Looking Back at Eric Brewer's Cleveland Challenge
Former controversial East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer launched the new digital paper, Cleveland Challenger -" the boldest newspaper anywhere in Ohio" website in 2013. He claimed the new digital paper would be a player in the local media business, offering stories not available in the Plain Dealer and other main stream media. His goal was to create a statewide publication.
The new owners of this domain have chosen to present an edited version of the Cleveland Challenger offering just a glimpse of the type of journalism that Eric Brewer promised his readership.
Content is from the site's 2013 archived pages, as well as from other outside sources.
While often a biting political commentary, this magazine was one of my favorite reads for its unique take on celebrity culture. No star could escape the scrutiny of the features if they crossed the line drawn by the adoring public. But there were also some very amusing pieces that resonate still. The story about the celebrity (Edwin Saks) who instructed his staff to enhance his public image - they were supposed to curate a selection of prestigious magazines for his office, but instead they went to an archive and ordered numerous magazines featuring Raquel Welch on the cover - they were like snapshots of Hollywood's golden era. The reason this worked, was that Saks also had a collection of vintage Hollywood memorabilia and it appeared to be an earnest mishap. The Challenger photographer managed to gain access to that office and photograph the collection in the master suite, showcasing these iconic Raquel Welch magazine covers with the caption, "political featherbedding results in unusual bedfellows." Jonathan Stalls
2013 Cleveland Challenger
" the boldest newspaper anywhere in Ohio"
DeWine isn’t denying Jackson’s claim that he wouldn’t prosecute 13 Cleveland cops for murder
Cleveland mayor blows whistle on private conversation and talks about how "fair" the white man is that he's appointed to manage city cops
CLEVELAND, OH – Did Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine stack the deck in favor of the 13 Cleveland cops who murdered Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams to slant the outcome of possible criminal investigation in their favor? That’s the allegation from Mayor Frank Jackson, and one that DeWine’s office is not denying.
“The AG has made it clear that he is not going to provide comments on private conversations he’s had with the mayor or other public officials,” spokesman Dan Tierney told Cleveland Challenger. ”Mayor Jackson said that was part of a conversation when the AG called him prior to to the report being released.”
Cleveland’s normally less-than-talkative mayor wasn’t so tight-lipped when he blew the whistle on what DeWine thought was an off-the-record “private” conversation. Tierney acknowledged that DeWine called the mayor to brief him before releasing his 294 document investigation of Russell and Williams’ slaughter on February 5. After five months Jackson said he could no longer remain silent about the conversation.
“I’ve decided to step forward,” he told a selective group of reporters he handpicked for a city hall discussion. ”Not only did he tell me that the officers did nothing wrong, he said that if he were the county prosecutor he would do nothing to them. The systemic failure meant that you could hold no one accountable either criminally or administratively.”
Jackson portrayed DeWine’s release of the 294 documents as a carefully orchestrated scheme to protect the 13 shooters, while staying away from making any direct accusations of their guilt or innocence. He described the attorney general’s decision to make the records public out-of-step with Ohio’s open records laws and past practices.
Jackson reminded reporters that their employer newspaper and television stations have previously sought and been denied law enforcement investigatory records, which are normally exempt from public disclosure until the completion of an investigation according to ORC 149.43. He said the normal process would have been for the city to conduct its “administrative” investigation while the investigating authority determined whether a crime had been committed.
No one is upset that ex-Cleveland cop Gregory Jones was indicted for raping a woman last August. What disturbs activists is that police chief Mike McGrath is pursuing aggressive charges against black cops while white cops accused of murder, felonious assault, identity theft and other crimes are getting their wrists slapped or face no punishment at all. Mayor Frank Jackson describes his handpicked police chief as “fair.”
Jackson said DeWine’s early release of the criminal side of the records tainted both his administrative review and Prosecuting Attorney Timothy McGinty’s decision to indict or not. Jackson didn’t name McGinty as a co-conspirator in DeWine’s alleged scheme, but evidence and his own statements show Cuyahoga County’s prosecuting attorney agreeing with the attorney general’s decision to release the records. The mayor accused DeWine of intentionally sharing the law enforcement records to alter the outcome in favor of no action being taken against the 13 cops.
“He tainted the ultimate conclusion,” Jackson said. ”The attorney general, in doing what he did, really damaged the credibility of the process: and in doing that changed the outcome, regardless of what the conclusion is.”
While not specifically denying Jackson’s allegation that DeWine would not prosecute the 13 cops if he were in McGinty’s shoes, Tierney said the attorney general was “dumbfounded” by it.
Tierney said DeWine conducted the criminal investigation of Cleveland’s 13 shooter cops at the request of East Cleveland officials and ex-Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid. Cleveland had no role to play in the request and its only responsibility was to deliver the 13 shooter cops, the more than 87 other invading cops and their supervisors to be interviewed. It was cops under Jackson’s control who were being criminally investigated.
The reasons behind the request were that conflicts of interest existed with East Cleveland and Cleveland cops being in the same Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union, in addition to the smaller city’s lack of resources, limited manpower and lack of training to conduct such a large investigation. No East Cleveland detective has received special training from the FBI academy.
Tierney said DeWine’s role was that of a “surrogate,” which made the attorney general’s investigation come from the perspective as if East Cleveland cops had conducted it since the crime occurred where Cleveland cops had no legal jurisdiction. Nothing, he said, prevented East Cleveland officials from releasing the investigation done on their behalf despite Jackson’s objections.
