Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Missing Link

If you google CityLink you might not get the whole story.

The Missing Articles

CityLink is an organization that planned a homeless mall unprecedented in size and scope in the history of our region, right across the street from three schools and a playground.

When the CityLink debacle first erupted, it was a huge controversy. I am personally against CityLink. People against CityLink came together to form a site at www.notocitylink.com. Though I supported the goals of that site and have no problem linking to it, I was not a part of that effort.

Yesterday I got an email from a reader that told me that I had links that were out of date. When I checked the links, indeed this was the case. I checked the NoToCityLink.Com media database, and they have false links too. The articles have disappeared, just in time for election season. This is a recent development.

I can research Genesis Redevelopment and read articles from six years ago, but going back less than a year in the current controversy gives you articles that are lost without a trace from the Cincinnati Enquirer. You can try yourself, the links that once worked now don’t. And even the links from the Google search engine show the articles have been removed from public consumption.

I don't know why or how this happened but it makes me curious, it is an honest question. Now that I have slept on the matter and talked about it with friends, it seems highly unlikely that this was done deliberately.

Click these links:

CityLink narrowly rejected (2006-02-14)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060214/NEWS01/602140354/1077

Zoning board scuttles CityLink plan (2006-02-13)
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060213/NEWS01/302130002

Zoning board gets CityLink (2006-02-13)
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060213/NEWS01/602130326

Citylink Disregards Potential Harm (2006-02-11)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060211/EDIT0202/602110342/-1/all

City council votes 8-1 against CityLink (2006-02-08)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060208/NEWS01/60208006/-1/all

CityLink cheered at forum (2006-02-09)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060209/NEWS01/602090370/1056

5 on Council oppose CityLink (2006-02-08)
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060208/NEWS01/602080363/1056/CINCI

Impeachment petition roils West End (2006-01-28)
http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060128/NEWS01/601280375/1056/CINCI

CityLink patronizing approach insulting (2006-01-13)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060113/EDIT02/601130342/-1/all

CityLink worthy of proving its value (2006-01-10)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060110/EDIT02/601100307

CityLink must answer tough questions (2005-12-31)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051231/EDIT02/512310353/-1/all

Community votes against center (2005-12-21)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051221/NEWS01/512210359/1056

West End can't stop mall (2005-12-20)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051220/NEWS01/512200335

Who is CityLink? (2005-12-20)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051220/CINCI/312200011/-1/all

Letters to the editor (2005-12-14)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051214/EDIT0202/512140309/-1/all

West End delays vote on center (2005-11-16)
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051116/NEWS01/511160405/1056/news01

Center in West End opposed (2005-11-15)
http://http//news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051115/NEWS01/511150376/1056

I would like it if the Enquirer found a way to put these relevant articles back up on their website.

CityLink is still filing an appeal as we speak in Hamilton County Court. This case is not over and done with by any means. It is an ongoing concern to the people of my community.

Dale Mallory is running for political office. Some of these articles sketch out his behavior during critical periods. He was quoted in some of them when he was still President of the West End Community Council (and at the same time being paid to promote CityLink by the Cincinnati Empowerment Corporation).

I think that the Enquier did a great job covering the story, and I think they should preserve the coverage since the work is still relevant. I hope that they will do this.

**This post has been updated. I wrote it late Friday night, and my judgement may have been impared by libations. It wasn't my fault though, I was overserved. I originally thought that these dead links may have been motivated by some conspiracy. That doesn't make sense to me now, and I don't believe it. It was probably an automated process to conserve scarce resources.

I also intend on editing the timestamp on this article to move it off the top of the page and out of the headline. I will probably move it three or four posts downward. Having an automated bot scrub a story really isn't a sexy headline or topic for discussion.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Lovelace,
I have hard copies of all those stories.
If you need them just ask at the next WECC meeting. I'll get you copies to scan.
I'll also ask my friends at the Enquirer about your theory.
Forever yours,
Harry Reams

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Carstairs said...

Dear Deep Throat, I've clicked on several of the links & they're dead.

Sometimes you have to go with your gut feelings. There is a real possibility that these particular articles have been hijacked. Then again, the Enquirer may have been, ah, persuaded shall we say, to redact them.

3M is on a roll to a complete dictatorship in this city & one phone call no doubt put paid to information that is to be in the public domain.

Censorship. One of the first items addressed & put into place by tin horn dictators.

Go with your initial reactions. They generally are correct at the onset.

Again, something is really starting to stink badly & all the air freshener in the world can't make it go away.

Meanwhile, I'll keep trying throughout the day to find live & hot links. Several weeks ago, I sent a bunch of links to the blog's Email. I believe someone captured them.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Muffet said...

I'm not sure why, but the Enquirer often scrubs things from its online site. I read an article recently in the hard copy and then wanted to link the online copy to a post, and "poof!" it was gone on the same day. Luckily, I found someone who had already posted a hard copy of the article, and I was able to get it there. I don't know why they do it. It makes me pretty frustrated at times, but I don't think it's a conspiracy. I think the Enquirer is just very poorly run.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder no one is on this blog. The Hale yes! tour went to Winton Place, Northside and Clifton today. Another nice showing of the Truth Squad army.
Hale yes!

1:08 PM  
Blogger The Dean of Cincinnati said...

You need to get hip to the Google Cache.

I found most of them there:

CityLink narrowly rejected
Planned social services mall fails vote on zoning
BY DAN KLEPAL | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

A controversial plan to build a mall in the West End to provide services to the poor, homeless, drug-addicted and jobless has been rejected by the Cincinnati Zoning Board of Appeals.

The board ruled that the CityLink mall would violate the zoning code in the West End. The ruling means the consortium of churches hoping to build the 100,000-square-foot center cannot proceed - at least for now.

The group can still take its case to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, in the hope a judge will overturn the board's decision. But the ruling places in limbo a $1.4 million investment the churches have made in a 5-acre property at 800 Bank St., where they were hoping to build the center - an idea never tried on this scale anywhere in the country.
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CityLink president Mark Stecher said a decision on an appeal will happen in time. The group has 30 days to file an appeal, or lose that opportunity.

"We're not sure, but we're pretty confident about the case we put on," Stecher said. "I think we won every round today."

Actually, it lost a split decision.

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-2 to uphold an appeal of a zoning certificate awarded to CityLink by the Cincinnati Department of Buildings and Inspections in December.

That appeal was filed on behalf of the West End Community Council and a group of opponents called "No To CityLink."

Both groups have argued that the center would be devastating to the neighborhood, which has benefited from more than $150 million in redevelopment over the past few years. They also argued that the site was inappropriate because it was close to elementary schools.

"We're absolutely thrilled," said Tom Walter, a member of No To CityLink who started rehabbing houses in the West End and Over-the-Rhine as a college student in 1978. "What we really need is jobs. They were asking a neighborhood already inundated with social services to become a magnet for the entire (regional) population that needs help. When is enough enough?"

None of that mattered to the appeals board, which looked narrowly at whether the proposed center would violate the zoning code, called "manufacturing-general."

The board made its decision after five hours of testimony, much of it focusing on whether the CityLink Center should be considered a social service facility, a commercial facility for a loose grouping of social service providers offering "transitional" housing or a place for people to live for a year or two while receiving treatment for drug addiction or some other problem.

Transitional housing is allowed under the zoning code, but a social service facility is not, even though social service components are inherent in transitional housing.

Tim Burke, co-counsel for CityLink, said the zoning code in question is 2 years old and has caused problems ever since it was written.

"You run into problems when you have inconsistent definitions in the code, and we do," he said. "They're terribly inconsistent."

Burke said he suspects the zoning board's decision was largely political. Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution last week opposing CityLink. While that was not entered into evidence at Monday's hearing, it was well-publicized. Only Councilman Cecil Thomas voted against that resolution, and he was the only member of council to attend Monday's hearing.

"Unfortunately, this was a result-driven decision," Burke said. "Meaning, they wanted a particular decision and found a way to deliver it."

Many of the individual programs that would be offered at the CityLink Center - a barber shop, café, job skills training - are allowed in the zoning district. So the question became: Do you look at the center in terms of the individual pieces that are allowable, or consider it a social service facility by looking at the total operation?

Caleb Faux, president of the Zoning Board of Appeals, said the three members in the majority saw the center as a whole: "Even the proponents describe it as a social services facility. That's what it is."

"Semantics will play a huge role in this decision," promised board member Tim Jeckering, before retiring to a private session with fellow board members and discussing the matter for about 15 minutes. Jeckering came out and voted with the majority. Board members Richard Mellott and Thaddaus Dawson voted to allow the project.

"CityLink may be well-intentioned, but social service facilities just are not permitted in this district," said Tim Mara, attorney for the West End Community Council.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com

=====
Zoning board scuttles CityLink plan

The Cincinnati Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-2 Monday that the CityLink Center, a proposed one-stop shop for the poor and destitute, would violate the zoning code in the West End and should not be built there.

CityLink supporters will now have to decide if they want to appeal the issue to the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. They already have invested $1.4 million into a 5-acre property at 800 Bank Street that they can not use – at least for now.

They have 30 days to file their appeal.

Zoning Board of Appeals members Richard Mellott and Thaddaus Dawson voted in favor of allowing the project to move forward.

But board president Caleb Faux said the center would be a hub for social services, which is not allowed by the “manufacturing-general” code for that area of the city.

“You have to look at the totality of this rather than the individual pieces,” Faux said. “Even proponents describe it as a social service facility, and that’s what it is. It was not an easy decision.”

The decision came after more than five hours of testimony, much of which focused on the services being proposed.

=====

Zoning board gets CityLink
Plan for social-services center sparked vehement opposition in West End
BY DAN KLEPAL | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

It's decision day on CityLink.

The Cincinnati Board of Zoning Appeals will consider today whether the controversial center for the homeless, drug-addicted, mentally ill and destitute has a place at 800 Bank St. in the West End.

The hearing follows a week in which the public debate over CityLink took center stage - with Cincinnati City Council contorting its rules to lodge an emergency resolution against the $15 million development, and a CityLink board member urging supporters to attend a public forum in an e-mail that started "Revolutionaries unite."
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That pretty much sums up the debate: Supporters see the center as a revolutionary solution, not tried on this scale anywhere else in the country, that will help pull people out of poverty and better their lives.

Detractors see it as a danger to a neighborhood that is moving from being one of the city's poorest to a place of home ownership and redevelopment. Opponents also worry that the 100,000-square-foot center's clientele will include registered sex offenders. The location is near three elementary schools.

But little of that will figure into today's decision.

The zoning board will hold a trial-like hearing today in which witnesses will testify under oath and be subject to cross-examination.

The board will look narrowly at whether the center is allowable in an area zoned for manufacturing.

Both sides talk about the hearing as if it will be a slam-dunk decision in their favor.

Tim Mara, lawyer for the West End Community Council, which voted overwhelmingly against allowing the development, said organizers of the project deceived city staff when describing how it will function. They received a certificate to operate from the city's Department of Buildings and Inspections on Dec. 5.

Mara said that once the center is established, there will be no one to police the activities inside to make sure they are in compliance with the zoning code.

"The description to the building department of the proposed activities differed from what they were talking about in the community," Mara said. "A community-service facility is not permitted in that district. Overnight housing is not permitted in that district. Day care is not permitted, unless it's serving people who live on the site. Food service is not permitted, except for those who live on the site.

"The staff didn't see through the charade, and that's why we appealed."

The description on the zoning certificate says: "Professional offices, transitional housing, recreational facility, accessory day care, barber and beauty salons and café."

Descriptions of the center on the CityLink Web page call it "a neighborhood campus that is a hub for real life change," a "collection of experienced service providers," and a "not-for-profit organization" that is a "community center."

Tim Burke, co-counsel for CityLink, said the manufacturing district zoning is the least restrictive and CityLink will be a perfect fit.

"Every one of our specified uses - from medical to gymnasium to transitional housing - are specifically permitted in that zone."

In an application for the zoning certificate, attorney Scott Phillips said nearly 40 percent of the building is for transient housing, defined as people who stay there for a year or two while receiving counseling for their problems. Another 13 percent of the building will be used for exercise for residents - the gym and multipurpose recreation area.

The center "will be a place for individuals who need assistance to enroll in a residential care program that will work with them to help them get back on their feet," he said.

City Council voted 8-1 on Wednesday to oppose the development. That vote - with Councilman Cecil Thomas the lone 'no' - was symbolic. It's not supposed to hold sway over the appeals board, which is made up of five volunteer community members appointed by the Cincinnati city manager.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com

======

City council votes 8-1 against CityLink

Cincinnati city council passed a resolution Wednesday against the one-stop social services shop proposed for the West End called CityLink – a 100,000-square-foot mall that would house a variety of social service operations.

Council voted 8-1 in passing the resolution, with only Councilman Cecil Thomas voting against it.

The resolution passed after council listened to testimony on the City Link development for nearly an hour. The overwhelming majority of speakers were against the development, which is a 100,000-square-foot mall proposed for 800 Bank Street. The development, which would be the largest of its kind in the country, will be the subject of a hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Monday.
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Council debated whether it was appropriate to weigh in on the issue before the appeal was heard. Councilman Chris Bortz said it is appropriate because it is “an enormous social services experiment” that will add services already available within a mile of CityLink.


=====
CityLink cheered at forum
But few of those in favor were West End residents
BY DAN KLEPAL | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

WEST END - CityLink played to the home crowd Wednesday night - make that a home-away-from-home crowd.

More than 400 people showed up for a two-hour forum to ask questions of CityLink board members and supporters of the controversial project that aims to build a $10 million to $15 million mall for social services on 5 acres along Bank Street, in what is now an abandoned slaughterhouse.

Two questions showed that the CityLink panelists - most of whom are affiliated with churches outside the area - were preaching to the choir: One asked people in support of the project to stand, and about 90 percent of the crowd rose to its feet; the second asked how many of those people were from the West End, and only a handful stood.
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Still, the panelists were asked some tough questions about their intent, how the center will operate, who will staff it and whether social services offered elsewhere will be duplicated.

Tim Senff, a member of the CityLink board and pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Oakley, said CityLink's biggest failing is that it hasn't done a good job of reaching out to the community.

The West End Community Council resoundingly voted down the idea of CityLink, and large numbers of vocal opponents turned out Tuesday for a neighborhood meeting in Over-the-Rhine, and Wednesday at Cincinnati City Council's meeting.

"Our board is unanimous in the desire to involve the community," Senff said.

"Going forward we want the advice and counsel of all segments of the West End. I'm sorry if we haven't come across that way."

Some details of the development that came out in responses to various questions, all of which were anonymous and read by moderator and talk-show host Lincoln Ware:

CityLink will not provide emergency housing for the homeless. It will provide long-term housing - defined as a year or two - for people suffering from drug addiction, mental or emotional problems, or spousal abuse. It also will help people find jobs, and will provide health care to the destitute.

CityLink will be staffed by a combination of professional staff and volunteers. People turned away from CityLink will be referred to other social service agencies. The center expects to assist 200-300 people per day. It hopes to eventually build satellite facilities in other areas of the city and suburbs.

The facility will be run entirely on private donations; no taxes will be spent to support the operation.

Leroy Wright, who grew up in the West End, said he came into the meeting against the plan, but left a supporter.

He said the proposed building will be a vast improvement over the abandoned building. "I think it will enhance property values close to it."

Not everyone left convinced. Omar Childress, who has lived in the West End for more than 50 years, said the project doesn't have a chance of succeeding because there is no support for it in the community. Childress envisioned a skating rink or bowling alley for that property, something that would bring jobs and activity to the neighborhood.

"Everybody knows they're just trying to move all those programs from up there (Over-the-Rhine). We live in this community, so we should have some control over it."

Earlier in the day, City Council voted 8-1 on a resolution opposing the development. That vote will have no impact on a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the matter scheduled for Monday.

If the zoning board approves the development, opponents would have to file suit to stop it.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com

=====

5 on Council oppose CityLink
Straw vote follows speakers from West End: Don't put it here
BY DAN KLEPAL | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

OVER-THE-RHINE - The vote was symbolic, the sentiment was not.

Five members of a Cincinnati City Council committee - a majority - went on record Tuesday opposing the proposed super-sized social-services development in the West End called CityLink.

The vote at a meeting of the Vibrant Neighborhoods Committee in the Over-the-Rhine community center was the first time elected city officials have gone on record against the controversial mall for the poor and homeless.
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The vote had to be symbolic because of new City Council rules - passed behind closed doors in December before Mayor Mark Mallory and the four new members were sworn in - which say committees can't vote on items unless they've been on an agenda for at least one week.

The intent of that rule is to make sure the public has a chance to testify about items before they are considered by council. The irony in this case is that more than 50 people attended the committee meeting, and everyone who testified was opposed to CityLink, except for two people representing the developers.

CityLink is a 100,000-square-foot facility proposed for 800 Bank St.. It's described as a one-stop shop for the destitute.

Opponents say building it in the West End will destroy the neighborhood. They have appealed the issue to the city's Zoning Appeals Board, which will hold a hearing Monday.

"We have endured so much down here," West End resident Almeta Larry said. "We see a way clear, and now comes a big old brick."

The Rev. Gerald Bates of St. Mark Christ Fellowship, and a West End resident, said the churches sponsoring the development are all from the suburbs.

"Our neighborhood, for too long, has been a dumping ground for what other neighborhoods don't want," Bates said. "We are willing to do whatever it takes to make this work - somewhere else."

Tim Burke, an attorney representing the development, urged committee members not to pass the resolution against it.

"From a legal standpoint, I urge you to allow the process your own city ordinance creates a chance to move forward. This is not a dispute that gets resolved by City Council," said Burke.

No matter what the zoning board decides, the matter is probably destined for court - the next step in the process. Still, some council members are eager to try to have council suspend its rules today, so that the resolution against CityLink can be voted on by all nine members.

"If this was plopped down in the middle of Hyde Park or Westwood, people would be going crazy," Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz said. "I look forward to helping suspend the rules tomorrow."

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com

======
Impeachment petition roils West End
BY ALLEN HOWARD | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

WEST END - A member of the West End Community Council has filed a petition with the group's executive committee, calling for impeachment of council president Dale Mallory.

The Rev. John Hennings, pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church at 824 York St., in the West End, accuses Mallory of "conduct unbecoming" an officer of the organization.

Specifically, Hennings alleged Mallory does not conduct meetings in an orderly fashion and spoke in favor of the proposed CityLink, a one-stop social service center, without a vote of the community council to endorse it.
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The petition was dated Jan. 23, but Mallory said Friday that he had not received it.

According to the council's constitution and bylaws, the secretary of the council must send a copy of the charges to the person being charged within five days of receipt. The community council's executive committee, made up of its elected officers, then appoints a panel of five people to hear the charges.

Both Mallory and Hennings must appear before the panel. The panel makes a recommendation to the membership after the hearing. The membership can vote to accept a recommendation or to override it.

"I don't even know who Rev. Hennings is," Mallory said Friday. "I have never seen him at a meeting. I have been president of this council for four years and I think it is absurd to have people coming in lately to destroy the work we have done in the West End."

Mallory, 46, is the brother of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.

Dale Mallory was re-elected to a two-year term in July. The position is not paid.

"We have too many other issues to deal with to be bogged down with something like this. Impeaching me will not stop crime in the West End, pick up trash or get anybody a job. Those are the issues the council is trying to work on," Mallory said.

Mallory said he believes the CityLink issue is the major reason Hennings wants him out. Mallory has said publicly that he thinks the council should listen to what the CityLink planners have to say before going against the project, which would be built on a 5-acre site that formerly was a slaughterhouse and is now vacant.

A group of five social service organizations in Over-the-Rhine and five suburban churches want to spend about $10 million to renovate the building into agency offices and provide drug-recovery services, counseling for ex-convicts and help for the homeless, among other things.

Some community council members have opposed the plan because they don't want the clientele of CityLink in their neighborhood.

"His continued effort to block legitimate requests to vote on CityLink is further proof that President Dale Mallory's conduct is impeachable," Hennings said in his petition.

Council vice president Shirley Colbert said she doesn't want to spend any time on an impeachment hearing.

"I guess we will have to deal with it because you can't stop people from doing what they want to do," Colbert said. "But this is a waste of our time. We have too many other issues to deal with."

Colbert said there are about 100 members in the council. People who do not live in the West End can pay dues and become members of the council as long as they are approved by the membership, Colbert said.

E-mail ahoward@enquirer.com

====

CityLink patronizing approach insulting
Other voices: David Petersen

I read Laurie Hyatt's Jan. 10 "Your voice" column on CityLink with great interest. Hyatt lives in Mason and is a graduate divinity student and church volunteer. She carefully explained her desire to find "an effective solution for Cincinnati's racial and poverty problems via CityLink."

After the unanimous West End Community Council vote against the CityLink proposal Dec. 20, CityLink Director Mark Stecher said they would go ahead anyway.

Contrary to what many CityLink proponents believe, West End and other neighbors do not resist change. We resist being changed. Few people resist a change when it is their idea; they resist when it is someone else's idea. People do not want to be told what to do. They want to be partners in a change effort, to be seen as integral to the process instead of a barrier to it.
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From the start, CityLink has ignored the West End, neighboring communities, their churches, schools and social agencies. Alternative sites have been summarily dismissed. Requests for specific information have been ignored.

People of the West End and surrounding communities will have to live with the outcome of this grand CityLink social experiment. It is outrageous and insulting that this consortium of primarily suburban mega-churches will put the West End at risk without community participation and consent. Who will be accountable and take responsibility if this experiment fails and causes deterioration and middle-class flight from the neighborhood and Cincinnati? If this fails, the well-intentioned suburban volunteers will go back to their safe homes in Mason and be oblivious to the harm they caused.

Hyatt wants to find an effective solution. So move here, pay taxes in Cincinnati, buy an old house, fix it and clean it up. Get to know and understand your new neighbors. Don't concentrate all the service for the needy in one location. Spread the word that many people in the West End, Over-the-Rhine, Clifton Heights and other neighborhoods are working very hard to make Cincinnati a better place.

We will be delighted to work cooperatively, but please don't think you have all the answers - and don't patronize us.

David Petersen, who has lived in the West End for eight years, is a retired executive who has done logistics and organizational consulting during the past several years.

======
CityLink must answer tough questions
Your voice: Laura Kleckner

The proposed West End CityLink project exposes incredibly complex social issues for which there are no easy answers. Citing two years of research and a Los Angeles-based model, CityLink organizers claim to have a foundation waiting to be molded into a solution using the community's input.

But CityLink organizers have yet to share the specifics of their research and, in their communications with the media and the community, have shown a blatant disregard for the opinions and insight of residents of the West End and surrounding communities.

CityLink organizers cite PathMall, a Los Angeles "one-stop shop" for homeless support as the model for the center. A couple of noteworthy facts:
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PathMall includes about 20 social services agencies - nearly half are government services. CityLink includes 10 agencies - none are government services.

PathMall is a 40,000-square-foot facility. CityLink is a 98,000-square-foot facility, with 38,000 square feet of transitional beds alone.

Community members can't help but question why Cincinnati needs a space 2½ times that of PathMall's site to serve a homeless population one-tenth that of LA's. And how does this affect the existing social service agencies? If no plans are made to reduce existing social services, won't Cincinnati become a magnet for surrounding areas to dump their "under-resourced"?

CityLink's closeness to three schools is also concerning. To placate the opposition, CityLink organizers have described a tightly controlled environment (with registration/security procedures akin to a compound or military institution), yet program participation is voluntary. They can't have it both ways.

When asked, CityLink organizers again cite their research, yet they offer no specifics. When pressed, Crossroads ReachOut Director Tim Senff admitted CityLink's poor dissemination of information and expressed a desire to work with the community going forward. Yet in a Dec. 21 Enquirer article, CityCure Executive Director Rodger Howell stated, "It doesn't matter what the [West End Community] council says." The council unanimously voted to oppose CityLink. How can we not be concerned?

Laura Kleckner is a board member of the Clifton Heights/University Heights/Fairview(CUF) community council and the Clifton Heights Improvement Association.
=====

Community votes against center
CityLink proponents push project, despite meeting
BY ALLEN HOWARD | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

The West End Community Council on Tuesday night voted against a planned one-stop service center for the homeless, ex-convicts and drug addicts.

But planners of CityLink, a 5-acre, $12 million mall to be built in the 800 block of Bank Street in the West End, said the council's vote doesn't mean anything.

"We are going ahead with our plans," said Rodger Howell, executive director of CityCure, one of the five social service agencies planning the center. "The city zoning allows us to build the center. It doesn't matter what the council says."
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Council members who voted against the center found reason to be optimistic, however.

"At least this goes on the record officially and lets the city know how we feel about this project," said Christopher McCarty, a resident of historic Dayton Street, a block from the proposed center.

His wife, Kimberly-Hale McCarty, said they will appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals to block the project.

CityLink proponents say the mall would offer a variety of services, from job counseling and drug treatment to haircuts and dental work. But opponents say it will bring more crime to their neighborhood, and are concerned about its proximity to three elementary schools.

The vote came after a raucous meeting punctuated by shouts, pushing and shoving. At one point Police Officer Princess Davis, who is assigned to the West End neighborhood, advised council President Dale Mallory to call it off.

The meeting, held at Heberle School, grew contentious almost immediately after Mallory opened it. He announced that a vote on CityLink would not be taken because the council only had 37 paid members. He said the meeting would be used to collect membership fees, and a vote on CityLink would come on Jan. 17.

That brought shouts from the crowd of more than 200, demanding the meeting go on.

Mallory relented and called Larry Harris, a senior planner for the city of Cincinnati, to present the West End Redevelopment Concept, a revitalization plan of residential and commercial development prepared by West End residents in 2001.

The plan allows for a development like CityLink, Harris said after the meeting. But he was shouted down before he could tell the crowd that.

Davis then insisted that the meeting cease, and Mallory - brother of Mayor Mark Mallory - left. His father, former state Rep. William Mallory, took the mike and chastised the crowd, saying, "This is ridiculous."

Council Vice President Shirley Colbert was asked to preside. She called for a show of hands of those opposing the center. No one voted in support of it.

Mark Stecher, director of CityLink, said they'll go ahead.

"I have a meeting with a group of ministers in this area tomorrow," Stecher said.

Five churches - none from the West End - have joined with the five social service agencies to develop the project. The project will be financed by private money.

E-mail ahoward@enquirer.com.

=====
West End can't stop mall
CityLink Center would serve addicts, ex-cons, homeless

December 20, 2005

By Allen Howard
Enquirer staff writer

WEST END - As malls go, the proposed CityLink center here would be unlike any other in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

This mall would be for the homeless, for ex-convicts, for drug addicts.

It would be a place, say the churches and social service groups planning it, where someone could find - in one building - a haircut, job mentoring, drug treatment, even someone to see about a toothache.

But to residents of the West End, especially the Dayton Street Historic District, the new mall will derail that neighborhood's revitalization. It will, some fear, turn their neighborhood into Cincinnati's new skid row.

"If I had known something like this would happen, I would never have bought a house in this area," said Jemelle Howard, 28, who recently bought a West End house.

"I moved from a suburban community to be in a predominantly black community. I am young and I consider myself part of the future of the young blacks, but I don't want to be in a community where more drug addicts are coming in," she said.

But there's not much Howard or any other West End opponents can do to stop CityLink, according to William Langevin, director of the city's Building and Inspection department.

The project has not requested city funding. The site is privately owned. It is zoned for heavy manufacturing - the least restrictive land use regulation in the zoning code.

Spearheading CityLink's development is Mark Stecher, a former Procter & Gamble executive and entrepreneur turned minister. He is the founder and executive director of the OneCity Foundation, a faith-based social-service group that is coordinating the CityLink effort for five churches and five social-service agencies.

Stecher says his group expects to pay between $1 million and $2 million for the five-acre site near Bank and Linn streets, once a slaughterhouse and later used by Club Chef salads. He estimates it will cost another $8 million to convert it into a well-lit, airy mall.

Expected to be finished in late 2007, the center will include a coffee shop, a barbershop, even gift shops.

Clients will get mentoring, job training, and medical and dental help from a nurse or nurse practitioner.

The money will come from the same foundations, churches and individuals that have supported CityLink's member groups, Stecher said.

"Once they buy the property, no one has the authority to stop them.," said CityLink supporter Dale Mallory, president of the West End Community Council and brother of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.

That hasn't stopped controversy. At a West End Community Council meeting last month to talk about CityLink, hundreds of residents turned out, most against the project.

Another meeting is scheduled for tonight at Heberle Elementary School.

"It is a good idea," said the Rev. Gerald Bates, a West End resident, summing up the views of many residents at last month's meeting. "But not for our community."

Inspired by Los Angeles

The inspiration for CityLink is 3,000 miles away, in Los Angeles. PathMall is a one-stop center where the homeless can literally shop for services - job training, a beauty salon, drug treatment, help with government assistance.

A delegation of Cincinnati agencies read about PathMall, and even visited there in September.

"After looking at PathMall, we formed CityLink," said Rodger Howell, executive director of an inner city ministry called CityCURE that will be joining CityLink. "We believe that we can build better relationships with our clients if everything is handled under one roof.

"We deal with people who have many needs. It is better for them if we can refer them across the hall for counseling or upstairs for job training, rather than having them walk three or four blocks away to another agency."

CityLink's possible clients agree.

"I am a little bit jealous that CityLink was not around when I first started in the Exodus program," said Kirk Culver of Roselawn, who went through a drug treatment program called Exodus at the City Gospel Mission, which will be part of CityLink. "CityLink is a winner."

Michael Armand of Over-the-Rhine, who is in the Exodus program now, also believes a one-stop center would help addicts like himself. And he's puzzled by the opposition from West End residents.

"When you drive through the West End you see a lot of bad elements now. You see evidence that it is a high crime area. A substantial one-stop service center could only help the image of the community," Armand said.

Because the area is zoned for manufacturing and multiple use housing, CityLink will also be able to provide about 100 beds.

Howell estimates CityLink will serve 35,000 to 40,000 people a year.

West Enders vexed

The CityLink project has mostly aroused resentment and suspicion in the West End. Opponents note that not one of the 10 groups involved are from the West End. Many of the social services are now provided in Over-the-Rhine, an area that civic leaders hope to revitalize.

Some residents see CityLink as a grand scheme to shuffle the city's poor and addicted to the West End.

"It looks to me like they are rounding up all the homeless shelters and dumping them on our doorstep so that they can have their prized development," said Christopher McCarty, a West End resident. "The powers that be in this city have a bold plan, and that plan involves screwing us. Let's not take it sitting down."

His wife, Kimberly Hale-McCarty, is asking the city for a feasibility study. She warned the West End could become the new skid row.

Howard said she feared the area will turn into another Washington Park, an Over-the-Rhine haven for the homeless and addicted.

At the Community Council meeting, audience members shouted that they didn't want more ex-prisoners or addicts, but would rather have a neighborhood safe for children. Three elementary schools are near the proposed CityLink site.

But community activist Nate Livingston, who lives in Northside, offered a different perspective at the meeting.

"I travel through the West End a lot and I see boarded up buildings and nobody is doing anything about them," Livingston said. "Why are the people so against somebody trying to do something for this community?"

Mayor Mallory has declined to answer questions about the project, calling it a "neighborhood issue."

He did, however, call for tolerance and compassion in dealing with the city's most needy citizens.

"Are we going to have a cast-off society?" the mayor said. "I talked in my inaugural address about the beginnings of the Society of the Cincinnati. That group's whole mission was to care for each other's families - this brotherhood among comrades. We have to get back to that responsibility to create a brotherhood, where we look out and care for each other as a community."

WHO IS CITYLINK?

A group of churches and social service agencies want to build a mall for the homeless, ex-convicts, and addicts on a five-acre site at 800 Bank St. in the West End.

Now owned by Old State Family Ltd. of Perry Park, Ky., it was a former slaughterhouse and Club Chef salad factory.

The groups behind CityLink are coordinated by the OneCity Foundation, they are:

Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship is one of Cincinnati's largest churches. In addition to their many other programs, Christ Emmanuel partner's with City Gospel Mission's "Exodus" and "Having the Courage to Change" programs for men and women in recovery from incarceration, homelessness and addiction.

Crossroad Health Center provides quality, compassionate, comprehensive health care for the poor of Cincinnati's inner-city.

Crossroads Community Church is an interdenominational church in Oakley. Their people recently committed $26 million for an expanded facility and other outreach projects, including CityLink Center.

City Gospel Mission helps hurting and homeless people in Cincinnati with daily meals, clothing, overnight shelter for men, recovery programs and Mission services.

CityCURE has reached out to thousands of urban youth in need, helping them break the cycle of urban despair in their lives. CityCURE's relationship-focused programs include mentoring, meals, creative arts, tutoring, summer camps, and youth groups.

Jobs Plus Employment Network exists for people in low-income communities who want to break free from cycles of poverty and dependence. Through their intensive Job Readiness Program, clients build character and develop a positive work ethic.

The Lord's Gym (as a part of FOCAS Ministries) is a Christ-centered weight-lifting gym for at-risk men. Their program includes a recreation center for children, a food pantry for the homeless and transitional housing for men.

New Jerusalem Baptist Church is a community church in Carthage. Tutoring, mentoring, counseling, feeding programs, financial guidance, and life skills are among the many ministries offered.

New Life Temple is a church that reaches out in the Madisonville neighborhood and beyond. They place a strong emphasis on reaching at-risk urban children, education, and overseas missions.

Vineyard Community Church is known for its vision, "Small things done with great love will change the world."

Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship, Crossroads Health Center, Crossroads Community Church, City Gospel Mission, CityCURE, Jobs Plus Employment Network, the Lord's Gym, New Jerusalem Baptist Church, New Life Temple and Vineyard Community Church

Source: OneCity Foundation

THE MAN BEHIND CITYLINK

Mark Stecher, 45. Born in Chicago

Graduated from the University of Illinois in 1981 with a degree in marketing and organizational behavior

Lives in Mason, Ohio, Married to Lauren Stecher, father of three children, ages, 14, 12 and 8.

Worked for P&G as a general manager of Organizational and Design Behavior. After leaving P&G, he was an associate pastor at Vineyard Community Church, Springdale.

Founder and executive director of OneCity Foundation, part of a national social service group, called the Leadership Foundation, based in Boston, Mass.

He was asked by the five churches that formed CityLink to head the project to develop the CityLink Center. He is paid by OneCity Foundation.

WHERE CITYLINK ISN'T

CityLink officials said they looked at about a dozen sites for their proposed CityLink center. Where it won't be:

A 20-acres site, three miles west of I-75. Owner not interested, Too far from town.

8001 Reading Rd. Carousel Inn, too far from town.

Dalton Street, near Bank Street, mostly leased, not available for sale.

Colerain Avenue at Bank Street, not enough land.

1621 Moore Street, Over-the-Rhine, not enough land.

West End off Findlay Street, less than one acre of land.

1910 Elm Street, former KD Lamp Building, already under contract to residential developer.

1910 Race St. former Cantanzaro Foods, Over-the-Rhine, not enough land.

Liberty & Vine street, Over-the-Rhine, not enough land.

2101 Ross Ave., Norwood, too far from downtown, too expensive.

Madison Road near Red Bank, former South Western Publishing, too far from downtown , too expensive.

Marbury Avenue, former Milacron, too expensive, current developer/owner not interested in residential development

Evans Street, Price Hill, former Queen City Barrel site, potential serious land environmental contamination.

E-mail ahoward@enquirer.com

=====
Who is CityLink?

A group of churches and social service agencies want to build a mall for the homeless, ex-convicts, and addicts on a five-acre site at 800 Bank St. in the West End.

Now owned by Old State Family Ltd. of Perry Park, Ky., it was a former slaughterhouse and Club Chef salad factory.

The groups behind CityLink are coordinated by the OneCity Foundation, they are:

Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship is one of Cincinnati's largest churches. In addition to their many other programs, Christ Emmanuel partner's with City Gospel Mission's "Exodus" and "Having the Courage to Change" programs for men and women in recovery from incarceration, homelessness and addiction.

Crossroad Health Center provides quality, compassionate, comprehensive health care for the poor of Cincinnati's inner-city.

Crossroads Community Church is an interdenominational church in Oakley. Their people recently committed $26 million for an expanded facility and other outreach projects, including CityLink Center.

City Gospel Mission helps hurting and homeless people in Cincinnati with daily meals, clothing, overnight shelter for men, recovery programs and Mission services.

CityCURE has reached out to thousands of urban youth in need, helping them break the cycle of urban despair in their lives. CityCURE's relationship-focused programs include mentoring, meals, creative arts, tutoring, summer camps, and youth groups.

Jobs Plus Employment Network exists for people in low-income communities who want to break free from cycles of poverty and dependence. Through their intensive Job Readiness Program, clients build character and develop a positive work ethic.

The Lord's Gym (as a part of FOCAS Ministries) is a Christ-centered weight-lifting gym for at-risk men. Their program includes a recreation center for children, a food pantry for the homeless and transitional housing for men.

New Jerusalem Baptist Church is a community church in Carthage. Tutoring, mentoring, counseling, feeding programs, financial guidance, and life skills are among the many ministries offered.

New Life Temple is a church that reaches out in the Madisonville neighborhood and beyond. They place a strong emphasis on reaching at-risk urban children, education, and overseas missions.

Vineyard Community Church is known for its vision, "Small things done with great love will change the world."

Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship, Crossroads Health Center, Crossroads Community Church, City Gospel Mission, CityCURE, Jobs Plus Employment Network, the Lord's Gym, New Jerusalem Baptist Church, New Life Temple and Vineyard Community Church

Source: OneCity Foundation

=====
Center in West End opposed
Residents to fight proposal to aid poor, homeless in meeting tonight
BY ALLEN HOWARD | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

A group of churches thought they had a good idea: Take an abandoned slaughterhouse and turn it into a veritable mall for the poor and homeless, complete with a coffee shop, medical counseling and job training.

But some residents of the West End, where the 5-acre project is planned, fear drug addicts, ex-cons and prostitutes will invade their neighborhood.

"This may be a great idea, but not for this location," said Kimberly McCarty, president of the Dayton Street Neighborhood Association whose family lives a block from the proposed center.

She and other residents plan to let community leaders know how much they oppose the idea at a meeting of the West End Community Council at 7 p.m. today.

The project is proposed by CityLink, a consortium of 10 churches - none from West End. It is slated for a building once home to the Partridge Slaughter House and later Club Chef, a salad maker.

"We are planning a multi-use, multi-service integrated community development center," said Mark Stecher of Mason, executive director of CityLink. The building would house medical and dental counselors, job training, drug and alcohol counseling, coffee shop and variety store.

"We want to make a one-stop service for the poor. We are planning a viable and safe center," he said. Stecher said CityLink does not have the funding - although it has a deal to buy the building for $12 million - but plans to get it through fund-raising and private contributions. No city money is involved, Stecher said.

Dale Mallory, president of West End Community Council, thinks that residents should keep an open mind about the project.

"When you have 10 faith-based organizations coming together to do something for the poor, I think we owe it to them to look at it," said Mallory, brother of Mayor-elect Mark Mallory.

But some residents and officials say they've made up their minds.

The Rev. Gerald Bates is pastor of St. Mark Christian Fellowship Church of God and Christ, is opposed.

Bates, a Dayton Street resident, said he has lived in the area 27 years.

"I think they need to listen to what the residents have to say about this kind of project before they go ahead with it," Bates said. "We are trying to attract more people and businesses to the area. I don't think this kind of project is going to help."

The proposed center would be near three elementary schools, home to 700 students: Heberle, Bloom and Martin Luther King Academy.

Mallory noted that one of the clients will be Elite Protective Services of Roselawn, a private security service.

"We have been trying to get a protective service to locate in the West End. Having them in the center and a commitment from them that they will handle the security in the center and surrounding area is a big plus," Mallory said.

The Dayton Street Neighborhood Association took the issue before City Council's Finance earlier this year.

It was referred to the City Manager's office for a report. No report has been brought back to the committee.

E-mail ahoward@enquirer.com

1:15 PM  
Blogger Deep Throat said...

Muffet I agree that this doesn't look like a conspiracy. Upon reflection, I have edited my post to add more common sense. They probably have some bot that scrubs articles after a certain length of time. I would like to have them restored if possible.

Dean, thanks for the tip on the google cache.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of their front page stories are dead. It may be an IT screw up.
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20060909/NEWS01/609090357/

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Carstairs said...

The Enquirer does pull the live link after about 7-10 days, however, I've been able to capture different articles in .pdf format long after the fact. Doing a Google works for the most part, but for a lot of the jazz on Genesis, I found other search engines are more effective.

Granted, this may not be the scratching of a conspiracy & I'll back pedal on my past comments, but always keep that thought positioned somewhere on the table.

Woo Hoo! The Hale YES! Campaign Caravan cruised thru Winton Place, thru the highs & lows of Northside (including the spot where the Drama Dwarf buys his dope!!), the Clifton business district & down the hill to Findlay Market. Everyone we saw gave us a thumbs up. Cincinnati Fire loves us, as did the Waste Collection crews. CPD District 5 waved & let us go about caravanning & making noise.

Folks, you're missing a wonderful 1.5 hours, 2 max, by not being on the caravan. We implemented suggestions for improvement & efficiency, not to mention gas savings. Today went virtually without a hitch. It was smooth & it was fun!

Put it on your calendars to join us on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings. You'll still have plenty of time after to take care of items on the To Do list.

Anyone who lives in a neighborhood in the 32nd & a Hale YES! supporter, is more than welcome to take the lead in the caravan thru their community. You know the layout of the streets for effective visibility & maximum outreach. Today, the team got the real tour of Northside.

6:04 PM  

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