Posts Tagged ‘Newark Council Person Jeremy Blake’

Polarity

February 7, 2021

            “We must work on homeless issue” is the title of Newark’s 2ndward council person Jeremy Blake’s response to the 1-8-21 news of the end of low barrier shelter/beginning of another thrift store on East Main St. (guest column Newark Advocate 2-7-21). “I voted along with all of my colleagues on the City Council to spend taxpayer dollars for a consultant to perform work and then provide recommendations on how to end chronic homelessness.” Even though the consultant resigned due to her own finding that the community was not committed to the solution (let alone the problem), Mr. Blake argues that the consultation was but a step in a further process of meetings and conversations. Such a drawn out and extensive “process” never seems to accompany council matters with regard to TIF’s, renovations, redevelopment, development, or even annexation for the sake of development. Indeed, Blake’s approach laser focuses on the homeless aspect without mention of the homefull. Is such a concept possible? Or is it like thinking of night without day, wet without dry, good without bad? Reporting for the NY Times (2-4-21) Stefanos Chen headlines The Down Side to Life in a Supertall Tower: Leaks, Creaks, Breaks. “The nearly 1,400-foot tower at 432 Park Ave., briefly the tallest residential building in the world, was the pinnacle of New York’s luxury condo boom half a decade ago [2016], fueled largely by foreign buyers seeking discretion and big returns. Six years later, residents of the exclusive tower are now at odds with the developers, and each other, making clear that even multimillion-dollar price tags do not guarantee problem-free living.” “The building, a slender tower that critics have likened to a middle finger because of its contentious height, is mostly sold out, with a projected value of $3.1 billion.” “[Sarina] Abramovich and her husband, Mikhail, retired business owners who worked in the oil and gas business, bought a high-floor, 3,500-square-foot apartment at the tower for nearly $17 million in 2016, to have a secondary home near their adult children.” “She’s aware that the plight of billionaires won’t garner much sympathy, but says she is speaking out on principle. “Everything here was camouflage,” she said. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have never bought.”” How many times have we heard that hiring a consultant is the way to solve a problem? Do consultants wear camo? Today’s NY Times provided some PC sympathy. Conor Dougherty headlines Pandemic’s Toll on Housing: Falling Behind, Doubling Up, Eviction moratoriums don’t keep arrears from piling up, and aid to renters may not reach the most vulnerable. (2-6-21) Analysis uncovered these relevant insights: “The nation has a plague of housing instability that was festering long before Covid-19, and the pandemic’s economic toll has only made it worse.” “Even before last year, about 11 million households — one in four U.S. renters — were spending more than half their pretax income on housing, and overcrowding was on the rise. By one estimate, for every 100 very low-income households, only 36 affordable rentals are available.” “Reflecting the broader economy, the pain in the U.S. housing market is most severe at the bottom. Surveys of large landlords whose units tend to be higher quality and more expensive have been remarkably resilient through the pandemic. Surveys of small landlords and low-income tenants show that late fees and debt are piling up.” “But for every million or so households who are evicted in the United States each year, there are many more millions who move out before they miss a payment, who cut back on food and medicine to make rent, who take up informal housing arrangements that exist outside the traditional landlord-tenant relationship. “What happens in housing court will miss most of the people who need help,” said Davin Reed, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. While rents have fallen in many big cities, vacancy rates for the cheapest buildings are essentially flat from last year, according to CoStar Group, a commercial property group. That is: Nothing about Covid-19 has changed the fact that there is a longstanding shortage of affordable housing, so anyone who loses an affordable home will still have a hard time finding a new one.” “It is a world of cash rent and oral agreements that are unstable and easily torn — a big reason that various studies show informal tenants are more likely to become homeless. “People who have places they can be evicted from are better off than those who don’t,” said Marybeth Shinn, a professor at Vanderbilt University who studies homelessness.” But conversations about and “solutions” to the homeless problem are primarily focused on the problem “along the banks of the waterways which travel through the neighborhoods of the second ward that many of our chronic homeless call home.” (Blake) Analysis finds this akin to addressing agricultural weed eradication programs without mentioning how it is we farm in the first place. Newark is not exceptional to anything Dougherty writes about, nor what Chen covers. When speaking of big money west end development no mention is made of those who are couch surfing and doubling, tripling up to find shelter. And in researching a solution to the homeless issue, no word on the quickly acquiesced and subsidized big money developments. Flat earth versus a globe that spins round and comes round, night without day, homeless without homefull, it is obvious where the roots of American polarity spring forth.

