The River

Monday, August 25, 2003

He may never be President

But he could change the world. In fact, when Dennis Kucinich appeared on The Daily Show last week, Jon Stewart asked him why he was running for President, since everyone agreed he had no shot. With what could pass for a straight face, Kucinich replied, "to change the world."

In a comment on this blog, Bobby of Skullbolt says he admires the way Dennis Kucinich stood up to Cleveland Trust Bank. Whether he ever becomes President or not isn't really the point. That his life in public service is an example for us all, is. I found the story that Bobby referred to, in Dennis's own words, at the Organic Consumers Association page:

The Muny Light issue came to a head on December 15, 1978, when Ohio's largest bank, Cleveland Trust, the 33rd largest bank in America at that time, told me that they would not renew the city's credit on 15 million dollars worth of loans taken out by the previous administration unless I would agree to sell Cleveland's municipally owned utility to CEI. On that day, by that time, the sale of Muny Light was being promoted by both Cleveland newspapers, virtually all of the radio and TV stations in town, the entire business community, all the banks, both political parties, and several unions, as well as a majority of the Cleveland City Council. All I had to do was to sign my name to legislation and the system would have sold and the city credit "protected." The chairman of Cleveland Trust even offered 50 million dollars of new credit if I would agree to sell Muny Light.

Where I come from it matters how much people pay for electricity. I grew up in the inner city of Cleveland, the oldest of 7 children. My parents never owned a home, they lived in 21 different places by the time I was 17, including a couple of cars. I remember when there were 5 children and my parents living in a 3 room upstairs apartment on Cleveland's east side. My parents would sometimes sit in the kitchen at one of those old white enamel top tables, which, when the surface was chipped, was black underneath. When they counted their pennies, I could hear them clicking on the enamel top table. Click, Click, Click.

When I was in the board room with the Chairman of Cleveland Trust Bank, I was thinking about my parents counting their pennies and I could hear those pennies hitting the enamel top table. So, I said no to the sale of Muny Light to CEI. At Midnight, Cleveland Trust put the City of Cleveland into default.

Later, it was revealed... (more)

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