Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Notes from the Art Museum Ribbon Cutting.

I dragged my children to the Art Museum ribbon cutting gave my children a once in a lifetime chance to see the opening of a building of international import. I won’t give you the full tragicomic rundown of my equipment issues, but suffice it to say that the photo here is not from today. The fact that it is only slightly blurry should have tipped you off.

Anyway. Here’s the highlights of what I saw.

Ø The crowd was pretty good for a Tuesday morning. Over a hundred crowded around the entrance.

Ø Among the VIPs there were Mayor Don Plusquellec, Council President Marco Sommerville, Newly appointed County Executive Russ Pry, former County Executive Jim McCarty, State Sen. Coughlin and Jeril Klue from Rep. Betty Sutton’s office.

Ø In his remarks, Mayor Plusquellec made a point of mentioning the “beautiful parking garage” across the street. Wonder what that was about?

Ø Couglin spoke for a while. Apparently he was instrumental in getting the money that the State chipped in. Money for an art museum seems like the sort of thing that a hardcore fiscal conservative like Coughlin would object to on the Statehouse floor. But in this venue he was more than happy to take credit for it.

Ø It made me wonder about the other lawmakers. After all, the Art Museum isn’t even in Coughlin’s district. So did other lawmakers get elbowed out when Coughlin got out front or did they just not jump on this.

Ø Bill Dyer was walking around when I overheard some Museum guy greet him. He replied “I like the inside better.”

Ø I disagree with the NYT critic about the gallery space. No it’s not very imaginative, but that’s the point. What you get is huge spaces that give the outsized modern pieces by Warhol and Stella and Close room to breathe. You don’t notice much about the galleries, but that’s the point. The space is about the art.

Ø We joined up and got keychains where are limited edition scale models of the zigzag elevator shaft in the lobby. I told the folks at the desk they could do a whole charm bracelet based on components of the two buildings.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dig down below your hatred of Coughlin.

He's a member of the Ohio Arts Council, a long-time supporter or the arts, and the point man in the Statehouse for state funding for Summit County projects.

Coughlin is the one who has put the museum in the state budget the last six years. Not Taft, not Strickland, not the House or any other member.

In fact, John Widowfield tried to erase the museum from the budget because the museum fired Alex Arshinkoff as its lobbyist. Coughlin protected it.

Ask the Civic, Stan Hywet, the zoo, the University, Weathervane, Hale Farm, and any number of places that seek state funding and they will tell you that Coughlin is the guy who can deliver.

If Coughlin "took credit" for anything today, he's probably safe doing it.

Pho said...

Anon:

I appreciate the comment and the info. Digging below my hatred of Coughlin is always an effort.

My real problem isn't that he took credit, but that he can be such a bastard about spending on other things like education. He plays to the kind of people who object to arts spending, but he nonetheless brings that funding to his district. I'll happily point out that inconsistency when the opportunity arises.

Anonymous said...

Coughlin Takes Credit Where Credit Isn't Due

Little Kevy Coughlin, the same guy that expected Gov. Ted Strickland to have complete and full budgetary plans delivered to the Statehouse the minute he finished his oath, is pulling a new deception: taking credit for a project in his district, even though he didn't have a damn thing to do with it.

The area in question is a small bit of land in Akron where E. Exchange intersects with Arlington. About a mile from Goodyear's HQ, neighborhood is historically known as Middlebury [pdf]. The Exchange/Arlington site's use evolved from a carriage works in the 19th century to a tire and body shop in the 20th. The city purchased the property, consisting of 13 parcels and 2.2 acres, in 2005 with development in mind.

The first phase of development at Middlebury, called Middlebury MarketPlace, included 25,000 sq. ft. of retail space plus a Dave's grocery store. The Middlebury area's closest grocery store was several miles away, forcing many car-less folks in the area to bus themselves out to get groceries.

Akron applied for $750,000 in Clean Ohio Assistance funds to prepare the land for development. You can read a the application here [thanks to Jerid for hosting the doc]. On 4/3/07, Lt. Gov. and Director of Development Fisher recommended to the State Controlling Board approval of the application. On 4/23, the approval was granted. [Go here and search, Org: Development and FY06-07; the result you're looking for is DEV949].

So let's review: the City of Akron purchased 2.2 acres of land; the City of Akron made the request to the Ohio Department of Development to obtain $750k in Clean Ohio funds for site remediation; Director of Development Fisher recommended the Controlling board release funds for the project; and the Controlling Board did so. With me so far? Looks like a straight forward City of Akron project with appropriate sign-offs by state official.

Then along comes Lil' Kevy. Not one to let someone else's work pass without assuming credit for it, Coughlin issues a press release stating that he has "secured additional funds to improve and revitalize part of downtown Akron". Unfortunately, Akron News Now bites and conducts an interview with him [which, in addition to being online, was presumably aired on WAKR 1590]. In the interview, he uses the word "we" a lot, as if he had spearheaded the project was was demuring instead of taking full responsibility for it's success.

Oddly, this press release of his is not on Kevy's gubernat..., er, personal website.

For it's part, the Beacon finds the Middlebury story so unremarkable they haven't mentioned it.

Let's review again: the City of Akron purchases land and applies for remediation funds; the approval is granted by the Ohio Director of Development and the State Controlling Board; then, Lil' Kevy takes credit for the entire project.

Did he make a phone call? Yeah, probably, but that's it. Coughlin in no way moved the Middlebury project forward.

Par for the course, really. Coughlin is a do-nothing blowhard adept at political gamesmanship; this is just more proof.

Posted by redhorse at 10:13 AM

Labels: Little Kevy Couhglin

Anonymous said...

How's that appointment to the school board coming Redhorse?

Pho said...

Anon2 wasn't Redhorse, just someone copying and pasting an old post of his. Something better accomplished with a link, by the way.

And you guys wonder why I don't like anonymous comments.

redhorse said...

just fine Queenie.