Cleveland City Council Refuses to Accept Petitions Opposing "Q" Arena Upgrade

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A coalition of labor and social activist organizations rallied at Cleveland City Hall, with the aim of filing 20,000 signatures opposing the Cleveland’s $88 million funding of the Quicken Loans Arena upgrade. But that plan came to a halt when a council official  refused to accept the petitions.

City council president Kevin Kelly told a coalition headed by Greater Cleveland Congregation that their petitions infringed upon the contract made when the funding was passed and signed by Mayor Frank Jackson. During a committee of the whole meeting after the protest, several council members demanded the written legal opinions justifying Kelly’s action. Things got heated when Kelly said he didn’t have one.

Ward 8 council member Mike Polensek was among objectors.

“Twenty thousand signatures were submitted. The county put this issue on hold until the petition issue has been resolved, so I don’t know why we are denying Cleveland residents their due process under the law," he said. 

Cuyahoga County Council members recently approved a $140 million bond to pay for "Q" upgrades.

Opponents need 6,000 valid signatures to place the funding on the ballot. They want officials to create a community development fund to address problems like joblessness, infant mortality and drug addiction and mental health issues. 

Supporters say the 22-year-old arena needs improvements, so it host concerts and other large, entertainment events. The Cleveland Cavaliers would pay about half the cost of the renovation. 

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