Insight into the inevitable, Loren Naji edition

Exploding_Plastic_Inevitable

playbill, 1966

Art, if it works, holds a mirror up to the observer where they see themselves, forcing them to question their assumptions about their world. In performance art, the observer ideally becomes part of the art piece in some way. Hence, The Exploding Russo Inevitable, i.e., my campaign for county executive in 2014. It was a group performance from Day One.

The origins of the piece’s title were foreign to almost everyone, even the finest artists in CLE – very few people “got it”. (isn’t CLE the birthplace of rock ‘n roll? Come on, people.) Getting it required that you at least had heard of The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a performance art combination of pop art and rock n’ roll, performed by Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground & Nico across America in 1966. It’s music forms the entire “Banana Album”, the Velvets’ debut, widely understood as one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music. No one really “got it” either when the album was released in 1967 (the year I was born). It never sold. The Brian Eno saying goes that everyone who did buy the album started a rock n’ roll band.

The “art” of the Exploding Russo Inevitable, the work product, wasn’t done by me – it was done by others via their reactions to it. From all manner of social media silliness all the way to the banal of hand shaking at bingo games, speeches, debates – I may have held the paint brushes. Everyone else was the paint.

My favorite example was, of course, the media reaction to my candidacy. Very reliable materials. No paint on a palette behaves as predictably as our local media behaved in response to me running for office. Almost unanimously, they hit the canvass in one of two ways – invisibly with their silence, or spectacularly with their despise. When I got lazy, or depressed, or tired, like any artist, they were my go-to can of Pollock splatters. They were too easy.

Good art, of course, doesn’t rely on two colors used predictably. Like in a Rothko, or a Turner, the interesting bits are where the better colors bleed into each other, “react” with one another. That began happening as observers saw themselves in the mirror, and did something. Today, social media allows you to often watch that reaction in real time. See whose reflection in the mirror affects them most, or least. I ended up with just over 9,000 votes. Each one, a splash of paint, a carve on a marble, or a note of music.

But those were just the votes.  Mixing art and politics in a performance piece goes well beyond the artificial “deadline” of an election and its crossed T’s or dotted I’s. Henry Senyak was a late arrival in the paint box – his raid on Loren Naji the Friday before the election should have been something I ignored – if I was a typical candidate. For the Exploding Russo Inevitable? It was an opportunity.

Seeing how people reacted to learning, from me, two days before the election, how Senyak became Joe Cimperman’s Senyak, how this one sorry buzz killer had accrued enough power to send 7 cars of tactical geared jackboots to an art gallery opening – the first brush strokes have been very revealing. Lots of people seeing lots of things in the mirror. Drops of paint are still hitting the canvass, behaving very interestingly.

Pay attention to them.

They’re inevitable.

No Comments

Senyak vs. Cimperman – Pass the popcorn!

BuzzkillHenry

Ah, the sweet sound of rats fucking each other in spring. Joe Cimperman has been adamant to anyone who will ask that he knew nothing about the raid on Loren Naji’s gallery Friday night, nor anything about any complaints or investigations by Liquor Control of Loren’s gallery openings. As in this email which was posted on Facebook by someone who contacted Cimperman to protest..

CimpermanNajiRaidEmail

Good thing Joe gave us all permission to “share this with anyone!” Because Henry Senyak doesn’t like being thrown under that bus. Senyak yesterday, right before a late night flurry of self aggrandizing links documenting his Hero of Tremont status (bestowed upon him by Cimperman of course), posted this yesterday, claiming Cimperman knew all about the raid, was contacting the city & police morning of, and that Senyak has documentation that Cimperman knew.

SenyakCimpermanRaidStatus050714In addition, Cimperman is now telling anyone within earshot (except Henry of course) that Henry Senyak is insane, that he has no control over Senyak because Senyak is insane, that Henry and Cimperman have nothing to do with each other anymore, that Cimperman washed his hands of Senyak oh so long ago, because of said insanity. I’m gonna need more popcorn.

