Posts Tagged ‘Newark Arcade’

Welcome To Denial Ohio Jeff Hall Mayor

January 8, 2021

            Decades ago in Australia’s capital of Canberra (or thereabouts) there was a native people’s demonstration aimed at renaming the central plaza with its aboriginal name. By the most guileful of means, the existing “colonial” signs were replaced with ones bearing the “pre-colonial” name of the place. Something analogous ought to happen in Newark Ohio. In the midst of all the media outrage posted regarding the events in our nation’s capital (as Gomer would say; “Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.”) Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlined: East Main Street building to become Newark thrift store, not homeless shelter (1-8-21). “The Evans Foundation, working with Newark Development Partners and the now-defunct Licking County Task Force on Homelessness, purchased the building in late 2019 and leased it to the city of Newark as a location for a low-barrier shelter serving the area’s growing homeless population.” The buried lead here is “growing homeless population”, not “building.” Mallett further expounds, later in the report: “The state’s annual count of homeless later this month will provide more data, but Tegtmeyer [Deb Tegtmeyer, director of the Licking County Coalition for Housing] said the problem seems to have gotten worse. “The feeling is that it has increased, primarily for single adults, Tegtmeyer said. “The waiting list for families is short, because funds are available for them. Single adults are kind of a bigger challenge. With the moratorium on evictions (extended to the end of the month), we’re trying to get a handle on what might be coming.”” Factually, the coldest part of winter is coming. But Analysis digresses. Leading civic leaders of Denial involved with the purchase/lease back in 2019 were also interviewed by Mallett. “Sarah Wallace, chairwoman of the Evans Foundation, said the time had come to do something with the building at 200 East Main St. “I worry because it’s been vacant all this time and no concrete plans have been made,” Wallace said. “We just can’t let it sit there vacant. It’s not good for anybody. The longer a building sits vacant, the worse it is. “I’m excited to get it into use for the community. The St. Vincent de Paul Center is busting at the seams and they are in the business of serving the homeless.”” Indeed! Analysis would have preferred hearing something more like “I worry because people have been without shelter all this time and no concrete plans have been made, We just can’t let them be homeless. It’s not good for anybody. The longer people are without shelter, the worse it is.” But then again, with Denial’s downtown redevelopment and all, it is Capital first (and capitalized!), people much later. Analysis digresses again! “Dan DeLawder, chairman of Newark Development Partners, a public-private community improvement corporation involved in the effort to open a new shelter, said converting the building into a shelter failed because of a lack of funding. “It’s still premature to say how we’ll go forward,” DeLawder said. “We need a sustainable funding source to operate a shelter, and we haven’t found a solution to that. We haven’t seen anybody raise their hands and say we can help on a regular basis. We’re really stymied.”” That’s showin’ ‘em leadership, Dan. Throw in the towel after receiving the first punch on the nose. Funny the NDP hasn’t quit with its Arcade project, purchased in Denial the same year as the Family Dollar building. Further digression, mutter, mutter. And finally, the mayor of Denial, formerly a chief proponent of shelters as long as they aren’t located within the city limits, let alone in the heart of Denial (where his office resides); “The mayor applauded the effort of the Evans Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul, and said the effort to help those suffering with homelessness continues. “I fully support the reuse of that building,” Hall said. “St. Vincent de Paul does a wonderful job in the community helping those less fortunate and getting needed supplies for those in the area. “They acquired (the building) in case it worked out to be a homeless shelter. The building doesn’t make or break a plan. It’s complex and challenging in a lot of areas. It’s not an easy fix and not reliant on one building.”” One less lease to clean up after. One less egg to fry. Welcome to Denial Ohio, Jeff Hall Mayor.

