CLAUDE CORNETT’S BIO
I am running for a position on the TWDC Board to help inform, encourage and empower the residents of Tremont to preserve and improve our civil liberties, quality of life, and rights to the peaceful enjoyment of our property, homes, recreation, and neighborhoods. I intend to apply my knowledge, skills, time and experience to help bring that about.
I urge you to vote against TWDC’s proposed new articles of incorporation because they strip TWDC of directly addressing humanitarian concerns other than those associated with real estate. Other 501 (C) (3) organizations can be too busy with their own agendas and interests to address all of the humanitarian and other concerns of residents and block clubs. The current Articles of Incorporation are very flexible and do not restrict TWDC to real-estate concerns and providing administrative support to other 501 (C) (3) s. TWDC can fulfill its original mission, as described in its current articles of incorporation, if we make it so.
I wrote the proposed Power to the People Amendments to TWDC’s Proposed Bylaws <http://www.tremonsters.com/ComPropTWDCBylaws.htm>, with help from my neighbors, to help make TWDC into a more effective mechanism through which we can work together to improve all aspects of our community
Assuming quorum at the January 2010 meeting, those attending will have an opportunity to choose whether to:
* Approve proposed new articles of incorporation and bylaws that would result in TWDC becoming little more than a real estate agency, run from the top down, or
* Retain the current articles of incorporation and approve amendments to the TWDC bylaws proposal that would make TWDC committees into mechanisms run from the bottom up by which residents can place items on their agendas, freely air their concerns and desires, and vote on and organize effective action addressing them on a broad range of community concerns (with the Board retaining top/down control of the Finance Committee, the Executive Committee determined by another mechanism, and the Board having veto power available if needed to protect their fiduciary and legal responsibilities)
I proposed a ballot < http://www.tremonsters.com/TWDC%20Ballot.htm> on the proposed amendments so that you can vote for or against them, one section at a time (except for a few sections that need to be taken together to be consistent). Please urge TWDC to use such a ballot and to allow you to choose what makes sense to you.
I encourage you to read and evaluate TWDC’s proposed new bylaws and articles of incorporation, along with the proposed amendments and the current articles of incorporation, and to vote in accordance with your own conclusions.
My History in Tremont:
I became active in the South of Jefferson neighborhood shortly after moving to Tremont in April 2006, when I attended a meeting at which the plans for the Hope VI project (now called Tremont Pointe) were presented. Tremont Pointe was physically designed to prevent residents from hanging out, picnicking, playing games, and socializing outdoors in the immediate vicinity of their homes, and the associated plans for security were presented to reinforce that.
One of the main reasons why I choose to move into the section of West 6 St. between Marquardt and Jefferson (a section of road that looks like an alley) was because the people living there socialize with each other on their porches, lawns, driveways etc. Such community interaction helps make a neighborhood much safer than one with nearly deserted streets that are often overrun by criminal gangs. However, I was concerned about the fact that children often played basketball and other games in the street because they had no nearby parks. The plans for Tremont Pointe would make that problem worse. When I tried to get my concerns on the agenda of TWDC Committees and the South of Jefferson Block Club, no amount of support from my neighbors was adequate to do so, because they were run from the top down. Their leadership could easily ignore proposals brought up for consideration by residents.
Shortly after bringing up the issue at a block club meeting and at TWDC’s office (over three years ago), a housing inspector told my landlord that residents at my address were raising issues that made the powers that be uncomfortable. This was a clear threat that he would be harassed with nit-picking inspections if he did not shut us up. Fortunately, neither my landlord nor I intimidate easily; and I named the housing inspector and aired my complaint about this far and wide – which stopped this harassment. If it happened now, I would do the same and file a formal complaint with the Councilman and the FBI. I urge others to do the same if harassed by building inspectors who behave similarly.
Three years later, when I presented a petition signed by 12 block club members at a block club meeting to have TWDC put a pocket park on the agenda, Sammy Catania said that the proposal bordered on racism and fascism (a ridiculous charge). He also called me a troublemaker at a subsequent meeting on Thurman, when a drive through Turkish restaurant was being proposed between Thurman alley and Professor St near the middle of the block between Jefferson and Starkweather. (The restaurant is now being planned at the former location of Hotz café in the commercial area at the end of Professor near Starkweather, where it belongs). When Sammy said that the neighborhood is going to change anyway, he enraged the neighbors over the obvious plan to break up their residential neighborhood to help facilitate the commercialization of the remaining residential area of Professor.
