1,000 in liquid assets in case of emergency (one step away from being in need of a homeless person’s shelter). Add to this the average debt load (student, credit card, medical, etc.) and job precariousness… Where’s this population of citizens’ capacity to develop? Why bother? Best to leave it to the pros. This is readily evidenced by the recent replacement of banker Mark Fraizer’s Newark City Council seat by, you guessed it, NDP’s marketing salesperson Spencer Barker (touché, it is a time of no need for evidence or witnesses). Analysis concludes that pubic office seeking candidates touting the merits of development are one of the major vote suppression barriers utilized in Newark Ohio. When a candidate says “good for economic development” what she or he is really saying is “No need to come out and vote, folks. We’ve got this.” THAT’S voter suppression.

“Everything that appears is good; whatever is good will appear.” (Guy Debord)

 

Remember The Alamo

January 6, 2020

From the 1-5-20 Newark Advocate editorial (Our view: Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County, The Advocate Editorial board):

“As The Advocate celebrates its bicentennial in 2020, we felt it was appropriate to tout the importance of having a hometown news organization. It is especially important given the state of the news business.”

“The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County. For example, classified revenue was decimated by the emergence of online sites like Craigslist, Cars.com and others.”

“While probably not a shocking stance for a newspaper editorial board to make, we believe the existence of local newspapers is vital to the health of a community. Local newspapers share what is going on at your schools, your City Councils and in your neighborhoods.

At its best, journalists hold those in power accountable and give voice to the disenfranchised. While pressing community leaders is not always popular, it does serve an important purpose. As has been said for ages, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.

“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Jay in 1786.

Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories to the plight of area homeless, would the community have responded in such an aggressive way to address it? If the Advocate didn’t highlight the misguided effort to raise Newark salaries after an election, would the council have later trimmed those raises?”

“For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.”

Analysis finds it to be of the utmost significance that the day after the paper copy of this editorial was disseminated, the “local news” in central Ohio was the closing of the Dispatch printing facility on the west side of Columbus (with the loss of close to 200 jobs). Gannett, the owner of The Advocate and new owner of The Dispatch, has moved the operation to its facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Wolf family (which also owned WBNS) sold The Dispatch to Gatehouse Media which last year sold it to Gannett. Astute readers will recall that Gannett closed its Newark printing facility (next to its now “for sale” downtown Newark office building) with a substantial loss of jobs, opting to sub contract the production of the paper newspaper to the Dispatch west Columbus printing facility. At the same time, Advocate local news acquired a “lag time” which did not permit the reporting of events within 12-16 hours of their occurrence. Because of the correlation of the paper copy with the online copy, items do not appear in a timely manner. Now “Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County” will have to accommodate an even longer “lag time” as it will be printed in another state, an additional 4+ hours drive from Newark. So much for “the importance of having a hometown news organization.” “The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County.” The examples given are the dumb down cliché standards. No mention is made of the corporate greed that claims monopoly ownership of the local without any commitment to that very same local, let alone investment (no physical office, no printing, fewer employees, etc.). The body of the editorial is filled with the self aggrandizing “If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.” But what of the corporate authorities who manage the politicians? In spite of the lofty “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” the “hometown news organization” feels free not to report corporate activity which is detrimental to those residing in Licking County. “Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories” championing the ever growing prosperity of corporate authority then  local residents wouldn’t know they are so well off. Undercover investigative reporting? Not! (Gannett can’t afford to let its own workings be known by its customer base). “For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.” And the Advocate is complicit in spreading NO Information. As of this posting, no news of Gannett’s closing of the Dispatch printing facility appears on the Advocate online news site.

