Letters To The Editor

Let's Move Forward, Not Look Back

The drama concerning the future of Lakewood Hospital continues even though it should have been resolved with the election results last November. Voters re-elected Mayor Mike Summers, an opponent of the proposed referendum, and defeated Issue 64 which would have forced a vote of the people before any decisions could be made regarding the hospital.

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 6:37 PM, 08.02.2016

By Your Deeds Ye Shall Be Known...

He had to leave in order to come back and win. He had to go out there to Miami with the scrutiny and the hate in his rearview mirror and pretend he didn’t hear the volume of it all. He watched them burn his jersey and yank down his posters. He heard the former pros wreck his name and speak poorly about abandoning his hometown. He made the mistake of answering freely, when asked about how many championships he might stockpile there in the city where he “took his talents,” by joking with his ring-less digits 1, 2, 3 maybe more….. ha ha ha.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 4:38 PM, 07.19.2016

Welcome Republican Convention!!!

I've been thinking lately about how Cleveland will be hosting the Republican National Convention for four days starting July 18 and that we Clevelanders should really roll out the welcome mat to make them feel more at home!

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 4:38 PM, 07.19.2016

The Remains Of Independence Day

As a veil of smoke from the annual July 4 fireworks show mingled with the mist and expanded outward from Lakewood Park the night of Monday, July 4, some of those leaving the display cast a pall on tree lawns, sidewalks, and streets as they vamoosed from the show.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 4:38 PM, 07.19.2016

Can Council's Courage Continue???

Kudos to Lakewood City Council for voting 7-0 to outlaw discrimination in private employment and public accommodation based on one's sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. This legislation benefits every member of our community both socially and economically and makes Lakewood a better place for all the residents.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 4:11 PM, 07.06.2016

City Council Vote On Meridian Revetment Ordinance

Fifty-two Meridian owners object to ordinances 25 and 26/16 for the following reasons:

The revetment project is doomed to fail according to the recommendations of both geotechnical experts who studied the cliff. To avoid cliff collapse and erosion, they recommend only to place drainage and monitors above. However, the ordinance calls only for a revetment at the base, something both experts did not feel is recommended for at least 25 to 50 years.

Ex Cuyahoga co. Law director, attorney Majeed akhlouf, hired by concerned owners listed overwhelming legal precedent that makes this project illegal. For example, he states: "Approving this ordinance and its funding by council will be the usurpation of property and thus is illegal because it fails to have 100% owner's approval. The ordinance constitutes abuse of power and misapplication of the municipal funds without just compensation through the eminent domain process as determined by the US's Fifth Amendment and Article 1 of the Ohio constitution. Should city council approve this ordinance without 100% owner's approval, Lakewood council must pay for this job. (see US constitution Loretto V Teleprompter 458 US 419 (1982)"

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 4:11 PM, 07.06.2016

Malley's, Then And Now

My first memory of visiting Malley's Ice Cream parlor was when I was 4 years old, I am now 73. I fell in love with the glory that was friendly decor and service and most of all the creamy, sweet ice crem covered in the glistening thing that was chocolate fudge...warm and melty all over. Over the years my parents, grandparents and now my kids and grandkids are treated regularly to this experience when they come to town as recently as last week. Other out-of-town guests have tasted Lakewood in the parlor while hearing me expound on the virtues and history of the quality of the establishment.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 4:11 PM, 07.06.2016

A General Look At A Specific Scene

We, as Americans, love beginnings, we love the sure-footed reach of what might become of our hope, hopes-- the general desire and the specific desire. We want our candidates to speak of some honesty of intention, some intention that will lead to fulfillment. You, dear candidate, must say you will achieve some prospect, some beginning toward the most good. But, we are not too particular about the course to such a goal. I say this in the general not the specific, many of us are proud to call ourselves wonks, policy hounds on a scent, combers of things. And, this is not to say the many that reach for broad goals are not specific or understanding-- it’s a general outlook of, “Say The Dream.”

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 4:51 PM, 05.24.2016

Burying The Hospital Alive

In December 2015, Lakewood City Council rushed the vote to close Lakewood Hospital. They called extra council meetings to pass this "emergency" measure because the seven members of City Council believed that the $50 million Lakewood Hospital Foundation was about to go bankrupt.

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 3:33 PM, 05.10.2016

Americans Are Suckers

Like most Americans, I just finished handing 15% of my income over to various government entities which included three different municipalities because I work outside of Lakewood. A socialist (Democrats) would tell you that you are receiving numerous services for that money. Really? Well, if you don't have any children or send your children to private school you are essentially paying someone else's tuition. You may not have needed to dial 911 this year but it could be argued that you still benefited from the coverage.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 3:33 PM, 05.10.2016

Vote For Someone With Vision

There are many who object to Bernie Sanders plans for America. They say that his proposals are too grandiose, too expensive and will lead this country into crippling debt. They will turn us into a socialist nation, with our citizens overly reliant on big government.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 4:44 PM, 03.29.2016

Save Lives, Save Jobs, Save Lakewood, Save Lakewood Hospital

Lakewood residents deserve a fulltime acute care hospital! Lakewood is the most densely populated city between New York City and Chicago. 52,000 residents live here. Senior citizens have been encouraged to move here to senior apartments near our hospital. They are less likely to have a car to take them for medical attention.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:28 AM, 03.01.2016

Second Chance Opportunity

I spoke to hundreds of people in their homes, in  parking lots and on the streets of Lakewood in 9 degree weather to gather signatures on the petition. Why? Because we promised we would have a referendum to repeal Ordinance 49-15 that council passed that gave all the assets of Lakewood Hospital to the Cleveland Clinic for pennies on the dollar. With our current city council puppets, a referendum is the only way for the citizens to influence what will happen to their asset, Lakewood Hospital.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:37 PM, 02.16.2016

Field Of Dreams

So what comes next?  A few years from now, the former site of the Lakewood Hospital will be ready for redevelopment. Now is the perfect time for bold visionary leadership from our elected officials.  We are presented with a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the City of Lakewood to plan, develop and implement a major and enduring civic achievement on the more than five acres that will be shovel-ready for redevelopment in a few short years.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:37 PM, 02.16.2016

Record-Breaking String Of Hot Years Is Almost Certainly A Result Of Climate Change

Dear Editor,
 
In an expert study released this week, scientists found that the last two decades of record-breaking hot temperatures are almost certainly the result of man-made climate change.
 
Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA announced that 2015 was the hottest year on record,underscoring the need for urgent climate action. Ohio has good reason to be concerned about this alarming trend: driven by carbon and methane pollution, climate change is fueling costly and deadly extreme weather events, including droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, and record winter storms. Luckily, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the Clean Power Plan, which sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
 
The heat is on and there's no time to wait. I urge Govener Kasich to serve Ohio's best interest by implementing the Clean Power Plan and reducing the pollution that drives climate change while creating new clean energy jobs. The future of our children and the planet depends on it.
 
Brittany Chanley
 
 

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 2:29 PM, 02.02.2016

Soccer Is Broken In Lakewood: My Open Letter Of Resignation

My name is Ted Nagel, and I am the current Vice President of the Lakewood Soccer Association (LSA). Effective immediately, I tender my resignation to the Board of LSA. There are a number of reasons why I am doing this, and also, why I am doing it publicly. I will explain my reasoning below and end with a challenge to the people who are currently in positions of trust related to soccer in Lakewood.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 5:45 PM, 01.19.2016

Officials Fail City, Future In Citizens’ Hands

On Monday, December 21, 2015, Lakewood City Council rubber-stamped a secretly negotiated 11th-hour plan to surrender Lakewood Hospital to Cleveland Clinic. The Clinic intends, with this authority, to complete its illicit decanting of what has always been a community-owned hospital, and to lock up healthcare in Lakewood for Clinic-owned hospitals elsewhere. Facing an ongoing lawsuit and possible investigations of their maladministration, the Clinic and its apologists apparently hope to thwart justice with a fait accompli.

The people of Lakewood do not have to let this happen. Council has embraced a false narrative of "the Clinic or nothing," blatantly ignoring the active overtures of a fully qualified alternative. Lakewood owes it to future generations, as well as the most vulnerable populations now and tomorrow, to employ every legal means to block the handover of our hospital and negotiate an alternative to the Cleveland Clinic’s dishonesty and theft.

