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Militant Mayor Taps Holy High Rollers

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Saint Rudy! Cleveland cops can only gaze wistfully at a mayor like New York's Rudolph Giuliani, in town Monday night for a fund-raiser at the Ritz-Carlton. Even when New York's finest are gunning down innocent civilians, the mayor supports them. Giuliani's Ohio connection is Republican bulldog J. William Petro, who was sworn in with Giuliani as a U.S. Attorney during the Reagan administration. Petro's brother Jim is now state auditor, but Giuliani didn't really need an entrée to hustle campaign donations here for his $60 million Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Raising money against Hillary is like helping to raise money for the Virgin Mary," says Cuyahoga County Republican Party Chairman Jim Trakas. "Outside of helping Bush, it's the highest calling a Republican has in this election." Don't forget the halos.

How to market the faltering Rock Hall? The museum has hired Watt/Fleishman-Hillard to strike a new beat, starting with an assessment of the museum's image and new ideas for generating revenue. "They're helping us review questions of perception about who we are, what we do, and how successful we are," says Planning and Development VP Janis Purdy, who insists that success should not be judged by attendance numbers alone. Local WFH Chairman and CEO Ron Watt agrees that foot traffic is a sideshow. "The biggest issue is creating monies and some type of endowment." It's no secret that the Rock Hall lusts for the civic and financial support enjoyed by institutions like the orchestra and art museum, but Watt thinks that's unlikely. "What we need are major sponsors who can gain something by the association, like a Harley-Davidson, for example," he says. But where will all those bikes park?

Not coming to a bar near you: Manneken Pis, an imported Belgian beer that takes both its namesake and label art from the famous statue of a boy urinating in Brussels. The centuries-old statue is a well-known icon throughout Europe. But it's too offensive for modern American sensibilities, according to the state Liquor Control board, which has banned the beer in Ohio. "State law prohibits any advertising which includes immodest or vulgar material," says Ohio Department of Commerce spokesman Bill Teets. "Who's to say what they think is not good taste isn't OK to somebody else?" counters Todd Hossfeld, director of marketing for distributor Paulaner-North America. The controversy has reached the Belgian consulate in Chicago, where Trade Commissioner Bernard Geenan is incredulous. "At first I thought it was a joke," he says. "It seems to be a cultural misinterpretation." Or plain and simple ignorance.

Pis and hot tips to edge@clevescene.com.

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