CLEVELAND, OH – It was wise of Cleveland city council members to reject outgoing Mayor Frank Jackson and Council President Kevin Kelley’s plans to spend American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds. The last thing on Jackson and Kelley’s minds with around one month left in office is reading a 243-page federal law and leading their soon to be “out the door” teams in its broadest implementation. They’re thinking about “next” and not “now.” Whether Jackson and Kelley are mentally ready to leave or not the azz kissing that goes along with their public offices is over. I’ve been there.
The rejection gives Mayor-elect Justin Bibb and Council president-elect Blaine Griffin an opportunity to do “their” own individual homework; and time to ensure that all parts of the 243 page law that can benefit the inhabitants of Cleveland are understood. Subsections 602 and 603 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 are where the dollars and instructions for the states and cities are found. Officials who don’t read and understand all of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 are leaving money on the table.
What Griffin and Bibb must master are the “Requirements” for appropriating and spending the first and second tranches of the $511 million in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 found in Subsection 603 before any plans are approved. Any misspent money will be repaid back to the federal government out of the “general fund.” From my experience of twice managing a community development block grant program, I know both should remember the FBI raid of city hall and consider themselves as walking into an open and ongoing criminal investigation of the city’s community development, building and housing departments. What they don’t want to do is pick up where Jackson and Kelley left off. Subsection 603 of the federal law below applies to every municipal corporation in the nation.
(c) Requirements.— “(1) Use of funds.–Subject to paragraph (2), and except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4), a metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county shall only use the funds provided under a payment made under this section to cover costs incurred by the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county, by December 31, 2024– “(A) to respond to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality; “(B) for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county due to such emergency; or “(C) to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure. “(2) Pension funds.–No metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county may use funds made available under this section for deposit into any pension fund. “(3) Transfer authority.–A metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county receiving a payment from funds made available under this section may transfer funds to a private nonprofit organization (as that term is defined in paragraph (17) of section 401 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11360(17)), a public benefit corporation involved in the transportation of passengers or cargo, or a special-purpose unit of State or local government. “(4) Transfers to states.–Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county receiving a payment from funds made available under this section may transfer such funds to the State in which such entity is located. “(d) Reporting.–Any metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county receiving funds provided under a payment made under this section shall provide to the Secretary periodic reports providing a detailed accounting of the uses of such funds by such metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county and including such other information as the Secretary may require for the administration of this section. “(e) Recoupment.–Any metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county that has failed to comply with subsection (c) shall be required to repay to the Secretary an amount equal to the amount of funds used in violation of such subsection. “(f) Regulations.–The Secretary shall have the authority to issue such regulations as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out this section.
Nothing I’ve read in any published report about how elected officials are planning to spend the money resembles the elements of the 243-page federal law the recipients of the funds are being mandated to obey. Peter Rubin’s Coral Group can’t pay Wilmington Trust of Delaware the $10.6 million the corporation owes for parcels of Shaker Square. Edwin’s Institute owner Brandon Chrostowski offered the receiver, John A. Rothschild Jr. of Newmark, $5 million but the offer was rejected on behalf of the bank.
Jackson and Kelley in the 11th hour of their final days in office put emergency legislation in front of council offering $10 million to Rothschild’s firm in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds through Bell Burten Carr to purchase it. The lie told to council was that a foreign or out of town owner might purchase the property at a sheriff’s sale. Paying off the debt of commercial property owners is not identified anywhere as an allowable American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 expense. A scheme that exists far outside the authorized uses of a federal law should be criminally investigated. Any Cleveland or Shaker Heights council member backing it is admitting they did not read the federal law.
Chrostowski told EJBNEWS he believes he’d be the highest bidder at a sheriff’s sale. He said the parcels have upwards of $4 million in deferred maintenance costs to bring them up to code. Shaker Square merchants also don’t trust Cleveland Neighborhood Progress’ new director, Tania Menesse. As a city of Cleveland community development director she mimicked Joel Ratner’s desire to close Shaker Boulevard; and tried to shove it down the throats of local merchants. Her role in a scheme to overpay Wilmington Trust $6 million more than a legitimate offer on the table to some reeks of corruption.
Current members of council have been pre-occupied with campaigning for re-election since Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act on March 11, 2021. They’re still completing campaign finance reporting requirements to meet the 38 day post general election filing mandates of Section 3517.10 of the Ohio Revised Code. I’ve polled members of council who have either acknowledged not reading the federal law associated with the $511 million gift to Cleveland or who did not respond. A lack of response is an admission.
Before a dime of the federal relief money is spent everywhere in Cuyahoga County and Ohio the “officers” voting to appropriate it, and those with duties to manage it, must read all 243 pages of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. So must the citizens affected by it. So must the journalists reporting on how the money is being appropriated if their editorial focus is accountability.
After the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is read then in Cleveland the members of council must meet with the residents, businesses, corporations, non-profits and property owners in each of the 17 wards for a discussion and guidance on how to vote. There’s more money available to Cleveland than the $511 million that’s got the greedy Cleveland Partnership-types drooling all over it.
A general summary of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 shows it provides service delivery guidances to federal agencies that have the closest connections to the nation’s 19,429 municipal corporations. It appears to direct more resources to cities like Cleveland where the negative effects of pandemic hysteria was the most severe. For some it appears to offer mitigation for the harm that came from unconstitutional “business closing” orders mayors, councils, courts, school boards and other governmental entities had no authority to enact or enforce. There are even “tax credit” instructions Cleveland’s finance director and tax commissioner must obey.
For Cleveland there’s “additional” money for the airport, the public health department and for TV20 as a public broadcasting entity. There’s money to bring 51 Save-A-Lot or Aldi-sized grocery stories to the city’s 17 wards. Three each. There’s money to return the city to its rightful status as a free healthcare provider. There’s money for mobile health care and for door-knocking outreach workers. There’s money to make landlords who weren’t paid rent because of eviction moratoriums … whole. There’s money for the “shuttered” businesses Jackson unconstitutionally forced to close through an illegal executive order. Every single category above is identified in a specific subsection of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Title 1, Subtitle A, Section 1001 of the United States Code is included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and provides $7.6 billion worth of instructions to the Secretary of Agriculture which benefits Cleveland. The heading is “Food supply chain and agriculture pandemic response.” The Secretary of Agriculture is appropriated $7.6 billion to make loans and grant dollars available to “small and midsized” food processors, distributors, farmers markets, restaurants and non-profits.
This addresses one of Griffin’s “food desert” concerns for Cleveland as a city that once issued Certificates of Business Occupancy to an estimated 5358 small grocers in 1929. The figure comes from a cleveland.com article published February 2, 2017. By 1982 the number of Cleveland stores selling food had dropped to 1235. I’ve seen estimates of fewer than 700 stores selling food in Cuyahoga County. I would offer that Cleveland can’t count 300 stores that sell food to humans and that’s with the convenients and dollar stores that for some is their main food source.
It costs between $750,000 to $1 million to open a Save-A-Lot franchise. There’s no real costs to a store but the lease, aisles, shelving, refrigeration, cash registers, a safe, signage, warehousing space and parking so the costs are even less for a non-franchise or generic named store. New aisles with conveyer belts sell for less than $2000. There are plenty of supermarket closings across the nation for an entreprenuer to pick up everything they need … used.
Cleveland council can appropriate $51 million out of the $511 million for 51, four-aisle grocery stores at $1 million each as a Subsection 603 “small business investment.” An additional $51 million in grants from the Secretary of Agriculture doubles the investment and places 3 new grocery stores the size of Save-A-Lot in each of the 17 wards. Money can also be loaned or granted to ‘food processors and distributors” to supply the new stores. A problem-solving and business increasing opportunity like this won’t be seen without reading Title 1, Subtitle A, Section 1001 of the United States Code of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Two Cleveland mayors who were adults during the Spanish Flu of 1918 were responsible for continuing to build the free muncipal health system infrastructure to address future Covid pandemics 102 years later. Harold Hitz Burton and Frank Lausche. What makes them remarkable is how they stayed on mission in subsequent offices. People weren’t supposed to die because they didn’t have health care insurance. All this “insurance” shit is an organized crime byproduct.
What’s also remarkable is how future generations of mayors and council members who don’t look back obliterated the health care and food delivery infrastructure they took the time to build. Bibb wasn’t elected to implement a new form of government based on his “ideas.” He was elected to enforce two constitutions, federal, state and local laws he hasn’t at least to me demonstrated he knows even from the selection of his transition team.
Burton sponsored the federal Hill-Burton Act of 1946 to fund the construction of free municipal and religious hospitals once he was elected to the United States Senate. Lausche signed Chapter 749.01 of the Ohio Revised Code on October 1, 1953 as the state’s governor. The 1953 law let Cleveland city council continue to pay for free municipal health care to residents with a small $1 per year property tax for every $1000 in property value. $50 a year on a $50,000 home. There’s no need for Obamacare. It’s a current state law that’s not being used by council to care for medically-challenged Cleveland residents. Every hospital I’ve watched Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals destroy – including the one in Lakewood – were “Hill Burton” funded to be free forever.
It was in 1957-58 under Mayor Anthony Celebreeze and the “first time in the majority” Democrats on council that Cleveland’s free city hospital would become a county facility and eventually be renamed MetroHealth. Instead of building additional urgent care centers in Cleveland where they’re needed in at least 5 neighborhoods, MetroHealth is building outside the city when Cleveland residents have the most dire need for urgent care.
Cleveland’s homicide rate is up because gunshot wound victims are dying either at the scene of a shooting or on the long trip to Metro. Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals aren’t handling gunshot wound emergencies. Huron Hospital in East Cleveland provided gunshot wound trauma care until ex-Cleveland Clinic CEO Delos Cosgrove conspired with recalled ex-Mayor Gary Norton to close it for $20 million in unaccounted for funds; and without council’s approval as required by law.
There’s an opportunity to improve the delivery of health care in Cleveland since the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 puts $7.6 billion under the control of Secretary of Health & Human Services to fund a “public health workforce.” This is in addition to the $511 million going directly to Cleveland. Case Western Reserve University last year was ripped by the United States Department of Education in a 9-page letter for investing over $440 million in federal education funds educating foreign students instead of Americans. The 41 agreements the university “negotiated” with foreign governments were shredded as unlawful.
Title 1, Subtitle F, Subsection 2501 of the United States Code is captioned “Funding for public health workforce.” The money is intended to build the public health workforces of “state, local and territorial health departments.”
Specifically, the Secretary of Health and Human Services can award grants to Cleveland for its health department to pay “Costs, including wages and benefits, related to the recruiting, hiring, and training of individuals — to serve as case investigators, contact tracers, social support specialists, community health workers, public health nurses, disease intervention specialists, epidemiologists, program managers, laboratory personnel, informaticians, communication and policy experts, and any other positions as may be required to prepare for and respond to CoVid 19.”
It is insane to provide a university education to “come and go” foreigners instead of American students in our health professions. It’s the reason we have a healthcare worker shortage today. It’s also one of the many realities making Cleveland Clinic a horrible corporate neighbor. Its officials should be viewed among our nation’s worst traitors by offering free physcian training scholarships to aliens that are not offered students in the Cleveland Municipal School District or to the children of their surrounding neighbors. This un-American corporate practice is insane.
There’s money for a volunteer Medical Services Corps of locals who’ll be here to respond to an emergency. There’s money for mobile health care in the form of mobile clinics. The cost of physicians on EMS squads can be covered under this grant. Griffin and Bibb should be investing our money and fighting to ensure that every available education dime is spent on educating Americans to care for our own loved ones in our hospitals and nursing homes. They should see it as an investment in their own future health care needs. Young is not forever.
Title 1, Subtitle F, Subsection 7102 of the United States Code. is captioned, “Relief for airports.” That’s another $8 billion separate and apart from the $511 million. The money remains available until September 20, 2024. Cleveland operates Hopkins International Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport which both suffered a reduction in air travel and cargo traffic during the pandemic. There’s also the increase in fuel costs and the lingering effects of sanitization mandates. Subsection 7102 reads in part as follows:
“$6,492,000,000 shall be made available for primary airports, as such term is defined in section 47102 of title 49, United States Code, and certain cargo airports, for costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services, combating the spread of pathogens at the airport, and debt service payments.”
I’m offering a brief summary of the additional opportunities I see for Cleveland in the 243-page American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. There’s an allowance for the cost of pandemic-driven EMS runs Cleveland can take advantage of that’s money in addition to the $511 million. It’s found in Subsection 9832.
Now is not the time for “curve graded thinking” from the intellectually lazy among our political officers. The standard for an “A” in our public deliberations has to be raised and maintained at a score of 95 to 100. For the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to work for Cleveland inhabitants and our surrounding neighbors in Cuyahoga County all the decision making officers must read the law’s 243 pages to understand its applicably beneficial nuances.
This is money that can measurably leave “the people” improved. Not a dime of it should be invested with the greedy marauders masquerading as malicious non-profit do-gooders operating from closed board meetings no one knows, elected or should blindly trust.
Griffin should unlearn the last mayor and council’s bad habits. Bibb should not pick them up. The only way to obey and implement a law is to read it once and to reference it when needed for familiarity. The federal government offers “technical assistance” to all officials associated with the enforcement of federal laws.