FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dennis Kucinich and FirstEnergy

Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich was cautious in his statements Saturday about the First Energy plant in Ohio that may have been responsible for the massive blackout affecting more than 50 million people across North America. He did not immediately point an accusatory finger at First Energy, emphasizing that the first priority must be to restore power and water to those who have lost it. Even the concerns he expressed about First Energy were carefully prefaced by the words “recent press reports indicate” and “if press reports are accurate,” indicating his willingness to give them a fair shake, something that they were less than willing to give him 25 years ago.

Dennis J. Kucinich first made his name in politics by becoming the youngest mayor of a large city, when in 1977 he became the mayor of Cleveland, Ohio at age 31. He took over a city that was deeply in debt but, as these things tend to go, was soon blamed for the city’s financial crises. The city tried to negotiate the renewal of $14 million worth of notes held in local banks. A rollover, it’s called, and it’s usual for banks to agree. Not this time.

The banks had a get-rich-quick scheme up their sleeve. They wanted Mayor Kucinich to sell the city’s electric company, MUNY Light, to Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company whose parent company nowadays is, you guessed it, First Energy. Why did these bankers want that? Well, of the eleven directors of Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, eight were also directors of four of the banks. And five of the banks held almost 1.8 million shares of CEI stock.

So the banks pushed the city into default and Kucinich lost his next re-election bid because of First Energy’s greed. Oh, yes, greed. Because in the 1990s, the people of Cleveland woke up to the fact that Dennis Kucinich had saved them all a ton of money. In 1998, the Cleveland City Council honored him for “having the courage and foresight to refuse to sell the city’s municipal electric system,” saying he had saved Clevelanders more than 300 million — that 300 million that they would have paid to CEI if Kucinich had caved in. But he didn’t. That doesn’t seem to be his style.

Yet Kucinich’s run-ins with First Energy don’t end there. In March of last year, workers at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant, also owned by First Energy, accidentally discovered that leaking boric acid had created a football-sized hole, 6 inches deep, in the head of the nuclear reactor, leaving only a thin stainless steel lining, two-tenths of an inch thick, which had begun to crack and bulge, to contain the nuclear reaction inside. “[T]hat’s not a lot of wiggle room between containment and Kingdom Come,” wrote William M. Adler in The Austin Chronicle.

The plant’s been closed, of course, while it “fixes” things. Congressman Kucinich asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to revoke First Energy’s operating license for the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, at least until the outcome of the criminal investigation against the plant. But the NRC decided last month not to revoke the license. Why would they decide that? Well, perhaps more puzzling (or is it all too clear?) is why the NRC promoted Sam Collins, the Director of Nuclear Reactor Regulation to a higher position in July — Deputy Executive Director for Reactor Programs. Collins was the management official directly responsible for overseeing the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant while its flaws went undetected. Apparently $450 million worth of flaws, and counting. Three-and-a-half months before the hole was discovered, Director Collins actually halted a government-ordered shutdown of the plant, after First Energy Corporation pleaded financial hardships, despite harsh criticism of his action from within his own Office of Inspector General. Coincidence? Or do the powers-that-be in Washington feel they want someone in charge who will give proper consideration to the needs of big donors to the Bush campaign, like First Energy. That’s right, First Energy donated $640,000 to the Bush campaign in 2000.

NYC’s City Council estimates $750 million lost in revenue to the blackout. Five deaths have so far been blamed on it. Remind you of another sell-out, when a certain mayor was asked to sell out his city for 15 million in city debts? And he didn’t? Except that this time, it looks like somebody did.

When Kucinich re-launched his political career in the mid-1990s, his campaign symbol was a light bulb. His slogan: Light Up Congress.

Dr. CATHERINE DONG received her Ph.D. in government from Cornell University. She has taught American politics and political ethics courses at Pitzer College and Chapman University. She is currently working on a book entitled, Practice Makes Perfect: Raising Your Kids to Make It in America. She can be reached at: cdong@theboojum.com

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Justin Anderson
Don’t Count the Left Out Just Yet
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail