Cleveland's City Hall on Lakeside Avenue downtown. (Source: WOIO)
It's one of Cleveland's most recognizable works of art: the "free stamp" outside Cleveland City Hall. It's a symbol of democracy in a major American city. But these days, we might as well call it "the rubber stamp," as a reflection of a City Council that's making a mockery of the democratic process.
Brian Kazy is the new Ward 16 councilman. He doesn't live in his ward and he wasn't selected by his constituents, or even his fellow council members. He was hand-picked by his predecessor, former Council President Martin Sweeney. Sweeney left council months ago, elected to the State House of Representatives.
Under a long-standing council tradition, council members have no choice but to accept Sweeney's appointment, or pay the consequences, including loss of committee leadership roles and exclusion from caucus meetings.
What's really crazy about the Kazy deal is that he was just recently rejected by voters in his own Ward 14. It's no secret Kazy was asked to run there to try and unseat incumbent Brian Cummins, who is a critic of Mayor Frank Jackson. His appointment now to Ward 16, smacks of "political payback."
This whole shuffling of council seats is "backroom politics" at its worst and needs to be shown the front door. At City Hall, there's no room for "stone-age cronyism" or politicians who show a blatant contempt for the community they represent.