Welcome To Seven “Bills,” A $20 Million Dollar Business
Recently, the City of Seven Hills Community Newsletter cover featured an article by Mayor DellA’Quilla, in which he stated, “Your city is, effectively, a $20 million dollar business.” He also wrote, “We eliminated a potential $1.4 million 2012 deficit, preserved our bond rating....”
How city leaders did it: Essentially, the 2012 budget shortfall was averted by trampling 100 homeowners for sewer tax assessments related to the Phase I, EPA-mandated conversion. The same shortfall mentioned by DellA’Quilla, $1.4M, is very close to the amount Seven Hills is recouping via a very tricky capitalized interest on municipal bonds for Phase I: $1.6M. Thanks to the laughably ambiguous Ohio Revised Code and slick city operators, 100 of us are footing the $1.6 million bill in interest over 20 years. Armed with the city’s own list, I called most of the people from Phase I, and found them to be overwhelmingly older senior homeowners unlikely to catch such devious practices.
Figuring it out: A little digging yielded that most of the 100 Phase I homeowners could not afford to pay the lump sum three years ago; the narrow window began October 2008, the start of the worst economic downturn. The 20-year assessment forced “Beautiful Seven Hills” homeowners into insurmountable mortgage payments, compounding interest and escrow, and the inability to sell. What buyer would want a property with extortion attached to it?
“More porridge, please:” In the spring, I approached council to reconsider the assessment because our mortgage skyrocketed 45 percent overnight, while “JIP” Morgan Chase continues to charge escrow shortfalls with which we can’t keep up. Basically, Seven Hills council was asked to forgive the debt. All present were made aware I had detected just how slyly the city put the screws to Phase I homeowners, specifically, to get the city budget on track.
Protect your assets: Council president Barth then invited me to come back two weeks later for a “resolution.” After I arrived at the caucus meeting where a uniformed police officer sat vigil, Barth invited at least four council members to shame, humiliate and blame me, with no chance to respond. Lecznar, perhaps the worst, belittled me for not spelling her first name with its unusual variation, while completely disregarding our home crisis. My suspicion was later confirmed: uniformed police officers are rarely, if ever, present at council or caucus meetings.
Corporate abuses: In the same city newsletter article mentioned above, DellA’Quilla referred to himself as a “CEO” of Seven Hills. Too bad the too-little, too-late city employee cutbacks and other purse-string tightening he boasts have translated to head-spinning abuses by city employees towards a growing number of assertive, alert residents who are now asking, “Just what is going on here?”
For the birds: It’s not out of the question that, because yours truly was granted a discounted rec center membership for medical reasons, fiscal liability came up on the city’s radar. So when the perfect occasion presented itself - having the nerve in June to request help in a civil, peaceful manner from fire, rec center staff and police with baby birds stuck and dying inside the overhang to the rec center entrance - I was harassed, intimidated and then barred from the center.
Nepotism, essentially: When the councilwoman’s husband/ fireman arrived at the rec center where the birds were stuck, he realized I was the same “Lucy” that his wife eviscerated at the caucus meeting (see “More porridge, please” above). He was shockingly hostile and inexplicably insisted - four times - that I said I would get up on the ladder to free the birds. Bewildered, it wasn’t until the next day I realized his connection with the councilwoman.
Abusive, apathetic employees: While all this was happening, a rec center employee bad-mouthed me after I attempted to enlist the aid of another employee, all while capturing video of the birds. So the camera got turned on him, with, “If you speak to me that way again, I’ll tell your supervisor.” Fearing for his job, he called police who managed to show up in triplicate, despite the fact that one month earlier when someone illegally discharged firearms, my call to a rude dispatcher resulted in her refusal to send an officer.
Power and Control: Two days after a very angry rec center director called me to yell at and blame me for her employees’ failures, I returned to exercise. Upon swiping my card, I was told “You have to leave the building, or I’ll call the police.”
Take your money to the competition: Banned indefinitely from the recreation center and subjected to a month of dodged phone connections by the director, I found a friendlier, cleaner gym with incomparably better equipment. It costs less, and members can add one from the family for $10. There, I ran into another Seven Hills couple who shared their own unsettling story about rude Seven Hills rec center staff.
Cruelty to animals: Six weeks after the nest and other dead birds were brought to the rec center director’s attention (April or May), the fledglings couldn’t get out. Two months later (September), there are more dead birds.
Inept CEO?: If the recreation center has the potential to turn things around in Seven “Bills,” why can’t the CEO and his comrades of the same party affiliation make the connection between abominable treatment of members and lost profits?
Corrupt system: The same needs to be said about certain city employees and most of council.
Man’s laws, not God’s laws: Corporatized mentality leads to ungodliness, apathy towards human and non-human species (I also found out a service department employee attempted to run down Canada geese with a riding mower near the rec center), and residents held hostage to the ramifications of a system rife with cronyism, nepotism, greed and indifference.
Failed leadership: We may not have enjoyed great leadership with the past administration, but this one is colder, more calculating. A leader/lawyer who refuses to engage directly with residents, stands back and lets others do his bidding, and forces those under him to fight things out in the ring is no leader at all, but a figurehead, an aloof CEO.