Please don’t begin the coming year by giving up on your community. If council has lost the will to fight for Lakewood’s interests, honest working citizens have not.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 6:23 PM, 01.05.2016

A Nation's Bugle Sounds

Listen, you can clearly hear the sound of the conical shaped, shiny, brass bugle playing in a distance. 

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 6:19 PM, 01.05.2016

A Lesson In Modern Democracy

Even though the vote of city council on the issue to abandon Lakewood Hospital was a foregone conclusion, the auditorium at City Hall was packed with proponents on both sides. All were given time to speak.

Members of the Committee to Save Lakewood Hospital (dressed mainly in red) rendered the most passionate opinions. Council chairperson Madigan constantly referred to them as "red shirts" and admonished them to be respectful. Since when is passionate discourse delivered with a voice of moral outrage disallowed? Where would this nation be without the likes of Thomas Paine?

The votes and explanations of council were unanimous. Each one defended their decision with the same hand-wringing excuse that they were constrained by restrictions in the city charter. Not one stepped outside the box or came up with a creative solution. There were no heroics from that group--just mediocre renderings and toadying to big money.

Like so many aspects of American life, healthcare has fallen prey to profit. It was a sad night for the City of Lakewood and a foreshadowing of the dismal outcomes we face at the hands of those who are now in charge of our future.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 6:19 PM, 01.05.2016

Medical Experts Warn That Climate Change Is A Public Health Threat

An international alliance of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals urged world governments to respond to the public health threats posed by climate change with a strong global agreement. This alliance released declarations of a global medical consensus on climate change signed by 1,700 health organizations, 8,200 hospitals and health facilities, and 13 million health professionals at the UN climate conference in Paris earlier this month.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 6:19 PM, 01.05.2016

The Bitter Fruit

For those of you who so gladly embraced the Republican notion of "regime change" in the Middle East, specifically Iraq...you got your wish...though perhaps not nearly the kind of change you and they so foolishly expected. The sad events in Paris are a direct result of that totally misguided thinking. The funny part is...now the Republicans will say they have even more reason for their clannish distrust and hatred of Muslims. And I am sure their solutions to this tragedy will be equally as hateful and destructive...one or another form of bloody "an eye for an eye" multiplied a hundredfold. This kind of thinking is being caught up and carried away in a vicious cycle of violence. And what it has proven is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy.    

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Volume 11, Issue 24, Posted 3:38 PM, 11.24.2015

Everyone Must Pay Their Fair Share

The Clifton Club is a For-Profit corporation located at 17884 Lake Road, on 1.42 acres, and includes a 10,992 square foot building. When I found out how little the Clifton Club was valued at, according to Cuyahoga County records ($775,000), I asked the county to do an on-site appraisal of the Clifton Club. The appraisal took 4 months to finish, as the Clifton Club insisted on having their attorneys and manager there when the appraisal was conducted.

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Volume 11, Issue 24, Posted 3:38 PM, 11.24.2015

Election Analysis: Council And Hospital

Last week's election results sent mixed signals on Lakewood Hospital's future.

Many advocates for the hospital were disappointed at the defeat of mayoral challenger Mike Skindell, who argued passionately for saving Lakewood Hospital. The narrow rejection of Issue 64, which would have provided an automatic referendum on any action by City Council to close the hospital, also appears to be a setback.

Yet Issue 64 was not, itself, a referendum on closing Lakewood Hospital. What's more, its defeat serves as a reminder that Lakewood's electorate is home to more than one viewpoint. In studying the results of last Tuesday's vote, it's worth examining the point of view of Issue 64's opponents. One of the most prominent publications to oppose Issue 64 warned that it "could doom Lakewood Hospital," which certainly casts doubt on whether its defeat represented a mandate to close that same hospital.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 4:01 PM, 11.10.2015

UpTown Madison

Am I the only one who can see the beautiful vintage buildings, the fine businesses  and homes that line Lakewood's Up Town Madison Avenue? Mostly original, others tastefully repurposed. It's too bad that some have been forgotten, neglected and are now taken for granted.  

