Councilman: Drug Dealers Are ‘Two-Legged Rats’

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The American dream is still alive in Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood. Joe Jerse bought his first home there a year ago.

"We're the next generation," said the young automotive mechanic.

Eshon Howard hopes to raise his three children in the neighborhood: they are 4, 2, and two weeks old.

"It's beautiful. It's quiet all the time. The kids play," he said.

Councilman Mike Polensek said that’s the kind of life he wants for his constituents.  He’s prepared to fight for it to prevent suspected drug dealers, like the 86 people indicted on Tuesday by federal and county authorities, from taking over.

“They’re two-legged rats. They suck the soul out of a community, that's just what they do," he told Fox 8 News.

At least one of those people has already experienced the wrath of Polensek. Jessie White, 19, who was named in federal documents for buying crack cocaine, got a letter from the councilman back in 2010 when he was arrested for grand theft auto.

Polensek read the letter to Fox 8 News:

"I finally can't wait 'till you are 18 years of age so that the police can put your violent, ignorant, dumb (expletive) in prison ... that's what I said to him. I tried to be as blunt as I could," he said.

Polensek said every young serial offender in his ward gets a letter, sometimes three or four.

"I try to reach out to every person who is arrested for a violent crime or a drug-related crime because I've seen so many young men going to prison for no reason."

The Councilman said he blames the juvenile justice system for sending troubled teens home when locking them up might save what's left of their young lives.

"I try to reach out to their parents, to try to show them another way out, offer them help, some take advantage of it," he said.

There are also those who fault the tough talking councilman for his failure to sugar coat his message. Eshon Howard is not one of them.

"Too much stuff goes unsaid. Nobody ever calls anybody on it, so, you know, whatever words are necessary, you know, to get it done, I'm all for it," said the father of three.

Polensek won’t disappoint, he said he intends to continue his letter writing campaign as long as there are young kids breaking the law while risking the futures they might one day enjoy.

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