I really don’t know why Doug Franklin wastes his time working for the city for a measly 80 grand or so a year when he could be making that per episode writing politic fiction for television. He’d be great writing for House of Cards, or Madame Secretary. If you enjoy political fiction check out today’s Tribune article in which a number of local elected officials and community leaders express skepticism over the $90,000 the city is investing in a new comprehensive plan, since they did absolutely nothing to implement the 2009, $182,000 Warren Strategic Plan also known as the Poggemeyer Study.
Former RAC chairman Roy Yancey, referring to efforts to work with the Mayor, is quoted as saying: “It was (like) beating our heads against the wall.”
“Not true” claims the Mayor, who goes on the say that the majority of the RAC “10 point plan” was completed. He states:
“The bike trail, the downtown farmer’s market, the Mahoningside power plant property, and historical lighting downtown, which was part of the Poggemeyer study, but not a part of the 10-point plan, are all done,” Franklin said. “The Education and Medical Corridor is nearly complete. We are working with the Planning Commission to do more in getting the Peninsula area included in our Community Reinvestment Area (CRA), so we can market it to investors.”
The truth is a long way from the Mayor’s version. First of all, it was an 11 point plan, but we’ll come back to that later. Second, the only reason is was cut down to 11 points is that we couldn’t get the Mayor to do anything in the 200 page report, so we thought a “Cliff Notes” version might spur action.
The other reason for the 11 points was that the overwhelming, number one, recommendation in the Strategic Plan was that the city hire a planner to oversee and coordinate planning and progress. The Mayor claimed for two years the city couldn’t afford to do that while steadily wasting money on unproductive hires like converting two highly paid staff members of Packard Music Hall into grant writers, who don’t actually write grants.
So we finally gave up on the planner and went for a project-based recommendation.
Let’s dissect the mayor’s quote above. He takes credit for completing the bike trail. What he means is that the state funding was spent to build the trail, but what the 11 point plan asked for was a plan to market the trail and make it into a productive community asset. That has never been undertaken at all.
Then he implied that he deserves some credit for the farmers market, which is successfully operating totally due to the efforts of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnerships; the city had nothing to do with it.
He states that “The Education and Medical Corridor is nearly complete.” Really? I’d like to see that plan. No one I spoke to who would be in a position to know can recall a meeting in the last two years to even discuss it. What has been done Doug? Why keep your plan a secret? We’re all interested in seeing it.
Progress on the Peninsula development? Don’t make me laugh. When TNP got the architecture school at Kent State to create dozens of development ideas and present them to the city, the mayor didn’t even show up to see their work.
Back to the 11th point; this one was so abhorrent to the mayor that from day one he dropped it from the list and never referred to it again. We asked that the city set aside a very small amount of money — $25,000 — to promote and market the city. But we don’t do that here. Warren continues to lose businesses left and right, and 10 people a week keep moving away, but the city will do nothing to change that.
Oh wait, I’m wrong. Now they do want to raise your water bill to fund the Community Development department, (which is almost certainly illegal), because CD does so much to bring new business into the city. I’d like to see the list of their accomplishments in the past 12 years, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that either.
Instead of a marketing budget the city spent $50,000 to read water meters from an airplane without first discovering that the results could not be fed into the billing system. That’s planning Warren style.
Mayor Franklin and his administration has done nothing — zero — to implement the Strategic Plan, and they never will. Having a plan means committing to action, and their actions are limited to managing the decline of our city.
Maybe it’s time we had someone in Warren to call Madam Mayor. Women know the value of good planning.
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