Member since Jan 14, 2013

Sam Allard is a staff writer at Scene. He covers local news, movies, and the "Outside" beat. He's a graduate of the Medill School of… More »



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Re: “Dennis Kucinich Finds Fracking Facts in Southeast Ohio: A Horror Story

Jeff -- My eyes did indeed begin to itch and my insides were indeed subject to a weird nauseous feeling the entire day. I was not exaggerating. (Others in the van described similar symptoms.) Whether this was atypical, because of the recent explosion, or was standard I do not know. But it was gross.

For others: The tour was obviously designed to show us the worst of the worst. It's not like every state route has fracking wells every 200 feet. But feel free to check out the ODNR map of active wells to get a sense of how prevalent the drilling is.

I can't include links in these comments, but if you search for the ODNR Oil & Gas well locator, you'll find it. It's pretty striking.

6 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Sallard on 03/22/2018 at 3:18 PM

Re: “In Ward 14, Cleveland's Ugliest City Council Race is Getting Even Uglier

@Debbie. Because the temperature is so hot on these topics, I'll try to be straightforward.

1) If you listen closely to Jasmin Santana's video statement, it disproves itself. She states that neither she nor her campaign received an invitation to participate in the event. But she then states that the pressure *on her supporters* to get her to participate has been tremendous. One cannot claim to not have been invited if one has made oneself inaccessible. (That's a page out of Frank Jackson's playbook.) And it wasn't just a conversation I had with Gloria Ferris, by the way. I linked to, and included text from, the email invitation itself, which was posted to Facebook. I wasn't just taking Gloria at her word.

2) Santana has since said that there were errors in her email or something. And if you think about that dispassionately for a few seconds, doesn't it sound fishy? What kind of an error? Gloria told me that she'd heard the email wasn't checked -- which is hardly an "error," in the sense I suspect Santana intended -- and that's why she reached out to supporters.

3) *MY SPECULATION*: Santana and her team didn't want her to participate in a forum with Cummins -- perhaps because they thought she wouldn't do well in a debate setting, or perhaps because they thought Gloria would set up an unfair event, or perhaps for another reason -- and so they ignored the invitation. Diane Morgan claimed to me that *Jasmin wouldn't have participated anyway* even if they HAD been invited. But that's just sloppy. The video statement might have said: "We did not approve of this event and chose not to attend." Instead, it very clearly said that Santana was never invited. In my interpretation, that's just not true. And it's important to expose that.

4) And maybe others disagree, but my view as a reporter is that some things don't require extensive proof to state. It seems crazy to devote additional words to *prove* that Gloria Ferris is a third party, for example. That's just self-evident. She is a community member who's not affiliated with either campaign. That's a third party. Surely, she supports one of the candidates at this point, but she's supposed to. She's a civically engaged voter who wants others to be civically engaged as well. It's not like CNN is going to come in to host a community forum in Ward 14.

5) The debate stuff, by the way, was merely the latest news in the Ward 14 race, but the most interesting material (for me) came from the interview with Omar Medina, re: the shifting allegiance of the region's Latino leadership. That hadn't been reported before and struck me as important for the ward to know about. I'm interested to continue reporting on that if there's more to the story that others would like to share. (But I wasn't just mindlessly reprinting accusations from Cummins, as some have said.)

6) Santana was also literally on the cover of Scene this week in a story about female council challengers. I personally think she has some good and actionable ideas, and that in general, too much is made about candidates' lack of experience and/or education. Dedication goes a long way on City Council. But I also think, if she's a serious candidate, that she owes it to voters to appear alongside her opponent to discuss -- or debate, if you like -- the ideas and struggles facing her potential constituents. It would be impossible to discern any "bias" in the questions at Tuesday's event -- What would you do to make the ward feel safer? What sorts of programs would you institute for seniors? etc -- and if the ward is so divided that these questions are seen as unfair, getting to the bottom of those rifts should be near the top of any committed councilperson's priorities.

7) But to your last question, I actually DO think it's fair to attack -- or at least point out -- that a candidate is avoiding a public event, esp. in the context of a campaign. That's what campaigns are all about! Diane Morgan, in her capacity on the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, was pleased to do precisely the same thing when Frank Jackson didn't show up at the second neighborhood mayoral forum on July 24. Jackson had told Channel 5 at the time that he'd never been invited, and CCPC produced an email for me showing that he had been. Jackson was properly dinged for it. The situations are nearly identical. The only thing that makes this situation even stranger is that Jackson is the incumbent; Santana isn't. Even though she won the primary, she's still the challenger, and one would expect that she'd be leaping at every opportunity to confront Cummins and present her ideas before voters.

15 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Sallard on 10/27/2017 at 12:01 PM

Re: “In Ward 14, Cleveland's Ugliest City Council Race is Getting Even Uglier

@RickNagin: It looks like I may have made an error. If indeed Kyle Cassidy is a Democrat who only voted Republican to thwart Trump, I got that wrong. I wasn't able to connect with Cassidy personally because his campaign had no online presence / contact info. I'd be happy to reach out to him if you'd care to provide a working email or phone number. And if you and Kazy can get your story straight about the genesis of his candidacy, I'm all ears. You can reach me at sallard at clevescene dot com.

