Racial roulette! With negotiations moving like molasses, the hiring stalemate in the Cleveland Fire Department looks court-bound. "It appears an agreed-upon settlement will not occur and this case will most probably proceed to litigation," says an unsigned letter sent out last week by Cleveland Firefighters for Fair Hiring Practices, the disgruntled white group pressing for a change in the CFD's affirmative action program. So far the city, represented by notorious union-busters Duvin Cahn & Hutton, has been trying to nail a hiring quota and phase-out date with the Vanguards, the black firefighters. Reportedly, the City has suggested a 38 percent minority department, while the Vanguards are pushing for 40-50 percent. But neither of those numbers are acceptable to the Fair Hiring group. A status hearing is scheduled in federal court on June 13. In the meantime, the hiring freeze has ratcheted up overtime costs, with more to come because of vacations this summer. That's one way to burn up taxpayer money.
Is there anybody in town Sam Miller hasn't delivered bagels to? Speaking at the Greater Cleveland Police Officers Memorial ceremony last week, a fedora-clad Miller growled, "I was out on a Sunday morning delivering bagels, and a police officer said, "Why do you get up and do this?' I said, "We all owe you.'" Miller gets up every Sunday at 4:30 a.m., picks up 100 dozen from Brooklyn Bagels, and drives a four-and-a-half-hour delivery route. "I take care of the Shaker Heights police, the Carmelites, the bishop and his mother, and a few others," he confides. "I don't do the mayor anymore, because he's out of town every weekend." Politicians stood on the sidelines while Miller spoke at the ceremony, because it was he who secured the land and most of the funding for the memorial to fallen officers on Lakeside. Miller's motivation? "The police are very dear to me," he says. "I'm their godfather."
Speaking of strange scenes, the Hessler Street Fair made anarchy look attractive again this year, with Hare Krishnas cheek-by-tambourine with the Free Mumia set and an unusually aggressive kiddie crowd, pelting each other with cardboard bricks in Harmony Park. "It was kind of free-form," says fair organizer Kate Horner, who is forced to jump through more hoops all the time. This year, in addition to a Street Closure permit, she had to get a Street Obstruction permit from City Hall. "Since I was applying for so many permits, I told them I might as well get a parade permit for $3 and have a marching band come down the street," Horner quips. Can they play "Purple Haze"?
While the Rock Hall is scrounging for cash, the Experience Music Project in Seattle is throwing it around like confetti. More than 50 bands are playing at EMP's three-day opening extravaganza beginning June 23, with one show featuring Metallica, Dr. Dre, Kid Rock, Filter, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- for $60! Headliners at the free shows include Patti Smith, Dave Alvin, Taj Mahal, and Bo Diddley. "One of our local bands, the Murder City Devils, is getting paid $5,000 to play," reports a Seattle music critic. "I can't even imagine how much everybody else is getting." Good thing, as Rock Hall CEO Terry Stewart said recently, the EMP is on the West Coast and poses no competition. Or does it?
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