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Speaking out against legalizing marijuana

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was joined by Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Joe Roman and Shaker Heights Police Chief Scott Lee (above photo left to right) at a press conference last Thursday to urge a NO vote on Issue 3, the marijuana legalization ballot issue.

DeWine discussed a three-day fact-finding trip he took to Colorado to learn about the impact of marijuana legalization on the state. Among his concerns:
  • The prevalence of marijuana-laced food such candy and baked goods that look very similar to their mass-market counterparts (photo right).

    He said that the number of emergency room visits by children who have mistakenly eaten foods containing marijuana “has increased substantially.”
  • Growth in the marijuana black market: DeWine said that with marijuana legalization “the perceived risk will go down, while availability will go up.”

    He urged voters to be aware that marijuana on the market today is not the same as the pot of the 1960s. “It is much more potent.”
DeWine said that he supports well-regulated, legalized medical marijuana, “but that is not what this (Issue 3) is about.”

Business community perspective

Roman focused on the position taken by GCP members and other employers on marijuana legalization. He said that following a lengthy review, the organization concluded the ResponsibleOhio proposal to permit marijuana use for both recreational and medical purposes could negatively impact workplaces, make Ohio an unattractive place for businesses considering expansion here, and burden small businesses.

GCP members are concerned about issues including: difficulty in recruiting drug-free employees; implications for workplace safety; impact on workforce productivity, quality and costs and the resulting effect on employer liability.

Law enforcement voices concerns

Lee provided a law-enforcement community’s perspective, noting that the over-21 age restrictions wouldn’t deter teens from trying to take advantage of marijuana’s widespread availability resulting from legalization. Drug use and its fallout could have a negative impact on their ability to set and achieve life and career goals.

“We want them to succeed and have a bright future,” he said. “This is not what we want for them.

Click here to read coverage of the press conference by

Our positions on November 3rd ballot issues

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, Greater Cleveland Partnership Senior Vice President Marty McGann discusses the organization’s position on four ballot issues:

YES on Issue 1, the Fair Districts Ohio statewide ballot issue. Currently, the districts are drawn so the vast majority of candidates have little to worry about once they win their primary. The result is a polarization of our General Assembly. More accountability and fairness in the process will improve governing in our state.

YES on Issue 2, which, if passed, would limit constitutional amendments proposing to grant economic monopoly rights not available to other similarly situated persons.. It also would invalidate Issue 3 that would create a monopoly or oligopoly for marijuana.

NO on Issue 3: Following a lengthy review, the GCP concluded that the ResponsibleOhio proposal to permit marijuana use for both recreational and medical purposes could negatively impact workplaces and burden small businesses in Ohio.

YES on Issue 8: The GCP urges voters to support Issue 8, which calls for renewal of an existing cigarette tax in Cuyahoga County that generates support for arts and culture. It is NOT a tax increase. Our Arts & Culture sector is a cornerstone of Cuyahoga County, bringing worldwide recognition and economic strength to our region for more than a century.

Click here or on the image to watch.

About GCP Insight

The ”GCP Insight” video series, hosted by Lesic and Camper Vice President Steve Luttner, focuses on topics of interest to the Greater Cleveland business community.

Online information  to help inform voters

The Greater Cleveland Partnership is providing online information for employers to share with employees about three issues that will be on the November ballot. Click the links below to visit our website.
Click to download our FAQs.
Click to download an employer letter that can be customized and distributed to your employees.
Click here or on the image to watch a video about the importance of passing Issue 8.

How to vote an early/absentee ballot

All Ohio voters have the opportunity to vote in the November 3rd election from the convenience of their homes by requesting that your ballot be mailed to you.
  • For information to request and vote an absentee ballot, click here.
  • For the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Vote by Mail application, click here.
Once your ballot is completed you can either:

Drop it off at your local Board of Elections or return it by mail.

CDA provides financing for historic renovation
in Warehouse District

The $37.6 million historic renovation of the building formerly known as National Terminal Warehouse on West 10th Street is under way.

Morgan Management acquired the building in 2014 and is transforming the 250-unit apartment building into a market rate product known as The Archer. Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA), the Greater Cleveland Partnership's real estate and business development finance affiliate, provided a $3.5 million loan to bridge a portion of the Federal and Ohio historic tax credit equity.

