Friday, May 26, 2017

VIDEO: City Council Leadership Rejects Q Deal Referendum Signatures

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Here is the moment Monday morning when members of the Q Deal referendum coalition attempted to deliver 20,603 signatures at Cleveland City Hall and were rejected by City Council leadership.

The above video was posted to Facebook by Rico Dancy, who is running for City Council in Ward 10, currently represented by Jeff Johnson.

The reasoning for the petition rejection was questionable, and was this morning challenged by the referendum coalition's legal representation at the Chandra Law Firm. Kevin Kelley, meanwhile, is facing harsh criticism from both council colleagues and from citizens.

In the video above, Greater Cleveland Congregations leaders Rev. Jawanza Colvin (left) and Pastor Richard Gibson (right) try to convince council leadership — President Kevin Kelley, Majority Leader Phyllis Cleveland and Majority Whip Terrell Pruitt — to accept the signatures. Gibson is the first to suggest that if council does not accept the signatures, the opposition is "ready to go to jail."

Kelley repeats that council has been advised that the acceptance of the signatures would impair an existing contract. Like Kelley's council colleagues, the GCC leaders have an array of follow-up questions: Who provided the legal opinion? What contract is being unconstitutionally impaired? (A council spokesperson later told Scene that the contract was the Supplemental Agreement contained within ordinance 305-17, the Q Deal itself.)

Colvin, eventually, can do little but shake his head and mutter: "You're better than this. You're better than this."

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Cedar Lee Theatre to Screen Old School 3-D Films

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 11:36 AM

Way back in the 1950s, Hollywood studios started showing movies in widescreen formats and in 3D to combat the growing popularity of television.

Between 1952 and 1955, Hollywood studios produced 50 English language 3D films using a dual projection system that required audience members to wear polarized lenses.

But because of issues with keeping the images perfectly in sync, studios quickly lost interest in 3D.

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The Lake Erie Reckoning Is Here: Federal Government and Ohio Give Cold Shoulder to Regional Water Supply

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 11:25 AM

Maumee Bay, August 2014 - ERIC SANDY
  • Maumee Bay, August 2014
Amid the wildly shifting tectonics of federal government, there's a small patch of land that rests gently against the largest body of freshwater in the world. This land is home to Eastern Conference champs the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as tens of millions of American citizens, from Rochester to Duluth. We call the body of water, collectively, the Great Lakes, though that almost seems like an antiquated term these days.

The federal government this week declined to label western Lake Erie "impaired," a legal designation that would have triggered a deeper investigation into the growing problem of algae blooms and a specific plan to target and eliminate the source pollutants.

By most ecological accounts, the health of Lake Erie is deteriorating at a rapid clip. Recall that in 2014 the city of Toledo was forced to shut down its water supply, stranding some 500,000 people in a sort of limbo without potable, clean tap water. The algae bloom problem was particularly acute that year, and, whether it's this summer or sometime in the future, experts warn inaction will lead to ripe conditions for a sequel. (Algae blooms turn Lake Erie water into toxic green slime. They're most directly caused by nearby agricultural phosphorous runoff.)

The news this week was met with sky-high raised eyebrows, because the state of Michigan had declared its portion of western Lake Erie "impaired" last year. Ohio, meanwhile, did not. The Ohio EPA and the governor have repeatedly fallen back on the vitality of voluntary incentives; regulations ushered in by an impairment designation, they argue, would only prove to be obstacles to really cleaning up the lake.

It's probably obvious to any weekend fisher that, on a broad scale, Ohio hasn't really put a dent in that mission.

(In Toledo, Lucas County commissioners have vocally insisted that the impairment designation is incredibly important for the health of their constituents and others, drawing a sharp line in the sand against state leadership.)

The federal government couldn't care less. Despite the obvious contradiction in the Ohio/Michigan opinions, the feds have cast their lot with Ohio's proponents of inaction. The U.S. EPA did not deny Michigan's claim that its waters are impaired, which makes the decision so much more confusing at face value. Lucas County commissioners, again, pointed out that the feds "can't have it both ways."

The impairment news was joined this week, of course, with President Trump's latest budget proposal, which suggests the government do away entirely with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, points out the inherent shortcomings of that budget proposal, asking, "what could be more basic than restoring the Great Lakes and protecting safe, clean drinking water?"

In the event Congress approves the Trump budget in part or in full, the stash of public resources available to improve the health of Lake Erie will vastly diminish, and the effects will be felt in due time.

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Local Producer Jim Stewart Hopes to Make the Most of a New and Improved Studio Space

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 10:55 AM

When the guys from the Lighthouse and the Whaler, one of the best indie rock bands in Northeast Ohio, walked into local producer Jim Stewart’s new recording studio on Superior Ave. in a space shared by the Tragic Hero Music Group, Crushtone Studio, and Jon Richey and Bill Demarco’s Vuture Visions Audio and Video, they immediately knew they wanted to record there. They cut their forthcoming album at the studio earlier this year.

