Alan Glazen, the son of a carpenter, built a successful ad agency pitching political campaigns and creativity. But in his second career, he's redirecting his manic energy into workingman bars, coffee shops and restaurants in the city's emerging neighborhoods — including an idea to flip the switch at a handful of spots on the same night in Collinwood.
So I've recently learned that the best way to find out one's own importance is to stop doing the thing you've been doing every day and see if anyone notices.
It's been three (or so) weeks since I've updated my blog and I've never been so popular in my life!! People, lots and lots of people (by which I mean more than two) have written me, asking where I've been and when I'm coming back. People (all three of you :) I'm back. Glad I could bring some happiness and light back into your day.
An update: My new job is the first time I've ever had to show up at work at a specific time. I'm finding that I don't like this very much. Also, my new bosses expect me to stay at work until 5. Every day. Even when I finish all my work earlier. I don't understand this at all!!! Sighhh....
it's fun to work on a college campus -- though I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not ACTUALLY a student. I have a separate facebook page just for Kent state and I totally judge my popularity by my number of friends :)
Last week was our opening week events. Basically this meant that we had lots of parties and I got paid to socialize with everyone. It also meant, though, that I was at work till 10 or 11 most nights. Last Tuesday, I chose to ignore the red flashing light on my gas gage, figuring I'd have more than enough gas to get home. This turned out to be a horribly bad calculation and I had to be towed to the nearest gas station. Triple A totally loves me at this point. I think they know me by name now.
I do have some journalism news to report though. I have a personal essay coming out in Cleveland magazine next month. There may or may not be a cool stencil drawing of me to accompany the essay. I'm unqualified to comment on this as I haven't seen the actual picture yet, though the art director keeps telling me she thinks it's "great." (However, the more times she tells me this the less inclined I am to believe her :)
Anyway, to my three fans -- now that I'm back writing, feel free to leave notes on my ACTUAL blog, so others can see that i have readers and think I'm funny and important.
In the weeks since the Woodmere case has been decided, I've had a chance to look back at some of the documents and moments leading up to the trial. As you might recall from last week's post, Chief LaMont Lockhart was awarded more than $2 million for his federal retaliation claim against Mayor Yolanda Broadie and the village of Woodmere. The case dated back to 2005 when Lockhart, Woodmere's black police chief accused Broadie, Woodmere's black mayor, of discriminating against white employees.After blowing the whistle on the village government, Lockhart claimed the mayor treated him like dirt -- writing up negative reviews of jobs that he'd never done, taking away his patrol car, and suspending him for forgetting to sign in and out of work. Eventually, work got so bad that he had to quit.A month later, he filed an EEOC complaint againt the mayor --and won.
With all these details, it seems strange that Woodmere would deign to take the case to trial. It gets even worse. According to recently filed papers, It turns out that Woodmere rejected at least three settlement offers prior to the trial. All these offers, by the way, were at least $1.5 million less than the final jury judgment!
November 13, 2007--Lockhart’s legal counsel say they would accept a $50,000 settlement award.
Woodmere never bothers to respond.
June 20, 2008—Lockhart’s attorneys ask for $225,000 in damages and $187,500 in attorney’s fees. Additionally, the mayor would be required to write letter of apology to Lockhart and village officials would be forced to attend 8 hours diversity training.
Woodmere responds with a one sentence letter, stating: “It has been decided that no settlement offer will be forthcoming at this time.”
November 13, 2008— Woodmere counsel finally agrees to look at settlement offers, but tells Lockhart’s attorneys that, in their mind, “[Lockhart's] economic loss consists of a wage loss claim for the three day suspension of $634.62 and $120.58 in employer matching PERS contributions."
December 15, 2008 -- After just three and a half hours of deliberation,the jury awards Lockhart $2 million in damages. "The evidence showed that Broadie engaged in a pattern of harassment, including unreasonable requests and actions," the jury foreman Chuck Niles said.
December 29,2008 --In the final settlement papers, Lockhart's attorneys summarize the case and reference my (amazing) testimony. (Glad at least someone appreciates me!).
January 2, 2008-- Becky has a beef. The prosecution wins $2 million and, yet, no one will reimburse me the $15 dollars I spent on parking fees. Sigh.
