Summer is back, which means our city's storied criminal set have fully awakened from their slumber and are ready take off their shirts, steal your plumbing, and hit the local pool for a game of Drown the Lifeguard.
In response, Cleveland councilmen hope to use private community-development funds to hire off-duty cops to patrol their neighborhoods. It's the same defense launched last summer by Councilman Zack Reed, who hired officers to cruise his Mount Pleasant neighborhood. But the plan was rebuked by police union chief Steve Loomis, who blocked his officers from taking the jobs.
This summer, the cops will be paid through the Tenable private security company, wear Tenable uniforms, and cruise Tenable squad cars. Still, when Punch called Loomis for his take, we knew that he was vehemently against this sidestepping of his union, that he considered cops working for private companies "scabs." We expected an F-bomb or two.
But the topic of councilpeople sparked a new level of ire from the always fiery Loomis, a firm believer that the 21-member council should be reduced by, oh, 21. "I've never seen a city council so willing to rubber-stamp anything the mayor wants to do," he said, kicking off an hour-and-a-half rant. "I have rivalries against councilmen because they don't like what I say. They don't like me shining a light on the reality of the situation. They would rather run around town and spoon-feed their constituents half-truths and smoke and mirrors."
"Marty Sweeney could give two iotas about the city of Cleveland," he said of the council president. "As long as the mayor's happy, he's happy."
"Kevin Kelley, of course, is an idiot," Loomis continued. "Joe Cimperman wouldn't know Cleveland if it smacked him in the face. Occasionally Matt Zone gets it, but it depends on the direction of the wind."
"Jay Westbrook has the balls to say that I'm out of touch with the citizens of Cleveland," he went on. "My guys and I are in the guts of the citizens of Cleveland. I live the streets of Cleveland every single day. Who the hell is this guy? There is not a councilperson out there that's even close to knowing what's going on out in the real world."
At full steam now, Loomis took Kevin Conwell to task for telling the press that cops would get high-powered rifles "over my dead body" the same month that a cop, Derek Owens, was killed in a shootout. "It's not over your dead body," said Loomis. "It's over Derek's dead body. You're sitting behind a desk."
The digs went on and on, but we just don't have the space to print them all. Let's do it this way: If you're a councilperson, give us a call, and we'll see if you made the list. Nina Turner, that definitely includes you.
Any last words, Mr. Loomis?
"Unlike them, I got a freakin' job. I don't have to depend on politics. I live in reality."
Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Shredders!
For a place that covers only a quarter-mile, Woodmere — the East Side suburb anchored by Eton shopping plaza — is somehow drumming up a cable series' worth of drama.
As Scene reported in October, two white police officers have filed a lawsuit against the village, claiming they were fired by Mayor Yolanda Broadie because of their race ("Racism Reversed," October 24, 2007). When black police chief LaMont Lockhart defended the officers, he too was forced out. And because Broadie, unlike many politicians before her, is unskilled in the art of making racism look like something way less racist, the Justice Department is looking into the claims.
But the village isn't exactly welcoming investigators with open arms or fresh Bundt cakes, even though everyone knows how Justice guys love Bundt cake. When the feds requested backup files of online records, the information suddenly went missing. Hiring forms and time sheets also disappeared mysteriously.
So last week, in an unusual move, federal judge Donald Nugent ordered Woodmere to open its doors — and files — to Justice Department lawyers and plaintiffs in the case. The inspection is supposed to include the offices of Broadie, acting police chief Anthony Jordan, the treasurer's department, filing cabinets, shelves, computers, and desks.
In his ruling, Nugent wrote that he was sick of the village playing "musical files," a game in which "various documents move in and out of particular officers' files until they disappear entirely."
Note to Woodmere: Ever hear of joining a bowling league?
A Cleveland Jew Goes to Hollywood
The most Cleveland-y book tour ever rolled through town last week as Scott Raab, who's written for national magazines like Esquire and GQ, passed through his hometown to promote his new collection of celebrity profiles.
The book, Real Hollywood Stories, chronicles Raab's adventures with the stars, including fart-offs with Robert Downey Jr. and bowling with Drew Carey — anecdotes that explain why Raab wanted to call it "A Cleveland Jew Goes to Hollywood."
Like almost everything Raab writes, the book is smart, funny, and soaked with the sort of bumbling and self-doubt you only find in a Clevelander. (He's also the only writer we know with Chief Wahoo tattooed on his arm). But for Raab's sake, Punch sincerely hopes last week wasn't an indication of how the book will sell.
The first event, he said, attracted almost exclusively family and friends. During the second, at Mac's Backs on Coventry, he found himself in a heated dispute — with his mother. The third, in Westlake, attracted a few more potential buyers, but Raab was forced to contend with a cappuccino machine that sounded like something out of a Michael Bay movie.
Then there were Raab's chosen readings: In Westlake, he picked his profile of Downey, but read almost exclusively some long, bizarre quotes from the troubled actor. Only a guy from Cleveland would do a book-reading and not read anything he actually wrote.
"Why would I read that stuff?" Raab said afterward. "Who wants to hear what I wrote?"