Scene & Heard

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Validates More Than 13,000 Q Deal Referendum Signatures

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 1:59 PM

Councilman Zack Reed tries to explain Council's maneuvering to members of GCC, when referendum petitions were denied on 5/22/17. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Councilman Zack Reed tries to explain Council's maneuvering to members of GCC, when referendum petitions were denied on 5/22/17.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has validated 13,072 signatures submitted by groups seeking a referendum on the Quicken Loans Arena renovation deal. The groups submitted more than 20,000 signatures in May. Only 6,000 valid signatures from registered Cleveland voters were required

The signatures were initially rejected on constitutional grounds. Cleveland City Council Clerk Pat Britt, via a deputy, issued a memo on May 22 saying that a referendum would impair an existing contract (the Q Deal itself, signed less than 30 days prior.)

Earlier this month, though, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Pat Britt was wrong to deny the petitions.

"The clerk had a clear legal duty to perform the ministerial function of her office—verifying the sufficiency of the petition signatures—and relators have a clear legal right to compel the performance of that duty," the majority opinion read.

After the opinion, City Council turned over the petitions to the Board of Elections for certification. Now that a sufficient number of signatures has been validated, City Council may either repeal the ordinance or put it before voters.

Some councilmembers attempted to persuade Council President Kevin Kelley to move up their next scheduled meeting so the referendum might be placed on the November ballot. That seems improbable, given Kelley's, Mayor Jackson's and other incumbents' presumed fear of being booted from office after strenuously supporting a deal that a significant number of voters despise.

The Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, one of the groups opposed to the Deal issued a statement in response to the news. It read, in part:
This issue needs to be on the November ballot. It is a senseless waste of $760,000 of Cleveland taxpayer money to hold a special election when Cleveland City Council can simply schedule a meeting before the regularly scheduled September 18 meeting to get it on the November ballot.

We urge City Council to schedule this earlier meeting and not waste $760,000 that can be better spent in the neighborhoods that need help. We ask this question: If Mayor Jackson and the Cleveland City Council members who voted for the Q Renovations really feel that a majority of Cleveland citizens believe that this is an appropriate use of $88 million of taxpayer money, why would they not want it on the ballot as they campaign for re-election? What are they afraid of?

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Get Over to Winking Lizard for the Solar Eclipse, and Other Places to Watch

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 12:46 PM

WIKIPEDIA PHOTO
  • wikipedia photo
We know you want to watch the eclipse today, but like us, you probably forgot to buy glasses in advance. And unfortunately, there aren't many places around Northeast Ohio where the special glasses needed to look at the eclipse are available.

Thankfully, there are some eclipse viewing parties you can check out in the Cleveland area.

Every Winking Lizard with a patio plans to hand out 25 free pairs of special solar eclipse glasses. Just be one of the first 25 people to get out onto the patio after 2 p.m. at your nearest Winking Lizard and you'll get a pair.

But there are some other parties, too, most of which are starting around 1 p.m.:

-The Cleveland Museum of Natural History
-Edgewater Park
-Great Lakes Science Center
-Westcreek Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks
-The Cleveland Public Library
-The Case Western Reserve University Astronomy Department

Don't wait. Glasses are limited at all of these locations so if you want to view the eclipse, get going.

Can't get down to one of these events? You can make a pinhole viewer at home. Here's how, from NASA:

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'Rock Box' Speakers Downtown Will Play 'Dark Side of the Moon' During Solar Eclipse

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 9:29 AM

ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • ERIC SANDY / SCENE
Beginning at 1:50 p.m. or so, the Rock Hall will play Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon through its Rock Box speakers, located across downtown.

The album's final song, "Eclipse," will sync up with the darkest point of the partial solar eclipse, right around 2:31 p.m.

There's not much more to the news than that. If you have not yet procured your eclipse glasses or acid blotter, then you might just want to post up near a set of speakers this afternoon and enjoy one of the greatest rock albums of all time.


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Friday, August 18, 2017

The Cavaliers' New Uniforms Haven't Exactly Been Well-Received

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 3:22 PM

LeBron James officially modeled one of the Cavaliers' new uniforms earlier this week. And ever since photos of the fresh jerseys were introduced last month, the internet has certainly had a lot to say.