Before either Joe Cimperman or Eric Wobser of Ohio City Inc. met with Loren after the raid (on Tuesday), they met with each other (on Monday). Wobser won’t tell me why, but Wobser flat out denies to me that he and Cimperman have designs on Loren’s property other than Loren owning it. Now that everyone is lying through their teeth tossing each other under buses, I have a real hard time believing Wobser.

Ari Maron, everyone’s favorite Issue 7 sin tax “Daddy Bought Me A Bar On E. 4th St.” pimp, owns the properties contiguous to Loren’s gallery. One of those buildings used to house a bar called Envy, which may have been the only black gay bar in the entire city. Senyak is quite proud he was the heavy in going after Envy and getting them shut down. Shortly after Envy was shut down, Maron had the building torn down. As a result, Loren got a big empty wall where Maron’s building used to be, and of course, made art out of it. Because awesome.

There are rumors galore from multiple sources that Ohio City Inc. would like to put a brewery on that block. I can understand these denials from Cimperman & Wobser, because if OCI and Cimperman are in fact using Henry Senyak’s special talent for assholery in order to intimidate a land owner on the down low in favor of another development, that would likely be a federal crime. See Chris Christie. So if I were Henry Senyak, I’d find myself a lawyer toute suite.

And I’m gonna need to have Orville Reddenbacher deliver wholesale.

No Comments

A change gonna come

Yesterday, I came in third place, crushing both a former county sheriff, and a former mayor, raising nor spending not one nickel on my campaign.

I never got one phone call from a TV station about this election.  The last time any TV news covered the county executive race, about any candidate, was in January, to announce Armond Budish’s Democratic Party endorsement, and that was on WKYC, which has been on Budish’s payroll for the last 15 years. Every other mention of my name in any other media, print, internet, or radio, obsessed over one thing about me – my ancient criminal conviction, nearly always mentioned with gratuitous bullying glee, as if it was news the 20th time they said it.

Still came in third.

Birthed from the grotesque chaos of a Democratic, a Democratic council, voting unanimously to take money from the poor and give it to the rich, the only election Cleveland TV covered was a campaign by 3 billionaires to fund themselves, which every TV station endorsed, some explicitly, to the point that watching an Indians game felt like subjecting oneself to a pitch from Tammy Faye Baker for 3 hours.

But this too was a blessing.

Because it united the widest political divide in America in my lifetime. Me and Cleveland Tea Party founder Ralph King were at each other’s throats online for years in the most vicious ways imaginable. Over the last month, Ralph and I became thick as thieves, talking on the phone almost every day, right after, or before, talking to Erin McCardle about the same campaign we all worked on. Did so today.

Erin’s 2011 Occupy Cleveland arrest awaits an Ohio Supreme Court ruling.

Ralph has spoken at every Tea Party rally in Cleveland since 2009.

The clock is ticking on this rigged game, which sends tactical geared dick wagging tools to seize beer from an artist giving it away for free on his own property while, at the very same moment, shoveling nickels and dimes by the hundreds of millions from people in poverty to out of town billionaires on the public teat.

Post soviet dictators buy the TV stations and newspapers first. After that, it’s all academic. The politicians come very cheap. The laws write themselves. The ballot box rolls right over. Money flows in predictable ways, scientifically. Power concentrates until its density is so great almost no one has access to it, no voice is heard other than that of cash.

The light bulb is going on. Our plutocrat oligarchs’ days are numbered.

They have a choice.

They can unrig this game themselves, or it will soon be unrigged whether they like it or not, with not a care in the world as to who gets run over, how they get run over, or what’s left by the side of the road. History is littered with their remains in every corner of the globe. They think it can’t happen in America? How un-American.

We’ve been taking notes. The 1% is laughably inaccurate anymore, it’s too big a number. Fewer than the number of lords and assorted royalty who owned medieval Europe’s serfs. We know who they are, we know how few of them there are, we know who their whores are, and we know precisely how they have divided us for so long to keep their pockets bursting at the seems with our money, our futures, our lives.