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 4:01 PM, 11.10.2015

Senator Skindell Thanks Lakewood Community

I want to take this opportunity to thank the greater Lakewood community for considering me for the office of mayor. Our campaign was brought forth by a grassroots call to bring openness, honesty and accountability in government and to instill a fair process in determining the future of Lakewood Hospital. I want to sincerely thank all those supporters who cast a vote, put up a yard sign, volunteered or contributed our campaign. I am deeply grateful for your confidence.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 4:01 PM, 11.10.2015

Vote YES On Issue 64

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If you revisit what happened in 2010 when the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) decided to move two departments to Fairview in exchange for the "Vision for Tomorrow" you will see that the same drama is playing out in 2015. The players are a little different, but the script is the same.

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 2:57 PM, 10.27.2015

There Is More To Lakewood Than The Hospital Issue

Speculation about the future of Lakewood Hospital is the hottest topic in town - long time neighbors and friends are at odds, allegations have been made that the Clinic intentionally disinvested the facility, and mistrust of the decision making process is pervasive.

Clearly, this issue will not be resolved quickly. Residents are seeking more information, more transparency, and more input into what sort of health care delivery model would best meet residents needs.

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 2:57 PM, 10.27.2015

Build Lakewood/Summers Supporters Have A Change Of Heart

In 2009-2010, I wanted to dream big during the Lakewood City Schools Phase III process by suggesting that the district only required six elementary buildings if you put them in the right location. (You can learn more at http://www.lakewoodobserver.com/read/2009/09/09/field-of-dreams-gets-a-wake.) I was dismissed. Most notably by members of the Lakewood Board of Education, members of The 50 Year Committee and those that favored maintaining Lincoln Elementary. I was told that the loss of two school communities was too much to ask and redeveloping land to build a new school was too complex and risky of an idea to consider. That idea would have opened up land in both downtown and a desirable northwest neighborhood for commercial and residential development. Of course, it did not include millions in assets for a new wellness foundation.

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 2:57 PM, 10.27.2015

Keep Sam O'Leary

Sam O’Leary is precisely the kind of councilperson Lakewood needs right now. He’s young enough –at 26 - to see our City’s future while old enough  – from a 3rd generation Lakewood family; born here, educated here and still living here – to appreciate where we have come from. As the Ward 2 councilman during a period of critical and emotional issues, Sam O’Leary has shown us precisely the qualities we need for Lakewood’s governance right now, and in the future.

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 2:57 PM, 10.27.2015

Letter In Support Of Greg Calleri For School Board

Dear Lakewood Observer,
 
While my children don't attend Lakewood Schools, I remain interested in the upcoming school board election. As a tax payer, home owner and part of the greater community, I want what is best for all the children of our city. Secondarily, I don’t want my taxes increasing or the value of my home decreasing because our schools aren't keeping pace academically. 
 
I have followed the school board race closely because my neighbor, Greg Calleri, is a candidate this year. In the course of our discussions he's made me aware that our school's “Excellent” rating is not the most accurate reflection of our current state. In fact, our schools are ranked 352 of 611 schools in Ohio. Our graduation rate is in the bottom half of the state. Don’t take my word for it – go to the state’s website – it’s all there in black and white on the state report card. No amount of spin can change the facts. The current board is also imperiling important programs like music and gifted, even though these remain a priority in the community. By The current Board's own estimation, we are facing a $14 million shortfall over the next 4 years and yet our spending is in the top 15% of the state! Although the updated 5 year forecast is typically submitted by the treasurer to the board in October, as of the last school board meeting on Monday, October 20th, it had not been presented. Greg inquired as to why it was late but has not received a response. I wonder why? 
 

