Frank Jackson, ragtag crew to tour Paris on taxpayers’ dime; here’s hoping they stay there

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"Le Mayor, Francois Jackson.
Since the dawn of civilization, France has built its reputation as a safe haven for eccentrics and the occasional jackass. But even they’ll be unprepared for the crew of weirdos headed from Cleveland to Paris next Thursday. As reported by the Plain Dealer this morning, Mayor Frank Jackson and four city officials will make the trip, which will cost taxpayers $14,000, in an effort to show off the first nonstop flight from Hopkins Airport to Paris. Once there, according to the PD, the group will “spend its time… marketing the city to French business and political leaders.” They might as well claim plans to paint the Eiffel tower burnt-Browns orange. ... This is clearly an all-expense paid long weekend in the land of baguettes and Monica Lewinksy hats. While they might spend an afternoon sucking snails with Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe or some brie magnate, it seems doubtful either would want to hear about our imaginary plans for a Medical Mart or our port’s grand quest to become an “an international gateway.” Government Waste watchdog, David Williams, in questioning the logic of the trip: “When a household is in dire financial straits, they don’t take a vacation to Paris,” he told the PD. Which proves that in Cleveland, the politicians often do things so dumb and self-serving that we don’t need an expert to tell us so. Jackson will be taking with him his PR flack Maureen Harper, airport director and personal crony Ricky Smith, Westside councilman Kevin Kelley, and City Council President Martin Sweeney, whose recent $60,000 buyout of a sexual harassment case, ensures he’ll fit right in in the home of Marquis de Sade and Louis XIV. – Gus Garcia-Roberts

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