DeWine’s “systemic failure” statement brought the strongest criticism from Jackson since any glitches in the system are a direct negative reflection of how he and his appointees have managed the police department. The reckless 100 car invasion of East Cleveland and the 137 bullets fired at Russell and Williams established a new international precedent for cop misconduct. It made Cleveland look horrible but American law enforcement appear to be barbaric to the rest of the world.
Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy McGinty still hasn’t brought charges against the 13 cops who fired 137 bullets at unarmed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is raising suspicion that McGinty may have been in on an alleged scheme by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to make the results of his investigation public to taint the outcome of a possible trial. Jackson said DeWine’s decision to release the public records made it impossible for the 13 shooter cops to receive a fair trial in Cuyahoga County.
The 47 bullets fired into the bodies of the two unarmed American citizens became a very distinct anti-U.S. propaganda tool, and one President Barack Obama could not defend to his international counterparts. Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a third civil investigation of the police department since 1999. That investigation is ongoing.
Jackson and all of Cleveland city council are seeking re-election this year and have been taking a beating from residents about Russell and Williams murders, and the fact that cops have killed 48 men and boys since 2003. All the killings have been justified and only one cop, Gregory Jones, has been prosecuted for a crime of violence during Jackson’s tenure as council president or mayor. Jones was accused of an off-duty rape that involved a woman visiting Cleveland from Chicago last August 2012.
Activists who’ve not let up their protests about the killings have been present and vocal at public gatherings throughout the city, raising voter awareness that Russell and Williams’ murders occurred on November 29 and no presumed criminal charges have been filed against the 13 shooter cops. Jackson’s “administrative” investigation resulted in 11 police supervisors being disciplined with demotions, suspensions and one termination while the killers are still on the job.
Jackson told reporters he would delay taking any disciplinary actions against the cops until after “the process” was completed. He’s decided to wait on the prosecuting attorney who was endorsed by both the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association and FOP last year.
The political pressure on Jackson and council has been so great that Ward 8 councilor Jeff Johnson aggressively snatched and broke the microphone activist Don Bryant was holding during a recent safety meeting in Glenville. The hot-headed councilman made good on a threat to a room full of mainly older women to prohibit anyone from talking about “the 137 bullets.”
Johnson previously told Cleveland Challenger he and public safety committee chair and co-chair councilors Kevin Conwell and Mike Polensek decided to change the rules for letting people speak to prevent “white guys” he called “white revolutionaries” from questioning police chief Mike McGrath. Bryant said he was about to present a petition that echoed Johnson’s previous public statements that McGinty should remove himself from deciding whether or not to indict the 13 killer cops.
Jackson, too, was protective of McGrath during his press conference as he seems to have been targeted by DeWine for the “systemic failure” of the police department the mayor appointed him and safety director Martin Flask to lead.
He raised the issue of McGrath’s skin color and talked about him being a fair white man. He said McGrath obviously didn’t support DeWine’s “systemic failure” conclusions and blamed cops and the “code of blue” for their failure to follow departmental policies the day they invaded East Cleveland.
“The white police chief is the only person who has given any fairness to justice and fairness in this process. He is calling them [cops] out and saying they should have been held accountable in this process because there are policies and processes in place that prevented them from doing what they wanted to do,” Jackson said. ”If it were not for this white police chief, there would be no semblance of justice in this whole thing. Justifiable or unjustifiable.”
Kanye West releases Ponderosa Twins’ “Bound” from Clevelander Chuck Brown’s record label
Former 4th O'Jay Bobby Massey and Bobby Dukes wrote song in Cleveland for Ponderosa Twins Plus One in 1971 at Prospect Ave. studio
Added by Eric Jonathan Brewer on June 26, 2013.
Charles C. Brown, Sr. built four record labels and the most successful African American bail bond agency in America under the business name of Chuck Brown, Sr. It’s music he owns under Chuck Brown Music that hip hop superstar Kanye West recorded on his new Yeezus CD. From 1967 to 1977 Brown’s Saru Records was the closest label Cleveland had to Motown.
CLEVELAND, OH – The only important name missing from Kanye West’s “Bound 2″ song from his new Yeezus CD is that of the retired “world’s greatest bail bondsman” Chuck Brown, Sr., the man who owns the song’s publishing rights.
Brown said he’s not worried. He’s a fan of the hip hop impresario who’s just given birth to a daughter with reality star Kim Kardashian, and he also likes his ethics. Brown says West has a social conscious and is respectful of earlier African American recording pioneers.
Brown said he isn’t also looking for a fight because U.S. copyright laws are relatively straightforward. He hopes West sells a billion copies of his new hit CD while ownership and rights are being verified.
“I’m actually honored. We recorded that song in 1971 and thought it was hit. We just didn’t know it would take 43 years for the world to figure it out,” Brown, 72, told the Cleveland Challenger during an exclusive interview.
Ponderosa Twins Plus One featured the Pelham and Garner twins, along with Ricky Spicer. Brown’s Saru Records was the parent company for Horoscope Records and Chuck Brown Music that owns everything from the name Ponderosa Twins Plus One to the songs they performed. On the album, “Bound” is listed on Brown’s Horoscope label. Brown said he later learned that the Robinson’s created the Astroscope label and then released “Bound” as a single under Gambi.
