Posts Tagged ‘Newark Ohio’

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?

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.

Downtown Abbey

September 6, 2019

Polarity comes in many shapes and sizes. Some may be completely surprising. One such is this week’s Our View from The Advocate Editorial Board (Our view: Downtown Newark a jewel for the entire community, The Newark Advocate, 9-6-19). A teaser headline for this editorial reads “Our view: Downtown Newark a jewel to be proud of.” The editorial itself is filled with kudos for the hard work, ingenuity and resilience of the downtown business community and “civic” leaders for changing the façade of the Newark courthouse square in a matter of 10 years or so. These are substantiated by “facts” which cannot be dismissed. Analysis found the line, “No longer is downtown simply home to attorneys and government workers as restaurants, shops and even manufacturing have recently opened.” to be disarming, an attempt to “bring us together behind a winning team.” Like a family house where renovations still leave the kitchen as kitchen, bath as bath (with maybe an addition) and rec area as rec, etc., so Newark’s downtown still is focused on the government as county seat (and municipal center). Restaurants are still in the same buildings as before; ditto offices, banks and retail. The editorial hints at the “behind the scenes” SID (Special Improvement District) helping to make it possible with its tax (that it gets to use on itself) and special rent-a-cop for parking enforcement. The board’s view just skims the government money that went into the “federally mandated project to reduce stormwater overflows” but doesn’t go further behind the scenes to expose the publicly funded tax incentives, tax credits and subsidies provided to make the jewel shine. Analysis finds it not to be a case of disparagement but rather an encouragement to point out that a truly great city has a vibrant downtown AND social responsible programs for what the vibrant downtown requires. Polarity need not apply. Newark’s “civic” leaders, unfortunately, prefer the polarity of This or That, but not Both. A city of 50,000+ would have some sort of reliable, fixed schedule, accessible public transportation. Newark has opted to have none with no taxi, fixed bus route, or on demand transportation available. During the jewel’s creation, no affordable housing was ALSO created. Newark’s mayor would prefer that those without a house live outside the city limits. The health department opts to deny the material existence of narcotics addiction through a focus on law enforcement, abstinence, and prevention rather than a hands on approach of a needle exchange and recovery centers. The list continues with community centers (youth as well as seniors), food banks and recreation facilities being mostly marginalized, away from the downtown center; access to which requires some form of transportation. A truly great city is not polarized. It is proud of what it has to offer its business community AND its resident population, BOTH. Newark can do better. What The Advocate editorial board presents is like a made for TV movie, a Downton Abbey of sorts, with its unspoken tale of those who serve and make the manor jewel possible without receiving any due. But then again, a really great city would have a news source that fairly and equally covers the landlords AND the tenants, BOTH.

Constitutional

June 13, 2019

“In the United States, the term constitutional carry, also called permitless carry, unrestricted carry, or Vermont carry, refers to the legal carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without a license or permit.” (Wikipedia) In March, anti-vaxer Ron Hood and Tom Brinkman, along with 25 other GOP Ohio legislators, sponsored HB 174, a bill to make Ohio a constitutional carry state. Proponents generally stress the 2ndamendment and the Castle Doctrine as justification for the merits of such legislation. In this case the Castle Doctrine is stretched to include self-protection in the case of mass shootings in public spaces as well as in a car, at work, etc. Much has been expounded regarding the pros and cons, motivations and intentions of such a law which Analysis doesn’t wish to entertain presently. Instead, Analysis would prefer to consider the actuality of said legislated right within the context of public health and the present. At one time vending machines sold packs of cigarettes in bowling alleys, eateries, swimming pools, etc., much as canned soda pop dispensers are found today. HB 174 insures the immediate and universal access to firearms, much as a can of soda is presently accessible by anyone. But there is more to ubiquitous access than convenient ownership. Over the past weeks the Newark Advocate has followed the story of a missing early adult white male, the search for a body, the discovery of a body, and the eventual identification. “According to the Licking County Coroner’s report, he died by means of suicide with a firearm.” (Identity of body found in Newark confirmed as missing Heath man, Rainbow Ratliff, 6-12-19). Little more will be officially and statistically noted as Federal law prohibits the tracking of firearm related injuries and fatalities by the CDC. Failed attempted suicides using a firearm are rare. Guns are over 90% effective as a means of quickly ending a life. Pills, hanging, slashing, drowning, etc. are uncertain, and their efficacy is far outstripped by “suicide with a firearm.” Thanks to coroner’s reports, tracking suicides is possible. Though not the leading cause of death, it is on the rise. Along with factual data recording cause of death (“with a firearm”), age, race, gender, etc., trends and rates can be plotted. It turns out that though the rate of suicide for non-whites has not changed significantly within states that have embraced constitutional carry, those for whites has, especially for young white males. The overall trend shows a continuing increase in self-inflicted deaths by firearm in constitutional carry states as opposed to those states without. Given the psychological turbulence and emotional turmoil found in late childhood/early adulthood, with extreme highs and lows, Analysis finds it small wonder since the considered alternative can be accessed as easily and conveniently as a can of soda pop.

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?

