(George Nemeth, Bill Callahan and I receive the Allison Bonagura Award.)
During its annual Spring Celebration Luncheon today, Cleveland Jobs With Justice
honored Bill Callahan, George Nemeth and me as its 2006 recipients of its Allison Bonagura Award. The award for rank-and-file activism is named after a Cleveland union activist.
In addition, we each were named in resolutions from Cuyahoga Country Commissioners Jimmy Dimora, Peter Lawson Jones and Timothy F. Hagan that congratulated us on our receipt of the award.
OK, so that's the facts of the event. What got the three of us up on that podium today?
On a Wednesday evening in April of last year, some 20 Cleveland bloggers gathered at an East Side Arabica for our monthly MeetUp. Tim Russo raised the issue of the Cleveland City Council double cross then Mayor Jane Campbell had engineered to cut an after-hours deal plopping a Wal-Mart Supercenter-anchored development at Steel Yard Commons.
Prior the meeting, several bloggers, most prominently Bill, had written posts uncovering what a monstrously bad deal this would be for Clevelanders. Most of us had thought the deal dead after a city council vote, but Mayor Campbell snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and stunned us all.
At the blogger MeetUp, Tim exhorted us to not take the shenanigans lying down and proposed that one way we could fight the encroachment of the Bentonvile Behemoth would be to create a team written blog. No Cleveland Walmart was born that night.
George went to work and brought all of the necessary technical details together, assigned everyone who wanted one a user name and password and 10 of us started blogging.
You can see all the names and the contributions they have made on the right. Bill, George and I are convenient representatives, but this was from the beginning a collective work. We all posted independently when we felt we had something to say. No one made assignments or vetted contributions. We attended meetings and covered local and state government involvement. We wrote about the injustice we saw around us.
We wrote from the heart because we knew that Wal Mart was not the right solution. We still feel that way.
Our names are on the certificates and resolutions, but the honor belongs to all of the Cleveland bloggers who weren't willing to let Queen Jane roll over the working men and women of Cleveland.
Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.