July 2009 Letters to the Editor
Government workers assist with block club takeover
To the editor: (Plain Press, July 2009) It was a scene snatched from the pages of Law and Order on May 26, 2009, when The Central Tremont Block Club's rank and file gathered for their monthly meeting at the Jefferson Branch Library. As members, guest, transients and other on-lookers filed in and copped a squat, the drama began to unfold when Prosecutor Colleen Reali pranced through the portal with two polished hand-cuff and pistol packing boys in blue nipping at her heels. Being an early arrival, City of Cleveland Second District Commander Keith Sulzer had already taken his seat when the "court shark" sat herself at the table facing the decorated lawman.
The library conference room, now a theatrical stage, was abuzz as the procession of extras seated themselves against the wall in wait of performing their civic duty as jurors of the lawless Kangaroo tribunal.
It was lights, camera and action when Co-chair Jason Beudert swaggered up, claimed his role and officially called the meeting to order. The script had been well written but since the distinguishing black robe was missing one could only guess as to who was out of character. Prattle circulated the crowded chamber when it was announced that, although not scheduled on the agenda, the top cop had dibs on being the rudimentary orator of the evening's episode.
A spread of hotdogs, pastries and soda was laid out in keeping with the Memorial Holiday spirit and was topped off when the beaming Ward 13 Councilman came strutting through the door toting boxes of aromatic pizza. It would be a memorial occasion, a Kodac moment in the making of history for Tremont residents and block clubs. After introductions, announcements, a bit of open forum, discussion and debate, it was finally Prosecutor Reali’s turn and the room exploded when she stepped into the arena and began presenting her case and calling for my impeachment as the second sitting co-chair.
The prelude to the foolery actually began several days earlier when an attempt was made by way of an e-mail request to attain copies of receipts from block club fiscal agent Tremont West Development Corporation’s treasurer and board member Lynn Murray. The receipts were requested to validate the disbursement of Central Tremont Block Club’s roll over of a 2008 Neighborhood Connections Beautification Grant. This request was in light of the fact that the current co-chairs and membership had been out flanked and the funds were
released to the writers of the original grant before bringing the matter back to the block club’s membership.
Reali, the accuser, repeatedly disclaimed that she was acting on behalf of the state, but the words and body language of the demurely dressed woman said, "I am the prosecutor and my friend, you're going down."
With hands clutching her chest, Reali gave no less than an oscar winning performance portraying a victim in a state of shock that the jaded accused would have the brass to stoop to the level of asking for her personal information even though the former Central Tremont Block Club’s co-chair's name was never mentioned. Bill Mason would have been proud of his Ward 13 Democratic Precinct Committee Chair assistant, although she no longer resides at her Jefferson Avenue stamping ground in Tremont.
Even with no threat of being bamboozled, super woman was surely well protected with two armed guards and Commander Sulzer standing by the door in addition to Lt. Frank Bolan walking the outside grid.
The litigator continued to play on the sympathies of the mock jury by sensationalizing the allegations that the defenseless TWDC staff service provider Kristen Ciofani was paralyzed by the correspondence and the request she mind her own business and do the job she was paid to do instead of trying to micro manage the duties and responsibilities of the block club leadership.
With time running out, the Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor gave her closing argument, this was followed by a vote from the hands of those rarely attending or participating in the block club activities, and this letter writer, a long-time resident and the block club co-chair found myself kicked to the curb.
They thought I was a goner, but the cat came back when with the help and assistance of many loyal supporters, family and friends. The Old South Side Community Coalition was created and now many residents want to know why three police cruisers, uniformed officers, a Lt. and the Commander all paid for by the City of Cleveland were pulled from the streets to baby sit an uneventful block club meeting at the tax payer's expense. The Tremont area has its share of crime not to mention speeders, parking violators, resident noise nuisance complaints, etc., but law enforcers cannot find the time to handle these matters.
South Side Neighborhood