Favorite

Beggars Banquet 

Set the table, comrades. No need for silverware. Keep the good china locked up. Hell, we don't even need paper plates. We're dining with politicos who gorge themselves like pigs at the public trough. Our main dish? Char-broiled Wallet of Taxpayer.

So who drew up this invitation list? The Plain Feeler's Brent Larkin, with his column on the top ten Clevo politico "rebuilders." It's been a while since Our Town Daily gave Mouth something worth sinking the teeth into, and Larkin's usually the one to serve us raw meat. His top Clevo rebuilder? George Voinovich. The frosting on the cake is that King George V "didn't forget where he came from." Translation: He gave Clevo mucho state money.

Number two? Who else but Mayor Mike White. Hey, Arnold Pinkney, Nate Gray, and Sam Miller would say he's the top rebuilder. Number three is former Council Prez George Forbes, accurately described as "Voinovich's partner." Fourth is the guy who was there whenever Clevo "needed the county's help," ex-Commish Tim Hagan. Number five, "from his perch high atop the House Appropriations Committee," ex-Congressman Lou Stokes.

Whew, we'd serve the others, but the first five already picked our table clean. Hizzoner's got Larkin's tenth choice picking crumbs off the floor. Yep, that'd be Jay Westbrook. Whoa, lock the fridge! Here comes number six, that veteran Statehouse pork-peddler Pat Sweeney. Slam the door!

Jeez, what a bunch of moochers. One thing we must admit about Larkin's crew: These career politicos are great at spending other people's money. You'd think all their taxpayer-financed attractions would have folks moving in here like mad. Ain't that the goal--more taxpayers? But here's the bottom line. Both the city and the county keep losing population. The latest U.S. Census estimate from July '97 says Cuyahoga lost over 25,000 more people since '90, bringing the total down to 1,386,803.

Gee, could the fact that Cuyahoga is the heaviest-taxed of Ohio's 88 counties have anything to do with it? Could anyone be moving to Medina because the sales tax there is over 20 percent lower? Nyet, comrades, our free-spending politicos blame it all on "urban sprawl." Ah, but they haven't forgotten the real rebuilders of Clevo. Yep, they'll keep sending taxpayers the bill.

Dancing For Dollars
Know those campaign finance reforms Akron voters passed in November? A slew of politicos filed suit to overturn the reforms the Dollars & Democracy citizens group got voters to approve by a 63-37 margin. Now a federal judge has issued an injunction stopping enforcement. Let the legal tap-dance begin.

So who filed this quick lawsuit? Since this is a truly "buy-partisan" issue, there's one Republocrat, former Akron Councilman John Frank. The rest are all Demoblicans. That includes Akron Council Prez John Valle, prez-to-be Marco Sommerville, and several Dem activists. Legal counsel is provided by two more Dems, former Summit County Councilman Rob Gippin and ousted State Rep Karen Doty. She's the E-Check patron saint that voters excommunicated in '96.

Legally, Akron's law department must put up a defense against this suit. And for some reason, Dollars & Democracy lawyers don't think the city's defense will be real vigorous. Since Mayor Don Plusquellic ripped the reforms, D&D wants in on the defense effort, along with the "Rat Pack." Yep, "dissident" councilmen Mike Parsons and Bruce Kilby wanna join this big dance, and their lawyer is ex-councilman and Rat Pack alum Warner Mendenhall.

Meanwhile, the "Mayor's Ball" fund-raiser is this month. Yo, defense team? Hire a discreet videographer. The Mayor Don's big dance could be exhibit A for the defense.

Web Waves
Dang, '98 was tough for local radio listeners, with more mergers and fewer options. Luckily, more people are finding alternatives on the Internet. Since Mouth believes customers should have all the options they desire (unlike the FCC), your uncivil servant's here with another road map to life beyond the Iron Curtain.

Wanna keep up with our huge radio conglomerates? Check out Clear Channel Communications at www.clearchannel.com/, or Jacor at www.jacor.com/. Since the power brokers won't allow any talk heavier than sycophantic sports talk, here's an issue-oriented talk option for ya: From 7 to 10 p.m., try former TV25 and TV19 program host Larry Elder, who's now an L.A. talker at www.kabc.com/.

Wanna hear more local music? Hit the Scene Jukebox on our ever-expanding website. The RealGuide (www.real.com/realguide/index.html) offers 1,200 options, including wild Euro stations like Belgium's Cyber Theatre.

More sites are springing up with multiformat offerings. One of the best for this "narrowcasting" is Imagine Radio (imagineradio.com/). You get twenty options, from Alt.Country to Swerve (for "ambient techno"), and you can even program your own station and put it up on their site! Or try Spinner (www.spinner.com/) for over a hundred formats, including stuff like ska, Gothic, and Delta blues. One format Mouth had to check out is called Gobble This! We thought it may have been the new Lewinsky Channel, but it turned out to be Thanksgiving tunes.

Slay Ride
See the December 23 USA Today Baseball Weekly? The cover featured the Tribe's Jim Thome as "One Cool Santa" in high red socks. Inside, "Santa's All-Stars" profiled four ballplayers who do the Santa gig for kids. Nice inside pic of Jimbo Claus, with new bride Andrea Pacione as one of his elves. Hey, Mouth must burp up a salute. It's one thing to donate money, but giving your time around the holidays is an even better gift.

But guess who else was one of Santa's Stars? Al Belle, who even donned a Claus cap and, brace yourself, a smile! To be fair, Al always did a lot of hospital visits. But for this piece, Belle sat for a picture and an interview! Mouth's fave quote was, "I emphasize education and target kids." Just so he ain't back to targeting any kids with his four-wheeler.

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