Gov. Kasich praised Cleveland as a “really cool” city.  That’s what he told the Plain Dealer, which was pleased to report it to its readers.

Cool.  The paper headlined that the governor has a “love affair” with the city, determined by the 77 days he has spent there since January 2011.

That,of course, set off extended speculation about this motives.  Is he just trying to be a nice guy in the town where he was  endorsed for governor by the friendly PD  in 2010?  Did he want to show he was far more committed to its welfare than his predecessor, Ted Strickland?  Nonsense, he demurs, he’s not at all political about his many trips to Lake Erie.  He  obviously enjoys the ride as much as the hordes of Ohioans who head down to Myrtle Beach every summer.

But what about the photo-ops of his visits showing him beaming as he hugs an African-American worker, or huddled with groups of black school children? Or referring to former NAACP leader and political factotum George Forbes as “King of Cleveland” for more style points?  You mean the same George Forbes, the Democrat who hung out with Jim Rhodes and never really embraced Govs. Dick Celeste and Jack Gilligan?  Yep.  That’s him.

Rhodes didn’t have to tramp around the city’s East Side in search of black votes.  When he became  governor, he named William O. Walker, as his  industrial relations director.  That, too, was cool, since Walker was the black publisher of the Call & Post, a weekly that was channeled into several  Ohio cities.  It effectively placed the governor on a pedestal in black neighborhoods.

Politically, the city has always been filled with land mines as the papers Etch-a-Sketched their positions on political candidates.  The Republican-based PD didn’t even mention Dennis Kucinich in its mayoral endorsement in the primary.  It then supported him in the general.  (The editors thought he had matured between the two elections. That was before they zapped him after he had been in office for awhile.)  The city’s political and media leaders get lonely at times and clamor for downstate attention.  Kasich is filling that need, if not the substance.

On the other hand, as Democrats are aware,  the governor’s  race begins the day after the presidential election.   And there’s a relatively new kid on the block in Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County Executive, who is being mentioned as a possible Democratic gubernatorial candidate against Kasich.  Hmm…Where better for the current incumbent to launch his reelection campaign than in FitzGerald’s backyard?

So Kasich has endorsed a new school reform plan for Cleveland’s battered school system and signed it into law to impress the  city electorate with plenty of fanfare.  But there may be a typical Republican catch.  The  system is so destitute that it is putting a 15-mill levy in the ballot  to underwrite the reform plan fashioned by Mayor Jackson and others. The PD lauded everyone involved but editorially added one downer:

“Still, it is disappointing ” it complained,  “that although Gov. John Kasich backed Jackson’s plan as it wended its way through the sometimes hostile state legislature, he has been unwilling to contribute an extra nickel  to help implement it.”

With Kasich, it’s the thought that counts.

  • westparkguy

    I’m not sure Kasich is doing himself any favors by pissing off Cleveland Republican homeowners by supporting/endorsing this 15 Mil School Tax Levy.

    Also, does Kasich actually think that Jackson is going to throw his support behind him for reelection over Ed FitzGerald? I don’t think so.

  • Dmoore

    This amateur is trying to play nice after the SB5/Issue 2 beatdown and thinks Cleveland is the place to do it. WRONG. Aligning himself with the Cleveland City Schools is suicide. This district just can’t get it right. It has a revolving door administration that can’t keep anything straight. Is this guy so desperate that he would bet on a chronically dysfunctional district to somehow turn itself around so he can get a political bounce out of it?

  • danngoingdown

    heh heh this was written just like an editorial for a paper. willard, is that you?

  • The piece was written by the newest Plunderbund contributor Abe Zaidan, formerly of the ABJ and the Washington Post. He also blogs at

  • Retrofuturistic

    Oh, gawd. I can’t think of anything worse that a “Kasich re-election”.

  • westparkguy

    I don’t know, The words Senator Mandel scares the crap out of me.

