The best and worst of Cleveland.
I will assume the majority of our readers are up to date on the Tim Gobble affair so I won't retrace the steps of the Bradley News Weekly's excellent display of investigative journalism. For the fist time that I can remember, the Weekly actually got it right by simply doing the right thing. They gauged the community's sentiment and reflected it's mood with their editorial comment.
Although it is troubling that a city employee can unseat a people's elected representative to avoid criticism and not lose his job, the scandal highlights the best and worst of Cleveland in a way that can only make this community a better place. It may appear clear who the winners and losers are but events like this have a way or turning reason on it's head. It is doubtful that Gobble's career will survive unscathed despite his efforts to salvage it. Even if his Secret Service record remains untarnished, its unlikely he will retain the personal satisfaction the job once afforded. I must say I am a little disappointed in him for not putting up more of a fight. I can understand why he did what he did but ultimately he betrayed the people who trusted him by capitulating. He will likely come to regret his decision.
Then there is Police Chief Lee Reese... never overly popular with the citizens, he never-the-less run a pretty low profile department. Citizens want to feel safe and protected but don't want an outwardly aggressive police force and Reese supplied that balance. Reese made some bad choices when it came to Gobble and it is doubtful his credibility or job will survive for long. The evidence is clear that Reese tried to avoid meting out real punishment to one of his officers with serious domestic and self control problems. Supervision is a real problem. It does not instill confidence to hear reports of a half crazed officer waiving a gun in public and threatening people while the chief and city manager were doing their best to cover it up. Having sex in a church parking lot while on duty is unbecoming of a police officer and also not acceptable. Even City Manager Joe Cate is unlikely to remain unscathed... his show of indecisiveness over disciplinary procedures casts doubt on his management abilities, so he's another loser.
Then there is our good mayor Tom Rowland... what can you say about a mayor who will stab a man in the back and then praise him in public after his demise to protect his own political image. To the mayor's credit the tactic has worked for him for years, his lying and cheating is almost legendary yet he still has friends and nodding head votes on the city council and he is still Mayor of Cleveland. Even if Rowland installs one of his puppets to fill Gobble's seat the City Council will have no credibility with the citizens... they will be looked upon as a bunch of crooks and everything they try to do will be a fight.... Rowland is overdue to face disgrace.
Then there are the winners.... the citizen will gain the most benefit. They will have seen how low our so called leaders are willing to sink to get what they want. The conniving and scheming of a few despicable people will no longer go unnoticed, so the voters will be more willing to change the political landscape. That must be a win for the community.
The Bradley News Weekly has shown itself to be on the winning side on this issue. Hopefully the revitalizing jolt of popularity will cause them to permanently change direction in favor of the people. They have tremendous influence over our elected officials that could be used for the good. Lets hope they continue to use it that way.
George Poe and Bill Robinson have surprised me with their show of courage. I was beginning to believe Poe was a lost cause after watching him suck up to the good ol boys but I seemed to have been wrong. His recent outspokenness could only have come from a man with character. Sometimes it takes extreme courage to stand for what is right, its always more comfortable to stick with the status quo, so Poe's stand should be applauded for the sacrifice it was. He was definitely the big winner in my eyes.
What do you think?
I didn't believe there were still people left in Bradley County gullible enough to believe that appointed administrators are really selected by selection committees. The committee endowed with the task of selecting a new administrator to run Bradley Memorial Hospital could not have believed that Alan Watson didn't already have the job. When a man leaves a good position at Cleveland Hospital for a temporary one at the hospital across town, there must have been promises made otherwise the move wouldn't make sense. Just like the four members of the Cleveland City Council who voted to appoint Tim Gobble's replacement don't already know who has been selected for the job.. if they don't, Rowland and Cate do and they are using the councilors as patsies. In the 10 years or so that I've been a Cleveland politics watcher it was soon apparent that everyone selected, appointed or elected in this town were there primarily because they could be relied upon to toe the status quo line and please the good ol boys that have a strangle hold on everything that happens here.
Nothing has changed since then except for the accountability if they are caught doing it. The Open Meetings Act means nothing in Cleveland... nor do honest elections or voter input. Everything is decided beforehand and the system manipulated to suit the intended outcome; in short, everything is rigged. But there is good news, the numbers of willing patsies are dwindling. Scan the list of hopefuls applying for Gobble's job and you will see an unusual number of industry leaders. These are not real contenders, many are too busy with their careers to bother with petty politics, besides many are part of the G.O B system that decides things behind closed doors anyway.
These people are fillers with no intention of sitting on the council but they are needed to make the process seem credible. A few years ago their names would never have been on any list for there were plenty of wannabe's ready to be sacrificed.
After years of betraying their supporters the army has shrunk to a few generals and they are being forced to fight their own wars.... hence the unusual lineup. Bambi Hines, Rod Davis and Avery Johnson are members of a shrinking group of sacrificial lambs willing to evoke the wrath of an irate and disenfranchised citizenry. They are destined to perform well for their masters as were the lambs who have gone before them but as Rome is crumbling, this group seem oblivious to their fate.
Is the Cleveland Good Ol Boy system finally crumbling?
What do you think?