We met the next day at Voinovich park, sat on a concrete ledge and ate the picnic he had brought. The sun was shining. A soft breeze fluttered the pages of my notebook. Except for the four tape recorders sitting between us (I’d brought two and so had my intern), it looked like lunch with a friend.
Our “picnic” lasted nearly two hours, during which time White outlined his case against his growing list of enemies: City Council, the business community, The Plain Dealer, the police union. Maybe he thought I’d need the protein to hang with him.
What I found, though, is whatever his faults — a question still not fully answered — Mike White still had the kind of charisma it takes to be a great leader. He wasn’t using it much anymore. But, along with potato salad and a couple Snapples, he’d definitely brought it that day.