01/26/2012 06:08 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2012

When to Say No. Make That "Hell, No!"

Mitt Romney did not invent predatory capitalism.  It’s been around for a while.

Predatory capitalism was already alive and well in 1978, in Cleveland.  That was when the One Percent who controlled the banks, and pretty much everything else of value, decided that they wanted to steal the local power company from the people of Cleveland.

By way of background, Cleveland Public Power was founded by the Mayor of Cleveland, more than a century ago.  It provides the people of Cleveland with electricity -- without the price gouging, poor service, pollution and monopolization for which Big Energy seems to strive.

The One Percent didn’t like that idea at all.   So they invested in a private company called Cleveland Electric Illuminating.  They wanted to steal Cleveland Public Power from the people, and then jack up the rates, and make lots and lots of money.

They then issued this ultimatum:

(1) hand over the assets of Cleveland Public Power to us, or

(2) we will pull the plug on Cleveland.

By which they meant that they would boycott the City of Cleveland’s bonds as they came due, and drive the City into bankruptcy.

Which they then did.  The One Percent forced the City of Cleveland into bankruptcy.

But they didn’t anticipate one thing.  What the 32-year-old, first-term Mayor of Cleveland would say.

That was Dennis Kucinich.  And Dennis said no.

No matter what the banks said, Dennis said no.

No matter what the City Council said, Dennis said no.

No matter what the bankruptcy court said, Dennis said no.

A newspaper on December 22, 1978 quoted Dennis as follows:  “They are maneuvering to offer the city terms so bad that we will feel pressured to beg.”  And Dennis would not beg.

No.  Just no.

And Dennis paid a price for that.  The “Boy Mayor of Cleveland” went down to defeat that year. The One Percent made sure of that. But the people of Cleveland kept their power company.

Twenty years later, the Cleveland City Council honored Dennis Kucinich for having the “courage and foresight” to stand up to the banks, for the sake of the people.  They calculated that Dennis had saved the people of Cleveland $195 million in one decade alone. And Cleveland elected Dennis Kucinich to Congress.

Let me tell you something.  There is not one person in a hundred -- Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, male or female, white, black, red or brown -- who would have the courage to do what Dennis Kucinich did.  For the good of the people.

That’s why we need Dennis Kucinich in Congress.

Thanks to Republican gerrymandering in Ohio, Dennis is facing the fight of his career.  His election is on March 6.  And absentee ballots in his district will be mailed out next Tuesday.

Dennis needs your help.  He needs to contact thousands of absentee voters, and that costs money.  If you helped him before, then help again.  If you didn’t help him before, then help now.  Please click on this special ActBlue link, and make a contribution to Dennis Kucinich’s campaign today.

Because Dennis has guts.  And that’s what we need in our leaders.


Alan Grayson