Local Dirt: Thumbs Only Edition

And more tales from the Paris of the Rust Belt


Mt. Pleasant councilman Zack Reed finally got his citywide texting-while-driving ban passed Monday night by a 19-2 vote, after more than three months of maneuvering through a morass of eye-rolling from his colleagues. Last week, at council's public safety committee meeting, several members went after Reed for every hole in his argument, despite overwhelming support from safety forces and activists. "I've never seen them vet anything before like this," said Reed on Monday afternoon. But at Monday's finance commitee meeting, just a few hours shy of the finish line, councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott, council's majority leader, was the only open dissenter remaining, expressing her fear of making Cleveland's citizens the "poster children for America's issues." (Huh?) She and councilman T.J. Dow were the two dissenters in the final vote. Reed reminded Pierce Scott about how Mayor Frank Jackson, as council president, proposed the city's predatory-lending law for Cleveland, not Ohio. "This piece of legislation is looking out for the citizens of Cleveland," said Reed. "It's a safety issue." The law won't go into effect for 90 days, giving city leaders a chance to get the word out. One council member jokingly suggested an e-mail blast. — Harkins


Glenville Councilwoman Sabra Pierce Scott, council president Martin Sweeney's majority leader, at first didn't want to speak with Scene for a recent story about Jeff Johnson ("Glenville Redux," April 1, 2009). A former Glenville councilman himself, Johnson went on to become a state senator in the shadow of ex-mayor Mike White and then was jailed for nefarious tactics in raising campaign cash (some say White narrowly escaped). Now Johnson's angling for his old seat back. And Pierce Scott wants to speak now, at least rhetorically: "I've beat him before, when he ran Bill Patmon's campaign," she said Monday after council's finance committee meeting. "He can bring it." And she vowed not to get negative to curry voter favor. "I respect Jeff. I really do. He made a mistake and paid for it. And he's earned the right to run and face a difficult race — for him, not for me. I'm the incumbent." Yeah, just try and raise the money the right way now, Mr. Johnson, with the fully leavened Council Leadership Fund putting a Pierce Scott sign on every street corner and campaign literature in every mailbox. Harkins

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On Monday, in a 15-page diatribe against The Way Things Seem to Have Always Been in Cleveland, County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter Corrigan blasted Mayor Frank Jackson and his two predecessors, Jane Campbell and Mike White, for circumventing the city's civil-service laws for too long, opening "the city, the administration and the two prior administrations to allegations of cronyism, corruption and political payback." Corrigan fined the city $900,000 and put a special overseer in place to make sure the rules are being followed. Last year, Jackson pushed through a charter change that would grandfather in employees appointed inappropriately — apparently side-stepping Corrigan's long-standing belief that City Hall needs a good spring cleaning. Harkins

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