Tuesday, November 26, 2013

the "Cleveland" Browns

banner of the Green Bay Packers, league champions (in the "Super Bowl" era) 1966, 1967, 1996, 2010 and 9 previous

It looks like Monday night there was a four hour debate at Cleveland City Council. Dona Brady, Kevin Conwell, Brian Cummins, Jeffrey Johnson, and Michael Polensek voted on behalf of the people of Cleveland. The others did the bidding of the establishment. The owner of the football stadium is the City of Cleveland, the owner of the football team and the profits is Jimmy Haslam. Earlier in the day, at a federal courthouse in Little Rock Arkansas, Haslam agreed to pay $84.9 million to settle several cases of fraud and theft his other company engaged in. It is to be remembered that Haslam's brother is the Republican governor of Tennessee. The family has had a way to combine government with business interests.
“It seems to me that $22 million* is not a lot of money for a team that is making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue with billionaire owners. The residents of the city of Cleveland are struggling and most are not going to the Browns games and couldn’t care less. …. To ask them to pay for this is something that I cannot support.” — Dona Brady
Haslam's man is the shady looking Joe Banner, he of the sparse beard, who was noticeably uncomfortable bullshitting his master's case. A little while ago the Browns won three games in a row, and the ownership put up a demand for city money. Since then, the team has not done well. In the meeting, the council president, Martin Sweeney ordered no comments on the team's performance.

The television media has made a point of saying the city has a contractual obligation to pay. Hmm, when a small home owner, or resident tries to hold City Hall to an agreement, what are his chances? Contractual obligations are not important to the party with the upper hand. These necessary improvements are new scoreboards, audio system, and escalators. Really, what is the action on the field? Does not Boston's baseball park have a hand operated scoreboard? And who was paying attention to it when the Red Sox won the championship?

Well, Banner and the other Haslamites were surprised and upset that there was resistance on their successful negotiations with the city. It did not cross their minds all people would not bow before them. In a couple of weeks this could be brought up during a normal scheduling and simple majority vote would win it for them; but no, the Browns ownership got an expedited vote for an "emergency ordinance", which unfortunately by the inconvenience of rules required the establishment to get two-thirds of the votes. Sweeney corralled enough members to do their bidding, with Tony Brancatelli flopping over to complete the pass of the Browns wish 13 to 5. Sunday, as is usual, Cleveland lost to Pittsburgh 27 to 11. Since coming back to the NFL in 1999, Pittsburgh has won twenty-five times, and Cleveland five.

One galling thing that Banner kept pushing was that management was entitled to even more, and that other cities give more to the team's ownership. He cited how happy Cincinnati would be. Perhaps some cheese would have gone well with his whine. He did not say that the city of Green Bay Wisconsin OWNS their football stadium AND their football team. All Green Bay's home games have been sold out since 1960, the waiting list for season tickets is over 80,000. Sometime in the Reagan years, the National Football League forbade this situation ever to happen again.
*15 years at two million dollars per year equals?  Yes, US business accounting.

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