Private, investor-owned utilities in Texas, Ohio, California, Illinois and elsewhere are crushing consumers with sky-high rates, price gouging and criminal behavior.
The Division of Light and Power is the thoroughly documented, true story of one courageous American mayor who fought, and beat, a utility monopoly in an epic battle which involved corporate espionage and sabotage, bank co-conspirators, extortion, political corruption, organized crime, mob-directed assassination attempts, congressional investigations, and media cover-ups.
The "powers that be" tried to buy him, and when he couldn't be bought, they tried to kill him. When that failed, the utility's bank gave him a choice: Privatize the city's electric system or the city would be thrown into default. The mayor said "no" to extortion, never gave in and saved over a billion dollars in assets for his city and its people.
Meet Mayor Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, who fought to give power to the people. Battling his way up from the streets of the city, he and his family lived in twenty-one different places by the time he was seventeen, including a couple of cars. By the age of thirty-one, as America's youngest big-city mayor, his stand to protect Cleveland's Muny Light against a utility monopoly and its banking partner drew international attention and praise as "The outstanding public official in America," an award presented by Bob Hope.
This is Mayor Dennis Kucinich's story, but if you want to know why your utility rates are so high, it may be your city's story, too.
Dennis John Kucinich is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2004 and 2008 elections.
Kucinich represented the 10th District of Ohio in the House of Representatives, which he has served from 1996 to 2013. His district includes most of western Cleveland as well as suburbs such as Parma and Cuyahoga Heights. He is currently the chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a member of the Education and Labor Committee.
From 1977 to 1979, Kucinich served as the 53rd mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, a tumultuous term in which he survived a recall election and was successful in a battle against selling the municipal electric utility before being defeated for reelection by George Voinovich.
Growing up in Northeast Ohio, I was acutely aware of Dennis Kucinich and that people older than me had a love-hate relationship. I remember hearing about CPP/Muny Light and Cleveland’s default…. But never knew anything about it. This book spells everything out and is written almost like a spellbinding novel: even though this is all true, it’s still unbelievable. I could NOT put this book down!
This should be required reading for every Ohioan…. And it makes me want to know more about our power plants, especially Davis-Besse NPP.
This book describes an epic power struggle in the late 1970s between the interlocking-directorate-connected private for-profit electric utility CEI and the bank Cleveland Trust Company, on the one hand, aided by corrupt politicians on the City Council, BOTH of the city’s local newspapers, and possibly the local Mob as well, and an extremely stubborn Mayor Kucinich on the other.
One thing that really hit me was the way the news media were (eventually) able to turn voters against Mr. Kucinich by relentlessly repeating a lie that made no sense. If the city-owned electric utility Muny Light were really the valueless millstone around the city’s neck they portrayed it as, then why on Earth was CEI so interested in acquiring it?
The issue of false, manipulated narratives is so relevant to what’s happening on a national level today, on both ends of the political/ideological spectrum. Among many other things, this book is a warning that allowing advertising to generate too much of news organizations’ revenue might be a bad idea, and that believing what you are told without applying serious thought to whether it even makes sense is also a bad idea.
Dennis Kucinich is that rarest of things: an energetic, determined individual of unimpeachable integrity. The world urgently needs more like him, and even more urgently needs ordinary people to recognize people like him for the treasures they are despite the loud voices inevitably attempting to smear them. The louder the voices portraying someone as ridiculous, "fringe," crazed, or even a spy, terrorist, enemy of the state, and the like, the more we should look to see if that person might be pure gold.
If you use Obama's dishonest tome (yes, heresy to say this) where he is sooo sad to have to kill those Afghan boys, Dennis Kucinich's honest recounting of his time rising through the ranks of Cleveland is like a breath of fresh political air. He writes in his own voice - clear, friendly, modest but in great detail based on his notes and recorded history - and reveals the best and the worst of local politics. Of course what happens in Cleveland doesn't stay in Cleveland and so his sojourn is relevant to the buying of most of the members of Congress, the White House, MSM, and the regulatory bodies we pay for with our taxes. He is a bright ambitious kid - still is in many charming ways - living through very tough times as he did throughout his political career. What's refreshing is his "I'm not for sale" approach to serving his constiutents and the price to be paid for such a firm stand against corruption. Of course, the voracious private power company is just one of the villains but when matched against good public servants, including Dennis, there is hope. I heard he's about to run for Mayor of Cleveland - again. Please do, Dennis - we need more just like you. Interesting book, very long, very detailed, nothing fancy, just like the author.
A great story. A fantastic lesson about corruption in Cleveland, not unlike any other city, town or county across the country. I am acutely aware, I have worked in government for the last 25 1/2 years. I especially liked the plain speak of the complexities surrounding utilities & the contracts private companies, beholden to shareholders, will do anything to keep or gain control of what should be public utilities. Mob hits & all, it shed so much “light”, pun intended on this issue. So happy I read this book!
A fascinating memoir by former Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich. Rather than being the tedious, self-promotional political memoir by a politician angling to get into office, the biography focuses on Kucinich's long fight with the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Cleveland Trust, and other corporate interests. It is a thoroughly detailed first-hand account of the battle between a democratically-elected figure and the public versus private corporate interests over political power. Strong recommend.
Well done Dennis Kucinich. You took an amazing stand against organized crime in Cleveland, Ohio. The United States and Planet Earth need more people like you. Every politician in Canada and USA must read this fine book. Yes, you deserve to be President of the United States. The Planet needs character like you have demonstrated.
I loved how hard it was to even get this book in Canada. I felt that it was a treasure I had to have and read immediately. I knew how important this book was after I heard Dennis Kucinich talking on a podcast about the book and his experiences as Mayor of Cleveland trying to save the public utilities company. One line in particular that he said stayed with me. When asked how he had successfully fought against forces that seemed so guaranteed to win, he said something like, "If you put everything you have into the effort, you can find the space between the spaces" and make what seem like very improbable things happen. I loved the way he said "the space between the spaces."
I learned from this book how power and corruption work in government. I really loved getting an inside view of the ugliness and the lies that exist in government, and most importantly the lies politicians tell themselves. It almost seems impossible to be a politician and not to become corrupt, in the sense that you start acting for interests that are not truly the public interest and telling yourself that's ok. And I also learned about how acting with integrity can be so unbelievably demanding.
This book just has to be made into a movie immediately! Oh my god, it would be so excellent.