Roldo on Regionalism, Sam Miller, Clifton's Trudeau bashing
May 23, 2004 15:59 PDT
[From: "Roldo" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Jim Miller" <email@example.com>
Subject: clifTON IS A SENSITIVE BEING
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 15:59:48 -0400]
Let's Put Some Reality Into The Quest For Regionalism
by Roldo Bartimole
23 May 2004
Regionalism has become the new trite banner carried by our
If you want Regionalism, here's the way to do it - and the
only way that should be acceptable to common folk, the
majority of us.
Pass a truly progressive regional income tax - not a payroll
tax, not a property tax - that will provide services for the
entire community's needs. Let's have Community
responsibility for Our Regional Community.
Let's have those who have pay for needed services - the
schools, the safety, the public infrastructure - of the
entire community, including, of course, revenue-deprived
Cleveland, the neediest part of the Region.
When you formulate that kind of a responsible foundation,
then the Plain Dealer, elite academics and all our
privileged elites can talk about doing the right thing.
The Republican Party and the Citizens League of Greater
Cleveland have combined for what appears to be a start
toward Regionalization. It's as phony as George Bush's
reasons for the war in Iraq. They propose the election of 11
County Commissioners. Right off the bat, you've nearly
quadrupled the County's greatest problem - patronage. Each
Commissioner will want his or her people hired.
In addition, of course, you have allowed the Republicans -
who don't officially have a County Commissioner on the
three-board County Commission - to get in on the feedbag.
With three seats in Cuyahoga County, Democrats can simply
fight among themselves for the three seats. With a County
Commission by district, some Republicans are bound to win
It's amusing that the Republicans have teamed up with the
Citizens League, which if it isn't a subsidiary of the
Republican Party, should be. It's an elite organization
posing as a representative of the populace.
With today's Internet possibilities, I'd like the Citizens
League - if it is so representative of citizens - to list
its membership and the occupation of its members on its web
site. If it has a real membership, the list would give it
some credence. The occupation listing would prove whether
it's an elite membership or a true "citizens" organization.
* * *
Sam Miller - Our Most Destructive Elite
A very short time after my last message about the Cleveland
schools, their CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett and the role of
foundations in manipulating the public, a half-page ad
appeared in the Plain Dealer.
The headline suggested that the news media coverage of
Barbara Byrd Bennett hadn't told the whole story. There was
more to it that BBB's fancy trips and high living on
foundation, not public, money.
"Like many of you," the advertisement started, "I saw some
of the News reports last weekend on Cleveland Schools CEO
Barbara Byrd Bennett's News conference on the use of
foundation money," it started.
The writer noted he had read the entire text and "I think it
is important for you to have that same opportunity."
What followed was the entire statement by BBB.
In small print was the notation: "Paid for by the Sam and
Maria Miller Foundation." It was Sam Miller using his
foundation's money to defend BBB's misuse of other
How cute. How predictable.
Sam Miller sticks his nose in every nook of this community's
business. He does it for his own business interests. Miller
exerts just the kind of influence that has corrupted our
politics from local to national.
One would hope that Miller has not ingratiated himself so
much with the County Commissioners that when they choose a
site for their new offices Sam Miller's stale influence will
not win out. It is a worry because that's what the
Commission and Cleveland City Council did when the issue was
a new Convention Center.
Sam wanted it built adjacent to his Tower City property. He
would have gotten it if the push for another unnecessary
public facility were successful.
Sam and his partners - the Ratner family - in Forest City
Enterprises are generous as any examination of the campaign
finance records of numerous politicians will tell. That
generosity has paid off greatly in dividends by the
decisions of the same politicians.
However, they spread their dough to ingratiate themselves
with not only public officials but also private interests,
particularly charitable organizations that can also
contribute to Sam and his partners' well-being. These
organization and their representatives usually have a say in
how public decisions are made. Sam's "kindnesses" - past or
hope for in the future - pay off.
Sam's foundation, which paid for the BBB ad, has a fair
market value of $16.7 million, according to its latest IRS
filing. Anyone can check this filing or any other via the
internet by making contact with Guidestar, a web site.
Sam has made contributions of some $800,000 in 2002, the
latest filing shows.
His recipients reveal how ubiquitous Sam can be in this
community. He has ingratiated himself everywhere.
