Everybody's a kingmaker. The latest pretender to the throne is polka impresario Tony Petkovsek, who is rumored to have arranged a summit meeting between Senator George Voinovich and City Council President Mike Polensek. The idea, according to a Petkovsek confidante, is to knock off vulnerable Imperial Mayor Mike White with a can-win ethnic candidate -- i.e., not former Boy Mayor Dennis Kucinich. "[The corporate community] doesn't want Kucinich," notes the confidante. "Polensek is a neighborhood guy. He looks like Kucinich, he sounds like Kucinich, but he cuts deals." With business-friendly Voinovich lining up corporate support, and black politicos like Bill Patmon and George Forbes throwing their weight behind Polensek, he would be a lock. Petkovsek did not return calls, but he already has one major problem: Polensek never heard of the meeting. "It's a surprise to me," he says with a chuckle. Roll out the barrel!
Speaking of political fantasies, White is listed prominently in all the local Earth Day ads as an Honorary EarthFest Chair. It's a remarkable achievement for a mayor whose administration had to reimburse the federal government $650,000 for misspent air pollution funds. White could be facing another troublesome lawsuit soon, as the seven cops accused of racism in the "Whoops, not here!" Internal Affairs report released last month have been talking to lawyers. Though there was no proof of racist activity, the seven cops were named in the report and tagged with plenty of rumor and innuendo. No papers have been drawn up yet, but White's buddies at private law firms will no doubt be happy to start blocking out some billable hours.
Sam Reese Sheppard left town last weekend on a high note, rejuvenated by joining the Opening Day demonstration at Jacobs Field. "It felt good to get back on the street today," a smiling Sheppard said Friday night at Primo Vino in Little Italy, where 50-some family members, friends, and hangers-on from the trial gathered for a farewell dinner. Losing lawyer Terry Gilbert was presented with a plaque, and the wine was so heady that several supporters urged Sheppard to run for Congress. The spirit of the event was in keeping with Sheppard's posture after the trial, when instead of folding he stood tall through a slew of interviews, continuing to assert his father's innocence. When Sheppard was being wired for an interview with CNN, he threatened to walk away unless Gilbert was included. "Nobody takes on CNN!" an awed technician said afterward. Quipped Sheppard aide Abe Bonowitz, "CNN is small fry when you're up against the power of the state." Or smart county prosecutors.
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