Bold Blog

A Cleveland Spring? One Year later

Part 1: The Year that Was.

A year ago, in the aftermath of the Republican National Convention in 2016, I wrote an essay that asked if Cleveland was experiencing a “spring” of insurgent activism.  Was the civic ice age we had been living in since the era of Kucinich, finally melting?  After a frenetic year of activism in Cleveland – largely inspired by the horror of the Trump victory – it is time for an assessment. 

The Horror, the Horror

The sum of all our fears came true with the election of Donald Trump as President.  People were stunned at the abrupt cancellation of Hillary Clinton’s coronation.  Hillary – the amazing living resume – did not take the oath of office, but America’s Monster from the Id, did. 

The response from the progressive community resembled the panicked residents of Houston and Florida racing to board up buildings and stock up on supplies.  In Cleveland, the local version of the Women’s March in DC was the largest demonstration to ever occur in Cleveland history.  15,000 people gathered and marched from public square.  It was to be the start of a train of demonstrations, rallies and protests that has continued to the present. 

On the ground, groups mobilized for war.  Organizations experienced a surge in new members and volunteers.  New organizations such as the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, and Indivisible organized on the run and had to confront the fortunate problems of starting an organization, while being mobbed by new members.  Even the local of Democratic Socialists of America experienced a surge of interest. 

Meanwhile, representatives of the Democratic Party mainstream tried to rationalize the unexplainable.  It was all Bernie’s fault!!  It was the white working class! They are just a bunch of racist Neanderthals!! Why can’t they think and act like college professors?  And this is how they show their gratitude for NAFTA!  It was misogyny.  It was the Russians.  It was Jill Stein.  Left out of the list of the guilty, however, was Clinton Inc and its flacks who drove the party into a ditch.  Or that Obama won two federal elections in a row, while the Democratic Party in the states collapsed.  Nope.  It was all the Russians’ fault. We were blameless. Hillary in 2020! Get your bumper stickers now.

The problem with the response aka The Resistance, is that it is centered on the man, Donald Trump.  As loathsome as he may be, he is but the ultimate outcome of the past 50 years of American politics and society.  No one wants to talk about that, because they might have to recognize the many authors of this disaster on both sides of the political divide.  That dirty job must start however, or we will never get out of the hole we have dug for ourselves.  But first we must quit digging.

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CCPC Statement on referendum petitions' withdrawal

For Immediate Release - Last Monday activist groups in Cleveland appeared to achieve one of the greatest victories ever in the history of grassroots organizing. A Bloomberg News article Wednesday reported "Shocking: This might be the first example where pressure from a public referendum defeated a stadium finance deal already in place, according to Ted Gayer, a stadium tax expert and vice president and director of economic studies at the Brookings Institute."

It appears the Greater Cleveland Congregations have stolen that victory from us. Although GCC may have had a legal right to negotiate a deal and withdraw the referendum petitions they had a moral obligation to at least consult with CCPC and the other activist organizations that helped gather the 20,000 signatures before any deal was made.

We are extremely disappointed in today's turn of events which has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We'll be holding a Press Conference with Cleveland Mayoral Candidate Jeff Johnson this afternoon at 4:30 at the Northeast corner of East 105th & St. Clair in front of the clock tower.

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Senator Rob Portman's "License to Pollute" Bill

On Thursday, August 31 at 10:00 a.m., the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition and Cleveland Environmental Action Network will join community advocates to denounce the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), a bill authored by U.S. Senator Rob Portman.

The RAA could be the most dangerous bill no one has heard of. While Senator Portman claimed to support the Great Lakes and Ohioans health, his RAA bill could make it difficult for the EPA to protect this vital body of water and Ohio’s air quality. The bill could make the U.S. government a “rubber stamp” for corporate polluters looking to lower safeguards for children’s toys, clean air and water, labor standards, the opioid epidemic, and food.

Speakers will include:

  • Kent Smith, State Representative, Ohio's 8th District
  • Randy Cunningham, President of Cleveland Environmental Action Network
  • Yvonka Hall, Executive Director Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition
  • Mike Foley, Sustainability Director, Cuyahoga County
  • Steve Holecko, Political Director, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus

Location:
The Free Stamp at Willard Park

Corner of Lakeside Avenue East and East 9th Street
Cleveland, OH

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CCPC Statement on Q Deal's Cancellation

For Immediate Release -

The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus is very pleased that the Cleveland Cavaliers have decided to cancel the Quicken Loans Arena Renovation Project.

Despite their stated reason for the cancellation, the real reason is that the citizens of Cleveland spoke loud and clear in their opposition to the project by gathering 13,000 valid signatures to force a referendum on the issue. The Cavaliers, Mayor Jackson and Cleveland City Council all know that the project would have been soundly defeated at the ballot box. This is their way of saving face.

 

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Validation of the Q Referendum Petition Signatures

For Immediate Release - The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus would like to thank the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for their work this last week, in the validation of the 20,000 signatures, submitted by Cleveland citizens asking for a Referendum on the Q Renovations Ordinance passed by Cleveland City Council last April.