Calling me a troublemaker and telling the neighbors on Thurman that the neighborhood would change despite their objections inspired me to:
* Start a Tremonsters e-mail list <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tremonsters> and the http://www.Tremonsters.com web domain and to seriously engage in door to door petitioning and organizing to help empower the residents of Tremont to preserve and improve our civil liberties, quality of life, and rights to the peaceful enjoyment of our property, homes, recreation, and neighborhoods, and to
* Encourage Thurman residents to attend block club meetings, become voting members, and help vote in new leadership.
I also initiated a survey and petition drive within Tremont Pointe and in the surrounding blocks. The survey indicated that 98% of the residents in the blocks adjacent to Tremont Pointe and over 2/3 of those in Tremont Pointe wanted a pocket park in their immediate vicinity to help address the need for safe and appropriate recreational facilities nearby. This got Councilman Cimperman’s attention and support for investigating the possibility of creating a pocket park in this neighborhood.
The South of Jefferson Block Club subsequently passed Roberts Rules of Order as its operating procedure. However, even after Robert’s Rules were passed and the proposal concerning a pocket park was formally proposed and seconded, it was not put on the agenda -- calling into question the legitimacy of the entire block club -- until block club members voted in new leadership and voted for the proposal on September 8, 2009.
At this time, I began to review and analyze what the TWDC Bylaws Committee was proposing. It is a top town structure designed, among other things to prevent residents of neighborhoods from becoming members of TWDC committees in sufficient numbers to prevent their neighborhoods from being sacrificed for what some committee members considered to be the greater good of Tremont. As a result, I drafted, with input from neighbors, the proposed Power to the People Amendments to TWDC’s proposed new bylaws. Our proposal is designed to help prevent such abuses of power and to turn TWDC back into something like what it was originally intended to be. Among other things, TWDC was designed to be a mechanism by which residents can address their needs and concerns on a wide variety of matters and organize effective action to address them.
My Other Qualifications
What else do I bring to the picture? As an environmental engineer, I bring over 37 years of experience assessing and mitigating adverse environmental impacts of institutions, contaminated land, and planned changes to roads, highways, mass transit system, utilities, industries, commercial and residential developments, etc. I worked my way up from supervising all ambient air pollution monitoring for the City of Cleveland, when it worked closely with NASA concerning the causes and environmental impacts of Cleveland's air pollution, to:
* Institutional analysis of the National Institutes of Health,
* Writing key sections of environmental impact statements,
* Writing US Department of Transportation guidelines for air pollution and noise analysis,
* Writing key sections of US EPA regulations,
* Performing and supervising EPA Superfund remedial investigations and feasibility studies,
* Supervising an EPA Technical Assistance team, responsible for emergency response planning and program evaluation
to the point when I became the principal investigator responsible for human health impact assessment for a programmatic environmental impact statement for all of the US Department of Energy’s nuclear and hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal and environmental restoration.
I have never sold out, even when offered tens of thousands of dollars and highly paid positions to become a lackey of polluters and big business interests -- and even when it cost me my job. I am the first person who won back pay under the Department of Energy's Contractor Employee Protection Program when fired for addressing real threats to public health posed by US Department of Energy facilities and plans <http://www.oha.doe.gov/cases/whistle/vwa0008.htm >. My settlement was garnished from the CIA that bankrolled the intended cover-up when it was trying to get the US to import, process and dispose of the nuclear waste from the former Soviet Union and other nations.
Between 1998 and 2005, I organized the Collinwood Environmental Taskforce, a coalition of the Collinwood and Nottingham Village Development Corporation, the Collinwood Residents Association, and other organizations. It successfully prevented Advanced Medical Systems, an extremely dangerous colbalt-60 processing facility on London Road, from resuming operations and forced the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Ohio Department of Health to make the owners clean it up. I gained much experience on what development corporations do, how they are organized, funded and operate, and how they and commercial, residential, and regulatory organizations, and politicians can work together to successfully address shared concerns. After this experience, as well as writing bylaws for and serving on the board of other organizations (including coalitions of Pagans -- something like herding cats), I believe that I am well qualified to serve on the TWDC Board.
My purpose for running for a Board position and for proposing amendments to TWDC’s proposed new bylaws is to help Tremont Residents protect and improve our civil liberties, quality of life, and rights to the peaceful enjoyment of our property, homes, recreation, and neighborhoods – while facilitating appropriate new residential and commercial development.
Tremont is a great place to live; and, by working together, we can make it better. I urge you to vote for me, for other progressive members of our community, and for appropriate amendments to the proposed bylaws, and against the proposed new articles of incorporation; and we can make it so.
For further details, contact me at (216)