Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 13:13.

Let’s not get carried away with the FBI & IRS raids on some politicians and a few business people who will likely get off for “cooperating.”

The bigger system is still at work. The cogs can be replaced with ease by just as cooperative politicians, either Democratic or Republican.  County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and County Auditor Frank Russo can be quickly replaced though maybe not by as colorful duplicates. Watch for resignations, pleas and slaps on the wrist (meaning no extended jail time).

The timing also has some intriguing aspects. With the first County official to go down, Recorder Pat O’Malley’s sentencing a short time away there’s talk, of course, that his cooperation and these raids could be linked.

One also has to think, say, where is County Prosecutor Bill Mason, a friend of many politicians. Maybe too friendly to look at them as a prosecutor.

Here’s a sign to look to for real change.

If you see retreat on the Merchandise Mart & Convention Center there might be some glimmer of hope and reform. After all, this is the major desire of the people who keep these people in office normally. Ask former County Commissioner Tim McCormack who resisted a tax for a new convention center a few years ago.  He was defeated by Tim Hagan, the business candidate.

They’ve (corporate interests) been trying to grab public money and put together a deal on the convention center for seven, eight, nine years or more. They don’t give up. They got the sales tax increase passed thanks to Hagan and Dimora.

It took the high-powered corporate Domed Stadium Committee of the 1980s until the 1990s to get an excise tax passed (plus County bonds) to build the baseball stadium, basketball arena, and eventually add another chunk of city money for a football stadium. Republican County Commissioner Phil Campanella in the early 1980s made the mistake of trying to sell a property tax for a domed stadium. So in the next election Democrat Mary Boyle creamed him for doing so, then she became a booster of an even bigger sports facilities deal.

Dimora and Russo may go down. Even a contractor of two may do time.

However, the culture of paying attention to the needs of contractors and developers and sports team owner and real estate dealers won’t be hurt by this at all. A bump in the road.

I do have to laugh at Ch. 8’s I-Team taking some credit, having reported an FBI investigation of the County Commission relating, however, to the dealings of the County purchase and preparation of the E. 9th & Euclid Dick Jacobs property. The county, of course, took these buildings, long empty, off Cleveland’s favorite developer.

Here’s Hagan, as reproduced by Ch. 8 in a report by Tom Merriman, complaining bitterly, though not prophetically, about press coverage:

“The FBI is not investigating Peter Lawson Jones, or Tim Hagan, or Jimmy Dimora and nobody’s talked to us about it,” said Hagan angrily.

(Guess Tim’s not that observant of those he works around.)

With his anger increasing and jaw jutting, Hagan continued, “We have no protection in public life - those of us who serve in public life from the (voice rising) GOD DAMN press, attacking our integrity at every turn.

“This town (voice up again) SUCKS with these kind of people who think all they can do is exploit people for getting somebody to watch their TV shows.”

Hagan and Jones were not targeted. Hagan, running uncontested, likely will suffer no real political damage. Jones would be the only one to possibly pay a price since he has a Republican opponent.

Jones, to protect his job, should propose that the quarter percent sales tax for the Medical Mart & Convention Center be rescinded.

Finally, one hopes that this – and the timing - doesn’t have an impact on the Presidential campaign because it can only hurt Barack Obama. Hmmm.

( categories: )