Monday, March 09, 2009

Henry Gomez: Ward 15 residents angry about City Council redistricting have many questions, few answers - Inside Cleveland City Hall

Sometimes, I wonder if all this furor, this hubbub about redrawing the ward lines, is worth the attention it gets. Regardless of where we draw the lines, we get the same insipid governance from the mayor and a challenged, albeit smaller, city council; the subset of problems remains the same; the scenery really doesn't change that much at all; the service doesn't get much worse, because it can't, in this Midwestern equivalent of a third-world country, our beloved banana republic with a side of pierogis. Henry here recounts how more of the chickens are coming home to roost as Brian Cummins, last year's avid supporter of Council reduction, gets himself reduced into oblivion, and Callahan reminds us all of the way things were, from his unique inside perspective.

. . . And we still don't know what will happen on the East Side, where another council member is expected to lose most of his political base and be pitted against a colleague.

Despite all of this instant drama, local blogger Bill Callahan reminds everyone that this had to have been expected - most of all, perhaps, by Cummins. Cummins, as I should have noted in this weekend's stories, advocated an even deeper council downsizing. He felt the cuts favored by Sweeney and suburban businessmen were not enough at a time when Cleveland was bleeding population.

Callahan had a front-row seat to Cummins' proposal. He was a member of the Charter Review Commission that studied various downsizing plans and ultimately backed the one pushed by Sweeney - but not until 2013, when hard Census numbers would be available.

The ballot initiative ultimately passed by council called for the redistricting to take effect this year. And city voters approved the plan last November by a wide margin.

Nowhere in the charter amendment did it say that existing neighborhood boundaries had to be protected. It didn't even say the council would try to make such accommodations.

Now, people are angry because they see the effects of this amendment coming to life. To those in Brooklyn Centre, take a look at Ohio City. Since the last redistricting earlier this decade, Ohio City has been shared by three council members. . .

Ward 15 residents angry about City Council redistricting have many questions, few answers - Inside Cleveland City Hall -

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