April 18th, 2017

This is NOT another meaningless city election.

In 2017 it can’t be.

Cleveland is a Distressed City. It must change.

Too many of its citizens are under extreme distress. One can feel it. Read it in the daily headlines. See it in the statistics of need. From lead poisoning, to gun downs, to infant mortality. Hard to not see or feel.

And that has to be the major theme of any campaign to defeat Mayor Frank Jackson. Step one. He must go. Stress.

Preparation of the political soil has already started.

Ironically, the forces that have had a strangle-hold on the city for the past 25 years made a critical mistake. It has helped trigger a demand for change.

The reigning cabal overreached. Too sure of itself. Comfortable in the lack of any opposition for so long.

So it moved without considering any revolt to its plans possible.

It had been on a real roll.

Look at how high they were flying.

Not satisfied with a quarter percent sales tax (to 8 percent) for of 20-years worth $800 million for a convention center and a county-built hotel (doomed to lose money); or the passage of a 20-year, $260-million extension of the sin tax; nor with a $330-million distressed neighborhood Opportunity Corridor by-pass; or a $50-million transit-diverting Public Square; or a voted 25 percent increase in the city payroll tax to 2.5 percent, the ruling clique simply wanted more!

It thought it could get away with another grab at no political cost. Everything going our way, they thought. Why not more?

They were rolling the dice and winning. Why stop?

What more did they want?

They brazenly reached for a multi-million dollar tax infusion for the Quick Arena. It was a grab by those accustomed to getting what they want when they want. Some free bucks from Cuyahoga County; some gratis dollars ($88-million) from the City of Cleveland. Big bucks. Who’d stand in their way?

So they saw their chance and they took it.

They did not count on two things. They hadn’t had to worry about opposition since the White Knight Dennis Kucinich left office. No real opposition. Of any kind. A docile populace. Just roll over them. Black politics ascended but satisfied or decayed.

And they made their overreach just as their boy at City Hall Mayor Frank Jackson made his overreach. Wanting to ride his mayoral horse to another four years. To extend his reign to a record 16 years. Too much for any such job. Especially, when he has done such a poor job.

They saw their chance and they took it.

What they didn’t count on was the rise of any opposition. They had bought everyone, they thought.

But some were not as submissive as the cabal believed.

Up rose the Greater Cleveland Congregation, a community organization of religious and other community groups. And organized.

The times, seasoned by national dissent, fertilized the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus. Protesters.

Together they rebelled. Their motto of rejection: “Not All In.” Open rejection of the arena deal. The big boys thought all was under control. It wasn’t.

The protests told them (and their bought politicians) this sale was not to be that easy.

They saw, felt, and knew of the distress in so many parts of the city.

Still the cabal—made up of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Downtown Alliance, and when needed such entities as the Cleveland Foundation, the Gund Foundation and the offshoots from the Plain Dealer to the Forest City gang, construction labor (of all sellouts) and others too numerous to name—was caught off guard.

What they thus produced was a vocal enemy.

So where does that put us?

In a better position. I’ve just heard that Council President Kevin Kelley, fearful of losing more than the six votes, didn’t present the arena legislation for third and final hearing Monday evening.

Sorry Danny but maybe you helped wake up this community.

They just couldn’t swallow this one.

By Roldo Bartimole…

First published by Have Coffee Will Write on DATE.

Also by Roldo Bartimole…


  1. Lori Ashyk says:

    I agree completely. CCPC is doing a great job in keeping the heat on. I’m glad GCC is stepping up the fight, too.

  2. Dave says:

    Hi All,

    I grew up on the west side, graduated HS, graduated from a University there in ’02, worked a couple years until early ’04 and then departed for greener pastures elsewhere in the south.

    I keep tabs a bit on the city and real estate around the Cleveland area. Realizing while reading your article that Frank Jackson’s 10-12 years or so of tenure coincide almost my whole time away from Cleveland…could anyone maybe share a few highlights or thoughts of what has specifically happened (for better or worse) to Cleveland over past 10-12-14 years? Any thing good of note? Anything so horrific the people should know and latch on to when looking at local political races?

    Thanks for providing a voice for Ctown

  3. Thanks Lori and I agree.


    You’re asking a lot.

    Maybe start with checking Roldo atop Have Coffee, Will Write.

    I think it covers much of that time.

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