Posts Tagged ‘Newark Port Authority’

It’s Time To Defund CIC’s

April 1, 2021

            What is a CIC? The NDP (Newark Development Partners) uses the terms “Community Improvement Corporation” as part of their full name, so we’ll stick with that rather than “investment”, or the British “interest company.” In Ohio these are primarily public/private entities, or at least that is what their stakeholders claim. The “public/private” generally refers to the entire operation being funded by the public sector and administered by the private. Grow Licking County is funded not only by the county but also income from the various municipalities that it markets. Its administration is in the care of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, a private entity; public sector funding, private sector spending. Amount of funding supplied by the public is readily available (thanks to freedom of information), how it is spent and the outcomes of that expenditure not so much. The term “public/private” is confusing enough. That probably stems from its oxymoronic character. And oxymorons, as we all know, are the preferred devices for the conveyance of magical thinking and mystical alliances. But what does “Community Improvement Corporation” mean? Or is it also an oxymoron, or a near kin? Analysis of the component terms may offer a clue. “Improvement” isn’t a toughie. Defined as “better” is sufficient for understanding. The dictionary gives two relevant meanings for “community”: 1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. 2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. For “corporation” only one: 1. a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. For “CIC”, no entries found. Again, we’ve hit the oxymoronic wall. Is it a community of improvement corporations? Or is it community improvement by corporations? The oxymoronic element appears to be the contradiction of people living in common fellowship and authority under force of law. Holy crime fighters, Batman! It sure looks a lot like another publicly funded service institution in crisis today. It is no coincidence that “authority” is used in another area public/private CIC – the Newark Port Authority. That “Community Improvement Corporation” is just soap suds to screen the laundering of money is quite apparent. And the washed sums are considerable. The Licking County Chamber of Commerce was the largest in Ohio when most of LC’s CIC’s were begun back in the early years of the Kasich administration. What “better” has the fellowship of people living in common have to show for all the wealth siphoned to the top? “Places to work” we are told. Employers stress their number one need is that workers have a reliable way to get to their jobs yet Licking County has no fixed schedule public transportation after all this time. Neighboring counties do though their Chambers of Commerce are dwarfed by LC’s. Ditto for affordable housing having been built over that period as well as presently projected. Lancaster (and soon Zanesville) have the Pearl House for those without housing while Newark has the promise of shopping in the waiting-to-be-historically-designated Arcade (and other rainbow stew propaganda). It’s time to defund Newark’s Community Improvement Corporations.

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)