Sometimes I wonder if the powers that be in Cleveland have become so corrupt they’ve forgotten the difference between right and wrong. Which brings me to my newest opponent in District 7, James Levin, who just filed for pre-check yesterday.
James Levin is the noted founder of Ingenuity Festival. Before that, James ran the Cleveland Public Theatre. Before that, James was a trial attorney. During that entire time, James has been raising money from Greater Cleveland Partnership types for decades for his various projects. James is a titan in Cleveland’s biggest and only growth industry – seedy grant whoring of the highest order – but some cool stuff happened because of James Levin, so that’s fine, whatever.
What isn’t so wonderful is that James Levin’s Ingenuity Festival gets a huge chunk of its money from the Cuyahoga County taxpayer. You may recall a cigarette tax passed in 2006 to fund the arts in Cuyahoga County. That created the Cuyahoga Arts & Culture grant program. According to the CAC’s 2009 annual report, Levin’s Ingenuity Festival gets an annual grant from the county’s smokers of $109,000.
So while James Levin is running for a seat on the new county legislature, from which he will be able to vote himself and his projects more taxpayer money, James Levin will be feeding from the county taxpayer.
WHILE HE RUNS FOR THE SEAT.
I guess over $100k a year in county taxpayer money isn’t enough for James Levin, no, he wants to draw a paycheck of $45k too, then sit on and vote in the body that funds his projects. It makes Chris Ronayne’s conflict of interest in District 3 look bush league.
The best part? I’m sure James thinks this is all perfectly legit. I’ve been waiting for the monied downtown interests to decide who would carry their water in this county council district, but I didn’t think they’d settle on someone who so perfectly personifies every single thing that’s wrong with this county.
Welcome to the race, James.