“Lighthouse is one of the best known bands I’ve ever worked with,” says Stewart one recent afternoon as he gave us a tour of the newly remodeled space. “It’s a really cool record and seems like the natural progression for them. Their first album was pretty folksy and then they got into more electronic stuff. This seems like a nice blend. There are big open vocals and claps, all in a modern sort of way. It’s very cool.”

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Lawyers to City Law Director: Certify Q Deal Referendum Signatures or We'll See You in Court

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 8:28 AM

Leaders of the referendum coalition speaking gathering on the steps of City Hall before their signatures were rejected. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Leaders of the referendum coalition speaking gathering on the steps of City Hall before their signatures were rejected.

Attorneys at the Chandra law firm representing the Q deal referendum coalition filed a taxpayer demand letter Friday morning, demanding that the Clerk of City Council accept the initiative petition that was rejected earlier this week.

"Swift action is required," the letter says. "Not only is the City apparently expending resources against the will of the electorate under the false pretense of a so-called 'emergency measure,' it is invoking inapplicable constitutional arguments in an apparent effort to thwart the electorate’s statutory right to referendum."

Read the full letter here.

The letter was addressed to the city's law director Barbara Langhenry. It asked for assurances that the petition be accepted and certified by June 7. If the Clerk fails to perform her duties, the letter says, the Law Director must compel her to do so. And if the law director does not, the attorneys are prepared to file taxpayer litigation against the Clerk of Council, City Council, and the Law Director.

The taxpayer demand letter includes in its argument much of the Cleveland City Charter's material pertaining to initiative and referendum (It's Chapters seven and nine. The sections are very short and fairly easy to understand — 59, 60 and 64 are the relevant ones.)

Basically, as asserted in the letter and as previously suggested by councilpeople, the petitioners did everything properly; that is, in accordance with the charter: They collected signatures, exceeding by a factor of more than three the total required, (10 percent of the total electors in the preceding election), and they submitted the signatures to the Clerk of Council within 30 days of the ordinance's passage.

The ordinance was passed as an emergency measure by a council vote of 12-5. The "emergency" designation was activated when the legislation achieved a two-thirds majority in council. Brian Cummins, recall, provided the vote that tipped the scales. Frank Jackson signed the ordinance into law the following day.

But as the Charter makes clear (in section 64), emergency ordinances “are subject to referendum in like manner as other ordinances” unless, unlike 305-17, they are “passed as emergency measures for the immediate preservation of the public peace, property, health, or safety and providing for the refinancing of bonds, notes or other securities of the City.”

But the rejection memo signed by Allan Dreyer and presented to the referendum coalition Monday morning makes no mention at all of the City Charter. In its two-sentence rejection, it merely claims that the petition "unconstitutionally impairs" an "already executed and binding contract."

The demand letter, from Chandra law firm attorneys Peter Pattakos and Subodh Chandra himself, stresses that the U.S. Constitution’s Contract Clause, which was invoked in the rejection letter, does not apply to taxpayers’ petition for referendum. 

The Contract Clause holds that, “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.” (Emphasis added by Chandra law firm.)

"By its plain language, the Contract Clause only bars the passing of laws 'impairing the obligation of contracts,'" the letter asserts. "It has no application to an electorate’s rejection of a newly proposed or newly enacted law subject to referendum. Not only has no Ohio court ever held to the contrary, but our research suggests that no Ohio party has ever advanced this specious argument. Indeed, it is unimaginable that the Contract Clause was intended to give government officials carte blanche to propose new laws against the will of the electorate and then rush into contracts in an effort to void the electorate’s statutory right to repeal those laws."

In a statement released in conjunction with the demand letter, Pattakos (who has written for and legally represented Scene, and is a known opponent of stadium subsidies) decried the actions of city council.

"It’s shocking to see elected officials attempt to thwart their constituents' will like this,” he said. “If the City Council members who passed this ordinance are truly confident in its merits, they should be glad to have it put to the test at the ballot. The law guarantees Clevelanders’ right to this referendum. The Clerk's refusal to fulfill her legal duties should be met with a swift correction in court.”

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It’s On: Cavs Vaporize Celtics, Eye Warriors Three-match

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 3:47 AM

Kyrie offers more peerless finishes than a 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Kyrie offers more peerless finishes than a 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon.
It promises to rival the Ali/Frazier's famous third rubber match, The Thrilla in Manila, yet Cavaliers-Warriors III is the culmination of arguably the most anti-climatic playoffs in NBA history. It could've been a romantic comedy, really any romantic comedy, puffed up like cotton candy on faux drama and ratcheted tension, leading after an interminable build-up to the main event: “Will he or won’t he?”

