Collision Bend rebranding?

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as seen from the Collision Bend.
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as seen from the Collision Bend Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

There is a lot to unpack in Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s plans to reshape 35 acres along the Cuyahoga River behind Towner City, which is owned by Bedrock, his real estate company.

Cleveland City Council just signed off on legislation that allows Bedrock to move ahead with its $3.5 billion vision. One small item that has gone unnoticed is that Bedrock floated the idea of rebranding the iconic curve in the river, known as Collision Bend for the challenges it poses to freighters squeezing through the narrow passage.

A Bedrock representative suggested possibly renaming it “Canal Bend.” (You can find this and lots of other details in Documenter Daniel McLaughlin’s notes from the most recent Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee.)

Clevelanders have a history of hanging on to original names. Dead Man’s Curve, just to name one. Also, Canal Bend just doesn’t have the same grittiness as Collision Bend, which is viewed as a badge of honor and has even inspired a brewery. 

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CLE health director defends smoking ban

We first told you last week about a new campaign hitting the streets of Cleveland that has nothing to do with the November election. It’s the effort by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to revive support for Mayor Justin Bibb’s proposal to ban flavored tobacco in the city, and it’s taking shape in ads on and around RTA buses. 

Council hasn’t moved the legislation along. They’re more interested in a countywide ban – plus, they’ve heard from retailers who argue the ban would hurt the small businesses that sell tobacco.

Dr. David Margolious, Cleveland’s public health director, reached out to push back on a few points. He said, “Most smokers want to quit, so even the minor inconvenience of driving to another suburb helps reduce smoking rates by about 20%.” He also disputes that retailers have gone out of business in communities with bans on flavored tobacco.  

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Mayor Bibb has no position yet on marijuana smoking

The mayor’s push to ban flavored tobacco – including menthol-flavored cigarettes  – comes as a statewide ballot initiative to legalize smoking marijuana comes before voters. It appears on the November ballot as Issue 2.

Most health experts agree that smoking – cigarettes or marijuana – is bad for your lungs, and they are lining up against Issue 2. So, since the mayor is concerned about reducing smoking, I asked City Hall for Bibb’s position on Issue 2. A spokeswoman said he has not taken a side at this point. 

Margolious said it’s unfair to suggest there’s a contradiction in Bibb not taking a position right now. 

“Ending flavor sales is about protecting kids and racial justice as menthol in particular has been used to target Black smokers, and as a result smoking disproportionately kills Black people compared to white people,” he wrote. “Marijuana is unhealthy, but criminalizing possession has been a policy failure. If Issue 2 passes, I think Cleveland City Council will have an opportunity to ensure that marijuana retailers aren’t targeting children and Black Clevelanders.”

Tri-C makes a push for its levy

Cuyahoga County voters rarely send tax levies limping away in defeat, but Cuyahoga Community College isn’t taking chances on Issue 5.

Tri-C plans a major fall campaign for one of its two levies, which pay for more than half of its operating budget. The levy would raise property taxes by $14 per $100,000 of home value annually. If it passes, it would bring in $74 million for the school. 

That will help Cuyahoga Community College keep pace with rising costs, school officials told Cleveland City Council this week.

The levy campaign’s phone bank operation is making tens of thousands of phone calls, Vice President of Government Relations Claire Rosacco said. There will be TV spots, mailers, billboards, visits to ward clubs – all the hallmarks of a robust ballot effort. 

One thing the campaign doesn’t have to worry about is fundraising. The school’s PAC, Citizens for Cuyahoga Community College, reported having more than $791,000 on hand in June. 

Much of that money comes through the college’s voluntary payroll deduction campaign, in which employees can contribute a share of their paychecks to the levy effort. Tri-C’s foundation gave $150,000 to the campaign last year, too.

A Tri-C poll found that 51% of voters either definitely or probably support Issue 5. Once respondents were told more about the issue, support increased to 63%.

Politicians help with CSU dean search

Thirteen people sit on a search committee officially tasked with helping find the next leader of Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Public Affairs and Education. But some of the city’s biggest political players are pitching in, too. 

Though not part of that official committee, Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne and Mayor Justin Bibb’s chief of staff, Bradford Davy, are “instrumental” in helping to identify and recruit candidates from across the country, CSU President Laura Bloomberg told a committee meeting of the university’s board earlier this month. Both Ronayne and Davy are CSU and Levin alums. 

They’re all looking to find the replacement for current dean Roland Anglin, who’s stepping down at the end of year. 

Managing Editor, News (he/him)
Mark is a veteran journalist with experience in alternative media, print, digital and television news. For 19 years, he was a groundbreaking reporter and metro columnist with The Plain Dealer and Most recently, Mark spent three years as an investigative, enterprise and breaking news reporter at WKYC-TV, where his "Leading the Land" series on Cleveland's 2021 mayoral primary race earned a regional Emmy.

Government Reporter (he/him)
Nick joins us from the world of public radio. He has more than a decade experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In 2021, he produced and hosted "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor," an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.

Higher Education Reporter (she/her)
Amy, who’s worked in both local and national newsrooms for nearly a decade, previously covered higher education at Crain's Cleveland Business in partnership with the national nonprofit news organization Open Campus. A first-generation college graduate, Amy is committed to highlighting the voices of students in her coverage.