Upon completion, The Archer will offer a mix of one and two-bedroom apartment units with 97 unique floor plans. Maintaining the condition of this 300,000+ square foot building benefits the Warehouse District and the newly constructed Flats East Bank.

For more information about the building and available units, please visit

Stakeholders unite to create a cyber security strategy
for Northeast Ohio

Representatives from the Greater Cleveland Partnership joined other founding members* of the Northeast Ohio Cyber Security Consortium at the group’s Cyber Security & Resiliency Conference last week to discuss first steps toward becoming “a Northeast Ohio center of excellence for cyber defense.”

The conference, held at the Cleveland Convention Center, included these topics and speakers:
  • “Responding to Cyber Warfare”: Chris Inglis, retired deputy director, National Security Agency
  • “Cyber Intelligence: A Discipline, not a Data Feed”: James Penrose, executive vice president of Cyber Intelligence, Darktrace
  • Northeast Ohio Cyber Consortium Overview: Ronald Richard, president and CEO, Cleveland Foundation and Gary Gagnon, senior vice president and chief security officer, MITRE.
The agenda also included panel discussions on “Cyber Resiliency Trends in Various Industries” and “Cyber Workforce Development.” GCP President and CEO Joe Roman, who participated on the workforce panel, commented on the need to encourage employer involvement in developing curriculum and talent to cultivate a world class cyber defense workforce through training, internships and research programs.

One opportunity is beginning to take shape. In partnership with the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD), Cleveland Foundation, and Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) and their nationwide network of schools, our community is creating and implementing “the Academies of Cleveland” - a new approach to college and career readiness for students in five CMSD high schools.

See the next story for information about how you can get involved.

*Founding members of the Northeast Ohio Cyber Security Consortium: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Foundation, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., Debold, Inc.; Eaton, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, FirstEnergy Corp., Goodyear, Greater Cleveland Partnership, KeyBank, PolyOne Corp., Progressive Corp., The Sherwin-Williams Co. and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Passenger traffic, flights increasing at CLE

Passenger traffic and the number of flights at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) are continuing to grow.

According to passenger counts for August, CLE boarded 741,565 passengers, an increase of 14 .4 percent or 93,281 passengers from August 2014.

The number of CLE flights increased 1.9 percent by 165 to 8,851 flights in August 2015 compared to 8,686 a year ago.

The growth in passenger traffic and flights is the result of three new airlines—Frontier, JetBlue and Spirit—entering the Cleveland market.

The low increase in the number of flights compared to the growth in passenger traffic is due to the new carriers’ larger aircraft and fewer smaller regional jets being used by existing carriers.

An urgent request for transportation reauthorization

A delegation representing from six chamber members of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition met earlier this month in Washington, D.C. with Great Lakes members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, urging them to finish the transportation reauthorization and to support adequate funding levels.

Members called on nearly all of the 20 legislators from the Great Lakes region who are on the committee, sharing the Coalition’s priorities on transportation infrastructure. The Great Lakes trading region has influence, representing about a third of the entire T&I Committee.

While no clear answers have emerged on funding, which is a province mostly of the Ways and Means Committee, the House T&I Committee expects to have a reauthorization bill to the House floor in the next 2-3 weeks. It is anticipated that the House will have difficulty agreeing on the “pay-fors” and it may be, by default, that the Senate pay-fors prevail. There are some tolling options in the Senate bill.

Another continuing resolution is expected as legislators work through the procedural steps for any reauthorization and funding that they can agree on. Because of the pay-for issue, any final reauthorization will likely be on the shorter side as legislators wrestle over the many options that have been suggested to supplement the declining motor fuel revenues. Our delegation did remind legislators of the option to expand tolling authority to help relieve the pressure on federal funds.

To continue pressing for a solution, the Coalition sent this letter to the entire Great Lakes House delegation not serving on the House T&I Committee asking them to support the work of the Committee as it moves to reauthorize.

The Coalition will ask its members to share this message with members of their delegation. Coalition lead CEOs also have sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Ranking Member Sander Levin to stress the importance of sensible, adequate, sustainable funding and encouraging legislators to finish the job.

Coalition testifies on Great Lakes restoration initiative

The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition also appeared before the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee in a September 30 hearing on the importance of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The completion of the GLRI is one of the Coalition's priorities.

