The Mouth

Cockpit Cram
There's an old saying that goes, "A jackass is a horse designed by a committee." Yep, that makes it tough to pin the blame on the right donkey. Any wonder why politicos love to surround themselves with committees?

And here's the latest. Mayor Mike White has appointed an "Air Service Issues Review Committee" to untangle the many mysteries of Hopkins Airport. Such as, "How do we wipe out Brook Park's I-X Center and justify more money for a huge downtown convention hall?" Heh-heh, as quietly as possible, comrades. Why launch an open attack on the I-X, when you can set up a more covert operation?

So who's in the cockpit with Hizzoner? First, he crammed in three of his underlings: resident Mrs. Fix-It LaVonne Sheffield McClain, development dude Ken Silliman, and that guy who likes to live in one city and vote in another, new Ports Director Solomon Balraj. Hizzoner also handpicked four corporate honchos, including the head of our top shadow government, Cleveland Tomorrow.

Oh yeah, he also appointed one rep from Brook Park--Mayor Tom Coyne. Shh . . . Coyne's airport planner just uncovered new costs in hizzoner's Hopkins expansion plans. Like bulldozing 600 more homes, and destroying a new concourse that hasn't been built yet!

Yeow, let the negotiations begin!

Buy-Partisan Effort
You thought political awareness was dead on college campuses? Well, check this out. Kent State is looking to bring a big-time politico in to speak next spring. Last week, the KSU Student Senate approved $36,482 for the task. Their main target? That 74-year-old Senator turned credit-card spokesman, Bob Dole.

And how's this for bipartisanship? KSU's Dem and Repub student groups are working together to make it happen. Heck, The Daily Kent Stater even editorialized in favor of it. The student paper said, "Dole represents the 'pull 'em by-the-bootstraps' mentality that a lot of students can relate to." Hmm, we bet they'd relate more to Oasis or Alanis, especially if they're shelling out their own bread for tickets.

KSU wants to stage this in the MAC Center, which means about 5,000 tix for sale. That's big revenue potential, so take a page from the political campaign book: Forget the students and mail ticket forms to King George V's donor list. These folks can throw money around, so set up a $1,000 "gold circle" section. Offer 'em a food table, a photo with Bob, and a few hits of Viagra for the road. And Mouth has your rallying cry (to the tune of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young's "Ohio"): "Spin doctors an' Bob Dole comin'/For bread in O-hi-o!"

Yep, this could be a real modern-day political education. And don't forget the ancillary benefits. The Stater also said that Clevites "would attend and bring KSU some much-needed positive press." Hey, now you're talkin'! Nothing like a well-choreographed pseudo-event to bring out the Clevo media.

Stark Contrast
Picture this: a renovated Akron Civic Theatre surrounded by a new library and a new art museum. Now that's stability. Libraries and museums are stately structures built to last, and the Civic's been around since 1929.

Oh, and throw in a 24-screen movie multiplex and an IMAX theater. Huh? Hey, no jive. That's the plan put forth last week by Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and developer Robert Stark. (He's known for building those Fairlawn/Montrose strip malls.) The early cost estimate is a nice round $200 million, with public money handling everything except the multiplex and the IMAX.

The location is that new parking lot at Market and Main Streets. Yep, that means the historic Civic must move. The plan is to take it apart and stick its guts in a new building. Now there's some respect for a building that's on the National Register of Historic Places. When it comes to justifying massive public projects, nothing's sacred. Yep, some nice, long-lasting buildings next to a multiplex that'll redo its facade every five years. Throw in a McDonald's and ya got Euro Disney at the Louvre.

Screen Pass
Good news for our national health! More couch potatoes are finding better things to do than watch the NFL Monopoly on TV. Yep, NFL broadcast ratings for this season's first half are down from '97's record lows.

ABC's Monday Night Football was the big loser, down to a 13.6 rating from last year's 14.9. Sunday NFC games on Fox rated 10.1, compared to '97's 10.7. The AFC scored a 10.4 last year on NBC, but slipped to 9.1 on its new "welcome home," CBS. And this is an ongoing trend. Back in '95, the Monday nighters scored a 17, with a 12.5 for the NFC and a 11.1 for the AFC.

Since all TV ratings go up once the weather turns crappy, the No Fun League numbers should inch up in the second half. So hope for sunny Sundays, and get out and exercise. The alternative? You could end up looking like Big Dawg and Trivisonno.

Say Cheese!
Dang, it's getting tough to tell TV news from Entertainment Tonight. Got some time to fill? Run that footage of Bruce Willis opening a new restaurant. Aerial footage of the Streisand wedding? Gotta find time for it.

Hell, we're even wasting news time leering at local celebs. Like last week's Fox 8 News "exclusive" on the wedding of Jim Thome and Andrea Pacione. Mouth sat through a whole hour of "news," enduring numerous teases to stay tuned for this momentous exclusive. And in the final minute, we got four chintzy still photos! What the hell, was the "Sky Fox" helicopter busy?

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