Thursday, November 07, 2013

Nonprofit Thursday | The Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association; The Gathering Place

The 11th annual HBCU College Fair will take place a week next weekend, Saturday, November 16, from 8AM until 2PM at the Warrensville Heights High School, 4270 Northfield Road.

Organizers of the fair are hopeful that this year’s fair will be the biggest yet. The Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association anticipates more than 40 HBCU schools, educational exhibitors and vendors will participate in the fair. The committee has received online registrations from more than 600 students, parents and educators who plan to take advantage of the many opportunities of the day.

Every high school senior and recent high school graduate who registers for the Fair will have the chance to complete the Common Black College Application for admission at no cost. This common application is accepted at 32 specific HBCUs, some of which will be onsite at the fair. This general college application is presented by EDU, Inc. EDU president Robert Mason says, “Over 97% of the students who have used the services, have been accepted to at least one of the HBCUs that accept the EDU, Inc. application.”

The Fair will feature “Fast Track Workshops” designed to help prepare students for young adulthood. Attendees will have the opportunity to select morning or afternoon sessions and be able to rotate freely among various concurrent workshops along with the college fair. Workshop presenters will be on hand to provide information and resources from scholarships and internships to college visits and financial planning.

Another new feature being introduced this year is the HBCU Experience Showcase. Performances by the Warrensville Hts. High School Marching Band and Cheerleaders, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District All-City Drumline, Firestone Dance & Step Team, the Alpha ESQuires, and the Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word will display the talents of area youth in presentations designed to display the style and flavor of a typical black college campus.

The night before the college fair will see area HBCU graduates gather to celebrate at an “I Love My HBCU – Alumni Mixer & Recognition Celebration.” Lester Holmes, college fair chairman, sees the mixer as “an exciting time to allow HBCU alumni and those who are interested in learning more about HBCUs to meet, exchange ideas and thank the many supporters of the fair, all while we plan to recruit the next generation of students to attend our colleges and universities.”

This Alumni Mixer, a first for Cleveland, will provide an opportunity for alumni and supporters to network and socialize while raising the awareness of HBCUs. The free event will be held at Silks Restaurant and Bar at Thistledown Racino on Friday Nov. 15th at 6:30pm. and includes a complimentary buffet.

To learn more about fair registration, workshops, student showcase, and the HBCU Alumni Mixer visit or call 216-282-4228.

Gathering Place seeking small favor with big payoff
The Gathering Place is asking area citizens to support their campaign to be the Charity of Choice of Southwest General Health Center put together a pink glove video to promote breast cancer awareness and they’ve chosen The Gathering Place to be their Charity of Choice to receive $25,000 if their video receives the most votes. Could you please vote and then send to your colleagues, family and friends to vote.

Use this link to see the video and vote for The Gathering Place. Tomorrow, November 8 is the final day to vote in this contest.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Health Watch Wednesdays | Give Kasich his due on Medicaid Expansion

Ohio's Governor follows President's lead with positive reforms of his own
We have lived with Gov. John Kasich long enough to know the good and the bad. We can’t forget his heartless balancing of the state budget on the backs of local municipalities and school districts. Indelible also was his ruthless attempt to squash working men and women who choose to be unionized.

Alongside these substantial negative markers must now be placed his leadership in securing Medicaid expansion in Ohio. We were among those skeptics who thought he might be content to be on record in favor of expansion, while allowing the Neanderthal Republicans to strangle Medicaid expansion by bogus “reform” initiatives.

Today we listened to Greg Moody, the director of the governor’s Office of Health Transformation address a select group of health industry providers and advocates. He was speaking at the Cleveland Clinic as keynote for the final installment of the Center for Community Solutions’ 2013 Health and Human Services Institute. The event was in Bunts Auditorium on the Clinic’s main campus.

 Asking the question, “Why do we pay for more and more and more instead of better and better and better?” Moody laid out a convincing presentation of the Kasich administration’s efforts to reform Ohio’s horrific healthcare system. Dubbed the Ohio Health and Human Services Transformation Plan, Moody presented the critical path approach to modernize Ohio’s Medicaid regime, streamline the state’s health and human services, and to establish a closer and more rational relationship between the cost of health care services and the value of the services rendered.

“We pay for individual units of service so we get a lot of individual units of service,” Moody said, “whether they improve health outcomes or not.” Moody was recruited to Ohio by Kasich to lead efforts to rationalize Ohio’s health care policies, reform the labyrinthine paths by which such healthcare is delivered, and to correlate cost to value.

One desired goal of this effort is to improve Ohio’s dismal standing as a state with relatively high per capital health care costs while having being in the bottom quartile in terms of health outcomes.
States listed L to R in order of best health outcomes. Ohio is in red.
Moody effectively drove home the Governor’s commitment to a sounder health care system when he showed a slide that depicted all of Kasich’s top aides focusing on strategies to secure a favorable ruling on Medicaid expansion from the state’s Board of Control. That outcome came late last month after what Moody depicted as an intense two-month effort ordered by Kasich to secure such a ruling.

Of course, nowhere in Moody’s presentation, or even in the panel discussion that followed, was there any direct mention of the Affordable Health Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, much less any acknowledgement that this historic legislation was a catalyst to the state’s reform efforts, or the reform efforts of the healthcare industry in general.

Moody did acknowledge “poverty is highly correlated” to all kinds of negative health outcomes, and flatly declared that addressing poverty is the surest way to improve the health of Ohioans.

