Monday, July 20, 2009

Lanigan & Malone on new reform plan: "Absolute insanity"

Lanigan and Malone, WMJI's morning show hosts, talked this morning about Tim Hagan and Peter Lawson Jones' new reform plan. They don't like it.

"Absolute insanity," Jimmy Malone said.

Malone was trying to get his head around Hagan and Jones' decision to ask voters to approve a charter review commission in November. It's meant to compete with the Go Cuyahoga plan, which would replace Hagan, Jones, and Jimmy Dimora with a county executive and council.

The radio guys focused on how the charter review commission would be chosen: people who want to be on it will have to collect 10,000 signatures by August 20. [Update, 8/5: The secretary of state now says they'll need 5,000.]

"How are we supposed to know anything about these people to vote on them?" Lanigan asked. "The idea sounds good until you find out they need 10,000 signatures."

The charter commissioners will all be politically connected, Malone said. No one else will be organized enough to circulate that many petitions. "It'll cost money," Lanigan added.

"They must be afraid of reform," said Chip Kullik.

Lanigan and Malone, one of Cleveland's top-rated morning shows, often invites local politicians on the air as guests. This morning, Malone sounded exasperated with frequent guest Tim Hagan -- "who I still consider a friend," he said. The hosts said they were surprised to see three other politicians they admire -- Frank Jackson, Dennis Kucinich, and Jim Rokakis -- on the list of supporters.

It sounded like they'd read the spitting-mad editorial in Sunday's Plain Dealer, which lists the supporters of a charter review commission, assumes the worst about their motives, and labels them all "co-conspirators in confusion."

Malone tried to explain what happens if both reform proposals pass: how we might vote next year on a county executive and council and vote on whether to wipe out their jobs before they start. (Here's my attempt to explain it last week.)

Malone added he isn't endorsing the Go Cuyahoga proposal. "I'm not saying Bill Mason's plan is the answer," he said. "I really don't know. But this is so confusing."

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