Roldo weighs in on Ohio Supreme Court Decision on Quicken Loans Arena Referendum
JACKSON, KELLEY: PURPOSEFUL BUNGLED BLUNDER
by Roldo Bartimole
The Ohio Supreme Court ruling really says that Mayor Frank Jackson and Council President Kevin Kelley played an underhanded trickster game not only with the people of Cleveland but with democratic process itself in refusing to count the 20,000 signatures against their voted measure.
Both Jackson and Kelley should be rewarded with one swift kick in the ass out of office. This was a team effort to avoid a public vote.
They had to know that their position to ignore 20,000 signatures was bogus and indefensible. The mayor’s law department challenged Council’s refusal to check the signatures (6,000 plus were required) but the whole mess is a city hall debacle.
It shows clearly what corrupted politics we have in Cleveland.
But I doubt the shell game is over yet.
The combination of Jackson and Kelley in this matter should constitute a criminal enterprise to reward Dan Gilbert with tens of millions of dollars. The County was ready to issue three bond issues totaling $140-million with some bonds not being paid until the start of 2024 with city revenues of at least $88 million and likely more than that from County and other public funds.
This would be in addition to sin tax revenues. The third round of sin tax money totals $25.8 million as of July 17. The two earlier terms of the sin tax totaled $376 million and this does not include hundreds of millions of other public funding.
There’s a money funnel from Jackson and County Executive Armond Budish into the pockets of billionaire team owners. And it comes from your wallet.
We can see that Jackson, Kelley, Council Clerk Patricia Britt and most council members work for sports owners and developers, not the screwed citizens of Cleveland.
When will the referendum supported by more than 20,000 signatures—now verified to include over 13,000 signatures of actual voters of the City of Cleveland—be put on a ballot so residents can vote on another massive give-away of tens of millions of dollars to Dan Gilbert and his expansion of the Quicken Arena?
My bet is that these political shysters will try to stall until after the November election.
Jackson doesn’t want to face voters with this on a ballot. It will be a weight on his quest for four more years.
A vote on the Quicken give-away and mayor at the same time spells trouble for Jackson, already under attack for his bungling administration.
Zach Reed called this ruling “a slap in the face of the city,” and the uses of public dollars to pursue the court case an “outrage.”
The key ruling of the decision is that “This ordinance constitutes an emergency measure providing for the usual daily operation of a municipal department,” and as such the plain language “is subject to referendum,” according to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Peter Pattakos, lead lawyer of the Chandra law firm, wrote in a Facebook post that “None of the seven justices disagreed that “the clerk (Pat Britt, former councilwoman) violated the Cleveland City Charter when she refused to carry out her ministerial duty.”
The suit was brought by a group of opponents, including the Greater Cleveland Congregations and the Cuyahoga County Progressive caucus. They had presented four boxes of documents signed by more than 20,000, gathered in less than one month.
The Greater Cleveland Congregations said it “is pleased by the ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court to protect the fundamental right of referendum for not only 20,000 Clevelanders, but all Ohioans.”
The Caucus also was pleased that the Court “ruled in favor of allowing the democratic process to play itself out…”
We deserve better than sham government, which we now have at the city and county levels.