I feel great today. It may take twenty years. Or, a spark may be lit in an unpredictable moment tomorrow. Tonight. Or this afternoon. Maybe next week.

But a change gonna come.

No Comments

A two headed snake targets Ohio City next

SenyakFishes

I of course had no intention of spending the last weekend of the campaign defending my friend Loren Naji from known Tremont bully Henry Senyak, who had Loren’s gallery on W. 25th in Ohio City raided on Friday night for having beer at a gallery opening. But I’ve known Loren for a long time – Loren has been a good friend to me – when I ran for council in 2010, he covered the gallery’s front with Russo signs. Practically every video of Loren’s art that’s online, I shot, edited, produced, and directed, since 2008. (here’s my fave) So when the petty piss ant politics of this town jacks up my friend in the court system, I have no choice.

Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman and Henry Senyak have a little shtick, birthed out of the corrupt cess pit of Tremont development scams. I learned about it almost the minute I moved into Tremont in 2004. First, Senyak starts a jihad against a business owner on email. Senyak has a few online minions who make a bigger stink for him. It lasts for months, often years. It gets vicious, personal, and entangles the target in endless harassment. They targeted me a few times.

Cimperman and his cast of landed gentry apologists pretend they are oh so outraged by Senyak, pretend to get Senyak to stop, which never happens of course. Then Cimperman showers Senyak with awards and plaudits and positions on boards, pictures with VIPs from the city, the police department, etc. Then Senyak’s target is on their own, either going out of business like the Starkweather Bar eventually did across the street from Senyak’s home (which is now the Tap House), or ends up in court, or a zoning morass of Senyak’s choosing, sucked dry. Cimperman then has people begging him for help. He loves it.

Cimperman and Senyak then lather rinse repeat. For at least a decade. Maybe longer. Tremont West Development Corporation, which actually elected this shit stain Senyak to its board (with Cimperman’s support), has not just enabled Senyak, but empowered him, with the total support of Joe Cimperman, every step of the way. When I moved out of Tremont in 2010, one of the great pleasures was thinking I’d never have to deal with this nonsense ever again. But then the Senyak-Cimperman two step visited my friend Loren.

Lo and behold, turns out these two frauds picked the wrong target this time. Support for Loren is broad, wide, deep, and unanimous. So unanimous, Senyak and Cimperman have been throwing each other under the bus to blame the other, both lying about who knew what about the raid. Cimperman claimed initially he had no idea anyone had any problem with Loren Naji’s gallery on W. 25th, then Senyak posted an email from 15 months ago from CPD’s Keith Sulzer showing Cimperman knew as far back as March 2013. (along with all the plaques Cimperman handed him declaring Senyak’s awesomeness.) Now Senyak is claiming Eric Wobser of the Ohio City CDC has some other plan for Loren’s property, so Cimperman sent in the raid. I can’t wait to hear what Cimperman’s next lie is. He’s skilled at it. Senyak is doing his predictably bizarre victory lap.

The response online among Loren’s supporters is wonderful, but it needs a little bite. Namely, this is not some out of the blue random state power abuse. It is a known pattern. Knock on any business door in Tremont, and they will tell you their own horror story about Senyak and his pathetic online minions descending upon them with a flurry of insanity. Then they’ll tell you just how pointless Cimperman was in response. It’s not new. Senyak and Cimperman’s sick game is as predictable as the sun rising in the east tomorrow.

Now, how does this matter to a guy running for county executive on the ballot Tuesday? Not much. I could make some big pivot to my message here, but there isn’t one really. Cimperman endorsed Armond Budish. And Issue 7. Of course. But no, this has nothing to do with me.  If my friend is in trouble with the law from a low rent protection racket that I’ve seen play out many times myself, I am done playing nice with liars and bullies, and I need to chime in, no matter what else may be going on in my life. I may lose a few votes in the Cimperman Sycophant crowd, but I never had those anyway, because they all like to play this rigged game just as it is.

