Thursday, September 28, 2017

BREAKING NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Jackson taps young lawyer to run campaign

A concerned Jackson camp shakes up his campaign
New team to lead incumbent’s re-election effort down the stretch

In a sharp turn of events, Mayor Frank Jackson has handed control of his campaign for an unprecedented fourth term over to a young attorney admitted to the bar only this year.

Michael Bowen is now running Mayor Frank
Jackson's historic bid for a fourth ter

Wayne Clarke, a Beltway consultant brought in from Maryland in July to run the campaign, is out.

Bowen is now in charge of a campaign team that includes political consultant Jon Benedict of R Strategy Group and Bill Burges of Burges and Burges. Benedict will serve as chief strategist for the campaign. Burges, considered the town’s most experienced political consultant but who had been sidelined by Clarke earlier this summer, will direct the media effort.

Many political observers had expected some changes in the campaign’s organization and focus, given the mayor’s lackluster performance in the Sept. 12 primary. Jackson led the nine-man field but despite near-total name recognition, twelve years in office, and a massive fund-raising advantage, got only 38.9 percent of the vote. City Councilman Zack Reed came in second to the mayor, with 21.9 percent, trailing the mayor by some 5,500 votes [7,194 to 12, 699].

Reed and Jackson face off in the general election on Nov. 7.

Bowen’s principal job will be to mobilize the formidable resources of the Jackson campaign to get out the vote for the incumbent. Primary turnout was only about 13%, which means both Jackson and Reed have a lot of work to do. Reed likely has the greater upside because Jackson is so much better known. But he has far fewer resources to work with and must now contend with a homegrown campaigner who lives for the political fight.

Reed also announced adjustments to his campaign leadership team this week, formally placing his longtime friend and ally, Kevin Jones, as head of his campaign. Jones has taken a leave from his work as a senior account executive with Stern Advertising.

Clarke’s hiring by the Jackson campaign, reportedly on the recommendation of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, raised the eyebrows of many political watchers, who wondered how an outsider with no knowledge of Cleveland’s political nooks and crannies, could successfully navigate a major campaign. They also wondered why Jackson couldn’t find local talent to do the job.

Jackson may have confounded them again by reaching out to the young Bowen. The Miami University grad has been well schooled in the political world, earning his spurs in a number of candidate and issue-oriented campaigns. His mother was former Shaker Heights councilwoman Lynn Ruffner, who passed away in 2014. Bowen will be on leave from Taft until after the election.

Bowen is a 21st century campaigner, and while he is savvy in the shoe-leather ways of the old guard, he has been steadily building relationships across the ethnic, political, and generational lines that have long calcified both Cleveland’s political climate and its public discourse. If he is able to pull the creaky ocean liner that is the Jackson administration into port once more ahead of the more nimble and unpredictable Reed skiff, he will likely be lauded as the new Arnold Pinkney.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

CPT | South Euclid mayor booted off County Dems Executive Committee

Cuyahoga Politics Today
South Euclid mayor spanked in intraparty feud

South Euclid mayor Georgine Welo was disciplined by the County Democratic Party last week.

The action was taken by the Party Unity Review Committee [PURC] after Welo endorsed a Republican who is running against incumbent South Euclid councilwoman Ruth Gray, a fellow Democrat.

Party officials and elected Democrats are prohibited from “actively and publicly” supporting a non-Democratic candidate in a non-partisan race. South Euclid council races are non-partisan.

Gray filed a complaint on July 10 with then-party chairman Stuart Garson, after learning that Welo had endorsed Gray’s opponent, Kenneth Atchinson in this year’s November election. Atchinson has been a registered Republican for the past seven years, according to election records cited in her letter.

The PURC ruled unanimously in Gray's favor last week, kicking Welo off the party’s executive committee, and rendered her ineligible for party office or party endorsement for the next election cycle. Their action means Welo cannot receive the party’s endorsement if she runs for reelection in 2019.

Gray’s complaint cited other instances where members of the South Euclid Democratic Club have backed Republicans over qualified Democratic black women. Gray also referenced efforts to undermine South Euclid Municipal Court Judge Gayle Williams Byers, contending, “There is a pervasive pattern and practice of animus against African American female Democrats in South Euclid.”

