Archive for July, 2008
by Loraine Ritchey firstname.lastname@example.org
I hated math, still do ! I was in the experimental class for “new math” in Canada. We were so cutting edge we didn’t even have proper textbooks and for 4 years I was taught differently from every other 7 grade class in the province. It was a disaster and I am still feeling the effects- don’t talk to me about fractions and percentages – I am absolutely useless!!!!
However in spite of my lack of mathmatical expertise I can still see when things don’t add up!
Over the years I have asked – through public records – for costs of certain “less than brilliant ideas” such as the Shawnee casino from the city ,
the Pipe Yard expenditures, and now the cost of the CRA from the county to the taxpayers
( note I started with the county expenses first since they started the whole situation “legal eagles” and all in the first place thus leading to the cost to city taxpayers! I will be checking on those costs as well
I have found that in all “records and accounting “ I am not getting the “real bottom line”. It seems that government ,at least in my experience, does not “account fully”.
I have run Charleston Village 501C3 for 17 years and I can tell you how much each project costs to the penny, both in kind, money wise and hours spent.
When I was the Interim Mainstreet Lorain Director ( now Lorain Growth Corp) for the 7 months it was the policy to break down for accounting purposes ALL costs incurred for each project , the monetary costs incurred, the man hours spent by the Director on that project, number of meetings , postage, phone , printing, office use etc. all were charged off to the different projects.
For example if the Director spent 4 hours on the “XYZ” project then his hourly salary would be booked against that project ( after all if he wasn’t doing that particular job of work in his 40 hour week he would be used elsewhere- it is a “cost”.- granted hidden but a “cost” nontheless Any mailings- even though using the bulk mailer- if he sent out 300 mailings that cost also was noted- same with telephone calls, lunches, travel time and costs. In fact you noted everything because in the long run it showed to the penny what project XYZ cost the organization to be involved.
The Shawnee Casino– Yes! I got the amount spent (the items that actually went through to Mr. Mantini ) but not the man hours used up by Community Development , the meetings, the travel expenses using city vehicles, gas, telephone charges long distance, overtime incurred ( or even if there were any charges) – postage- .the “gift echange” at the dog and pony press party …. Yes! as to our planners and city personnel it is part of their job to research and bring in developers but it is also part of their job to be looking at other projects and without these things being billed to each project we don’t get( in my opinion )a “true cost of what the Shawnee fiasco cost us”.
The announcement followed months of closely guarded negotiations orchestrated by a 37-year-old mayor, a man who was a boy when steel was strong and Lorain’s future was as bright as the flames in the mills.
Interviews and city records reveal a courtship between Foltin and the Shawnees spiced with secrecy, political loyalties and fears that the tribe was using Lorain to leverage the location it really coveted: Cleveland.
The Pipe Yard we have been told that it is breaking even and in fact making money – but is this a true accounting???-
The fields are being watered for instance – do we know how much water is flowing though the pipes. I understand that it is a city park and none of the parks apparently pay for water usage etc. and manpower is of course being used – there is an upkeep – is that reflected?.
However shouldn’t we “know” how much water is used at various parks, how much electricity , what the cost is to run the fountain etc at Veterans Park , Oakwood, and the other 54 parks ( 800 acres)? Shouldn’t that be available at a mouseclick? I would speculate that the expenses at Oakwood and the number of man hours to take care of that park would out distance the expenses and man hours at Veterans or how about Lakeview North??
To be successful and transparent ( in this writers humble opinion) you have to know and account for “all of the costs”. You wouldn’t budget your home account for instance and leave out water and electricity, because there is a cost to someone somewhere, whether it is more chemicals to treat the water etc.
To show the taxpayer just how much it takes to run this city hidden costs and all ,to me, would be a good thing!
The County CRA public records request– I did indeed get 62 pages of invoices and information ( which I will go through) at 10 cents a page – they didn’t charge me postage apparently ( although that was to me an expense incurred because of my request) but I guess that doesn’t count….
However I received the following from Mr. Stewart and I must say in record quick time- thank you !
Regarding your request for any and all expenses that Lorain County and taxpayers have incurred during the course of this CRA action” there are no additional public records responsive to your request”
Because the county too- seemingly only keep records of monies paid to Chandra and Co- not the driving to and from meetings ( although Chandra does – he counts it in his invoices to us -the taxpayer- ( through the real estate account in the County coffers- He counts his hours and what it costs for him and what it cost for his assistant.) but apparently county government doesn’t. So I guess to get a true accounting of what it is costing I should ask Chandra he may have a better idea……
As mentioned in my response to the county-
It is my firm belief that the taxpayers of this county should be able to , at a glance , know how much time , monies, man hours are being used on any one given situation / project etc. Otherwise we are NOT getting a true accounting of monies spent
And I would add city government to that as well. You might be surprised how much time and effort and monies are being wasted and how a project may not be as succesful as you think!