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 2:57 PM, 10.27.2015

A Huge Thank You To “Those People”

Dear Tom Bullock, Rebecca M. Patton, Colin McEwen, Pam Smith, Ron Petrie, Jeffrey K. Rohrs,  Linda Beebe, Bob and Phyllis Dykes, Joel & Bonnie Egertson, William Gaydos, Kathy Haber, Tracy & Christine Jemison, Jim Kenny, Mary Osburn, Anne & Jack Palomaki, Scott & Holly Reba, Jenny Barnett Rohrs, Dru Siley, Vicki & Dan Smigelski, Craig & Shannon Strachan, Missy & Darren Toms, Rick & Lori Uldricks, Terry & Candace Vincent, and David Stein:

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 2:57 PM, 10.27.2015

It's Time To Move Forward In Creating A New Health Care Model For Lakewood

In the debate about the proposed closing of Lakewood Hospital several misconceptions have arisen.  Having been a staff physician at Lakewood Hospital for 38 years and a member of the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA) for 19 years, I would like to bring some perspective to a number of issues.

In 1996 when the decision was made to lease the hospital to Cleveland Clinic, the environment of government regulation and commercial insurance had made it virtually impossible for the hospital to operate as an independent community hospital.  In short, it was likely that the hospital would have had to close soon after that date unless the current lease was adopted.  In so many ways this was a win-win situation for both Lakewood and Cleveland Clinic.   In today’s times, the rapidly changing health care environment is what has led to the current situation.

Mayor Summers has been criticized by some for his support of the proposed closing of the hospital, painted as a conspirator in a foregone decision by Cleveland Clinic, described as secretive about the LHA discussions that were held.  But no one spends two years, thousands of dollars on consultants and literally tens of thousands of hours of time by the volunteer Board of Lakewood Hospital Association to evaluate a foregone conclusion.

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Volume 11, Issue 20, Posted 4:17 PM, 10.13.2015

Vote For Calleri - Because It's Time For A Change

My name is Gregory Calleri and I am running for school board. My background includes 3+ years on the city’s audit committee, 5+ years in teaching, 10+ years in finance, and 12+ years of small business ownership. I’ve also regularly attended our school board meetings for years and I am a member of our Hayes PTO and Harding PTSA organizations. These real world experiences and skill sets will allow me to find the creative solutions necessary to address the financial, educational and instructional challenges we are facing.

Why The Status Quo Is Not Acceptable
The incumbents will tell you that our schools are rated “Excellent” by the state of Ohio. What they don’t tell you is that approximately 62% of all schools in the state of Ohio are rated excellent and that our exact ranking is 352 of 611. Our graduation rate ranks us in the bottom half of the state. Over 50% of our students going to college have to take either remedial Math or English. Only 41% of our students taking the AP tests receive the 3, 4 or 5 needed to get college credit. They will also tell you that we need more money to improve the situation without telling you that over 85% of the districts in the state of Ohio that have excellent ratings do it with a lower per pupil cost.

To address this I will:

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Volume 11, Issue 20, Posted 11:29 AM, 09.29.2015

The Time Is Right - Pagsuyoin For Our Lakewood Schools!

Two weeks ago Debra Sweeney announced the kick-off for Kristine Pagsuyoin’s campaign for Lakewood School Board. Sweeney, a former School Board member, knows the job. She knows what the most desired qualifications are for that position. She knows Kristine Pagsuyoin, her credentials, her community activities and her years of advocacy for Lakewood students, parents and teachers.

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 5:42 PM, 09.15.2015

Judge Carroll Strong Advocate For People Wanting Alcohol And Drug Treatment

The idea that Judge Carroll has turned a blind eye to our community’s current spike in heroin related deaths is simply not true. It does not adequately reflect Judge Carroll’s commitment to finding common sense solutions to non-violent drug related offenders. I have been working with Judge Carroll for over ten years helping to rehabilitate drug and alcohol offenders through long-term residential care rather than spending tax payer dollars on the expensive incarceration of non-violent drug offenders.

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 5:42 PM, 09.15.2015

Why I Moved Back To Lakewood

Why I moved back to Lakewood…

Lakewood is a strong and inter-related community. Lakewood is the most densely populated city in Ohio. This proximity to neighbors, parks, schools and amenities helps to strengthen relationships among those who live here. We are urban, just to the west of Cleveland. Our public school system is strong. My sister and I were blessed to have access to these schools and to the infrastructure that this education provided us in life. We were blessed to attend a large public school with other students who were different than us. We learned to embrace and respect diversity. Lakewood’s roads are shoveled efficiently in the winter, garbage pick up is on time, I can walk down the street to a thriving public library and read a book in a well cared for park. I can enjoy this park bench with a dear friend who might be black, who might be gay, who might be poor or who might be a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic.