The current political turf battles in South Euclid have given rise to reports that freshman councilman Jason Russell may toss his hat in the ring for the post of city leader, a nongovernmental position currently held by councilman Marty Gelfand.

Gray, who ran against Welo for mayor in 2015 and lost, is seeking reelection to her fourth term on city council. She is also president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Council of Black Women, a growing presence on the local political scene.

A call to Mayor Welo was not returned for press time.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Terrence Spivey brings August Wilson to Shore Cultural Centre starting tonight

August Wilson is the only playwright, Terrence Spivey told us in our interview over the weekend, to have ALL of his works appear on Broadway. Wilson wrote ten plays, each framed in a different decade of the twentieth century, depicting African American experience.

Tonight, Spivey, the artistic director at the Shore Cultural Centre in Euclid, launches an ambitious effort to demonstrate the fertile legacy that Wilson depicts through readings of his plays beginning with Gem of the Ocean.
Leon Bibb, the noted broadcaster [recently retired from Channel 5], is featured in Gem, which is set in the year 1904.
Spivey emphasizes the message of preservation of heritage, history, and remembrance that is uniqueness to all of Wilson’s plays.  The tone of spirituality and healing reverberates soundly inside an African American community that finds itself in a situation demanding heedfulness to introspective dialogue that simmers the core of how we perceive race, oneness, and dignity.  Wilson’s plays will render your emotions “fighting on the inside.”
As a director, Spivey highlights the value of approaching his craft organically and working from how the actors are feeling at that moment.  He eschews the excessive pre-staging and writing prior to the rehearsal that could stifle the performer’s natural power and delivery.  He believes that yielding to inventive freedom at appropriate moments delivers a grander experience than could have been scripted - and no erasing is needed. 
This series of readings of Wilson’s plays, The American Century Cycle, will continue on October 30 with Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, featuring Peter Lawson Jones.
For tickets, visit here.  Shore Cultural Centre is located at 291 East 222 St., Euclid OH 44123 [216. 289-8578].
 By Neina K.

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A New Day

Sometimes the best way to get things done is to announce that you are going to do it. It raises the expectations of those around you, amps up the pressure, and forces you to take a stand.

For some time, in our grand scheme of things, we have planned on building a semi-eponymous web site — — and rolling it out with great fanfare and a full bore marketing effort, guerilla and otherwise.

For a host of reasons, including a near lifelong tendency to want to bite off more than we can chew, and a reluctance to ask for help, this hasn’t happened yet.

Over the years, I have tried to make a virtue of such shortfalls — I like to call it flexibility — so I have come to appreciate that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

All of which is perhaps unnecessary prelude to some significant news about our website and this blog, which I am sharing initially to our most faithful readers: those of you who have signed up as followers of this earnest efforts to inform and occasionally entertain. First, our website will launch before my next birthday, which is less than a fortnight away. It will be a fierce effort to become a broader, deeper and more consistent representation of the state of the black community in Greater Cleveland than has perhaps ever been done before. This has actually been a desire of mine for a few decades. I think the need has been there for far longer.

Since no one person can do this alone, we have begun to assemble a team of people to help with a variety of tasks — reporting, designing, content management, marketing, writing, etc. An important few have also stepped forward as financial investors.

Over the next few weeks, as we prepare to launch, new posts will appear here on at least a daily basis. Sometimes there will be multiple posts. And, as you will soon note, they will come from a variety of contributors.

You can help us in several ways. First, you can become more avid readers and commentators. Don’t just send us an email; post a comment for the world to see. We are open to op-eds. Stop back often, to build your Real Deal Press habit with us and to increase our page views, which in turn will help us gain the advertisers who in turn will help to fortify and sustain our efforts.

Also, if you are or know of talented individuals who might be candidates to join our team, get in touch with us here. We especially seek reporters and ad sales executives, part or full time.

Additionally, if you know of events or news that you believe would be of interest to our readers, send it to us here. We haven’t fully worked out our ideas about crowd-sourced news yet, but we are open to the idea.

Finally, we usually send emails announcing our posts to anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand people. That stops today. When the site is up, we will be using Constant Contact to handle that chore. Meanwhile, you can invite your friends to check us out here.

When we launch, we will make sure you and the world know.

Our intent is to be your most dependable source of news, information, and events going on in the ever-evolving definition of community. Thanks for sticking with us thus far and let us here from you as we blaze a new path.