 

Attention To The Community

March 22, 2019

“By most accounts structures and institutions are what define community in Newark” (This blog, 2-19-19 posting). The Newark Advocate’s 3-21-19 headline news seems to bear this out (OSU-N, COTC to build science, technology center on campus, Kent Mallett). The story line goes that the big news of upcoming development is “The John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology will be more than just a new building on the Newark campus of Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College when it opens in 2021. The $32 million, three-story, 60,000-square-foot facility will allow OSU to begin offering a bachelor’s degree in engineering that can be completed at the Newark campus. It will be the 11th major students can complete in Newark.” Other uses for the projected structure are listed as well as the organization and sources of funding. An impressive story by any standards given the paucity of infrastructure development in Newark. For sure, for sure, keeping in time with the drum beat, “Berry, who became COTC president on Jan. 1, said the building will help meet the needs of local employers searching for workers to fill jobs in engineering, manufacturing, information technology and health care fields. “This building will be a long-term investment in our region’s economy,” Berry said. “And, it’s a great attraction as we try to bring prospective students into it.”” Given that over 45% of local residences are non-owner occupant, Newark’s kids will be able to find jobs near home, maybe even make a “a long-term investment in our region’s economy” and own one themselves instead of rent. But as we all know, “all stories are true stories.” And that includes this one. The origin grand narrative appears somewhere around the middle. “Ronald Alford, son of longtime Newark campus supporters John and Mary Alford, said, “We believe this building will change lives for generations to come. Our parents were steadfast in their support of OSU and COTC.” Alford said he and his sister viewed DeLawder as the appropriate person to lead the campaign, and not just because of his career at Park National Bank, where John Alford also served as bank president. “Dan reminded us of our dad,” Alford said. “It was more about his demeanor, his humbleness, and his attention not only to his family and the bank, but to the community.” DeLawder said Thursday was a special day in his life, making the announcement even more meaningful. “On this day, 48 years ago, I started my career at Park National Bank,” DeLawder said. “Since Mr. Alford hired me 48 years ago, I could hardly say no (to leading the campaign).”” And who would want to? Average interest rates on student loans run between 5 and 7.5% and debt obligation remains unchanged with any declaration of bankruptcy. Average interest rates for a home mortgage is 4.6%, with car loans showing just a little less at 4.3%, and both are subject to bankruptcy filing. Only sub prime and pay day lending yields a greater return than a student loan. And, as we all know, loans are a bank’s primary assets. Considering that Park National Bank is an institution with $7.8 billion in assets, this certainly is “a long-term investment in our region’s economy.”

I Beg Your Pardon

June 5, 2018

This Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Newark there will be a short town hall meeting on Addiction and Recovery. It is at Newark high school from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. There will be a panel of speakers, folks actively involved with the everyday of the subject on behalf of some institution or organization meant to address the issue. Some attending will likewise be given the opportunity to speak, address the panel or ask questions. Serendipity would have it that the New York Times presents an inquiry which gets to the heart of the tragedy: She Went to Jail for a Drug Relapse. Tough Love or Too Harsh? (Jan Hoffman, 6-4-18). “Should an addict’s relapse be punished with a criminal sanction?” “In Commonwealth v. Julie Eldred, the [Massachusetts] justices, presiding over the state’s highest court, are wrestling with whether this condition of her probation amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for an offender with a substance use disorder. In reaching a decision, expected imminently, the justices must weigh competing scientific studies. Is addiction a brain disease that interferes with one’s capacity to abstain? Or a condition, rather than a disease, that is responsive to penalties and rewards?” Prior to a knee jerk response, Analysis bears in mind other aspects from the article: “Ms. Eldred’s lawyers rely on a 1962 United States Supreme Court case, Robinson v. California, which struck down a statute making it a crime for a person “to be addicted to the use of narcotics” — noting that while selling or possessing illegal drugs was against the law, the state could not punish people solely for the status of their illness.” “Law enforcement officials argue that the threat of jail protects not only offenders but society from potentially more drug-related crimes. Yet numerous addiction specialists say that the criminal justice system is the most blunt and clumsy of instruments for addressing a public health disaster.” “In a brief supporting the prosecution, psychiatrists, psychologists and legal scholars assert that the brain-disease model is contested. Changes in brain structure from drugs do not necessarily translate into an inability to resist them, they said. With carrot-stick prompts, many addicted people can choose to abstain. And, prosecutors said, two such prompts include an expunged record for completing probation or, for relapse, jail. A brief submitted by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals on behalf of 3,400 drug courts noted that the success of these programs depends on a judge being able to apply graduated sanctions, to propel a defendant through treatment.” On the town hall panel will be institutional health and addiction specialists (people paid to be there) as well as those employed by law enforcement and the courts (also paid to be there); the former experts on disease but not so with the law, the latter officers of the law but uncertain of pathology. Analysis is disinterested in the answer. Like it or not the court will decide. Whether that happens in Ohio is a completely other question. Analysis is interested in the disposition of those asking the questions. A disposition assuming the “inevitability” of the disease diagnosis doesn’t translate into inevitable material outcomes, only a rather insecure sense of self righteousness. Those embracing this “inevitability” need also consider embracing the mundane (and political) nitty-gritty of changing the law, and those employed or elected to interpret it. The law itself is no guarantor of security. And as we all know way too well, innocent folks have been convicted, even executed, by solemn, dutiful, and sober officers of the law.

