Friday, June 08, 2012

Governor Appoints Rocky River attorney to CuyCo Juvenile Court

Rocky River resident Anjanette C. Arabian Whitman will join the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court a week from Monday after her appointment today by Gov. John R. Kasich.

Whitman replaces former Judge Peter Sikora who died April 18. She must run in November’s general election to retain the seat for the unexpired term ending December 31, 2016.

Whitman received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia,  earned her law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in May 2001. 

A sole practitioner, she has also served as an at-large member of the Rocky River City Council since 2008. Whitman is a member of the Rocky River Parks and Recreation Commission and the Rocky River Community Coalition. Since 2002, she has coached cross-country and track at Magnificat High School.

Next Saturday, the county Democratic Executive Committee will meet at Cuyahoga Community College to choose a candidate to run against Whitman. This is the state process where a vacancy occurs too late for a candidate to be chosen by partisan primary process.

Lebron James & Nonprofit Thursdays

“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
 — Mary McLeod Bethune
  • • •

I got home last night after a long and interesting day, flipped on the TV to catch Game 6 of the Celtics-Heat battle for the NBA Eastern Conference championship.  Wow!

It took less than two seconds of viewing to see there was a new LeBron James in the world. Focused. Determined. There was an urgency, a sustained energy, and an inner confidence in the man’s play that I had never seen before.

I guess my father was right. When I was about seventeen or so, I asked him “how do you know when you have become a man?” I found his reply Sphinx-like at the time: “You’ll know when you get there.”

LeBron James was a kid as a Cleveland Cavalier. He was incredibly more talented than his teammates, with immensely greater physical gifts, and a much higher basketball intelligence. He said a lot of the right things because he had learned them but they came more from his head than his heart. He didn’t own them.

Not until last night.

Not until, facing elimination from the post-season for the third time in recent years [twice as a Cavalier], he had to screw his courage to the sticking point, adopt a no-excuse attitude, and perform.

And perform he did. He never let up, never came off the court, never hesitated even for a moment, and by dint of his performance led his team to victory in his best game ever. The difference was not his accuracy, which was uncanny, but his attitude.

LeBron reached adulthood last night.
  • • •

NonProfit Thursday

We are a day late this week but as we constantly tell the wife, eighty percent of success in life is showing up. And better late than never.

[Note: eighty percent is not always good enough.]

But we can’t omit reporting on some stuff coming up this week. To begin with, there’s tomorrow’s Parade the Circle. Since my children are long since grown and gone, I’ve never really been a fan of the event, and not even sure if I have ever attended. But, somehow, learning recently that 75,000 people now attend this free event annually, my curiosity has been spiked. 

If you have similarly been in the dark, or want to learn more, check here and/or here.

The free, rain or shine event kicks off at 11AM and runs until 4PM.
 • • •

NCNW has one of the most illustrious pedigrees of all the ethnic affinity groups in our community. It was founded in 1935 as an “organization of organizations” by Mary McLeod Bethune [1875-1935], an adviser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a confidante of his wife Eleanor. 
Bethune was succeeded as the Council’s leader by her protégé Dorothy Height, a powerful force in her own right, on par with but often overlooked as a notch below the so-called Big Six civil rights leaders: John Lewis (SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee); Whitney Young (National Urban League); A. Philip Randolph; Martin Luther King, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference); James Farmer (CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality); and Roy Wilkins (NAACP). 

Bethune’s story is a remarkable one. She was the 15th of 17 children born to freed slaves; several of her older siblings were born into slavery, though she herself arrived after Emancipation. She opened a school for girls in Daytona Beach, Florida when she was only 29 herself. That school, which opened on $1.50 and faith in God”, and had five girl students ages 8 to 10, has evolved into Bethune-Cookman College.

Bethune famously crafted a Last Will and Testament as a part of her enduring legacy to black people. Its last bequest:

I leave you, finally, a responsibility to our young people.
The world around us really belongs to youth; for youth will take over its future management.

The entire document, which you can read here, is worthy of reading and incorporating into your life.

