Monday, August 9, 2010

Akron's predictions for police layoffs, others are staggering

I don't know if I can find the right words to describe a layoff of 60-90 Akron Police Officers or more.  Probably because I'm friends with so many of them from over the years. I always tell people that Akron is a big city, but a small town - translation: we don't need six degrees of separation to know who is who.

The city's prediction of a year-end deficit of $4 million is staggering considering all the cuts we've seen in the last 18 months.  Early retirements, buyouts, etc .. shouldn't that have helped us beyond this?

I spoke in depth with FOP President Paul Hlynsky last week and then with Mayor Plusquellic by phone today. Both are passionate about their positions and both agree they want to save jobs, every single one they can.

But can they work together to make it a reality?

Whether it's 10 officers or 100, police layoffs will hurt the city. Without the Akron Schools to hire more (not going to happen) or some other revenue source coming in in the next few weeks (maybe the COPS grant the Mayor applied for in Washington), we ARE going to see layoffs in Akron in the next month.

One local leader told me there has been talk of a study to limit the department to two officers per every 1,000 residents.  That would give us a police force of around 400 give or take.  That's a lot less than we have now. Would a force that size really work in Akron?

City Hall has NOTHING to gain by cooking the books to make us look poor and let people go. 

APD has NOTHING to gain by playing chicken with a budget crisis.

Akron has EVERYTHING to lose if we can't find middle ground.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lynn France on Today Show

Lynn France, who first shared her story with Channel 3 News, shares her identity and more with the Today Show. What would you do in her shoes?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tiger, Tiger burning bright .. bringing $$ to Akron day and night

I can't complain.  Getting paid to go to Firestone Country Club for the first day of World Golf Championships week isn't tough duty, although there isn't much to report on day one.  The usual story -- and the one that I was assigned today -- is to preview the week's activities while looking at the economic impact of the events.

Only in this case it's eventS .. add the "s" at the end to include the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions this weekend.  And oh yeah, LeBron James has his bike-a-thon too.

Dan Colantone from the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce estimates the financial impact to the region at $30 million.  Big bucks for a big week for sure. 

I just wonder if it wouldn't be better to have the two major events on separate weeks rather than competing for air time and restaurant seats.

I was asked about security for Tiger so I checked with the tournament. Security is always tight for the world's number one player, and I was told by both the tourney folks and APD that his traditional plan is in place.  Honestly, I don't think anyone expects there to be trouble anyway .. but as a journalist, we get paid to ask.