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The Plain Dealer | cleveland.com


Northeast Ohio Media Group

erea Mayor Cyril Kleem faced

a tough re-election challengefour years ago from a political newcomer,but this year his will
be the only name for Berea mayor on
the Nov. 3 ballot.
His challenger, James M. Stagl,
29,is a write-in candidatewho used
to work on street repair for the Berea
Service Department. His main campaign theme appears to be road imKleem
Among Stagls criticisms is that the
city puts Band-Aids on its roads rather than xing more serious
underlyingproblems.Stagl, a former high school assistant varsity
softball coach, now works part-time for Westlake.
Kleem, 41, doesnt deny thatroadproblems exist, given the
citysold infrastructure, but he rightly points out, Theres only
so much money to go around.
Kleems faults dont lie in his attention to duty, but rather in
a series ofcurious, not fully explained incidents.In the most
recent,hetook a leave of absencelast yearfollowing anincident
whenhe followed a driver who he says was driving erratically,
but who had also directed an obscene gesture at him, according to an article by Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Evan
Kleem told the editorial board that the timing was coincidental
and thatfamily and health issues were the reasons for his leave.
Kleem, despite his aws,seems to do an excellentjob of managing Berea and dealing with its biggest taxpayer, the Cleveland
Browns. He merits re-election.Early voting has begun.

Macedonia mayor:

ith the departure of Macedonias embattled mayor, Don

Kuchta, amid claims of ethics
violations, Macedonia has an opportunity to strike out in a new direction.
It can best do so with Sylvia Jean
Hanneken, 73, a vigorously independent City Council member.
She and former Macedonia Mayor Joseph Migliorini, 62, both want to lead
their northern Summit County suburb.
Migliorini, who served four con- Hanneken
secutive terms as mayor from 1988 to
2001, touts his ability to start working
right away.
But Hanneken, a decorated retired civilian Defense Department employee who ran unsuccessfully for mayor four years ago,
has proven to be a vigilant watchdog for Macedonia residents.
She wants to bring cost-effective, ethical, resident-oriented
services to Macedonia residents.
Although she is sure to face a learning curve, Hanneken has
proven to be no pushover in no-holds-barred Macedonia politics.
She is part of a council majority that recently passed legislation
to stop paying Law Director Joseph Diemerts $74,676 retainer
until Kuchta handed over details on Diemerts billable hours.
She was also part of the same council majority that successfully
opposed Kuchtas attempted termination of city Finance Director Scott Svab, who was caught in the middle when he obeyed
council and refused to pay Diemert.
That means Hanneken may have made some long-term enemies in Macedonia. If she becomes mayor, she will have to rise
above the fray.
Still, shes the better candidate on the Nov. 3 ballot. Early voting has begun.

About our editorials

Editorials express the view of our editorial board:

Elizabeth Sullivan
Opinion Director,
Northeast Ohio Media Group

Andrea Hogben
Northeast Ohio Media Group

George Rodrigue
Plain Dealer Publishing Co.

Chris Quinn
Vice President of Content,
Northeast Ohio Media Group

Kevin OBrien
Deputy Editorial Page Editor,
Plain Dealer Publishing Co.

Sharon Broussard
Editorial Writer,
Northeast Ohio Media Group

Christopher Evans
Editorial Writer,
Northeast Ohio Media Group

Peter Krouse
Editorial Writer,
Northeast Ohio Media Group

Thomas Suddes
Editorial Writer

Ted Diadiun
Editorial Writer

As is traditional, editorials are unsigned and intended to be seen

as the voice of our organizations. Got a question or a comment?
Contact Opinion Director Elizabeth Sullivan at 216-999-4688
or esullivan@cleveland.com. To comment directly on any
editorial, column or cartoon; to read more letters to the editor;
for information on how to submit a letter or opinion column
and to contact other members of the editorial board, go to

Phillip Morris |

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Plain Dealer Publishing Co.

