Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump Train stops in Cleveland Heights

Bulletin: events in Charlotte NC today have pre-empted planned showing of this Town Hall, tentatively re-set for broadcast tomorrow at 10pm.

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS OH — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spent the morning at New Spirit Revival Center today for what was billed as a “town hall meeting to discuss issues confronting urban America”.

No surprise to those who pay attention, but it turns out it was anything but a Town Hall meeting. More on that later.

There were actually two campaign events this morning at the New Spirit Revival Center. The first was a meeting with black pastors that was open to the media. I was busy claiming a seat on the other side of the huge NSRC complex. The clergy meeting was likely well covered by other reporters, who focused on Don King’s extemporaneous talk that featured his accidental [?!] use of the N-word.

I suspect but don’t as of this writing know that the pastors’ meet up was almost as phony and scripted as the pseudo town hall gathering. You can watch that event on Fox News tonight at 10p in the year-long Trump for President infomercial known as the Sean Hannity Show. Suffice to say that while this will be put in the column of outreach to the black community, fully 80% of the audience was white, overwhelmingly suburban GOP faithful.

The entire event was scripted, the black attendees were corralled in the front row “reserved seat” section, and the dialogue with the community consisted of two, pre-approved questions, neither one of which did Trump actually answer. To the first question, which was about black-on-black violence, Trump called for the nationwide implementation of the “stop and frisk” policies that were notoriously used by the Giuliani administration in New York City in the 1990s. The policy led to phenomenal police incursions in communities of color, the detainment of tens of thousands of black and brown people, and ratcheted up police community hostility. Trump today called the policy “very successful”, either unmindful or disdainful of the fact that a federal court ruled the policy unconstitutional.

The second question came from a disabled US Army veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq war theatres. His question was about what could be done with respect to the criminalization of returning veterans who became addicted to opioids [legal or illegal] and whose lives deteriorate as a result. Trump’s response was to talk about his fantasy wall along the Mexican border.

I will have more to report on this event but it will have to wait for later in the week. I will say that the cast of characters on stage with Trump and Hannity did raise my eyebrow. In addition to Don King, there was Trump running mate Mike Pence, Dr. and Mrs. Ben Carson, former Cleveland attorney turned right-wing west coast media personality Larry Elder, Niger Innis, and the ubiquitous Omarosa.

The show airs at 10p tonight on the Fox News cable channel. Show host Sean Hannity hardly asked Trump any questions, preferring instead to condemn and ridicule Hilary Clinton and the Democrats, cite deplorable statistics about the black community that were totally devoid of any context, and then tee up an opening for Trump to utter a few well-rehearsed lines.

I can’t end without saying that I found this not-Town Hall event to be simultaneously hypocritical, condescending, and phony. Still, there was a certain skill to its execution, designed as it was to create a false image of outreach.

They might have done better had they told the white suburbanites to stay away. Those folk could not have been happier as they led the cheers for virtually every Hannity inanity.

Big doings in Cleveland Heights this morning as Donald Trump visits

Local black Democrats to demand apology from GOP candidate for leading Birther movement while Trump holds Town Hall meeting at New Spirit Revival Center

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS OH — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will be at New Spirit Revival Center today for what is billed as a “town hall meeting to discuss issues confronting urban America”.

Fox News Channel is convening the meeting, which will be taped live and Special Guest will be the GOP Nominee for President, Donald Trump.

The event will be taped live beginning around 9:30am and is scheduled for broadcast tonight at 10pm. About 40 people who signed up are expected to be a part of the campaign event.
While Trump is inside, a counter event will be held directly across the street from the church, which is located at 3130 Mayfield Road, just east of Lee Road.

Several African American elected officials are expected to hold a 10:30am press conference to ask Trump to apologize for leading the birther movement, widely condemned as an attempt to delegitimize the first black President of the United States. State Senator Sandra Williams, State Rep. Janine Boyd, and Cuyahoga County Councilman Anthony Hairston are expected to speak.

New Spirit Church is led by Pastor Darrell Scott, who delivered a fiery six-minute talk at the Republican National Convention, held in Cleveland in July.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Update on 'Don King Way'

Update: This morning we wrote with uncharacteristic vehemence about the proposed redesignation by Cleveland City Council of a stretch of Cedar Avenue as “Don King Way”. We promised this update after we had reached out to the measure’s co-sponsors, council members Phyllis Cleveland and Mamie Mitchell. We emailed each of them this morning and called them this evening but were able to reach only Ms. Mitchell, alas too late in the evening to conduct an interview. 

