Panic Street Lawyer: The Only Place

Sunday, 29 July 2012 08:00 AM Written by  Jay Hornack

20120729wap_clevelandskyline_150The surfer pop duo Best Coast has a new album out called “The Only Place.” The chorus to the title track (and first single to the album) goes exactly like this:

Why would you live anywhere else?
Why would you live anywhere else?
We’ve got the ocean, got the babes
Got the sun, we’ve got the waves
This is the only place for me.

I think it is safe to say that singer/songwriter Bethany Cosentino loves California.

This past week I drove up and spent time out with my brother in the metro area in which we both grew up. It got me to thinking up this chorus change if the only place for me during non-cold weather seasons were Cleveland, Ohio:

…We’ve got the Great Lakes, got the Tribe
Got the Hall, we’ve got it live…

Allow me to make my four-part best case for the North Coast, particularly to Pittsburghers:

Progressive Field is just one of the four arguments that should change the way you think of Cleveland. Jay Hornack photo. Click to larger version.

Great Lakes Brewery

If you are of legal drinking age, you can click here and learn that Great Lakes began in 1988 as Ohio’s first microbrewery. Today Great Lakes Brewing Company produces over 100,000 barrels of beer annually and serves 13 states (including Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia. Their beers have won numerous awards during the 24 years of their existence.

Working the tap at Great Lakes Brewing Company. Associated Press
In the “News” section of the GLBC website, there is a link to a CNBC story about a July 5 campaign stop by President Obama in Amherst, Ohio, specifically at Ziggy’s bar and restaurant (Amherst is about 30 miles southwest of Cleveland). The article is a political analysis of the two beer choices made there by the President (and his cohort, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland): Miller Lite drafts and Bud Lite bottles. CNBC interviewed Katie Ives, the bartender at Ziggy’s at the time. Ives had this to say about her encounter with the President:

“I wanted to suggest a beer from Great Lakes Brewing Company, but I didn’t get a chance…“Once he asked the Governor what he was drinking and then ordered the same thing, I thought ‘oh well, he’s not ordering anything interesting.’”

A spokeswoman for GLBC handled this unintended publicity with political panache:

“We’re a little disappointed that he didn’t opt for one of Ohio’s own outstanding handcrafted brews ...The next time he returns, we’d love to give him a VIP brewery tour and tasting at Great Lakes Brewing Company. (Great Lakes) is able to directly give back to our community in a way that big brewers can’t, which we love and take very seriously. The fact that we are able to grow and provide jobs in a struggling economy proves how valuable the American craft beer industry is." ?

Although my brother was able during his visit to stop at Great Lakes, located on the near west side of Cleveland, I had to settle for drinking their products off-site (see below).

One of GLBC’s beer family members, Dortmunder Gold, was initially named The Heisman. The website says that this beer, “named for the famed football player (and future trophy) who lived around the corner from the Brewery … was later renamed … for both its golden color and the Gold Medal it won at the 1990 Great American Beer Festival.” I learned online that John W. Heisman (1869-1936) obtained a law degree from Penn in 1892.

But I wonder whether lawyers for The Heisman Trophy Trust also threatened GLBC with a copyright and/or trademark infringement action before that beer name change …

Progressive Field

Preparing for the Tribe's opening day. AP
I had Dortmunder Golds on this trip to Cleveland first while inside Progressive Field, home to the Major League Baseball Indians. They are often referred to as the Tribe and their logo – well, it is justifiably the focus of an annual home opener protest in Cleveland.

What makes Cleveland’s field progressive these days is the fact that, since 2008, the naming rights to the downtown baseball park have been owned by the Progressive Casualty Insurance Company. Progressive is headquartered in suburban Mayfield Village – my brother and I drove right by it on Interstate 271 during our visit – and the chairman of its board is billionaire Peter B. Lewis. Born 78 years ago in Cleveland Heights, Lewis frequently donates to charitable and political organizations. Two of the more noteworthy recipients of Lewis’ donations have been the Marijuana Policy Project and organizations that supported California’s Proposition 19 in 2010 (Lewis is a strong advocate of the regulation, control and taxation of cannabis).

Meanwhile, the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates have played their professional baseball games since 2001 at PNC Park. The naming rights to the Pirates’ park are owned by PNC Financial Services, and the chairman of their board since 2001 has been Jim Rohr. Rohr, age 63, is originally from …wait for it … Cleveland. He graduated from Saint Ignatius High School, which, like Heisman’s former home, is around the corner from Great Lakes Brewery.

But I wonder whether Progressive Field has served as a host for Ohio continuing legal education programs, as PNC Park has this year for Pennsylvania lawyers

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Banner for "The Long Strange Trip" exhibit. AP
Since 1995, downtown Cleveland has been home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some would say: case closed.

On this trip to the northwest, I spent time at a Rock Hall special exhibit entitled “Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip” (it will be there through December). The exhibit includes a touchscreen kiosk which allows you to find every Dead concert (with set list and sometimes concert audio) by city. When looking up Pittsburgh I had to check out the Dead’s appearances at our recently- demolished Civic Arena in early April 1989, which infamously included 55 arrests, a videotaped beating by police, then-Mayor Sophie Masloff’s reference to the band as the “Dreadful Dead” and her reference to their fans as “Deadenders.”

I wonder whether Peter B. Lewis has a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac …

Beachland Ballroom

Beachland Ballroom. AP
Cleveland has a lot of live music options, and this past week my brother and attended the Best Coast concert at the Beachland Ballroom (where some Great Lakes beers were also consumed). Best Coast did not perform in Pittsburgh on their 2012 tour.

The Beachland is located on the far east side of Cleveland. Their website tells you that it has been a concert venue since 2000 and that the building was previously the Croatian Liberty Home. And it’s “Beachland” Ballroom because its neighborhood is located less than ½ mile from the former site of amusement park Euclid Beach (1894-1969) on the shores of Lake Erie.

Meanwhile, concert venue Mr. Smalls Theater is located beyond Pittsburgh city limits in the Borough of Millvale. It has been a host to live music since 2003 and was previously Saint Ann Catholic Church. A 2001 Post-Gazette article said Mr. Smalls’ owners wished to create a band showcase “much the way Graffiti in Oakland was.” Graffiti, in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, closed in 2000 after operating on real estate which, in the early 1900s, was the site of an amusement park (Luna Park).

I wonder what kind of place Oakland’s Schenley High School will be in the future…

NEXT WEEK: Panic’s on the Streets of London (figuratively, not literally)

(Top image: The Cleveland skyline. Associated Press)

The Panic Street Lawyer is a personal opinion column by attorney Jay Hornack. Contact him right here at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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