NFL draft spurs Johnson’s campaign

On the side

Ted Strickland? LOL: Ex-Gov. Ted Strickland lost his cell phone a while ago. Rather than keep the phone number when he got a new cell, he switched it. Typically, it takes several months for a canceled cell phone number to be given to someone else. But that’s not the case with Strickland’s old phone number. A short time after giving up the number, it went to someone else — a federal agent based in Cincinnati. That guy must get quite a few calls a month from people trying to contact the former governor. Hopefully for him, he has unlimited minutes.

Endorsement: In a close vote, the Mahoning Valley Democrat Club endorsed John A. McNally IV over Jamael Tito Brown in the Youngstown mayoral Democratic primary. The club also endorsed Michael Patrick among the four candidates running for three at-large seats for Struthers City Council. Only Patrick and Milton Gonzalez sought the club’s endorsement.

How does a politician get featured in two of my columns in the same month?

Typically, they do something stupid, illegal and/or questionable.

The other, more pleasant, option is to play to my ego even though I’m just a humble guy.

In my April 5 column, I wrote about U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s campaign using various sporting events to raise money for the Republican congressman.

The most entertaining one was about baseball’s opening day. An email sent to Johnson supporters envisioned a socialist scenario for Major League Baseball in which President Barack Obama and his “liberal allies” were the league’s commissioners.

The email said they would start games giving three runs to the team with the worst record, every player would be paid the same, and the team that “won the playoffs would be forced to redistribute their players next year because it was unfair how successful they were.”

At the end of the column, I noted to Johnson’s campaign that the NFL draft started Thursday.

So what did the campaign do that day? They sent an email to supporters tied to the draft while poking a little fun at me.

It starts: “Unless you spend all of your time sitting around watching old black and white movies from the 1940s, you’re probably very excited about whatever prospect your favorite NFL team will select during tonight’s draft.”

Yes, I love black and white movies from the 1940s [and football], and Johnson’s campaign is well aware of that. Even the guy who runs Johnson’s media consulting firm has joked about me being an old man because of my passion for classic films — despite the fact he’s at least 25 years older than me.

In the email, the campaign calls for a “Washington draft” that has to do with a balanced-budget amendment and not offensive-line help for Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“We don’t have such a draft, but I am fighting hard for this #1 pick and more like it,” the Johnson email reads.

It then asks for people to donate $32, a $1 for each NFL team, though there hasn’t been a real team in Cleveland for decades so the campaign should probably ask for $31.

And you do yourself a favor: watch some great films from the ‘40s like “The Third Man,” “Double Indemnity,” “The Great Dictator” or “The Maltese Falcon.”

Speaking of jokes, or what should be a joke, the Ohio Republican Party filed a public-records request with the office of Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who is running as a Democrat in next year’s gubernatorial race, asking for “all written and electronic records” since January 2011 that doesn’t have a capital G in his last name.

In October 2011, The Plain Dealer reported that FitzGerald’s administrative assistant sent an email on the executive’s behalf to senior staff stating that he wouldn’t sign anything “that does not have his name spelled properly.”

The contention from Republicans is FitzGerald may have refused to “sign important state and federal documents” that didn’t have the capital G.

It would take FitzGerald’s office months to review every document in this ridiculously-broad records request. I’m a strong supporter of open records and the public’s right to know. But that’s not what this is about.

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