Coalition Executive Director Ed Wolking delivered this testimony before the committee.

The hearing was supportive of HR 223 formally authorizing the GLRI, which was sponsored by Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH). The Coalition has previously worked with the Congressman on this issue.

The Coalition’s efforts were recognized by Cameron Davis, senior advisor to the EPA Administrator on the Great Lakes, who said that when he testified before the Subcommittee in 2008 to reauthorize the Great Lakes Legacy Act, one member of Congress said to him: “I've never seen this before...representatives of government, business, and the environmental community coming before us already agreeing on a common request.”

Legislators expressed a similar reaction this time around, and Mr. Davis said that the Coalition’s testimony confirmed this time-tested formula works.

A chance to learn, a chance to be heard

The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) and The Ohio State University (OSU) Fisher College of Businesses are hosting a White House Middle-Market Executive Fly-in on Oct. 21-22. The event features a small group meeting and discussion with senior Administration officials about issues that matter to the middle market.

Greater Cleveland Partnership Board and Middle-Market Committee member Daryl Laisure, president and CEO of ZIN Technologies (photo right), will be part of the delegation. The fly-in will provide opportunities for middle-market executives to:
  • Learn about Administration policies/perspectives and share middle-market perspectives.
  • Join the conversation on four topics: infrastructure, workforce, trade, and policy.
In addition to 12-15 middle-market executives, the delegation will include NCMM Executive Director Thomas Stewart and Dr. Anil Makhija, dean of OSU’s Fisher College of Business.

The National Center for the Middle Market, a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital, is a strategic partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Middle-Market Initiative.

Driving growth through innovation

Results of a new study released last week by the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) and Cherry Bekaert LLP, a growth-oriented CPA firm, found that companies who employ low-risk innovative initiatives produce valuable returns, while companies with a more aggressive innovation profile grow even more quickly.

The NCMM/Cherry Bekaert innovation study says that the 43 percent of middle-market executives who rate their companies as “very innovative” experience annual revenue growth of 10 percent or more, compared to 32 percent of firms who rate themselves as “less innovative.”

In innovation-intensive industries such as healthcare, technology, and industrial, only about a quarter of less-innovative firms experience revenue growth above 10 percent.

Highlights from the report include:
  • Key takeaways for middle market executives to consider when it comes to innovation within their own firms.
  • Detailed research findings from a survey among 400 middle market leaders and senior managers who share responsibility for innovation at their companies.
  • Processes and tools used by middle market businesses for generating, selecting and implementing innovative ideas.
To learn more, click here to download the report.

New mobile cranes position Port of Cleveland
to handle more cargo

The Port of Cleveland has ordered two new mobile harbor cranes from Liebherr as part of its ongoing infrastructure investment strategy to increase capacity and efficiency.  The cranes, model LHM 280s, are currently being built in Sunderland, England and will be in service next shipping season.

The crane purchase positions the Port to continue growing, as it has seen a major increase in cargo volume since launching its intercontinental liner service, the Cleveland Europe Express (CEE). Operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group, the CEE has generated a surge in cargo at the Port – including a 500 percent increase in containerized cargo this year alone.

“These cranes will prove critical to maintaining our strategic advantages in speed and efficiency as compared to large coastal ports,” said Dave Gutheil, Port vice-president of maritime & logistics. “The new LHM 280 models will be faster and more energy efficient and add to our overall capacity on dock.”

The LHM 280 has a maximum lifting capacity of 84 tons (40 percent more than the Port’s current cranes), is highly fuel efficient, and can handle all cargo needs, i.e. containers, general cargoes, bulk materials or heavy lifts. The two cranes cost a total of $5.7 million, and are fully paid for through a combination of grants and forgivable loans.

They include a $4.9 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant awarded through NOACA for federal funds flowing through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the remainder from a forgivable Logistics and Distribution Stimulus Loan (LDS) through the Ohio Development Services Agency.

“We’re continuing to make strategic investments in the Port of Cleveland, and these cranes will help us better serve our customers and handle more cargo more efficiently,” said Will Friedman, Port president and CEO. “We are grateful to our partners at the NOACA and the State of Ohio for their support.”

Those interested in finding out more about using the Cleveland-Europe Express or the Port’s maritime services should contact Dave Gutheil, VP of maritime & logistics at or 216.377.1363.