Our community has historically invested in our public assets. We as a community have committed to investing in our city - through higher taxes - so that our community as a whole can prosper. Think Lakewood Park, Madison pool, the fire deparements, two libraries, Lakewood High School. Our community has courageously made this collective investment in the public good and quite frankly this spirit is why I choose to live in Lakewood and why one day I hope to raise children here.

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 5:42 PM, 09.15.2015

What's The Plan?

As I was walking through Lakewood, I have seen more "Save Lakewood Hospital" signs than ever before. I have taken the time to look into the issue and familiarize myself with the history. I too feel anger at the Cleveland Clinic for how this was handled, to a degree. That being said, I now ask, what's the plan? On the "Build Lakewood" side, we have city planners and accountants telling us that the best deal for the long-term future of Lakewood is to develop the community health center and utilize the money that we currently have to accomplish this transition. That money will go away as we keep the hospital open for operating expenses and possibly not last the remaining ten yers of the Cleveland Clinic lease. All of that, while not being what I want to hear necessarily, makes sense to my non-accountant, civilian brain. If Lakewood Hospital were making money, no one would be trying to close it, right? So, when the experts say that we have enough money for maybe ten more years or less, I tend to believe them because there really is no incentive for them to want to close Lakewood Hospital is there? Every one of them lives here and wants what's best for Lakewood (despite what one may read on the "Observation DecK").

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 5:42 PM, 09.15.2015

Please Vote No On The Lakewood Hospital Charter Amendment On November 3rd

When the proposed Charter Amendment first crossed my desk on July 16th for acknowledgment of receipt, I was in disbelief. As the City’s finance director, I knew it was bad news then, and I am even more convinced of that today. This is prescriptive public policy at it worse that will render Lakewood Hospital untouchable. It attempts to lock the hospital in a government controlled bubble that is destined to fail by potentially taking away the legislative powers of City Council. Lakewood voters did this once before in 1998, and it had to be undone by voters in 2005 due to the problems created by shifting powers to the electorate.

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 5:42 PM, 09.15.2015

Judge Carroll Best Qualified For Lakewood Municipal Court Judge

Over this past year, I have had occasion to sit as acting judge at the Lakewood court when Judge Carroll attended judicial conferences and observed first hand the operations of the Lakewood Municipal Court. We can all be proud of the court’s excellent staff who, along with Judge Carroll, are knowledgeable and conscientious public servants.

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Volume 11, Issue 17, Posted 4:01 PM, 08.18.2015

Lakewood Hospital Misinformation

In the June 9, 2015, issue of the Lakewood Observer, Jim Kenney claimed, “…The last major building investment was in 2002 when the Emergency Rooms were expanded….” This is false.

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Volume 11, Issue 16, Posted 5:56 PM, 08.04.2015

Lakewood Needs Its Hospital

In 1956 my parents realized that with four children, and the various relatives that lived with us throughout the years, that we needed a larger home than the one they had in Brooklyn, Ohio. For a variety of reasons they chose a colonial on Lincoln Ave.

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Volume 11, Issue 15, Posted 4:30 PM, 07.21.2015

My Support Of BuildLakewood.org And A Quick History Of The Lakewood Hospital Transition

I am so glad Build Lakewood launched to help counter the many misconceptions that are floating around the community in recent months regarding Lakewood Hospital. As Finance Director for the City of Lakewood since 2006, this is pivotal issue to the City's future and especially its financial strength. My job is the protection and growth of City's financial position, and to ensure taxes and fees are collected and spent as authorized by City Council.  
 
I hope to shed some light on the issues at hand, and why my biggest fear as Finance Director as it relates to the Lakewood Hospital situation is the City having to bring the properties back on its books. There is too much financial risk if that happens, and I will support anything that prevents that from happening. How that prevention happens is currently being explored by City Council in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.

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Volume 11, Issue 15, Posted 4:30 PM, 07.21.2015

Help Make Our World A Friendlier Place!

