WEEK END WITH WARNER: Warner Mendenhall's mad dash to recall Mayor Plusquellic hit a few bumps Friday with the report in the Beacon Journal that two guys who figured to aid and abet the assault are now declaring their opposition to the whole idea. That's the word from Joe Finley, the former Democratic councilman who opposed Plusquellic in a primary; and Ward 2 Councilman Bruce Kilby. Based on their past opposition to the mayor, neither would likely send him a Christmas card. But Finley told the BJ that a recall movement is a much too extravagant reprisal: "While I oppose Plusquellic, I believe that recalls should be reserved for gross malfeasance, not for resolving simple policy differences or personality conflicts."
Mendenhall seems to be taking the bad news in stride, forever trying to rise above the madding crowd to describe the whole spectacle as an exercise in democracy, thereby rudely disrupting City Hall and the city's business with his door-to-door cavalry. I can't deny that democracy makes allowances for recalls, although people with a mind to remove a pol from office usually wait until the election season to advance their grievances. Having said that, might Mr. Mendenhall should be reminded that democracy also allows people to make foolish nuisances of themselves in public.
To cite the cautionary words of the late Hubert H Humphrey: The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
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Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart's crowing that he salvaged part of the Italian summer festival, the bulk of which is moving to downtown Akron from his city, leads me to wonder whether Republican Robart will claim this as part of his own stimulus program. The festival split is a continuation of the rivalry of Italian clubs in the Falls, but a long-time observer, whose company had a major role in the festivals in the Falls, expressed doubts to me that the spin-off will be a success for the smaller group that remains on the Riverfront Mall. "They're having some problems lining up vendors so soon after the Akron festival," he said. Aside from the rivalry, the economic realities were clearly in Akron's favor. The city won't charge the festival. On the other hand, the sponsors' bills from the Robart administration have continued to rise . So you pays your money and takes your choice. Buona fortuna!
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Speaking of crows, the Plain Dealer caught Sen. George Voinovich in his own stimulus-puffing trap when he reminded voters that he was out front in 2005 to get some money for an Inner Belt Bridge project and is now citing the importance of the new outlay of $200 million in the stimulus package to cover the bridge construction project. As columnist Michael McIntyre alertly pointed out: Voinovich voted against the Obama stimulus package, calling it a Washington "slush fund."