The continuing KKK crisis spun out in three different directions over the past week, exposing all manner of mischief. The sensational story of current Tribe owner Dick Jacobs's gaffe with a Klan hood en route to the all-star game was buried in the Metro section of Saturday's Plain Dealer, tempering an embarrassing situation for Jacobs and local NAACP head George Forbes and conveniently downplaying the sticky conflict of interest posed by Brent Larkin being on the plane. This is not the first time Larkin, The PD's editorial page editor, has been the beneficiary of Jacobs's largesse. He reportedly got a similar ride to spring training and is an occasional guest in the owner's box at Jacobs Field a compromising position for any journalist, let alone the editorial voice of the paper. "I don't have friends at that level as a matter of course," says new PD Editor Doug Clifton, who nevertheless backs his freeloading colleague. "I haven't the minutest diminution of confidence in Brent because of the plane trip." Larkin, who sat on the story until approached by his own reporters, had no comment. Jacobs showed his stripes by dodging phone calls when the story broke, letting Forbes, Larkin, and the Johnny's crowd take the heat. Meanwhile, reporters at the paper were elated to see an editor&supl;s sins in print. Explained one, "Under [ex-PD Editor] David Hall, that story wouldn't even have been written."
Cleveland's finest stayed on the case with a jam-packed, rip-roaring meeting at CPPA headquarters last Thursday, cheering lustily as union President Bob Beck hammered the mayor and announced plans to file an injunction this week to block the Klan rally. The cops' legal argument is that they can't provide adequate security for a Browns game, Black Family Expo, and Klan rally all in the same day. But their motivation runs more along the lines of one policeman, who noting the hooded hillbillies will be under attack from counter-demonstrators says, "We don't want to act as their bodyguards."
Across town that same night, Imperial Mayor Mike White began his series of closed-to-the-media meetings with a gathering at Trinity Cathedral aimed squarely at his political base the black churches. White assured church leaders that he will keep a tight leash on the Klan and asked them to open their doors from 1 to 3 p.m. the day of the rally, exhorting people to the pews instead of demonstrating downtown. White also promised a thorough investigation of his allegations of racism in the Cleveland police department. Did anyone challenge the mayor's recent racist babble? "Hell no!" said one attendee. But then, how can you argue when the mayor's advice is to pray?
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