The Aftermath


I’ve been thinking a lot and talking with a lot of people about the passage of Issue 6 in Cuyahoga County and what its aftermath is likely to be. My colleague Damian Guevara and I shared some of our thoughts in this article in Scene.

Following a campaign based on blatant dishonesty, a huge money disparity and constant demonization of the opponents of Issue 6 by the supposedly “impartial” Plain Dealer, the outlook for a smooth, division-healing process of forming a new government that brings all constituencies into the process and assurances that this new government will be free of conflict and corruption looks even less hopeful a week later — thanks in large part to the Plain Dealer.

The Plain Dealer began its take-no-prisoners victory conquest march with a gloating editorial on the next day and has continued to triumphantly hawk its own alleged relevance while slamming, smearing and attempting to humiliate anyone who opposed Issue 6. It has been hammering the idea — either in its own words or through those of someone like its favored stooge, deposed Parma Heights mayor and man-without-a-party-or-constituency Marty Zanotti — that anyone who didn’t meekly rubber-stamp a charter written in secret by we-still-don’t know-who isn’t fit to have a part in any future county government. The paper seems to be encouraging the disempowerment of vast swaths of the community for no other reason than that they disagreed about how best to reform county government. It’s making sure that no wounds heal and that no comity is possible.

Perhaps the most risible post-election idea being taken seriously bu the PD is that Matt Dolan, a state legislator from Novelty, out in Geauga County, is considering moving to the fringes of Cuyahoga — probably buying a condo in Chagrin Falls where he can sleep one or two nights a week, I’m guessing — to run for county executive. This is an extremely wealthy man (son of Indians owner Larry Dolan) with deep roots in Geauga County — his law firm is based in Chardon and he has ties with at least seven Geauga-County-based organizations that I can count — and no known experience in dealing with the issues facing one of the poorest counties in the region. Forgive me if I think this sounds like some grand lord ruling the serfs from his manor house in the distance. The PD’s Brent Larkin (Excuse me, but didn’t he retire? Isn’t it past time? His abrasive attacks on anyone the slightest bit left of far right are starting to rival Kevin O’Brien’s output) called Dolan a “moderate” and a “first-rate public servant,” making my friends in Geauga County howl with laugher.

Frankly, the Plain Dealer should have been mocking such an idea as well. They might have pointed out that Dolan arrogantly expected to be anointed Speaker of the House following the November 2008 election. Unfortunately, Republicans lost control of the House. Unfortunately for Dolan personally, Medina’s Bill Batchelder got in the way of him even becoming minority leader. And now he wants to become absolute dictator over a county he doesn’t live in, with his entire life seemingly in another county? Why? My guess is to launch a future gubernatorial or senate bid. Elect him now, watch him cripple Cuyahoga’s Democratic party and then see him challenge Sherrod Brown in 2012 or run for governor in 2014. Thanks for the agenda, PD.

My best friend, who lives out in Geauga, pointed out a good reason Dolan’s bid to be Cuyahoga County executive may come to nothing. One of the factors in passing the casino issue by a narrow margin was likely the constant promotion of proposed casino operator Dan Gilbert as the wonderful guy who brought us the Cavs and LeBron James. My friend suggested that the current fortunes of the Indians are unlikely to be an asset to anyone associated with them!