As the NBA switched their uniforms from Adidas to Nike this offseason, every team got an updated look to their jerseys. For team's with classic jerseys, like the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, the design basically just changed from an Adidas logo to a Nike one, with maybe some minor font changes and the sizes of the lettering or numbering. The Cavaliers uniforms, however, underwent a major cosmetic change.

Let's take a look at the differences between their wine jerseys from last year and the new red ones. Here's LeBron in the new uniform, and starting center Tristan Thompson in the old wine jerseys:
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS INSTAGRAM
  • Cleveland Cavaliers Instagram
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS INSTAGRAM
  • Cleveland Cavaliers Instagram

As you can see, the jerseys are completely different. The font on the lettering and numbers has changed. The Nike logo is clearly visible now, as opposed to Adidas hiding their logo on the old ones.

The biggest change is the coloring. The gold is pretty similar but the red totally changed. Since abandoning their blue and orange color scheme of the late '80s and '90s, they've mostly worn colors related to wine and gold, the original color scheme of the organization, dating back to 1970.

Their new jerseys appear to have dropped the wine in favor of more of a shiny, fire truck red, a color never worn before. The classic look is gone, replaced by something that has nothing to do with the Cavaliers history. The other noticeable change is the wingfoot Goodyear logo on the left shoulder, something we covered here, when the sponsorship deal was announced back in May.

Many NBA fans around the country were worried that sponsors on the uniforms would ruin how they look, but fortunately, the sponsors logos only take up a tiny portion of the jersey, for now at least. Compared to many soccer clubs around the world, where the sponsor's logo basically is the jersey, the NBA's sponsored jerseys could be a good deal worse.

That said, while the Goodyear logo was tastefully done, that doesn't mean the Cavaliers jerseys received positive reviews. In fact, most reviews have been negative. Haley O'Shaughnessy of the Ringer said here that, "The dated 'Cleveland' font is nearly the same, but accompanied now by 'CAVS' printed on the belt, added like a frantic, last-second garnish of green-bottle parmesan cheese on a dish that called for the real thing."

The Houston Chronicle ranked every new uniform, ranking the Cavaliers third worst, saying, "Putting navy blue numbers over the top of wine jerseys is an atrocity. What was wrong with gold numbers to go along with gold lettering? At least the Goodyear logo on the shoulder is tastefully done."
The Cavaliers' new white uniforms. - CLEVELAND CAVALIERS INSTAGRAM
  • Cleveland Cavaliers Instagram
  • The Cavaliers' new white uniforms.

A common sentiment, echoed by Paul Lukas of ESPN's Uni Watch, was that the new white jerseys are decent, while the red ones missed the mark. He gave the white jerseys a B+ grade, while giving the red ones a C+, saying, "Nike has an odd habit of using dim lighting for many of its promotional photos, so it's possible that this uniform will look brighter on the court than it does on the internet. For now, though, it feels like a significant downgrade. The blue numbers will be hard to make out, and the longer "Cleveland" lettering just mean there's more of that typeface to contend with."

In addition to these two uniforms, the Cavaliers will unveil two or more alternate uniforms some time in the future. Hopefully, they'll be an improvement on what we've seen so far.

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MTV's Hit Series Catfish Comes to Cleveland

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 1:03 PM

PHOTO VIA CATFISH/FACEBOOK
  • photo via Catfish/Facebook

MTV's Catfish, a show dedicated to publicly exposing people for getting played via online dating, announced an upcoming trip to Cleveland:

This hit series premiered after the success of the 2010 documentary Catfish, which followed the story of Nev Schulman and his intimate relationship with a woman whom he had never met in person. Upon in-depth investigation, Schulman discovers the woman he is conversing with is fabricated, and his love story was a lie.

Now, Schulman and his co-star Max Joseph travel around the country responding to similar cries for help, people who are infatuated with someone else via computer screen.

The hosts arrange for the lovebirds to meet, which either ends in shocking disappointment or overwhelming relief.

Clevelanders had mixed reactions regarding the alleged arrival of the Catfish cast. Some are not eager to roll out the welcome mat...
Others are hoping for a visit...

