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Friday, September 10, 2021

Titillating Tidbits: Who Tried to Buy Sandra Williams Out of the Cleveland Mayoral Race? Plus Mario Kart on the Detroit-Superior Bridge

Posted By on Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 11:44 AM

click to enlarge State Sen. Sandra Williams formally announces her bid for Cleveland Mayor at the Harvard Community Center, (5/3/21). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • State Sen. Sandra Williams formally announces her bid for Cleveland Mayor at the Harvard Community Center, (5/3/21).
Our weekly roundup of interesting happenings, minor happenings, stuff you missed, stuff we missed, and assorted fun.

-One week out from the 2021 primary election, The Land has profiled State Sen. Sandra Williams, the lone woman in the 2021 Cleveland mayoral race. The piece includes some startling allegations about the lengths to which the local business community has gone to prevent the re-ascension of Dennis Kucinich.

Williams has mounted a quiet, "under the radar" campaign, predicated largely on her statehouse experience and on her identity. She would be the first Black woman to serve as Mayor of Cleveland. She told reporter Michael Indriolo, however, that she had been approached by multiple representatives from the local business community encouraging her to get out of the race. One unnamed area businessman allegedly asked her "how much it would take" for her to bow out. "What job do you want? And how much do you need?" Williams said the caller asked. "Name your price.”

Williams declined to name the businessman — and her campaign did not respond to a follow-up request from Scene — but she said his identity would "shock the city."

Whoever it is has no doubt operated in this backroom manner before. (This is how deals get made in Cleveland.) The prominent businessman is most likely aligned with Council President Kevin Kelley, the candidate of big business. Williams even said that the requests she'd received were from businessmen who were "terrified" of Kucinich and believe that Kelley is their best shot of taking him on.

In recent weeks, the Kelley-aligned Citizens for Change PAC has moved from exclusively anti-Kucinich material into anti-Justin Bibb material. The PAC sent out a racist mailer that darkened Bibb's skin and presented a chronology of misbehavior, most of which involved traffic violations. According to those close to the campaign, Kelley has recognized Bibb's growing base of support on the near west side and is desperate to consolidate as much of the city's white vote as he can. He's also doing whatever possible to get a sliver of Black votes, attempting to marshal public housing support via a last-minute tour with Mayor Frank Jackson and trotting out the endorsement of G-PAC,  a group of pastors and other community leaders.

- Need more mayoral coverage in your life ahead of the primary? Here's an hourlong conversation between Scene's Sam Allard and Ideastream Public Media's Nick Castele, the two best reporters on the beat, sponsored by the Press Club of Cleveland:

-The Portager reports that the Kent State University board of trustees will vote next week to merge WKSU, the university's NPR affiliate, with Ideastream Public Media, combining the two newsrooms and to be based in Cleveland. 

- Cleveland-Cliffs went from a 35% vaccination rate among its workers to more than 75% this summer after it began offering $1,500 bonuses for employees who got the jab.

- Happy trails to John Telich, though not quite yet. One of the best in the business and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

- Mario Kart on the Detroit-Superior Bridge:

- Digit Widget

$2.73 billion — Estimated value of the Cleveland Browns franchise, according to Sportico, a number worth remembering as the Haslams seek TIFs and public subsidies for their planned lakefront project with the city.

36 — Years the Funny Times, published out of Cleveland, has been in business.

$2 million — Amount of political donations made by ECOT from 2000 to 2019, according to campaign finance reports turned over in response to a federal grand jury subpoena as the DOJ continues its investigation of the online school.

$230,000 — Amount Ohio taxpayers spent to send 14 Ohio State Highway Patrol officers to Texas for border patrol assistance this year.

- What's Scene dining editor Doug Trattner eating this week?

- Vintage photo of the week:

- New local music of the week: Nefertitti Avani, "Serious"

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