NEWS

Griffin’s 200 grams of weed ordinance should drive down police overtime if council’s smart

The whole war on drugs has been nothing but a pension boosting overtime grab since cops started it in the 1980's

CLEVELAND, OH – Council’s decision to support Ward 4 Councilman Blaine Griffin’s “no crime, no fine” for possessing 200 grams of weed or less ordinance is one way municipal legislators can control peace officer priorities and limit their greed-driven overtime thirst through legislation. 

Griffin just solved a major budget problem for the city’s next mayor if council follows up with tight enforcement of its legislation by reviewing the “policies” police chief Calvin Williams and other chiefs have created to counter the effect of “all” local, state and federal criminal laws they’re required to obey.  Today Mayor Frank Jackson has a tool he can use to minimize unnecessary police interactions and drive down the cost of civil rights litigation.  

The impact of Griffin’s weed ordinance should result in fewer unnecessary interactions between cops searching for an overtime-generating reason to harass citizens.

Council’s instructions to the city’s police couldn’t be any clearer as Griffin’s ordinance diminishes marijuana as a police priority.  Jackson could use the ordinance under the city’s administrative code to criminally-charge “civil service” police with obstruction, dereliction of duty and theft in office instead of allowing Williams and Flask to divert with “administrative charges” because of council’s instructions to leave the people the fuck alone about weed; and not to create any “law suspending policies” to justify doing it anyway.  The safety director under the mayor’s director writes policies under R.C. 737.06.  Not police chiefs.

Prior to the late Serbian American George Voinovich’s decision as Cleveland’s mayor to eliminate the third shift from the city’s detective bureaus, drug offenses represented approximately 10 percent of Irish Catholic John T. Corrigan’s criminal prosecutions as the county’s prosecuting attorney.  Voinovich took office in 1980 and I joined the Cleveland Press as a reporter in 1981.  George Forbes was council president and had introduced me to Voinovich’s safety director, Reginald Turner.  I told John Lenear about the meeting and he assigned William Woods to talk to Turner for a Call & Post story.  Turner let readers know the city wasn’t giving me any problems on the streets.

When I reported for the Cleveland Press daily newspaper in 1980 I was assigned the police beat from a first floor Justice Center office on the third shift.  Harry Antel was the “night chief” as public safety employees called the deputy chief.  Plain Dealer reporter Dell Moseley worked the beat from another office down the hall. We were competitve friends and Tom Vail’s editors got in his ass if I got a story he didn’t.

From my third shift perspective I interacted with third shift police solving crimes of violence against humans as one of R.C. 737.11’s imposed duties on municpal law enforcement officers under the language instructing them to “protect persons” as they “obeyed” criminal laws.  Reporters then had more internal access to the public offices and employees.  Doors weren’t closed.  Relationships were more open.

Police and the FBI were still battling the mob and the FBI was working on cases like identifying a headless, footless and handless torso on a Medina farm.  That was among the last stories I wrote for Joseph Cole’s Cleveland Press in 1981 as I’d decided to organize volunteers into the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa founded to “deter” criminal activity in the group’s presence when police were not around.

By 1983 Italian American Richard Celeste had been elected governor when he and other Democrats with ancestry to fascist and communist nations brought mob-backed “unionism” to the Ohio Senate they barely-controlled in 1983. 

A report from the Ray Bliss Institute at University of Akron revealed how Ohio is a predominantly Christian and anti-Russian and Communist state as one whose 400,000 Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members made it the organization’s #1 location in the nation.  50,000 in Akron alone and its residents had the most members of any single municipal and county government controlling chapter.  

George Voinovich as Cleveland’s mayor was originally a Democrat so unlike Republican Governor James Rhodes his attitude about unions wasn’t as rooted against them while he served as his lieutenant governor. Management attitudes change when you have to negotiate with them as mayor while they’re obstructing how a mayor controls them.

A Youngstown State University study of the KKK in that city revealed how White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASP) organized a KKK chapter specifically to counter Eastern European Russian, Hungarian, Polish, Italian and Romanian aliens arriving to work in the city’s factories with their “unions.”  The opposition to Communist influenced unions was almost universal across Ohio as state “right to work” and “wage and hour” laws and ordinances were enacted to ensure local and not union control of government budgets. 

Most “home rule” cities across Ohio enacted laws restricting work weeks to 40 hours and prohibited negotiations with labor organizations. Overtime was viewed as a council-approved request and not a worker’s “right.”  It’s why legislation was enacted instructing local “oversight” legislators to ensure that department heads seeking emergency overtime identify the need in one subject preambles of emergency “requests” for it in legislation.

