The Frank Jackson regime has been in business a mere eight months, but people are already getting a sense of déjà vu. It seems that Jackson is trying to break former Mayor Mike White's unbeatable record of barricading public information from public view.
First, Jackson hid the résumés of applicants for the airport director's job until the ACLU threatened to sue last spring.
A month later, the Cleveland school district refused to release a series of audits on such pressing topics as its make-believe attendance numbers and bogus bus-rider count. Though the audits were funded by you, dear taxpayer, school officials thought you didn't have the right to see them, claiming a bizarre form of attorney-client privilege. Only after being barraged by this rag and other media did the district back down.
But the Jackson regime still didn't learn its lesson. This month, city officials dragged their feet in releasing a study of racial profiling by police.
The Nixonian approach isn't surprising. After all, Jackson's administration features many of the same cast members from the Classic White Years.
There's Fred Nance, the lawyer and former White adviser who raked in millions of tax dollars on the Browns Stadium and airport expansion deals. Over at the schools, there's the H.R. Haldeman of PR, Alan Seifullah, a former White spokesman now doing cover-up for the district.
If Jackson could only hire Dick Cheney, we could petition for annexation by the government of Cuba.
It's the NBA's off-season, which means it's peak pimping time for Damon Jones, the Cavaliers guard and one-man marketing machine.
He's flown to China to sell his signature shoe, been the subject of a front-page Wall Street Journal profile, and managed to make an appearance at the ESPY's.
But the kicker came when Jones turned up on MTV's Cribs. The show recently featured Jones -- along with Ryan Cabrera and Leah Remini -- in a special episode called "Lil Jon Blew Us Off. Who Can We Get Last Minute?"
In the segment -- available at YouTube.com -- Jones takes viewers on a tour of his $600,000 Westlake palace, even showing off his home-design skills. "I expanded [the shower] a little bit, where it could fit up to three to four people."
Then comes the obligatory front-yard car show.
When Scene visited Jones' place in January, he talked of only one ride, a silver Benz ["Always Open," March 8]. He got it from a North Olmsted Benz dealer, which loans him cars in exchange for his endorsement.
But on Cribs, Jones shows off four cars -- all of them Mercedes. While he may have trouble shooting, let it not be said that D-Jones can't pimp an endorsement deal.
"When the weather is bad, I get in my ML500 and cruise down the freeway to practice and games," Jones says, turning the show into a glorified Mercedes ad. He then moves on to his "brand-new, hasn't-hit-the-streets-yet, 2007 S550. Translucent roof. Front and rear end cameras." Then his "2007 SL55. V-8. Goes fast!" And finally, his "prized possession. 2007 SLR McLaren. This car right here is self-explanatory. Just look at it!"
Jones' garage can't even fit four cars, and it's not likely Mercedes lets him park the high-ticket loaners on the street. But Bernie Moreno, who owns Mercedes-Benz of North Olmsted, says he didn't lend Jones the cars specifically for Cribs. "He's a car nut," Marino explains. "He flips them all the time."
Jones could not be reached for comment, but for a man who doesn't skimp on superlatives when describing himself, there's little doubt he'd call himself "the best car salesman of all time."
Those damn foreigners
The Cleveland Clinic is known for attracting some of the world's brightest minds, a fact the Clinic is mighty proud of -- as long as they speak English.
Researchers in the Clinic's Lerner Institute recently received an e-mail from higher-ups "strongly" recommending that "only English be spoken" in labs. "English is the 'official language'" of international science, the e-mail explains, and "career progression for biomedical researchers . . . in the United States is dependent upon a strong command of English."
Though it was left unsaid, leading scientists also believe that speaking English makes it way harder to talk shit about your boss.
Clinic spokeswoman Eileen Sheil admits the e-mail may have been misleading. It's only when workers might be left out of a conversation that English should be used -- for safety and professional courtesy. She has a point. If you, say, try telling a colleague to shower more often, it's important to communicate in a common language.
"If they're all German, they can all speak German," Sheil tells Punch. "It's not that we're trying to restrict people from speaking their native language."
But some workers were troubled by the e-mail's aggressive tone, since it sounded like it was written by some really weird congressman from Missouri. "What will happen if I do not obey this rule and continue using my mother tongue with my colleagues?" wonders one researcher. "And what 'recommendation' comes next?"
The e-mail gives no indication, but sources say the Clinic is considering a ban on funny-looking pants and soccer jerseys.
What a Hoot
Punch concedes this rag can get racy at times. Our readers -- whom we love so much it makes us tremble -- don't always want their stories in the Queen's English, and aren't easily offended by the more adventurous side of life.
But apparently we've taken it too far for one family-friendly establishment in Mentor. Last week, managers decided to ban the distribution of Scene at their restaurant, believing customers would be offended by our ads for strippers (which, by the way, can be conveniently located near the back of this issue).
Punch understands perfectly. When you're famous for selling chicken wings -- served by buxom waitresses, scantily clad so as to present their mammary glands in full glory -- any hint of sexuality must be repelled.
So we salute you, managers of the Mentor Hooters, for keeping your customers safe from people like us.