by Frank Lewis
So Cleveland has two less wards now, and two fewer Sweeney naysayers. You wouldn’t know it by looking around.
Some will feel the benefits, though. For the 19 Council members who remain — especially for folks like Council President Martin Sweeney out in West Park’s Ward 20 — there are fewer pots to put the dough in.
And where many members will see their ward sizes rise to meet the median population of 22,500 (based on a CSU estimate of 427,000 Cleveland citizens), Ward 20 will become Ward 18 in a virtually identical shape. That means more block grant money, parks funding and street repair.
Guess it pays to live in the king’s neighborhood. You better believe what Republicans are left in Cleveland are happy. “I love this,” says Richard May, head of the West Park Republican Organization. “Why in the world would I have a problem with getting more money for my neighborhood?”
Of course, there’s not that much money to go around these days anyway. While block grant funds for revitalization and a trimmed-in-two street repair fund will go farther now for wards like Sweeney’s, he ceded to his master, Mayor Frank Jackson, three years ago and allowed Jackson to spend parks funds in whatever way he’d like … which was to plunk down the most money in wards that needed the most help. Sweeney also got a pittance, in comparison to his colleagues, for capital improvement projects.
Old Brooklyn Councilman Brian Cummins, a Sweeney foe who was one of two members to have their wards chopped to salad, doesn’t want to talk about how it’s going to be a bullshit-laden year of campaigning for new votes. He just keeps hammering away about how hard it’s been to get things done for his constituents under the current oligarchy.
“The money is spread so thin already,” he said. For some more than others, of course. — Dan Harkins