Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Jeff Hall’

New Life For An Old Structure (Again)

January 15, 2021

[With the breaking of the latest news by the Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett (Longaberger basket building won’t become hotel, on market for $6.5 million, 1-15-21) Analysis chose to rerun this oldie (but goodie) from 4 years ago (2-12-17). For those of you keeping score at home, this line from Mallett’s recent reporting is most telling: “The best use for the building will be its original purpose as office space, which will not require much interior work, [Brandon] Hess said. The remodeling to convert into a hotel had not begun, he said.”]

Remember the basket building at the edge of town? Of course you do. Commuters driving by rubber neck daily for signs of decline, never admitting any morbid interest, but looking just the same. After a visit to the place by “business leaders”, and an assessment of futures value by Cheri Hottinger of what a great place it is (would make a terrific office of tourism), nothing else has been heard. But the tax bill increases, even as the City of Newark elides taking responsibility (or ownership). How about turning it into a state wide immigration reception and processing center? The Ellis Island of Ohio, right here in the heart of the heartland, downtown, er, town’s edge Newark! Think of the jobs it would create with the various state and federal agencies dealing with immigration, the requisite housing for new arrivals in a controlled centralized location, as well as the conference facilities for immigration related events, maybe even a living immigration museum, telling the story of where it all began (for some) (for most). The tour busses would return! A tourism center? Fuggetaboutit. Besides, immigration and the big basket share a lot in common. Cincy may have an underground railroad museum, but the interdependent story of African Americans and Euro Americans is not that of the immigrant. As Hegel pointed out, the master/slave relationship is a weird dialectic of power, need and reliance, both spoken and unspoken. The story of the immigrant, like that of the basket building, is one of uselessness, not being needed or wanted, being totally powerless (Will the building eventually disappear? Will the immigrant do likewise?). The alien architecture of the basket building is not located amongst the church spires and bank buildings of downtown Newark. Rather, like the alien immigrant, it is relegated to a specially annexed borderland of the city, out of sight, out of mind. The only company this alien construct has is the long distance relationship with the giant chair across the road. The immigrant shares a similar heritage with the building that bears the Longaberger nameplate hearkening an inspirational past of thriving and belonging, one that is forever lost, never to be revisited or regained. Ever present mourning, nostalgia and angst is an integral part of the immigrant life; something experienced only occasionally by Heisey, or Longaberger enthusiasts. The entire work ethic and skill that spawned the immigrant and the basket building is still looked upon with skepticism and suspicion in today’s America. Hand making baskets is akin to speaking another language. Unlike the basket building, most immigrants do not stay useless for long (or all arrive useless for that matter). Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Rupert Murdoch, most quickly assimilate into the conservative mainstream. But that’s a whole other story, one that the current administration might do well to consider (City, County, State, as well as Federal). So call your city council representative, the mayor, and county commissioners to tell them Newark needs immigrants. Better yet, call the folks with their hand on the handles of the basket building, Cheri or her husband, and tell them Newark needs an immigration reception and processing center. Like them, most immigrants come with one or both hands gripping the handles of their belongings. And the basket building even has those. What better place than the vacant basket building? What could be more perfect?

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.

Days Of Irony: Gaslighting For Beginners

April 5, 2020

Analysis shows irony instrumental in gaining insight into the totality of a nation being consumed by Covid 19. The dictionary’s primary definition is “the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite” but the supplement speaks more to the times we live in: “a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.” After all, we all are consumed by the news we consume which is essentially a literary technique; Dear Leader’s daily propaganda conferences come to mind. Which brings up the local leadership of not only Newark’s Mayor Jeff Hall, as well as the Licking County Commissioners – all MIA. But when they do surface (Local governments brace for possible recession as coronavirus pandemic continues, 4-4-20, The Advocate) their primary concern is the projected loss of revenue. As long as the dollars show up, what difference does it make whether there is a healthy hand or sick one holding it? The last time we heard from the Licking County Health Department was its refusal to allow for a needle exchange. Be safe Newark! Staying with the politics of it all, what if they gave an election and no one showed up? The slightest proposed gun regulation legislation always provokes swift and vociferous protest while Ohio’s primary being shifted to a “mail in” election, slated less than a month after legislation, is received with not even a whimper. The irony is that the alternate date of April 28 (and mail in format) was lobbied for by none other than David Pepper and the Ohio Democratic Party. Ostensible reason was for the expediency of vetting delegates for the July convention. Ironically, the anointed candidate for said convention changed the date of that convention to August (or even September). The irony grows when one considers that nasty old Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders mucking up party unity with all his agitated speech about income inequality, direct universal healthcare, free higher education and childcare. Too radical for the American people to embrace! They’d prefer Biden’s more moderate ACA HMO approach that determines ahead of time, for the doctors, who deserves care and who doesn’t qualify. Or Dear Leader’s “be nice to me” approach of dispensing patronage health care benevolence. NOT. Ironically (which is the theme of this posting), Covid 19 has shown otherwise. The current time sees an active preference for universal direct health care, forgiveness of student debt and child care urgency. There are smaller ironies, like abortion clinics “needing” to be closed while churches (and gun stores) “need” to be left open. Some rights are essential rights while others are non essential. But the largest, most blatant irony of them all is that, in just over 10 years, “free market” capitalism has required a total bail out of enormous proportions, again! This is no small individual bank collapse or savings and loan scandal. We’re talking maintaining and subsidizing an entire system to make sure it doesn’t become something else, entirely or partially (think hybrid cars). Both the incumbent candidate, Dear Leader, as well as his presumed opponent, Joe Biden, advocate bailing out the entire “free market” system in order to maintain and preserve it. Free market capitalism has abdicated responsibility for any of it through promotion of entrepreneurial agency (subjectivity), personal choice (and responsibility for) individual health care, retirement, employment, etc. The ultimate irony lies in the solution to the collapse of these entrepreneurial enterprise, self employed subjects with the current crisis. Stay at home or go to work? The token response is a one time cash hand out “dole” that is way short of even smelling like Mr. Sanders’ capitalist socialist state (with the added welfare insinuation that a “dole” implies and all); all done to ensure the health, safety and exclusivity of “free market” capitalism in these days of Covid 19.

