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The Plain Dealer pulls in another Floridian; a Magic Bus; in defense of spanking.


The Plain Dealer increased its middle-aged-bald-guys-from-Florida quotient with the hiring of Managing Editor Tom O'Hara, who replaces Gary Clark. O'Hara and Chief Blue Pencil Doug Clifton worked with and competed against each other in South Florida. The pastel connection doesn't bother us nearly as much as O'Hara's fatuous quote in Tuesday's PD: "Everybody is going to get to know my next-door neighbor," he said, attempting to show that he's down with regular folks. Two problems with that statement: 1) Hey, what's wrong with our neighbor? and 2) they have a name for people who shape the vision of newspapers, Tommy. They're called editors.

In most big cities, customers think they're doing pretty well if they can park within five blocks of their destination. Not here. "Clevelanders have to park right in front," says Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun toy store on Coventry Road. To alleviate the area's well-known parking crunch, the Coventry Village Special Improvement District is getting creative: The nonprofit group purchased a school bus, which is in the process of being "incredibly painted," says Presser. It's not in operation yet, but in a couple of weeks or so, the Magic Bus, as it's been dubbed, will be shuttling patrons from free parking four or five blocks away to the center of the district. If the whole psychedelic bus idea evokes the '60s, well, maybe that's the idea. As Presser, the group's treasurer, says, "It's a happening. It's a hoot."

Berea Detective Robert Surgenor, Cleveland's own Spankmeister, wasn't able to watch himself spar with children services workers on the Dr. Laura show that aired this week, because he was in New York taping the Montel Williams show. Not to worry. The author of No Fear: A Police Officer's Perspective, a 238-page defense of spanking surly kids, has the Dr. Laura episode on tape. Though the doc can seem like a real hardass on her radio show, she's actually a creampuff in person. "She went out of her way to make all of the guests on the show feel that they were worth something," says Surgenor. Though Dr. Laura agreed with Surgenor, she gave everyone in the group -- both pro- and anti-spanking -- an off-camera hug.

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