NBA Finals Preview

by Cleveland Frowns on June 1, 2017

LeBron is a genius and the most gifted and dominant basketball player of all time and every player in the league already knows this. He’s also the best head coach and GM in the NBA, has taken control of his franchise like no other player has in history (basically owns the Cavs), inspires his teammates like no other player in the league, and knows he has really nothing else to do at the moment but win 4 more titles and probably more. He knew that the regular season and playoff seeding were largely meaningless, and conserved energy based on this knowledge.

bron hat

Meanwhile, the Warriors [click to continue…]

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Let’s check in on Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who showed up last Thursday at a “VIP red carpet preview event” for a Wahlburgers location in some retail space owned by Dan Gilbert, across the street from Gilbert’s JACK Casino in downtown Cleveland and just underneath one of the most magnificent land-bridges to ever connect a casino to a parking garage. Wahlburgers is a restaurant chain that was founded in 2011 in Boston by the celebrity Wahlberg brothers, Mark (’90s pop one-hit-wonder turned movie star), Donnie (of the ’90s boy-band New Kids on the Block), and Paul, a chef.

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According to Newschannel5, Wahlburgers has signed “12 area development deals, committing five franchise groups to a total of 118 Wahlburgers over the next several years.”

“We are on the road to bringing Wahlburgers to a city near you,” said Mark Wahlberg. “We’ve created this family business with a mission to welcome families and friends from around the world to a place where they can break bread, enjoy some great food and lots of laughs.”

So, basically a Fuddrucker’s or TGIFriday’s, but with a celebrity endorsement built into the name.

With so much out there for the Cleveland Mayor to do one might wonder why he’d lend his presence to what’s at best an utter non-event, or worse … Click to continue reading at Cleveland Scene

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This year’s draft party planning has been somewhat complicated by the fact that my wife is pregnant with our son, who’s technically due to arrive on April 28. But at this point my wife is confident that he’ll be here at least a week earlier than that, and regardless, our family prefers to abide by the wise words of Jim Brown, as borrowed from and returned to Mike Holmgren in 2010: “One monkey don’t stop the show.”

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Also, in case this kid defies predictions and arrives on or about the 27th, a committee of perennial draft-party attendees has promised to handle hosting duties in my absence. Anyway, my wife says it won’t be an issue and she’s never wrong, but even if she turns out to be in this case (I’ll keep you posted in the comments here), it will be seven years and counting that the Map Room basement won’t be empty on draft night.

(UPDATE: My wife’s streak of never having been wrong continues: Gregory McQuown Pattakos was born on April 18 at 1:06 PM. He and Mom are doing great. Dad is hanging in there, and is thrilled both about his son and that he won’t have to miss the draft party.)

You can review details at last year’s draft party post here, or just show up at the Map Room basement (1281 West 9th St., just north of Saint Clair in the Warehouse District) anytime between 6PM and the end of the first round to enjoy—along with offerings from Map Room’s bar and kitchen—conversation about Cleveland, Browns, and things with some of your hardiest and most understanding friends.

Hope to see you there.

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Last Tuesday afternoon, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish stood at a packed County Council meeting and emotionally pleaded for Council to approve the most recently proposed $70 million public handout to Dan Gilbert for upgrades to Quicken Loans Arena. Even though there is no legal obligation for the public to provide the proposed subsidy, the County Exec went as far as to say, “we stand a very good chance of losing the Cavaliers and the Q … at the end of the lease if we don’t make this deal now.”

Here, Budish explicitly communicated on Gilbert’s behalf the absurd threat that Gilbert and his surrogates have been hinting at for years to justify the constant flow of nine-figure subsidies to the Cavaliers and Cleveland’s other two professional sports teams (all three, of course, privately-owned): “Give us your money, even though we don’t need it, because if you don’t we’ll pack up our balls and leave town just like Art Modell did.”

