ACTIVIST WITH “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” SIGNS PREVENTED FROM DEMONSTRATING ON PUBLICLY OWNED SPORTS FACILITIES!

Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Sun, 04/20/2014 - 13:30.

ACTIVIST WITH “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” SIGNS WAS PREVENTED FROM DEMONSTRATING ON PUBLICLY OWNED  SPORTS FACILITIES – IN CLEVELAND, OHIO -- PROGRESSIVE FIELD (CLEVELAND INDIANS) AND QUICKEN LOANS ARENA (CLEVELAND CAVALIERS) – WHILE THE PROPONENTS OF THE SIN TAX WERE FREE TO POST THEIR SIGNS & POSTERS BOTH OUTSIDE AND INSIDE THESE PROPERTIES.

ACTIVIST ASKED TO MOVE OFF PUBLIC PROPERTY:

On the evening of Good Friday (04-17-14), Security personnel in-charge of Progressive Field (home to the Cleveland Indians) and Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland Cavaliers) asked me not to demonstrate with my “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” signs and move off their properties.

I was told that I should move away to an area within 3 ft. of the curb – which Security personnel defined as Cleveland sidewalk public property.

When I responded that both publicly owned facilities (Progressive Field & Quicken Loans Arena) were built using tax dollars and that I had a right to demonstrate – I was told to move and that there was no need to argue.

When I added that the proponents of the ‘Sin Tax’ had their messages posted both outside and inside the facilities – there was no response.

The Security personnel – one of whom included a Cleveland Police officer – were very polite – and realizing that they were merely dispensing their duties – I found no benefit in prolonging the dialogue and moved away – after reminding them – in a joking manner -- to “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” on May 6.

On Good Friday, I demonstrated all over downtown Cleveland for 4.5 hours on what was a very pleasant and sunny day before I ended up, after 6 p.m., in front of first, Quicken Loans Arena, and then Progressive Field.

HOW CORRUPT IS CLEVELAND OHIO?

IT IS O.K. TO POST A BIG SIGN
PROMOTING THE ‘SIN TAX’ (LISTED AS ISSUE 7 ON THE MAY 6, 2014 BALLOT) ON PUBLIC PROPERTY!

BUT NOT O.K. TO PROTEST, USING “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” SIGNS,
ON SAME PUBLIC PROPERTY THE REGRESSIVE ‘SIN TAX’ ON ALCOHOL & CIGARETTES WHICH BENEFITS THE BILLIONAIRE OWNERS OF THE BROWNS, CAVS, & INDIANS!

 

 

NOT WELCOME!

In a lighter vein, it appeared that an Indian from India, sporting the logo of the Cleveland Indians’ mascot was not welcome to protest with his “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” signs at the Indians Stadium.

I am a U.S. citizen (a Sikh American) having lived here for the past nearly 50 years (since 1966). I am used to incidents of this type.

 

 

LET’S GO INDIANS! 

The slide shows the Scoreboard at a recent ballgame promoting Issue 7 which is a Yes vote on the May 6, 2014 ballot for a 20-year extension of the Sin Tax -- starting on August 1, 2015.

However, our “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” signs are not permitted on this public owned sports facility.

 

 

LET’S GO CAVS! 

The slide shows the Scoreboard at a recent basketball game promoting Issue 7 which is a Yes vote on the May 6, 2014 ballot for a 20-year extension of the Sin Tax -- starting on August 1, 2015. 

However, our “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” signs are not permitted on this public owned sports facility.  

 

 

‘SIN TAXES’:

‘Sin Taxes’ are regressive excise taxes levied mostly on alcohol and cigarettes to provide funds to governing institutions.

In the case of Cleveland, both sports facilities (Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena) were built with public funds generated as a result of the first ‘Sin Tax’ approved by Cuyahoga county voters in 1990.

In 1995, the second ‘Sin Tax’ was again approved by the county voters to build and maintain the third facility -- Browns Stadium – now called First Energy Stadium.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s current ‘Sin Tax’, which is due to expire on July 31, 2015 -- is assessed at:

4.5 cents per pack of cigarettes,

1.5 cents per 12-ounce bottle of beer,

6 cents per 750-milliliter bottle of wine,

32 cents per gallon of mixed beverages,

24 cents per gallon of cider and,

$3 per gallon of hard liquor,                                           

and is estimated to generate $260 million over 20-years                                      

to benefit billionaire owners of First Energy Stadium (Browns),

Progressive Field (Indians), and                                   

Quicken Loans Arena (Cavaliers), in Cleveland

 

 

 

VIOLATION OF A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT:

The right to demonstrate in a public place is a constitutional right. While there are limitations to this right – the main issue was the one-sided manner in which it was being practised.