Virginia Wang, General Manager
George Rodrigue, Editor

Andrea Hogben, President

Chris Quinn, Vice President of Content
Elizabeth Sullivan, Opinion Director


Berea mayor:



Far too many black males are facing

a gun barrel or pulling the trigger

he envelope contained an
inmate number, and the
name of someone Id grown
up with.
Hello old friend, his letter
began. How have you been? Ive
been ghting for my life the past
seven years. It involves a corrupt
wrongful murder case against me.
Prisoners often write me, and
almost always claim to be victims
of unfair convictions. They urge
me to learn about their cases, and
to nd a way to publicize them.
This letter was different not
just because I knew the inmate,
but because Id always thought of
him as decent and devoutly religious.
LaRue and I had attended the
same large Pentecostal church in
Columbus as children. Like me,
he was counted among the church
faithful. He attended Wednesday
Bible study and was a regular at
church on Sundays both morning and evening services. He
was a church boy, through and
As teenagers, we competed
against each other in track and
field at rival Columbus public
high schools. He was the better

He was never a really close

friend, but I respected him. And
though I hadnt thought of him
in at least 30 years, he was one
of the last people I would have
expected to be serving a life sentence for murder and attempted
Obviously, though, something
bad had happened. Multiple eyewitnesses put him at the scene of
a double shooting in a Columbus
bar in 2008. A few months later,
a jury convicted him.
The shooting happened at
Happy Family Bar. People said
it stemmed from a disagreement
about a $20 bar tab.
But what was really going on
there in the bar and in my
friends head?
LaRue says hes innocent, and
wants to open a dialogue with me.
Im considering the offer. Id like
to know how he found himself in
such a dire situation as a middleaged man.
What shaped his life leading up
to the day the shots were red?
What did he do on that day? Prison certainly isnt the place that either of our deeply devout mothers
would have envisioned for either
of us.

Without making any assumptions about my friends case, I can

say this: Theres a kind of insanity
loose in some parts of our community.
Far too many African-American
males of all ages nd themselves
facing the merciless barrel of a
gun or pull the trigger themselves.
Its hard to understand, and
hard even to talk about. Perhaps
my old Sunday school friend can
offer insights into why this tragic
cycle continues, relentlessly, to repeat itself. I will keep you posted.
Another aspect of the madness
is the ease with which guns are
falling into the hands of children.
A 6-year-old boy killed his
3-year-old brother in Chicago last
weekend, while at home playing
cops and robbers, police said.
The 6-year-old found a loaded
revolver on top of a refrigerator
on Saturday evening, and shot his
younger brother in the head.
The boys father, Michael Santiago, 25, admitted buying the
gun illegally on the street. He was
arrested and charged with child
Cleveland also offers another
recent and frighteningly similar

case. Earlier this month, I wrote

about a 30-year-old woman who
saw a 7-year-old Hough neighborhood boy outside her door trying
to load the magazine of a semiautomatic pistol. She confronted
him and his 12-year-old friend,
and demanded the gun.
When police officers arrived,
they searched the boys and found
that in addition to the pistol they
had a Taser and a hunting knife.
Its not clear what their intentions
were, but the boys were arrested,
cited on concealed-weapons
charges and released to their parents.
The mother of the 7-year-old
has now also been charged with
child endangerment, a first-degree misdemeanor. She is to appear in court later this month.
After the shooting of a child,
arresting a parent does nothing
to assuage a familys grief or to
ease a citys horror. But perhaps it
sends a message to other parents.
These shootings are not purely
accidental. Kids too young for
elementary school are dying because adults are acting irresponsibly. Theres a price to be paid for
that, and it shouldnt be paid only
by our children.

