Today’s Cleveland Jewish News outlines items within the Ohio budget, about to be signed by Governor Ted Strickland, that will benefit Ohio’s Jewish community, and, specifically, NEOhio.
One item that caught my eye in the approximately $833,000 for Cleveland Jewish non-profits (out of a total of $1.6 million statewide for Jewish organizations) was this:
• $200,000 in each fiscal year to Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau for its Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) program. SAY places counselors in east suburban high schools and some Jewish day schools to provide substance abuse prevention, mental health counseling and early intervention services.
Full disclosure: This program began at Bellefaire in 1999, just before I left (2000). I worked for Bellefaire from 1992-2000.
Likewise, State Rep. Josh Mandel, while consulting with Bellefaire prior to becoming a state rep, has previously told me that he worked with the program. I believe he has given up his consulting work with the agency due to his election to the Ohio legislature.
Despite this connection, however, it’s important to know and note that Bellefaire has had lobbyists for as long as I’ve been familiar with the agency, and has received local, state and federal monies for decades. So there is no reason to assume that Josh had anything in particular to do with this allocation. Only that as a Jewish state rep from an area with an agency like Bellefaire in it, it’s a nice thing if he did have a hand in it. That kind of impact is what I would expect most constituents expect from their reps, at a minimum – right?
On a separate but related note, read that article highlighted after Mandel’s name. I would love to see a follow-up article, now that it’s been almost 18 months since that article was written, that compares what the article said the candidate Mandel said then, to what he’s been able to accomplish since January 2007. Including that bar exam…(good luck!).
Actually, that might make a nice new website page.