As the cliché says, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” On Election Day earlier this month, the voters Cuyahoga County took some very desperate measures by passing both Issue 3 and Issue 6.
It is no secret that the county is struggling – Cleveland in particular. What is very hard to understand, however, is why voters would pass a flawed casino plan and return people like Frank Jackson to their positions. The passage of Issue 6 should bring some relief to an electorate traumatized by political corruption within the county structure. Unfortunately, the correct decision in passing county reform may be overshadowed in coming years by the ludicrous decision to re-elect Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson and the misguided passage of Issue 3.
Let’s start with Frank Jackson. Mayor Jackson was elected to his first term as a knee-jerk reaction to the failed tenure of Jane Campbell. In four years, Jackson has not accomplished much at all. The Cleveland Municipal School District’s state report card did improve, but only from the “panic button” level of F to a D. Jackson did deliver on his promise to make schools safer by adding security personnel and metal detectors, but only after 14-year old Asa Coon went on a shooting spree at SuccessTech Academy in 2007. Also, Jackson struck down the city residency laws, removing the element of police and fire living within the city limits, which in turn made residents feel much less safe. In the end, it seems that Jackson doing nothing would have been better than making the terrible decisions he has made already.
As for Issue 3, my previous column shows how I feel about casinos in Cleveland. Adding a high risk for crime into an already crime-riddled area makes about as much sense as rubbing dirt in an open wound. Just because Detroit has casinos does not mean Cleveland has to. If you have been to Detroit lately, you know that if the casinos don’t take your money, the guy on the corner will. It just doesn’t seem reasonable to expose Cleveland to the guaranteed five to eight percent rise in the crime rate.
Hopefully Cleveland voters saw something we in the suburbs did not, or in the coming decades we won’t see much in the way of change at all.