Friday, July 19, 2013

Kaleidoscopic Creative Cohort Convenes in Cleveland; Trayvon trial aftermath on local airwaves this weekend

A healthy segment of Cleveland’s African American creative class convened in University Circle last night to network and glean insight and inspiration from some of our town’s under the radar professional talent.

Jacinda Walker, right, chats with videographer Aaron Clement and his daughter
The occasion was a well-conceived DesigNation networking event sponsored by the Organization of Black Designers [OBD], a national group of design professionals from across a spectrum of intellectual workers: graphic artists, industrial designers, videographers, fashion designers, video gamers, product designers, architectural, interior, and multi-media designers, etc.
OBD national president David Rice, swaps ideas
with Scott "Spike" Radway, of Richmond Heights-
based Team Spike Consulting LLC

OBD is a national organization whose local presence is represented by the yearlong effort of Jacinda Walker to develop a regional chapter.

The group’s national leader, David Rice, was at last night’s event, which was held at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Rice encouraged attendees to toot their own horns, to lift each other up, and to work collectively to strengthen the network of black designers.

Drue Thompson
Dru Christine Fabrics & Design
After an extended networking period built around a thematic game of Pantene Bingo, the crowd of roughly seventy professionals heard briefly from several standout designers, including fashion designer Drue Thompson of Dru Christine Fabrics and Design, Tamar Medina of J-Lynn Entertainment, Marshall L. Shorts Jr. of Soulo Theory [Columbus], and Eric Mathews of Madwerkz.

Tamar Medina, J-Lynn Entertainment
Medina, whose company designs video games, talked about the serendipitous discovery that his products were of special utility for the cognitive development of autism sufferers.

Marshall L. Shorts Jr., Soulo Theory
Eric Mathews described his nine-person company as the leading digital effects company in the Midwest. He wowed the audience after he modestly sketched his prior work with LL Cool J, NWA, his tenure with National Geographic magazine, his work in place as varied as Bosnia and Sierra Leone, and his association with a variety of well-known Hollywood films. He encouraged talented artists to contact his company for possible employment.*

Maurice Wingfield of Tiny Giant Studio was singled out for special acknowledgement for his contributions to OBD’s work here.

[L-R] CIA interior design student Jaliah Johnson and graphic designer
Amber Albergottie, a CIA graduate,served as hostesses for the event.
[L-R] Cleveland Institute of Art faculty members
Kidist Getachew, Mari Hulick, and David Hart, Ph.D.
Event organizer Jacinda Walker had many reasons to be smiling all evening. On top of the positive vibe she was instrumental in creating, she was sharing the news that the local OBD chapter would be participating for the first time in next month’s Weapons of Mass Creation FEST 4, which bills itself as the premier art, design and music event in the Midwest.

The event draws creative professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and musicians from around the country.

This year’s festival will be August 16-18 at the Cleveland Public Theatre in the city’s Gordon Square Arts District. [Visit for more information and tickets. Use OBD for a discount code to save $10.]

Walker’s smile was a little bittersweet when she announced that Walker would be leaving town at the end of the month to enter a master’s of design program at Ohio State University.

* An earlier version of this post misidentified the photo of Marshall L. Shorts Jr.

Anatomy of a Tragedy

I continue to shake my head how anyone could have thought, even in the immediate glow of Barack Obama’s 2008 electoral victory, that this country was entering a post-racial era. The tragic case of Trayvon Martin, where George Zimmerman got off scot-free after profiling, stalking and killing an unarmed teenager who was minding his own business, should put a halt to all such nonsensical thinking for a long time. But of course it won’t.

The case will be the centerpiece of two local community radio programs this week. Former NAACP president and current ACLU Ohio legal director James Hardiman will be discussing the case with Meryl Johnson on “It’s About Justice”, which airs tomorrow on WRUW-FM/91.1 from 1:30-2:30PM. You can hear it online at

On Sunday night, Mansfield Frazier will be discussing the Trayvon-Zimmerman case with C. Ellen Connally, president of Cuyahoga County Council and a retired judge, and Sheila Wright, executive director of the Cleveland NAACP. Mansfield’s show, “The Forum”, airs Sundays from 7-10PM on WTAM-AM/1100.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Board puts Jordan on ballot by unanimous vote

East Cleveland Council President Joy Jordan will be on the Democratic primary mayoral ballot on October 1 along with incumbent Gary Norton and Vernon Robinson.

The vote to certify Jordan's candidacy was 4-0.

Full story to follow towards end of day.

Board of Elections considering Jordan petition, may allow her candidacy

Full house for hearing on Jordan petition at Board of Elections meeting. East Cleveland Mayor Norton is in first row, 2d from left. Attorney Pittman, attorney for Council President Joy Jordan, is fifth from left, same row. Jordan is standing along the wall in turquoise blouse. Ms Stanton stands in front of Jordan.

