Modesty has its time and place. This isn’t one of them. Look at cities that have weathered shifting demographics and declining economies better than we have — are they modest about it? How many Chicagoans have you met who’d trade their Magnificent Mile for our demureness? When is the last time you heard anyone, from anywhere, speak admiringly of Clevelanders’ constraint?

Mayor Jackson’s modesty is as much a part of him as his earnestness and work ethic — I get that. But these are traits, not physical characteristics, and traits can be modified when circumstances dictate. One of the things I’ve learned in this very difficult year — the first in my nearly two-decade career in which I saw colleagues laid off — is that the price of keeping your job during a recession is taking on new responsibilities and pushing yourself past the boundaries of your comfort zone.

— from Waiting for Jackson 2.0, Cleveland Scene, November 2009.
One of three essays — with Hubris Industries and Milquetoasts Rarely Make History — for which I won second place, Best in Ohio / Editorials, in Cleveland Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism awards


It was just a few months ago that Voinovich (belatedly) lamented the GOP’s takeover by southerners. Now he sounds just like them as he either lies or displays inexcusable ignorance of the real costs of Medicare, and just flatly refuses to acknowledge the rising human cost of lack of access to insurance.

The baffling thing about this is how unnecessary it is. Voinovich has long since announced that he won’t seek re-election, so there’s no need to protect his flank from a teabagger-backed primary challenger. Maybe he just likes being, and wants to be remembered as, a hypocritical obstructionist. Whatever the case, we’re done deluding ourselves that he’s different, that he’s somehow above the madness afflicting most of the party. Clearly he’s not the man we thought he was. For a guy who claimed to have brashly counseled President Bush to wise up and consider his legacy, the much-older Voinovich is shockingly cavalier about his own.

— from Voinovich: More Machine Now Than Man, Cleveland Scene, December 2009