Lakewood Mayor Talking Our Of Both Side Of His Mouth

After lying to Lakewood citizens that Lakewood’s hospital was losing money and had to be shut down when he knew full well that the Clinic had a contractual duty to run the hospital at no loss to the City until 2026, Mayor Summers has now connived the City into another giveaway contract. 

Now, Mayor Summers and Council President O’Leary have led the sheep on City Council to give away the multi-million-dollar land upon which our hospital rested for only $1.00!!!  Worse yet, this rigged deal is for a project that makes no sense at all.

The Development and Use Agreement entered into by the City of Lakewood claims among other things that “After extensive analysis, deliberation and review, the City formulated a strategy for development of the Development Site that embodies a compelling vision for the future of the City and its residents.” That agreement provides that the “Developer shall construct, or cause to be constructed, a new multi-story mixed use office, retail and residential development to be known as One Lakewood Place.”

What’s so compelling about that vision for the future of Lakewood? What’s compelling is how to get away with giving away millions of dollars of City property without going to jail. The mayor’s $1.00 rigged giveaway deal is for a Project that “will include a minimum of 100,000 square feet, combined office and retail space” and “a minimum of the lesser of (a) 140 residential units and (b) 100,000 square feet of residential space.”  

Now, after committing the City to a project half of which is combined office and retail space, the Mayor now says that “Today, the retail sector suffers from online trends. Commercial office space, too is challenged by home-based work and coworking spaces.” He says that he is “confident that the smart process we employ will continue to yield harmonious outcomes.” 

What’s smart about that process??? Mayor Summers has the City give away for only $1.00 (Yes, only $1.00 !!) very valuable City land half of which is to be used for combined office and retail space knowing full well that the City does not need more office and retail space! Is that the result of the alleged extensive analysis claimed to have been undertaken in developing the Development and Use Agreement?

What harmonious outcomes???? The outcomes may be harmonious for the insiders who got millions of dollars of property for 1.00, but certainly not for the citizens of Lakewood who continue getting ripped off by Mayor Summers’ rigged deals with insiders!

Just how did Mayor Summers come to realize that commercial office space is challenged in Lakewood? Could it be that he actually looked across the street from the hospital site at the Lakewood Center North tall office building 100 feet from the hospital site, and noticed that most of the building is being converted from office space to residential use?  What kind of “extensive analysis” is that???  Shouldn’t the conversion from offices suites to residences of a large office building 100 feet away tell you that that there is not a need for more offices in that location?

About 40 years ago the City forced some people out of their Belle Avenue homes for the Lakewood Center North offices to be built. I can still remember way back when the old patient sharing my mother’s hospital room at Lakewood Hospital, who had been forced to move from her Belle Avenue home for that project, angrily cursing the then mayor as a rat-faced SOB. Now our government is changing zoning codes that will affect Belle Avenue residents for the benefit of the insiders who were given our City’s valuable property. 

Lakewood cannot afford any more untruthful government officials. It cannot afford any more rigged deals. It’s time for Lakewood to stop secret meetings and the giving away of City property. 

It's past time for the election of truthful officials who have the City’s best interest as their goal, rather than their own secret interests. It is time for open honest government!

Edward Graham is a former member Lakewood City Council.

Edward Graham

Former Member Lakewood City Council

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Volume 15, Issue 16, Posted 3:23 PM, 08.21.2019