Bound was written by Canton and Cleveland natives Bobby Massey and Robert Dukes for the Ponderosa Twins Plus One. The two twin sets were Keith and Curt Gardner, and Anthony and Alvin Pelham. The “Plus One” was singer Ricky Spicer. They were Cleveland’s answer to the Jackson 5. The record was recorded at the old Agency Recording Studio on East 23rd and Payne. Brown said it cost him $50 an hour back then for studio time.
Brown had become wealthy as a bail bondsman in the late 1960′s when he developed an interest in the music business. He had been booking a band with Tony Wilson and a group they toured the city with called the Outtasights. He soon realized that recording and publishing music was the way to make real money in the record business.
Brown was already friends with the four men from Canton, Ohio who called themselves the O’Jays: Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell and Bobby Massey. Their friendship turned into an opportunity when the recording act’s funds ran low while in between labels. Brown remembers they were pursuing a deal with Kenny Gamble of Philadelphia and also talking to Epic Records. The Gamble & Huff / O’Jays collaboration would eventually result in some of the most popular and enduring R&B songs in American history.
Brown said that for about six months Levert, Williams and Powell worked with Massey and a team of musicians to create a “Cleveland” music sound. He paid them salaries of $100 a week. Back then $100 was a lot of money when gasoline was only 12 cents a gallon and minimum wages less than a dollar.
The O’Jays recorded and sang “Shattered Man” and “LaDeeda.” After about six months they moved on to Gamble & Huff, but Massey stayed. Massey liked performing but he loved creating music.
“We were writing a lot of songs back then,” Massey remembers.
Brown, Massey and company brought on young musicians like Dunn Pearson, Jr. and Kenneth Reddon to play piano and guitar behind the Ponderosa Twins Plus One, and to tour with them on the road. They recorded songs for groups called the Elements, David Pe0ples and a female trio called Boraz.
For Cleveland the acts were a big deal as Brown’s record label brought live performances to the area’s high schools and clubs. The group’s were polished. They had the wardrobes and a choreographer, along with a voice coach. Chuck Brown Music, for a fledgling company, was first class.
The O’Jays were on Chuck Brown’s labels for about six months right before their recording contract with Kenny Gamble of Gamble & Huff fame. Shown from left to right are the late William Powell, Bobby Massey, Eddie Levert, Chuck Brown and Walter Williams.
But after 10 years, around 1977, Brown and Massey’s pursuit of a hit record didn’t pan out. Brown had continued selling bail bonds to have money to invest in the label, so he refocused his attention on what had brought him his wealth and walked away from Saru Records, Chuck Brown Music and Horoscope Records. Massey by then had significantly refined his production skills and launched his own label, Devaki Records, named after his daughter.
For Brown the record business eventually became nothing more than a conversation about his past accomplishments as he went on to build Chuck Brown Bail Bonds into the largest African American owned bail bond agency in America. Prior to his retirement, Brown had 196 agents in 12 states and was generating over $40 million annually in bail bond premium.
Brown, Massey, Levert and Williams are still friends. Eddie and Walt have called to congratulate Brown and Massey for the hit it took them 43 years to get.
Publishing credits on the Yeezus CD lists “Bound 2″ as being licensed by Rhino Entertainment Company, which is owned by Warner Music Company, along with RMC Music, Inc., Robinson Music Group, LLC and published by Gambi Music, Inc.
Robinson Music Group and Gambi Music are owned by the estate of the late Joseph Robinson, Jr. and Sylvia Robinson, who Brown said once distributed his records. He doesn’t have fond memories of their business relationship.
“They were selling my records from the front door and the back door,” Brown told Cleveland Challenger.
This isn’t the first time Rhino and the Robinson’s have been accused of licensing music they don’t own. Songwriter, producer Mark Roberts filed a March 7, 2006 claim in New York’s U.S. District Court for copyright infringement and giving authorship of his song to a deceased songwriter.
The case involves the recording and release of a musical composition, “Baby Let’s Rap Now, Dance a Little Later,” (the “Released Work”), as well as the rights to two other, unreleased compositions, “Love Trap,” and “The Woman That Got Away,” (the “Unreleased Works”). The Released Work was released in 1980, and re-released as part of various compilation works in 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2001.
Plaintiff Mark Roberts contends that the Released Work is a recording of his original composition, “Baby Let’s Talk Now, Dance Later” (the “Roberts Work”), and that his copyright in the Unreleased Works has been infringed by the moving defendants’ improper attribution of authorship of the works in question to a deceased individual named Norman Thomas Keith (“Keith”)
Brown said for years “the white boys” in the record business from England, Texas, Chicago and other places either called or visited to see if they could cut a deal with him about his ownership rights, but he held on.
To the left the copy of Bound doesn’t include Gambi Music owned by Joseph and Sylvia Robinson. Each 45 rpm record clearly shows Chuck Brown Music and Saru Records, but what the Robinson’s did without Brown’s knowledge was create a new label called “Astroscope” that was similar to his “Horoscope Records” and then repackaged “Bound” in 1971 as if it where their own. Brown said he learned from Red Forbes, who worked in promotions for the Robinson’s, that they were repackaging his songs under their own labels and selling them behind his back.
“I own 100 percent of the Ponderosa Twins Plus One’s publishing rights and all of the other songs recorded under my labels,” Brown told Cleveland Challenger. ”I had a distribution deal with Joe and Sylvia, nothing more.”
Brown said the Robinson’s distributed his music under All Platinum Records. Their relationship ended in 1977 when Brown left the industry. At one time he said Joe owed him $80,000, which created an extremely tense relationship between the two men before the All Platinum owner felt pressured to pay up.