Most interesting to us in the panel discussion that riffed on Moody’s mood was the common sense assertion by Thom Craig that “mental health care should be integrated into regular health care system.” Craig, the senior program officer for mental health of the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, said that “we are all a little bit mentally ill and we are all a little bit mentally well.”
Rita Horwitz, Better Health Greater Cleveland
Michael McMillan, Cleveland Clinic

Thom Craig, Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation
Also on the panel were Rita Horwitz, RN, the director of business development and operations for Better Health Greater Cleveland, and Michael McMillan, executive director of market and network services for the Cleveland Clinic.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Endorsements for Cleveland and Richmond Heights mayoral races, East Cleveland City Council

The juxtaposition of East Cleveland and Richmond Heights may seem odd to many — and distressing, perhaps, to some.  We know some eyebrows were raised, including ours, when Richmond Heights mayoral candidate David Ali said last May his city was “slowly turning into a ghetto” like East Cleveland.

Ali’s comments were of course an insult to the good people of East Cleveland. While there are more $200,000 houses on any given block of Richmond Heights than in the entire city of East Cleveland, this should not obscure the fact many East Cleveland residents possess the civility, savvy and sophistication, and the resources, that would make them welcome additions to any community.

Ali’s remarks were the kind that unwittingly reveal more about the speaker than the subject. To begin with, much of the City of East Cleveland is indistinguishable from the neighborhoods on the eastside of Cleveland where Ali was born and raised as David Johnson. The family gas station on St. Clair Ave. at 117 St. he inherited and ran for forty years is but a few scant blocks from East Cleveland. That family enterprise made him a millionaire and enabled him to drive up the hill every night to his ranch house in a tidy, almost bucolic bedroom community.

Miesha Headen for Mayor of Richmond Heights
The clear choice to lead Richmond Heights for the next four years is Miesha Headen. She has the fiscal expertise to manage the city’s treasury, an understanding of the challenges the city faces, concrete plans to address those challenges, and the courage to lead the way.

Our conversations with Mr. Ali gave us the impression that he would not be running for mayor if the major intersection near his home were not so run down. He seems to conceive of the mayor’s role as that of development director. The fact that he could campaign for the job for five months and yet be wholly ignorant of the city’s budget or how many employees he would be responsible for speaks volumes about his interest and capacity to run a municipal government.

Dave Ali may be an excellent businessman and model neighbor, but he is wholly unprepared to be mayor of Richmond Heights. He has little concept of the job he has been pursuing for the last several months. He shows no comprehension of the difference between running a family neighborhood retail business and governing a diverse city full of economic and social challenges that have been unaddressed for more than a decade.

Finally, there are legitimate questions as to Ali’s motivation to be a candidate. Who would run for an office he knows so little about? And what is one to make of the fact that the discredited Josh Kaye, whose tenure as Board of Education president was inept, vindictive and abusive [see here, here, and here for examples.], has boasted that he is Ali’s campaign manager.

The incumbent mayor, Dan Ursu, is rightly criticized for his public aloofness, but Ursu’s public reticence is purposeful. He intentionally governs almost in secret, as if he were trying to lull city residents into apathy. Unfortunately, Richmond Heights requires leadership that is far more dynamic, imaginative, and sensitive than Ursu has provided over at least the past dozen years. It was telling that he had to be introduced to the principal of the Richmond Heights High School at the League of Women Voters Oct. 16 forum. City Hall is less than 200 yards from the high school, but the only interest Ursu has shown in his challenged school district in the past two years was in doing a photo opp with the boys basketball team after their record-breaking season.

If Richmond Heights wants to reverse its recent decline and begin to take advantage of its tremendous potential, it needs a both a pragmatic mayor and a visionary one. Miesha Headen best represents that combination in this year’s race.

Thomas Wheeler, Brandon King, and Gloria Smith Morgan for East Cleveland City Council
We were stunned the first time we covered an East Cleveland City Council meeting. It was about six years ago. Eric Brewer was mayor and Gary Norton was council’s president. The hostility between the executive and legislative branches was palpable. Norton subsequently challenged Brewer for mayor, defeated him in 2009. While his administration has begun to address some of the city’s key challenges — vacant and abandoned properties, ending the city’s political isolation, crafting a viable development strategy — one of his principal missteps has been his failure to foster any sort of collegiality with council.

Norton’s landslide victory over Council President Joy Jordan in last month’s Democratic primary means that he will embark upon a second term. The only chance for that term to be successful for the city is for a cleansing of the poisonous attitude that has too long infected City Hall. That is why we believe electing the slate of Wheeler, King and Morgan offers East Cleveland residents the best opportunity to move their city forward. The trio should not be expected to provide automatic support for the mayor’s agenda, but such a wholesale transformation of council is the best bet for moving the city out of its fiscal emergency and towards restoring residents’ confidence in their municipal government.

Mayor of Cleveland
Frank Jackson merits a third term as Cleveland mayor. His fiscal leadership has kept the city on an even keel and permitted him to initiate important developments throughout the city. His no-frills, unromantic leadership style turns a lot of people off but it has on balance produced good results for the city. He has made his share of mistakes and on occasion been too tolerant of mismanagement in key departments. The reality is that running the major city in our region is an enormous task.

Watching Ken Lanci try to make a case to be Cleveland’s next mayor has been an occasion for sadness. Like the energetic David Ali, Lanci’s campaign proves that business success counts for little in politics if you have no real appreciation for how to run a municipal government. Lanci has embraced and apparently taken considerable advice from an assortment of political malcontents and blowhards whose collective influence couldn’t carry a precinct. It gives one pause when trying to imagine what sort of cabinet he would have if the sky fell and he became mayor. It would likely make even diehard Republicans long for the return of the Grdina sisters from the Kucinich adminstration.