Who's in the Money?

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Among those casting a wary eye toward George Forbes's ascendant role with City Council is one group not accustomed to his brand of political juice: local providers of AIDS-prevention programs. The city is set to dole out $50,000 to the Forbes-led NAACP, on the heels of awarding Forbes's law firm a contract to handle $635 million worth of airport bonds. The Public Health Committee didn't like the NAACP's AIDS proposal, but Council President Mike Polensek argued that, since AIDS has ravaged the black community, the NAACP should play a role in prevention work. But as anyone fighting AIDS can tell you, a huge chunk of money is already earmarked for efforts in the African American community. "The programs that submitted [proposals] honestly are saying, "What the fuck?'" says one person who works with local AIDS groups. "You just have to be powerful and make the right phone call to get the money." Now there's a news flash.

The Gunds' week of dealing wasn't limited to the NBA draft. Gund Business Enterprises sold Cleveland-based Nationwide Advertising Service to New York marketing monolith McCann-Erickson WorldGroup. The terms: not being revealed. The reason: something about Nationwide's largest accounts needing to "coordinate their global recruitment needs," according to a letter Gordon Gund and top bosses sent to employees last week. Skittish employees weren't assuaged by the company's assurances that nothing much will change. They needn't worry, says a NAS spokesman. "The jobs are staying right here." Maybe so. But Madison Avenue is moving in.

Mend those steps, mow that grass, and welcome your new neighbor -- Denny's. That's the latest directive from Lakewood City Hall, where efforts to preserve the integrity of the city's neighborhoods are colliding with plans to build an all-night Denny's on Detroit Avenue. City Council claims it can't stop the chain's plans. This from the city whose Architectural Review Board has no difficulty regulating the size of construction bricks or the distance between porch spindles. Councilman Brian Corrigan has proposed legislation requiring 24-hour businesses to take deliveries and have garbage removed during certain hours, but fears any policy more strict would spawn lawsuits. Residents fear the toothless ordinance won't prevent extra noise, traffic, and crime in a neighborhood already home to four bars and other late-night businesses. With inner-ring preservationists like these, it's no wonder citizens scatter to the outer suburbs.

First-grade felons? Last week a six-year-old boy faced Magistrate Peter Murray on a felonious assault charge. "He was three foot, three inches tall and about 40 pounds," says George George of the Public Defender's Office. "The magistrate took one look at him and said, "You've got to be kidding' and dismissed the case immediately." The boy was facing a charge of assaulting a teacher, but "he could not possibly have caused physical damage to an adult," George says. The boy is the fourth six-year-old the public defenders have represented in the past year and a half. Juvenile defender Sam Amata hopes court workers stop trying to charge diminutive delinquents. "I'm tired of [interviewing] six-year-olds whose feet don't touch the ground," Amata says. "We're asking them if they understand, and they're playing with Pokémon cards."

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