Best Of 2006

Best Advocate for Local Kids: Jim Lardie

With his white hair and round belly, Jim Lardie looks like Santa Claus, and he's been almost as generous to kids. For the past 30 years, he's run a nonprofit advocacy group called For the Children, which acts as a watchdog for the pathetic morons who pass as city school officials in our town. When Cleveland had a board overseeing how school construction money was spent, Lardie was a fixture at the meetings, demanding copies of public records. His thoughtful, straightforward ideas -- such as establishing a finance committee, so that school-board members can actually keep track of how they're spending our tax money -- earn him respect from board members and activists alike.