Friday, December 02, 2011

Gayle Williams-Byers wins recount for South Euclid judgeship

We missed the news at the time and maybe you did as well. But good news is good news even when it arrives late. A Board of Elections recount brought Gayle Williams-Byers from second place on election night to winner of the South Euclid Municipal Court judgeship.
Williams was declared the winner Nov. 29 when the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections announced its official vote totals. 
Williams-Byers trailed City Prosecutor Mary Riley Casa by a 2,519-to-2, 514 vote count as election night ended. On Nov. 29, the board of elections had the final count as 2,573 for Riley Casa (34.46 percent), and 2,624 for Williams-Byers (35.15 percent). The 51-vote difference is greater than .5-percent of the total votes cast in the election and thus does not trigger an automatic recount.
Williams-Byers, 37, has been an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor for the past nine years, where she oversees grand jury indictment process
A graduate of Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Williams-Byers has three degrees from Case Western Reserve University, including her law degree and a master’s degree in nonprofit organizations.
She and her husband, Gregory, are the parents of a 12-year-old son. Her father, Rev. Dr. Albert E. Williams, is pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Cleveland.
Williams previously ran for domestic relations judge in the Democratic primary last year. 

Fudge to declare on Monday; others weigh challenges; Ruth D. Clement passes

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge will formally announce this Monday her intent to run for re-election as representative of Ohio’s 11th Congressional District of Ohio. Fudge originally won election to the seat in a special election in 2008 following the sudden death of Stephanie Tubbs Jones. She won election to a full term that November and was re-elected two years later.

The current filing deadline for Congress in Ohio is next Wednesday, December 7. Six people have taken out petitions to run in the Democratic primary that is now set for June. Others besides Fudge who pulled petitions but have yet to file: Angela Davis, Gerald Carver Henley Sr., Anthony Perry, and Isaac Powell.

State Senator Nina Turner of Cleveland, expected to be Fudge’s toughest opponent, filed to run on Monday. Some expected the new district, which extends south to include much of Akron's black community, to attract state representative Vernon Sykes, but that appears to have been a non-starter.

Fudge’s news conference is scheduled for Monday at 10 am at Phil the Fire Restaurant, 3750 Orange Place, Beachwood.

State and County Offices

Wednesday is also the filing deadline for all state and county races, including the state representative, judge, county council [Districts 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10], and county prosecutor, where five candidates have pulled petitions to succeed incumbent Bill Mason, who chose not to seek reelection.

Congressional remapping

Primary election day for all state and county races is March 7, 2011. If the Ohio General Assembly can agree on a redistricting plan in time — the Dayton Daily News reported yesterday that House Democratic leader Armond Budish of Beachwood claims a deal while the Republicans say no deal has been struck — then the June federal primary may yet be moved to March 7.


Ruth D. Clement died yesterday. She was widow of Dr. Kenneth W. Clement, a key adviser to former Cleveland mayor Carl B. Stokes.

We did not see her often but she was unfailingly one of the most gracious ladies we have ever known. 

Survivors include her three children, Michael, Lia, and Leslie.

Funeral will be Saturday, December 3 at 11AM at First Baptist Church, 3630 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights.  The family will receive friends this evening from 6-8 PM at E.F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home, 2165 East 89 St, following a Delta service.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Nonprofit Thursday: Choking the Pipeline

The Consortium of African American Organizations announces the unveiling of its new website at Take a look and let director Connie Atkins know what you think.

  CAAO Logo with web address

Choking the Pipeline
We take advantage of the fact that this month begins on a Thursday to inaugurate what may be a new tradition: using the first Thursday of the month to focus on a specific local community nonprofit or issue.

As a reminder, when we debuted Nonprofit Thursdays six weeks ago, we were acknowledging the critical role nonprofit organizations play in civic, business, social, and of course, religious life, most especially in Cleveland’s black community. We celebrated new executive leadership at three of the city’s principal black organizations: The Urban League, The United Black Fund, and the NAACP.

