Cleveland community groups launch referendum drive to repeal Cavs’ $70m subsidy

As expected, the Cleveland community groups that were calling for Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to have to put money into community development projects in exchange for getting $70 million in public money for arena upgrades are gathering signatures for a referendum to overturn the plan for him to get the money in exchange for just improving some school basketball courts:

In a news release issued Wednesday, April 26, the groups said they will work to collect 6,000 signatures to “let Cleveland voters have their say about the deeply-flawed deal for the city of Cleveland to spend $88 million of taxpayer dollars on a new glass atrium for Quicken Loans Arena.”

Members of the coalition are the Greater Cleveland Congregations, Service Employees International Union Local 1199, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268.

Past after-the-fact referendum attempts in other cities have failed when courts ruled that there was a no-backsies provision, but it looks like things are different in Cleveland, where county bond issues are subject to referendum approval. The arena money got an “emergency” designation, though, meaning if went into effect immediately … so, we’ll see. The groups have 30 days to gather the 6,000 signatures; no date has been reported for when the actual vote would be.

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One comment on “Cleveland community groups launch referendum drive to repeal Cavs’ $70m subsidy

  1. The real story will be if these groups somehow DON’T come up with the 6,000 signatures.The website for Service Employees International Union Local 1199 says they have 18,000 employees in Ohio. Now, not all may be in Cleveland but that still sounds like they should easily be able to get 6,000 signatures if just union members and immediate family signed. And the church group has over 20 churches listed in Cleveland so they’d be able to hit 6K on their own if each church got around 300 signatures.

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