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http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2004-11-01/cleveland

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Cleveland


? Cleveland |

Main

| Akron ?

November 02, 2004

Cleveland

There's a one-story long "W04" banner with an American flag hanging defiantly from the top story of 100 Erie View Plaza, one of Cleveland's largest skyscrapers.

At first when Sylvia Harris, 37, saw the sign, she didn't know what it meant. She thought it was a sign reminding people to vote, she says.

"When I was told that it was a sign for Bush, I thought that Kerry deserved equal space," says Harris, a law firm receptionist who works four blocks away. "I don't think it belongs on a public building."

Harris voted in University Heights this morning at 6:30 when the polls opened. She waited twenty minutes.

"I voted for Kerry," she says. "My husband is with the U.S. Navy. Kerry's been to war. He understands war. Nothing against Bush, but he's never fought on a battlefield. Experience is the best teaching.

"The economy is just terrible," she says. "I have two sisters--one works for the federal government and the other works for a company in a federally-funded job. Both of them lost their jobs--one this year, one last year. My cousin, who is a Cleveland elementary school teacher, was laid off this year. She's got a master's degree. She's substituting in Macedonia," about 90 miles south of Cleveland.

Lynn Lilly, 49, a media relations manager for a small manufacturing firm, attended the Kerry Rally last night in downtown Cleveland. She got to her Shaker Heights polling place at the Sussex Community Center at 7:35 a.m., but didn't vote until 8:30 a.m. She was number 107 in her precinct. "I've voted in every election since I moved here twenty years," she says. "I've never waited more than fifteen minutes before."

"I'm a registered Republican," says Lilly, married mother of three children, ages 20-22. "I didn't vote for Bush because I worry about the middle class, in spite of the fact I got money back from the Bush tax cut. Cleveland is number one on the poverty list in America.

"I believe Kerry is (going to) rescind the tax cut and use the money to fund education, health care and American jobs."

Louis T. Masterson, 61, president of an outplacement and search firm downtown ten blocks from the sign, "feels very good about sign," he says. "It shows that business people are taking a stand about the election. So many times, business people are afraid to take a stand because they're afraid of offending or aleinating customers. I'm a Bush supporter; but, if it was Kerry, I would have been happy people are taking a stand."

Masterson was in line in his Westlake polling place at 6:30 a.m. and was number 37 in hnis precinct, completing voting by 7:20 a.m. Normally voting takes fifteen minutes he says.

"I voted for Bush for two reasons," he says. "I think Bush is doing a good job on the economy. We are adding jobs. The number of jobs we've lost is less than it would have been under a Democratic Adminisration.

"The Democratic strengths traditionally have been with unions," he says. " I think a Democratic administration would attempt to save those jobs, union jobs. Those jobs are too high-paying. Companies will find ways to get around having those jobs when they can get comparable or better products at cheaper prices overseas. It would be artificial, temporary support."

Sarah Higgins, 22, is an African-American junior at Cleveland State Univ. and works 15-20 hours a week for Children's Place, a children's clothing store in downtown Cleveland. In the last election, she voted for Gore. Today she's voting for Kerry.

"I'm voting for Kerry because of the war," she says. "That's the biggest reason. I feel that he'll do a better job supporting higher education. Bush cut all funds for higher education. Tuition has doubled for me. When I first started I was paying $3500. Now it's $7500. I blame Bush and the Republican Party for that."

12:35 PM

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