March 24th, 2013

Tim Russo copied me this morning on a letter he’s written to Brent Larkin regarding the former director of the Plain Dealer’s editorial page’s essay in this morning’s PD.


I’m not clear on your column today against splitting downtown into 3 wards. It seems your entire argument is, well, “because.”

More representation among more council members seems the ideal of competition. Do downtown “business leaders” like competition or not? Don’t voters get a better hearing for issues if there are more seats at the table? Remember them…you know, voters? Do you care about voters, or just “business leaders”, most of whom don’t even live in the city?

Of course it’s easer for “business leaders” located downtown to deal with one person. Fewer checks to write, fewer palms to grease, I get it. How is that democratic? Why should Mr. Landed Gentry Commuting From Gates Mills Dude have an easier time with city council than a mother in Glenville, a kid in Clark Fulton, a coffee shop owner in Clifton?

The population growth downtown argues for more representation across more wards, not the opposite as you contend. The only people who will benefit from concentration of power downtown are people who don’t live in the city, wouldn’t live in the city, and don’t need another advantage over the rest of Cleveland’s residents.

Downtown getting three voices instead of one, in a shrinking city, is a really, really good idea. I unreservedly applaud it. If you’re going to defend stove piping power for the already powerful, Brent, you probably ought to come up with a better argument than “because”.


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