A newly-formed coalition of Cleveland-area organizations submitted a petition with 20,000 signatures to city hall Monday to put the Quicken Loans Arena deal on the ballot.
The deal, which they are calling controversial, calls for the city to spend $88 million to add a new glass atrium to Quick and Loans Arena.
Members of the Greater Cleveland Coalition, Service Employees International Union, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, AFSCME Ohio Council and various other organizations held a news conference to discuss the group's efforts to open dialogue between the Cavaliers organization and public officials regarding the agreement.
The coalition said they have been challenging the deal since January. Members believe the deal will fail to create new jobs, generate tax revenue and will continue to reduce critical public resources.
The GCC has called for an ongoing revenue source to support a Community Benefits Agreement, which will fund community efforts such as the jobs access pipeline for the unemployed, two new mental health crisis centers and improvements in distressed neighborhoods.
The Q deal comes on top of the so-called Sin Tax, an agreement with Cuyahoga County voters to pump $260 million in tax dollars over 20 years for unkempt of three sports venues.
Rev. Jawanza Colvin from the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church discussed the grievances that many of the GCC members shared.
"We are not all in," Colvin said. "It's either a better deal or no deal at all."
Pastor Richard Gibson from the Elizabeth Baptist Church and co-chair of the GCC, said, the community has three demands; job access pipeline, mental health and crisis access and neighborhood investment.
Gibson also said, the GCC has no interest in controlling the funds.
Diane Bufford, a leader from the GCC and resident of Cleveland said locals are demanding a better deal for neighborhoods and feel that, "citizens should have a vote to speak their minds."
Monday night, City Council officials told petitioners they shouldn't consider the petition to be filed with the clerk. Those officials said as the aim of the petitions is to repeal city legislation, it may be unconstitutional on the grounds that contracts have already been signed between city and county for the Q project. Those officials argued that, constitutionally, a contract can't be impaired.