A couple of friends attended one of Warner Mendenhall's neighborhood attack-fests this week to learn more about the Akron lawyer's historically ceaseless effort to unhinge Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, the city's longest serving chief executive - summarily kick him out of City Hall - to cap a personal vendetta that may have started long before a teenage Plusquellic became known as a high school football star. Who knows, as the Shadow often asked, what evil lurks in the hearts of men? My friends were not impressed with what they heard, largely warmed over charges from earlier assaults by Mendenhall and his pestiferous crony, Robert Smith. But folks, this is no longer a parlor game. With a requirement of no more than 3,000 signatures on the recall petitions, this gang of political outriders shouldn't be taken lightly. Whether one is a Plusquellic loyalist or has been offended by him for one thing or another, be aware that this is no time to be uprooting an administration that has far more pluses than minuses - including Plusquellic's own national standing with the White House and other urban mayors. (Most recently he was honored by Tufts University for his leadership qualities, a citation that apparently fell through a huge crack in the recallers' facade.) For any foe to attempt this disruption at a time when urban survival should be on everybody's minds these days tells me that the perps are more interested in settling their own grievances rather than serving the welfare of their city. The actual economic costs in paying for an election as well as the distractions to an administration otherwise committed to improving the city should be more than anyone would be willing to pay. Fair warning.
Considering all of the yelping from the churlish Republican losers about President Obama's stimulus plan, including the drone from Bobby Jindal, it seems to me that the GOP is shouting FIRE in an empty theatre.
As long as I'v e turned up Jindal, I should mention that the good Rush Limbaugh, the rotund one-man emergency squad, has salvaged Bobby god-like from oblivion as the GOP crashed more deeply into Sarah Palin's Alaskan permafrost. Rush blamed the media for Sarah's demise. But now he is hysterically blaming liberals and conservatives for Jindal's bad opening night reviews. The Louisiana governor, Limbaugh argued, is saying all the right things to lead the conservatives' core values back into the first tier of positive thinking. Let's all hope that Katrina 2 doesn't occur. But if it does, they'll need more than Jindal's core values to sustain the dikes.
Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch, I learned Thursday (in an E-mail from a former Columbus journalist) that the Democratic field for George Voinovich's senate seat has expanded to three, which, of course, now qualifies as a valid crowd. The latest entry is State Rep. Tyrone Yates, former vice-mayor of Cincinnati, and ex-Ohio Asst. Attorney General. A four-termer in the Ohio House, Yates joins Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in the rush to head to Washington. But wait: the Dispatch also noted that a possible fourth candidate, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, may also join the group. When the number grows to nine or 10 in the Democratic primary, the race may have to be outsourced to the Indy 500. The only Republican to announce so far is Rob Portman, also of Cincinnati.
Does anybody wonder about the whereabouts of John Widowfield, the unfortunate Republican state representative who lost his job when he tried to cash in on the sale of Ohio State football tickets on eBay? Probably not, but I'll tell you anyway. He is working the overnight shift (midnight to something or other) at the Akron Municipal Clerk of Courts office for about $28,0o0 a year. At least he has a job, which is not what you can say about more and more people these days.
UPDATE: Joe Hallett, of the Columbus Dispatch, which is nicely keeping busy taking attendance these days, now reports that the Democratic gold rush for George Voinovich's U.S. Senate seat could expand again with the possible addition of two wannabes from the Cleveland area: Cuyahoga County commissioner Peter Lawson Jones and Chris Celeste, son of former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste. Both are said to be thinking about it. That would make it six on the Democratic side and -Yikes! - it's only February, 2009. Rob Portman, the lone Republican to announce for the job, must be feeling quite lonely these days.