You won’t hear any of this reported in the local media, either. Cimperman will make damned sure of that.   Cimperman this minute is probably weaving together some flimsy tissue of lies to pretend this has NEVER EVER happened BEFORE, MY GOD HOW HORRIBLE. You’ve all heard that line from Joe, no?

I’ve spent the last day trying to warn folks in Ohio City they’re probably next, and assure Loren that this ain’t over by a long shot. Senyak and his minions most certainly already have a list of businesses up and down W. 25th St. who he’s stalked, like a self-appointed vigilante in the night complete with infrared binoculars or some other bullshit, who have no idea they too are on Cimperman’s 15 month wait list for a raid. Maybe they’re listening, maybe not. They will be 15 months from now, I guarantee you that. But it’d be nice if for once, a group of local business owners in a high profile neighborhood like Ohio City stood up to a bully and his political sponsor. We’ll see.

Anyway, vote for me.

No Comments

On May 6th, perpetuate, or end, the rigged game

ChooChoooo

It’s hard to be a more terrific fraud than Armond Budish. Fifteen years lying to seniors on television to get them to liquidate their assets so they live on public assistance (after Budish takes his cut, of course) selling them pointless and expensive cosmetic dentistry…that ought to convince anyone. But no, there’s a six figure no bid public teat off which to suckle, laundered to his wife, then lied about, to the Ohio Legislature for 9 years. Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo never learned Armond’s lesson - if you’re going to be stinkingly corrupt, you’d better buy the media too, so instead of crowing COUNTY IN CRISIS ’til they’re hoarse, they’ll quietly edit your words on demand, then endorse you, ignoring your taxpayer gravy train because you’ve spent the past 15 years lining the pockets of the NBC affiliate in town. Paging Tom Beres.

Even Ray Charles could see this fraud from a mile away, but the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, and every media glitterati in town, has spent the last year crowning Budish as if he were the second coming, lying through their teeth too, stitching up endorsements, corralling lap dog media puff pieces from the cocktail circuit of NEO’s great and good, all for a meritless, senior fleecing money laundering camp following pimp whose entire platform for county executive is a vapid recitation of platitudes so boilerplate it’s an insult to cookie cutters.

Issue7ModellsRansom

The exact same process has produced Issue 7, the sin tax renewal of Art Modell’s 19 year old chump’s deal. Armond Budish and the sin tax are the same work product, both manufactured and rolled off the same assembly line that built an empty Med Mart, is building a hotel with county money, is funneling casino tax revenue this minute to the wealthiest people in Northeast Ohio by the millions. What wrought Armond Budish and the sin tax also strip mined Slavic Village, my birthplace, putting every cent of property value on my grandmother’s street into some yacht’s gas tank floating in an oh so quaint Connecticut harbor.

When will we wake up? We cannot let money govern us like this anymore. Just look at what it’s done to our city, our county, our country. This rigged game doesn’t work. At all. It works only for the wealthiest and most powerful, a tiny minority shrinking so rapidly it’s an overstatement to call them the 1% anymore. Armond Budish, who has no reason to be elected other than money, is the Platonic Form. It’s his platform, his entire argument, it’s all his supporters claim, and he’s proud of it. Do we enjoy being played for such fools?

TheGoodRusso

I made a bet entering this race, that voters have already turned this page, that they indeed see what’s right before their eyes, whether or not their public airwaves sit bought and paid for in silence, too. By not raising or spending any money on my candidacy, I hope I’ve proven there is another way – that we can govern ourselves, rather than letting money govern us. I spent a career in this rigged game, and I’ve spent another lifetime on the outside of it looking in.

Now, it reminds me of my days in the former soviet republics with eerie certainty – we aren’t on some slippery slope, we’ve careened down it straight into the cess pit below. The only difference between our rigged game and post soviet dictators is scale – Armond Budish is a small time street hooker in comparison, at least in Armenia, they know to purchase the entire TV station.