Both of the Robinson’s died, leaving copyright administrator rights to the songs they owned to their three sons: Joseph, Leland and Rhondo Robinson. By then, and unknown to Brown, they had begun taking credit for the songs recorded by the Ponderosa Twins Plus One under his label.
According to a news release announcing West’s licensing of Bound 2, the song’s owners are All Platinum Records.
Cleveland Challenger has learned that in 1995 Rhino Records purchased the released and unreleased masters that were owned by Sugar Hill Records, that the Robinson’s founded. Rhino was at the time a corporation under Castle/Sanctuary. The June 1994 “Newswire” release shows the Rhino acquisition including the “Astroscope” label, which was owned by the Robinson’s but included Brown’s music.
Rhino will control the Sugar Hill catalog throughout North America, South America, Japan and the Caribbean islands, and Castle Communications will control the rest of the world.
The acquisition encompasses recordings made for Sugar Hill and other seminal rap labels such as All Platinum, Sweet Mountain, Stang, Vibration, Jersey Connection, Willow, Turbo, Victory, Platinum and Astroscope.
In May 2013 the Robinson sons were found guilty of failing to file income tax returns on incomes they’d generated from managing the catalogue of songs left to them by their parents, which included those songs Brown says could only have been fraudulently conveyed to them from his record labels.
From 2005 through 2008, Joseph, Leland and Rhondo Robinson had income of $577,000, $580,000 and $792,000, respectively. The three brothers pleaded guilty in March 2012 to two misdemeanor counts of failing to file returns. Fines of $8,000 were levied against Leland and $16,000 against Joseph. Rhondo will be sentenced at a later date.
Brown’s not sure how the Robinson’s gained access to his music catalogue, but he intends to find out.
“I guess if I’d have been dead then I would not have lived to see this,” he said. ”But I’ve got children just like Joe and Sylvia had children. The music I published under my label belongs to me and my family, not to the Robinson’s. It’s my duty to make sure I get what’s mine.”
June 18, 2013
Conwell, Johnson say they didn’t read DeWine’s investigation of Cleveland’s 13 killer cops
CLEVELAND, OH – Two Cleveland city council members who were quick to criticize Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s 294 document investigation of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams’ murders have admitted they didn’t read it. “I didn’t read that entire thing,” Public Safety Committee chair Kevin Conwell told Cleveland Challenger. Ward 8 Councilor Jeffrey Johnson said […]
June 10, 2013
Ohio’s city councils have congressional-like investigative powers they don’t use
CLEVELAND, OH - Conduct a Google keyword search for “council investigates” on the websites of Ohio’s top media outlets and nothing shows up to reflect that councils in the state’s cities, villages and townships are investigating anything mayors and the public employees they supervise are doing with public funds. If accountability is lacking in any Ohio city, […]
May 23, 2013
Blacks angry at Jackson, council for flooding east side neighborhoods with red light cameras
CLEVELAND, OH – There is nothing equal about where Mayor Frank Jackson, Council President Martin Sweeney and 15 other members of city council have decided to place red light cameras in Cleveland neighborhoods or whose pockets are being gouged the most. Right now 51 Cleveland intersections have red light cameras. 35 are on the city’s […]
May 21, 2013
Cleveland news coverage of transwoman’s murder angers family who lost a loved one
CLEVELAND, OH – Cemia “CeCe” Dove had a “government” name she didn’t use but for official business. Carl Edward Acoff, Jr. Since stories about men who decide to live as women are “sensational” according to Cleveland news standards, the Betty Boop t-shirt and three bras that Dove’s body was clothed in when it was found […]
May 7, 2013
OPINION: Cleveland Clinic’s Cosgrove’s secret deal with Norton won’t be investigated!
EAST CLEVELAND, OH – Only little people get indicted, prosecuted and convicted in Cuyahoga County while those with the power to donate to political campaigns and hand out high paying jobs and contracts to politicians and bureaucrats once they leave elected or appointed offices go untouched or get “deferred prosecution agreements.” Nothing about the June […]
May 4, 2013
Cleveland fusion center anti-terror employees spying on citizens with no city council oversight
CLEVELAND, OH - Cleveland police and other local law enforcement officers connected to the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center are compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) on citizens and visitors throughout the city, county and region. According to a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Investigations report, Cleveland cops and those in police departments across America are violating citizens’ privacy rights under […]
May 1, 2013
Conwell’s safety committee has never used investigative power to investigate cop misconduct
CLEVELAND, OH – Ward 9 Councilman Kevin Conwell’s first reaction after he heard Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine condemn the system of police governance that led over 100 Cleveland cops into East Cleveland on November 29, 2012 was to embrace the system the state’s second highest law enforcement officer had criticized. Timothy Russell and Malissa […]
Phillip Morris’ “Plain Dealing” intellectual deficiencies stand out in East Cleveland story
Cleveland Challenger's publisher challenges the Plain Dealer's 23 year veteran reporter to a public debate on East Cleveland and other topics
Added by Eric Jonathan Breweron July 30, 2013.
Plain Dealer reporter Phillip Morris writes about topics of which he has no real knowledge simply because he’s got a job that requires him to come up with a “story” a couple of times a week for the last 23 years. So here’s a challenge, Phillip. A no holds barred debate between you and this writer on “leadership,” “journalistic ethics,” “governance,” “The Plain Dealer,” “East Cleveland,” “Cleveland” and “Cuyahoga County.” We match resumes and intellects. To make it fair, Phillip can bring editors Deborah Simmons, Elizabeth Sullivan and Karl Turner to help him. Either Morris will shine as a knowledgeable scribe whose wisdom should be enshrined in the “Intellectuals Hall of Fame,” or he’ll be exposed as a storyteller whose writings would be better suited for Star Trek. Yes, Phillip, you’re being called out. You’ve been offering commentary about this writer, someone you don’t know, for years. It’s time to “man up” and show your true worth as a journalist in this town.
If Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris wanted to help East Cleveland he would have first apologized for the newspaper’s editorial inaccuracies about the city that he and his colleagues have shared with information dependent readers. He would have admitted that Mayor Gary Norton’s didn’t pay off the $5.7 million deficit to prevent the city from being returned to fiscal emergency as his colleague James Ewinger wrote in January 2012.
Morris would have confessed how colleague Tom Feran’s claim that Norton found $3.2 million in an overlooked Keybank as a debt saving miracle was another lie. He would have also called his boss, publisher Terry Egger, a manipulating schemer for hiding the fact that he was on the Cleveland Clinic board while Delos Cosgrove negotiated in secret with Norton to close Huron Hospital; and did so in violation of open government laws that the newspaper believes are important.
Egger’s editorial manipulation and Cosgrove’s secret dealings should both be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a racketeering conspiracy to circumvent local ordinances and Ohio law to close the hospital.
If Morris wasn’t editorially neutered and enjoyed editorial independence, integrity and balls, he’d apologize for being a self-serving Step’n Fetchit who practices a form of lazy journalism which offers opinions with no research that deceives readers into believing bad is good. It’s disgusting that a columnist should be told what topics to write about in a column that bears his name. So much for corporate media.
Morris demonstrated his intellectual impotence when he penned a column about the type of “new leadership” he thinks East Cleveland needs. It was one of those pieces reporters write when they want to appear high-minded, insightful and intellectual, but really don’t have anything relevant to share. All Morris’ “new leadership” piece did was expose his own limp-minded intellect and those of the editorial colleagues who authorized it to be published.
One sentence stands out among others that discredited the Plain Dealer reporter and editorial board member’s views on the “new leadership” topic.
“Since it’s stunning collapse in the 1960’s, East Cleveland has rarely had an opportunity to lead on issues of social importance,” Morris wrote in the newspaper’s July 28 edition.
Morris wouldn’t know anything about East Cleveland in the 1960′s, 1970′s or 1980′s because he’s from Columbus and was born in 1965. The 48 year old reporter didn’t graduate from Ohio Weslyan University until 1988. He began writing for the Plain Dealer in 1990. That’s 30 years after the period he wrongly claimed East Cleveland began its demise. Morris’ Linked In page describes him as being paid to tell stories. Since his columns are unsupported by facts he ought to label them “fiction.”
The idea of East Cleveland’s “stunning collapse in the 1960′s” is a fantasy. It’s as inaccurate as this writer’s first encounter with Morris after the reporter wrote an opinion that a law should be introduced to regulate the bail bond business in Ohio. This writer, who was a consultant for Chuck Brown, Sr, who owned Ohio’s largest bail bond agency, called to tell Morris that the law he was proposing had been passed a week earlier. Brown had invested $35,000 for the lobbyist to write the legislation and get it passed. Morris is a “watch the clock” employee who prides himself on writing a column in 20 minutes. That type of editorial laziness is has kept Morris on the job for 23 years.
Morris can’t write anything of substance about East Cleveland and leadership because he won’t take the time, like so many journalists, to understand the “leader” jobs or institutions he’s describing. He’s never been a mayor, a mayor’s chief of staff, a mayor’s special assistant or been an employee of any local, state or federal bureaucracy. He’s been a faithful Plain Dealer storyteller for the last 23 years and is fortunate to have survived latest round of editorial staffing cuts; not that Cleveland would miss his insightful columns. Morris is no boat rocker.
Of course the world’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, is East Cleveland’s greatest former resident. But Morris wouldn’t know that in the 1960′s the Forest Hills Shopping Center housed a Belkins clothing store before Jules Belkin started producing concerts. He doesn’t know that Alan Spitzer’s family was selling new cars at Superior and Emily across from the Superior Transit Station. When Morris arrived in Cleveland in 1990, Wick Lincoln Mercury had left its lot at Euclid and Strathmore and moved to Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights.
Morris doesn’t remember when East Cleveland had all the comforts of a busy, prospering suburban community that was “a happening place” even when African Americans became the ethnic majority in the 1970′s. He didn’t see “Ben” at the Continental Theater on Euclid Avenue near Hartshorn Street. He has no clue how East Cleveland ended up with cable television or that Cleveland Brown’s legend Jim Brown once lived at Lake Park Towers. He didn’t know the city when it was “full.” Morris doesn’t know Joe Dixon was the city’s first black cop right after the reporter was born.
Norton was the Plain Dealer’s endorsed mayoral candidate in 2009. The endorsement came with the responsibility of the newspaper’s newsroom staff to hold the mayor accountable, not to help him spread his easily discredited lies and to act as an editorial accessory to crimes he was committing in the city.
East Cleveland’s finances went into deficit spending beginning with Norton’s first year in office. It’s against East Cleveland and Ohio’s “dereliction of duty” laws for the mayor to recklessly exceed the amount of money appropriated by council. So to create four consecutive deficits Norton had to violate the dereliction of duty state law and local ordinance for 26 payrolls per year, and enter contracts the city couldn’t afford. He had to give the police chief’s secretary a $10,000 pay raise after she stole and cashed a second payroll check instead of firing her.
