Perspective is WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres' 'take' and commentary on the latest news

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They don't and won't be making them like John Coyne anymore.

The powerful Democratic Party boss and dedicated public servant died this week at the age of 97.

More than a generation of Northeast Ohio residents under 45 know little or nothing about the crusty, and often cantankerous, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairman and devoted mayor of Brooklyn who put that city on the map.

John Coyne put laws in place in Brooklyn that helped launch nationwide safety initiatives that touch all our lives.

He made Brooklyn the first community in the country to require drivers to wear seat belts. That was in 1966. Remember that the next time you buckle up.

And Brooklyn was among the first to ban talking on cell phones and driving in 1999.

That was perhaps Coyne's final legislative achievement.

He was mayor of Brooklyn for 52 years, often claiming to be the longest-serving mayor in the country.

During his days as Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairman, the press dubbed him the "Irish Godfather." He loved wheeling and dealing and patronage, but never, ever made Cuyahoga County Party chairman Jimmy Dimora's self-indulgent and corrupt mistakes.

State and national politicians came to pay homage and seek his backing and the powerful support of the party organization he commanded.

Coyne left the chairman's job in 1993, less comfortable in the new era of politics driven by television.

He loved his community, his residents and a good political fight.

He wooed big businesses with incentives. Brooklyn is now an operations center for KeyBank, The Plain Dealer and Forest City Enterprises, because of deals he crafted and Brooklyn's key location along I-480.

He was known for standing up to intimidating by a recalcitrant City Council.

He labelled himself "Snow White" trying to enlighten and educate the "Seven Dwarfs."

Brooklyn has a first-rate Senior Center and Programs and Recreation Center because of Coyne's initiatives. Senior citizens could get free grass cutting and snow plowing.

A faction of younger Democrats, led by former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, backed Ken Patton, who ousted Coyne as mayor.

Family will receive visitors at the Busch Funeral Home, 4334 Pearl Road with visiting hours 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. A funeral mass will be held Friday at St. Thomas More Church in Brooklyn.

if you can't be there, perhaps give him a moment of thought, next time you buckle up.

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