Republican Governor James Rhodes was WASP and had twice vetoed similar bills during his three terms as the state’s chief executive. Rhodes knew behind the scenes of the public employee union law in Ohio was Teamster President Jackie Presser, his mafia snitch troubles; and the dues and “pension fund” opportunities he and the other big union bosses saw in public employee payrolls.  

Mafia money was moving into construction, insurance, banking and health care; and Presser was guiding the Teamsters into banking and healthcare through attorney John Climaco.   $2 billion of Teamster pension fund money was assigned to a four bank branch called Bank One. Another $2 billion in pension funds was invested in Medical Mutal of Ohio.

Some of the details are in late attorney and former Cleveland school board member Kenneth Seminatore’s Cuyahoga county common pleas case against ex-partner Climaco.  Seminatore was a Cleveland school board member in 1983 when I campaigned for a seat on the body. 

Presser let Climaco’s firm take a $1 million a month cut from the bank and the HMO.  I interviewed Seminatore after his partnership bust up with Climaco; and interacted with the author who had access to Presser’s papers after his heart attack death in 1987.

Born to an Appalachian coal mining family in 1909, Rhodes’ WASP consciousness about Eastern Europeans made him privately express that he didn’t want that Russian and Italian “mafia shit” in Ohio government that he saw in Celeste’s and Greek American and former State Senator Harry Meshel’s pro-union laws he twice vetoed.  Rhodes didn’t care about the unions even while accepting the Teamster’s endorsements for 24 years.  The federal National Labor Relations Board is the only reason Rhodes dealt with them.  Against Celeste on his attempt to challenge him for governor in 1986, Presser sent the Teamsters behind the pro-union Democrat knowing he’d sign the pro-union bill Rhodes had twice vetoed.

Richard Celeste served as Jim Rhodes’ lieutenant governor when Ohio law required governors and their lieutenants to be from opposite parties.

In 1983 Democrats in a 17 to 16 vote strictly along party lines on Senate Bill 133 enacted a quietly mob-backed law that authorized public worker strikes and required the state’s governments to negotiate wages and benefits with public employee unions.  The cost of public employee wages would no longer be decided by the ability of cities, counties and the state to pay.  A binding arbitrator no one elected would decide how much money to take out of the taxpayer’s pockets to pay greed-driven public workers who cannabilize each other over “seniority” during the layoffs that come with their increased wages.

After Democrat Celeste’s reckless decision to back the government-killing and employee greed driven law, the Cuyahoga County Republican Party’s photo archives features a photograph of me sitting next to Rhodes when Chairman Robert Hughes led the organization to endorse him as the incumbent’s challenger in 1986.  I took a photograph of Rhodes and published it on the cover of The Independent newspaper I was publishing in East Cleveland.

By then court challenges had weakened the dangerous law southern states and Ohio’s next door neighbor in Indiana rejected.  Rhodes, however, lost and Celeste returned to “institutionalize” wage and benefit increases that eventually destroyed the state by forcing cities to let binding arbitrators decide how much older and more expensive cops and firefighters would be paid while laying off newer and less expensive public workers to pay them. 

Taxpayers can’t afford to pay Calvin Williams an $88,000 pension on top of his $120,000 salary without layoffs and tax increases to cover the cost of their wealthy retirement lifestyles.  On top of the $88,000 in pension funds Williams got over $1 millon in “DROP” money.  So did Martin Flask and Michael McGrath. Because council’s raises are tied to the highest union’s raise they self-interestedly support, there’s been no motivation for them to investigate how police pad their final pension payouts with so-called “unused” sick, comp and vacation time.

Voinovich’s 1986 “third shift” decison came around the time police unions had “learned” the state’s labor laws and were starting to “on their own” redirect internal policing priorities that boosted their pension earnings.  Drug busts were an easy way to create an overtime opportunity; so under Voinovich’s police chief, Howard Rudolph, unionized cops shifted crime fighting priorities away from homicides, rapes and violent assault to an overtime-fueled “war on drugs.”

Cleveland schools graded students on the curve starting in the 1960’s which convinced many that a grade of 70 was a real A instead of test scores of 95 to 100. The veteran councilman pumped gas before he joined the legislative body and started wearing a suit. What Polensek didn’t do was invest the last 32 years on an education or in mastering the city’s governing documents. Pro-union Polensek and Anthony Brancatelli are carrying the message the CPPA can’t carry that the weed ordinance kills their overtime.

