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Walking the Plank

City Council Prez Mike Polensek denounces the mayor's pretty artist renderings as "glitz," "glamour," and "puff"

Cruel wind! Sailing his new $765 million lakefront development plan before reporters at the Rock Hall Friday, Mayor Michael White promised to "hear from every single individual who wants to add their voice and their vision to this." Every single individual, it seems, except for City Council Prez Mike Polensek, other council members, and the county commissioners, whom Captain White didn't involve in planning. Polensek invited reporters back to his office for a public soaking, denouncing the mayor's pretty artist renderings as "glitz," "glamour," and "puff." The mayor would like to land the plan on the ballot as early as November. But Polensek isn't likely to climb aboard. After the stadium cost overruns, Polensek would just as soon walk the plank as rush another high-priced development. "I think it's important the public not get snookered again," he says. Or drowned in more taxes.

Later that same day: When the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland was handed $25,000 from MAC Cosmetics, it was hardly a surprise that the group chose to do a little something to show its appreciation. The token of thanks was a Voice Against the Silence Award, which the Taskforce gave out to MAC CEO John Demsey, and its superstar spokesperson, Mary J. Blige, who was in town for a couple of shows. Conspicuous by its absence, however, was a similar award for the other high-profile guest in attendance, Mayor White. Instead, the mayor accepted an award from the Taskforce "to the City of Cleveland," a little detail the credit-conscious White could not have failed to notice.

The First Amendment took it on the chin last week when state park police pulled the plug on a clean air press conference at the Gordon Lakefront State Park. About 15 people showed up, not counting cops, who appeared just as things were getting under way. Park spokesman Dave Frank said later that the clean air folks didn't get the required permit 28 days ahead of time. But, says Margaux Shields of the Public Interest Research Group, that's a rule the park has never enforced at her group's prior gatherings. "The police said they were concerned that whatever we said wouldn't agree with the state," says Shields. "So not only is the State of Ohio not willing to address air quality problems, it's not even willing to let other people talk about it."

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