Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Meanwhile, Back in Cuyahoga County, Reform?

As I reported on Bad Lawyer, Cuyahoga County, Ohio residents have been so outraged by the corruption of their public officials, they discarded their form of government to get rid of all the crooks in one-fell-swoop. 

It is a truism that often what passes at "reform" turns out to be "less democratic" and often more of a "deform."  Witness, "tort reform," and while I agree that the election of Judges doesn't work out all that well in terms of the lawyers who obtain judgeships as can be seen from the arrest of and implication of numerous Cuyahoga County Judges in their ongoing corruption scandal--election of Judges mean that theoretically, the electors choose their jurists.  By the way, check this Las Vegas Sun article quoting former Associate Justice Sandra O'Connor who has taken up merit selection as her personal cause. But merit selection often means that the elites choose  the Judges--this may or may not be a good thing.  Look how merit selection plays out at "the top," the U.S. Supreme Court--currently, only Ivy League graduates serve on the high court, and only Ivy League law graduates get the coveted clerkships which lead to prominent academic and judicial careers. 

So, Cuyahoga County has "reformed" it's governmental model and the new guys have even taken their seats yet and this morning's Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the democratic and republican candidates for the County "Executive" position have both been implicated in scandals relating to public ethics.  Matt Dolan (pic, right) apparently was dating a lobbyist (who he eventually married) while serving in the Ohio general assembly; and Ed Fitzgerald (a local suburban mayor, lawyer and former FBI agent), aka, "Public Official 14" in a federal indictment (pic, left) was doing business deals with the indicted former Cuyahoga County Commissioner and corruption kingpin, Jimmy Dimora (pic, right below).

As a commentator pointed out the other day, the word "Cuyahoga" in a native American word which means "Crooked" as in the Crooked River.  Apparently a micro-brewery in Cleveland makes a brew called "Croked River" as well as one called "Elliot Ness." 

So the world keeps on turning and as always the more things change, the more it remains the same.

Update:  Dimora, Russo, and Sheriff McFaul crony, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Bill Mason (pic, left), is reportedly on the verge of resignation and possible federal indictment (reports say within the next 60 days.)  An article at alternative newsweekly, the, is the source for the current reports concerning prosecutor Mason.  Mason, has been the subject of several posts, here, on Bad Lawyer over the last year.

Federal charges against Mason would be the final climatic scene in this tragedy for Cuyahoga County. This was the boy who wanted to be president.  Turns out he was just another political hack.  Shame.


  1. Excellent coverage of the scandals in Cuyhoga county, OH and why people should care. Good work blogger.

  2. This is a huge story, most of us who follow politics or think about governmental structures can only look at a number of places around the country where these sorts of municipal tragedies play out--New Orleans, Phoenix, Detroit, Baltimore, and Cleveland and wonder, will anything ever change for the better.

    I think it boils down to the question of whether we ourselves can change. Whether we can look at ourselves as being invested in good people involved for more than self-seeking. Miraculously such people do get involved. They are the ones that need to advance, even when on occasion they make a decision we disagree with or God forbid, a mistake.

    Sadly, Cuyahoga County seems like it's in some sort of mad death spiral. Jettisoning one form of government only to get a new crew of pretty much the same. Let's hope not, for that wounded community.