  • Why would he GIVE ANY MONEY? The AGENDA IS TO DISMANTLE public education..n to line pockets of his buddies…it’s the “payoff” that counts..NO MORE FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION..DISMANTLE UNIONS.. n dumb down our kids so they can do whatever they want…period.

  • niver happen..wait..could..just like ROMNEY COULD WIN..depends on WHO SHOWS UP TO VOTE


  • plan is to bring in teach America, replace the schools w/profit charters..using Cleveland as a trial run..Kasich, even thhough states only for Cleveland…wants to use this plan as a model..for Ohio..NOW THA’S SCAREY!

  • After Kasich took millions out of school fundn AND ENCOURAGED the citizens to VOTE DOWN any levies..from for “Public Schools..” Stop n think…gettn yet? He’s wanting THE CITIZENS to set a precedence…School tax levies…a ha…a NEW SOURCE OF money for his CORP BUDDIES..PROFIT /PRIVATE charters…figures you might as well get use to payn..after public schools are dismantled..then these PROFIT SCHOOLS..MAKE MILLIONS off whats suppose to be for educatn our kids..SMOKE SCREEN…slick payers tricked/suckered into giving more money to fund these “scam schools,” like I said..THE BIGGEST HEIST IN HISTORY….What next? No more free public appropriate education? No Federal Dept of Education? Where WILL the funding..come from? Oh wait, silly me..if no more free public appropriate Fed Dept…no more vouchers..if Charters..”Profit” are only survivors..hope YOU have $10-$15,000 a year layn around..the “agenda…” Pay or little Johnny..” let me quote Romney..”It’s the parents responsibility to educate their children…” Teach week trained..teachers…lol… Cleveland..charter, lowest test scores in state…made..8.1 million dollars in profits..HOPE YOU ARE LEARNING…THE LESSON…WITH the critical thinkn skills you were taught…by professional liscensed teachers…Oh..and republican Governors Association? Texas? Are ELIMINATING…critical thinkn skills..being taught…after all…without those important can I say this…”Like taking candy from a baby…” Are you getting it yet?

  • westparkguy…ummm..Well Nina “turncoat” Turner did…everyones “got their ;price…”

  • Dave

    Grumpy Abe’s account of Kasich’s unwillingness to put his money where his mouth is for Cleveland schools is remindful of Jim Rhodes’ strategy for “Golden Age Villages,” Medical Schools in every big city, and state expansion of vocational schools and universities: borrow the money to build them and forget about providing the money for staffing them. Leave the annual state support for staff and upkeep to succeeding governors.

  • That is scary for all but most of all our children. We should call this the raping of public schools. That is what they are doing there.

  • dickpeery

    What’s wrong with so many black leaders in Cleveland? Why are they
    fawning over Gov. John Kasich, who has done so much to dismantle
    opportunities for the people they represent? He pushed SB5 through the
    legislature to strip public employees of
    their strength, dignity and ability to defend their jobs, forcing them
    to mount an expensive referendum campaign to survive. Guess where a
    disproportionate percentage of the black middle class works? In public
    Kasich signed voter suppression bills that target African
    American voting patterns. Don’t the politicians understand they are
    committing political suicide when they kowtow to the man who is tying
    the hands of the people who put them office? The very voters President
    Barack Obama will need to win in November?
    And why are the black
    leaders falling for Kasich’s shell game with the Cleveland schools. He
    slashed taxes on the rich as he cut $60 million in state support for
    Cleveland schools, forcing residents to either vote for a massive
    property tax increase or see their children’s schools collapse. Now
    Kasich’s a hero for supporting the tax levy. That’s like hailing an
    arsonist for throwing water on the fire he started.
    These things
    are not unique to Ohio. They are part of a national push by Republicans
    to enact the most selfish state laws they can, using the playbook
    written by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. And they are
    united in their commitment to throw Obama out of office.
    It’s easy
    to understand Kasich’s game. But how do we explain the African American
    leaders who seem to grin with delight as they watch the destruction
    of their communities?”

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