Have you noticed how many times the Plain Dealer has written
about awards to Miller? Have you also noticed that the Plain
Dealer has never done a serious job of examining him and his
influence? The Cleveland Scene a few months ago made a good
attempt to do that but the PD stays far away from examining
those with power in our community. That's why it's such a
fusty news outlet.
Cleveland State University gets a $53,500 donation. Sam is
on the board of trustees. Not that Sam's donation directly
buys something directly. However, access - just as to a
political office - means something in the private arena,
Take CSU Urban Affairs Dean Mark Rosentraub, who says he
came to Cleveland in part because of Miller and the Ratners.
He's become one of the chief spokespersons for all the
mischievous schemes for public subsidization of downtown.
Rosentraub, a Sam Miller rave reviewer, plays just the kind
of role that allows him access to the Plain Dealer op-ed
pages as an "objective" witness. He can then tell the
community, not what's truly beneficial to all, but what Sam
and the boys want.
The list of donations by Miller's foundation reveals how
widespread his tentacles reach in the community. He has help
fund Access to the Arts, Town Hall of Cleveland, John
Carroll University, United Black Fund, Notre Dame College,
Baldwin Wallace, Cleveland Clinic, Black Shield Police
Association, Cleveland Firefighters, Ohio Lawmen Softball
team, Cops & Kids (good to be on the side of police and
firefighters and they can even help you get rid of a mayor),
Kids Voting Ohio, Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Herman's
Home, The Temple, and Walsh Jesuit High School, among many
Sam tries to keep everyone friendly at a very low cost, too.
A long time ago, I wrote about his wealth. He called to chew
me out. I had not found it all, he said. The multi-million
in dollars I had ascribed to him, he noted, made him look
like a piker. He wasn't a piker then and he's far, far from
* * *
Clifton Is A Sensitive Being
I'm sure Gary Trudeau is shaking in his boots.
Plain Dealer editor Doug Clifton apparently wants his comic
pages to be on the level of Dick Tracy and Little Orphan
Annie. Therefore, he has issued a warning to Trudeau.
In his blog available at Cleveland.com, Clifton issued a
stern warning to the first Pulitzer Prize winning
cartoonist. Censor yourself to fit the family newspaper
content of the PD. "Kids," according to Clifton, visit the
comic page. (Actually, the photo on Page two of that
morning's newspaper of a wounded young Palestinian boy might
be more upsetting to a youngster than Trudeau's strip that
had Clifton upset, to say nothing of the photos from Abu
Ghraib in the PD and countless TV reports. "Kids" check the
front pages and TV too.)
Clifton finds Trudeau causes him too many editorial
problems. Tut-Tut. Trudeau, Clifton wrote, is such a prima
donna, editing him is prohibited by contract. One guesses
Trudeau is familiar with week-kneed editors. Two weeks ago,
the concluding panel in that day's strip ended with this
punch line: 'Son of a bitch." Clifton didn't like that.
Clifton didn't say that the "son of a bitch" was uttered by
a character/soldier having his leg amputated. Might that
make a difference in a reader's sensitivity, if not
Clifton continued: "Such profanity is hardly a horror in
this day and age but this IS a general circulation, family
newspaper, and the comics still are heavily visited by
Trudeau's latest "problem" for Clifton - and other editors -
is a strip that includes somehow a human head on a platter.
It was drawn before the beheading of Nick Berg. Although the
comic strip was done before knowledge of the Berg atrocity,
writes Clifton, Trudeau's syndicate failed to "alert papers
of the unfortunate coincidence until the comics were already
printed." Any editor that didn't know about it must be deaf,
dumb and blind because it was all over web sites read by
Our only recourse, writes Clifton "is an editor's note." He
adds ominously, "For now." Is an editor's note so difficult
or shocking? Being an editor is such a hardship one has to
share it burdens and an editor's blog allows so much
Clifton then admonishes: "We have another option for the
future. That would be to say farewell to Mr. Trudeau and his
cast of characters."
Are we supposed to feel sorry for Clifton and the tough
decisions he has to make?
An editorial "blog," - a log on the web - is that it
requires the editor to say something -and that, it appears,
is a problem for Clifton.
Forget about censoring Trudeau and try making your newspaper
half as interesting and relevant.