Back in March, after a wrenching day of testimony by victims of priest sex abuse, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill that would allow anyone who was victimized after 1970 the right to sue ("The Sin That Keeps on Giving," April 27). Current law bars people over age 20 from suing.
But apparently Mr. Family Values, House Speaker Jim Husted, thinks it's okay to abuse kids -- as long as it's committed by God-fearing pedophiles. He's doing his best to give pervert priests a Get Out of Jail Free card.
Husted waited months to assign the bill to a committee. Now, after intense lobbying from the Catholic Church, he's promising legislators that he'll keep it bottled up in the House to kill it through neglect.
"I don't know that 'bottling up' is a fair assessment," says Karen Tabor, spokesman for the Ashland-area Republican. "It's a serious issue, and it deserves serious consideration."
But that's not what Husted says when he's on the horn to colleagues. "He called me up and said he has no intention of voting the bill out of the House anytime soon," says Chris Redfern, the House Democratic leader.
Partying for politics
When Grandma writes a $50 check to her favorite politico, she's probably not expecting it to cover the mayor's bar tab. But when you have a mayor who parties for the greater good, that's just part of the equation, says Akron's Don Plusquellic. "I take people out to drink. I did last night. It's part of what a mayor does."
Last year, the Don Plusquellic Committee supplied the mayor with over $90,000 for the purpose of "campaigning." And campaign he did. "If it's political or anything, I just put it on the committee credit card," he says. "I've bought drinks for just about anyone you can imagine."
From $200 dinners at Jacob Good to $100 snacks at the Tokyo airport, Plusquellic's campaign funds have kept him well lubed and well traveled. Tax dollars can't pick up the drinks, so he does. "Have you ever seen a German businessman? They know how to drink," he says.
Summit County Republican Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff also knows how to put the "party" in "party funds." Whether it's a $200 dinner, plane tickets for him and his wife, or the lease on his Audi, you can bet that Republican grandmas are picking up his tab.
Scott, meet Larry
In his $225 million vision for the Flats' East Bank, developer Scott Wolstein sees townhouses, restaurants, galleries, and grocery stores. He does not, so far as we know, foresee an expensive fight with an infamous porn magnate -- but that's what he may very well get.
A group of investors last week purchased the Circus strip club, one of a handful of properties Wolstein doesn't own on the East Bank. The buyers have teamed up with Déjà Vu, a national consulting firm with 160 strip clubs among its clients, to run the club. Déjà Vu plans a $1.5 million makeover, which includes changing the club's name to the Larry Flynt Hustler Club.
Wolstein says the sale "doesn't matter." He'll either negotiate to buy the club and knock it down or let the city take it by eminent domain.
But Déjà Vu spokesman Joe Hall says that while the company will listen to offers, it has significant experience fighting eminent domain. It also has plenty of "Beaver Bucks" -- the currency at Hustler Clubs -- to pay attorneys' fees.
"I'm not really terribly interested in what they think," Wolstein responds. "If they bought that property with the intention of staying, they're not very good businessmen."
Lifehouse: Public enemy No. 1
Q104 DJ John Connor was scrolling through snips of VH1 sound bites to see whether there was anything he could use for his Top 10 countdown show. Hence, he was delighted to see a bite from Jason Wade, lead singer of Lifehouse, the sappy Christian rock band, that contained a Cleveland reference. Alas, his glee quickly turned to pissed-offedness.
In the clip, Wade is heard responding to a question about what he does on vacations: "Usually . . . it's kind of nerdy, but I'll go stalk like my favorite basketball teams, like I'll go to Cleveland to see the Cavs play. That's my idea of a good vacation. That's kind of weird -- Cleveland actually sucks, but it's cool to see like a weekend basketball game, like two games."
Connor was incensed. In May, the station played host to the band before its show at the House of Blues. "For the band to say basically it's a crappy town and stereotype the city, I just think it's wrong," says Allan Fee, a Q104 morning host.
For its part, Lifehouse initially employed the ubiquitous taken-out-of-context defense. Wade was really referring to the Cavs' record, the argument went, not to the city.
Q104 was unconvinced. "Cleveland sucks -- it's kind of hard to take that phrase out of context," says Fee.
The station subsequently banned Lifehouse from its airwaves until the band apologized to both city and station -- a ban that was lifted Monday after Lifehouse management apologized to Q104.
Hudson Police Sergeant John Lowman is catching hell after last week's Dave Matthews show at Blossom.
Lowman, who runs the Summit County DUI Task Force -- the guys who make getting to Blossom scarier than entering North Korea -- sent out press releases advising the media of DUI checkpoints. He also posted signs announcing a checkpoint along the route.
Alas, there was no checkpoint. Lowman hoped that if he duped the media, concertgoers would avoid getting too hammered before the show -- or at least ditch their bottles and bongs along the way, so the task force could make targeted stops.
But hell hath no fury like media geeks scorned. The media jumped on Lowman, blaming his clever ruse for backing up traffic and forcing hundreds, if not thousands to miss much of Matthews' set.
Channel 19's feelings were particularly hurt. It sent ace reporter Scott Taylor to Hudson to dog Lowman. "Come on, Sergeant Lowman," said Taylor, doing his best impression of Scooter Fights for the People. "You don't have to lie to the media to get those types of results."
Thing is, Lowman's move actually was pretty clever. The traffic delays could be blamed on Blossom's entrance, which was designed by German inefficiency experts. Had there been an actual checkpoint, the deaths from car-exhaust intake and lack of beer would likely have been in the thousands.
Still, when Punch contacted Lowman, we encountered a lawman whose buttocks was clearly scalded. "You hate us too?" he asked.
Naah, Sarge. Hate the game. Don't hate the playa, baby.