I’m ready for this challenge, and I hope I’ve convinced voters too. Lord knows I ain’t perfect – none of us are.  The choice between cursing the darkness forever, or lighting my candle, wasn’t easy. I should be the last guy standing up and asking for votes. But based on all my experience, good and bad, I have a unique capacity to see and fight injustice, and an even more unique capacity to smell a rat. And this is no time to sit on the sidelines.

I made a promise when I left Armenia in 1998 after watching a coup and two rigged presidential elections. I told my Armenian colleagues trying to keep me there that I was leaving to fight for my own democracy just as hard as they fought for their own. I had no idea how hard that fight would be.

On May 6th, Cuyahoga County can turn a page. Let’s do it.

Lighting Money on Fire, Tim Russo Announces for County Executive from the exploding russo inevitable on Vimeo.

No Comments

Issue 7 is the problem

HarutGegham

The civic election observer group I worked with in Armenia from 1997-99 called themselves (and still do) It’s Your Choice. Harut Hambartsumian, the crazy bald guy on the left, used to say, when asked why bother voting in rigged elections, “if we don’t vote, the authorities know what to do with our votes.” Harut also sang like Louis Armstrong, but that’s another story.

Low voter turnout is a reasonable response to a rigged process. Why endorse a corrupt process by our participation? Why invest hopes, dreams, expectations in a process that will inevitably dismiss them? Why play their game?

Two weeks out from the May 6th primary, I’ve learned a lot on this unlikely journey. Committing not to raise or spend any money has been as educational for me as anything I’ve ever done in politics. When money is out of the equation, our humanity rises in stark relief. When money is there, humanity disappears.

Cash looks small when politics is about human beings. It seems unimportant, petty, yet holds danger. Its siren song gets easier to hear, not necessarily louder, just more obvious. Like Gollum’s Ring. For example, at Democratic ward clubs, as a candidate, you are expected to pay the membership fee whether or not you live in the neighborhood. You are treated differently if you pay that few bucks. If you don’t, you can watch that tiny amount of money pull the humanity of those around you behind a curtain, in real time. It doesn’t take seconds, it’s instantaneous.

When I started running as a pure performance art project, the sin tax, Issue 7, was just a glimmer in Joe Roman’s eye at the GCP board room. The sin tax crystalized this journey for me profoundly – as did one of my opponents being a carbon copy of the same rigged game. I went from Hunter S. Thompson on a crusade to, well, me on a crusade. Because the sin tax IS the problem.

When money purchases the power for a tiny minority (you know…the 1%) to write the rules the rest of us have to live by, that is called oligarchy. Or plutocracy. Or kleptocracy. It isn’t democracy. The sin tax in 1990 or 1995 was another time, another Cleveland. Today, the sin tax, Issue 7, is just the latest, stark example that our democracy is utterly controlled by money alone, not by us.

That 99% of us are subjected to relentless sales swindles funded by bottomless pits of money owning our public airwaves, our public spaces, our publicly owned buildings, all to put our future into the pockets of the richest people in America by government fiat is a stain on our city, our county, our state, and our country. We should be ashamed. But we’re not.

We’ve removed ourselves from the political process en masse, in total rejection of this rigged game. As a result, the playing field – voting, democracy itself – shrinks. An ever smaller number of voters are the target of ever larger pots of money seeking to manipulate them.  It takes a lot for a guy like me to continue putting faith in this allegedly “democratic” process. More than anyone will ever know. But…..

My mom hates deer – they turn up every spring to eat her flowers. You can see Mom in the morning surveying the damage like Napoleon at Waterloo, carnage everywhere, tulips just clipped off at the top. Roses chomped. Yet, every year, she continues to plant, tend, try home remedy deer repellants like tobasco sauce from a spray bottle. Because if she didn’t tend her garden, it would be overrun by parasites and predators, leaving nothing but a barren dusty landscape.

We have a serious problem with our democracy. It’s our choice to address it, or not. Let’s tend our garden again. There’s a lot of work to be done.

