Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No "MSD/Community Dialog "allowed at S Fairmount Community Council Meeting

Ms Lodor's presentation talked about swales and raingardens but no mention of acquisitions and demolitions (photo courtesy Mark Elstun)
I, and many others, hoped to attend the South Fairmount Community Council meeting Tuesday Night and be able to have a real dialog with MSD representative Mary Lynn Lodor about acquisition of property and proposed demolitions of Fairmount. What happened instead was a carefully orchestrated, highly controlled,  meeting that excluded any dialog and discussion was limited to only 15 minutes by the Fairmount Community Council president Elliot Ellis.

Those who showed up for this meeting came away disappointed by the inability to really speak to this issue (photo courtesy Mark Elstun)
Conversation was limited to 'question only format' and those who expressed any criticism of MSD were shut down. in total Only FIVE questions were allowed. The agenda was structured in such a way as the issue ever in this community, that everyone was there for, was almost one hour. There were almost 40 people there and insiders told me that usually only 6 or so people show up. I was surprised to learn that the Community Council only has 21 members and yet claims to 'represent' the entire South Fairmount area. By comparison the newly formed S Fairmount Buisiness Association has double that number and Knox Hills Facebook page has more than that combined!  The community council doesn't even have a website. If this is what a Community Council is like in Cincinnati and we are giving them Federal funds we need to rethink this arrangement.

Not over-the Rhine or Pendleton, this is Fairmount
When it became apparent  no dialog was possible after one questioner was "shut down' by the "President' of the Community Council, some people walked out in disgust. It is apparent the Community Council shows no leadership (AFRAID of having the city yank  their funds if they oppose this, maybe?)  and it looks like Knox Hill will have to be the ones to actually get community input. I will be in discussions with our membership about hosting a "Town Hall" format meeting where residents and members of the business community can speak freely about this issue and determine a path that this neighborhood really wants to take. Details about this as a date is determined.
Picture all of this Restoreable architecture replaced with a drainage ditch? Which is more 'green' restoration or demolition?


Neil said...

There needs to be a push to rework the community councils, they not good representatives of the neighborhoods of Cincinnati. The whole arrangement is poor and a reason why so many neighborhoods in Cincy are biting the dust.

Paul Wilham said...

The Community Councils area a product of the 1960's through the Community Action office and Model cities project and essentially were a way to give a voice to low income and blacks. Being Cincinnati (corrupts as it is) they were turned into 'bribe' mills where city officials could reward neighborhoods with Federal dollars in exchange for political support.

Which is why they are ineffective as they are dependent on that CDBG and NSP money and they won't go against the city for fear they will lose their annual "gift" from the city that lets them put out newsletters and such.

There needs to be smaller independent block groups and neighborhood groups (Indy has over 700) with large 'overlay' seperate development corporations that actually apply for funds. That means neighborhoods raise their own money for everyday stuff.

Given the size of the city there should be hundreds of neighborhood groups. Huge CC's cant have any real focus. You need small groups that can made a big impact in a target area and it spreads from there.

We have got more done in 3 years with Knox Hill with NO city money that the Fairmount CC has. Smaller and not under the city financial thumb means we can represent the neighborhood and are not influenced by city officials.