Step into the Studio 4 lobby, where a gracious hostess has a menu that'll have you reaching for that MBNA gold card. (Just pay your monthly minimum, and Mr. Lerner won't tell.) There's the basic dance by a lingerie lass for $37.50, and a "Shower show" for a bit more. Further down the menu, there's the dual-dancer shower show, sans lingerie. And for the ultimate after-work workout (and $250), hop into the shower with two gals of your choice and lather 'em up!
Sound like something for which there might be a market? That's what the Studio 4 owner thought when he leased a former Rental King store down Stark County way last month. And for almost two weeks, business was growing. Then the Perry Township police got wind of it and sent in two undercover cops. They came back with a search warrant, plus a couple prostitution charges for two models. WKYC-TV/Channel 3's intrepid Phil Hayes was there in time to get video of two models being led away in their nighties. It was off to the Massillon City Jail for the gals, and lights out for Studio 4. Hey, should be a fun trial!
Perry Township trustees were shocked to hear a shower shop had slipped into their semi-rural tranquility. Course, it hadn't interrupted that tranquility one bit, but that's a point that'll never be raised. A few politicos were quick to awaken and toss out the usual cliches, though. Trustee Lee Laubacher readily opined, "A place like that isn't going to do any good for anyone." Gee, he may get some disagreement from all those guys who voluntarily parted with $250.
All aboard! It's time to get on the bus for a real electric Kool-Aid acid trip. Nope, Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters won't be coming along on this psychedelic sojourn. This trip's only about 110 blocks long, and it keeps going back and forth, back and forth, like a recurring acid flashback. This not-so-long, strange trip is called the Euclid Corridor Improvement Project, and it'll cost at least $325 million.
Last week, the Regional Transit Authority trustees approved a plan to run buses from Public Square to University Circle. Yeow, $325 mil to run buses six miles back and forth? That's the basic premise, but it's much more complex than that. And your uncivil servant Mouth is here to cut this "magic pill" into succulent bite-size gulps. Start with two new "transit centers" for parking buses at the West 3rd/St. Clair and East 21st/Prospect intersections. The estimate? $32 mil. Then, add $35 mil for new buses and electric trolleys, and $75 mil for Red Line rapid improvements. So far, we're talkin' $142 mil for typical transit stuff. And hey, if we're gonna be taxed for public transit, at least we'll be making a six-mile trip five minutes quicker! There's no hard research detailing existing consumer demand for this, but that's never stopped government projects before.
But what about the other $183 mil? It's all going for "surface improvements." The trolleys will require serious overhead electrical construction to run from the Square and East 18th. Yep, lower Euclid's been cannibalized by taxpayer-subsidized developments elsewhere downtown, and it needs help. But should an extravagant street spruce-up be buried in a transit project run by a transit agency? Is this what po' folk without cars need to get to work? Heck, RTA board chair George Dixon has no problem with it. Neither does board member (and Berea Mayor) Stan Trupo, who's still waiting for word on rail service to his city. But screw that, since it involves service to the I-X Center.
Isn't Euclid Avenue also known as State Route 20? Yep, and indeed there is $70 mil in state money in this project. There's another $37.5 mil pledged from RTA coffers, which is your county sales tax at work. Clevo must come up with $17 mil, from sources still unknown. Then there's the uncertain-but-hoped-for $200 mil from the (over-) Feds. When you're doing a big government project, it helps to spread the irresponsibility around.
Ah, but where does the responsibility lie in a massive, multigovernment deal like this? We have to take a hint from the Euclid Corridor website at www.ecip.org/. The Cash Corridor's home page pictures the appointed RTA GM Ron Tober and one elected official, Clevo Mayor Mike White, a.k.a. Mr. Everywhere. Yep, could be another case where the downtown corporate elites are pulling the strings, salivating at the prospect of countless government contracts. The big question you won't see answered on Bucharest TV is "Who owns all the adjacent property that'll increase in value?"
Here's one good thing about this not-so-long, strange trip. For years, the Cleveland Tomorrow icons were pushing for the Dual Hub project. That would've been a much more expensive six-mile trip, including a subway out to Uni Circle. Hey, at least in one sense, this project will be "above-ground."
See No Evil
They got calls from constituents bitching about it, knew about the wrongly revoked drivers' licenses and other foul-ups, and even heard a plea by a colleague to kill it. Then our responsive reps in the Ohio House passed a new transportation bill that retained I-Check, the new moniker for that car insurance checking program from Ohio's Bureau of Motor Vehicles--the one with the letters demanding you mail back proof of insurance, pronto.
But get this. They passed this $5.2 billion two-year budget bill 92-1! The lone "nay" came from Columbo State Rep Bill Schuck. He bravely pointed out that uninsured motorists have decreased through the '90s without I-Check, but no one was swayed. Well, there's still a fight to come in the Ohio Senate. Yeah, right.
This budget includes $4.3 billion for ODOT, but the $233 mil for the BMV includes "mend it, don't end it" provisions for improving I-Check. Hey, that's as believable as those highway construction signs that say, "Temporary Inconvenience, Permanent Improvement." Heh-heh. With government, permanent usually means about six months, until they decide to "fix" something else they screwed up.