No Comments

Armond Budish has been lying on ethics forms since 2005

Amy Budish, Armond Budish’s wife and co-author, is the “production costs,” i.e. “Elder Productions, LLC” in MetroHealth’s $200,000 no-bid county contract for advertising and appearances on WKYC’s “Golden Opportunties”.  Armond Budish has claimed to receive zero income from Elder Productions on his Ohio Ethics Disclosure forms every year since 2005.  Ohio Revised.Code 102.02(D) and 2921.13(A)(7) make it a first-degree misdemeanor to knowingly file a false disclosure statement.

MetroHealth, a division of Cuyahoga County, has paid Budish $25,000 quarterly since 2012, the most recent payment being January 13, 2013, three weeks before filing day, February 5. Budish himself has already changed his story on the matter, first saying he would address the obviously corrupt practice if elected, then saying 4 days later he would sever the relationship if elected.

Bob Reid, former Cuyahoga County Sheriff and one of the other candidates for County Executive, has told me that Budish himself has said to Reid that his wife Amy Budish is Elder Productions. No one at WKYC will confirm anything other than that Amy Budish is at the station on occasion.  One of Budish’s other advertisers told me on the phone their contact for “production” at Golden Opportunities is Budish himself.

Perhaps there is some shell game beyond this already labyrinthine maze that somehow translates into this sham being legal. If so, then the problem isn’t what’s illegal, the problem is what’s legal. I have called on County Executive Ed FitzGerald to void this contract immediately.  My last name is a punch line because of practices like this. This rigged game of sitting elected officials, media, and county taxpayer money must come to an end.

John Kasich will not let this slide in November. Democrats have a chance to reject how money governs us, and begin to govern ourselves again in Cuyahoga County on May 6. So let’s do it.

Be notorious.

 

No Comments

Wanna see what voters face in Armenia? April 7 5:30pm at Trinity Cathedral

observer credential, 1998 Armenian presidential election

observer credential, 1998 Armenian presidential election

“Merry-go-round” voting is one of the primary electoral fraud tactics I encountered as an election observer trainer in the former Soviet Union from 1997-99, especially in Armenia. Operational details vary, but the goal is to stuff the ballot box by having the same people go from precinct to precinct voting over and over again voting for the same candidate repeatedly. Sometimes the “carousel voters” even have stacks of ballots in their pockets which get plopped into the box. It’s nearly undetectable, unless you are paying very close attention.

I pay very close attention.

Cuyahoga County Democratic Party local clubs specialize in this tactic during primary season. The county party is particularly vulnerable now, given how emptied out most ward clubs have become. Very few actual members attend these monthly meetings. For example, the Stonewall Democratic Club meeting I attended recently had at most 10 or so actual LGBT members, while the room was filled with 20-30 candidates (none of whom were LGBT) from other parts of the county seeking the endorsement.

“Membership,” thus voting rights, in many of these clubs (including Stonewall Dems) is open to anyone who pays a membership fee. Since I’ve promised not to raise or spend any money in this primary, and because I reject this cattle call sham in order to collect money, I am not a member of the Stonewall Democrats. I’m just a member of the LGBT Democratic community who rejects money governing us.

So at Stonewall Dems last month, the vast majority of the voting “members” were not even LGBT. They were there to vote for themselves, and Armond Budish, a senior fleecing money laundering pimp who isn’t LGBT, over an LGBT candidate. I wasn’t even permitted to see the vote count, which is hilarious – even in Armenia they’ll at least show you their handiwork with pride when they’re done manufacturing it.

After this particularly egregious example of merry-go-round voting, I’ve decided it is a total waste of my time to attend any of these county Dem club stitch ups. A far better use of my time is to point out just how corrupt this process has become, to the point that a petty pittance of a couple bucks “membership fee” can turn what should be a stong voice for the LGBT community into just the latest bought and paid for whorehouse of a rigged game.

The next example, to which I was “invited” at the last minute, will be the Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus endorsement meeting, April 7, 5:30pm, at Trinity Cathedral (where, amazingly, the Stonewall Democrats stitch up also happened). Predictably, CDWC has the same membership/voting farce as Stonewall Democrats, where the attendance will be at least 3-1 candidates, mostly men, over, you know, Democratic women. Gee, I wonder who they will endorse.  I’ve told them I will not attend, for these reasons.