The Cleveland NCNW holds its annual Legacy Luncheon tomorrow at the Manor Party Center, 24111 Rockwell Ave, in Euclid.

Cleveland’s own Jean Murrell Capers will be honored. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey S. Carr is the luncheon speaker. For information call 216.253.8913.
 • • •

Finally, I was a panelist on a recent Civic Commons radio show about books that changed our lives. Also on the panel were Richmond Heights councilwoman Miesha Headen and Michael Gill, editor of Collective Arts Network Journal. Halfway through the show you can hear me a bit from my selection. You can find the podcast here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Connect the Dots!


Citizens who are not registered are not eligible for jury selection. Nor are they eligible to vote for candidates who decide issues like "Stand Your Ground" laws, how your children's schools are funded, matters of crime and punishment, and how strong are the regulations that restrain rapacious financial manipulators from predatory raids upon your tax dollars. 

Make sure you and your neighbors are registered, educated on the issues, knowledgeable about the candidates, and active in the political process.

And take a young voter along.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Zack Reed on Health Care; Marcia Fudge and the Black Vote

Notwithstanding some off-the-field issues that have garnered him unwelcome headlines, Zack Reed has long been one of Cleveland City Council’s more thoughtful and energetic members. So it was no surprise that Reed was one of just a handful of area legislators at the White House African American Policy Forum held at the Cleveland Public Library’s main campus on Thursday.

Most of the forum dealt with economic policies that had particular resonance with urban and minority communities: small business initiatives, home ownership preservation, job training, etc.

The luncheon keynote speaker was Kenneth Munson, regional director of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Munson spoke to several of the positive provisions of the Affordable Care Act [ACA], including elimination of pre-existing health conditions as a basis for denying, restricting, or over-charging for health insurance; expanded coverage for young adults; and tying physician payments to the quality of care they provide.

While the state of the economy is likely to be the prime issues of the presidential election, I suspect that reminding the millions of voters whose families have already personally and directly benefited from health care reform that the ACA is a signal accomplishment of the Obama administration will become an increasingly key component of the president’s re-election strategy.

So I credit Councilman Reed for tackling the issue on his Sunday night call-in radio show, which airs at 8PM on WTAM-AM/1100. Reed’s guest will be Dr. Arthur Lavin, co-chair of Doctors for Health Care Solutions [DOCHS], which represents itself as a group 600 Cleveland- area doctors who care for more than half a million Clevelanders.

Reed bills tonight's show as a “debate”. He chuckled when I asked who would be representing the other side of the debate. “My listeners”, he said, noting that a large number of his radio audience seem to be Tea Party sympathizers, apparently a characteristic of the station’s overall audience.

We plan to tune in and check the show out. Meanwhile, you can get a heads-up on the DOCHS position by reading this op-ed piece, which appeared in today’s Plain Dealer and generated considerable controversy over at


Cleveland Congresswoman Marcia L Fudge, D-11, chaired a session this past at a summit on voting rights co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Conference of National Black Churches. Fudge presided over the panel session that addressed with energizing constituents and congregants to vote. Let’s hope she was taking notes, because the turnout in her district — Ohio’s most reliable Democratic constituency — is certain to be critical to the President’s reelection chances.

The Fudge-led panel included MSNBC commentator and Cleveland native Jeff Johnson, as well as the redoubtable Los Angeles congresswoman Maxine Waters. If we are not mistaken, viewers can see Cleveland minister Eugene Ward asking a question about the potential for civil uprisings based on the depressed and depressing conditions afflicting many communities nationwide.

While Fudge discounted this likelihood, she did display a certain feistiness in promising to call out those black preachers who choose to sit on the sidelines rather than work to energize black voters.  You can view the session here on C-Span

If you don't want to watch the whole session just to catch the Congresswoman on her horse, write us at and we will clue to the appropriate segment.

• • •

Finally, we're still working on Part II follow up to Friday's post on the Cleveland NAACP. Look for it after the organization's meeting on Tuesday, June 5.