Act Like An Owner

November 28, 2019

Pulitzer Prize winning author and investigative reporter David Cay Johnston ended a conversation with Chauncey DeVega (11-27-19) by saying:

“Nov. 3 is coming. We have the power, it’s our country, we own it. We own our government. We should act like owners. What we’re seeing in Donald Trump, who is just the symptom of deeper problems, is the wages of 40 years of people renting out their interest in the government, saying, “Let somebody else take care of it. We’re going to behave like renters.” We can’t do that if we want to be a free people. The American people must be civically engaged. Having to go vote and volunteer some time is nothing compared to all of those gravesites in the Philippines, in France and in Germany, of American soldiers who died for this country. All those Americans in the Union who died in the Civil War. To not be a citizen is to disrespect what they gave up their lives for. We need to take the responsibility of being a citizen seriously. Not just talk. Not just griping on the internet. Act like an owner. It’s important.”

Analysis finds this statement to contribute a partial accounting for the dismal results of the recent Newark Ohio city wide election; dismal, not in the sense of outcome but for the historic low voter turnout, in an election determining three at large city council representatives as well as the mayor‘s office. “Voter participation in the Newark mayoral race fell to the lowest level in a quarter century, with fewer than 10,000 votes cast for the first time since at least 1991. Mayor Jeff Hall, a Republican, won a third term with fewer than 5,000 votes in a growing city of 50,000 residents and 30,000 registered voters. Voter turnout in the city dropped to 27.6%, down from 36% in 2015, and 43% in 2011. Turnout in mayoral election years varied from 41% to 48% from 1995 through 2011. In 1995, when the city had 6,000 fewer residents, 12,300 voted, or 48%. This year, only 8,403 voted for mayor.” (Kent Mallet, The Advocate, Voter turnout in Newark hits quarter century low in mayoral elections,11-24-19). Analysis doesn’t know where to begin. For all the rhetoric and reassurance by the Democratic candidates of engaging the community and being out in the neighborhoods the fact remained that they just couldn’t get people to come out and vote. This resonates ominously on a state wide as well as a national election level. What good is all the talk of “electability,” bemoaning gerrymandering and vote suppression when you can’t deliver existing registered voters to the polls, not to even entertain the vote itself? Perhaps the emphasis and focus is awry. It is common knowledge, reinforced by US Census data, that almost exactly half of Newark residential housing is non-owner occupant. By correlation one could legitimately surmise that half the registered voters are renters. Maybe the actual and real challenge coming up in 2020 is overcoming the “Let somebody else take care of it. We’re going to behave like renters.” disposition prevalent in America today (and ever growing). With an incumbent who spends lifetime’s of presidential salaries on golf and potential Democratic Party candidates vying for the nomination to oppose him including multiple billionaires, no wonder the American electorate feels inclined to “Let somebody else take care of it. We’re going to behave like renters.” It appears to be no more than a replacement of one landlord for another. Few non-GOP politicians are cultivating the message that “it’s our country, we own it. We own our government. We should act like owners.”. Rather it’s “if we win, we can stop being renters.” Really (and if we lose?)? “We need to take back our country.” Like it wasn’t always ours? And even varying articulations of “negotiating a better deal.” Sounds a lot like renewing a rental agreement to begin with! Analysis finds it to be no coincidence that the Democrat party’s challenge in 2020 is one of displacing an actual and for real landlord. But then what? The real challenge remains one of “We need to take the responsibility of being a citizen seriously. Not just talk. Not just griping on the internet. Act like an owner.”