Make a friend from another country by welcoming a high school student from France into your home to share your daily life. It's a way for you and your family to create a lifelong friendship and influence the way someone from another country thinks about America and Americans for the rest of his or her life. The group of French teenagers, 14 to 18 years old, will be visiting us for twenty days from August 1st to August 20th. One would really like to get to know you!

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Volume 11, Issue 14, Posted 3:05 PM, 07.07.2015

Undocumented Children And Father's Day

As a minister I have always enjoyed celebrating those folks who function as caretakers and servants of our youngest generation. From naming the role of the Divine as eternal parent from the pulpit, to lifting up in liturgy the roles of the mothers and fathers in our midst, the affirmation of those who give of themselves that our youth may be raised in love and compassion is of the utmost importance. These roles take on a new depth to me this Father’s Day since in the past month I have had the joy to have new life within our household. I affirm the sanctity of those who are willing to give so much so that those whom they love and care for lack nothing.

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Volume 11, Issue 14, Posted 3:05 PM, 07.07.2015

Curious Questions And Facts

Curious Questions and Evidence:

Can Lakewood Hospital be saved? It is an important question, deserving a thoughtful answer.

It was with interest that I attended the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 23rd, at which Mr. Gable (President of the Lakewood Hospital Association) and Mr. Haber (Chairman of the LHA Finance Committee) addressed our City Council. It appears that they came to the meeting to pressure our City Council to cut short their deliberations regarding the Letter of Intent (LOI) to close Lakewood Hospital, and perhaps to plant an article in the Plain Dealer intended to convince our citizens that the hospital under the current administration is not viable.

The meeting format left no option for the public to ask questions pertinent to making informed decisions. As the only person in the room who speaks with the Lakewood Hospital nurses and attends on the hospital wards on a daily basis, I found this presentation a curious mixture of facts and conjecture inspiring many unanswered questions.

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Volume 11, Issue 14, Posted 3:05 PM, 07.07.2015

In Memorium: Ken Warren, A Founding Father Of The New Lakewood

When I heard the news of Ken Warren’s passing, my first thought was, “Oh no. It can’t be. Not someone so bright, talented, and lively – someone who gave so much, and who was essential to so many in Lakewood.” Surely, if anyone should stay with us well into his nineties to impart wisdom, to mentor, to teach, to connect today’s events in our local community to the long thread and larger story of history -- to do the work of an elder -- it’s Ken Warren.

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Volume 11, Issue 14, Posted 4:33 PM, 06.23.2015

Lakewood IS an Island

The new construction to create bike lanes and reduce traffic flow on Madison Avenue down to one lane each way has caused me to rejoice! To quote BikeLakewood (our hometown advocacy group) "A community where it is safe and convenient to ride a bike is a good place to live for everyone."  You cannot say that about Parma. Try riding a bike in Parma. Be sure your life insurance is up to date.  

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 3:04 PM, 05.26.2015

Did Lakewood Pay For Avon?

Did Lakewood pay for Avon?

One has to ask.

The Lakewood Hospital 2014 audit arrived in May.  The Hospital shows an Operating Profit of $5.9 million before depreciation--the fourth consecutive year of an Operating Profit before depreciation; and just a small loss of $435 thousand after depreciation.

Since 2008, the Cleveland Clinic has charged Lakewood Hospital about $25 million of Administrative Expense per year, on about $130 million of annual income.  If it weren't for this egregious charge, Lakewood could have shown a profit (even after depreciation) of $15 to $20 million in each of the most recent four years (2011 thru 2014.)

Since 2008 (when the Avon Hospital project started) Lakewood Hospital has paid Cleveland Clinic over $146 million of Admin Expense.

This Admin Expense charge is computed using Cleveland Clinic's mystery math:  adding up all their overhead expense and then deciding how much they can get away with charging Lakewood Hospital for "our share" of these expenses.  This includes Marketing, Purchasing, Executive Team, Billing, Regional Administration, Consulting Fees, Legal Fees, Cost of special projects, Travel, Dues and Licenses, and others.  Getting these expenses off the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus makes them look real good.  We KNOW they aren't doing any Marketing, Regional Admin, Legal, or Consulting on OUR behalf.  But we're paying for it anyway.  And paying . . . and paying . . .