And some are flat out shocked:





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Weary Polensek Grills Council, But November Q Deal Referendum Unlikely

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 12:48 PM

Councilman Zack Reed tries to explain Council's maneuvering to members of GCC, when referendum petitions were denied on 5/22/17. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Councilman Zack Reed tries to explain Council's maneuvering to members of GCC, when referendum petitions were denied on 5/22/17.
Cleveland City Council met Wednesday afternoon. It was the legislative body's final meeting before September 18, but four councilpeople — Mike Polensek, Zack Reed, Jeff Johnson, and Kevin Conwell — had written a letter to Council President Kevin Kelley earlier in the week asking that the next meeting be moved up.

If the next meeting were held on or before Sep. 6, the letter said, council would have an opportunity to vote to have the Q Deal referendum on the November ballot (provided, of course, that the petition signatures had been certified by the Board of Elections). This would eliminate the need for a costly special election in 2018.

"By doing so," read the letter, "the Democratic process is respected, and the citizens' right to vote is upheld. In addition, it will save the city of Cleveland over $700,000 for the cost of a special election, which would only anger the citizens even more than they are already over this matter."

But the issues addressed in the letter did not come up at the council meeting. Council passed a series of other pieces of legislation — including a big spending package targeted at neighborhood development — but if Mike Polensek and Jeff Johnson hadn't made comments during the meeting's "miscellaneous" portion, the Q Deal referendum would've gone ignored.

"I asked them if they were Democrats," Polensek told Scene in a phone call after the meeting. "Do you believe in democratic principles? Because I'm looking at this body and I don't recognize it anymore. What's the point of City Council if you're just going to do what the rich and powerful want done in this city?"

Polensek objected to what he viewed as deliberate stalling tactics by city leadership, and said that council meeting dates have been changed in the past.

"Who are they kidding?" Polensek said. "They might be fooling the newbies, but I was Council President. We've changed dates before, if there was a death in the family or another emergency. As long as everyone gets advance notice, you can set the date whenever you want with the concurrence of council."

Kelley, who did not respond to the councilman's comments at the time, had reportedly opened the meeting with remarks about Donald Trump and leadership. He'd issued a statement earlier in the week denouncing white supremacy in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville. Polensek said Kelley and council should use this opportunity to distance themselves from Donald Trump.

"Show real leadership," Polensek said, growing agitated on the phone. "Send a message that we stand with the people. How many ridiculous arguments are you going to make? How many roadblocks are going to throw in front of the citizens? It's embarrassing."

Kevin Kelley, when reached by Scene, said that even though Mike Polensek might no longer recognize the body, he recognized a council that "appropriated millions of dollars to invest in neighborhoods that have been largely abandoned by the private sector in an effort to leverage additional private sector investment; a Council that appropriated over $2 million to the Cleveland/Cuyahoga Office of Homeless Services; and a Council that passed legislation to further our efforts to attack the opiate crisis."

Regarding the Q Deal, Kelley said there was nothing to comment on until the submitted petitions have been certified, "other than that we will follow the directive of the court and the provisions of the Charter."  

Polensek held that the directive of the Ohio Supreme Court was already clear — the citizens have a right to vote, and council should facilitate that vote in the most efficient, fiscally responsible way. But he said he's expecting leadership to ignore the issue.

"They're going to put [the Q Deal] on the ballot in the dead of friggin' winter," he said. "They're hoping the snow is three feet deep and you'll have to ride a friggin' dog sled to get to the polls. This is a wonderful bunch." 
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You Can Now Help Name Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's New Baby Giraffe

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 11:14 AM

After welcoming a new baby giraffe into the world last week, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced today how the public can help pick his name.

Four boxes placed outside of the giraffe exhibit represent the various options. By giving a small donation to the Future For Wildlife Fund, an organization dedicated to protecting endangered species, you can cast a vote for your favorite name in the appropriate box.

Here are the options:
- Abidemi (meaning born during father's absence)
- Ikenna (meaning father's strength)
- Ogbonna (meaning image of father)
- Zawadi (meaning gift)

The naming process runs now until Labor Day. The names honor the baby's father Travis, who passed away last summer.

For now, the 12-day-old baby and his mother Jhasmin will spend most of their time privately bonding as he grows.

Zoo officials also confirmed yesterday the birth of two red panda brothers. These furry babies are currently cozy inside their nesting box, but are expected to explore the rest of the exhibit soon in view of the public.

By summer 2018, the pandas will have a new home inside the zoo's new Asian Highlands exhibit. This $4.5 million dollar habitat is expected to enhance the lives of the animals and create a more engaging experience for visitors.


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