Under The Law Updated

November 24, 2019

Gasp! Looks like Newark Development Partners didn’t bother to wait for a determination on the legality of the state owning property to get into the ownership business under the law (the capitalist religion imperative of “money making money”). The Newark Advocate’s editor Benjamin Lanka and veteran reporter Kent Mallett teamed up to headline Historic Downtown Newark Arcade Sold, Renovations Planned (11-23-19). “The Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation on Saturday announced the purchase of the Arcade. The purchase includes all real estate located at 15 Arcade Place, including the entrances facing North Third and North Fourth streets, commercial property extending east and west between the entrances, approximately 22 commercial spaces inside the arcade and the potential for 15 to 20 residential units above the area.” Will the Newark community be improved? Well, that rests on the shoulders of Spencer Barker who markets community and real estate for Newark Development Partners. Analysis shows it to be no coincidence that, out of all the available candidates to replace Mark Fraizer on Newark City Council, Jeff Hall and the others on the GOP’s central committee chose Spencer Barker. Butt weight, there’s more! America is unique among most of the world’s democracies. It’s chief executive is not only the nation’s figurehead (President) but also chief policy maker/executive (Prime Minister). It is not always so with America’s cities. Often there is a figurehead mayor and a city manager to implement policy. But these are the days of overt, “official” US State Department policy and covert, “shadow” US State Department operations. Analysis finds ditto happening in Newark. ““The Arcade area is a crucial part of the downtown district. It holds special value in our community’s heritage, and it has tremendous potential as the next step in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Newark,” said NDP [Newark Development Partners] Chairman Dan DeLawder in a statement. “We have a responsibility to be good stewards of this historical property and look forward to it becoming, once again, a unique jewel in our city.”” While Newark’s shadow Prime Minister is touting that the Arcade purchase “has tremendous potential as the next step in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Newark,” the figurehead Mayor will continue to say ““I’d like to have a busing service, a fixed-route busing service. Can’t afford it. There are things you can’t afford. You reach a balanced budget by saying no to things.”” (Mallett, The Advocate, 10-20-19). Both will claim that the purchase and development, using public funds through a “Public/Private Partnership”, falls under the law. The capitalist religion law of “money making money”, that is. As cleveland.com’s Andrew J. Tobias put it “Any profit [from NDP’s ownership of the Arcade] could be plowed back into the organization to be given to other companies.” (11-21-19). The business of business is to follow the law of “money making money.” To do otherwise would be a crime. When it comes to community needs, like bus service, low barrier (even no barrier) shelters, community rec centers, or street paving, more first responders, etc., it will always be the mayor saying “Can’t afford it. There are things you can’t afford.”

This is all so sad that Analysis finds it calls for some comic relief. Politico’s Edward McClelland headlines How Reagan’s Childhood Home Gave Up On Reaganism (11-23-19). “In 2002, Dixon’s [Dixon Illinois] congressman, Dennis Hastert, then the Republican speaker of the House, passed a bill authorizing the National Park Service to buy the property and manage the house, as it does so many other presidential properties. The members of the Reagan home’s board of directors were aging and approached Hastert because they thought the Park Service might be a good candidate to carry on their work. They changed their minds, however, and spurned the help, in part because Congress wouldn’t match the millions of dollars private donors had invested in the property, and in part because that’s not how Reagan would have wanted it. “He didn’t think government needed to be involved in our daily lives,” Connie Lange, the executive director at the time, said of the 40th president. “And people really took that to heart here.”” “A year ago, Patrick Gorman, who became the foundation’s executive director in 2016 [coincidentally the year the home’s sugar daddy, Norm Wymbs, passed away], wrote a letter to the National Park Service, offering, at long last, to sell the home to the federal government. He understood, and sympathized with, the former president’s philosophy. But it had reached the point that clinging to Reagan’s anti-government principles might mean the demise of the most important tourist attraction in Dixon. He and the foundation were not willing to leave the home to the whims of the free market.” “Dixon’s current congressman, Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, “supports the National Park Service purchasing the site,” he said through a spokesperson. This time, the money to honor Reagan will have to come from a Democratic Congress. One factor in the home’s favor, however: The Park Service can name its own price.” “Gorman says he has “mixed emotions” about selling the anti-big government president’s house to the government. (Although maybe he shouldn’t: Despite Reagan’s rhetoric, the Park Service acquired plenty of land when he was president, including an $8 million purchase in the Santa Monica Mountains.)” “A lot of Dixonites have mixed feelings about the potential sale, too. “I don’t have a problem with it, because it’s struggling, and the Park Service can help,” says Marlin Misner, a former foundation board member who wrote a history of the boyhood home. “Whether they will or not, we’ll see. If you want to ruin a project, get the federal government involved.””