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Local Dirt 


Cleveland City Council President Martin Sweeney is bringing in the big guns to put a happy face on all the grim news coming out of council these days. Last month, local City Hall hawk Roldo Bartimole reported in his online column that Sweeney was hiring Mary Anne Sharkey, The Plain Dealer's former political editor turned consultant, to help shine council's turd. That's as much as $45,000 added to the bill taxpayers are already footing to pay Council Communications Director Katherine Bulava. A month later, Sweeney shit-canned Ward 17 Councilman Matt Zone from the influential finance committee, presumably for openly questioning how Jackson puppet Sweeney - sexual-harassment settlement behind him, federal pay-to-play inquiry ongoing - could possibly be the best person to lead Cleveland through all these problems. Maybe Sweeney should have asked Sharkey if it would look weird if he started acting like the boss so late in the game.


Ward 11 Councilman Mike Polensek, long trumpeted as a Voice of the Little Guy at City Hall, just got spotlighted for the type of behind-closed-doors behavior he often rails against. The 31-year council vet from Collinwood acknowledges that he had trouble financing the purchase of a rundown house he plans to renovate for his elderly mom-in-law. So he asked the Collinwood & Nottingham Villages Development Corp., the beneficiary of federal community development dough at Polensek's yearly discretion, to buy it for him. Though he plans to buy the property back when he can get financing at a profit to the CDC, Polensek should have known this looked more than a tad incestuous.


Julius Ciaccia, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District recommended last week that sewer district trustees allocate another $5 million to revamp the sewer under the East Bank of the Flats, even though Scott Wolstein's plan to turn the area into the Crocker Park of downtown (Cracker Park, if you will) is quickly falling to pieces in the wake of the recession. Essentially, Ciaccia wants to spend $5 million upgrading sewer lines nobody will poop in. You smell that? Yeah, us too.


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