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 3:04 PM, 05.26.2015

The Decision

The Decision

The City Council must soon decide and vote to either reject the Letter of Intent (LOI) proposed by the Cleveland Clinic (CCF) or pass enabling legislation that absolves the CCF of its obligations under the terms of the 1996 Definitive Agreement and sell or demolish the assets of Lakewood Hospital. The Council has reviewed the Clinic’s proposal and the data provided by the Clinic/LHA consultant (Subsidium) and employed legal and real estate firms for independent input and negotiations. The Council held multiple open and closed forums and is currently offering feedback to the CCF and LHA regarding their concerns. Reportedly the LOI is being transformed into a new 2015 Definitive Agreement that has yet to be made public.  After months of deliberation, several truths are evident.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 4:55 PM, 05.12.2015

The Cleveland Clinic's Plan To Deny Healthcare To the Poor

Over ten years ago an employee of the Cleveland Clinic explained to me the Clinic's “String of Pearls Strategy.” The plan was to close facilities in Cuyahoga County and open new facilities in areas just outside Cuyahoga County. The new Avon facility and the closure of Lakewood Hospital are a natural result of that policy. If successful, the policy would decrease charity care and increase the profits of the Cleveland Clinic.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 4:47 PM, 05.12.2015

Lakewood Should Be An Island

The new proposal to create bike lanes and reduce traffic flow on Madison Avenue down to one lane each way has caused me to take pause. At first I was absolutely and resolutely opposed to yet another attempt by the city "planners" to restrict, delay and dissuade my travel in my vehicle down Madison Avenue. They have already succeeded in forcing me to avoid Detroit Avenue with their asinine middle turning lane "improvement." As a result of this change I am forced to traverse east and west via alternate routes including Clifton (which lost a lane due to the bus lane designation) and Lakewood Heights (which is barely driveable due to pot holes). Now they want to turn Madison Avenue into a one lane with a bike route? 

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 4:47 PM, 05.12.2015

Lakewood Hospital Is Not Dead Yet!

Like the good knight did for his servant Patsy shot with an arrow in the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, many people have assumed it’s all over for Lakewood Hospital. Despite what the Cleveland Clinic and Mayor Summers would have you believe, Lakewood Hospital is alive and well.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 7:10 AM, 04.01.2015

Lakewood Hospital Closing???

Lakewood City Council Members,

I'm not one to normally pick up the pen and write about such matters, but I cannot let this go without saying something. I've lived and worked in Lakewood for most of my life. I live in the home that I grew up in, which will be 100 years old this year. It's been in my family for 50 years and only the second surname to own it. I run the administrative side of a 102-year-old manufacturing company here in Lakewood and have worked there for 38 years. I love this town for its diversity of people, convenience, offerings of restaurants, churches, city services, school system, parks, libraries, and yes, our hospital.

I know I do not have all of the facts before me about Lakewood Hospital's proposed closing. However, what I do know is that a lot of what I've heard so far just does not add up.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 7:10 AM, 04.01.2015

Save Our Hospital: Degrading Our City

With all the money that Lakewood gets, with the pride that Lakewood claims to have in this city, with all the desired growth in our neighborhoods; and, of course, with all the higher taxes, the community should never lose its main touchstone of progress: its full-service hospital!

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 4:41 PM, 03.17.2015

Response To RTA's "Harshest Critics"

As one who usually admires Jim O’Bryan’s journalistic efforts, I was especially disappointed in his February 3 “RTA’s 55 Ridden By Two Of RTA’s Harshest Critics.” Would a publisher select as his restaurant critic someone who never patronizes eating establishments but knows they all are bad, or a theater critic who claims to hate plays and never attends them? This piece just plays into the prejudices of those snobs who regard riding a bus or a train as beneath their economic or social status. And why would anyone who wants to report on public transit or the state of Downtown Cleveland choose December 30, of all days, as if it were a typical day? Try riding the bus and walking on Euclid Avenue on a normal weekday when the temperature is above zero and the experience would be quite a bit different.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 6:07 PM, 03.03.2015