Shaker Heights kow tows to unions (is this a surprise?)


Shaker Heights cutting back on residents’ perks

Posted by Gabriel Baird/Plain Dealer Reporter June 24, 2009 00:52AM

Updated at 11:12 a.m. on Wednesday

SHAKER HEIGHTS — One of the perks residents of this city enjoy is being taken away.

Starting July 1, they will have to haul their yard waste to the curb like most everyone else.

Hard economic times have hit the city.

For decades, refuse collectors have picked up garbage and wastes behind houses, leaving the tree lawns impeccable even on trash day.

But a series of hits to the city’s budget are forcing cutbacks. City officials had expected to collect about $2.7 million less in taxes this year than last. But it could be even worse, said Mayor Earl M. Leiken.

“I don’t know how much more yet,” he said.

Councilwoman Nancy Moore said it could top $4 million.

A few residents in their yard Tuesday said that with the high taxes they pay they deserve the yard-waste perk.

One woman, who was trimming her shrubs, called fellow Shaker Heights residents spoiled, saying placing lawn clippings at the curb was hardly a hardship. She declined to give her name for fear of being ostracized by her neighbors.

Sharon Griswold, who was finishing a new stone path, said that having grown up outside Shaker, she is used to tasks like taking the lawn clippings to the curb.

“It’s not a big deal,” she said.

Other cost saving measures are also coming in July:

• City Hall and the community building will be closed every other Friday, beginning July 10.

Nonunion city employees will take off one day each two-week pay period for a salary cut of 10 percent.

• The pool will close a week before Labor Day.

“These changes will present just a minor inconvenience to residents,” Leiken said.

This is bullshit. The union employees should make the same concessions to help the city. Thanks a lot, Shaker.

Tuesday Madness

Tuesday was a wicked busy day for me. Only one day after the oft-discussed metro accident, the city remained on edge.

I gave a tour of work to my friend Rocco’s brother, Ed and his girlfriend. I miss giving tours sometimes, but not that much really.

Then, my buddy Steve had his pinning ceremony at Senator Murkowski’s office. Former Senator Ted Stevens was there, as Steve used to work for him — both Senators pinned on his Captain bars.


Senator Stevens adds Steve’s new bars for the rank of Captain in the USAF.

After going back to work and finishing the day at about 6:45, Steve threw his “wetting down” party at Irish Times. Sally, I, and some others all went and had a few drinks with Steve and his friends.


We even had the famed Disaronno, which is sort of an inside joke from our Alaska trip.

After the party died down, I cautiously ventured to the metro to head back to Huntington. The metro crash has caused significant delays on the red line and the trip took me forever.

Naturally, I got to reading stuff for work, and was going through the May booklet of Economic Indicators from the JEC.

A little Boston Red Sox fan sat down next to me (the trains were nearly full after the Sox – Nats game) and took interest in the graph I was reading on unemployment.

unemployment may

(click to expand)

I ended up going over the graph with the little guy and he found it interesting. I did mention he should probably find a better baseball team to follow, like the Indians or the Cardinals.

Red Line Train Accident

train accident

My thoughts and prayers are with the deceased, injured, and their families.

This is obviously horrible.

Apparently, one train went up 40 feet in the air. That is nuts. After seeing the picture below, I believe it.

train accident2

UPDATE: I just got home and the orange/blue to L’Enfant and Yellow/Blue to Huntington didn’t take too long, but the trains were more crowded.


Check the news stand for the July Washingtonian Magazine

You’ll see my pic on page 10.

washingtonian win

6/21 Pictures

Here are some of my pictures from this Sunday’s photo adventure with Woody and Lehner. I also went out around my neighbor hood at night and took some more pics!


The Huntington Metro and the Midtown Avenue Condos where I live.


The Capitol by the National Association of Realtors Building.


A sculpture outside of the NAR building.


Clouds reflecting on the NAR Building


Stained Glass Window at the National Cathederal. They do have a Darth Vader grotesque, although we couldn’t find it.


Swords ho! At the Capitol.

Lobbyists use homeless to hold their spots in line.

I see this every day. It’s true.

Boxer vs. The General

My buddy and softball colleague is behind Boxer in this video.

Sex Offenders in your community?


I just found out that our three local states or governing entities (you’re not a state, DC!) have websites where you can find out where sex offenders live and what their crime(s) were. There are 6 who live near me and all of them are violent. Awesome.

Sorry to ruin your friday.

Why would Lee Fisher ever agree to this?

Lee Fisher is currently the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, and it’s widely expected that he’s running for Senate in Ohio for Voinovich’s open seat in 2010. What’s worse is that Fisher is from my home town of Shaker Heights. How embarrassing.

According to the Dayton Daily News:

The footage comes from ‘Swing State,’ a documentary co-directed by Fisher’s son during the 2006 campaign. It was posted on YouTube by, a conservative blog run by Matt Naugle.

Download the video here.

WSJ Photo Journal

I didn’t realize that WSJ has a good photo journal section. I’d encourage you to check it out. Recently, they did a little bit about the firefighter’s pension fund of Springfield, MO, where I once lived for a couple months.

Above, a man walked in downtown Springfield. (Catalin Abagiu for The Wall Street Journal)

Above, a man walked in downtown Springfield. (Catalin Abagiu for The Wall Street Journal)

My photos from last night’s Congressional Baseball Game are online. Check them out here.

The Alexandria sky outside my apartment

The Alexandria sky outside my apartment (photo taken by me)