Sam Allard / Scene
Q Deal opposition on the steps of City Hall (5/22/17).
Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that they were canceling the Quicken Loans Arena renovation deal. In keeping with the way the region makes policy (i.e. so deferential toward real estate developers that it borders on bondage) it was the Cavs, not the public, who finally decided that the deal would be too much trouble. It was no longer "feasible," the Cavs said. The timeline no longer worked for them.
In response, elected leaders — County Executive Armond Budish, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, City Council President Kevin Kelley, Mayor Frank Jackson — have issued statements echoing the Cavs' disdain for the local groups that opposed the deal. The electeds are distraught. They are chilled. They are, above all, disappointed in the audacious citizenry. Both Jackson and Kelley called the cancellation of the deal a "tremendous loss."
"These outside groups – the major organizers against the plan –don’t have the best interests of Cleveland in mind," wrote Kelley, for example. "They will go back to Columbus, the suburbs and Washington D.C. having cost the city millions of dollars that would have gone to Cleveland neighborhoods."
Shortly after the Cavs' announcement Monday afternoon, Scene spoke with Roldo Bartimole, Cleveland's most enduring critic of pro sports subsidies.
"They'll be back," Bartimole advised, suggesting that the Cavs and the deal's architects are now merely biding their time, waiting until election season is over before they resurrect the deal.
(We'll be watching if and when they do.)
Scene has been skeptical of the Q deal, and the media narrative surrounding it, since it was first announced back in December. We've compiled some of our reporting on the subject here:
- 12/14/16: "Everything You Need to Know About the Quicken Loans Arena Transformation" — The Q Deal is introduced at a jubilant press conference by the Cavs and regional leaders.
- 1/12/17: "#NOTallin: Regional Faith-based Coalition Announces Opposition to Q Renovations" — Introduction to opposition group, Greater Cleveland Congregation, and their agenda.
- 2/22/17: "Heated Deliberations Begin for the Q Renovation Plan" — The Q Deal is first presented to Cuyahoga County Council. Armond Budish conveys his over-the-moon support (as yet undiminished).
- 3/1/17: "Cuyahoga County Council Exposes Q Deal as a Sham, Then Shrugs Shoulders" — Ongoing deliberations at County Council; it's clear now that despite rational opposition, Council will approve flawed deal.
- 3/28/17: "City Council Begins Q Deal Deliberations, Cavs' Cheerleaders are No-Shows" — The Deal progresses to City Council, where it immediately wins enthusiastic support from a majority; Cavs and their negotiators reveal themselves once again to be unrepentant liars.
- 4/18/17: "Dan Gilbert Personally Lobbied Cleveland City Council Member Opposed to Q Deal, Opposition Stands Firm as Vote Awaits" — As City Council vote looms, the Cavs and their emissaries attempt to woo wobbly nay votes.
- 4/25/17: "What Led to Councilman Brian Cummins' Last-Minute Flip-Flop on the Q Deal?" — Just like that the Gateway Six became the Gateway Five. This is how the Q Deal passed City Council as an emergency measure.
- 5/2/17: "Toward Undercurrents: On Regional Leaders, the Media and the Rotten Deal they Cherry-picked Facts to Propagate" — A response to repeated attempts to characterize Q Deal opposition as purveyors of alt-facts. (The attempts to demonize opposition groups continues today).
- 5/22/17: "City Council Rejects 20,603 Q Deal Petition Signatures on Questionable Grounds" — Account of wild day at City Hall, shenanigans afoot.
- 5/23/17: "City Council President Kevin Kelley is on Trial, Whether He Likes it or Not" — Kelley losing credibility with the public after he oversaw the suppression of their right to vote.
- 5/31/17: "The Biggest Q Deal Sweetener is Hugely Dependent on LeBron's Future" — Deep cut here; an in-depth look at the speciousness of the "matching funds" perk that the Cavs offered at the last-minute.
- 6/5/17: "Frank Jackson and Kevin Kelley Say City Has Responded to Referendum Coalition's Demands: Ohio Supreme Court Will Decide" — "I have never seen a party working to orchestrate a suit against himself, telling himself to do the right thing." -Subodh Chandra
- 7/24/17: "Opposing Sides Lay Out Q Deal Arguments Before Ohio Supreme Court"
- 8/11/17: "Ohio Supreme Court Sides with Q Deal Referendum Backers, Says Petitions Must Be Accepted"
- 8/28/17: "The Q Deal is Officially Dead"