Attorney Pittman has just dropped a bombshell, claiming that Ms Cheryl Stanton did not sign or agree to be an elector for Vernon Robinson, and that she was put on Mr. Robinson's petition without her knowledge or approval.

Mr. Robinson has been certified as a candidate in the Democratic mayoral primary, along with the incumbent Gary Norton. Ms Stanton's name appears as an elector on the petitions of both Mr. Robinson and Council president Joy Jordan.

The City of East Cleveland, per law director Ronald Riley, is arguing that East Cleveland's charter implies that an elector can sign AS AN ELECTOR, only one mayoral candidate's petition.

Jordan's attorney, Daryl Pittman, is making a very effective presentation on his client's behalf.

Hearing proceeding on whether Joy Jordan will be allowed to run in Oct. 1 mayoral primary

The Board finds that mayoral candidate Levester Adams had only 68 valid signatures, 23 short of the required 91. Mr. Adams says that he had 85 valid signatures but that the Board discarded several pages of his petitions. The Board’s response is that those pages were discarded because of a technical error in calculating the number of signatures.

Lateek Rasheen Shabazz has withdrawn his petitions and will not be a candidate in the Democratic mayoral primary.

The Board is now considering concerns raised about candidate Joy Jordan’s petitions.

The Board is about to hear from several parties, including the East Cleveland law director, Dr. Joy Jordan, attorney Pittman, and East Cleveland activists O. Mays and Gerald Strothers.

Norton to remain on ballot for East Cleveland mayoral primary

Discussion is now taking place regarding the issues of (A) standing and (B) the issuance of a certificate to Gary Norton entitling him to hold office. Board member Eben (Sandy) McNair is telling Mr. Silvera that the Board’s staff has advised that Mr. Norton is now in compliance. Mr. Silvera is arguing that that Mr. Norton remains in noncompliance under Ohio Revised Code 3517.

I have just completed a hasty review of the confidential report of the county prosecutor’s July 15, 2013 report, “Opinion Regarding Compliance with Ohio Law for Issuing Certificates of Election and Nomination”. The Board during this meeting authorized the release of this opinion to the public.

It appears that the Board “[is] not authorized to restrict a person from becoming a candidate. The statute only comes into effect when such person is successful in the election and the Board then determines that it must withhold the certificate of nomination or election.” [Legal Opinion of David G. Lambert, chief of the civil division of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office.]

The Board just voted 4-0 at 10:13am to deny Mr. Silvera's petition due to his lack of standing to bring the challenge [i.e., he is a Republican bringing a challenge to a candidate of a party of which he is not a member.]

The Board did express appreciation for Mr. Silvera's "public service" in bringing these issues to its attention and advised him to submit further information for consideration relative to whether Mr. Norton may be certified as a public official in the event he wins re-election in November.

The Board will shortly be moving on to the issue of Mr. Norton's primary opponents.

Live from Board of Elections: Challenge to East Cleveland mayor facing legal obstacles,

At this stage it appears there are two problems with Mr. Silvera’s challenge to Mayor Norton. First, East Cleveland’s mayoral primary is partisan. Ohio law provides that only a member of the candidate’s own party may legitimately challenge that candidate’s place on the ballot. Secondly, the county prosecutor has issued an opinion that supports this position. Additionally, it appears that Mayor Norton has filed his delinquent reports.


Parties have arrived early for what may be a pivotal hearing for the City of East Cleveland. As reported here last week, East Cleveland City Council president Joy Jordan is in a struggle to claim a place on the ballot in her city’s October 1 mayoral primary.

Today’s County Board of Elections starts in about ten minutes. Item 5 on the Board’s agenda is “Protest hearing regarding candidate petition filed for the October 1, 2013 East Cleveland Mayoral Primary Election.” This item presumably refers to Jordan’s petitions, which have yet to be certified by the Board, apparently due to her campaign’s failure to properly constitute her Committee of Electors, a requirement that may be unique to East Cleveland.

Present in the public gallery, in attention to Jordan, are a small number of her supporters, including her father, activist dentist Eugene Jordan. Also present is Gerald Silvera, a Republican who has filed complaints with the county and state challenging the ballot eligibility of East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton, who has been delinquent in filing campaign finance reports in several prior campaigns.

East Cleveland law director Ronald Riley is also here, as are a number of city hall regulars.

Former East Cleveland mayor Darryl Pittman has just arrived, along with law partner James Alexander. Pittman has represented City Council in the past in its frequent battles with the Norton administration.

Cleveland city councilman Jeff Johnson has also appeared, perhaps relative to correspondence he has submitted to the Board.

We will update this report as the day proceeds.

Meeting has just started with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Norton has arrived.