I've been waiting to see how the Cleveland Plain Dealer is going to attempt to escape the shame of having endorsed for Cuyahoga County commissioner the highly unqualified and now under fire Bay Village mayor Debbie Sutherland, before she even debated the highly qualified and well respected incumbent , Peter Lawson Jones. Sutherland lost her first debate ... and she lost her second debate ... and, I understand, she lost four debates against Jones organized by the League of Women Voters for high school children... and she will lose the City Club debate (for Sutherland, losing has meant being obviously unprepared, unqualified, flustered, angry, embarrassed and even booed, in past cases). There was no excuse for the PD endorsing Sutherland, and now they must report 32 Cuyahoga County mayors endorse Peter Lawson Jones for commissioner. The PD editors are surely embarrassed over Sutherland, by now, so they are certainly looking for excuses, including attempting to make the race about race. I expect we'll see lots of this racist behavior in the coming months, years, and decades, in various death spirals, as the last generations of real American racists die away.
By attempting to politicize the Cuyahoga County commissioners race, and race, the PD has demonstrated about as much class and wisdom as did John McCain in his brain fart that produced Palin.
Sutherland is one of the Republican Party's Palinesque "Regional" NEOcon leaders of an army of white-bread suburbanites that seem to dominate Republican ranks, in our region and I guess all over backwoods America. With the cultural and intellectual appeal of a subdivision, Sutherland has about as much support beyond her small circle of sponsors as does Palin beyond the KKK.
I've heard Sutherland is polling in the 20% territory, and that is before she will be publicly humiliated in a large way by
debating Jones at the City Club ... a debate which will be broadcast by radio and television and be picked up by all the major local media outlets, and will be an embarrassment to all Sutherland's supporters, who it turns out are few and all between Republican HQ and the PD.
As for haters of Sutherland, it appears they are many and largely based in their home town of Bay Village, which it seems Sutherland rules like a pitbull with lipstick. It is broadly reported she is violating one firefighter's right to free speech and his ability to take care of his own family... and, he claims, her administration violated public safety, which may have been a factor in a child's death.
A little web-browsing finds Sutherland has reduced firefighter staffing levels, which the firefighters oppose . The root of the problem seems to be budget problems at Bay Village city hall, which will certainly be getting worse in the years to come, as local economies adjust to depressed post-bubble real estate economics. Since Bay Village has over-built itself, certain expenses like firefighting will increase to meet growing health and public safety needs of an aging sprawl suburb, or service levels will decrease... with deadly consequences, in the case of firefighting.
Society must determine how long should be response times and how high expenses for saving property and lives. In Bay Village, it appears the Mayor is personally determining the value of public safety, which Debbie Sutherland values at one level, and firefighters claim to value more highly. Bay Village residents must decide who they want determining their levels of public safety, their budgets and their civil rights. They may receive some help from the judicial system.
Sutherland seems to have an odd interpretation of rights and what is right and wrong.
Because of how the firefighters have been handled by the Sutherland administration, and the response of the firefighters and citizens to this mistreatment, Bay Village is now international news, and the crisis is escalating.
Video on the WOIO TV-19 News website, titled "Silenced: Bay Village Firefighter, Mayor Spar Over Comments Made After Child's Death ", shows Sutherland feels very comfortable determining the civil rights of other American citizens... and a civil rights attorney says Sutherland is probably headed for court!
The conflict was also picked up by Channel 5 News, and MSNBC, with a more detailed written analysis, titled "Firefighter Blames Budget Cuts For Child's Drowning Death ", which begins "A freedom of speech debate is on in Bay Village because of a
firefighter who is facing disciplinary action for speaking his mind."
Continuing Fox 8 coverage starts  with the intro: "People packed into Bay Village council chambers
Monday night to fight for a firefighter and free speech.
Firefighter Ron Westmoreland spoke in council chambers last month about
reductions in the fire department. Now he's facing suspension." A second Fox 8 Report states "Firefighters in Bay Village staged a protest outside city hall to fight for a firefighter facing suspension."
I don't see this conflict reported in the PD or on Cleveland.com.
As Sutherland prepares her defense against citizens, firefiighters, and community leaders of Bay Village who clearly hate her, and probably prepares her city for court, her candidacy for County Commissioner is poised to be one of the most laughable and incompetent local Replublican political ploys ever seen... especially because the PD wrote the script, or at least read it verbatum from the start.
Today, under the obligation to at least minimally carry some real news, the PD reported that Jones has received the endorsement of 32 Cuyahoga County mayors . I haven't seen the PD coverage in print but on Cleveland.com it is just a nominal mention... a sidebar... with a file photo of Jones... no video or photos from the press conference of the many mayors and Jones. The PD doesn't bother listing all the mayors endorsing Jones, nor provide details about the campaign at all... and they give their made Republican candidate the last words, without mentioning the conflicts in Bay Village brewing the same day...
After the event, Jones complained about Debbie Sutherland, the Republican mayor of Bay Village who is trying to unseat him. He said her attempts to link him to the county corruption investigation represent "desperate tactics of someone who is trailing badly."
Reached later, Sutherland accused Jones of looking through "a different prism of reality."
"Maybe, like Peter, we should pretend that all of this is not happening," she said.
I'm sure Debbie Sutherland wishes that "all this" in her life wasn't happening... and I can't imagine seeing the world through her "prism of reality". She has created problems for Bay Village to address.
What concerns me is how far the Republican Party and Plain Dealer machines went to influence this important election, no matter who is in the race, and that the PD is focusing attention of citizens on race rather than qualifications and performance of candidates, for all races.
The Jones endorsement article in the PD closes with what is certain to be the official PD escape clause for their endorsement of Sutherland, after Jones demolishes her, which is to blame blacks. In their coverage of Jones' endorsement by most-all the region's other leaders, the PD concludes with the line:
Jones said he expects his re-election effort will be helped by Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, which has resulted in a surge in registrations by blacks.
A more accurate conclusion of this story is that the PD did not properly analyze the candidates in the Cuyahoga County Commissioners race, and made a major mistake backing Sutherland, which they don't seem willing to correct, and now they are playing the race card to further attempt to influence the election (scaring whites into getting out to vote white), and they will use race to explain away why an overwhelming majority of Cuyahoga County citizens disagree with the PD and their race card and vote for the most qualified candidates in each race, including voting for Peter Lawson Jones.
I'll write the last line of this story:
NEO's real media transformation efforts will be helped by Mayor Sutherland's county commissioner campaign, which has resulted in a surge in rejection of the PD by all colors of people