Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 10/20/2009 - 11:08.

Well, thank you Pee Dee for the free publicity. Just what independent downtown restaurants needed – two new publicly-subsidized restaurants in the Quicken Arena to draw business away from other restaurants.


The Pee Dee Tuesday in a prominently displayed Metro front page applauded the opening of two new restaurants by the “Iron Chef” (Michael Symon).


The Pee Dee devoted four columns, eight inches deep with a nice headline: “Symon opens 2 restaurants at the Q,” accompanied by an attractive photo of the business and one of Symon.


“The superstars won’t all be on the court this season at The Q,” sings the Pee Dee. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay. My, oh my, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine headed their way.


Now we’ll have a celebrity chef on our subsidy list, too. What can be better in these dark days when so many can’t even find a job?


We – the public – paid dearly for the restaurant facilities at the Quicken Arena and now Dan Gilbert gets the benefit. So when he gets a monopoly casino, he can have more restaurants that compete with the independent downtown restaurant business.


Yes, let’s give it all to the billionaire. Doesn’t it make you feel good?


And remember, these restaurants have the luxury of not having to pay property taxes. Oh, boy. The entire Quicken Arena facilities are tax free! Tim Hagan and Mike White – flying to Columbus in a private corporate plane – got the legislature to exempt all the Q property FOREVER! What fun guys.


And isn’t this exactly what Dan Gilbert will do in the casino he can build if Issue 3 passes - build new restaurants that will attract or keep business from privately-owned restaurants throughout downtown.


Why aren’t they screaming?


Let’s shut down Cleveland street business and force everyone into the Quicken Arena, Progressive Field or Browns Field. Let everything be a sports bar.


Let me tell you again what we gave the sports franchise owners at the Quicken (formerly Gund) Arena. Sammy’s at the Arena has space for 323 guests, 63 at the bar. Didn’t matter that a Gateway board member – Denise Fugo – was given the restaurant business, requiring her, of course, to leave the board.


Here’s what taxpayers helped provide – a $1,841,380 restaurant sporting $178,750 of new furnishings and some $350,000 worth of kitchen equipment. Total bill: $2,370,134.

Remember: No burden of paying those nasty property taxes either.


No wonder Sammy’s says it serves “off-site private residences, yachts, businesses and anywhere else.” Yachts, of course.


Altogether, food concessions at the Quicken Arena cost $6,119,520.


Some of the cost at Sammy’s included 300 restaurant chairs, costing  more than $100,000; bar stools at $500 each ($13,500 total); and terrazzo tables at $13,415 each. One sports bar kitchen cost $263,000.


Concession stands with grills and pizza service were well spotted on two levels, I wrote back in 1994, ranging in cost from $62,000 to $132,000 and totaling in cost $1,048,350. The Press, of course, got some special treatment with a banquet kitchen at $121,050. No wonder they’re such boosters and don’t write about the corruptive side of professional sports. Usually, right before their eyes.


Hey, nothing’s too good for our sports heroes and their owners.


The “beer room” (need it cold) cost $63,700. The automatic system for dispensing the beer cost $200,000 and to dispense soda, only $180,000.


There’s a lot more including ice cream outlets at a hefty cost of $198,000.


But when you’re having fun, what’s the difference. Especially when you don’t have to pay. The politicians – all legal, they say – provided major league service – free of charge essentially.


They’ll do the same for the Medical Mart, don’t worry.


The Pee Dee, of course, never told the public any of this. They only cheerlead, they don’t lead.


The Quicken Arena, in addition to Cavs games, has 175 special events during the year, Cleveland promoters tell us. The public, which sprung for most of the dough to build this special place, gets ZERO from the extra events, a gift to billionaires – both the Gunds and Gilbert.


That’s the way our system – free enterprise – works. Free.


By the way, if you can afford these fancy priced places in the Q, you won’t have to bother touching a Cleveland street. You can simply drive to the tax-free Gateway garage because we also provided – at great cost to the City of Cleveland – 1,700 free spaces to the sports owners in the garage for special people.


So when the Pee Dee promotes these new restaurant facilities without telling you the back story, do you think this is professional journalism at its best?


If you do, send a complimentary note to Susan Goldberg, the Pee Dee editor for her and her staff’s fine work.





( categories: )