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04/19/2007


'Religious' Taxi Drivers in Cleveland Refusing to Drive Cabs Bearing Ads for the 'Gay Games': VIDEO

Gaygames

The 2014 Gay Games are set to take place in Cleveland from August 9-16 and The Plain Dealer is reporting that some drivers of the zone-based taxis operating out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport have notified their bosses that they will not drive the cabs for religious reasons, because the cabs have signage advertising the Games.

Hopkins released a statement saying that two of the three taxi companies operating at the airport -- Ace and Yellow Taxi – were informed by several of their drivers they will no longer participate in the airport's dedicated taxi cab program.

Patrick Keenan, general manager for the third company, Americab, said two of his drivers also have opted not to drive because of the Gay Games ads. The drivers are Muslims, Keenan and Hopkins spokeswoman Jackie Mayo said.

The drivers told their companies that their decision was based on religious reasons, Hopkins said in its statement.

WOIO adds:

19 Action News reporter Brian Duffy spoke with about 20 cabbies at the airport who are still driving and all of them confirmed there are drivers who have walked off the job on protest. Representatives of AmeriCab, one of the three cab companies on the job at the airport, also confirmed the protest but say only one of their drivers has been reassigned.

We're told at least 16-17 drivers who work for Ace Taxi, another company working out of the airport, are no longer driving. We went to Ace but were told they were too busy to talk to us. Yellow Cab, a third cab company at the airport, never returned our calls.

Watch a report on the walk-off from Cleveland's WOIO, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'Religious' Taxi Drivers in Cleveland Refusing to Drive Cabs Bearing Ads for the 'Gay Games': VIDEO" »


'Gay Games 2014' Commercial to Air in Some Markets During Sochi Opening Ceremony: VIDEO

2_gaygames

An ad for the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland will run in several markets during tonight's broadcast of the Sochi Opening Ceremonies, Outlook Columbus reports:

Thirty-second commercials for the Gay Games are set to air during NBC’s telecast in Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Buffalo and the host cities of Cleveland and Akron.

The Gay Games, an international event that takes place every four years, are scheduled for Aug. 9-16 in Cleveland and Akron. About 10,000 competitors and another 20,000 spectators are expected from around the world.

“These are great times we live in – exciting, complicated, extraordinary times,” a narrator says as the commercial begins with scenes of Gay Games medals, athletes, welcoming residents of northeastern Ohio and Cleveland’s annual Pride festival.

“And while the rest of the world tries to decide what its legacy will be, here in the United States we have a running start. This summer, the most inclusive sporting event in the world will take place in Ohio.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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How Will Cleveland Leverage Hate Crimes and Gay Games to Brand Itself an LGBT-Friendly City? — VIDEO

Nobbe

Leaders in Cleveland's LGBT community talk to the Northwest Ohio Media Group about how recent hate crimes at the city's Cocktails Lounge and the upcoming Gay Games in 2014 are an opportunity to raise awareness about how LGBT are disenfranchised in the state and lift Cleveland's reputation as an LGBT-friendly city.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Cleveland.com adds:

The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio has developed a four-hour training to give to businesses that wish to be a sponsor of the games or a certified vendor.

Peggy Zone Fisher, the group's president and CEO, said the training would examine companies' policies and procedures and rate them on how LGBT friendly the business is.

"We're not going to rewrite their handbook," she said.

Fisher, pointing out that it's not against the law in Ohio for employers to fire employees for being gay, said the training is a way to use the Gay Games as a spring board to make Cleveland more LGBT friendly long term.

"The sustainability piece of this training is going to be getting those protections in place in the policies and procedures of the companies," she said.

Public attention to the hate crimes has also brought light to what LGBT leaders see as another omission in the law - one that Ohio Rep. Nickie Antonio plans to address.

Continue reading "How Will Cleveland Leverage Hate Crimes and Gay Games to Brand Itself an LGBT-Friendly City? — VIDEO" »


Cleveland Public Safety Director Responds to Outrage Over Letter Threatening Gay Bar Owner

Last night Towleroad published a letter to Brian Lyons, the owner of Cleveland's Cocktails Lounge, which has been the focus of a series of neighborhood hate crimes against both the gay bar and its patrons. The letter, from the City of Cleveland's Director of Public Safety Marty Flask, said Lyons had been calling the police too often and threatened him with further action if he continued to do so.

FlaskIt also provoked immediate outrage on social media, so much so that Flask published a response late last night on the city's website. Flask claims that the incidents he refers to in the letter are not related to the alleged hate crimes at Cocktails Lounge but are related to other disturbances. He calls his letter "bad timing" and rescinds it.

The Mayor of Cleveland has also directed Flask to set up a meeting between the police commander and the owners of Cocktails Lounge to address the issues of crime against the bar.

Flask's statement below, also posted on the city of Cleveland's website:

Statement from Marty Flask, Director of Public Safety regarding a nuisance warning letter sent to the owner of 9208 Detroit Avenue

The letter received by the owner of Cocktails on Detroit Avenue is not related to recent alleged hate crimes that are currently being investigated by the Division of Police. Rather, it is an early warning letter that the Department of Public Safety sends to property owners to help prevent a location from becoming a “nuisance property”, as identified in Chapter 630 of Cleveland’s codified ordinances. 224 such letters have already been sent to various property owners this year.

