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The Worst of Cleveland: Armond Budish


County Executive Armond Budish is such a consummate farce that it's a wonder he hasn't resigned and hightailed it to Florida, where at the very least he could be made comfortable.  

He emerged from self-exile last Thursday to deliver a State of the County address so out of touch with the county and its marquee question — what is to be done about the Cuyahoga County Jail? — that the first round of applause didn't arrive for 30 minutes. (His only other recent public appearance: Showing up for official announcement, alongside Frank Jackson and Dan Gilbert, that Quicken Loans Arena would be renamed the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, a fact that all parties agreed was, and trumpeted as, an important development for the future of the arena.) He has zero credibility or moral authority. Most of what he says can be dismissed out of hand as nonsense. It's a mark of his minimal news value that the region's top editors didn't even show up for his annual speech. They were over in Playhouse Square for a Press Club event, where, incidentally, the first question in an audience Q&A asked PD editor George Rodrigue whether the paper would ever get around to apologizing for the endorsement of Frank Jackson and Budish and call for their resignations.

Even longtime PD editorial page director Brent Larkin has abandoned Budish. He has dressed him down in multiple columns for a lack of relevant experience, a horrible managerial style and an insipid brand of leadership that has threatened to destabilize county government itself. Only editor Chris Quinn remains by his side. It was Quinn who presumably penned one of the more brazenly irresponsible editorials in recent memory, calling for an end to the investigation into county corruption on the basis of Budish's claims that he had done nothing wrong.

Budish, as everyone knows by now, is literally the worst.

He can take some comfort in the fact that his legacy is cemented. His chief contribution will be the utter failing of the Cuyahoga County Jail, a facility that saw eight people die — including four by suicide — in the second half of 2018 because Budish wanted to cut costs. He had no interest in cutting costs, or even thinking about the financial implications, when it came to public contributions for the Arena formerly known as Quicken Loans. Budish called the completion of the arena's renovation — though it's not yet complete — one of the past year's major highlights. Meanwhile, during his State of the County speech, the former jail warden was being indicted. What a joke.

Known for nothing more than his fundraising acumen at the Statehouse and a former legal practice at which he helped senior citizens shelter their money from government collection — a stand-up guy! — Budish is now known only for his incompetence, including an inability to hire and retain competent directors, and his tone-deaf public speaking. Get lost, bozo. — Sam Allard

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