Ben Carsons rhetorical recklessness

hurts political culture, conservatism
Peter Wehner

ike many other political autodidacts, Ben Carson has

an odd obsession with Nazi
On several occasions, the pediatric-neurosurgeon-turned-Republican-presidential-candidate
has compared the United States
to the Third Reich. Carson has
warned that a Hitler-like figure
could rise in America. To understand what is happening in the
Obama era, he recommended that
people read Mein Kampf. And
he wont let go of the myth that
the Holocaust would have been
greatly diminished if Jews in
Nazi Germany had been allowed
to possess guns.
To declare the United States to
be very much like Nazi Germany
is a special kind of libel, yet Carson is clearly drawn to it. Part of
the explanation may be that people who want to impress sometimes invoke imbecilic historical
analogies, with the default one
often being Nazi Germany. Some
part of the answer has to do with
his staggering ignorance when it
comes to the unique malevolence
of Hitlers Germany. And for still
others, its a way to convey alarm
and mobilize supporters. In the
case of Carson, it also appears to
be based on the belief that progressive ideas share intellectual
roots with fascism, with Nazism
the National Socialist German
Workers Party being an extreme version of progressivism.
One might expect a fringe presidential candidate to resort to the
Nazi analogy. But what is disturbing is that in this case the person
making the comparison is polling
second in the Republican race
for president. In the most recent
Fox News national poll, Donald
Trump drew 24 percent support
while Carson had 23 percent. Between them, then, they are pulling in just under half of the support among Republicans.
In one respect, Carson is the
antithesis of the crude and boisterous Trump. In tone and style,
Carson comes across as calm, reasonable and agreeable. But in fact
he is more rhetorically intemperate than even Trump.
For example, Carson has referred
to the Affordable Care Act as the
worst thing that has happened in
this nation since slavery and compared it to slavery. He has implied
that President Barack Obamas
pledge to transform America was


Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson mingles with diners at the Lexington Barbecue
in Lexington, North Carolina
modeled after Cuba, Russia and
other places that have a Socialist/Communist base. Carson had
expressed concern that if Republicans didnt win control of the
Senate in 2014, there may be so
much anarchy going on that the
2016 elections couldnt be held. He
has endorsed the work of W. Cleon Skousen, a conspiracy-minded
author and supporter of the John
Birch Society. (Carson views Skousens work, especially The Naked
Communist, as an interpretive key
to America today.) He has also said
that a Muslim should not be president of the United States, although
he later insisted he had in mind
Muslims who wanted to impose
Sharia law on America.
Such rhetorical recklessness
damages our political culture as
well as conservatism, a philosophy that should be grounded in
prudence, moderation and selfrestraint. That doesnt mean that
conservatives should not use language that inspires people to act.
But they should respect certain
rhetorical boundaries. There are
some places they shouldnt go.
Carson doesnt abide by such
niceties, and he may be accurately gauging the mood of many
Republicans. The New York
Times reports that advisers who
once fretted about his inammatory rhetoric have now decided

to let Carson be Carson. Carson has said that the message

hes receiving from supporters is,
Dont stop. Dont give in to the
left-wing media. Go ahead and be
yourself and talk about what we
the people want to hear about.
We hear similar expressions from
supporters of Trump. Both Trump
and Carson provide evidence
that, for now at least, a large percentage of Republican voters are
in a ercely anti-political mood.
As a result, the usual ways voters
judge a candidate experience,
governing achievements, mastery
of issues have been devalued.
People are looking for candidates
not only to give voice to their anger, but also to amplify it. Reason
has given way to demagogy. In a
political context, Trump and Carson represent the id rather than
the superego, not just in what
they say but in how they perceive
the world around them.
For the Republican Party to
overcome this will require its
presidential candidates to inspire
voters to believe in the large purposes of politics. But it will also
require Republican voters to lift
their sights and raise their expectations about the goals of politics,
which are to improve the lives of
our fellow citizens in concrete
ways; to advance, even imperfectly, liberty, opportunity and a

more decent and just society.

Self-government requires more
of people than pounding sand.
There is vital work that needs
to be done, including addressing sluggish economic growth,
a widening opportunity gap and
an unsustainable entitlement
system. Because these things are
hard doesnt mean we can give
up, and we certainly dont need
conspiracy-minded amateurs such
as Carson and Trump distracting
our attention from them.
Politics isnt meant to be a catharsis. Yet for many of my fellow
conservatives, raging against the
system the much-maligned establishment is just that. I get
that it may be emotionally satisfying to cheer on careless rhetoric,
to portray every political difference as a give me liberty or give
me death moment, and to imply
that America under Obama is like
Germany under Adolf Hitler. But
it is also intellectually discrediting, politically self-defeating and
unworthy of those who are citizens of a great republic.
Wehner, a senior fellow at
the Ethics and Public Policy
Center, served in the last three
Republican administrations
and is a contributing opinion
writer. This was written
for The New York Times.