Two sides- one published – one denied

December 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm 4 comments

There is once again a manipulation of events in the media. Anyone who wishes to access information on the CRA from the beginning October 2006 will find a plethora of information documented and the history on the side bar of this blog.

Media has from time to time been used and it is by omission that readers are led down a certain path of knowledge. One that could be seen as tipping the scales in unbiased reporting.

Last week the Morning Journal ran an article with regard to the CRA

“CRA set tax savings for key figures”
http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2009/12/10/news/mj1975864.txt
By AMANDA DOLASINSKI

The article in part mentions Don Romancak’s receiving a tax exemption on his property.

Readers of the CRA debacle will recall the first article written about the CRA program on WoM ( now defunct) and an interview with Mr. Romancak which was also used in the Cleveland Plain Dealer article on the CRA ( no longer on line) but following the same “thought process and investigative reporting” done by the Morning Journal three years later.
Mr. Romancak stated in that very first CRA interview:
“3. Addresses of applicants?
We will provide the addresses of those that have been approved and I suppose I will be able to provide those that have applied since they will eventually become public.
**Just so you know I have submitted the completed agreement and paid my fee, I do not know if mine has been approved yet. Don R.

This is not a person who tried to hide anything from the public and seemingly there was a chance ,since this application was public knowledge (through WoM) – to stop any illegal application?????.

Now back to truth and a balanced media .

Dan Given was also pilloried in the article of December 10th 2009 but the readership of the Morning Journal has been denied the “rest of the story ” and denied so far Mr. Given’s rebuttal leading their readership and those of the community in a direction that is less than accurate.

Therefore after many calls and e-mails to the Editors and Publishers of the Morning Journal by Mr. Given this blog will have to give him the space they have so far denied him.

From: Given, Dan
Subject: Complaint against your newspaper and its writings
To: jsudbrook@morningjournal.com
Cc: adolasinski@MorningJournal.com, letters@morningjournal.com
Date: Thursday, December 10, 2009, 1:45 PM

December 10, 2009

Mr Sudbrook,
After reading your newspaper today, I am very alarmed that your employee, Ms Amanda Dolasinski, continues to paint a picture of corruption and illegalities in a controversial city program in Lorain . Creating controversy should never be the purpose of a community newspaper when a little extra effort could in fact bring ALL THE FACTS to light on a topic that has been covered over and over again for the last three years. Clarity brings the truth. Omissions bring about questions.

First let me say that CRA’s (Community Reinvestment Areas) were created by the State of Ohio , not the City of Lorain . Next, many cities have CRA districts in this state which offer similar such residential tax abatements to its residents. For starters, I would suggest you start researching with Cleveland and Cincinnati and go from there. These CRA’s are regular tools utilized by older, urban, impoverished cities to attract residents to invest, stay, and/or move into these areas. They can be used for both remodeling and new construction.

In her article, which I believe is based to discredit the two individuals mainly focused upon, it implies that I had something to do with creating this 15 year tax abatement and also creating a 100% percentage of tax abatement. This is totally false. I had nothing to do with creating the districts, the rules, or the incentives to this program. I just applied for a city run program along with 400+ other residents who also were sold a bill of goods by the City of Lorain . I must also clearly state that my application and admission were reviewed and approved by the city legal staff before anything was granted.

To recap year’s worth of information in a few short paragraphs…At the time of this introduction, I was chairman of Lorain City Council’s Federal Programs Committee. These types of legislation had to come to my committee as that is why the committee was established and the rules it is mandated to operate under. There were five people on that committee. I did not do anything alone. When the topic of Lorain ’s various CRA zones with numerous CRA rules was brought up for discussion, I was asked if I would agree that a uniform set of rules should be established for all areas of the city. I felt that was a common sense question that was easy to answer. If you have numerous zones in the city and they all are called CRA’s, why not have one set of rules for all versus 5 sets of rules, created by five different people, over 5 different periods of time. Once I said yes to that common sense statement, the former Safety Service Director sent down HIS legislation to council for us to review. This was drafted by the former administration which was led by former Mayor Craig Foltin. For those that wish to recall this fact, Mr Foltin and I rarely saw eye to eye on anything and I would bet anyone my life savings that he would not do anything to benefit me financially, politically, or personally. This is not saying anything negative about our former mayor, it is only saying that he was not thinking of Dan Given and how something would affect him. Anyone alive at that point in time should recognize that.