New Life For An Old Structure

February 12, 2017

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?

All Dressed Up With No Bear To Go

January 16, 2017

Analysis can’t help but reflect on the closing of the Lil Bear in Downtown Newark. Yikes! This kind of reflective Analysis is a sign of aging. Didn’t anyone see it coming or was it as much a surprise as the passage of years on the critical writing of this blog? Does short term problem solving totally pre-empt long term thinking in the demands of today’s new capitalism? When this blog began the court house square in Newark was a counterclockwise one way, there were residential properties between Locust and the freeway, Canal Market was a parking lot and the Children’s Home was still standing on East Main Street. OK so The Advocate did an end of year countdown of “improvements” to Newark (a good bit of it new restaurants and businesses opening where others had previously been). But prior to the recent accomplishments, at the start of this blog, there were information news releases promoted by Grow Licking County, Downtown Business Association, Newark Development Partners, etc. And “consumer’s choice” sessions held at the hotel (same building, different name), library, etc. where residents could view various plans for projects and “pick” the development they preferred (not that it made any difference, but it was projected to feel like it did). As essayed in those early postings, the emphasis on the part of the planners and developers was to get people downtown. And the best way (according to the developers) was to make it easier for automobiles to do that (the idea of self-driving cars was still a ways off. Self-shopping cars to come?). A deaf ear or blind eye was turned to any conversation or serious consideration of any other form of mobility and access – pedestrian, bicycle, wheel chair, etc. The “choices” for decisions re: the square, one way street changes, downtown entrance/egress, were primarily cosmetic. It was already decided to tear down the Children’s Home, save the old jail in its stead, fulfill a philanthropist’s dream for the adjacent Canal Market, etc. etc. etc. All this was promised to bring the young urban hipsters into the downtown (again?), with tax credits and abatements renovating long vacant (and rotting) second and third floor building spaces so they’d have a place to rent. The new Canal Market District Farmers Market would make Newark a destination shopping attraction. Well, that market doesn’t open for at least another 6 months. What destination shopping attraction will the young urban hipsters (as well as ensconced area residents) utilize in the meantime when it comes to getting groceries and household necessities?  The food pantry outlets are already strained. Analysis would surmise that those with private transportation, cars (the developer’s preferred means of transportation), will use the new planned thoroughfares to access marginal shopping destinations for their everyday necessities. The attraction of downtown living was touted as ease of walking to jobs, not needing a car, etc. True, Analysis was amongst those who criticized much of the urban planning involved – the discipline and punish icon of the old pokey over the care and nurture history of the Children’s Home, the lack of pedestrian priority, the lack of public transportation to accompany the development, etc. Others, at the time, critiqued the process involved as well as the plan with the possibilities of failure. Unfortunately, no one bothered to imagine success. What if the new urban plan succeeded? The vast planned capital improvement project that is downtown Newark today implicated the end of the Lil Bear. Success is articulated through the fruition of the downtown’s capital improvement planning. Unfortunately for the Lil Bear, the onus was on “capital improvement”. Would the tax credits, abatements, and incentives that the McClain’s, Wallace’s, Layman’s and Argyle’s received have made any difference to the inevitable extinction of the Lil Bear (and others that likewise went belly up and departed)? Not. That would have required planning around human activities and processes, something that capital investment, by definition, ignores. What does success look like? What is it to live in this planned success projected for an actual human social community? Will all this capital invested in the downtown leave Newark all dressed up with nowhere to go?

Irony, Thy Name Is Newark

September 27, 2016

Reporter Sydney Murray writes “Filmmaker Michael Moore took to social media Sunday night to ask why the Midland Theatre wouldn’t let him film a live show about the upcoming presidential election.” (Michael Moore denied Midland Theatre show 9-26-16 Newark Advocate) The Midland itself gives many, varied and different self justifications, like “But officials at the Midland said in a post on its own Facebook page that the reasons for the denial of Moore’s request came down to the same three criteria they apply to all shows: timing, audience and finances.” The “Moore” interesting reasons come at the end of the article (of course). “But the Midland’s own social media response takes exception with Moore’s claims that he was banned from the theater. In addition to [Midland Theatre Executive Director Nancy] Anderson’s statements, the Midland Theater Facebook post said since Moore is a filmmaker and the show was not a film, it was unknown what the actual show would be, and whether or not there would be audience interest. Finally, the post says the performance was going to be a free event, but since the Midland still needed to staff the event and pay other fees, it was not a financially smart decision to host the show.” The irony of all this will not be missed by the engaged followers of the current rebranding of the new and hip gentrification called downtown Newark. After all, come the spring and downtown Newark will be turned into an independent film festival hub (Newark FAMFEST), centered primarily at The Midland, not profitable but funded just the same by outside contributors and dealing primarily with documentaries and Newark selfies. (Whew!) And who, dear reader, has had a more enormous impact on documentary film production (and town selfies) than Michael Moore? Irony, thy name is Newark.