Money must not govern us. We must govern ourselves.

Be notorious.

Lighting Money on Fire, Tim Russo Announces for County Executive from the exploding russo inevitable on Vimeo.

No Comments

Use higher rent, ad revenue from scoreboards to replace the sin tax

As a candidate for county executive, I oppose renewal of the sin tax to fund maintenance of the stadiums in which the Browns, Cavs, and Indians play. My counter proposal, which I would seek to negotiate with the teams as county executive if I am elected, is as follows.

First, the Browns pay a ludicrously low rent on the stadium – $250,000. In comparison, the Pittsburgh Steelers pay 10 times that amount, $2.5 million, and the San Francisco 49ers pay 10 times that, $25 million. Even the Minnesota Vikings rent on their new stadium starts at $8.5 million the year the stadium opens and climbs 3 percent a year until reaching $20 million in Year 30. The Browns paltry rent is a joke, $125,000 less than the minimum NFL rookie contract. That rent is dated and a legacy of the gun which Art Modell and the NFL had pointed to our heads in 1995, when the sin tax Modell begged for was on the ballot as he planned to turn up in a parking lot in Baltimore two weeks before the election.

Cuyahoga County, the city of Cleveland, and Gateway, should increase the rent on Browns Stadium to at least what the Steelers pay, preferably enough to entirely replace the sin tax’s estimated yearly revenue of about $11-14 million a year. Rent for the Cavs and the Indians should be re-visited as well.

Second, the public needs to see the revenue projections for the new scoreboards which the teams demand, and share in the revenue resulting from our investment in order to maintain the buildings. The public has no idea how much that revenue would be, but the teams and the leagues they play in most certainly do, otherwise they wouldn’t make scoreboards a priority. It is unconscionable that the public should pay for an investment whose revenue goes exclusively into private pockets. It is Dickensian that such a public investment leading to private profit be made on the backs of the poorest people in Cuyahoga County, without the public ever seeing the numbers. Before taxpayers invest a single nickel in these scoreboards, taxpayers have a right to see the numbers, and share in the revenue.

If sworn in as county executive in January 2015, this is my starting point in negotiations with the teams for future maintenance of the facilities we paid to build. We are all Cleveland sports fans, we cannot turn our backs on our commitments to these facilities. However.

The deal on the table right now is a chump’s deal. Cleveland ain’t your chump. When Jimmy Haslam, Dan Gilbert, and Larry Dolan are ready to take this negotiation seriously, instead of playing us all for chumps, taxpayers are ready to deal.

the exploding russo inevitable 2 from the exploding russo inevitable on Vimeo.

No Comments

Armond Budish changes his story on MetroHealth no bid contract

At 8am this morning, I called on County Executive Ed FitzGerald to void the county’s MetroHealth no bid, no oversight, $200,000 contract with Armond Budish. Despite this dwarfing any amount for which J. Kevin Kelley, or Michael Forlani, or anyone else is sitting in federal prison this minute for similar practices, the crickets I heard from local media were deafening, including from the Plain Dealer’s Andrew J. Tobias.

Imagine my surprise then, when someone asks me just now for Tobias’s original March 7 story on this cess pit from Saturday, and notice that today, at noon, 4 hours after everyone in CLE media got my blog post, Tobias edited his 4 day old story thus.

TobiasEdit031114

How nice of the PD to give Armond Budish’s spokesperson an opportunity to “edit” his 4 day old words from “eh whatever, we’ll see when I’m elected, all good”, to “There should be no misunderstanding; Armond Budish will either no longer work with Elder Productions, or Elder Productions will no longer contract with MetroHealth as a sponsor,” Willard said.

There was no misunderstanding. Which is why Ed FitsGerald STILL should void this contract before another $25,000 quarterly check goes to Armond Budish from the county taxpayer in April.

No Comments