Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek found himself on an international stage Thursday. It's the latest development in a story that started with the day-to-day work of a councilman trying to keep Cleveland's eleventh Ward clean. ideastream's Dan Moulthrop explains.
Last Summer, Councilman Polensek approached a young man in a Collinwood Park and asked him to help keep the park free of litter. Arsenio Winston, then seventeen years old, was less than helpful.
Fast forward to early this month when Winston was arrested on charges of dealing drugs in Collinwood, and that's when Polensek's frustration boiled over. He sent a letter to Winston, calling him a "crack-dealing piece of trash," among other things, and urging him to go to either a cemetery or jail soon. Appearing for local and national media, Polensek has been unapologetic and has brushed off charges of racism, and he continued in similar fashion on the BBC program World Have Your Say.
Mike Polensek: Enough is enough. How are we supposed to live in our urban areas, not only in America - but I've had calls from Canada, from Ireland as far away as South Korea - I mean people in general are fed up with the gangs, the violent element of our societies who refuse to respect law abiding citizens.
Polensek added that 95 percent of the response he has received has been favorable, including a front page editorial from Cleveland's black newspaper the Call and Post. For his part, Arsenio Winston was indicted Wednesday.
Dan Moulthrop, 90.3.