Monday, February 04, 2019

THE REAL DEAL PRESS is now a digital weekly!!!

THE REAL DEAL PRESS, an outgrowth of this blog, is a digital weekly
reporting on the interplay of race, class and power in the civic, business and cultural spaces of Northeast Ohio and beyond.

Click here to read this week's issue, including:

- Giving Black
-Trends to Watch in Small Business
- Social Justice Teach-In
- Increasing Racial Equity in Higher Ed Outcomes for Students of Color  
- Barney & Clyde
- & More!!!

Text realdealpress to 48421 and be notified instantly each Sunday when the issue posts!

Prior issues of THE REAL DEAL PRESS  can be found here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Hon. Annette Garner Butler [1944-2018]

Former Common Pleas judge and civic activist Annette Garner Butler died December 31, 2018.
Butler was appointed by Gov. John Kasich to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in November 2011 to succeed Timothy J. McGinty. She lost an election the following year to Steve Gall and her term expired at the end of 2012.
Butler was well known in civic circles. She held numerous leadership and board posts at Cleveland State University, the City Club of Cleveland, the Shaker Heights Library, the Cleveland Heights-University Library, the Federal Bar Association, and numerous others.
Throughout her career, Butler made herself available to counsel and guide young people in their lives and career choices, often acting as a one-woman employment referral agency.
Butler grew up on Cleveland’s east side where she graduated East High ’62. She earned an undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology from Case Western Reserve University and her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
Butler spent the bulk of her legal career with the U.S. Attorney's Office, serving as an assistant U.S. Attorney for Civil Trials and Appeals. She has also worked in the private practice of law and later taught legal courses at the Academy of Court Reporting & Technology and the Justice Department National Advocacy Center.
Butler is survived by her children, Christopher Butler and Kimberly Butler, and several siblings.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, January 9 at 3p at Amasa Stone Chapel, 10940 Euclid Ave., on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. The family will receive friends on January 8 from 4-6p at Brown Forward Funeral Home, 17022 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Hts. OH.

Monday, December 17, 2018

"Round up the usual suspects." 
            -- Captain Louis Renault, "Casablanca" [1942]

Read about it here in this week's issue of The Real Deal Press

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Read The Real Deal Press every week for reporting on the interplay of race, class and power in the civic, business and cultural spaces of Northeast Ohio and beyond.

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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Deplorable county jail conditions starting to come to light

"If there is a presumption of innocence, what we are doing to the most vulnerable of us is criminal." — Attorney James L. Hardiman

Activists and citizens are beginning to come together amidst revelations about conditions in Cuyahoga County. Read about it here in this week's issue of The Real Deal Press

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Read The Real Deal Press every Sunday for reporting on the interplay of race, class and power in the civic, business and cultural spaces of Northeast Ohio and beyond.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Free showing of Sandra Bland documentary in Shaker Heights tonight

Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old African-American woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July 13, 2015, three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide

Bland was pulled over for a traffic violation on July 10 by State Trooper Brian Encinia. The exchange escalated, resulting in Bland's arrest and charge for assaulting a police officer. The arrest was partially recorded by Encinia's dashcam and by a bystander's cell phone. After authorities reviewed the dashcam footage, Encinia was placed on administrative leave for failing to follow proper traffic stop procedures.
Texas authorities and the FBI conducted an investigation into Bland's death and determined the Waller County jail did not follow required policies, including time checks on inmates and ensuring that employees had completed required mental health training.
In December 2015, a grand jury declined to indict the county sheriff and jail staff for a felony relating to Bland's death. In January 2016, Encinia was indicted for perjury for making false statements about the circumstances surrounding Bland's arrest and he was subsequently fired by the Texas Department of Public Safety. In September 2016, Bland's mother settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the county jail and police department for $1.9 million and some procedural changes. In June 2017, the perjury charge against Encinia was dropped in return for his agreement to permanently end his law enforcement career. SOURCE.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Repetitive "Disgraced ex-judge" characterization is troubling

I am wrestling with the fact that The Plain Dealer has apparently renamed former judge Lance Mason as the “disgraced former judge”.

I offer no defense for Mason, who is properly being held on $5 million bail, charged with the murder of his estranged wife in brutal fashion, four years after he viciously assaulted her in almost incomprehensible anger in front of their children.

Following that first assault, Mason fell from grace: he pleaded guilty to assault, was sentenced to prison for two years, resigned his judgeship, and lost his law license.

It was a sudden and complete fall from grace. In 2014. What he's accused of doing last month stands alone in its depravity, evidence of a frightening but unfortunately not rare state of mind. I suspect it has little if anything to do with any job or honor Mason ever had.

So, what’s my issue? I have an uncomfortable sense that Mason’s status as a black man may have subconsciously factored into editorial coverage decisions.

Headline, caption, and first sentence each refer to Mason as disgraced. 

I do not recall that former county commissioner and Democratic Party chair Jimmy Dimora was so regularly characterized, although he fell from the county’s top electoral spot in the county for his participation in ongoing public corruption schemes. Likewise for former county treasurer Frank Russo, former judge Bridget McCafferty, and a host of other once-respected public servants turned intentional malfeasants.

Is this over-sensitivity or hyper-vigilance on my part? Some may certainly think so. But when the term "disgraced" is pounded relentlessly via headline, photo caption and lead sentence, it seems more than mere click bait, reportorial laziness or editorial indifference.

Words have power. When repetitively combined with images of a black man in an orange jumpsuit in this highly politicized environment, it seems that intentionally or otherwise, a subliminal message is being sent.

I welcome your comments.
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Read The Real Deal Press every week for reporting on the interplay of race, class and power in the civic, business and cultural spaces of Northeast Ohio and beyond.