In the Cuyahoga County Council District 3 race, Dan Brady has begun to make an issue of his opponent Chris Ronayne’s blatant conflict of interest. ?Ronayne will run for, and if he wins, sit in the District 3 seat, while still taking a $185,000 a year salary from University Circle Inc., a non-profit with a billion dollar endowment which will have business before the county.

The PD’s Henry Gomez, whose coverage of the county council races has been pretty good to date, today seems to poo poo on the obvious conflict, citing Ronayne’s own lawyers, who incredibly, don’t see a conflict! ?How convenient!

Ronayne said he had lawyers research potential conflicts of interest. They found none. Ronayne was dismissive when told of Brady’s Ohio Ethics Commission challenge.

“I think we should all focus on what we bring to this race,” Ronayne said.

I’m sure UCI is most certainly focusing on what Ronayne “brings to this race”, namely, their obscenely highly paid staff sitting in county government. ?Notice how Gomez doesn’t identify Ronayne’s “lawyers” as including UCI’s own board, even though Gomez had previously noted that fact in another story. ?Gomez even goes to the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Joe Roman, an architect of Issue 6, for backstop for Ronayne.

One of the leaders he talked to, Greater Cleveland Partnership President Joe Roman, corroborated that rationale in a phone interview.

Labeling the council as a part-time job “was a deliberate effort,” Roman said.

“I really believe that having another perspective, having an additional life beyond representing a certain district, is a benefit not just to the district, but to the county as a whole.”

This very much concerns me as a candidate for District 7, not least because University Circle sits in District 7. ?This “part time” rationale in District 3 has already led to a Trojan horse candidate who simply cannot separate representation of his district (at “part time” wages of $45,000) from representation of his employer (at “full time” wages of $185,000). ?I’d be shocked if Ronayne is the only such Trojan horse running for county council. ?At the moment, I’m not aware of any such “part time” candidates in District 7, but the district includes downtown, precisely the spot where Joe Roman’s own paymasters will want a similar Trojan horse to represent their employers’ interests from inside the walls of county government.

I used to be shocked at the shamelessness of power in Cleveland, perpetually assuming that a justifiable universe exists in which total, blatant, raw, corruption of this nature is right and good. ?Now, it’s just laughable. ?And you can’t even explain it to them – it’s as if they’ve had the bullshit meter portion of their brain lobotomized by extended presence in this town.

If Gomez is merely going to parrot what interested parties want him to say in order to gloss over stark, black and white, joke level conflicts of interest, the PD will be anything but an unbiased observer during these county races. ?The PD will in fact be a partisan advocate in support of comic levels of corruption.

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