Browns fans at odds with Mayor Jane Campbell's clampdown on tailgating in municipal parking lots had an opportunity to let their concerns be heard this evening.
In a Cleveland Town Hall meeting, Browns fans questioned Mayor Campbell's decision to strictly enforce open container laws on the lots. One fan asked if the motivation was that the City preferred fans to drink $5.50 draft beer at the Stadium, and pointed out that similar policies were not adopted at other city events.
Fans also expressed concern about possible increases in rates charged at Muni and other lots, as well as the decision to have the lots heavily patrolled. Fans questioned why the Mayor would allocate so many policemen when more severe crimes should take priority and during a time of a city budget crisis.
The Mayor responded that the parking lot patrolmen are in addition to the ones who regularly patrol the streets, meaning that inadequate police coverage during games should not be a concern.
The Mayor respectfully responded to most objections, stating that behavior at the lots had gotten extreme and needed to be stopped. She cited examples of porta-potties being turned over or burned and "disorderly conduct". The mayor also defended proposed increased parking rates on the basis that clean-up and security at the lots were not paid for by the current $10 charge.
According to a televised report on Fox 8 in Cleveland, the perception is that neither side won over the other during the course of the Town Hall Meeting, but that the exchange was polite. The newscast offered the opinion that fans would not be satisfied unless the restrictions were lifted.