ED NOTE: Arrival for the 5:30 meetings- the agenda looked long enough already : http://www.cityoflorain.org/city_council/agendas.shtml
Court renovation presentation- Ct Consultants and the “project”- Red Light cameras ( you know that is going to be controversial) – Eagles Building presentation- and Wind Turbines- being the “highlights”- This was a lot of information to digest. My eyes glazed over and mind turned off half way through the “red light cameras presentation” – the chap did go a a bit ( well a lot) and on and on… too much information too quickly … as Paula states in her perspective you tend to get a bit slap happy after hours and hours – I started to think of Camelot and King Arthur – probably because of the Palace Theatre presentation to come later and all the wonderful shows that I was lucky enough to have been a part of – I started to cast the council members in respective parts- this guy though I am afraid became “Sir Jaws a lot” – now aren’t you glad I don’t run for office! I couldn’t handle even the meetings!
Paula stayed longer than I did 3 hours was enough for me- thankfully at least the people for the “wind turbines” who were “last on the list ” had the Chronicle reporters attention!
Council is on a break through August so my intrepid collegue Paula can rest up for what will probably be a marathon meeting in September. ( Rather you than me my friend- thank you for all your coverage!)
“ by Paula Tobias
I try very hard to listen, think about what they’re saying, and write key points down. If I’ve missed something please let me know.
I left in the middle of the Committee Meetings almost 4 hours after I had arrived.
I understand this is the last meeting before August recess but my gosh…..!!!
Where shall I begin?
How about at the end while I was walking out.
Mr. Timko tried to answer the questions Council had been asking for the last hour about why Project 15 S for Street Replacement Sewer repair had a cost overrun. They were asking for more money and it eventually came out that there may be more than the $463,000 needed.
My perception of what he said was, “We need a full time City Project Manager to follow these projects from beginning to end, and the Engineer department couldn’t do it.” in so many words. It sounded to me like a commercial for more personnel.
My thought, what are you doing throwing the Engineering department under the bus and wasn’t CT Consultants our agent representing us? He also stated it was a confusing project, “We’ve been confused.” Well that explains everything!
Back to the beginning of the evening 4 hrs ago.
Nestor Traffic Systems gave a razzle dazzle 45 minute power point presentation on Traffic cameras. After their presentation the Chair said ..”Only questions regarding the product should be brought forth..” So I didn’t go to the microphone. I wondered:
1. Does the Lorain Police Department approve?
2. Which Officer is going to be paid (and with what) to view the videos after they send them. Don’t we need every able body out on the street?
3. What percentage of all violations are red light violations?
4. Is this considered a revenue stream?
5. How is this measured as a “Successful Program?”
6. It is touted as a “Violator Funded Program” (Nestor gets 1/3 of the ticket paid, oh yeah and how many traffic tickets are paid?)
7. Privacy issues? Isn’t Cleveland having some legal problems with theirs?
8. What are the criteria for establishing a red light district?
a. They said 16 violations in a 24 hr. period. (Can you think of an intersection in the City that qualifies?)
The Mayor noted that this presentation was requested by Council. I heard,
“If the referendum fails….they may consider this due to a lack of police coverage.”
Mayor Anthony Krasienko said the city probably wouldn’t consider it unless the referendum petition to change the city’s income tax credit gets on the ballot and fails. If there are enough valid signatures to put it on the ballot and residents vote it down in the November election, the city could see a reduction in police overtime.
Mayor Tony Krasienko said he’d consider the cameras if voters shoot down his investment plan in November, but until then, he’d rather rely on the eyes of the Lorain police.
ED NOTE: Ironically – Joyce Early , one of the petitioners who worked to get petitions signed to put the Licence plate tax and the income tax on the November ballot also spoke out against the red light cameras. Ms. Early gave a packet to council members with concerns as to why no red light cameras and also mentioned a website:
http://stoptrafficcams.blogspot.com/2008/07/scam-uncovered-red-light-and-speed.html. Ms. Early left before Paula could talk to her further.
Ah ! can we be in for another “joust”?
Additional information has been requested from the LPD and Ms. Maiorana regarding tickets, payment, and by Ward violations. (I like fact based decisions).
When you have such long meetings you some times get a little slap happy. That’s why Loraine and Muley were there. And I swear I heard someone say when describing coverage of half a street as “Half Wits” as opposed to “Half Widths”. (Are they the brothers: Half, Dim and Nit?)
So with that I feel it’s time for bed, gosh knows what I’ll dream about tonight?
UPDATE!!! Muley’s Cafe has a perspective here
Alexander Porter was born March 15, 1843 in Lorain, the 6th born child of Nathaniel and Clarissa Kneeland Porter. It was in Lorain where he attended the local schools, later, it is said, even spending a couple of summers at Oberlin College. Inspired by his three older brothers, all of whom were seamen, Alexander began his career of sailing at the age of 13. His first excursion on the Great Lakes was as a cook aboard the scow Orleans which was built in 1856 for G.W Jones and J Porter, and under the command of Capt. James Porter, brother of Alex. In 1859, he sailed as part of the crew of the bark “W. S. Pierson”, which made it’s maiden Atlantic Ocean voyage out of Cleveland to Liverpool, England with a stop over in Bristol carrying aboard, staves and timbers. The ship was under the command of Captain Aaron Root of Lorain a veteran commander of the lakes who came out of retirement to accompany this grand voyage. The return trip met with a challenge, that of being stranded in frozen waters in Ontario, Canada to which they had to wait until spring when the port was re-opened to continue the journey home.
