Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mean Scene piece slams Hagan; student asks if he's unaccountable

Scene's cover story today, slamming Tim Hagan on the Med Mart deal, is mean. How mean? It begins and ends with snarky references to Hagan's recent heart trouble!

Though the story doesn't call Hagan a pimp, like the Plain Dealer's Chris Evans did, the headline is, "How We Got Screwed," and a subhead says he has "had his way with you," the taxpayer. Switching to a hardware metaphor, the cover calls Hagan the "Med Mart's chief fixer." (I thought Fred Nance was the "fixer"!)

There isn't much new news in the piece. It's mostly an informative, one-sided, sarcastic recap of the convention center and Medical Mart saga, from Hagan's 2004 defeat of Tim McCormack to now. (A couple of corrections -- there are cost limitations in the Med Mart deal, though the story quotes someone saying otherwise. Also, the story says Hagan was a protégé of Bobby Kennedy -- who died in 1968, when Hagan was about 22. Hagan is a protégé of Teddy Kennedy.)

One tidbit I hadn't seen before: a Campbell Administration official reports that Campbell had a proposal in hand in 2005 to give MMPI the old convention center in exchange for "as much as 5 percent of the profits" from the new project. That didn't fly -- "talk soon shifted to MMPI [covering] overruns in exchange for keeping all the profits."

The most interesting part of the article comes on page 17, when writer Dan Harkins reports on a talk Hagan gave April 9 at Tri-C West. Hagan gets worked up when the students ask him about the Med Mart deal and the county corruption investigation. He also delivers his often-repeated lecture on representative democracy. A student responds by asking Hagan if, in his last term, he's now unaccountable:

"[W]e listen to the public's view," [Hagan] says, "but ultimately the responsibility rests with your elected officials."

... Since Hagan acknowledged he's not running for office again, a student inquires: What keeps him from doing whatever he wants now?

"I could do that," admits Hagan. ... "I have three years or so left, and you're absolutely right — that's the power you gave me when you elected me. I hope that I execute that with respect and thankfulness and responsibility."

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