Public opinion, when it is expressed, makes a difference. The email copy below was sent to Warren and Trumbull County elected officials this week, but you don’t have to be an elected official to have your voice heard. Send the letter suggested below is a fast and easy way to make a difference.
As you may know, The Cuyahoga Land Bank is organizing an effort to get Ohio’s political leaders to write letters of support for its efforts to get the EPA to restore the residential exemption from asbestos remediation.
The current EPA position has forced Warren to spend 50% of its Moving Ohio Forward demolition money on either testing or remediation. Here is a link to details of their efforts which includes a sample letter that you can easily download and send (email, post or fax) to the CCL.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
[Note: See the previous post for an email I sent last week to one of Congressman Ryan's aids, Perlette Wigley the "Grants Coordinator Housing and Senior Advocate" in his Youngstown office.]
I contacted our DC office to obtain information regarding your inquiry. Specifically regarding the issue of asbestos remediation and demolition projects, the Congressman has received similar concerns from a number of municipalities and organizations in the district. We are particularly aware that the Ohio EPA has proposed an alternative to the usual scattered site demolition EPA requirements, but that US EPA has so far not allowed this alternative.
We have passed these concerns along to US EPA and expressed the Congressman’s serious concerns with the lack of parity between requirements for a residential owner seeking to demolish his/her own property compared with the requirements for cities and local governments. Specifically, we have asked EPA the status of whether or not they will approve the OH EPA alternative. We are still waiting a response back. I hope this information helps. Take care.
I responded to Ms. Wigley in the manner below. I hope I was not impolite; I like Ms. Wigley, with whom I’ve spoken on the telephone a couple of times.
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. You’ve been very responsive but I have to tell you that I am very disappointed in the substance of the response. Many people believe that blight and vacant houses are the most serious problems facing urban areas in the Congressman’s district.
I had hoped that he was doing much more than expressing “serious concerns” over the EPA’s arbitrary actions, which are in violation of its own rules and which have been sucking up half the already inadequate amount of money available to fix this problem. I was hoping to see some leadership.
This was a very frustrating and disappointing exchange. I didn’t have high hopes from the beginning; I expected a stock response of some kind but I thought there would be some substance to it. But come on, the Congressman expressed his serious concerns? It sounds like a parody of a politician’s public position on something and left me thinking Mr. Ryan has no position on this issue of critical importance to Warren.
I’m going to try to get Warren and Trumbull County elected officials to write letters on this issue and will let you know if I have any success.
[Note: Pearlette Wigley is an aid to Representative Tim Ryan who has called me a couple of times in regards to past correspondence I've had with the Congressman. For the record, she is unfailingly polite and responsive if not 100% successful in getting the response I've requested. My latest communication to her, sent today, is below.]
It has been more than six weeks since I wrote to Representative Ryan asking what efforts he has made to help his district fight blight, and more than two weeks since I mentioned to you that I have received no response. I have still received no response and hope to have that information soon. You can read a copy of my email here.
In the meantime I have been digging into the question of how effectively communities are able to use the money we do have. For example, as noted in my first email, Warren recently was forced to spend more than 50% of the $1.3 million it received from the Moving Ohio Forward fund on asbestos testing and abatement, which was forced on the city by the Federal EPA in direct contradiction of its own regulations.
This is the kind of illogical government action in defense of a principal, while allowing a much bigger issue to sail right over its head, that has made so many Americans cynical and distrustful of government.
As you probably know, The Cuyahoga Land Bank is organizing an effort to get Ohio’s political leaders to stand with it and write letters of support for its efforts to get the EPA to restore the residential exemption from asbestos remediation. Here is a link to details of their efforts which includes a sample letter.
Therefore, I’m asking a second question now: Has Congressman Ryan written a letter of support and if not, why not?
I received a copy of a letter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to Congressman Tim Ryan, via email from Ryan’s office this week. It was in response to my letter to Ryan of August 14, 2013 suggesting that HUD would be the appropriate entity to investigate Sunshine Homes. Well, apparently they are, but they aren’t giving up any details as indicated in the letter text below. You can open a PDF of the letter HUD_speaks here.
Dear Representative Ryan:
We appreciate your inquiry regarding Sunshine Homes and your request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to look into the situation.
At this time material compliance issues are under review. HUD can not provide a response while this process is pending.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Acting Field Office Director
Cleveland HUD Office