The prosecution won its case! The jury found Mayor Yolanda Broadie guilty of discrimination and awarded the whistleblower, and former Police Chief LaMont Lockhart, more than $2 million in damages. You can find the Plain Dealer's final write-up of the case here.
Unfortunately, the article missed a key part of the trial: my testimony. I think someone should write a letter to the editor complaining about this glaring omission.
After (approximately) 7.14 hours spent waiting and fuming at Phoenix Coffee Shop, I was finally called to the stand to testify in the Woodmere federal discrimination case. And -- surprisingly-- the experience was, dare I say, fun?!
I took the stand at 10:15. My first surprise:Turns out all those law dramas are wrong (I know! shocking, right?!) Witnesses don't swear on a bible. Instead, they swear on ...nothing at all. Pshhh. Does the justice department, like, really expect people to tell the truth when the only consequence of lying is mere perjury charges and decades in jail?
Anyway, so I took my place in the courtroom and did the whole "state your name" thing. Then the prosecutor asked me about my journalism resume, the classes I took at Northwestern, my reporting techniques, my conversations with the mayor (who in depositions claimed that never in her 48 years on earth had she ever experienced or witnessed or even viewed racial discrimination of any kind), and my age. The judge objected to this last line of questioning, saying it was "against the law to ask women these questions" (oh that Judge Nugent was a witty one!).
Then it was defense's turn. Clearly, his aim was to paint Scene magazine as a sensational, National Enquirer-like paper. He totally underestimated the jury's intelligence. First he starts out by quoting from my article: " You say that after Amy Mengay got the job, she popped a bottle of champagne ... correct?" To which I responded, with a slight roll of the eyes, "Um that was an ANALOGY. it's just another way of saying she was happy." (The jury, who totally loved me, nodded their heads vigorously at that one). The defense attorney, who clearly couldn't read the mood in the court room like I could, tried to continue with this line of thought: "You say here that Amy Mengay spent her childhood with the boys..." Again I responded, "that was another analogy. I just meant that she was a tomboy." Then the defense attorney tried to bring up something from Amy Mengay's deposition that I had never seen. The prosecutor objected and the judge called for a sidebar. Apparently, the defense lost their argument, for the lawyer only had two more questions for me after that. "So, are you saying you had no agenda when you wrote this article?" "Correct," I replied. "And you stipulate that everything in the story is accurate?" "Yes," I said again. After that, the attorney had no further questions for me. I was done!
In summary, I think I totally kicked ass --even if my attorney friends disagreed. "The goal of a witness is simply to tell the truth, there's no winning or losing," they lectured. Whatever. I still think I won.
Last night, driving home from yoga, I got a call from the federal prosecutor in the Woodmere case. The prosecution needed me to appear in court tomorrow around 3, the lawyer informed me. Since the accident I've only been driving on back roads, which means the drive from Kent to Cleveland would take me approximately oh, 1.74 hours -- giving me lots and lots of quality time with my new best friend Enya. To be safe, I figured I'd leave the office at one.
So, after working for like, 45 minutes this morning, I got a call from the federal prosecutor telling me i had to go to the federal courthouse immediately. In turn, I hauled ass (if driving 35 mph can be called "hauling ass"), drove the 1.74 hours to Cleveland, and rushed up to meet the attorney -- only to be told that "it didn't appear that they'd be needing me today after all. But just in case he changes his mind, I should stay close to the court room.
It is now 4:52. Court normally closes at 4:30. I am not a psychic, but it appears pretty clear that I will not be making any appearances on the witness stand today.
I am beginning to understand why people dislike lawyers.
Wow, it feels like forever since I've used the words "good" and "news" together in a post. It's kind of a foreign feeling!
Yesterday, I was offered a job as the social engagement director at Kent State Hillel. Although the position is not in the writing field, it actually involves many of the same skills I needed to succeed as a a reporter. Openness. A sympathetic disposition. The ability to talk to all different kinds of people. And, of course ---socialness!
I'm excited to start working and planning events. And importantly, I can still freelance on the side. And because this blog is so fun -- and appeals totally to my narcissistic side -- I'm going to keep writing. Because despite what the AP and Pasadena Now and everyone else seems to think, I simply don't think you can get the same degree of insight from outsourcing all writing jobs to India.