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POLICE, FIRE SERVICE SHIFTED FROM NEIGHBORHOODS TO BILLIONAIRES
Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 10:09.
We all know that taxpayers were very, very generous to the owners of Major League sports teams in Cleveland. It has cost Cuyahoga County taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars since the 1990s.
What we don’t realize is that the subsidization continues for hundreds of ball games in Progressive Field and Quicken Loan Arena each year. The subsidization also suggests that city taxpayers in their neighborhoods are being deprived of services as the wealthy sports team owners are provided with the safety force protection.
Just how much service is being shifted from neighborhoods where people live to provide protection for downtown sporting events can be seen by the listing of fire and police protection provided for four dates in May as listed below.
What we don’t really understand is that the city subsidizes the team owners – billionaire families as the Dolans and Lerners – on an ongoing basis.
I asked the city to provide me with information about the servicing of Progressive Field and Quicken Loan Arena during a short period in May at the time that the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the playoffs. Four dates only.
The dates were May 2, May 10, May 12 and May 16.
The city provided at four dates at Progressive Field and four dates at Quicken Loan Arena 661.5 hours of police time at a cost of $22,950 at Progressive and 94 hours of fire service at a cost of $4,720. (One game at Progressive was a rainout but services were still provided).
You will notice that nearly all the firefighters were on overtime. Thirty of the 94 police officers assigned were on overtime.
The city noted in its information that the $4,720 at Quicken Loan is billed to the Cavs. No mention of billing for police services likely results from an agreement signed with Dick Jacobs, then owner of the Indians, by former Mayor Michael White to provide a large contingent – my memory says 35 officers – for every game when more than 35,000 in attend. Council then passed legislation to back up White’s letter of commitment.
The breakdown of figures is listed below.
What the city’s servicing of police and fire protection for the two facilities doesn’t tell you is where these services are being shifted from to provide safety for the fans.
Well, it doesn’t take a genius to understand the services are being shifted from neighborhoods of Cleveland, many of which are now under siege by criminal behavior.
It’s another example of shifting crucial and diminishing assets from the poorest to the richest of our society.
The figures suggest that the city assesses the services provided by police and fire personnel at about $35 per hour.
That, in itself, seems a very low assessment, particularly because many of these city employees are working overtime and, possibly more important, are using city vehicles and equipment, including on occasion what is described as “apparatus” for fireworks provided at Progressive Field. I’d have to assume that it means the city provided fire trucks with, each time, 8 firemen and charged the Indians owners, the Dolan family, nothing for the service.
CLEVELAND DIVISION OF POLICE AT QUICKEN & PROGRESSIVE FACILITIES
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