At the same time we alluded to the tendency of too many organizations in our community to marginalize themselves by recycling the same officers and board members. This unhealthy practice has retarded the development of new leadership and fresh ideas in the black community for at least forty years. 

In a healthy environment, board members and executive directors alike would constantly look to recruit and develop new participants and supporters. 

There is an enormous reservoir of talent in our community waiting to be tapped:

   • The young neighbor who organizes the bake sale to raise funds for her child’s elementary school can use the same talents to benefit a neighborhood center or advocacy group. 
   • That co-worker skilled in organizing workplace functions who consistently demonstrate a knack for great ideas for entertaining, fundraising, or recruiting. 
   • The new attorney/insurance agent/ accountant/ corporate executive/ returning veteran in your neighborhood who could contribute mightily to your organization while simultaneously expanding their own personal network.

There is a natural progression of responsibility in both the workplace and the civic arenas. New recruits start at the bottom, have a chance to make mistakes and learn from them, to demonstrate energy, industry, initiative, team spirit. They move from neophyte to assistant to associate to primary to chief as they demonstrate mastery and reliability and readiness. Before long the best and brightest are ready for  leadership roles in our churches, social agencies. Some may emerge as potential candidates for public office.

At the dawn of a new era in the sixties, when the possibility arose that a black person might become mayor of Cleveland, Carl Stokes was ready. He had demonstrated the skills and commitment necessary for the job. He was 36 when he ran the first time. 

Contrast that era to 2001 when another young lawyer, a native son with national credentials, tossed his hat in the mayoral ring. It took his uncommon tenacity and the eventual endorsement of his Congresswoman to overcome the inbred and closed structure of our community and make Ray Pierce a viable candidate against the wishes of an aggregation of cautious and timid gatekeepers.

It is not so much caution and timidity that causes so many of our organizations to turn their collective backs on welcoming and developing our young people into future leaders. It is unfortunately something worse than that: a misplaced sense of entitlement, a desire to hold on to some puny or imagined piece of power or prestige.

When insiders hang on too long they cease being community assets and become community clogs. They choke off the natural paths our youth to stretch and grow.

When young people don’t see opportunity or a welcome hand, they are likely either to disengage or depart. Most of us have seen our children leave Cleveland for places of greater opportunity.

Where are the opportunity structures in Cleveland when what should be our premier and even second-tier organizations have the same board members in place for decades?

One of the worst offenders in this regard is the Cleveland branch NAACP. The president has been there twenty years. Several members of the executive committee have been there twice that long.

In our first paragraph we said we would spotlight a community nonprofit. As it happens this time the spotlight reveals mold.

But we end by making this plea: resolve to join the NAACP in 2012. If we can reclaim the most sclerotic organization in our community from its politburo, there’s no limit to what we can do.

Occupy NAACP in 2012!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Herman Cain: Able to be Paid for Sex?

 I have abstained pretty much from even reading much less writing about the GOP pop phenomenon Herman Cain, whose 15 minutes should have expired months ago. The man is so obviously unqualified to be president that his very presence on the Republican platform is troubling. Yeah, I know, the same could be said about a lot of their candidates, but Brother Cain is spectacularly unsuited.
Truth is, he seems to know it. The hat, the cigarette-smoking campaign manager in the commercial, the non-traditional media focus that is clearly not focused on delegate collection, the superficial answers to virtually every question. I have to think that Rachel Maddow pegged him correctly as having a good laugh at the nation's expense.

 Of course, the man doesn't know when to exit the stage. He has messed over several women's lives in the process, and as the letter below indicates, is still trying to profit from his skanky ways even as he extends his departure through a painful "campaign reassessment".
 I just have to say that I don't believe Cain would have been considered a serious candidate for five minutes were it not for the enormous discomfort most Republicans feel with most black people. Until now, that discomfort has allowed Cain to make money selling his books, and enabled Republicans to pretend that they are an open, welcoming, and affirming party.

