Submitted by Sharon Farrell
Today is President Cleveland’s 183rd birthday. During our current public health crisis, we take a moment to recall President Cleveland’s personal battle with a serious infection as a teen, and later as mayor, his fight for proper management and funding for a public health issue. Stricken with typhoid at age 18. Cleveland, who was residing with his aunt and uncle in Buffalo at the time, survived under the care of Dr. King. Years later, as mayor of Buffalo, Cleveland clashed with a corrupt city council to institute a Sewage Commission for the City. After open war between the mayor and council, and repeated vetoes by Cleveland due to nepotism and padded city contracts, the Commission finally was formed. Deadly waterborne illnesses, slow moving contracts, and abuse of funds for sewer projects ran rampant in Buffalo for decades. Cleveland is credited with bringing the public emergency and misuse of funds to the fore, insisting that progress be made immediately while using taxpayer’s funds prudently.