Cleveland City Council --- "What's in your Wallet" - Uhum perhaps who is in your pocket

Submitted by Henry Senyak on Fri, 02/13/2009 - 19:41.
(re-posted from

A look at City Council campaign funds

Posted by hgomez February 12, 2009 11:35AM

On Thursday we learned how deep Mayor Frank Jackson's campaign pockets are heading into a re-election cycle. Today, let's look at the City Council.

Some council members are more aggressive fund-raisers than others. Seven of the 21 active members had more than $10,000 on hand at the end of 2008. But seven others had less than $1,000. New Ward 7 Councilman T.J. Dow had nothing.

Some undoubtedly will kick up their efforts this year. Others will be keeping a close eye on the Council Leadership Fund. The account is controlled by council President Martin J. Sweeney, who uses the money to help his colleagues.

The Council Leadership Fund had a balance of $313,294.37 at the end of 2008. Sweeney raised $34,500 for the pot in the second half of the year. There were only six donations, the smallest a $2,000 contribution from the Continental Airlines Employee Fund.

Other contributors:

• David Brennan, the charter-school magnate, $10,000

• Dave Damus, executive with the L&R Group parking enterprise in Los Angeles, $10,000

• Edward Crawford, chairman of Park-Ohio Holdings Corp., $5,000 (Note: Crawford was one of several suburban businessmen who lobbied hard for this year's council reduction.)

• Teri Brenkus, an executive with Crawford's companies, $5,000

• Carpenters Political Action Committee, $2,500

Now here's a look of council member fund-raising, ward by ward.

Ward 1 -- Terrell Pruitt, $1,722 on hand at the end of 2008.

Pruitt is a newcomer who had to run in a primary and special election last year after being picked to replace Nina Turner. He received lots of help from his colleagues.

Ward 2 -- Nathaniel Wilkes was appointed to the seat at the end of the year and raised no money last year. He is not expected to run for the job this fall.

Wilkes' predecessor, Robert J. White, had $23,552 on hand. White resigned before being convicted on a federal bribery charge. His report did not list any fund-raising activity.

Ward 3 -- Zack Reed, $13,782 on hand.

Reed took in more than $15,000 at a fall fund-raiser. He also spent more than $10,000 on other campaigns, cell phone bills and hotel rooms for conferences.

Ward 4 -- Ken Johnson, $414.87 on hand.

According to his report, Johnson did not raise one cent last year.

Ward 5 -- Phyllis Cleveland, $4,321 on hand.

Of the $4,190 Cleveland raised last year, $2,000 came from the Council Leadership Fund and another $1,000 came from Sweeney's own campaign fund.

Ward 6 -- Mamie Mitchell, $137 on hand.

Mitchell, who joined the council last year, paid $1,000 to her campaign manager and is left with barely enough to send a few mailings or make a few robo-calls.

Ward 7 -- T.J. Dow, $0 on hand.

Dow must start from scratch as he was not the council-backed successor to the late Fannie Lewis. The money and institutional support went to Stephanie Howse, whom Dow beat.

Ward 8 -- Sabra Pierce Scott, $485 on hand.

Pierce Scott only raised $1,000 last year. It came from the Council Leadership Fund.

Ward 9 -- Kevin Conwell, $6,846 on hand.

Conwell took in $3,425 at a fall fund-raiser.

Ward 10 -- Roosevelt Coats, $2,212 on hand.

Coats took in more than $5,000 at a fund-raiser, including $2,000 from the leadership fund.

Ward 11 -- Michael Polensek, $87,306 on hand.

Polensek is one of the council's best fund-raisers. It looks like he raised most of his money in the first half of 2008, donations not shown on his year-end report.

Ward 12 -- Tony Brancatelli, $4,055 on hand.

Brancatelli had a fall fund-raiser, in which he netted more than $1,400 in contributions of $25 or less. That was more than half of his $2,600 haul at the event.

Ward 13 -- Joe Cimperman, $36,837 on hand.

Cimperman's September fund-raiser brought in more than $53,000. Real estate developers were generous -- $2,000 from Dominic Visconsi and $1,000 each from John Ferchill, Dick Jacobs, Ari Maron, Bob Stark and Scott Wolstein. But Cimperman also spent a lot of money on assistants, consultants and other campaigns and organizations.

Ward 14 -- Joe Santiago, $156 on hand.

After The Plain Dealer reported that Santiago's support of nuisance bars had caught the attention of the FBI, the councilman hired consultant David Eden and paid him $5,000.