The timing of this letter was an unfortunate coincidence. If I had to do it over again, I would have handled this particular situation differently. After reviewing this issue with Mayor Jackson, he has directed me to rescind the letter and instead set up a meeting with the District Commander and the property owners so that we can work together to address the issues raised by the calls for service to 9208 Detroit Avenue. Cleveland Police responded to 9208 Detroit Avenue nine times between September 2, 2012 and September 1, 2013 for a variety of complaints, including fights, disturbances and robbery. 13 complaints were received during that time frame. None of these complaints were related to the alleged hate crimes that are currently being investigated.


City of Cleveland Threatens Gay Bar Owner Targeted by Hate Crimes for Calling Police Too Often

Fox

Last week we reported on a gay man beaten by a group of youths outside the Cocktails Lounge gay bar in Cleveland. Jared Fox was sliced by his glasses, his eardrum ruptured, and his face bloodied and bruised.

Surveillance_cocktailsThis week, a teen was arrested after the bar released surveillance video showing a large group of youths targeting the bar by throwing rocks, some the size of small canteloupes, over the fence at its patrons.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that there have been at least six attacks since this spring.

Now, Towleroad has obtained a copy of a letter written by the City of Cleveland to the bar's owner Brian Lyons threatening him for calling the police 9 times.

Writes Director of Public Safety Martin Flask in the letter:

"Repeated calls to the same property place an undue and inappropriate burden on the taxpayers of the City of Cleveland and on our safety forces."

Flask orders Lyons to submit an action plan "outlining your strategy to eliminate the problems at this location" or risk action against him by the police.

Says the letter:

Re: Property located at 9208

Our records indicate from September 02, 2012 through September 01, 2013 Cleveland Police Officers and/or Dog warden have been dispatched and responded to your property located at 9208 Detroit Avenue inns for various Calls for service. Repeated calls to the same property place an and inappropriate burden on the taxpayers of the City of Cleveland and on our safety forces. The estimated cost for the city safety forces to respond to your property is approximately $100.00 per call for service.

l am confident that we share the same goal and that you will take the necessary steps to eliminate the repeated calls for police services to your property. Therefore, within 10 days of the date of this letter, you will be required to submit your action plan to the First District Neighborhood Police Commander (623-5105), outlining your strategy to eliminate the problems at this location.

Failure to address these issues, resulting in future calls for police service, will be scrutinized for appropriate administrative or law enforcement action.

Sincerely,

Martin L. Flask, Director Department of Public Safety

cc: Director of Law Michael McGrath, Chief, Division of Poke Councilperson lay Westbrook, Ward 16 Deputy Chief Field Operations, Division of Police 1. District Commander

Gangs of youths are beating up patrons of the bar as they come and go, and throwing melon-sized rocks over the fence at its patrons, and the city is putting the onus on the gay bar and its owners to clean up the crime itself or continue to be victimized.

I wonder how this treatment by the city will sit with the Gay Games committee, as they prepare to welcome more than 10,000 mostly LGBT participants from more than 65 countries to Cleveland next August?

Copy of the letter below:

Letter_cleveland

ADDENDUM:

In related news, the Cleveland Plain Dealer just published this editorial highlighting the spate of anti-gay hate crimes in Cleveland's neighborhoods, and calling for a public education campaign ahead of the Gay Games in 2014.

Writes the paper, in part:

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings and society's generally more welcoming attitudes to gay marriage, there's still a need to address deeply-rooted prejudices against gays and gay lifestyles.

It is time to elevate diversity and address the ignorance that has been making headlines the last couple of weeks in the two-block area around Cocktails, a bar on Detroit Ave. that caters to a gay as well as a neighborhood crowd...

...The police enforcement is welcome but it isn't the full answer. Education and community involvement are the other ingredients. Part of that will come as same-sex marriage advocates launch a statewide educational campaign and the months tick down to the 2014 Gay Games. One of the lessons of the games is the need to foster diversity. That message needs to be delivered as well to the young people who live near West 91st and West 93rd streets and Detroit Avenue.


13-Year-Old Arrested for Attack on Cleveland Gay Bar, Possibly its Patrons: VIDEO

Surveillance_cocktails

Last week we reported on a gay man beaten by a group of youth outside the Cocktails Lounge gay bar in Cleveland. Jared Fox was sliced by his glasses, his eardrum ruptured, and his face bloodied and bruised.

CocktailsNow, a 13-year-old boy is under arrest after the bar released surveillance video showing a large group of youths targeting the bar by throwing rocks, some the size of small canteloupes, over the fence at its patrons, FOX8 reports:

“I kicked open the gate and I ran out when I ran out all the kids scattered,” [bar patron Ric] Scardino said.
He said two kids came back and confronted him.

“The one with the white shirt had a broom in his hand and he told me what he was gonna do with; he was gonna beat me with the broom and what he was gonna do to me with the broom afterwards,” he said.
That’s when Scardino pulled out his mace.

“They thought this was a gun. They saw the black and they said the (bleep)’s got a gun and they took off running,” he said.

Police are trying to determine if the 13-year-old was involved in both incidents. However, Scardino says there have been at least three other attacks.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "13-Year-Old Arrested for Attack on Cleveland Gay Bar, Possibly its Patrons: VIDEO" »


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