What the hell do you think? David did Maddie long before he Died Hard, and Diane was into Lloyd without Peter Gabriel sealing the deal. Whether it’s Samantha and Jake, Sam and Diane, Ross and Rachel, or even the cagey Mulder and Scully, the only real question is how long they can milk the tension. Since the NBA’s sort of on the clock, they could only stretch it out for eleven, somewhat mind-numbing months.

Now it’s finally official: No happiness in BelieveLand until Steph, Dray, Klay and KD wear the tears of Jordan.

If it had been scripted, it couldn’t have come out better. But who needs scripts when you have the two best teams in basketball? Sure they ultimately faced off against injured opponents, allowing them to roll even more convincingly to what the NBA had to know would be a massive payday.

Not since Lakers/Celtics has there been a rivalry worthy of typical postseason hype. And let’s be honest, even if the NBA knew this was the best outcome for the league, it wasn’t like Golden State or Cleveland needed a push, they were destined for each other like the immovable force and the irresistible object (Chuck and himself, respectively, in Shaq’s mind).

Cleveland arrived last night via Boston’s TD Garden where they cremated the Boston Celtics and blew the ashes in Tommy Heinshon’s face. Those three games in Boston featured some of the most graphic violence since Prince Oberyn Martell pranced around thinking he’d defeated the Mountain.

Boston never had a chance. Okay, they had one chance, when LeBron James was half-defeated by a bug – but not for long. Last night he returned to form with 35 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and just two turnovers after making 11 the last two games. He made 13-18 and 4-7 from 3, including three in a row during a 15-point quarter as the Cavs squeezed the last air from the Celtics lungs, outscoring them 34-17 in the third, leaving them gasping like the fish from the Faith No More video.

There’s not a lot to say. The Celtics weren’t in the Cavaliers league before Isaiah Thomas went down, and arguably, the Raptors posed the bigger challenge before Lowry went down. The Pacers certainly posed the biggest challenge on paper, but whomever the Cavs played in the first round was going to face a more tired, less focused Cavs team. Blowing several big leads, that’s what they got.

But after the week-plus breaks between the first and second rounds, the Cavaliers had a chance to get healthy and focused on the task at hand. Unlike last year when their might’ve been some trepidation and fear, many of them have now faced a moment like this. Certainly Love and Irving’s injuries in 2015 raised some questions how they’d respond to the moment in 2016, which they've since answered.

That test passed, all that was really left for the Cavaliers to do was get down to business. While the regular season suggested Cleveland’s a mediocre team when unfocused, the playoffs have amply demonstrated that when locked in, this Cavaliers team is in historic territory. Talk all you want about the great Warriors team, but be sure you save time to contemplate the arguably the finest playoff performance in history by James. These are some evenly matched teams.

While these postgames are typically postmortems, there’s very little left to examine of the Celtics corpus. They didn’t lead at any point during the three games in Boston and lost by a combined 90 points. It was a demonstrative application of blunt force trauma. The Cavaliers didn’t even give them a moment to bend over and cough. But the diagnosis was the same: “Thanks for coming and enjoy these lovely parting prizes. Don Pardo, tell them what they've won for participating!”

By the Numbers

If it weren’t for Marcus Smart briefly turning into Vinnie “the Microwave” Johnson, the Cavaliers would’ve entered the Finals with the same 12-0 record as Golden State. As it is, the differences in their stats are miniscule. These are very evenly matched teams which arguably split the eight best players on the floor almost like a Serpentine draft (i.e., Cavs get 1st & 4th, the Warriors 2nd & 3rd).

The Warriors net difference per 100 possession (pCp) is 16.8 to the Cavaliers 16.1, with the Cavaliers offense setting offensive records with an almost 121 pCp, while it’s the Warriors defense that’s cranking with a playoff best 99.1 pCp. The Cavaliers EFG% is better but the Warriors defensive EFG is better.
A couple things do pop out. The Cavaliers allowed fewer points off turnovers, second chance and fastbreak points while also fouling much less than the Warriors – ways where they will hope to exploit the Warriors defense. Their offense makes a few more turnovers and is a little worse on the offensive boards – beating Golden State on second chance points, points off turnovers, and points in the paint will be key.

Plus the Cavaliers are even more explosive than the Warriors and averaging 2.5 more threes on 2.5 more attempts, shooting 44% to the Warriors 39% from behind the arc. But we still have a week to digest all the particulars of the Warriors matchup.

The fact that the Cavaliers lost a game helped serve a wake-up call according to Kyrie Irving who demonstrated how comfortable he is taking over when James isn’t feeling it, during Games 3 and 4. The experience will come in handy.

