Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Garson calls for Dimora and Russo to resign

"I'm going to have a very low threshold of tolerance for any ill-toward behavior," Stuart Garson, the local Democrats' new chairman, told me for my article about him in this month's Cleveland Magazine. Guess he meant it.

Garson is calling on Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo to step down for the sake of "our community, party and our candidates." The Plain Dealer's Mark Naymik broke the news on cleveland.com today. It's not a reflection on their guilt or innocence, Garson says -- but the appearance of impropriety caused by the endless FBI investigation "has compromised the public's trust."

About time! I can hear you scandal-weary readers saying. So why is Garson saying this now? He's been party chair for about two months, enough time to establish his authority. And the party's focus is turning to the elections for the new county government. Early voting has already started for the Sept. 7 primary, with dozens of eager Democrats competing to be the party's nominees for county executive and council.

"The resignations will allow our candidates ... to focus on their ideas for governance, economic development and social services without any further distraction," Garson said in the PD story.

Translation: Republican and Independent candidates will try to hang Dimora and Russo around the Democrats' necks in November. Garson wants to give his candidates an easy answer: Hey, we've moved on!

Naymik's story includes one vague but tantalizing detail:
Garson said he personally told one of the two officials of his announcement, though he wouldn't identify which one. But he said, "It didn't go well."

Wish I had an audio clip of that!

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