Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Missing Mayor Gets Check Book

Council cedes power to Jackson
Mayor gets say-so on projects

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Susan Vinella Plain Dealer Reporter

As Cleveland City Council president, Frank Jackson fiercely protected his members' power to spend money on neighborhood projects as they saw fit.

Now, as mayor, he has asked council to give up some of that power - and council agreed, voting 20-1 Monday night to let Jackson and his administrators determine how to spend $2.8 million to improve parks and recreation centers this year.

Traditionally, council has divided the money equally among members to spend on neighborhood projects such as water parks and swimming pools.

"They asked us to trust them; we'll trust them for a year, and we'll see," said Councilman Ken Johnson, who voted in favor of the change. Ken Silliman, Jackson's chief of staff, sold the change as a way to get the money where it is needed most and to develop a more trusting relationship between the 21-member council and the mayor.

Silliman said the mayor's spending plan is based on a "worst-to-first approach." The neediest neighborhoods, buildings and parks will get the most money. The stabler ones will have to wait - or settle, at least temporarily, for less investment. "We do not want to . . . write off the worst neighborhoods," Silliman said.

But council members complained that the mayor has not explained how his staff determined which projects are the neediest. Councilwoman Fannie Lewis, for example, said $275,000 has been budgeted to improve a park in her Hough neighborhood that has become a haven for drug dealers. She said she wouldn't invest a dime in it.

Some council members also question the mayor's worst-to-first approach, saying more investments should be made in the city's strongest neighborhoods to keep them stable.

"On that analysis, I'll always get the short end of the stick," said Mike Dolan, who represents the Kamm's Corners neighborhood in West Park, one of the city's more prosperous areas.

"That's correct," Silliman said, noting that stable neighborhoods will have to wait.

Mark Rosentraub, dean of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, said the dilemma is to find money to support both needy and stable neighborhoods.

Johnson agrees. "If you don't invest in the middle-class neighborhoods, then those are the people who are going to leave because they don't have to stay," he said.



Wow, Councilman Ken Johnson he's a smart one - those people are going to leave because they don't have to stay!?!

Seems like Fannie Lewis is the only one with common sense, maybe. If several council members have misgivings the missing Mayor this authority, why did they vote for it?

You would think a person with common sense would clean up crime in the worst neighborhoods before investing millions of dollars. This is the most a** backwards idea I have ever heard.

While investment in neighborhoods is important, using common sense should dictate allocation of the money for proposed projects. By not "keeping up" with the stronger neighborhoods, they will allow them to slide into the abyss of violence and drugs, like the others.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be scared!