Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mayor Burton

Harold Hitz Burton (June 22, 1888 – October 28, 1964) served as the 45th mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, a member of the United States Senate and later Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was known as a dispassionate jurist who prized equal justice under the law. - Wikipedia
Bipartisanship is a quaint ideal. Burton was an Ohio State Representative and then law director of Cleveland before being elected as Mayor in 1935, running as a Republican. He held that position until 1941 when he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he met and befriended Truman. Harry S. made him a Supreme Court Justice in 1945.

As the 45th mayor of the city, he has been credited with rooting out organized crime and his pious public demeanor gained him the nickname the "Boy Scout Mayor."
When Burton became mayor of Cleveland in 1935, the city was infested with underworld mobs, riddled with police graft. He appointed young Eliot Ness safety director, started a clean-up which had spectacular results. One racketeer it dredged up was Albert Ruddy, who this week was convicted of shaking down building contractors for thousands of dollars during his 20-year reign as a union tsar. Burton earned for Cleveland, once a city shamed by its record of traffic deaths, the National Safety Award in 1939 and 1940. He turned his attention to public health, and this year Cleveland won the National Health Award. He has fought for free speech and tolerance. To Cleveland this year went the National Civil Liberties Award. - Time Magazine, Oct. 1940
He secured over $40 million in federal funds towards relief assistance, and championed Cleveland as a convention center - the Great Lakes Exposition and the Republican National Convention occurred under his watch.

I find it difficult to imagine he initiated those events, as they occurred in the first full year of his term.

Additional Soucres:
Ohio History Central
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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