Alexander enjoyed sailing very much and from the time of his return, he sailed the lakes every summer. He was employed by a big lake steamship company, and his many years of experience had led to his command of numerous boats, his first was as the skipper of the “Rescue” among others were the “Orleans”, “Milan” “Winona”, “Thomas Gawn”, and the “David Wallace” just to name a few. He became the owner of many boats and conducted a prospering business in sailing.
Alexander married Susan Dorliska Freeman on December 12, 1871 in Lorain Co. She was born January, 1844 in Canada, the daughter of Stephen Van Rensselaer, and Laura (Wolcott) Freeman. Stephen came to Lorain County and settled in LaGrange in 1829.
Susan moved to Lorain in 1867 from La Grange. She was a school teacher in one of Lorain’s first school buildings located where the fire station #1 was located prior to her marriage. For years after her marriage, she sailed the Great Lakes with her husband. A story is reported that about 1879, while sailing with her husband aboard the J.U. Porter, as they loaded stone in what was known as Oak Point, a storm erupted and the boat became grounded. The two of them “walked all the way to Lorain attired in dripping clothes.” She was on of the last charter members of the Church of Christ. She died March 5, 1927 Lorain and is buried at Elmwood.
Alexander & Susan, had no children of their own, but when Alexander’s cousin’s son, William V.R. Porter, and his wife Sadie (McDonald) Porter, both died while their three children were young, Alex and Susan took on the duties of raising them. Susan’s sister was the wife of Marion. As it would be, two Freeman sisters, married two Porter cousins. They had resided at what had become known as the “Porter House ” 503 Washington Avenue in Lorain.Today, the house has a sign that says, “PORTERHOUSE, 1842″
I had always assumed that it was there, at 503 Washington Ave, that Nathaniel and Clarissa Porter had first purchased a lot in Black River Twp. and raised their family. I had wondered also about the year, 1842. That must’ve been the year it came into their possesion.? According to the land records, Nathaniel purchased land in Black River in 1836. So why did the house say 1842?
Upon discovering the land deeds, Nathaniel purchased a lot north of there on what is now known as 224 Hamilton Ave. So who lived in the “Porterhouse”?
The first record I have of a Porter owning that lot was in 1879, two years after Nathaniel had died, when Alexander purchased the lot thru an auction that was ordered by the court of a Samuel Mapes, the owner, who’s case had a judgement brought against him in a dispute over financial troubles. He was ordered to list the house in the Elyria newspaper for five consecutive days, upon which then, it was to be auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder. Alexander Porter was the highest bidder with a bid of $334.00. The question still remained as to where the 1842 came from?
Another story associated with the “Porterhouse” was from a local newspaper advertisement for Lea & Perrin’s Steak Sauce asking the question;
“How did the Porterhouse Steak get its name?”
Answer: From the Porter House, a hotel in Lorain O., where Charles Dickens, touring the U.S. in 1842, was served an unusually delicious steak. Delighted, he spread its fame everywhere, always referring to it as the Porter House steak. Soon, leading hotels began to apply the name to their finest steaks. An appetizing tip for present day steak lovers. The flavor of any steak is wonderfully improved by a dash of Lea & Perrin’s Sauce, the perfect seasoning for all meats, fish, soups, gravies and seafoods.”
In 1842, Charles Dickens did tour the United States. He arrived in Boston and made his way westward as far as Pittsburgh, where he boarded a paddle wheeled boat and headed for Cincinnati. After traveling west, he returned to Cincinnati, then made his way up north, through Columbus, where he stayed the first night.
The following day, he arrived in Sandusky on Saturday, April 23, at 6:00 am, where he waited most of the day for the first boat out. He no sooner finished his dinner when the 400 ton steamship, the Constitution, arrived en route for Buffalo. It was a twenty four hour journey from Sandusky to Buffalo by steamship, and according to the book “The Life of Charles Dickens” by John Forster, he says; “We lay all Sunday night at a town (and a beautiful town too) called Cleveland; on Lake Erie”. He mentions people coming on board to meet him, but he never mentions getting off the steamship, until he reached Buffalo at 6:00 am on the 26th.
Sandusky is also claiming the story of the Porterhouse steak, as is Cleveland, Boston, and New York City.
Charles Dickens never stopped in Lorain, the Porter House Hotel was not in existence until some twenty years later, when Alexander’s brother James established it on the corner of what is now 9th Street & Broadway Ave. It was most likely an advertisement gimmick, but the story lives on to this day.
Alexander died on January 4, 1919, and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery. After he died, his wife Susan transferred the deed of the house to their niece, Kitty Porter Flewelling one of the children they had raised. Susan remained on in the house until her death in 1927. The house remained in the Porter family until 1945.
PART ONE OF THE PORTERS CAN BE FOUND HERE