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From Jim Nichols’ article in this morning’s PD:

  • Expectations too high for medical mart complex, some experts say
  • Vision or hallucination? You decide.

    To me, the inescapable conclusion: This project carries a lot of risk and a big downside.

    Note: As a Map the Mess reader noted to me in an e-mail:

  • The PD does not make the link to this article easy to find on line
  • Comments to the article are turned off
  • What’s up with that?

    There’s an innocent explanation. See John Kroll’s comment below.


    Last 5 posts by Ed Morrison

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    10 Responses to “Med Con: Vision or hallucination?”

    1. Ed Morrison Says:

      I just checked the front page of the Pee Dee’s Internet edition. The story did not make the front page, yet.

      Apparently the on-line editors think this story is more important:

      Chimp attack draws $50 million lawsuit from family of victim

    2. polluted Says:

      Vision or hallucination? More like the work of a cargo cult that is focused on obtaining the material wealth of the advanced culture through Sympathetic Magic.

      We need to stop building vacancies.

    3. John Kroll Says:


      We ran this as the main story on the home page of starting around noon, when our traffic is at its peak. And it had one spot or another on the page for much of the rest of the day.

      The version of the story you linked to is from the automatic feed of our print edition, which never has had comments available. That’s why we posted this into our news blogs, where the story attracted more than 50 comments.

    4. Ed Morrison Says:


      Thanks for the explanation. Given the importance of this decision to our community, we need all the information we can get…These numbers are indeed scary.

      The developers are clearly working off inflated estimates of market penetration, visitor spending and the economic multiplier.

      Public involvement in this decision has been carefully managed to minimize disruption to the inside game going on.

      PD’s continued close reporting is playing an increasingly important role in shaping our understanding.


      Two weeks ago or so, Albert Ratner tried to get my brother, Hunter, the city’s former planning director, to make the case that the mall site was inappropriate.

      Hunter declined. As he pointed out to me in a conversation, the mall site is the most appropriate place for the convention center.

      Here’s my take: Albert and Sam usually work through their surrogates. Rarely do they step out front. The fact that Albert stepped forward tells me that he could not get anyone of his surrogates to make his argument for him. The FCE web is falling apart.

    5. John Polk Says:

      While one may commend the PD’s new emphasis on asking the tough questions (however belately), given the intrigue at work, it’s more feasible to consider its recent bout of inquisitiveness as just another campaign tactic.

      For many years, during my work with GCP’s predecessor organization, Cleveland often found itself on the wrong end of decisions related to business location or retention. Our typical reaction to those setbacks was based on a long-held practice in politics: “When in doubt, fuzz up the data.”

      The information contained in the article on the state of the meetings market has been readily available to anyone wishing to look for it for many years. Only the PD has overlooked it in the midst of its flacking for quick action on the project. Unless one has the faith (sustained belief in the face of contrary evidence) that the paper has undergone a Paul Of Tarsus-like conversion, it’s reasonable to see their new-found zeal for due diligence as somewhat more calculated.

      Taken together with the parallel articles reviewing Forest City’s questions/criticisms of the Mall site, it would appear that the paper is attempting to fuzz up the issues.

      Today’s editorial, in fact, overlooks the substantive issues entailed in the market analysis in favor of re-stating Forest City’s criticisms of the Mall location.

      It would be interesting to learn if FCE’s full-page ads in the PD have produced an outpouring of popular support for FCE’s position in this particular campaign. Bets?…Thought not…

      Ironically, it’s significant (and also overlooked by our local Beacon Of Public Enlightenment) that the business and institutional leaders of this particular project are, virtually to a man, the same people who pushed the County into the Browns Stadium fiasco. The strategy has been essentially identical, right down to the bogus sense of urgency and emphasis on getting the project done with little public oversight or due diligence. But without a football team to rouse some public support, it would seem the scam is hitting a wall.

      FCE has a history of turning on those who have been unable or unwilling to serve as their surrogates in promoting their agenda (ask Jane Campbell). It would be good for the community if a few of these guys lost their jobs. They’ve been paid a lot of money to undermine the democratic process and choke off open community dialogue and debate. Their behavior has been disgraceful, and their hiding behind layers of process has been cowardly.

    6. Ed Morrison Says:


      As usual, you have provided a cogent analysis.

      [I]t would appear that the paper is attempting to fuzz up the issues.

      Yes, it would seem so. The PD seems to have some relatively good reporters who read the tea leaves. They do an article, then get pulled back.

      (I’m thinking of Becky Gaylord et. al., and their critique of the fat salaries paid to Joe Roman and others. One article, then…poof…the story disappears.)

      FCE has a history of turning on those who have been unable or unwilling to serve as their surrogates in promoting their agenda (ask Jane Campbell)

      Yes, I’m well aware of FCE’s destructive, bare knuckled politics. For years, they relied on agents like Roman, Nance and Daberko to do their bidding.

      That’s why I found it so interesting that Albert is now out front. FCE has virtually destroyed the capacity of Cleveland’s civic leadership to think or act coherently.

    7. Carla Says:

      If FCE could destroy it, then Cleveland never HAD civic leadership. Anybody heard about Proposition 11, which just passed in California? It eliminates the right of state legislators to draw (and re-draw) the boundaries of their own districts. (This might interest some City of Cleveland residents around now). Starting in 2011, a panel of 14 citizens will re-draw the state legislative districts in California. Of course, I haven’t yet learned who will choose the 14 citizens, but I’m gonna look into that.

    8. John Polk Says:

      The erosion of civic leadership has been a problem in the region for 25 years, and a crisis for the last 15. It hasn’t been destroyed, just co-opted by aggressive opportunists and facilitated by amoral bureaucrats.

      Beginning in the mid-’90’s just as smart communities were beginning to embrace collaboration and a 21st century world view, Cleveland’s business, political. and institutional leadership chose to close in on itself.

      The circle of effective leaders has grown smaller and more inbred. The guys with the agendas run things, and the decent, responsible people either go along for fear of causing trouble or have nothing at all to do with the intrigue.

      There has been, to use a schoolyard expression, a virtually complete failure of adult supervision…I believe it was William Butler Yeats who wrote, “The best lack all conviction; the worst are full of passionate intensity”…

    9. Brian Cummins Says:


      Thank you for this post! The visual representation is excellent. We are still awaiting information requested from MMPI as well as learning what the next steps are for the City’s participation in the project. Lots of questions, questionable investment and a public process that needs significant improvement.

    10. Ed Morrison Says:


      You’re welcome.

      One of the first lessons of economic development: Face the facts on the ground; markets don’t lie.