Now that it has happened, we should do something about it. Yes, Cow Town Columbus and Franklin County has surpassed Big City Cleveland and shrinking Cuyahoga County (except in debt) in population. Rich Exner, the Plain Dealer<>/i's ace numbers man, revealed the figures that show Cuyahoga County once again LOST population, 5,673 individuals. (Everyone counts these days).

Exner also revealed that Franklin County gained 14,269 individuals. 

That makes the score now: Franklin: 1,264,518. Cuyahoga: 1,249,352.

They skipped ahead of us.

Maybe this offers an opportunity.

Can we get them to take the Cleveland Browns? Please!

Recently, there was talk of the Browns moving training camp to Columbus.

Why not take the whole thing?

Then we can be through with them. Once and for all.

We can't afford---as I've been saying and all should know---three major league sports teams. With three grasping major league team owners. They just cost too much public tax money. And the costs are only going UP.

Here's the deal, Columbus. Take the Browns. In exchange, pay off the Cleveland bond debt on First Energy Stadium. That would relieve the city of big indebtedness.

Also, Knock down the hurriedly-built and badly-misplaced First Energy lakefront stadium. Open it to development as a recreational area---not more condos/rentals, not more retail (of which there is too much).

For people to enjoy. On our lake.

 Let Columbus and Franklin County pick up the costs.

The Browns also could have both TV markets, more or less. Browns fans here will still watch, maybe even make the trip south. A Win win.

While we're at it another shot at the rotten deal County Executive Armond Budish and Mayor Frank Jackson made with billionaire Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers should be put on hold.

Unless this dynamic Democratic duo have another idea to extend our debt and a new tax on the horizon.

We've been told that the generous Gilbert will pay $122 million in "extra rent," whatever and however that adds up.

Looking at the sheet of numbers provided by the County with 15 rows of figures showing the costs and who pays for the bonds for Gilbert's expansion, not improvement, of Quicken Arena, something smells.

I added (the county figures were not totaled) the bond service "backed by Cavs' additional rent. (All stories say the Cavs will pay $122 of the $282 million cost of the deal).

My calculations of that line (backed by Cavs' additional rent) come to $54,398,224. That's a bit short of $122.

I asked Cuyahoga County to provide access to Tim Offtermatt, the conflicted financial man on this deal, to answer some questions.

I was told he's very busy.

But maybe even more important, the money being "contributed" from city and county accounts is real money. Neither the city nor county can deduct any of their $160 million or more from profit and loss statements.

The city and county are not businesses.

The Cavaliers are a business. Gilbert is a business. A very wealth business.

Whatever they pay will be put down as "costs of doing business," thus deductible from earnings, and thus reducing potential taxes due to the U.S. Government.

This deal is made by government but really it is a charity gift to one of the wealthiest men in the U. S.

Sound fair to you?

To me it sounds like "business as usual."


First published by Have Coffee Will Write on 2 April. Also by Roldo Bartimole...

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