Let's Not Have Deja Vu All Over Again In Lakewood

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Then there are many in Lakewood who define insanity as taking real estate you own worth more than twenty-two million dollars ($22,000,000.00!!), i.e., Lakewood Hospital property, and spending millions more of taxpayer money to tear it down so it can be given away to an insider for one dollar ($1.00). Mayor Summers’ obsession with giving away valuable City property for nonexistent public purposes brings to mind Tammany Hall boss George Washington Plunkitt defining “dishonest graft” as actual theft from the public treasury or taking bribes for making certain public decisions while, “honest graft,” however, simply meant pursuing the public interest and one's personal interests at the same time.

            Ronald Reagan in his campaign debate would say, “There you go again.” There Mayor Summers goes again. The mayor apparently is not satisfied with giving away valuable hospital property for only $1.00, but now wants the City to spend $625,000.00 of taxpayer money to buy the former Trinity Lutheran Church property located at 16300-16400 Detroit Avenue. He certainly should not need advice from the law director to know that the City cannot legally go into the Church business. We don’t need any church property. In fact, we do not need any of the property at 16300-16400 Detroit Avenue for any reason. If that property were actually worth $625,000.00, after years on the market it would have already been sold. The law director has said that asbestos abatement has been an issue. There are better uses of city money than buying property for which the city has no use and has costly asbestos abatement problems.

Cuyahoga County Auditor records reveal that real estate taxes are currently being paid on that property. If the City bought that property both the City and the School Board would lose that tax revenue. While the City has no need to own this property, it does have a need for the real estate taxes it now generates.  Instead of raising citizens water and sewer charges to pay for needed improvements to our water and sewer systems, wouldn’t it be better to use the $625,000.00 for that purpose? The City is already throwing away millions of our taxpayer dollars to destroy our valuable hospital building. Wouldn’t it be nice if, for a change, City Council put the brakes on the inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars and City assets instead of rubber stamping the mayor’s plans that waste taxpayer money?

            Of course, if Council actually did the right thing and voted against the proposed legislation that authorizes the wasting of $625,000.00 for the unneeded property, Mayor Summers wouldn’t be able to enter into another rigged deal to give away more City property to another insider for one dollar ($1.00). The five council members who allowed the rigged hospital deal to happen, have an opportunity to change course and start acting in the citizens best interest by voting against the proposed ordinance to spend $625,000.00 to buy unneeded property. It would be a shame if Lakewood citizens wind up saying, there you go again mayor. It is time for Lakewood citizens to let Council know that they are not going to stand for any more giving away of our taxpayer dollars. Stop the corrupt déjà vu pending in Lakewood City Council.

Edward Graham

Former Council Member

Edward Graham

Former Member Lakewood City Council

Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:23 PM, 10.02.2018