Letters to the Editor

Clark Metro Development Corporation Board members share resignation letters

Editor’s Note: These letters of resignation from the board were submitted to Clark Metro Development Corporation on June 13th. The authors of the letters chose to share them with the Plain Press and its readers.

To the editor: (Plain Press, August 2007) To the members of the Board of Trustees, I have recently come to the realization that Clark-Metro has finally crossed the line and cannot possibly have a future serving our community. I have only served you for the past year but in that year, I have come to learn that the CMDC is full of dishonesty, deception and apathy. The puppeteers continue to remain on this board and new ones have recently arrived that will drive the final nail into the coffin. Who will benefit? No one. Who will suffer?  As usual, the citizens of our service area will suffer who deserved much more from us than we have given.

To the few good people on this board, if not for all the smoke and mirrors, I truly think we could have made a difference. To all the rest: Shame on you for not caring enough about our neighborhood to want to keep Clark-Metro open.

I, for one, cannot be a part of this any longer. For the aforementioned reasons, I am tendering my resignation as Vice-President and Board Member of Clark-Metro Development Corporation effective immediately.

George Hohlakis

To the editor: To whom it may concern: (Plain Press, August 2007) I’m done. I started out thinking I could make a difference. It is not about the neighborhood anymore. Everyone is pointing fingers at each other trying to make the other look bad. I don’t want to live in a neighborhood like this, or have anything to do with the games that are being played. Please respond to my resignation from the board. I’m done

Dena Czupih


More services and press coverage needed for “Forgotten Zone”

To the Editor: (Plain Press, August 2007) What is happening to the Far West Side of Cleveland?  Who is responsible for closing West Tech High School? It took 10 years and a few contractors to build apartments and houses on the property, which are mainly vacant and foreclosed on.  Now it's said the West Side needs a new High School.  What was wrong with the old one?
The Senior Center at Cudell Recreation was closed 10 years ago. A new senior center was built on W.93rd and Lorain. What was wrong with the old one? It was convenient, across the street from the W.98th Street Rapid Station and had many bus routes stopping there. It had kitchen facilities, a gymnasium, and a pool. The new building has 10 parking spaces, and is on one bus line. The seniors walk in circles in small rooms for exercise.  Whose idea was this new building?

Some neighbors from the Clifton, Lake, and Edgewater streets do not want the ramps removed because they say it will make too much traffic. Yet this past spring, traffic on Lake Ave. from W.117th to West Blvd.  has been changed from 2 lanes in each direction to one.  Won't that cause a lot of congestion, or was that changed to make a point before the ramps will be closed?  Who was responsible for these lane changes?

Some of us in the Forgotten Zone have waited 40 years to have our street repaved and 2 years to have a foot-deep pothole filled, while others in our same ward get new sewers, waterlines, extra police protection, and other city services. But I keep forgetting the difference between the house values north of Detroit Rd. and those south of Detroit Rd.

The people who live north of Detroit deserve these city services that they keep receiving, but so do we in the Forgotten Zone. Just because those north of Detroit mainly own and live in their homes shouldn't be the determining factor in who receives services. And I won't stop requesting that the Plain Press please put some articles on the Forgotten Zone in their newspaper.  You still are forgetting our area.  I'm pretty sure we still are considered part of the West Side.

Frank Caffrey
Forgotten Zone - W.85 -W.110th Madison


Tops workers lose severance packages in union agreement with Giant Eagle

To the editor: (August 2007, Plain Press) Tops, Giant Eagle and United Food and Commercial Workers (U.F.C.W.) Local 880 drastically changed the lives of thousands of Tops employees. It began prior to September 2005, when contract negotiations began between U.F.C.W. local 880 and the Cleveland Food Industry Committee. Contract negotiations went on for several months before a contract was proposed. This contract proposed a slight wage increase along with an increase in health and welfare benefits. It also stated that full time employees must maintain a minimum of 37 hours per week in order to maintain full time health care benefits.

Several months after the contract was settled, Tops announced that they were selling all of their Northeast Ohio stores due to loses they sustained in the overseas market. Tops then sold the majority of their stores to Giant Eagle, their major competitor, even though another investment group came in a few days later and offered to buy all the stores, hire the employees and keep the current contract.

Giant Eagle went on to hire most of the Tops employees from the stores they purchased plus some others to make themselves look good to the public.
The agreement between Giant Eagle and U.F.C.W. was to cut pay of first-tier employees (hired before 1983) by approximately $2.50 per hour, plus cut benefits and vacation time in half. Tops employees from stores that were bought were forced to apply to Giant Eagle (if they did not, severance packages would not be available to them). Employees were left with no options: either they applied to Giant Eagle and lost their severance packages, or they did not apply to Giant Eagle and still lost their severance packages.

Now, just a week after our 60-day trial period, hours are being reduced, especially those of ex-Tops employees, some down to 32 hours per week. When one union representative was asked about the situation, his response was “nothing is guaranteed.”

Many feel that a deal was worked out to retain jobs so that everyone benefited, except those that really mattered, the employees. If only they had the option of taking their well-deserved severance packages and getting on with their lives. Instead, many ex-Tops employees’ futures are in limbo with lost wages, decreased health care and lack of job security. I would like to thank our great union for standing up for us when we needed them the most. Without us employees, their salaries would not get paid.

Name withheld upon request


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