Jackson, Budish need to get the lead and corruption out: Darcy cartoon

January 23, 2019

Jackson, Budish need to get the lead and corruption out: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tuesday, city of Cleveland officials and community leaders announced a joint effort to make the city “Lead Safe” for children.   After three members of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish’s administration were indicted on multiple felonies and misdemeanors, Budish had no comment on making County government “Corruption Safe.”

Mayor Frank Jackson introduced the “Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition”.  The coalition of city government, community organizations and leaders, unveiled their plan to make the city “Lead Safe” by the end of the next decade.

Ninety-seven percent of the homes in Cleveland were built before 1976. Lead paint was banned in 1978.  Given the age of Cleveland’s housing stock and poverty rate, It’s likely that a majority of that 97% still contain lead paint.

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley said that within the next decade he would like to see no kids testing above the 5 micrograms per deciliter level for lead poisoning.  That is the level the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set for taking public action.

The Plain Dealer’s Rachel Dissell and Brie Zeltner report that “No level of lead exposure is considered safe for young children.   The toxin can cause irreversible damage to a developing brain and lead to health, behavioral and learning issues, even at low levels of exposure.”

According to Dissell and Zeltner’s reporting, the number of kids in Cleveland poisoned by lead is four times the national level.   

Forget ‘The Drive’ and ‘The Fumble.’   ‘The Lead’ has hurt Cleveland far more.

Sadly, the coalition’s goal of making Cleveland “Lead Safe” by sometime around 2028 may be overly optimistic given the city in the past tackled the problem with the expediency of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn painting that fence.

The city and coalition are just now announcing their plan of action more than 3 years after The Plain Dealer had launched its ‘Toxic Neglect’ series in 2015.

“Should it have happened 10 years ago, probably so.  Should it have happened 50 years ago, probably so.  So now here we are,”  said Mayor Jackson.  “It is what it is,” Jackson likes to say.   What it is, is better late than never.

Budish needs to abate corruption poison, County mismanagement.

Hopefully Cuyahoga County leaders will get the lead out in cleaning up the corruption still poisoning County government, and not take until the end of the next decade.

Three current and former members of the administration of Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish have been indicted on multiple felonies and misdemeanors.

The indictments are the result of an ongoing investigation by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley into the County’s IT department  the operation of the Cuyahoga County Jail.

Former County IT general counsel and director of special initiatives, Emily McNeeley, was indicted on 17 charges.  The charges included felonies for having an unlawful interest in a public contract, tampering with government records and telecommunications fraud.

Kenneth Mills, who resigned as Director of Corrections, also faces felony counts of tampering with government records and telecommunications fraud.

Douglas Dykes still serves as Chief Talent Officer.  He’s essentially the County Human Resource Director, not judging singing and hula dancing at the County Jimmy Dimora memorial pool and tiki hut party.

Dykes has been charged with felony theft in office and also with tampering with government records.   Dykes also has been charged with misdemeanor obstruction of federal business and making false statements.

More indictments may be forthcoming of other current and former County officials who have been named in subpoenas.

How long before Jimmy Dimora files another appeal pointing to the new County indictments as bolstering his defense “That everybody was doing it and are still doing it, and far worse.”?

How long before former Cuyahoga County Edward FitzGerald returns waving a current driver’s license saying he’s available to replace Armond Budish should he get lead poisoning  from a scandal ball and chain getting attached to his ankle?

Update hourly