Where’s Waldo?

May 24, 2019

Announcements of the past week included that the population of the City of Columbus is greater than that of San Francisco (but where’s your heart?). And that Newark is ostensibly in a class of only 4% of American cities – with a population over 50K. That means that about 24,000 people in Newark reside in non-owner occupant housing (give or take a few, but who’s counting?). And what of those with no house? “Community-based group aims to reduce chronic homelessness in Licking County” the online Newark Advocate reported (Michaela Sumner, 5-23-19). “In April, the ad hock community-based group, comprised of representatives from Newark Development Partners, United Way of Licking County, the Licking County Coalition for Housing, and others, joined in a series of stakeholder meetings to determine what they’re asking a consultant to do.” Who’s the consultant? The next line answers that. “Those meetings resulted in a proposed request for proposals, or RFP, defining the group’s priorities for a consultant to address in their study of homelessness in Licking County, according to Aaron Domini, who works for the Columbus community planning firm OHM Advisors.” Their website heralds “We are more than an architecture, engineering and planning firm. We are the community advancement firm.” Part of their Google representation gives “Newark, Ohio’s downtown square, designed by OHM Advisors, centers around the courthouse.” Indeed, that’s who did the “community advancement” that…. Well, you can only guess when it comes to those without housing. Analysis won’t say “ironic” but after the observations made in the previous post (Location, Location, Location 5-19-19), the consultation is misdirected, in the least. A bit farther in the Advocate report Sumner writes “Many groups suggested adding a representative from faith-based groups, education, and grass-roots organizations to what’s being called a tactical group, which will review the proposed RFP and select a consultant. Others had questions about who would be overseeing the consultant and getting regular updates, and concerns the consultant would also need to address pockets of homeless people in Heath and Buckeye Lake.” Consulting with an architecture and engineering firm to address concerns regarding the unseen, living in even more unseen residences, borders on obscene. Adding to this faith based belief that the “problem” can be addressed antiseptically by the same design logistics that provided roundabouts and gobble de gook downtown parking restrictions (park it elsewhere but don’t overstay or you’ll pay) is more faith based groups. Indeed, when it comes to more, then houses of worship are up there in the 4% category. Unfortunately, Analysis was unable to locate a data base numbering the “faith-based groups” in the 50K city but guesses it is quite extensive. Why do those unable to find housing go unseen within such a panoply of houses of worship? The Islamic mandate of Hajj requires “stoning the devil” as part of the ritual. The devil meets even less sympathy amongst the other Judeo-Christian originations. One curious and revealing variant is the “Prosperity Gospel.” Wiki gives insight with “Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity. The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God’s will for his people to be blessed. It is based on interpretations of the Bible that are mainstream in Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible), though less so in Christianity. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith.” Analysis finds being sick and/or poor to be functionally one step removed from being the devil incarnate. Who wants a curse in the proximity of their wonderfully designed and engineered downtown square? What kind of an antiseptic engineering solution do you think the courthouse square design team will come up with? It is not only the mayor who wants those unable to afford non-owner occupant housing to relocate out of the design, but the entire city government prefers to throw stones at the devil rather than reconcile with humanity. Collecting money on “sin taxes” is a wonderful thing, but when it comes to zoning the location of “curses,” we find ordinances keeping such entities well away from residences, schools, and churches. Left to houses of worship and architectural designers, where will the unseen, living in unseen residences, be located?