This evil dog’s decision to let Arthur Feckner and Leonard Brooks sell $500,000 worth of crack to and around the residents of Woodhill Estates resulted in a level of human misery this town has never seen.  James Rokakis told 20/20 he supported the cops and dogged U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes for thinking Black lives were important when he demanded a mutha fuckin’ federal investigation.

On council Rokakis and other pro-union Eastern Europeans refused to use the legislative body’s investigating authority to examine how police were controlling overtime through policies that avoided the “emergency ordinance” process authorized by the city’s charter and its ordinances to acquire overtime.  Cops joining police departments in the late 1980’s and 90’s were indoctrinated into believing their collective bargaining agreement prevailed over any law with the help of the pro-union prosecutors, judges and legislators they used dues from their taxpayers paying them to fuck over the taxpayer to make campaign contributions.

Corrigan’s assistant prosecutors didn’t like the change and I remember their complaints when I made my daily visits to the 3rd floor to look at fresh indictments for stories.  Police motivated by greed were shifting the priorities of the county’s prosecuting attorneys away from them working with Coroner Samuel Gerber to identify unsolved homicides, fresh homicides and the growing number of rape kits Jan Rench of the Rape Crisis Center told me in 1981 police were alreadly slow in processing when I reported for the Cleveland Press.

Throughout Ohio councils in the 1930’s enacted ordinances restricting work hours to 40 a week to counter the bullshit the unions were convincing the lawmakers they’d infiltrated into legislative bodies to enact.  Overtime by ordinance is tied to immediate emergencies.  Not cops arresting a citizen with a bag of weed as “one last stop” for the day to extend his shift by an hour to write a report in exchange for 4 hour of overtime at time and a half; and then leaving after the hour.  A police emergency is defined in the preamble of a one subject ordinance and requested of the council by the mayor.  Council uses its emergency enactment process to deal with the public emergency that’s an immediate threat to the preservation of peace and public health.

Cop supervisors instead of council enacted their own “policies” of approving overtime.  Workers throughout government have enacted their own unwritten and criminally obstructive “policies” to avoid obeying the laws that limit and define the mandatory duties they’re actually required to perform.  Emergency legislation is not supposed to be used for “tautological” purposes as Kevin Kelly does with his abuse of the council presidency.  

Since Cleveland’s police chiefs have come from within, all but those Mike White and Carl Stokes appointed from the outside have been “interest-conflicted” Cleveland Police Patrolmens Association (CPPA) members.  Police chiefs like Williams, Martin McGrath and Mike Flask all “managed to the contract” and not R.C. 737.11 and the other duties identified for “police chiefs” and police in the Revised Code of Ohio.  

When this writer worked for White as a special assistant, an assignment to prep Flask and safety director Henry Guzman for an interview with a Plain Dealer reporter over their mishandling of discipline came around the time he was demoted and replaced by Mary Bounds.  Mayor Frank Jackson recently shared with this writer that Williams has never read R.C. 737.11. 

This writer and Stokes were pool players.  The city’s first Black mayor told him he hated the CPPA that formed the year he took office to thwart his attempt to end police violence and hostilities towards the Black population.  The public seems to ignore his brother Louis’ 1968 Terry v. Ohio U.S. Supreme Court case was occurring while he was running for mayor and in the middle of the Hough and Glenville riots.  

As union-friendly arbitrators and judges from “union families” started ruling against the interests of taxpayers, Voinovich and the council George Forbes led as president was forced into their third shift cuts because uncontrolled overtime was leading to growing police costs that came with arbitrator-forced raises.  Prior to his election as Cleveland’s mayor, Voinovich had served as Rhodes’ lieutenant governor when he voted the collective bargaining laws Communist-backed Democrats wanted.

Rhodes’ “real” mindset towards unions was found in the laws his governor-next-door, Richard Orr, operated with that didn’t even play with the public employee unions.  Section 4-15-17-4 through 4-15-17-9 are explicit in instructions to public employees they have no rights to a discussion about wages and benefits.

