Plain Dealer goes on personal attack against Mayor of East Cleveland, source of lead litigation in Ohio

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/04/2006 - 13:04.

Nothing like seeing a good old lynching by newspaper editor to make people "Believe in Cleveland" and Northeast Ohio. In an editorial today from the power-brokering "We" of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the "editors" make a move everyone in the know has expected from them since September 29th, 2006, when the City of East Cleveland sued "dear friend" of the Plain Dealer Sherwin Williams for making East Cleveland "perhaps Ohio's most troubled city" by creating a public nuisance and economic and health crisis by selling lead-based paint long after it was well known and proved to cause permanent physical harm to humans. In a strong retaliation against the mayor who brought lead litigation to the State of Ohio, Eric Brewer, the Plain Dealer is creating dubious scuttlebutt about a situation in which the editors acknowledge "We don't know where the truth lies." To the Plain Dealer editors, this is personal... from their editorial: "as we've stated repeatedly, we do know Brewer can be rash, reckless and extraordinarily vindictive." The logical observation is that one of the world's most powerful and troubled companies, Sherwin Williams, and one of the world's most vicious law firms, Jones Day, (which have sued East Cleveland for suing Sherwin Williams) have partnered with the region's most powerful media outlet, to which Sherwin Williams certainly pays $ millions for advertising, and they are all attacking the mayor of East Cleveland in as "rash, reckless and extraordinarily vindictive" ways as they may. Is it the duty of a newspaper to focus on facts, and allow due process, even when the publishers fear that bites the hands that feed them? No, the only purpose of a newspaper is to make the owners money. Read the opinion of the editors of the Plain Dealer here and imagine being the PD's next victim, if you ever hurt their feelings or threaten their bottom line:

A rash mayor and his friend

Monday, December 04, 2006
It was only a matter of time before a major controversy landed in the lap of East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer. Frankly, we're a bit surprised it took 11 months to arrive.

But now, late in Brewer's first year as a mayor of what is perhaps Ohio's most troubled city, two former high-ranking city administrators have accused Brewer of attempting to protect a dear friend who is suspected of taking bribes as a city code inspector.

Brewer, of course, denies protecting the alleged bribe-taker. Eventually, he'll get around to placing blame for this dilemma in all kinds of places it doesn't belong, including this newspaper.

We don't know where the truth lies. But, as we've stated repeatedly, we do know Brewer can be rash, reckless and extraordinarily vindictive.

With a whiff of obstruction of justice lingering in the East Cleveland air, this one deserves a long, hard look by the Cuyahoga County prosecutor.

I don't get it

There is no by-line, and I can't tell who the pronouns refer to. Is the "dear friend" a friend of Brewer's or the PD's? Who  is the city inspector charged or has someone been charged? It is so poorly written that I cannot make head nor tails of it. It looks like unsubstantiated claims and gossip to me.  Is this the PD in all its glory -- a tabloid? Inquiring minds want to know.

An evil alliance?

It appears that its not just Sherwin Williams poisoning minds in Cleveland. 

Mayor Brewer is an intelligent and talented individual who has chosen to devote years of his life to improving the City of East Cleveland. He is the kind of person we want to attract or retain in this  region (the PD has run so many articles about brain drain, etc). He could be living somewhere else, doing something else and making more money. For the sake of the citizens of East Cleveland, the PD and any other news source should refrain from interfering with Mayor Brewer doing his job unless they have the facts. This editorial gossip mongering hurts all in East Cleveland.

Time for another Meet the Bloggers with Mayor Brewer

I had worked closely with former East Cleveland Mayor Goggins, and never met Mayor Brewer before he was elected to office this year. So, when Mayor Brewer was elected I didn't know what to expect. Rather than pass judgment in ignorance, I arranged an Excellence Roundtable with him, and a Meet the Bloggers with him, and gave him the opportunity to communicate with lots of people and tell his story openly and in his own words. I believe everyone I know who participated in those gatherings or has met Brewer as mayor has been impressed. Yet, he is in politics so I know he has political enemies. And, he has been in journalism and has pissed off lots of powerful individuals at the PD over the years. And, he has brought to Ohio litigation against the lead and paint industry (making us like the 26th state to finally fight for the people of the state), and that has really pissed off some of the most vicious business people and lawyers in the world.  So I am not surprised when Mayor Brewer is attacked by the mainstream media, which exists only to serve the interests of large corporations, typified by and including the business people and lawyers the Mayor has pissed off. My understanding is East Cleveland has a police force and court for dealing with unlawful activity in East Cleveland. That the Plain Dealer demands a Cuyahoga County prosecutor investigate East Cleveland is to say the entire East Cleveland legal system is broken... that is a huge claim, and attack on a respected judge and police officers, and treating the County prosecutors as lackeys. If there has been wrongdoing in East Cleveland, that should be addressed by due process, and it does not seem the Plain Dealer's role to determine what is that due process, especially considering their many conflicts of interest.

Disrupt IT

Is there such a crime as editorial misconduct?

In reflecting further on the situation with the PD attacking the government of East Cleveland, I think of all the people working so hard, within and outside East Cleveland, to make that troubled city better for its citizens. By the PD besmirtching the reputations of the leaders of the community, the PD is causing material harm. The harm may include delaying or destroying opportunities for non-profits, government and people in East Cleveland to receive $ millions in support, through other government funding, private and public investments, collaborative relations and grants. There can be no doubt, if there is a belief there may be corruption in a community others will be less likely to show support and invest... I learned that from a foundation President specifically regarding East Cleveland during the corrupt Onunwor days (which Brewer brought to an end). The PD is causing broad distrust of the government of East Cleveland. Knowing then that the PD is causing significant material harm, is there not legal recourse against them?

Disrupt IT