Something For Something

November 1, 2019

How many readers have been to Walmart to buy something? It’s a simple operation, all too natural. One picks out the desired something, generic or brand name, goes to the check out, pays for it and walks out. End of conversation. Indeed, it can be done entirely with no conversation whatsoever. Using the self serve to scan the something, insert a plastic something and , Voila! One walks out the door, something in hand. Quid Pro Quo? Has the reader ever thought to call it that? But there was no conversation. According to the SCOTUS there was a conversation, though not a verbal word was spoken at the self serve check out. Money is speech, according to the Citizens United ruling. The plastic said “this for that” and the Walmart automated check out said “This for that, indeed!” Deed done. Who’d a thunk it? Like the caterpillar who couldn’t move when he was asked how he does it, it’s all so natural that it doesn’t cause any hang ups until attention is paid to the act itself. No quid pro quo in the exchange of money for service? No conversation if it is money that is being exchanged? ““Our intention is to make this a hotel and we’ve just got to make the numbers work,” he [Steve Coon with Coon Restorations] said. “It’s a heavy lift, but it’s a great project to spend the time on to make happen.” Coon says right now there is no price tag on the project, but he and his partners will be going after state and federal tax breaks as well as grants.” (Bryan Somerville, WBNS,10-21-19). Who’s talking? What are they saying? Quid Pro Quo? “Get over it. We do it all the time” (Mick Mulvaney). “Mayor Jeff Hall said the use of the building continues the Longaberger legacy. “It’s about a building that deserves the respect.,” Hall said. “A hotel is a perfect fit because it’s open to the public. Dave Longaberger would be happy with that. It’s the right people and the right property. These guys are not in the business of losing money.”” (Kent Mallett, The Advocate, 10-21-19). Speaking of money, and buildings: “”When you have a community our size, you can’t bring up the whole community at once,” Hall said. “You can’t fix every aspect of it. Downtown is a commercial district. If you put the dollars first in the commercial district, then raise those revenues, create some more jobs, it creates more funds to put in the neighborhoods. So, that’s the next step. “I think we’re moving in the right direction to keep that economic growth moving. It’s not easy. When we talk to employers they want to see nice downtowns, they want to see unique things to be considered for the short list for them to consider moving their company here.”” (Mallett, The Advocate, 10-11-19) ““Every once in awhile I’ve got to tell council members it’s all great ideas, but I got to pay the bills,” Hall said. “I appreciate Mr. Blake’s thoughts and surely understand all those conditions, but how are you going to do it? That’s something critical because it takes dollars. We have to deal with the money we have. Ideas are wonderful, but you’ve got to fund ideas. “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.”” “Hall said the new fire station to be built on Sharon Valley Road is essential to reduce the slow response times in that area of the city, which has continued to grow. “That whole area has changed in 20 years, so as a result fire response needs to change,” Hall said. “Finding the location for a fire station is tough. If your house is on fire, you’d love for it next door to you. Every other day of the year, you don’t want it next door.”” “Hall said, “We have metrics and the metrics help make the (fire) decisions. That (East End) station out there was built when the Longaberger Basket had 500 employees. It does not anymore. We looked at need and run data. Nothing has suffered out there because of that station being re-used for another purpose.”” (Mallett, The Advocate, 10-20-19) “Incumbent Mayor Jeff Hall not only outspent his general election opponent, City Councilman Jeremy Blake, but the mayor had a large advantage in cash remaining for the final weeks of the campaign.” “Hall received donations from many of the business leaders in the area, as well as fellow Republican politicians. The mayor said it’s nice to have the support of the business community. “They say they believe in you and your results,” Hall said. “Certainly, we have had a plan for economic development. That’s something prior administrations didn’t necessarily have. It’s something that’s good for the community to be economically stable, so you don’t have to tax everyone.” Of the mayor’s 141 contributions, seven were at least $500, including: $1,200 from Realtors Political Action, of Columbus; $1,000 from Steven Hitchens, of Newark; $1,000 from Sean Weekley, of Newark; $500 each from Licking County Republican Boosters, Carol DuVal, of Heath, James Matesich, of Granville, and Duke Frost, of Newark.” (Mallett, The Advocate, 10-28-19). Analysis finds it curious that the major “issue” in the verbal conversation regarding the future mayor of Newark has centered on the projected Sharon Valley fire station. The incumbent (Jeff, “It’s about a building that deserves the respect.” Hall) is all in on the capital (building) expenditure without regard to the staffing (people employed) while the challenger (Jeremy Blake) is concerned with staffing concerns as a priority. A Google map shows the urgency of the “issue”: prime land to be developed residential just south of Log Pond Run, with an anticipated road extension from Baker Blvd. to the Evans athletic complex. Residential development is contingent on insurance underwriting which in turn is determined by, you guessed it, available fire service. The fly in the ointment for Newark’s future mayor is Le Hotel Baskeet that likewise will require insurance underwriting (“to make the numbers work”) which in turn will find a nearby defunct fire station on the east end. Newark extends northward to the Trout Club (and beyond), making closing the Hollander Street fire station untenable. Analysis shows having the “verbal” conversation of staffing capital (building) expenditure is a much more materially effective approach to the growing and changing community’s needs than the traditional “quid pro quo” money speech of Citizens United. Oh, and by the way, “Quid Pro Quo” is “something for something” in Latin.