Next, the legislation that was sent down by that administration only stated that uniform rules would be established by all CRA zones. Remember, that sitting City Council, I included, did not create these zones, nor did we create the incentives that the homeowners would receive, nor did we create the fees or rules that would be involved. We only agreed that someone in the city should create a UNIFORM set of rules to govern by. That specific piece of legislation was unanimously approved by all 11 members of Lorain City Council. Once again, no one can claim this was done in a back room or without public input and review.

One final fact that Ms Amanda Dolasinski failed to state in her article was that I was advised legally every step of they way on this topic while I was involved with the City of Lorain . In the attached letter from the former City Law Director, it clearly states that all actions were above board and clearly reviewed by his department or himself

I would appreciate you getting all the facts out in this situation rather than just flaming the fires on a community controversy that many people are trying to resolve.

I would appreciate you reading the attached letter as well.

Daniel Given

Lorain City Councilman

440-396-6113


The attached letter referred to by Mr. Given was one that has appeared on this blog and on Wom a number of times and one I personally had sent weeks ago to the Journal for their information , I have to wonder why this part of fair and balanced was left out ?

The Notorious Opponents of Exactitude Award has to once again be “given” ( pun intended) to the Publisher and Editors of the Morning Journal. Come on Boys and Girls let us be balanced and give those you write about their space to refute your conclusions – Isn’t that what the free press is supposedly all about?

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Entry filed under: Blogging, city of lorain, CRA, media, notorious opponents of exactitude. Tags: , .

The sharing of ones grief Something wicked our way came

4 Comments Add your own

  • […] visit Loraine’s blog for the […]

  • 2. Tom Skoch  |  December 13, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Loraine,

    Had you asked me before publishing the post above, I would have told you that Dan Given and Don Romancak ignored The Morning Journal’s repeated calls for their comments in preparation for our latest story which is referenced above. That was the time for Given to comment, and to be fully open to answering any questions and making any statements for that story. We stand by the story as published.

    In addition, the information rehashed in Given’s letter, posted above, and in his letter from Provenza, have both been noted in one form or another in our previous coverage over the past three years in The Morning Journal. His protests above still don’t answer legitimate questions we have. So, for you to accuse The Morning Journal of manipulation and biased coverage just doesn’t wash.

    The purpose of The Morning Journal’s latest story was to point out for the first time anywhere to my knowledge the amount of money Given and Romancak (and it follows, others with similar homes) would save, at other taxpayers’ expense, if these abatements were in place the full 15-year term.

    That information would be valuable for the public to know just for the record, and especially when and if new CRA legislation is enacted as the result of any settlement or court ruling.

    Tom Skoch

  • 3. Just Curious  |  December 13, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Funny how Mr Skoch does not understand that the council members are not supposed to speak to the media about this legislation and settlement. He also fails to state what exactly he ws trying to bait these guys into his “still don’t answer legitimate questions we have.”

    So much has been written to date I have yet to see these guys not give straight forward answers to anyone

  • 4. thatwoman  |  December 14, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Thank you Tom for clarifying but I have all the Journal articles and I have never seen the other side of this coin presented in the same fashion in the same light as the conclusions of “wrongdoing” . Maybe I missed the Provenza letter in your articles can you give me a link to that particular article and I will publish it.. with an abject apology and a withdrawal of the Notorious Opponent of Exactitude Award 🙂 … I do believe that since Mr. Romancak and Mr,. Given were the focus of this latest article that his response should have been published in name of balance whether you agreed with it or not after all it was also sent to “letter to the Editor” .Loraine

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