Cleveland Clerk of Courts Earle B. Turner likes to stay out of the headlines, perhaps a key to his longevity.
First elected to Cleveland City Council in 1975, he has been clerk since 1996. This week, members of Cleveland City Council challenged Turner over his desire to pay a single software consultant $243,000 to help keep the court’s case-management system running smoothly.
Council Members Kerry McCormack, Brian Kazy and others complained about the lack of details in Turner’s request and the need to keep paying a consultant. Council ultimately blocked the request, though it will likely be back before members soon.
The rebuke fueled speculation that Kazy and others are considering a run for the six-year-term clerk’s job next year. Kazy told Signal Cleveland, “You never know where politics will lead you.” In politics, the statement translates to maybe he’s running or maybe he’s just messing with Turner.
Turner has not made any formal announcement about re-election. Judging by his presence in the Labor Day Parade, though, Turner still wants voters to know he is their clerk.
No Beach Party
Edgewater Live, the once hugely popular sunset concert series on Cleveland’s lakefront, remains dead, according to a discussion at a recent Cleveland Metroparks board meeting.
Last held in 2019 and canceled in 2020 during the pandemic, the event attracted thousands, generated traffic and parking problems in the park and the surrounding neighborhoods, and strained the Metroparks police and other departments.
At the Aug. 18 meeting, Metroparks Board Member Dan Moore asked, “Is there any way to rejuvenate it in a way that would provide us a higher measure of control?”
Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman explained, “Edgewater Live was really reimagined as a new take on happy hour, but it got pushed because the sunsets were so amazing, and it caused a real staffing issue,” he said. “We ended up with too many people … bringing back would be hard at this time based on current staffing levels. It may have run its course.”
The Metroparks is asking voters for a tax increase this November to fund an expansion at the zoo and investments in East Side space. The levy is a replacement, not a renewal, which means this levy is based on a home’s new value since the last levy.
If only Edgewater Live fans could vote, the levy would pass without question. But tax fatigue and inflation concerns may temper the enthusiasm the park system typically enjoys at election time.
Dennis Kucinich lost his bid last November to be mayor again, but he has returned to Cleveland City Hall. At least in portrait form, Signal’s Nick Castele reports.
Forty years since he left office, Kucinich is still the only former mayor without a portrait hanging at City Hall.
Traditionally, mayoral portraits were commissioned by corporate leaders, but Kucinich, who was mayor from 1977 to 1979 and later served in the U.S. House of Representatives, had few fans in the business community. More than a decade ago, labor leaders held a pierogi-and-kielbasa fundraiser to help pay for a Kucinich portrait.
Akron artist Matthew Hunt completed the portrait after some long delays. The portrait was in safekeeping in a union hall and has since been retrieved and moved to City Hall. An unveiling is forthcoming.
Documenter Angela Thomas notes that the Cuyahoga County Board of Control purchased a generator for the Board of Elections. A Public Works official testified the board didn’t have such a backup system (who knew?), and the generator will be in place for the 2024 election.
The race for Cuyahoga County executive soaked up a little attention this week thanks to the star power of current and former Cleveland mayors who endorsed Democrat candidate Chris Ronayne over Republican candidate Lee Weingart. The endorsements touched a nerve. In response, Weingart published an open letter to Mayor Justin Bibb and former mayors Jane Campbell and Michael R. White.
“This letter is not intended for you to reconsider your endorsements,” Weingart writes. “Rather, I wanted to remind you how we have collaborated over the years and how we might have solved a problem that demanded leadership rather than collaboration.”
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