CLEVELAND, OH – In May 1984 Cleveland Councilman Michael Reed White was selected to replace State Senator Morris Jackson. He had served for 17 years in the Ohio Senate representing the 21st Senate District that encompassed Glenville with different boundaries.
Case Western Reserve University law school graduate Jeffrey Johnson was 26 and selected to replace White. Johnson was his protege`. White was 5 years away from initially challenging the late Mayor George Voinovich for the job he held in 1989. Johnson the following year in 1985 would be admitted to the Ohio Bar Association to practice law.
White confirmed on August 17, 2021 what I’d been hearing in the background that he was annointing Justin Bibb, another protege`, to replace Mayor Frank Jackson. The outgoing mayor has endorsed Councilman Kevin Kelley.
White was behind South Euclid resident Basheer Jones’ 13 vote victory over Ward 7 Councilman Tijuan Dow. When he moved from the Ohio Senate to the mayor’s office in 1990 Johnson got White’s senate seat like he got his council seat. Johnson has not advanced politically since White retired from politics in 2001. He should have became the “horse” instead of relying on one. You can’t be a general without an army. You die when your “prince” dies.
Since I’ve known and observed White from the beginning of his career in elected office in 1978 when we met at the Call & Post, and our political paths have crossed, I see Bibb as his new Jeff Johnson and Basheer Jones. He’s a CWRU law school graduate like Johnson who’s failed the bar examination twice. He’s a social media activist like Jones with no experience in politics.
The fact that two of the most criminally-inclined contemporary American Negro politicians are Mike White proteges` should raise some concern among Cleveland voters about his judgement in selecting Bibb to become the city’s chief law enforcement and “administrative” officer. The trials involving Emmanuel Onunwor, White’s wedding best man Nate Gray and Ward 1 Councilman Joe Jones were rolled into one in 2004.
I testified for the prosecution (Assistant US Attorneys Steve Dettelbach and Benita Pearson) after asking then State Auditor Jim Petro to investigate the $3.2 million no bid contract Onunwor orchestrated East Cleveland city council to award OMI/CH2M Hill to manage a water department. Operational costs had not exceeded $1.4 million so the extra $1.8 million and $300,000 bonus written into the contract made no sense. I had served as Onunwor’s chief of staff when I asked council and then the FBI to investigate. Dettelbach and Pearson connected money from the OMI/CH2M Hill contract with the $300,000 “bonus” to Ralph Tyler, Gray and then to Onunwor.
Yes. I worked for White. I’d written an editorial defending him in Cleveland Scene against what I perceived was just a ridiculous amount of white male racism coming at him from its editors, writers; and Chris Quinn and Mark Vosburgh at the Plain Dealer. I knew he had his warts, and some were offensive, but his heart was for his people and he’d proven it. When the lynch mob comes I’m going for the mutha fucka with the rope. It’s in my nature.
White had his secretary reach out to me for a meeting and asked me to join his administration. I had played an important advisory role in his 1989 mayoral campaign and never asked him for a job. I’d also given him favorable coverage and we had kept bumping into each other socially.
The night I learned I was going to be a father and took my son’s mother to dinner to celebrate, we ran into White and shared the news. The two of them attended Glenville High School. Right after our son was born we ran into White at the post office and he wanted to hold him. White asked me to bring him to city hall when he invited me to join his administration. Politically Mike can be a bit suspicious, vindictive and petty; but I’ve seen his heart at work when I’ve observed him as mayor.
When the next mayor walks into Cleveland city hall they will be walking into a series of ongoing activities. Among them will be local, state and federal audits as well as confidential federal and state criminal investigations.
The next mayor is going to inherit a 6000 employee workforce Jackson built over the past 16 years. They are untrained. Undisciplined. Overpaid at the top. Largely incompetent. An example of administrative incompetence is the construction and demolition debris landfill Jackson’s health department allowed to exist behind homes in East Cleveland.
City inspectors under Jackson identified “fugitive dust” after 26 inspections but didn’t see the “illegal landfill.” They also never tested the fugitive dust 26 times to learn that it contained polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene gas, glass particles, acid raining generating asbestos and roofing paper made of tar that constantly caught on fire. The ingredients were deadly to the nearby residents and students at Collinwood High School and Apex Academy charter school.
I got the dust tested by Industrial Hygenist Jim Riffle after a close friend introduced us; and I contacted Ohio EPA administrator Craig Butler with the results. I left him a message on Martin Luther King’s holiday and told him U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge and I had talked and she wanted someone to go to jail. He ordered the dump closed the next day. My friend is a construction industry expert and hit me hard with how many deadly toxins were in the dump behind residential homes on Noble Road.
Not even the city council “health committee” White’s protege, Johnson, served on knew Cleveland since the 1970’s has had a contract with the Ohio EPA to enforce air, water and soil pollution laws for Cuyahoga County. All of it. I’ve had discussions with Northern Ohio administrator Kurt Princic about stripping the city of the contract because Jackson’s negligence has turned damn near the entire east side of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County into a landfill for every type of dumper.
Debris from University Circle’s projects have been ending up buried in Forest Hill Park. Baumann’s does what they want at Broadway and E. 13st Street; while one of the “son’s” plants dirt over stone at a demolition site on E. 148th and Kinsman. Any mayoral debate about the environment that doesn’t include questions about why Cleveland doesn’t enforce its end of the contract makes the discussion moot if the questioners and candidates don’t know it exists. Neither do the town’s journalists. You can not ask or talk about what you don’t know.
