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Council Sharpening Legal Long Knives

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Paper tigers! Subpoenas for the City Council hearings on the civil service exam fiasco are being drawn up and will likely be served by the end of this week. Who gets to spill their guts? "Just about everybody in the administration," says a council insider, though whether the mayor will be called is still under discussion. The more pressing question is who's going to deliver the bad news to the formidable LaVonne Sheffield-McClain. Mindful of the full nelson she clamped on George Forbes in last summer's dust-up at the Shoreby Club, police are vying not to be next in line.

Are those new security cameras behind the counter of the Clerk's Office at the Justice Center being installed to watch unruly patrons or paranoid employees? Both, according to spokesman George Yarbrough. "We're going to add about four new cashier stations, so we're increasing our security," he says. The Clerk's Office takes in a lot of money, even from willing victims like the Methodist gay rights protesters arrested two weeks ago, who reportedly ponied up $30,000 in court costs. Most of the clientele are less sanguine, forking over big fines for speeding tickets and other nuisances. "A lot of people are still mad at the policeman or the judge, and every once in a while, will threaten the person working the counter," Yarbrough notes. Pay with a smile, and if you work in the Clerk's Office, relax. There's no truth, Yarbrough says, to the rumor that microphones are being installed along with the cameras to eavesdrop on hardworking, conscientious county employees.

Another blow to art! The Ohio Court of Appeals has upheld the ban on the Manneken Pis beer label, which depicts a famous Belgian statue of a young boy relieving himself. The prudery this time stemmed not from matters of taste, but a state law forbidding the portrayal of a minor on a beer label. U.S. distributor Paulaner North America invoked the First Amendment and even dragged a European history professor into court to explain the statue's cultural significance -- all to no avail. Next up: An obviously underaged horse who's been scandalizing the refined consumers of Rolling Rock.

Help is on the way for the beleaguered Tribe, thanks to an Indiana Jones-style quest undertaken by the baseball fanatics of Club Long Ball. Obsessed by Jo-Boo, the legendary good luck idol of Major League fame, club members traced its roots back to an earlier incarnation known as Gobbo. Then they searched the globe, finally alighting at an obscure antique shop in Moundsville, West Virginia. "In the back room, buried under tons of stuff, we found this devilish little creature," says club spokesman Jim O'Bryan, who blew off the dust to find an inscription that began: "The Smiling God of Good Fortune." Cleverly disguised as an incense burner, Gobbo smokes cigars and, yes, is available to the club. "We're willing to lend him to the Tribe if they need him," says O'Bryan. "With all the bad luck and injuries they've had, maybe Gobbo can help." Hits with men on base wouldn't hurt, either.

Strikeouts and hot tips to edge@clevescene.com.

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