With the Referendum now a certainty, CCPC would like to reiterate our position that this issue needs to be on the November ballot. It is a senseless waste of $760,000 of Cleveland taxpayer money to hold a special election, when Cleveland City Council can simply schedule a meeting before the regularly scheduled September 18 meeting to get it on the November ballot.

We urge City Council to schedule this earlier meeting and not waste $760,000 that can be better spent in the neighborhoods that need help. We ask this question: If Mayor Jackson and the Cleveland City Council members who voted for the Q Renovations really feel that a majority of Cleveland citizens believe that this is an appropriate use of $88 million of taxpayer money, why would they not want it on the ballot as they campaign for re-election? What are they afraid of ?

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CCPC Statement on the New Chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party

For Immediate Release –

The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus is proud to endorse Mayor Trevor Elkins to be the next Chair of the County Democratic Party.

Some have criticized the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus by claiming that we are trying to run the Democratic Party from the outside, by endorsing various candidates in general, and with our endorsement of Trevor Elkins in particular for the Party’s Chair. The reality is CCPC’s endorsements are like any other organization’s endorsements.

Our endorsed candidates may choose to support candidates that we do not endorse, and we are clear that this will be the case with Mayor Elkins. That is how politics works. Another reality is that although many of CCPC’s members are not Democrats, only members who are Democratic Central Committee members will have a say in who the next Party Chair will be.

To be clear, we understand that Mayor Elkins has a strong history as a member of the Democratic Party and is unwavering in his belief that the Democratic Party is the vehicle for progress in Cuyahoga County. We believe he agrees with our policies in general, but we also understand that he is a principled, independent individual who will not necessarily agree with us on any given issue. We understand that our role and that of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party are different, but can be complementary on areas of agreement.

The mayor has not been involved with the recruitment or endorsement of any Progressive Caucus candidates currently running for office in Cuyahoga County because his role is to support endorsed Democratic candidates. We are supporting Mayor Elkins for Party Chair because he is a member of CCPC—along with numerous other elected Democrats—and a significant portion of our membership are members of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party.

We believe his view of government’s role in improving the lives of everyday citizens aligns with ours. Furthermore, we appreciate Trevor Elkins’ belief that the most effective manner to grow the Democratic Party is to become more inclusive in the conversations held with the broader community, and to never restrict the democratic rights of the electorate.

Contact Person:

CCPC Political Director Steve Holecko, 440 220 1874, steve@cuycpc.org

CCPC Statement re: Ohio Supreme Court Ruling on Q Referendum Petitions

For Immediate Release –

The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus is very pleased that the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled in favor of allowing the democratic​ process to play itself out in the Quicken Loans Arena renovations referendum issue.

We are hopeful that the City of Cleveland accepts the Ohio Supreme Court's decision, and does not attempt another made up out of the blue legal stunt designed to impede or delay the verification of the the 20,000 signatures submitted this spring.

CCPC is extremely confident that, once the signature verification process is completed by the County Board of Elections, the $88 million question of using Cleveland taxpayer dollars to finance the Q Renovations will be decided where it should be decided: by a vote of Cleveland taxpayers this November.

Contact Person:
CCPC Political Director Steve Holecko, 440 220 1874, steve@cuycpc.org

Sustaining a progressive renaissance—with your help

This month the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus is proud to celebrate our first anniversary!

We began last summer to continue the movement Bernie Sanders ignited with his historic presidential campaign. Since then our all-volunteer grassroots group has built up a 3,000-member organization, becoming a significant voice in local political issues. The announcement last week of our Cleveland Candidate Endorsements received media coverage equal to the County Democratic Party's.

In our first year, CCPC has carried out a wide range of forums, workshops, and actions, including:

• hosting the first Cleveland mayoral forums throughout the city, providing voters a chance to hear from the candidates
• backing the "Not All In" campaign against a public giveaway to Quicken Loans Arena
• sending delegations to Washington to lobby for causes such as the restoration of Glass-Steagall
• attending national workshops such as the People’s Summit in Chicago this summer

Can you help us sustain the progress in CCPC's second year? Please become a Sustaining Supporter. You decide what you can give, whether it’s $5, $10, $25, $50 or $100 a month. Your contributions will help pay for rent, travel expenses, supplies, etc. Your commitment will help power a year-round progressive presence in politics, government and our communities.

Become a Sustaining Supporter today.

Our Revolution & The People's Platform

Our Revolution is promoting a People's Platform for positive change, and you can help support it.

The progressive left is not alone in wanting to channel the energy of 2017 toward more than #resistance. A majority of Americans feels that Democrats need to communicate "an affirmative vision or message beyond a desire to boot Trump out of office." The good news is that while members of congress are working on it, Our Revolution is ready to get it done.

The People's Platform draws together several bills already introduced in the House of Representatives, and calls on Democrats to sign on:

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A Call for Diplomacy Without Bombs

As an organization, those of us here at the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus concern ourselves primarily with local, countywide, regional, and statewide issues and have thus far not waded much into questions of foreign policy or of war and peace. However, in light of several horrific bombings by the Trump government over the last week or so, we feel compelled to join many other progressive organizations in condemning these militant actions. Rather than bombs, we call for a return to diplomacy and the accommodation of refugees as a way of dealing with Middle East conflicts.

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