No one expects a fair process for filling five soon-to-be-vacant seats on the Cleveland school board. With so few people applying for the unpaid job of overseeing a den of chaos, Mayor Frank Jackson doesn't have many options. So when he makes his picks -- which could happen as early as this week -- he's likely to reappoint the same dismal folks who silently watched the schools crumble for the past nine years ["Jackson's Moment of Truth," First Punch, May 23].
But one new candidate with excellent odds is Terri Hamilton Brown, head of corporate diversity at National City, which is kinda like being the head of Jewish Services for the state of Alabama.
Brown is perfect for shepherding the district's further decline, since she used to run one of the few agencies that rivaled the schools' record of corruption and ineptitude: the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.
She also happens to be married to Jackson's chief operating officer, Darnell Brown. Which means that any semblance of independent oversight -- already a foreign concept to the nine-lemming panel -- would be out the window.
But here in Cleveland, you can have an I.Q. of 30 and believe watching The Price Is Right fulfills the math requirement, and still get appointed to the school board. Forget about the kids. Connections trump all.
Merging the gangs
Speaking of education . . . As Cleveland grapples with closing dozens of schools, one unfortunate fallout is getting scant attention: the inherent violence of the proposition. After all, merging schools also means merging rival gangs.
"You'll need the 82nd Airborne in some of these buildings to keep them apart," Councilman Mike Polensek tells Punch. "It's gonna be a frickin' nightmare."
District spokesman Ron Kisner doesn't seem worried. "We've been down that road before," he says. "It's not going to be new."
But police union boss Steve Loomis says the district's experience is exactly what worries him. He recalls patrolling the southeast side when students from one middle school were moved to another. "We had six cars up there every single day. At the high schools, the problems would be tenfold, and they would be more violent. [At the middle school] it was 12-year-olds fist-fighting. At the high schools it's going to be 16-year-olds slicing and dicing."
One day Shawn Manley was vacuuming the Lakewood home he shared with his girlfriend and her cat, Morgan. Normally, this would make Manley a very nice boyfriend, since most Lakewood men never leave the bar except to pass out or vomit.
But on this day, the cat decided to rub against him as he vacuumed. Manley snapped. He grabbed Morgan and began to punch him. It took 10 fist-burgers, he recalls, to make the furball stop squirming. Manley then hid the cat in a closet, apparently so his girlfriend wouldn't find out. For the next three days, he denied any knowledge of Morgan's whereabouts.
But then he made a tragic mistake, forgetting that women, unlike men, occasionally look in closets. When he left for the weekend, his girlfriend found the cat dehydrated and barely conscious. Morgan was rushed to the vet and treated for severe head trauma.
It seems the girlfriend's family arrived at the shocking conclusion that Manley might just be a psycho. They called the Animal Protective League, whose investigation helped Lakewood prosecutors bring abuse charges. "He didn't deny anything," says the APL's Jed Mignano.
Manley has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. After that, he's looking at six months.
When we last left Leonard Goldberg ["Sex, Lies, a Priest, & Elaine Presser," May 16], he was accused of abetting Elaine Presser's scamming of churches and extortion of an elderly priest. Needless to say, Goldberg wasn't pleased by how he was characterized in the story.
Though he admits to driving Presser and her sister to the churches, where they grubbed money with sob stories, he claims he never took part in their scheme. "Elaine Presser is the biggest lying piece of shit on the face of the earth," Goldberg says. "I never did and never will scam churches. She was using me as a scapegoat."
If he ever took money, he did it out of true necessity. "I have intestinal cancer and lymphoma. I can't work, and I don't have that much money. My friends and relatives try to help me out, but it's hard."
As for Presser's allegations that Goldberg is living out of his car and still scamming churches, he claims that's complete nonsense. "She's nothing but a drug-head. She's still probably buying drugs and still spending Gary's money, because he's a fucking idiot alcoholic."
Consider his side of the story told.
Nazi regains the throne
If it's already broke, why fix it? That seems to be the motto of the National Alliance, the neo-Nazi organization dedicated to eradicating Jews, gays, blacks, and the color pink.
The once mighty white-supremo outfit collapsed soon after Clevelander Erich Gliebe took over as chairman ["Fall of the Fourth Reich," February 15, 2006]. Apparently the membership, which once numbered in the thousands, wasn't too keen on his management style or his notion of white women's purity, since he married a stripper.
So Gliebe stepped down last year and passed the leadership post to his buddy, Shaun Walker. But Walker encountered a few problems of his own. He was recently convicted in federal court of attacking a Mexican guy at a bar in 2003 and an Indian guy in 2002. He's looking at 10 years on each count when he's sentenced in July, but he may face additional time for punching like a girl.
Now Gliebe has taken back his leadership reins and happily resumed his rants against Larry David and Korean laundromats. The four remaining members heartily applauded his return.