We believe this issue merits thorough public discussion that goes beyond even our own excited outburst this morning. We will continue to report on this matter, which we understand will go before a council committee on Monday. Stay tuned!

The Stench of Don King Way

It's fairly mind-boggling to learn that two Cleveland City Council members — Phyllis Cleveland and Mamie Mitchell — have introduced a measure calling for a section of Cedar Ave. to be renamed Don King Way in some bizarre commemoration of the former numbers king pin turned boxing impresario. The proposed action will change the current designation of a section of Shaker Boulevard in front of the Call & Post Building to a stretch of Cedar Ave. that includes the site where King once stomped a man to death over a gambling debt. For his horrific act, King was convicted of second-degree murder — subsequently reduced to first-degree manslaughter — and served four years in prison. After he became rich and famous, King was pardoned for his crime by then-Ohio Gov. James Rhodes.

King is now the owner and publisher of the Call and Post, once a proud voice on behalf of the black community, but now a little-read and mostly useless vehicle that features King’s weekly stream-of-consciousness page one rants on the virtues of Donald Trump [seriously!].

We intend to reach out to Council members to find out just what justification there might be for this proposal. Check back tonight for the response.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

MAGNET wants to boost success of minority manufacturers

Nonprofit advocacy  group seeking to build relationships with Northeast Ohio MBEs, aid growth and development

Greater Cleveland’s lagging track record regarding minority business development is increasingly being recognized as a drag on regional growth, at odds with demographic trends nationwide, and a leading contributor to the talent exodus of some of the area’s best and brightest.

But as business consultant Henry Butler noted at an intimate gathering of Northeast Ohio black manufacturers earlier this summer, Greater Cleveland business leaders are gradually coming to the recognition that “growth without inclusion isn’t sustainable”.
Manufacturers Darrell McNair of MVP Plastics and Larry Fulton of LEFCO Worthington share lessons from their experiences with MAGNET.

Butler shared his observation as a preface to a low-key session designed to introduce MAGNET*, the region’s leading nonprofit manufacturing consultant, to the small but significant number of northeast Ohio manufacturing firms owned by people of color. Butler and attorney Stacey Polk coordinated the session. The two are principals in LCR Enterprises LLC, which has been retained by MAGNET to aid the nonprofit’s inclusion efforts.

Ethan Karp, MAGNET CEO

MAGNET CEO Ethan Karp in his welcome spoke to the agency’s offices efforts to become more client-centric, and to serve more clients in the minority community. With refreshing candor, Karp said he knew how to help manufacturers solve problems but that he was clueless about the special challenges black businesses might face.

Two successful African American manufacturers were on hand to share their experiences working with MAGNET. Darrell McNair, CEO of MVP Plastics, a Geauga County Tier 2 supplier to the automotive industry, and a former MAGNET trustee, said he found the agency especially helpful in doing an assessment analysis related to his opening of a new plant last year in Texas. McNair related that most of his company’s business is done outside of Ohio, a frequent observation from many of Cleveland’s most successful African American business owners.

The group also heard from Larry Fulton, CEO of LEFCO Worthington, a manufacturer of wood crates. Fulton shared how MAGNET helped him improve LEFCO's employee engagement and achieve efficiencies in its manufacturing processes.

For the majority of attendees, MBE didn’t seem a big deal. Steve Williams, chief operating officer of Elson’s, said that in today’s climate, having MBE status might be good enough to get you in the door, but that a business must focus on solving problems for its customers. Elson’s CEO Andrew Jackson agreed, saying that he preferred being evaluated without reference to MBE criteria, citing MBE certification as a tool he used only when it benefitted his customer.

McNair offered perhaps the key takeaway from the session. “You can’t expect to grow without making an investment.”

After the session, attendees enjoyed a tour, with samples, of the Cleveland Whiskey plant on the first floor of the MAGNET facility.
Anthony Lockhart and Jason Estremera tour Cleveland Whiskey.

Acknowledging the importance of relationships in doing business, LCR’s Polk said that MAGNET would be hosting a follow up social gathering.

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* Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth NETwork