Morris didn’t write one word about the financial crimes Norton was committing that would decimate the city’s services and leave three women vulnerable to a serial killer once the $5.7 million deficit he created drove the city back to fiscal emergency. 14 murders since January 1, 2012 have occurred in East Cleveland and the idiot in the mayor’s office is running around town spreading fear and panic just to get his name and face in the media. If Norton wants help finding dead bodies one solution is to get the city’s money soaking firefighters off their lazy asses to search abandoned homes and cut some of the five feet tall grass around them.
What East Cleveland needs, Morris, is a mayor who’ll “enforce the duly passed ordinances and resolutions of council,” and faithfully discharge the duties of the office. It’s what Norton swore to do when he was administered an oath of office. It’s why council has correctly filed a writ of mandamus against him and the director of law, Ronald Riley, for failing to perform the legal duties of the public offices they hold. Riley is so unethical he should be permanently disbarred from practicing law in Ohio.
East Cleveland needs a council that continues to empower itself with administrative insights by conducting fact finding investigations of city departments and problems so they can make creative legislative changes in the city’s governance. It needs a school board and administration that doesn’t balance the budget by gutting extra-curricular programs which benefit children; or one that’s entrenched in a system which places wages, benefits, pensions and “highest three years” above all else.
It needs a state auditor who will conduct audits every year as required by Ohio’s revised code. Betty Montgomery and Mary Taylor didn’t audit East Cleveland’s financial records for more than 8 years. No mayor or council should be in the position of not knowing if their fiscal oversight of a city’s finances is correct or not because the Auditor of State failed to do their job.
It needs a financial planning and supervision commission that doesn’t include a member whose job is supported by a vote from the mayor who serves on RTA’s board of commissioners. It needs a county prosecutor who will investigate the $30,000 donation the red light camera vendor made to a suspicious campaign committee that was set up to help Norton get a pay raise last year, that he lost. It also needs a prosecutor who’ll prosecute Norton for continuing to receive the extra money even though voters said no.
Just as important, East Cleveland, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and Ohio needs newspapers and news channels with reporters who offer views that come from their learning how elected and appointed officials are performing duties consistent with their oaths of office, and the guts to tell the truth even when the candidate they supported is a criminally-inclined screw-up.
What a novel idea, Morris. Reporters who have the integrity, competency and guts to learn and share the truth.
Social importance? It’s obvious Morris never heard of Moore v. City of East Cleveland. It’s a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court case that tells cities across the entire United States of America that they can’t pass ordinances which defines the type of “relatives” who are allowed to share a home.
With problems created in part by residents who’ve been misled by a newspaper that endorsed one mayoral candidate while he was under an FBI investigation, and another incompetent who’d been convicted of murder, one of East Cleveland’s socially important contributions is to teach readers who are seeking insight not to trust the Plain Dealer.
So what East Cleveland really needs, Morris, is for you to mind your own business.
Journalists expose New York politicians like Anthony Weiner while hiding own sexy secrets
Media consumers plagued with distorted news about elected and public officials who bed down the reporters who give them favorable coverage
Added by Eric Jonathan Brewer on July 29, 2013.
New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, have worked out the issues of his decision to send sexually provocative self-portraits to women. Weiner’s not campaigning for Pope, nor is he a pastor or a rabbi. His morals are no different than the reporters covering him or the New Yorker’s he’s asking for their votes. Sending provocative pictures to female admirers doesn’t disqualify him as a candidate for New York mayor or as a member of congress. This writer is one who thought he should have let New York voters decide his fate instead of his caving in to the media and political pressure from President Barack Obama.
If the “sex scandal” tables were turned on the media lynch mob that’s formed around New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, the dirty details of reporters’ private lives would reveal a tsunami of ethical lapses guaranteed to rattle every media consumer’s confidence in the so-called “objective” press.
Weiner’s current media coined “sexting” admission occurred after he left congress and at time when he believed his political career was over. It was an “Oh what the hell?” moment. What’s pathetic are the journalists who’ve somehow twisted a human being’s natural interest in sex into an addiction.
Weiner might be a little freaky, but so what. No one’s accused him of cheating on his wife, Huma Abedin. He’s only sent pictures to fawning admirers. Based on Weiner’s pride in his “package,” Abedin’s dismissive attitude appears to reflect the thought that the women who’ve seen it can only dream about it. It’s her eyes Weiner’s looking into when he wants to use it.
The list of downright dirty sexual affairs that involve journalists and the politicians and bureaucrats is endless. Interestingly, the majority seem to involve female reporters who get intimate with the politicians and bureaucrats whose beats they cover.
And this story didn’t make national news … why? Detroit News city hall reporter Leonard Fleming’s friends say he treated Carol Dillon, the wife of Michigan’s state treasurer, Andy Dillon, like a side “piece” and pissed her off. New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s story is tame compared to this tale of Motor City debauchery.
Unlike politicians whose ethical lapses can lead to disgrace or even prison, the same doesn’t apply to journalists. They get suspended or reassigned by sympathetic editors and newsroom general managers for having the morals of “hookers.” Sometimes, not all the time, they’re asked to resign.
The reality is that no matter how a reporter obtained a story, it’s their sources that help media owners sell news and earn advertising dollars. Television, particularly, seems to breed pimp / prostitute like relationships between news editors and their pretty stable of on-air female reporting talent.
