I turned on 90.3 in the car, and there was good ol’ Dan Moulthrop with 2010’s unelected czar of Cuyahoga County Martin Zanotti, identified as recently as this past Sunday by the PD as a potential candidate for county executive, and his fellow unelected co-czar ?Jim McCafferty to discuss county reform! ?Awesome! ?So I decided to call in and ask a question.
Since everyone on the air was all about transparency, I identified myself to call screener Susan as a candidate for county council, and said I wanted to follow up on a question from a listener, who asked where these two guys get their authority. ?They answered the caller that the charter tasked the current commissioners (one of whom is under federal investigation) with appointing a board on which they now sit, which will make recommendations to the new county executive in 2011. ?So I wanted to ask what interest these unelected people might have in who that elected county executive would be.
I got put on hold, and then Susan, the call screener, told me they were not taking questions from candidates. ?Transparency! ?I asked for Susan’s name. ?She told me Susan. ?I asked for Susan’s last name. ?She told me I don’t give out my last name. ?I said I want your last name because I’m going to blog about this episode…transparency rocks! ?Susan still wouldn’t give me her last name. ?I hung up.
Then unelected Martin Zanotti, who until last year I’d never heard of despite having been involved myself in Cuyahoga County politics for more than 20 years, again began waxing philosophic about transparency, regarding a charter which no one knows who wrote, whose drafting no one laid eyes on other than the people in the drafting room, in a room which no one knows who paid for, whose minutes of those drafts have never been made public, whose funding no one has ever investigated, and whose resulting elected county executive in 2011 may actually be Martin Zanotti, or someone who Martin Zanotti’s potential interest in electing was just stonewalled by WCPN from being asked about.
Then unelected Martin Zanotti and unelected Jim McCafferty defended the deliciously hilarious fact that major chunks of the transition process will not be public, noting that “it’s hard”, and noting that Moulthrop’s suggestion for webcams of these closed meetings would be “looked at”.
Then Matin Zanotti begged, literally begged the listeners to “cast aside their skepticism”, begged the listeners to “give the people involved an opportunity to do their work”, then good ol’ Dan Moulthrop parroted the PD branding of the entire process as “The Road to Reform”.
In a nutshell, this is why I’m running for County Council District 7.
UPDATE: ?The PD’s Henry Gomez was equally amused.
Boiled down to two words, the gist of McCafferty and Zanotti’s message today: Trust us.
I’ll have plenty to say about this during my campaign. ?One of the priorities of the incoming council should be thorough hearings on who these people are, how they got there, who paid for the drafting of this charter, and why these unelected appointees currently have so much power. ?I certainly hope the PD will do some of that work before the council convenes in January, 2011, but if not, there is plenty of power in the council to hold hearings.