Cleveland has been managed over the past 16 years by a mayor who was not a disciplined reader nor one who built “statutory compliance” into every facet of every municipal worker’s job description. City hall’s activities, including those of city council, do not resemble the structure laid out for them in the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of Ohio, the laws of the nation, state, charter, ordinances and administrative codes.
By not statutorily upgrading his side of the government aisle Jackson did not developed Kelley into a statutorily upgraded council president. The governing documents I shared in the previous paragraph contain the job descriptions and the limits on the authority of every elected and appointed public official at city hall.
Federal agents raided city hall twice under Jackson. FBI agents used a building inspector to entrap American Negro contractors they were targeting into a bribery scheme. A family of barely-English speaking Albanian aliens is operating as many as 10 separate companies under different family levels of ownership. The leader of the clan was convicted of stealing over $160 million from a Parma credit union.
The city’s building department is being managed under Ed Rybka from a “white on top” perspective with few contracts being awarded to American Negro contractors. Compliance and discipline under lame duck Jackson is gone.
The chief of police is living with a sergeant with whom he has two children. The council president for the past 4 years has been unlawfully enacting routine legislation as an emergency; and has criminally obstructed two elections the mayor was supposed to enforce all laws to prevent him and the clerk of council from doing. Red light cameras were outlawed. Earl Turner’s impounded cars to collect on citations that were issued unlawfully. He’s a car thief.
I want every East Side resident of Cleveland to get in their cars and drive to the west side of the city and tour it from one end to the other to see where all your stolen community development block grant funds have been going. This shit is fucking highway robbery and it began under White, continued under Jane Campbell and flourished under Jackson. The disparity is evil. It has to end under Cleveland’s next mayor.
Zack Reed’s Ward 2 community development money was fucking stolen. So was Kevin Conwell’s, Joe Jone’s, Anthony Hairston’s, Ken Johnson’s, Blaine Griffin’s, Phyllis Cleveland’s, TJ Dow’s and Jackson has allowed it. I’m a Ward 2 resident with Reed’s sign in my front yard. As an East Sider I’m telling you we’ve been robbed.
Go over to Detroit Avenue, West 25th Street, West 14th Street, Clifton, Lorain, Ohio City, West 117th Street, Lorain Road and see the difference. Go see the building going up next to the West Side Market. Drive along Route 2 to Clifton at 35 mph and ask why a freeway that carried speed limits of 50 mph is now slowed down why Kinsman Avenue in a residential area was sped up to 35 mph by Campbell. You’ll be enraged. Everyone I know who’s seen it is infuriated.
The next mayor must demand ask Secretary Fudge for technical assistance to assign a team of investigators to the city to track down the recipient of every federal dollar since the 21-way-split legislation of 2000. Either the recipient was authorized to receive the dollars or not. Either the expense was eligible or ineligible in meeting HUD’s national objective.
The investigation must include the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority where the board member I appointed in 2006 has remained unlawfully past the date his term ended without any subsequent appointment by another East Cleveland mayor. Every vote he’s cast has been unlawful since his term expired. Jeff Patterson had no legal authority to appoint East Cleveland’s member to the CMHA board; and he should have notified the mayor and council president when Robert Davis’ term expired in 2012. Patterson is not the mayor of East Cleveland with the authority to determine who represents the city on the CMHA board.
To restore discipline at the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), I know Secretary Marcia Fudge, a former state prosecuting attorney, issued orders to the federal workforce she supervises to follow and ensure that all federal laws, regulations and administrative orders are being followed down-the-line. Cleveland’s Community Development Block Grant program has been out-of-compliance since before 2000; but the problems in it have only compounded under a mayor with a law degree who has not ever mastered the federal block grant laws associated with the documents he’s signed that federal officials review.
Jackson’s 16 years as mayor is the equivalent of a child attending the 1st through 12th grades and earning a 4-year degree. Everything in municipal government is repetitive. There’s no reason for Jackson or White – during their combined 28 years as mayor – to have not made significant improvements in the lives of the city as a whole based on a mastery level knowledge of community and economic building tools found in state and federal laws; and Cleveland’s charter. They had 28 years between them to figure out how to legislate and manage constitutionally and statutorily deficient behavior out of themselves and the municipal workforce. It’s the same for Kelley’s years in control of the legislative process. All of Cleveland is not improved.
I don’t know Bibb and never heard of him until his name began appearing in the Plain Dealer and on cleveland.com. In my mind I saw someone behind the scenes “building him up.” What I know is Bibb has absolutely no consciousness for managing a statutory government that doesn’t need his “ideas.” It’s the mayor’s duty to learn, master, obey and enforce two constitutions and federal, state and local laws. The beauty of our laws is that if read and obeyed by the officials in government all our lives are improved. They’re great governing authorities. They just have to be “read.”
Bibb should have read the nation’s immigration laws mayors must enforce to know not to have hired an alien from Australia – who can’t vote in America – to work as his deputy campaign manager. I guarantee he didn’t submit an I-9 Form to the U.S. Department of Labor as required by federal immigration laws. He’s already stealing jobs from Americans to give to foreigners who have no business in our nation working. Citizens of America should have first and last priorities to all Cleveland jobs. Our local tax dollars should not be funding jobs with benefits and pensions for undocumented workers. That’s insane.
I think it’s wrong for a mayor who served for 12 years as the city’s chief law enforcement officer to aid and possibly conspire with a non-resident to violate the city’s residency laws. I’d feel better about White’s endorsement of Bibb if he’d accept some responsibility for Johnson and Jones. He owes Cleveland an apology. Not another one of his hand picked candidates.