But thanks to Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, the world has a new Cleveland criminal to ponder. A large portion of Schlosser's latest book -- Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market -- is devoted to Reuben Sturman, an East Side candy-and-tobacco wholesaler who became the Walt Disney of porn. Schlosser recounts how Sturman grew an empire from cheap girlie magazines to internationally financed hardcore films. Word is that, at their peak, Sturman's businesses grossed $1 million a day.
First charged with obscenity in 1964, the cagey Sturman evaded conviction until 1989, when the government finally nailed him for tax evasion. He died at a prison hospital in Kentucky in 1997.
He's also been a feisty critic of pea-brained state legislators who balance budgets on higher education's back. Schwartz has even challenged Ohio Student Choice Grants, a cake-eater handout that gives $1,038 scholarships to residents enrolled in private colleges. By awarding the grants without regard for need or merit, the state might as well hand out checks to random mall-walkers.
A few months after the scandal broke, the police were in the unenviable position of having to ask voters for a $1.8 million levy. Rightly, Parma voters told the cops to get bent. But the electorate didn't color outside the lines and punish the city's firefighters, who also had a $1.8 million levy on the ballot. The fire levy passed.
In review: People are basically generous. Until you steal their money. Then they hate you.