Facts fail to stay buried despite city hall spin

Lakewood City Hall and the Cleveland Clinic have been attempting to do an end-run around “interference” with their agenda for more than a year. As far back as January 2015, officials informed media that “Cleveland Clinic and the Lakewood Hospital Association will close Lakewood Hospital” as though nothing more would be said. Their fantasy quickly ran into the reality that a community-owned hospital is not a commodity to be traded around at private whim.

After 16 months of shell-games and evasions, officials’ actions face review by an ongoing lawsuit and a November referendum. Yet they continue to proceed as though they can bluff their way past all resistance. In the most recent Lakewood Observer, multiple residents take note of this ongoing bluff and demonstrate that it’s failing. “Burying the Hospital Alive” points out that city council—after choosing to schedule a referendum on closing the hospital in November—is proceeding as though the measure is already approved. In “Bad Government” part five, citizen investigator Brian Essi continues to detail how city officials have attempted to bury records of their actions while holding publicly-paid office.

Yet, as “Field Of Dreams Part Deux” confirms, too many people have taken up shovels for city hall’s information-landfill to succeed. Word is getting out about things like MetroHealth’s proposal to operate Lakewood Hospital, which demolishes false claims that the Cleveland Clinic’s decanting plan was the only option on offer. As the author writes:

Our civic leadership has no credible plan capable of replacing the economic engine that they have intentionally shut down. Over the balance of its now-canceled leased, Lakewood Hospital would have generated more than a billion dollars of economic impact. This is a conservative estimate that only assumes the continued operation of the hospital through the current lease period and not after 2026.

Did our civic leaders understand that they were shutting down a billion dollars’ worth of economic flow when they rejected the Metro Health System proposal?  It seems not.  If you were selling your house, you would have it appraised before putting it on the market. If our civic leaders had the operations or assets of Lakewood Hospital appraised by independent professionals, those appraisals have never been made public. If they didn’t have such a valuable asset appraised, then shame on them.

All of these basic, common-sense practices—an independent appraisal, a public RFP, and open bidding—can still be performed when Lakewood says no to the alternative of lazy, prefab policy-making. Voters will have their choice on November 8.