 

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’s Troubling That People Face Different Charges For The Same Offense

November 20, 2016

In the pre-election post “What The Hell Have You Got To Lose?” (10-26-16) Analysis asserted its mission “to draw the link, to follow the thread between what is large and “out there” (as news, policy, etc.) and what is local, next door, just around the block.” The saga continues with the recent episode, “Smoke gets in your eyes.” 8-20-16 The Advocate’s Maria DeVito headlined “Newark officials not backing pot decriminalization.” “Mayor Jeff Hall said He doesn’t support the initiative as it is being presented because it goes beyond what has been done at the state level.” Further on: “Licking County Municipal Court Judge Michael Higgins, who wrote a letter to Newark City Council members earlier this year pointing out the difference between Newark’s law and the State law, said he doesn’t have feelings one way or another on the ballot measure. But he did say it’s troubling that people face different charges for the same offense.” Well, history shows the initiative to have been passed into law 11-8-16 by a majority of the electorate of the City of Newark. 11-11-16 DeVito headlines “Newark ignores newly passed pot decriminalization”. Notable: “[Law Director Doug] Sassen said there is nothing that requires the city to charge offenses under city law. “it’s just an option to pursue it and we’re going to choose not to pursue it.” He said.” The article stated Newark’s Police Chief Barry Connell’s accord with the Law Director. Analysis feels it is safe to assume ditto for the ever vociferous Mayor. On 11-14-16 The Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlined “Council members OK with decision to ignore new pot law.” Reporting that 100% of the City Council members were likewise 100% behind Doug Sassen’s policy decision. In a 11-20-16 letter to ed, the Law Director expounds on his policy: “If the initiative as passed were to be given full effect as suggested that would mean the conduct previously outlawed in these ordinances would be perfectly legal under Newark Law.” Well, yeah, that is how law making/changing is done (for some historic precedent Google “Newark City Council Pit Bull”). Analysis finds all this begs an awful lot of questions. Who makes the law? When is a law a law (not to mention the will of the people)? Which law is law? Who decides any or all of the above? Why does a city make laws to begin with? In the pre-election post of 10-26-16 Analysis claimed that “what the GOP candidate [and now president] is about, that has his party in a tizzy, can be found with that same party and electoral process here in Licking County.” Contemporary answers to some of the preceding questions might be found in the opposite direction – looking at the national and state news rather than just in Newark. The 11-18-16 Washington Post Wonkblog’s Christopher Ingraham headlines “Trump’s pick for attorney general: ‘Good people don’t smoke marijuana’”. Quoting the Trump administration’s AG to be, Jeff Sessions, (from a U.S. Senate Drug Caucus hearing in April of 2016): “We need grown ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger.” Analysis finds this correlation with Sassen’s national counterpart to lead to various conclusions, all troubling and untenable. Is one to assume that Jeff Hall, Barry Connell, Doug Sassen and the members of the Newark City Council are the “grown ups” with the city’s electorate being children? How did the electorate get the right to vote if they are underage? Analysis finds more complications with all this. The same Advocate that published the Law Director’s letter also ran an older news item by its parent company, Gannett’s USA Today, headlined “Think tank calls on legislature to help rural Ohio”. The think tank (no, not Newark’s), being Cleveland’s the Center For Community Solutions, calls for what Analysis likewise pointed out in the 11-13-16 post, Make Licking County Rural Again. Both highlight the state’s withdrawal and redirection of funding, etc. resulting in the negligence and lack of affordable housing, public transportation, public health care, children’s services, etc. in Licking County and Newark. Yet, along with Sessions, Newark’s elected officials march lock step with the state. When will they diverge? When will they heed the children’s concerns? Analysis finds the local leaders response to the 2016 election results even more troubling, but from an ethical dimension. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” determines, carte blanche, the morals that make America great. Unseen is the obverse. It also determines what is not good, immoral, without taking any recourse to the law and lawmaking. Such determination Newark’s elected leaders likewise choose to reserve for themselves. This is also evidenced in the same day’s paper that ran Sassen’s guest editorial alibi. In “Q&A: Offender list in Ohio brings up questions about cost” by the AP’s John Seewer, state legislators propose to expand the registry (and tracking) of convicted felons from those presently marked for life. Analysis wrote about the Steve Smith trial outcome back in 3-29-16 (Where’s The Crime In All This?). At the time Analysis was dumbfounded that a Marion County man convicted of drug trafficking that resulted in death (with a preponderance of evidence) could receive a lesser sentence than an isolated and unsubstantiated drug trafficking charge in Licking County. “Newark ignores newly passed pot decriminalization” says more for why “there is nothing that requires the city” to be fair, just, equitable or non-discriminatory in its interaction and treatment of citizens, underage or otherwise. To paraphrase Judge Higgins: “it’s troubling that people face different charges [and outcomes] for the same offense.”