Nov 29, 2011: Stand With Me

 Dear Patriots and Supporters,

As you probably heard yesterday, a troubled Atlanta business woman

used national media outlets to promulgate a fabricated, unsubstantiated 
story about a 13 year affair with me.  I am writing you today to assure 
you that this woman’s story is completely false.

I do know Ms. White.  I have helped her financially at times over the 

past few years, just as I have helped many friends and acquaintances 
throughout the years. I thought Ms. White was a friend in need of a 
supportive hand to better her life.

Ms. White has made it apparent that she was abusing the friendship.

But now I am asking for your friendship.  I am also asking for your prayers 

and support. This is a trying time for my family, my campaign, and for me.  
It is also a trying time for our country as we are all distracted from the truly 
important issues facing our nation.

This evening I have an important speaking engagement at Hillsdale College 

in Hillsdale, Michigan, where I will be outlining my foreign policy and national 
security plan.  While recent events have taken a toll on me, the people in the 
audience this evening will not know it.  I will deliver my message with vigor 
and enthusiasm.

Let me assure you, I am not deterred.  America’s future is too important. 

We will continue on this journey to make America great once again.

Thank you and God bless.

Herman Cain

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Annette Butler appointed Common Pleas judge

Annette G. Butler will become the newest judge on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court bench when she takes office on Dec. 12 after her appointment today by Gov. John R. Kasich.

Butler replaces former Judge Timothy McGinty, who resigned on Oct. 31. In order to serve out the remainder of McGinty’s term, which ends Jan. 1, 2017, Butler must run in the November 2012 general election.

She received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Case Western Reserve University and earned her juris doctorate from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. For nearly 25 years, Butler served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for Civil Trials and Appeals in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio. She has additional legal practice experience in both the public and private sector, and has taught numerous courses at the Academy of Court Reporting & Technology and the Justice Department National Advocacy Center. 

Butler is the past president and current board member of the Federal Bar Association’s Northern District of Ohio Chapter. Butler continues to serve on several boards of trustees, including that of the Cleveland State University Development Foundation, and has been recognized by various groups for her service within her profession and community.

McGinty resigned to run for Cuyahoga County prosecutor next year. Ironically, Butler ran for county prosecutor against incumbent Bill Mason in 2009; she lost decisively.

Until her appointment Butler was serving as a member of the reconstituted Cuyahoga County Board of Revision.

Turner files to run against Fudge for Congress

State Senator Nina Turner filed petitions yesterday with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to run for the Democratic nomination for Congress from the newly-redistricted 11th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge.

Ohio’s federal primary election is presently scheduled for June 12, three months after the state’s primary for local and state offices. State Republican legislators created the second primary, at an estimated added cost of $15 million, to allow time to negotiate with Democrats over Ohio’s congressional remapping.

Ohio is losing two Congressional districts effective Jan. 2013 because the state’s population has grown more slowly than the rest of the nation.

Ohio Republicans have drawn the new Congressional map in a way that eliminates most inter-party competition and almost guarantees GOP wins in twelve of the districts. Democrats are believed to be currently pushing a 6-6-4 plan that would make six districts more competitive, favoring Republicans in only six districts, and Democrats in four.

Unless negotiations between Republican and Democratic state legislators result in an agreement this week to adjust  the GOP majority’s congressional map, it will be nearly impossible to hold both primaries on the same day, because the original filing date for partisan office is next Wednesday, December 7. Congressional candidates presently have until March 14 to file, but are likely to file by December 7 so as not be left out in the cold by any last-second legislative deal that might restore the single primary.

This is Ohio so of course it’s more complicated than that. Democrats are working to collect  hundreds of thousands of signatures [they need 231,150 valid ones] to delay implementation of the GOP’s 12-4 map and bring the issue before Ohio voters next November. And of course, court action by either party is a possibility.

Whatever the federal filing primary election dates turn out to be, the Fudge-Turner battle is certain to be fierce, and likely reshape the political landscape in the area as much as the GOP-gerrymandered map.