 

 

 

 

Home Rule

October 3, 2019

It has been about a year since Analysis wrote about Cleveland’s attempt to craft legislation creating a program of public defenders for those being evicted (Will The Real Governing Body Of People Please Stand Up 11-29-18). This legislation was to be modeled on a hard fought, and somewhat imperfect, similar one in New York City. Analysis questioned whether the GOP legislature of the State of Ohio would allow such city rule to be implemented. They have, and had, neutralized home rule through gun control legislation and, with Cleveland, outlawing their percentage of Cleveland resident workers/contractors on city funded projects legislation. 10-1-19 Robert Higgs for cleveland.com reports: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson signs into law program to provide lawyers for impoverished families facing eviction. With Cleveland’s creative solution to stem the growing problem of people without housing (nothing comes from nothing. One is displaced from some “place”) Analysis finds notable: “Cleveland City Council approved legislation to create the program Monday evening. The program is an effort to ease the upheaval that families face from eviction by giving them the ability to negotiate a better outcome through an advocate who knows the law. City Council President Kevin Kelley has said he hopes the program can be up and running by June 2020. United Way of Greater Cleveland is expected to manage the program, coordinating training for lawyers and getting them assigned to cases. Housing Court Judge Ronald O’Leary said Monday he expects a lot of eviction cases will be referred to mediation for settlement.” “Roughly 10,000 eviction cases are filed each a year in Cleveland, according to the Legal Aid Society, which provides lawyers for some clients with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty rate. Landlords have a tremendous advantage when the cases come to Cleveland Housing Court because only 1% to 2% of tenants have legal representation, Legal Aid’s research shows. About 75% of landlords appear with lawyers for eviction proceedings.” How many eviction cases are filed in Newark each year? With a census figure of approximately 48% of Newark residential housing being non-owner occupant, Analysis would surmise quite a few. Is such a creative solution to a justice disparity on the horizon of any of the candidates running for political office in Newark in 2019? The “legacy” minded incumbent for mayor is mum, hoping his “Outside the city” solution is not memorialized. The “cheerleading” challenger finds little enthusiasm amongst voters for tackling the inequity of eviction (private property rights and all). And those vying for the various city council positions? They’ve all committed to a vow of silence. The good news is that so far the legislators in the Ohio House and Senate haven’t quashed Cleveland’s creative attempt to stymie the national housing crisis. Let them know. Contact Republicans Scott Ryan and Jay Hottinger and thank them for allowing cities to exercise home rule with regards to the problem of those without housing.