Newsroom sexual misconduct never seems to generate the same national front page and top of the news coverage that’s lavished on sex-loving politicians and bureaucrats. It’s a nauseatingly unfair ethical imbalance.
There’s no doubt that intimate relationships between government officials and journalists impacts the quality of news they’re delivering to media consumers who are unaware of their sexual behind-the-scenes relationships. This lack of editorial objectivity is deceiving to voters who rely on reporters to supply them with information about elected and appointed officials whose career opportunities are often determined by good public relations.
Former Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reporter Jessica McBride, as an example, is a journalist who teaches the subject at the University of Wisconsin (UW). It’s who she is married to and sexing it up with on the side that was a problem for anyone who read her work in Milwaukee magazine or is influenced by her editorial control over Frontpage Wilwaukee, a student run UW online newspaper.
McBride’s husband is Milwaukee’s former elected district attorney, Paul Bucher, and her boyfriend is the mayor’s appointed police chief, Edward Flynn. No matter how “objective” she claims to be, her relationships with the ex-elected and appointed officials posed an editorial problem for criminal defendants who were arrested under the supervision of her boyfriend and prosecuted by her husband. Milwaukee voters were never going to get the “little guy’s” perspective about the district attorney or the police chief from McBride’s editorial coverage and omissions. The conflicting and undisclosed relationships between journalists, politicians and bureaucrats serve only to protect incompetent and often corrupt elected and appointed officials from being ousted by the voters or prosecuted by
As a journalist and an Irish American, McBride didn’t see and was in the position to editorially discredit the point of view of African American Milwaukee residents who have a longstanding gripe with the city’s Irish Catholic police chief, prosecutor and judges. Here’s what McBride had to say about the man who would become the object of her love and lust two years before the Flynn’s control of the police department earned it a number 2 ranking for misconduct by USA Today.
“Flynn is also a compelling physical presence: tall, iron-haired, fit (he once rode a bicycle 233 miles) and energetic. He has what one observer calls ‘command bearing’.”
In a personal letter to Flynn after the article, McBride shared the following thoughts with him.
“Just felt a little protective. Knew I didn’t want to do you wrong.”
Milwaukee journalist Jessica McBride was married to district attorney Paul Bucher on the left while enjoying a sidebar relationship with the city’s married police chief, Edward Flynn. Weiner’s sexting story doesn’t compare to this journalistic ethical nightmare.
Five African American men filed a civil claim against the city on July 11, 2013 because Flynn has failed to identify, punish and push for the prosecution cops who conduct illegal strip searches and engage in other civil rights abuses. The five men said Flynn’s cops performed illegal rectal searches on them to find drugs they didn’t possess. The Milwaukee Sentinal Journal is criticizing Flynn now, but he’s been in power unscrutinized for six years thanks to reporters like McBride who’ve only been concerned with “protecting” her love interest.
McBride’s husband had full authority to investigate and prosecute Flynn and the city’s cops for the misconduct or civil rights violations. But Flynn became immune from prosecution once he started banging the Republican district attorney’s wife.
Whether they were in love or not, Flynn’s decision to hop in the bed with McBride was smart. It also shows the problem with having a so-called “credible” journalist in the middle of a menage a trois that involves officials her profession dictates that she expose. Reporters in the nation’s newsrooms have a hard time criticizing the elected or public official’s spouse of a colleague. Flynn, like other authority exceeding officials, got an editorial “pass.”
Just ask reporters who worked with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s wife, Plain Dealer reporter Connie Schultz. Schultz was finally forced to resign this year after she crashed a Tea Party event to gather intelligence for her husband about his U.S. Senate opponent, Josh Mandel. But a search of the newspaper’s website shows little in the way of criticism, except his “left leaning” political policies.
Voters are media consumers who rely on newspaper editorial endorsements and media coverage to help them evaluate candidates for elected office. Mayors, police chiefs and other public employee officials rely on reporters to side with their interpretation of events that occur inside the political bureaucracy they serve.
Favorable media coverage is coveted by career-driven politicians and bureaucrats. Having a friendly mainstream journalist “in your pocket” is an asset. A discreet sexual relationship with the reporter who controls the flow of information a politician delivers to the general public is like hitting the jackpot. McBride’s relationship with Flynn is more the norm than an exception among journalists.
One of the journalistic sex scandals the nation’s journalists failed to make a front page or a major television news story is the sordid affair that involved Detroit News city hall reporter Leonard Fleming and Michigan state treasurer Andy Dillon. Fleming was banging Dillon’s wife while he covered the state’s recent takeover of the financially bankrupt city hall.
Weiner is accused of sending “racy” pictures to women after he left congress. Fleming sent Carol Dillon a picture of his penis and was named in a protection order she got against him after they broke up. He allegedly threatened to beat her to death with a baseball bat.
Ex-President George Bush’s security advisor, Brett McGurk, and Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon made high profile whoopee as she covered the Iraq war. The married McGurk slipped her lots of inside information. now they’re married and the relationship is in the open. Still, this story should have been a tabloid favorite.
What did Detroit News editor Donald Nauss do to his ace political reporter? He labeled Flemings indiscretion a “personal issue” and reassigned him to cover a beat away from city hall. This is the same newspaper whose reporters editorialized that ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and police chief Ralph Godbee should have resigned or been removed from office when their sexual affairs were revealed. It’s a double standard that proves journalists are hypocrites when it comes to holding themselves accountable to the same litmus test they hold and editorially exploit elected and public officials for violating.
