Thursday, June 12, 2008

E-book editon of "Cities Within A City: On Changing Cleveland's Government," by Burt W. Griffin

E-book editon of "Cities Within A City: On Changing Cleveland's Government," by Burt W. Griffin -- I was talking this morning to Bill Callahan about the city charter hearings under way; Burt Griffin's 1981 book came up as an integral topic in our conversation. Burt worked in Washington for a while, and has some instructive thoughts to offer on urbanism.

Lo and behold, searching for data on the internet, I found that the entire text of the book is here. Just click on Table of Contents, and you'll find each section and chapter at your fingertips, or your mousetips, or however we would phrase that in this electronic age.

One of my points for Bill was that, since we have the PR weenies beginning to whack away at public opinion about Cleveland City Council, as evidenced by yesterday's PD masterwork, it's time to go on offense, to wit: Each ward of the City of Cleveland should have equal standing with similar-sized small towns or suburbs, each councilman should have the same authorities in and control over his ward as mayors have over their cities, and each ward should be relatively autonomous in governance and in the delivery of services to the constituency.

Here's a bit on Burt and his book, from the Cleveland Memory Project:

Cities Within A City: On Changing Cleveland's Government
by Burt W. Griffin
Originally published by
the College of Urban Affairs
Cleveland State University


Burt W. Griffin retired as judge of the Common Pleas Court of Cuyahoga County, Ohio in 2005, after 30 years of service. From 1966 to 1975, he served as a legal aid lawyer in various capacities, including Executive Director of the Cleveland Legal Aid Society and National Director of the Legal Services Program, U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity.

He was Assistant Counsel to the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy during 1964.

Judge Griffin has been a lifelong resident of Greater Cleveland. He was born in Cleveland's Hough section in 1932, lived in the Shaker Square area of Cleveland from 1937 to 1960, and has resided in Shaker Heights since then. Judge Griffin was graduated cum laude from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1954, and from Yale Law School with a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1959.

He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies at Cleveland State University.

This edition contains the complete text as found in the 1981 print edition of the book, along with some enhancements developed to aid in navigating this site. The site is hosted by the Cleveland State University Library and is presented here with Judge Griffin's permission.



  1. Fascinating, Tim. I scanned the contents and the one on Hough Fairfax in Action and Chapter Nine on Restructuring are at the top of my list for weekend reading.

    So more autonomy with the same number of council people? Just curious as to your thoughts.

    Some of the articles the PD is doing on Council I find very useful. The one about missed meetings however did not show anything unusual to me. Most of the Council had decent records and even Fannie Lewis seemed to be missing mtgs now because of illness not because of negligence. Anyway, thanks for ferreting this book out on the web.

  2. Our friend and neighbor Bill Callahan mentioned this to me as we were talking about going on the offense about council representation and vested powers. I hope to get through it this weekend.

  3. So far I've read about three chapters, including the last one. It's striking that not much seems to have changed since the 80s. And I admit that this is still a totally new concept, thinking that patronage is a good thing. I'm still reading! I also want to listen to what Bill had to say on ideastream today Im off to do that now.