The proponents of the ‘Sin Tax’ (listed as Issue 7 on the May 7, 2014 Cuyahoga county ballot) were permitted to display their messages – both inside and outside the facilities – while I was denied the right to display my “VOTE NO ON SIN TAX” signs on the premises of the two public facilities.

The three sports facilities are public property built with funds generated by ‘Sin Taxes’. The Security personnel told me not to argue and get off what they considered an off-limit zone -- which is what I did. This is a civil rights issue and unless one has a contingent of supporters who want to risk being arrested and a battery of lawyers to fight the court battles -- challenging the authorities is futile.

While we may have constitutional rights – the rich and powerful have politicians, bureaucrats, and judges in their pockets. Nevertheless -- one keeps on fighting in a civil – non-confrontational manner – challenging injustice and corruption.

"VOTE NO ON SIN TAX" FLYER:

The 2-page flyer is as shown. The flyer is being distributed to pedestrians, motorists, bus riders, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCE LINKS:

*Website for CAST -- Coalition Against the Sin Tax:
www.noclevelandsintax.com

*CAST -- Coalition Against the Sin Tax site on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=251090068396355

*VOTE NO ON SIN TAX ON MAY 6, 2014 (Anti-‘Sin Tax’ Group on Facebook):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/614104975338900/

*IT’S A SIN, CLEVELAND (Anti-‘Sin Tax’ Group on Facebook):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/antisin/

*Satinder P. S. Puri’s blog on REALNEO:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&u...

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This issue is the absurdity

This issue is the absurdity of absurdities. Let me get this straight: the purpose of the Sin Tax is to gouge those who purchase alcohol and cigarettes not because anyone is trying to discourage consumption but rather so the County can use that money to pay for sports stadiums that do not produce anything but a fleeting moment witnessing the passing of a football, the dribbling of a basketball and the throwing of a baseball so that such a minute tidbit of diversion can be enjoyed by all. The stupidity of this proposition is enough to make your head spin even though the spin doctors advocating passage of this nonsense are already doing a pretty good job of hypnotizing the voters to actually consider supporting it. At least the Robber Barons of the previous centuries provided something tangible such as oil, steel, railroads etcetera. These team owners do not even provide one tangible thing that could ever be considered with the term “value added.” Almost everyone discusses this “enterprise” as though it is the same thing as industry {which it is not}. The price of admission is essentially a voluntary tax paid by those who can afford it to pay those who don’t need it. If this isn’t a transfer of wealth I don’t know what is.

The real outrage here is the fact that taxes on alcohol and cigarettes will not be used to aid in the reduction of addiction {hence the reference to “sin”} but rather to stuff the pockets of all three teams who could easily afford to pay for the repairs themselves. The vote was rammed through the last time {under somewhat suspicious circumstances} and hear we go again. But this time...not so fast!!! We the voters of Cuyahoga County are going to fight the proponents on this one and we don't care if the teams up and go somewhere else {please see my views on entertainment below} because quite frankly there are simply more important things than sports and the unearned money that comes with it. Those in public office who are too stupid and lazy to find other ways to grow a major American city need to resign and leave their self-seeking political ambitions on the scrapheap of history. Don’t ever let it be said that this was time when the tide ran out on Cuyahoga County but rather was the time when the voters rose up to welcome the rising tide of change and rebuked this pathetic paradigm our previous elected leaders embraced. Let the battle be joined.

And now to the real underlying issue at hand:

One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers. Everyone should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk-show host, team-owner, etcetera brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted, they do offer a minuscule of diversion from our daily trials and tribulations as did the jesters in the king's court during the middle ages. But to allow these entertainers to horde such great amounts of wealth at the expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable. They do not provide a product or a service so why are they rewarded as such?

Our society is also subjected to the "profound wisdom" of these people because it equates wealth with influence. Perhaps a solution to this problem and a alternative to defeated school levies, crumbling infrastructures, as well as all the programs established to help feed, clothe and shelter those who cannot help themselves would be to tax this undeserved wealth. Entertainers could keep 1% of the gross earnings reaped from their endeavor and 99% could be deposited into the public coffers.

The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to adapt to modern-day preferences. People put their money into entertainment above everything else; isn't it time to tap that wealth? Does anyone think this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher.