Oakwood: RTA and the Great Dust Bowl

posted May 28, 2012, 11:31 AM by CFO Info

Photos taken 5/27/12 of First Interstate, Inc. (FISE) construction on Oakwood.

1.The photos posted here were snapped from what will be the entrance to Oakwood Commons, at the Stonehaven and Warrensville intersection.
The front of the Superwalmart will face this entrance.
The bus stop for buses going south will be constructed at the Stonehaven entrance.

Shoppers who use the bus for transportation will have to cross Warrensville in order to catch a bus traveling north.

Why don't FISE and South Euclid city officials arrange for RTA to circulate through Oakwood Commons, so pedestrians and carts do not have to cross Warrensville to take the bus to travel north?  RTA circulates inside Severance and Richmond Mall to provide access in two directions, why not have RTA do the same inside Oakwood Commons?

2. A supporter is referring to Oakwood's construction site as The Great Dust Bowl. 
Here are excerpts from Jane Goodman's promises on her blog post.
After looking at these photos, you can decide for yourself if what Jane Goodman said would happen is happening. 

"• During construction he has to protect any trees and replace any he removes with adult, large trees, and limit the area his bulldozers compact the soil, and keep soil from washing off the surface into the sewers.

3. This deal would improve the environmental quality of the property in terms of soil, roots, canopy cover, streambank stabilization, sediment control, stormwater infiltration and management, plant and wildlife habitat and diversity, and water quality in Nine Mile Creek. We’d get a smaller amount of BETTER quality green space, and a net gain of trees over what’s there now."

If anyone has other photos of the construction, please send them in, or post on our Facebook page.


5/29/12 COMMENTS; Some of you wrote back to us and this is what you said:

Supporters sent in the following comments: 

"When I saw that army of earth destroying giants, I stopped and sadly took similar photos. Thanks for your efforts."
"wow.  Do you suggest we send our concerns to Jane Goodman and ask her to make sure the trees are all replaced as promised?

"wow.  Do you suggest we send our concerns to Jane Goodman and ask her to make sure the trees are all replaced as promised?"

"As if I'd believe anything local politicians promise.  What a joke.  Screw Goodman & Wal-Mart."

It's sick that Wal-Mart won due to their perseverance ..--------------they lusted over Oakwood over 10 years ago.  Funny, the few jobs that Wal-Mart will create. I read that maybe 50 low-wage hires ... great economic stimulus! You can't trust politicians. Why are people SO stupid in our society??????
I stay away from Wal-Mart and Sam's Club ...

Meeting tonight about Sustainable Zoning Code Amendments

posted Mar 14, 2012, 10:47 AM by CFO Info

TONIGHT at 7pm is 1 of 3 opportunities to make public comments about Cleveland Heights proposed Sustainable Zoning Code Amendment.

1. Tonight the Planning Commission will be briefed on the changes, receive public comment and begin discussion. Meeting is Council Chambers located in City Hall, 40 Severance Circle at 7:00 pm.

2. City Council holds a public hearing March 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd.

3. The Planning Commission discusses amendments, receives additional public comment and prepares recommendations on April 11th  in Council Chambers located in City Hall, 40 Severance Circle at 7:00 p.m.

City Council will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation and adopt the sustainable zoning amendments on April 16.
The Public is invited to attend all of these public meetings.
More details at the Cleveland Heights website.

You can also read a copy of the Zoning Code and proposed changes.

If you would like to keep informed about all things sustainable in the Heights area, subscribe to the Sustainable Heights Network emails from their website, or email:


The first revision of the Sustainable Zoning Code Amendment is the addition of this line: and the implementation of the principles of sustainability and protection of the physical environment and natural resources for all citizens.


Money: campaign finance reports from Issue 96 Oakwood referendum.

posted Mar 6, 2012, 1:49 PM by CFO Info

It's hard to believe it is election day again...

Attached are the campaign finance reports from First Interstate and Citizens for Oakwood and their political entities "No on 96" and "Yes on 96".These reports tell you how much was officially spent on the referendum campaign for Oakwood's Issue 96 last November.


Total spent by First Interstate:             $552,513.88

Total spent by Citizens for Oakwood:  $101,767.12


Total votes: 7985

 YES  .  .  .  4,430   55.48%
 NO.  .  .  .   3,555   44.52%


Cost per vote: $82.00 ($654,281 / 7985 votes)


Cost per YES vote by First Interstate:           $147.70

Cost per NO vote by Citizens for Oakwood:    $28.62



Thanks again to all of Oakwood's supporters, for their time, money and talent. We love you!


Oakwood coulda shoulda been a Metropark...


If you would like to sign a petition, sending an email to Walmart, telling them we DO NOT want a Superwalmart on Oakwood, just click here. 

Support our local grocers---they keep money in our economy and pay a living wage!
Thank you.


Oakwood requiem

posted Nov 26, 2011, 1:18 PM by CFO Info

I am finally able to write something about Oakwood.

I have been struggling to come to grips with the loss of the referendum which will lead to the destruction of the last large greenspace in our community; this generation will leave no Metropark.

If you only want to hear positive and comfortable things about our community, it is best if you stop reading now. I want to tell you the truth as I see it.

First Interstate’s shock and awe political campaign was something to behold. In my imagination I saw First Interstate say to Melamed Communications, “I don’t care what it costs, money is no obstacle, win the campaign. If we lose Oakwood it will be because you failed.”  When faced with the unlimited resources of a global capitalist, to quote Melville, “I saw the opening maw of hell”. First Interstate’s campaign was personified by the aggressive and bullying demeanor of the managers and workers paid to counter-demonstrate at our No on 96 rally at Mayfield and Green; fortunately they left promptly one hour after arrival, but not until one of them made a racially incendiary remark.

The First Interstate campaign probably used 13 mailings, including a DVD and an 8 page glossy brochure, endorsements from mayors of other cities who have First Interstate developments (would any of them have the courage to refuse a requested endorsement when the First Interstate development in their city is a larger enterprise than their city government?) the endorsement of Sun News, the Plain Dealer, use of the Legacy Village sign and many illegal placements and removals of signs. They ran full page ads in newspapers and had a large advertising presence on the internet. Not to mention the incessant TV commercials, complete with the $2400 worth of make-up.

It is important to note that the elected city officials included in the commercials were Georgine Welo and David Miller, both of whom were also running for re-election.

The opposition outspent us as least 4 to one. We will see the final campaign reports in December; even these will not be the full accounting of all resources used in the campaign. Happily, all the money they spent probably helped the economy and they did create jobs by hiring people to work on the campaign. (I wonder if a single volunteer worked on their campaign.)

Located at the intersection of 3 cities and 2 school districts, Oakwood always was and will continue to be a regional issue. Our government officials failed us again on this count; only Julian Rogers was somewhat receptive to our regional concerns.

Most people trust their government officials to have their best interest at heart and to make expert decisions on their behalf; Ohio law says that if citizens do not like the land use decisions made in their community, their only recourse is to vote officials out of office.

In this land use decision, South Euclid city officials, according to Jane Goodman, worked in “partnership” with First Interstate.  So the citizens of South Euclid had no one looking objectively at the best and highest use for Oakwood. Most disturbing was that this partnership of South Euclid city officials and First Interstate used the campaign tactic of pitting the residents of South Euclid against the residents of Cleveland Heights.  This tactic of inciting one group of people against another was carried out by mayor Georgine Welo and council members Jane Goodman and David Miller. If you were in favor of developing Oakwood you could be from anywhere (remember the letters from the mayors of Lyndhurst, Willoughby, Avon and the economic and community development director from Mentor). But if you were against developing Oakwood, you could only be from South Euclid.

This talking point based on turning one group of people against another was echoed in the media. The concern of Cleveland Heights’ citizens was described as meddling, not as an indication that this was, logically, a regional issue because Oakwood straddles both cities. An opportunity for a higher order discussion of regionalism was lost.

City officials used their political skills to incite one group of people against another, not to successfully negotiate with First Interstate for a living wage for those working in Oakwood Commons, or the right of first hire for residents of South Euclid, or a dark store provision or more than minimal “sustainable” building practices.  South Euclid politicians used their rhetorical abilities to discourage people from working together. I never saw any of them use their considerable political skills to negotiate with the developer on behalf of the people they represent. They seemed intimidated by him at the meetings I attended, did his bidding and never understood the value of the land they gave away.

Don’t think it didn’t have a chilling effect on residents of Cleveland Heights. Many of us no longer feel welcome in the city of South Euclid. However, I have great affection and respect for the people who worked on the No on 96 campaign and for the 3,460 people who voted to stop big box on Oakwood.

But, the fact that Oakwood is not going to be a Metropark is not due to First Interstate’s purchase of the property. Oakwood was for sale for a year prior to its purchase by First Interstate. Not one city official from Cleveland Heights or South Euclid, including the council members, mayors, and city manager did anything to preserve Oakwood. This also means that people and groups with influence and the planning commissions in both cities did not exert pressure on elected officials to preserve Oakwood.

No matter how loud or long they chant that they are sustainable or “green”, it is patently false that the cities of Cleveland Heights or South Euclid value sustainability, the environment or the concept of livable cities. Cities that gave up the last largest greenspace in the inner ring suburbs of Cleveland are not “sustainable” or concerned about the environment. As you move about our community, consider what greenspace we have left.

There are many, many people to thank. I sincerely apologize if I have overlooked thanking anyone; no one deserves to be unappreciated or overlooked. It was easy to ignore our efforts, but helpers and supporters were everywhere and came when we needed them the most. Every email was important to us and provided much needed moral support and helpful comments and suggestions. Every letter or email to the newspaper, or to a public official, every contribution to Facebook and to or other blog, every document composed or analyzed was essential to our effort We thank each and every one of you who did the unending work in our long effort to preserve Oakwood. You circulated and signed petitions, attended meetings and events, spoke up at city council meetings and public hearings, canvassed neighborhoods, worked the phones, talked to your friends, put up signs , and lent your name and presence to campaign literature, walked and talked to your neighbors, donated money and voted to create a better future of our community.

We had helpers who preferred to remain in the background, but I would like to thank all the local businesses and organizations in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights who supported us. Special thanks go to John Zagara of Zagara’s grocery store and to South Euclid business owners Regina Henderson of Babycakes Bakery and Bhavesh Patel of J&M Mart who appeared on our campaign literature.  For a complete list of our organization and business supporters, please see the list of Coalition for Oakwood members on the Citizens for Oakwood website, Please support our local businesses.

I would like to give special thanks to the students at Kramer Law Clinic and their supervising attorney, Professor Matt Rossman.  The simple truth is that Oakwood would not have made it to the ballot without them. Other attorneys also helped us in our efforts to preserve Oakwood and provided much needed skills and advice. We also thank the Ohio Supreme Court who twice supported the right of citizens to vote on Oakwood.

The destruction of the greenspace at Oakwood will have a very large impact on the wildlife that live there. Please be careful of the deer that will be displaced; they live on the margins as it is, but now this major loss of habitat will be force them onto the roads. This could cause severe injury to people in the cars that hit deer.

For hundreds of years migratory birds transversing the globe had Oakwood as a place to rest and feed on their long journey. It will no longer be available to them. For many species, there is no way to substitute for this loss.

I hope you will consider a generous donation to the Trust for Public Land and other land conservation organizations so that other greenspace can be conserved. Please remember that the Trust for Public Land optioned Oakwood and tried to purchase it in order to preserve it. Who knows what would have happened if either South Euclid or Cleveland Heights city officials had the foresight or wisdom to work with them?

It also now more important than ever to support the Metroparks and Forest Hill Park, our city parks and local conservation groups, including the local chapter of the Sierra Club, Kirtland Bird Club and Shaker Lakes.

Of all the possible land uses, permitting Oakwood to be developed as big box will bring the lowest financial and social benefits to the community. Using this resource in this way tells the broader community what kind of cities we are and what we value.

Although local issues and local politics may not be as interesting as those acted out on a larger stage, they are a good investment of time as they have the most impact on the quality of your life.

As always, I thank you for hearing me out.

Fran Mentch


ADDENDUM: Food for thought going forward.

The original plan for Oakwood Commons included retail being built on the Cleveland Heights portion of Oakwood and another entrance to Oakwood Commons being built in Cleveland Heights, across from Harwood Rd. You can see the map of this on page 3 of this PDF.

Developing the Cleveland Heights section of Oakwood will require rezoning, as it is currently zoned as residential. The description of First Interstate’s proposed development, other than the retail portion is listed in this article.

What will happen to Severance Town Center once Oakwood Commons is built?

The Cleveland Heights Planning Commission is scheduled to meet on 12/14/11 at 7pm in Council Chambers.  This planning commission has documented and demonstrated their interest in developing Oakwood. The commission’s agendas and minutes are never posted on the Cleveland Heights website; there is no way to tell if Oakwood is scheduled to be discussed at that or a future meeting.  So, if you have questions it may be best to contact the city manager, Bob Downey at or 216-291-3737 or the Planning Director, Richard Wong at or 216-291-4878.




No on 96 Don't pave paradise demonstration. Join us again today!

posted Nov 7, 2011, 10:17 AM by CFO Info

Oakwood Don't Pave Paradise Demonstration 11/6/11

Supporters used the Burma Shave technique to ask voters not to pave paradise to put up a parking lot. 

A good time was had by all. 

Warrensville is a very busy road. Can only imagine what it will be if Big Box is built there. 

Join us today at 4:15 for another "Pave Paradise" demonstration.

See you there!

No on 96 Rally held 11/5/11

posted Nov 6, 2011, 6:18 AM by CFO Info

November 6, 2011 NO on 96 Rally

Photos of Citizen Volunteers for No on 96 Campaign and the hired help from First Interstate's campaign who would not give permission for photos or their names. The faces for the First Interstate hired help "campaigners" are hidden. Two supervisors said their names were, at various times Mickey Mouse, Mitchell Schneider and Jane Doe.

Hired help for First Interstate arrived about 2pm and left promptly at 3pm once they were off the clock.
Their behavior was perceived by some citizen volunteers as aggressive and frightening.

At upcoming events we ask that all campaigners be wary of the First Interstate hired help. 
We ask First Interstate to direct all hired help to be civil and restrain from making racially charged remarks to citizen volunteers.

Is this a taste of things to come from First Interstate?

Vote NO on 96!

Ohio Elections Commission

posted Nov 5, 2011, 10:34 PM by CFO Info

Jane Goodman wrote a comment that is posted at the end of the article. She wrote it under the name "Citizenjane". The following is an excerpt from her post:
"Hazey, et al, if you really think I could be "used" by anyone, come to a few Council meetings. Or actually meet me. Or ask someone who knows me well. In fact, I suppose it could be said that I "used" the developer's own lawyer and consultant to file the complaint because I was so fed up with the lies and twisting of data being perpetrated by the "No" campaign. This project is a PARTNERSHIP. Nobody's using anybody. "
Please consider posting a comment at the end of the article.To go to the article, click here. We think that her statement that she used the developer's lawyer and consultant and that her work with First Interstate is a partnership, is disturbing. Citizens think that their council will look out for their best interest and watchdog what happens in their city. How will South Euclid City Council be able to negotiate from a position of strength in the future about anything with First Interstate.
As they say," If you owe the bank a million dollars,t hat’s your problem. If you owe the bank a billion dollars, that’s the bank’s problem." First Interstate will be the city's problem and council will not be able to do much about it.
The Ohio Elections Commission Probable Cause Panel ruled in FAVOR of NO on 96 and AGAINST JANE GOODMAN on all 4 complaints.
To read what NO on 96 campaign filed in response to Jane Goodman's' complaint, click here.
(The entire document in PDF form is at the bottom of that page.)
(By the way, anything the Ohio Elections Commission would do after the election would have NO impact, so the Ohio Election Commission looking at her complaint for the second time would have no impact.)
VOTE NO ON 96 and please tell all your friends and neighbors to do the same!
To volunteer for NO on 96, click here.

Joe and Mark video, "No on 96: the Sequel" They don't need no stinkin' make-up!

posted Nov 2, 2011, 10:16 PM by CFO Info

1.Watch the new video: "No on 96: The Sequel" with Joe and Mark talking about why they are voting No on 96.
Joe Liptow is running for city council in South Euclid.
  • He signed as one of the 5 petitioners needed in order to circulate the referendum petitions.
  • He told us that " It is more important that No on 96 succeeds than that I get elected". 
  • He is the only South Euclid candidate who endorses "No on 96". 
We recently posted First Interstate's campaign finance report that listed an expense of $2400 for make-up.
It's hard to believe, because they look so handsome, but Joe and Mark made this video without make-up!

2. Please pencil in your calendars for these three events:

No on 96 Rally
Saturday, November 5, from 1:30-3:30 at the at the intersection of Mayfield and Green. Please bring a No on 96 yard sign if you have one. (Just the sign, not the frame. We will be holding the signs.) Live music.

Sunday, November 6. Pave Paradise Rally
3:00-convene at Stonehaven and Warrensville-get signs, figure out line up order etc
3:30-actual start time 
5:54=144 minutes later/end time

Monday Candlelight Vigil.
Please bring your own candles and join us at 6:30 pm at the intersection of Warrensville Center Rd and Stonehaven Rd.


We have a few more lawn signs that want to be taken out of our garage and put in the sunlight on your lawn!

To request a yard sign or to sign up to volunteer to distribute literature, please click here.

FISE campaign finance report: $100,000 and counting. We do our own make-up.

posted Nov 1, 2011, 2:03 PM by CFO Info

Here's the campaign finance report for the Oakwood developer's campaign. It is important to note that even though this report includes over $100,000 worth of expenses, it does NOT include:
  •  the expenses for the TV ads
  •  the production and mailing of the DVD
  •  the postage for at least 9 mailings
  •  printing for at least 7 mailings.

It does include:
  • $25,000 a month for consultants
  • an investment in $2400 worth of make-up.
  • there are no individual donors; only payments from First Interstate, LTD.
So, we are thinking the total is going to be at least twice what was reported already.

Please don't show this to any of our volunteers--they do their own make-up and we don't want to give them any ideas!

NO ON 96!

Here's something else you will "cost you nothing" from First Interstate.

posted Oct 31, 2011, 4:43 PM by CFO Info

A traffic mess that will generate frustration, neighborhood cut-throughs, and fender benders (not to mention the new bus stop just outside the entrance to the BIG BOX).

Here is a report with all the gory details. Please note that this study does not include the traffic that will be added by the new McDonald's in University Heights or whatever is built at Cedar Center.

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