IC 4-15-17-4 Prohibition on collective bargaining .  Collective bargaining between the state and employee organizations and strikes by state employees are illegal.  As added by P.L.229-2011, SEC.57.
IC 4-15-17-5 Prohibited state actions.  The state shall not: (1) recognize a union or any other employee organization as a representative of the employees of the state; (2) bargain collectively with an employee organization; (3) enter into a collectively bargained agreement; or (4) require an employee to join or financially support an employee organization. As added by P.L.229-2011, SEC.57.
IC 4-15-17-7 Actions void as against public policy.  Any contract, agreement, settlement, conditions of cooperation, or any other device resulting from negotiations between:  (1) the state; and  (2) an employee organization;  is contrary to public policy and is illegal, unenforceable, void, and of no effect.

America is 92 percent “right to work” as public employee and corporation unions represent about 4 percent of the workforce … each.  Southern states with large WASP and majority Christian Black and White populations are “right to work” and have rejected racist unions brought here in 1881 by a Russian alien named Samuel Gompers.  It’s how cities in states throughout the south have majority Black government workforces.  The 55 Black mayors I met at National Conference of Black mayors n New Orleans in 2006 told me they didn’t have a “union” problem.  They had “Mexican” problems.  

Marxism that led to Communism is behind the concept of labor unions Gompers founded as the so-called “American” Federation of Labor in 1881.  Russian Karl Marx’s ideas didn’t catch on in the six articles he wrote for Horace Greeley’s New York York Tribune before the Civil War. Gompers’ arrival, however, made sure the seeds his homeland brother planted … did.

After the Civil War ended in 1865, Republican President Abraham Lincoln was directing southern corporations to pay the Americans they’d formerly enslaved.  Lincoln, who is known to have African ancestry, understood the south was majority Black.   He knew Slaves were already-skilled through his control over the U.S. Patent Office and the insights he picked up from knowing it was their ideas fueling the corporate patents that built the nation’s industries and infrastructure for free. 

In his federal litigation against Time Warner, ComCast and Charter Communications, Weather Channel television mogul Byron Allen is using one of the “right to work” and “right to contract” laws Congress enacted to benefit formerly enslaved Americans under Lincoln’s direction six months before he was assassinated.

President Abraham Lincoln was mixed-race and knew southern corporations would hire the Americans he’d liberated from slavery. He fully expected his fellow Americans to dominate the southern labor market.

After Republican Lincoln’s assassination and his Democratic vice president’s decision to slow the pace of  Gomper’s and other Eastern European anarchists saw an opportunity to use their white skin and changed names to displace the Freed Slaves with their unions.  As their racist movement grew they identified the nation’s already existing citizens as “strike breakers” to force the corporations to hire them instead of those who’d actually fought over jobs before their opportunistic arrival.

Griffin’s youth and his generation’s lack of respect for “reading” the historical records connected to the elected and appointed public offices they hold is the single-most recent it took him and the council over two years to “think” of how to enact a simple ordinance.  Imagine if this generation of Black people was still enslaved and it was them and Barack Obama’s brains driving the legislation to eliminate slavery.  There’d still be slaves.  Historically, there’s  no logical reason for a Black politician from either political party to be “pro unions” that are historically and violently anti-Black.

Griffin and council’s new 200 grams of weed ordinance is very generous.  No crime for nearly a half pound of weed.  Now Clevelanders can “stash up” and the cost of street prices should go down.  So should the cost of that high-azzed legal weed they’re selling at the medical marijuana dispensaries popping up in and around Cleveland.  $150 for a 1000 ml bottle of THC tincture.  $50 in Michigan.  Same shit.  That’s some real dealing. 

Maybe council can enact price controls with its portion of the license.  Boomers need some Dollar Tree weed prices on tight Social Security budgets.

Looking forward, any councilman thinking of seeking the mayor’s job in 2021 should be looking at other ordinance changes to update and enact now while they’re in control of the ordinance enactment process. 

Ending random license plate searches, enacting a strict pursuit law for cops entering and already inside the city, declaring the police chief’s obstructive policies to be written by the wrong official and voided so they’re replaced with the real local, state and federal criminal laws they’re mandated to obey; or even updating the 1983 electric rate ordinance to reflect the Power Authority of New York’s real new name and rates would make the next mayor’s job, whoever it is, that less burdensome.

If council holds hearings with the city’s prosecutors, judges and police supervisors to see that the intent of its legislation is carried out, the residents of the city and its workers and visitors should have far fewer unnecessry interactions with the city’s police.  The proof should show up in council’s next report from the finance director about the cost of overtime in the police department’s budget.

Eric Jonathan Brewer
Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more. Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings. As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national. Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year. Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.

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