But just for the record, the piece doesn't accuse of you bringing Cassidy into the race, exactly. It says you "propped up" a dummy candidate and "worked to get him on the ballot," which you admit to doing in your comment. You admitted the same to Cleveland dot com. Don't you see that there's an enormous difference between simply "guiding [Cassidy] on how to get on the ballot," as Kazy claimed he wanted, and actively enlisting volunteers and collecting signatures for him, especially when you're ardently supporting Santana? If your favor to Kazy was not just guiding Cassidy but actually getting his name on the ballot, did you consider why this favor was asked of you? Seeing as Kazy told you that Cassidy's "would not be a serious campaign," what possible reason would there be to get him on the ballot, other than to spoil votes for Cummins? Cassidy did no campaigning and clearly had no interest in the seat. If you have an alternative explanation, than the one I've presented, I will not only make a correction but will write a new story explaining it more thoroughly. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but this just seemed obvious.

Regarding your 2009 candidacy, I was using results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, which I trust. As I report, you *did* run against both Cummins and Cintron in the primaries. Results here:

NELSON CINTRON JR. . . . . . . . 245 / 13.93
BRIAN CUMMINS . . . . . . . . . 587 / 33.37
JAMES M. D'AMICO . . . . . . . . 24 / 1.36
GARY HORVATH . . . . . . . . . 29 / 1.65
RICK NAGIN . . . . . . . . . . 422 / 23.99
JOE SANTIAGO . . . . . . . . . 285 / 16.20
MOISES TORRES . . . . . . . . . 167 / 9.49

And then you lost to Cummins in the generals, as I report. (This was 2009, not 2013):

BRIAN CUMMINS . . . . . . . . . 1,522 55.45
RICK NAGIN . . . . . . . . . . 1,223 44.55

In 2013, it was Kazy who advanced to the general election and lost by a very slim margin.

As for any other factual inaccuracies, please don't hesitate to bring them to my attention. I make mistakes and am always eager to correct them as soon as possible. For the record once again, I did bring the relevant material to the attention of both Jasmin and Diane, which is why Diane is quoted at length at the end of the piece. (Jasmin wasn't immediately available).

For anyone else who needs evidence of the inordinate amounts of tension and subversion pulsating through Ward 14, look no further than these very comments.

28 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Sallard on 10/26/2017 at 9:11 PM

Re: “Turf Wars and Philosophical Divisions in Ohio City ... Again

Hey @resident, author here. Regarding the genesis of the story, see the first graf of the second section:

"Throughout the summer, before the potluck drama emerged, I'd been talking to neighbors from the Franklin-Clinton Block Club about some related concerns. I had a vague idea that I might write a followup to a piece I'd written two years ago about Ohio City development and the emergence of "Hingetown." Recently, neighbors had been expressing frustration with the media portrayal of their neighborhood's progress. They felt the narrative was being shaped and related almost exclusively by developers."

I was indeed reached out to -- pursued, if you like -- by members of the block club this summer to see if I'd be interested in writing a story. I wasn't sure if I'd follow through with it, but it merited, in my mind, some conversation about a topic that I agreed had been one-sided in the media. It wasn't until the "potluck drama," as I call it, that I felt there was enough of a narrative hook for the piece. It seemed like a pretty good physical illustration of the tension the neighbors had described.

And regarding objectivity: The obvious missing source in the story is Brent Zimmerman himself. We'd made contact on social media, but as I say he did not respond to multiple attempts to schedule an interview or even provide a comment via email. If you look at my 2015 piece on Hingetown, you'll see I spent considerable time with developers Graham Veysey and Marika Shioiri-Clark. I wanted to faithfully present their perspective, and was eager to do the same here. Brent wasn't interested.

You're right, though. Getting the perspectives of newer residents would be a good idea and would provide even more depth on this. Thanks for the comment.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Sallard on 10/11/2017 at 5:24 PM

Re: “Few Winners and Lots of Losers in Rowdy East Side Mayoral Forum

@EricJonathanBrewer -- thanks for response. Been reporting most of the afternoon and evening so I haven't gotten a chance to read your lengthy critique. I should have some time later this evening, but just for the record:

I did not delete any of your comments. I'm not sure if there was a lag in the system or what, but unless you included a url in your original comment (which automatically flags it in our system) it should've posted . I can take a look at the back end to see if something went wrong, but I certainly didn't delete anything, and I I don't intend to delete your note above, which you're perfectly entitled to make.

19 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Sallard on 07/25/2017 at 8:52 PM

Re: “A Man Who Dresses in Medieval Garb and Walks Around Downtown is a Strange Ranger. But is He Dangerous?

Happy for the criticism, @ArthurBlakeyII. What questions would you want answered? Or what sort of research do you think would have enhanced the piece? The biggest narrative question for me (and for a lot of people, I thought) was: Who is this guy? That's what I tried to answer. I'm sensitive to the idea that giving hateful speech a platform is bad. But it's also important, for me as a reporter, to hear his perspective, especially if I don't agree with it.

@ClevelandObscene. I hope questions like the one you referenced aren't misunderstood. In our conversation, Levie was describing "groups of young men" in the same coded language the some folks use to talk about African-Americans. I wanted to be absolutely clear about what he was talking about.

27 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Sallard on 06/28/2017 at 2:07 PM

Re: “City Council President Kevin Kelley is on Trial, Whether He Likes it or Not

@Randy Cunningham -- Thanks for comment. I see your issue, and maybe I should have been more careful, but I was using "violent" to connote intensity, not physical force. On a second read, "vehement" might've been a better choice, but that's what I was trying to convey.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Sallard on 05/26/2017 at 12:36 PM

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