This Week in the CLE - Sept. 5, 2019
Disorder at Mayor Frank Jackson’s house, jail escape secrecy and, suddenly, First Energy Solutions calls its bailout a tax?
First we had the photo of a convicted felon with a gun and lots of cash at the top of Mayor Frank Jackson’s driveway, with a police car in the background.
Then we had the revelation that a city prosecutor -- who ultimately answers to the mayor -- declined to charge the mayor’s grandson in a brutal beating.
Those are the top stories for discussion on the latest episode of This Week in the CLE, the podcast discussion of the news by the reporters and editors at cleveland.com.
Crime reporter Adam Ferrise joins me and co-host Laura Johnston for the Jackson discussion after Laura and I offer our rundown of the top five stories of the past week.
We also talk with Adam about the latest travail for the Cuyahoga County jail, an escape by a man accused of domestic violence – an escape for which jail leaders have provided few details.
In some good news for the embattled jail, Adam describes how the county is reducing the jail population by sending inmates to other jails with an aim of reducing lockdowns that have left the jail tense. County officials stopped by cleveland.com after the podcast to provide other jail updates, so look for news of that on the website.
Politics editor Jane Kahoun joins the podcast to talk about how, maybe, we should not count Ohio out of the national conversation for the 2020 presidential race. The Democrats are planning their October debate here, meaning they see Ohio as having value.
We also talk with Jane about the latest on the move to purge people from the Ohio voter rolls and what those purged voters might have to do to cast a vote next year.
One of our favorite stories for this episode is the strategy by First Energy Solutions to stop Ohio voters from getting a chance to kill the expensive bailout of their aging nuclear plants. The strategy? Deem the fees that all ratepayers now must pay for the bailout as taxes, which cannot be undone by voters. First Energy Solutions did not call it a tax when pushing legislators to adopt the bailout.
Jane fills us in on the challenges involved in re-examining 1,500 sexual assault reports filed with Ohio State University over the years. That is happening because of the failures discovered in the case of sexual abuse reports against the late Ohio State University team doctor Richard Strauss.
And Jane has the details on why costs for people enrolled in Obamacare will drop for the first time in seven years.
Federal Courts reporter Eric Heisig leads a robust discussion about Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s stubborn efforts to block cities and counties from suing pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis. Despite criticism from many corners, Yost has doubled down, and Heisig offers insights as to why.
We also talk with Eric about U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman’s strong statements about white national extremists. The statements were remarkable in the age of Donald Trump, when U.S. attorneys have been less visible than in the past when it comes to extremists.
Eric also discusses a little-noticed story about the longtime mayor of Highland Hills pleading guilty to stealing from the campaign fund of U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce.
Columnist Leila Atassi closes out the podcast with a discussion about the rise in the number of homeless families in Northeast Ohio, the result of a national homeless policy that focuses on people who do not have children. The leaders of The City Mission stopped by cleveland.com this week to publicize the issue, and we talk with Leila about the lessons we took from the visit.