How history gets written

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sheepChurchill said, “History is written by the victors.” Sunday we saw how that works on the local level. Recently reelected Mayor Doug Franklin gave an interview to the Tribune, which ran it on the front page of Sunday’s paper along with a nice photo.

The mayor makes a number of statements in the interview which the Tribune published without any substantiation. Nor did they seek comments from me or any other person who might have challenged the statements. They appear to have done no fact checking.

What’s worse, both the reporter and Tribune editor knew that at least a couple of the assertions made by the mayor were either false or highly debatable. And yet they printed and distributed them to their subscribers as if Moses himself had delivered them from the mountaintop.

I’d be very happy to move on from the election, but the mayor seems unable to do so. If we allow these lies to stand unchallenged then we are sheep — sheep who happily allow ourselves to be fleeced and left to stand in the cold reality of the city-with-no-future the mayor is creating for us.

Following below are some selected quotes from the article which appear in italics, followed by the comments I would have given the Tribune had they asked.

“There were some disappointments in terms of people who benefited from my tenure, from this administration’s accomplishments, who went the other way for no good reason,” he said.

“During my first term, I was able to accomplish the most that I have as a public official,” Franklin said. “This election should have been a cake walk.”

I covered this in yesterday’s post. In other words, if you voted for Blank you are either stupid or ungrateful.

Doug went on to list the accomplishments of his first term:

“The privatization of the management of Packard Music Hall, which is reducing the subsidy paid by the city by $50,000 a year”

He is referring to the contract he made that gave away one on the city’s greatest assets while receiving nothing in return. Most of you know the truth here. The city saved nothing — it actually costs the city more now than before the contract. If you are not familiar with the terms you can read them here.

“The privatization of the operation of the city-owned Old Avalon golf course, saving another $90,000 a year”

This is a gross exaggeration of any possible “savings” but even one dollar of “savings” can only be calculated from the cost the city was burdened with as a result of Doug and Enzo’s complete mismanagement of the previous Old Avalon contract, which left it unused and requiring maintenance by the city for two seasons. Ask any golfer you know how the new management is working out there.

“Having three city departments (community development, income tax and health) move out of 418 Main St. and into the Gibson Building”

At last, a true statement. Unfortunately the move took place two years after buying the building. Meanwhile we’ve been paying the bond interest on the Gibson Building plus utilities and maintenance on the old building all that time. And, oh yeah, the move had to be postponed once because the city forgot to book the movers.

Doug then turned his attention to me:

“Franklin said there was nothing brought up by independent candidate Dennis Blank that he is considering adopting during his next four years. “What was his plan?” Franklin said. “There is nothing he brought to the table.”” 

Unlike the mayor, I brought something to the table at every meeting, debate, doorstep and telephone call. This link will take you to a list of a dozen or so specific ideas I proposed during the campaign. Can anyone think of a single thing Doug promised to do the next four years? I cannot, but now that the election is over he does name some things he plans to do.

sheep1bThese include developing the East Market Street Medical Corridor and marketing the downtown Peninsula area into a mixed use opportunity for growth. Wow. These two items were suggested to the mayor as priority projects more than three years ago by the Resident Advisory Committee, of which I was a member.

After years of trying, we were unable to get the mayor to do anything to move these projects forward, and the committee disbanded earlier this year in frustration over Doug’s unwillingness to act. On Sunday I heard from two other former RAC members who are furious that Doug would claim these ideas as his own.

Meanwhile, while Doug did nothing, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership got the Kent State School of Architecture to give us some ideas for developing the Peninsula. The Robins Project students from New York’s New School did something similar. Both outcomes were presented to the city in detail at formal events that drew hundred of local residents. Doug couldn’t be bothered to attend. The Peninsula project in particular is something I wrote and talked about repeatedly, but there seems to be nothing Doug won’t take credit for when he thinks he won’t be challenged.

Doug closed by promising to do everything he can to reduce violent crime, even though during the campaign he claimed to have already reduced it by 80% during his time in office; a claim that the Vindicator proved was the biggest lie of all.

I plan to challenge these public lies whenever I hear them, for which I’m sure I’ll be accused, by some, of being a poor loser or worse; but it has to be done.

I had the privilege to get to know many you these past months. You are not sheep. Don’t be fleeced. Speak out at city council. Call your councilperson and tell them you want progress. Write to the Tribune and demand better.

We can do better.

Posted Monday, November 16th, 2015 under Election, Warren strategic plan.

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