Ward 15 -- Brian Cummins, $398 on hand.

Cummins raised $50 last year.

Ward 16 -- Kevin Kelley, $34,076 on hand.

Kelley, who chairs the committee that oversees Hopkins International Airport, received $1,000 from the Continental Airlines Employee Fund. He also received $2,000 from the Council Leadership Fund. His fall fund-raiser took in more than $12,000.

Ward 17 -- Matt Zone, $19,593 on hand.

Zone took in more than $20,000 at a fund-raiser. His biggest donors were Robert Kanner of Palm Beach, Fla., and Jeffrey Nock of Moreland Hills. Each gave $1,000.

Ward 18 -- Jay Westbrook, $3,317 on hand.

Westbrook raised $3,000 last year; $2,000 from the leadership fund and $1,000 from the Continental employees fund.

Ward 19 -- Dona Brady, $104,173 on hand.

An impressive war chest. She raised $815 in the second half of 2008.

Ward 20 -- Martin J. Sweeney, $147,877 on hand.

Raised $1,900 the second half of 2008, including $1,000 from parking executive Jordan Simons of Denver.

Ward 21 -- Martin Keane, $932 on hand.

Keane raised $3,000 last year; $2,000 from the leadership fund, $1,000 from Sweeney.

There are a lot of names and numbers to digest. But if you ever wondered how Sweeney has held on to the council presidency for so long despite so much council drama, there are plenty of clues above.

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NRP's games and Council

  It seems to me that Ohio City residents are more aware of the games being played by developers in NEO.

From the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission blog:

Some neighbors of the proposed townhouses at Lorain Avenue and West 47th Street in Cleveland are resisting the development. Councilman Santiago supports it.

Kudos to Ken Prendergast for staying on top of these stories.  

ponzi developers

How I wish it was easier to use the County planning weblog... that aside - check out NRP. They have one affordable complex in Ohio in Columbus. The rest are in the ponzi warm weather states and have surely been fueled by the housing blister. They must be hurting though because read this: 1 Months Free Rent or Prorate and $87.50 Moves You In!!

They have some places in North Olmsted. They advertise privacy and mature shade trees - check it out!

Wow, those sure are mature trees! No sidewalks and look at the lovely AC Unit right in the frontyard! That looks just like what's needed in OCSoLo.

They also offer some senior affordable living in Ohio.

When can we get over growth? Don't think we need to? Read this: Ponzi State in the New Yorker. You gotta subscribe to see the whole piece or get it at your library, but the author, George Packer, blogs about it here.


mmm...maybe.... the white upper middle class neighbors have a real strong NIMBY attitude goin' with regard to lower income housing. They would make the white upper middle class neighbors of Tremont look lame with their classist attitudes. They say there's tons of low income housing in OC, but they're counting the public housing towers and along Division... Thats not rEAlly OC, just a technicality. So, I wouldnt put too much stock in the representation that they are "considering it".

South of Lorain is a totally different story. Most of us like it that way.

Save our land

maybe it makes sense

Maybe it makes sense to require onsite stormwater management and greywater systems in new development where streams and tributaries are culverted (well everywhere for that matter). We sure made a mess of it by culverting these streams, as once they are culverted, EPA monitoring is not required. This should be part of the NEORSD stormwater utility and reworked sewer planning. Reimagining Cleveland has some language about daylighting streams and brooks, but I don't know if this area has been studied in that plan.

Just as it may be prudent to hold off on the foreclosures for a period until something can be worked out, here, too, it may make sense to hold off on new development until we assess what is needed in a shrinking city. 

Laura - the links in the post from the Brooklyn Sun are coming back with "story not found". Can you edit the post with the salient points from those now dead posts? Does CPL archive the Sun News? 

I know and everywhere

  Of course, on site treatment of greywater and stormwater makes sense, but that is not happening in NEO.

As for the links.  There is a whole history of links missing from these pages.  I have updated some of these posts with the relevant date etc., but unfortunately, the Sun Press is not indexed in the archive feed purchased by Cleveland Public Library and Cuyahoga County Public Library.  The full story can only be viewed on the microfilm at Cleveland Public Library's Main Library or Cuyahoga County's Fairview branch.  If I scan these articles, I run the risk of violating copyright laws. Regina Brett decries today over the demise of phone books...we are ruining our history.  I won't even bother to link to this story...not found.

Phone books are history now -- Regina Brett

Sunday, February 15, 2009
Regina Brett
Plain Dealer Columnist