In 2007 Boston Globe reporter Tania deLuzuriaga was caught up in an email scandal that revealed she may have been having an affair with Alberto Carvalho, the married assistant superintendent of the Miami Dade school district. The relationship allegedly occured while she covered education for the Miami Herald.
DeLuzuriaga eventually resigned from the Boston Globe job after the controversy became too much. In one of her emails to Carvalho, DeLuzuriaga told him she hadn’t “shaved” in awhile.
Just last year Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon resigned after it was disclosed that she’d had an affair with former President George W. Bush’s security advisor, Brett McGurk. Emails were leaked which revealed that the two were sexing it up while she covered the Iraq war and used him as a source. Chon was forced to resign after she was exposed for sharing an unprinted Story with McGurk, which violated the newspaper’s editorial rules. The larger question is what she may have failed to expose about the Bush administration’s war on Iraq while she screwed around with McGurk.
The Spanish language televisions station Telemundo found its credibility under scrutiny when an affair between anchor Mirthala Salinas and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was exposed. Salinas was in a relationship with Villaraigosa while she covered his administration. Their affair broke up his marriage.
Salinas and Villaraigosa ended their relationship. Now the bed hopping mayor is involved in a romantic relationship with another television reporter. How much news is being hidden from voters who supported Villaraigosa because fawning reporters are hiding their dirty laundry with and about him?
Weiner “fessed up” about the self-portraits he sent to female admirers. He wasn’t “caught in a scandal.” None of the women with whom he exchanged pictures, to the best of his knowledge, was underaged. The online relationship between them was mutual.
Even if sex scandal thirsty reporters find one or more women who were underaged, absent Wiener’s attempt to personally connect with them, there’s the expectation that people who engage in adult online activities have clicked a link that confirms their ages. That’s information he would not have known.
What’s more compelling to this journalist is the focus on Weiner’s sexual activities while almost no effort has been made by New York reporters to examine the secret sex lives of his opponents. A person with an eye for conspiracies might wonder if Weiner has been targeted by a media owner, editor or reporter who’s hiding their own intimate sex life with one of his opponents, their campaign operatives or investors.
From everything both Weiner, Abedin and his admirers have shared with the public, the only place his package has been is at home with his wife. So why is his personal online conduct such an overblown big deal?
Meteor blasts Russia as world’s scientists wait for 150 foot asteroid’s return orbit
Human and animal disaster is closer than everyone in the world thinks with all the big-assed space rocks flying around the earth's orbit
Added by Publisher on February 22, 2013
RUSSIA - Flying glass from skyrise and ground level buildings injured over 500 people after a 10 ton meteor struck an area 950 miles east of Moscow on February 15th with the force of an atomic bomb.
NASA scientists say there are about 500,000 asteroids over 100 feet in width that are near the earth. That number, scientists say, is less than half a percent of the asteroids they don’t know about.
Russian space agency Roscosmos issued a statement that the meteor flew through the dark morning sky at an estimated 19 miles per second and lit up the area as if it were daylight before striking the planet. Prime Minister Vladmir Putin said it was the first such incident to affect the nation he serves.
Scientists from NASA in the United States and Roscosmos don’t think there’s a connection between the smaller meteor and a 150 foot wide asteroid that’s about the size of an apartment building three miles above the Earth.
NASA scientists said the trajectory of the meteor that struck Russia was significantly different than the asteroid’s. The meteor traveled from north to south. The asteroid, DA14, is traveling from south to north.
Scientists employed by NASA’s “Spaceguard” program, more technically known as the NASA Near Earth Object Observation Program, have been tracking the asteroid and plotting its path to make sure it’s not hazardous to the planet …yet. That’s because DA14 will be doing two annual orbits around the earth.
DA14 was only discovered by scientists in Spain last February. They think it passes by Earth twice with every orbit. It’s Spaceguard’s job to keep tracking and plotting its path and the paths of other asteroids and meteors as an early warning system for the planet’s inhabitants. This is the closet ever recorded flyby for an space rock as large as DA14.
NASA says DA14 is estimated to be traveling at 17,450 miless an hour or 4.8 miles a second.
Seems like sending missiles into space to deflect an asteroid isn’t at the top of the list of options being studied by NASA. The Ion Thruster in the picture seems like a Star Trek solution, but it’s really at the top of the last because of its possibility of pushing the asteroid in another direction away from the planet. Other ideas include grappling hooks and human space missions.
Scientists believe there are about 500,000 asteroids the size of DA 14 that are near the earth, but believe less than one percent have been discovered. That means they don’t know how many are headed in the planet’s direction. They think large asteroids fly by the earth the size of DA 14 once every 40 years and strike every 1200 years. Science, obviously, hasn’t been around long enough to know if the theories are correct.
If an asteroid DA14′s size struck the planet NASA says it would release 2.5 megatons of energy in the atmosphere and cause “regional devastation.” That’s 150 times the power of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped in Japan on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on July 14, 1945.
One such asteroid struck Russia in 1908 and flattened 825 square miles of forest. In Ohio terms, that’s the equivalent of slightly less than any two of the state’s 88 counties laid side by side. Take your pick. No early warning system could pinpoint a destination that gives the the people living there time to flee.
NASA is studying ways to deflect a large asteroid from hitting the planet and missiles, amazingly, aren’t the first line of defense.
Robots, grappling devices, human missions and even something called Solar Electric Propulsion have been discussed. It’s a technology used with a space age sounding device called an “ion thruster” that would push the asteroid away from the planet.