Super Dupe-er

October 30, 2020

            10-29-20 The Los Angeles Times headlined: Pebble Mine developer promised riches, but expects $1.5-billion subsidy from Alaskans (Richard Read). The story is full of the to-be-expected tales of political intrigue, corruption and environmental concerns that Ohioans have become accustomed to, locally with Larry Householder and HB6. But there is another aspect of the LA Times article which strikes closer to the heart of what is taking place in downtown Newark, something which informs analogously. It is important to note that, before diving into the unseemly details of all the intrigue, corruption, and environmental gore, Read does lay out the facts (guileful as they may be). “The company seeking to develop Pebble Mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay has long promised that the controversial project would bring Alaska jobs, economic growth and tax revenue. But newly released undercover videos made by an environmental advocacy group show that Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. expects a massive state subsidy for the giant mine. In the recording, Ronald Thiessen, the chief executive, tells environmental activists — who are posing as potential investors — that the company plans to raise $4 billion from investors and secure another $1.5 billion from the state. He also says that if a federal permit under the Clean Water Act is denied for the copper and gold mine, his company will try to claim hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from the U.S. government. “In our view it’s a ‘taking,’ an expropriation,” Thiessen says. “And if it’s determined to be a taking by the courts, we expect compensation.” The recordings were released Thursday by the Environmental Investigation Agency, which made them in August and September by duping company executives.” Two days prior the LA Times article Kent Mallett, for the Advocate, headlined: NDP leaders hopeful Arcade restoration project can secure ‘critical’ tax credits (10-27-20) which was a practically verbatim article written by him and published on 6-29-20 (Arcade renovation project could cost $15 million, needs tax credits). Along with the to-be-expected falderal of Arcade history, what is being uncovered, etc., both articles include the somewhat official looking economic details of projected sources of income (apartments and store/office rental) as well as the projected cost ($15 million). Neither story provides the crucial tax payer investment – the amount of the projected tax credit, without which all the Newark Development Partners (and city) become quite anxious for the fate of the white elephant they may have forced Tom Cotton to sell. An oversight on the part of Mr. Mallett? Doubtful. It is sad that Borat style guile would be needed to reveal the amount that the NDP is anticipating. Like the Pebble Mine enterprise, the Arcade project is relying on tax payer investment in the form of tax credits (money paid to the owner/developers – NDP). Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. anticipates tax payer investment to be approximately 27+% of the total needed. The same percentage calculated on NDP’s Arcade project would yield around $4+ million. Will we ever know? Will someone need to be duped to find out? Given the ditto articles by The Advocate (almost exactly 4 months apart), is someone perhaps already being duped?

Ouch!

September 25, 2020

            The truth hurts. 9-22-20 Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlines Winter’s coming: Newark area homeless again without enough shelters. No, not winter, a not necessarily hurtful truth for some people (though maybe not those without shelter). But that another year dawns where, once again, there will be a scramble to “respond” to the truth of fellow citizens living with inadequate means to deal with what winter dishes out. Mallett’s story centers on the still defunct Family Dollar building (200 E. Main St.), purchased by the Evans Foundation and earmarked, at the time of purchase, to become a low barrier shelter for those with none. But first a round of studies with tax payer paid outside consultants to insure that it is done right (“Mayor Jeff Hall said although speed is important in opening a shelter, it’s most important to do it right.”). Along with the building purchase in 2019, Luken Solutions was contracted “to study the feasibility of operating a low barrier shelter.” There must have been an opt out clause in the agreement, as a year later Luken Solutions chose to exercise it (so much for Mayor Hall’s “speed is important”). Mallett quotes Trisha Pound, a member of the Licking County Task Force on Homelessness, who addressed the opt out by Sally Luken: ““The letter Sally wrote to us said she believed our community doesn’t want a low-barrier shelter. As someone that is a social worker in the community and knows how much we really need it, it’s alarming to me that a professional would say that they feel we don’t need a shelter or don’t want a shelter.”” (Ouch! The cat just clawed its way out of the bag. Remember Mayor Jeff Hall’s insight that he is all for a homeless shelter, as long as it is outside the city limits?). Another stakeholder, that vociferously embraced the Family Dollar building as a solution to those detracting from the renovation miracle of downtown Newark (Mallett pithily understates this “In the summer of 2018, the homeless problem gained attention when homeless persons were seen sleeping on benches around the Courthouse Square.”), tried to put a positive spin on Luken’s abdication: “Dan DeLawder, chairman of Newark Development Partners, a public-private community improvement corporation involved in the effort to open a new shelter, said someone needs to continue the work of Luken Solutions. “A number of things were accomplished by Sally and her work, not the least of which was to confirm that Licking County does have a need for an additional emergency shelter,” DeLawder said. “She did, in fact, confirm the need. We need beds. It’s as simple as that.”” Meanwhile, renovation work is going gang busters on Newark Development Partners’ downtown Arcade, also purchased in 2019. “Dan DeLawder, chairman of NDP, said, “We can’t pull this project off without tax credits. I don’t know how to do it, anyway. From a pure commercial perspective, tax credits will make this a possibility. We’re still in the early stages of development consideration. It’s just a massive project. It’s a very comprehensive effort underway to evaluate the facility and it is still too early to say a cost and what form or fashion it will be done.”” (Mallett again, 6-29-20 Arcade renovation project could cost $15 million, needs tax credits). Maybe declaring the Family Dollar building a historic landmark would get tax credits to build a low barrier shelter? Analysis finds the painful truth of “Winters coming: Newark area homeless…” to be the significant difference between, not only language but also the experienced actuality of, “dealing with homelessness” and helping people who are actually without housing, between quickly agreed upon “needs” and actual, acted upon wants (for an Arcade, Yes. For a low barrier shelter downtown, No!).

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)

 

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.””