“In Game [4], I knew that if we kept it within 10, a surge was going to happen. I wasn't sure when. But I knew that I had to make the conscious choice to really lead our guys, understanding the situation that we were in,” Irving said last night. “You look back on it and it definitely helped us grow as a team and mature. So it’s something that we needed ultimately, to lose Game 3 in the fashion that we did and the way that Boston challenged us continuously, we needed all that to propel us to this moment.”

Earlier in the day Lue provided the Warriors with some bulletin board material when he suggested that because of all their movement and sets, the Celtics were tougher to defend than the Warriors. (Warriors asst/interim coach Mike Brown, pulled a Lebowski, noting that it was just Lue’s opinion before calling his opinion “cute”.)

We couldn’t find the quote but we heard either Lue, James or Irving in a postgame interview credit the Celtics movement with being a good prelude to the next series with all its movement and screens. This is a great comment, and definitely was a great appetizer for the Warriors brand of basketball.

However it’s equally important to note that the Warriors are terrific while the Celtics are merely good. The Celtics averaged 27 open or wide-open threes during against the Cavaliers and hit 37% of them. The Warriors have hit 40% of such shots through the playoffs. Speaking again about the awesome Cavalier offense, The Cavs have made 46% of such shots (11.4-24.9) in the playoffs. But obviously they need to cut down on the number of open threes they allow.

Final Analysis

Last year people worried about the Cavaliers and they said, don’t worry we got this and they continued to improve through the playoffs. They didn’t show up in Golden State, pretty much at all, the first two games, but still won the series.

If it’s not apparent, it should be that the only limit on this team is the one they put on themselves. When they are focused and moving the ball they’re a better team than the Warriors. It’s pretty obvious. The Warriors play their type of basketball 90% of the team, and through their professionalism and playing the game right most of the time, they’re an offensive and defensive juggernaut.

The Cavaliers will never be a defensive juggernaut; they’re more of the bend-but-not-break variety of defense. However this is one of the best offenses anytime anywhere. People lose track of the fact that basketball isn’t a sport of the five best athletes, it’s more like a SEAL team where you want five of the best specialists, which the Cavs have managed to assemble between safe-cracker Kyrie, snipers Korver and Smith, close-combat killer K-Love, beefy bruising dirty work guy Tristan, and their canny Hannibal, LeBron James.

The Cavs are devastating only intermittently – occasionally boring themselves with the routine nature of their brilliance, feeling the need to ramp up the difficult with behind the back passes and long contested jumpers. So it would seem that if the Cavaliers focused as well as Golden State, those chumps from the Land of Smug wouldn’t stand a chance.

Or put more simply, the Warriors skill is in part their ability to play at high efficiency much of the time; the Cavaliers ceiling is much higher, but they spend less time there. However, the experience of calling it the last three games of the season last year may have been indelible. While they haven’t quite flipped the switch yet, we have significantly less worry that they’ll miss the off-ramp.

They showed in the playoffs the fortitude to stay on task in most instances. Only the second half of Game 3 and first half of Game 4 posed any serious issues. Meanwhile, Irving and Love played at a very high level all series long. Thompson, too, played very well, and Deron Williams showed signs of being a tremendous threat off the bench, in a very different way from Kyle Korver. There’s no way around it – other than the lack of a paint big, this team is stacked. None of the starters put up an EFG% below 60%.
This is a short recap than we usually do, but there's little reason to look backward. We’ve all been waiting for this moment for a very long time. So let’s tear these clothes off and bow-chicka-wow-wow.

If you enjoy the writing we encourage you to check out our book, King James Brings The Land a Crown: The Definitive Tale of the Cavaliers’ 2016 Title Run, at You can follow us on Twitter @CRS_1ne, and hear us every Monday at 11 a.m. on the Defend Cleveland Show on WRUW-91.1. We’ll be doing a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Woodmere on June 10, and watch on Twitter for us to do a Warriors/Cavaliers preview podcast sometime next week.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

6 Concerts to Catch This Weekend in Cleveland

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 4:11 PM


Cayetana/Diet Cig/Petal/Slingshot Dakota

Lo-fi rockers Cayetana had just begun playing their instruments when they decided to form a band, but the three friends from Philadelphia have quickly made their mark in the city's rich punk scene. Cayetana struck a chord with their debut LP, 2014's Nervous Like Me, a 30-minute album bringing lush, driving, distorted sonic landscape that balances catchy melodies and spacious drums. Singer Augustana Koch and her earnest, rebellious vocals are the group's highlight. Koch can angle a simultaneously traditional punk style and almost country twang to her vocals that is powerful and singular — check out "Serious Things Are Stupid" for a taste. Cayetana is touring their second album, New Kind of Normal, which dropped just a few weeks ago. It follows their lead single "Mesa," a beautifully written jam that skews softer, but begs to be sung and danced along to. (Lawrence Neil), 7:30 p.m., $14 ADV, $16 DOS. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

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