Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dennis Kucinich needs your help!

As you're probably aware, Ohio's 10th Congressional is in the midst of a fierce primary battle. Motivated to seize the House seat for its preferred corporate candidate, and driven by hatred stretching back to Muny Light, the Cleveland Plain Dealer -- a very conservative newspaper and the town's only daily -- is trying to push Dennis Kucinich out after more than ten years of loyal and able service to his constituency.

Cleveland's movers and shakers have thrown their support by sitting Ward 13 councilman Joe Cimperman, a corporate-owned politician. His argument for running is based in part on the most ludicrous of claims: that a sitting elected official ought not to spend taxpayer time and money running for another elected office. But that is precisely what Cimperman is doing. Furthermore, he is running on a patently false claim that Kucinich has missed more votes than almost any other member of Congress.

The truth, however, is not on Cimperman's side. According to

Dennis Kucinich missed 346 of 7054 votes (5%) since Jan 7, 1997.

Compare this to campaigning Republican Ron Paul, who according to has missed twice as many votes as Kucinich.

Ronald Paul missed 687 of 7054 votes (10%) since Jan 7, 1997.

And what of the sitting U.S. senators running for president?

John McCain has missed sixteen percent of his votes.

John McCain missed 592 of 3720 votes (16%) since Jan 22, 1997.

Barack Obama has missed seventeen percent.

Barack Obama missed 185 of 1098 votes (17%) since Jan 6, 2005.

And Hillary Clinton has missed six percent of votes, just one percent below Kucinich's attendance record.

Hillary Clinton missed 152 of 2406 votes (6%) since Jan 23, 2001.

So what may we conclude from this? That Cimperman is either lying his fool ass off, or else he is too lazy or too stupid to get his facts straight -- or a combination thereof. My money, if I had any, would be on the combo theory. And whatever the case may be, is this really the kind of person Ohio's 10th Congressional District really wants or needs representing it?

Here's another case against Cimperman and his backers at the Plain Dealer.

The Pee Dee used the entire space of the Sunday editorial slot to bless Cimperman. Actually, it was not so much to anoint Cimperman as to throw slaps at his opponent, Dennis Kucinich.


What struck me as really odd was how little space the paper spent on telling us of any accomplishments of Cimperman. His major accomplishment, as I can see, is giving away city money to developers.

While we're on that note, let's ask ourselves, of the two main candidates for Ohio-10, who has accomplished more? Kucinich, hands down.

Kucinich -

Cosponsored HR 676, which is Medicare for all Americans.

H.R. 4060: Universal Prekindergarten Act

H.R. 3400: Rebuilding America's Infrastructure

H.R. 1234: To end the United States occupation of Iraq immediately

H. Con. Res. 23: Expressing the sense of Congress that the President should not order an escalation in the total number of members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Iraq.

H.R. 2707: To reauthorize the Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program

H.R. 3875: To permit the Secretary of Labor to make an administrative determination of the amount of unpaid wages owed for certain violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act in the New Orleans region after Hurricane Katrina.

And then, of course, there are his articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney. Pretty busy for a "part-time" member of the House of Representatives, huh? And what, by the way, has Cimperman done for his constituents? According to (bear with me, this one's a long quote but it is absolutely necessary):

Just to remind people of what the donation-gobbling Cimperman has become as the downtown councilman, I’ve listed below what the city and others, with Cimperman’s strong backing, gave to the Wolstein project in the Flats. The project is in Cimperman’s ward.

Of course, the city also helped with eminent domain to shift properties to Wolstein from others.

There’s an interesting battle now going on for downtown real estate development with several major corporations and law firms reportedly interested in new office space. Looking for new digs: Baker & Hostetler, Eaton Corp., Ernst & Young, Huntington Bank and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. So there’s demand.

It will be interesting in the climate of demand to observe how city officials – Mayor Frank Jackson and City Council – react to this renewed interest in new office space.

Since there’s high demand should the city avoid offering all kinds of subsidy incentives to developers to do what they must do – meet the demand by building? (It’s also unclear whether the new space will be added space or simply newer space to shift tenants from older buildings, in other words, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic/Cleveland.)

The Pee Dee could do a service to the citizens by researching and telling us which downtown property owners got what part of the $100 million in taxable property that came off the tax rolls in recent years. Likely suspects: Forest City Enterprises, Dick Jacobs and John Carney interests.

The market is supposed to rule. And, to some degree, it does. The best example is the empty space on the west side of Public Square. The city in 1989 awarded Dick Jacobs the same sweet subsidy deal to build on that site as the developer received for the north side of Public Square (Key Center & Marriott Hotel).

Yet, 19 years later, the site remains fallow, a parking lot.

That’s because there has been no market for new office space and thus no development.

Now, since there is said to be demand, why don’t the developers meet the demand – but without seeking to wring out abatements and other subsidies from the depressed City of Cleveland? The answer is simple: greed.

They don’t because our political leaders are too eager (Cimperman) to serve their benefactors at the expense of their constituents.

Below are the incredible "incentives" given to the Wolstein partnership for the Flats East Side project. Here is the list:

- BDOHS (port authority) will provide $11 million in loans.

- City of Cleveland will provide $6 million in Core City loans.

- Cleveland Public Power will provide $3.4 million in services.

- Cleveland Water Division will provide $740,000 in infrastructure costs.

- Cleveland will provide another $1 million from its general obligation bonds.

- The County, City and Cleveland schools will forgo $11,140,000 in property taxes under a TIF (tax abatement) program to help the project.

- Cuyahoga County will provide $1 million in subsidies.

- The State of Ohio will provide a grant of $3 million for "environmental remediation," matched by a loan from Cuyahoga County of $1 million, both committed from the 2005 Clean Ohio program.

- Tax exempt Parking Revenue Bonds estimated at $8,540,000 will be repaid from Public parking facility revenues.

- Tax-exempt infrastructure bonds estimated to be $9 million are secured by annual payments by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

- The sum of approximately $4,550,000 will be made available through the Federal Highway Administration.

- The federal government has appropriated and the city shall obtain and make available when required for eligible project costs a grant of $1,464,735 from the U. S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA grant).

- All rental and condominium units (some 300 units) will be tax abated at 100% for 15 years. No cost estimate given by the city, port authority or county.

- The city agrees to enact legislation as necessary to amend and extend the CRA residential tax abatement program to assure that all residential improvements are eligible for the full 15-year, 100% abatement of real estate taxes. No cost given.

- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will construct a transit station on the RTA Waterfront Rail Line for the project "...all at no cost or expense" to the developer. No total or estimated cost mentioned.

- The City of Cleveland "shall take all necessary action to vacate all existing streets within the project site to the extent no longer require as public improvements for the project, and any easements which impair or adversely affect the development, construction or occupancy of the project, or which lie within the project site and are no longer required for use as public improvements for the Project." No cost estimate given.

- The City of Cleveland "shall convey to the developer all the land owned by it (the city) within the residential site not necessary for public improvements by official quit-claim deed..." No cost estimate given.

- Under a section called "public improvements", it states: "Public improvements necessary to support the Residential project will include but may not be limited to the following....

- Abatement, demolition and environmental remediation (including all necessary earthwork and soil clean-up) of the Project properties as they exist as of the execution date of this Agreement so as to allow for construction of the Residential Project.

- On-site paving and landscaping for all areas from the building lines of the Residential Project to the street curb as well as the public spaces of the Riverfront Park described below.

- A Riverfront Park extending from the southern boundary of the Project along the Cuyahoga River ’s edge north to the Norfolk & Southern rail line with an eastern edge defined by a realigned Old River Road and a new street network described below. The Park may include but not be limited to the following elements: a riverfront boardwalk, gather places; pavilions; project signage, retail kiosks; and a marina for transient boater use. The Riverfront Park shall be planned in such a manner so as to receive the proposed extension of the Towpath Trail...

- Utility improvements, replacements and/or upgrades sufficient to provide necessary storm and sanitary sewer, water, electrical, gas and thermal heating and cooling services for the Residential Project and the permanent improvements in the public right of way (e. g. street lighting) and property (e.g. Riverfront Park fixtures and appurtenances) for ongoing and seasonal needs.

- Street improvements, realignments and additions to serve the Residential Project and its associated parking facilities, including all necessary traffic control equipment and signage...

- Bulkhead repair, replacement and improvements sufficient to maintain the long-term integrity of the eastern edge of the Project site bordered by the Cuyahoga River.

- The Public Parking Facilities and Private Parking Facilities estimated to consist of a minimum of 1,600 spaces in total and sufficient to serve the retail and residential uses of the Project by way of four structured facilities and no fewer than two surface lots, including all necessary equipment, landscaping and appurtenances.

- An allocable share of land acquisition costs associated with the square footage occupied by the Public Improvement as a percentage of the entire Project square footage (Residential Project plus Public Improvements.)

- Any and all soft costs which may be attributable to construction of the Public improvements including but not limited to architectural and engineering services, lighting, traffic and parking consultants, permits/fees, testing and inspection, temporary utilities, financing fees and costs and capitalized interest on bonds or loans.

With Joe in Congress just think of how much booty can be delivered to our developers.

Rosemary Palmer and Barbara Anne Ferris, the latter of whom comes from a family-owned steakhouse and was endorsed by the Plain Dealer in 2006, are also on the ballot for Ohio-10. But with Cimperman getting corporate money thrown at him like water splashed on a kid at the local pool, neither of them stands as big a chance against the far worthier incumbent. Furthermore, Ferris has received help from Cleveland-area Republicans[1] in order to seize the seat the only way they can -- through a bought off "Democrat". In 2004 she ran against Dennis Kucinich as an independent before switching her party affiliation over to Democrat so she would fare better in the heavily-Democratic town.

You really have to wonder if The Plain Dealer thinks it can fool all the people all the time.

That’s my thought when I see a rather long editorial "un-endorsing" Congressman Dennis Kucinich and telling readers to vote for a woman who ran as an independent in 2004 and who appears to be a Republican now.

No matter to the Plain Dealer. She is not Kucinich. That is what seems to matter to this Republican newspaper. On the other hand, maybe they believe by electing Ferris, the Republican candidate will win District 10 in November.

I gather her Republican leanings from a ringing endorsement on her website from Republican Robert Brown. He heads up "Republicans for Ferris" though she’s running in a Democratic primary.

Ohio-10 voters weren't fooled by Ferris in 2004 or 2006, and they certainly shan't be fooled by her again. And while her financial resources aren't bad, they're not enough to compete with the million or so dollars Cimperman has been handed for his run. So she's a non-entity in a race the Plain Dealer wants won by a moneyed candidate with an actual chance against their hated nemesis.

The bottom line is this: Progressives must keep Ohio-10 safe. If Cimperman manages to buy his way into Congress, with help from Cleveland's conservative movers and shakers, we can say goodbye to that seat for years to come. Because once Dennis is out, and a weak, corporate Democrat is in, you can be damned sure that the Ohio Republican Party will be emboldened to make a serious grab for that seat. Please go to and donate your money, time, and energy to helping keep this vital Congressional seat solidly in Progressive hands.

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