Dan's bottomless tin cupThe message here is nothing short of … Click to continue reading at Cleveland Scene

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A few points about Dan Gilbert’s latest $70 million cash grab—apparently lost on the relentless cheerleaders at Cleveland.com—clarify what a bad deal this is for the public and just how badly Frank Jackson and Armond Budish have failed their constituents in rubber-stamping this deal the way they have.

Ohio's favorite casino monopolist

First, note that this $70 million is not from the Sin Tax funds that were approved by voters in 2014 to meet purported lease obligations, and the City and County are not in any way obligated to pay this money. It’s just a plain old handout, by … Click to continue reading at Cleveland Scene

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The Cavs want $70 million more in public money to renovate the Q

by Cleveland Frowns on November 18, 2016

Last evening, The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland hosted a panel on “Sports Stadium Financing in Cleveland” where I was one of the panelists with Cavs and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski and Tom Chema, former CEO of the Gateway Economic Development Corp. The panel’s moderator, Peter Krouse of Cleveland.com, made clear in his opening remarks that the event was arranged in part because the Cavs have asked the County for an additional $70 million (on top of their share of the estimated $300 million in Sin Tax funds that were approved by voters in 2014) to finance renovations to the Q, and the proposal is currently under consideration by County officials. The conversation that followed made clear how important it is that we continue to up the scrutiny on these subsidies.

After a lengthy soliloquy by Mr. Chema on the history of Cleveland’s three pro-sports facilities, I proposed (at the 23-minute mark) the basic premise that if the owners of Cleveland’s professional sports franchises will continue to take 100% of the profits from running these businesses, they should pay 100% of their costs. From there I explained that I would be open to an argument to the contrary if the owners could make the case that they really need public money to make these businesses sustainable, but they can’t begin to make this case until they publish their financial statements, which they continually refuse to do. I made clear that I don’t question the value of the teams to the region, that I understand that the City and County own these facilities, and that there are technically legal obligations to maintain them. But the more important point, I argued, is that these obligations were agreed to three decades ago under dramatically different economic conditions, on terms that are now understood to be extremely favorable to the owners. At this point, given changed economic conditions and so many pressing uses for public funds, there’s no reason why the public shouldn’t demand that the terms of this public/private partnership be revisited, especially considering that we’ve poured up to $2 billion or more into these facilities already. Basic transparency, accountability, and fairness shouldn’t be too much for the public to ask in its “partnership” with these owners, and that has to start with the teams providing the public with the most basic information necessary to determine whether public subsidies for these businesses are really necessary.

In response to this, Komoroski (mostly) and Chema [click to continue…]

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The Curse of Chief Wahoo is in the World Series again

October 20, 2016

There sure is a lot to love about this Cleveland Indians team, and to see them make the World Series in the same year that LeBron’s Cavaliers broke Cleveland’s epic 52-year championship drought is really something. But until Northeast Ohioans can manage to demand that their billionaire sports-owners not employ open and casual racism with their sports […]

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Good grief, it’s Browns season again

September 11, 2016

After last season, on top of every other Cleveland football season and non-season since 1995, it seems all there is to appreciate about the Browns anymore are the parallels between the spectacular deterioration of the franchise and that of Cleveland’s middle class, job market, and social safety net. Will Hue Jackson and a bunch of Ivy-degreed technocrats give us any reason to think that what […]

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Gregory P. Pattakos (1944-2016)

August 19, 2016

Γρηγόρης Παναγιώτης Παττακός (Grigoris Panayiotis (“Greg”) Pattakos) passed away late on Saturday evening, August 13, due to complications caused by cancer. He was born on November 9, 1944 in the city of Chania on the island of Crete, Greece, the seventh child and third son of Maria (Markakis) Pattakos (of the village of Pervolia in Chania) […]

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The Chosen One Makes Good

June 21, 2016

He did it. LeBron James just wrote the greatest story imaginable in modern pro sports. To echo a common refrain about his infamous “Decision” to leave Cleveland for Miami in 2010, it’s not just that he ended Cleveland’s impossible 52-year championship drought, it’s the way that he did it. A run-of-the-mill title run wouldn’t have […]

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