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[14 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]
Is Cleveland Strong?

This picture just blows my mind.
This is a sign encouraging people to renew the “sin tax” in Cuyahoga County, a tax on alcohol and cigarettes that subsidizes pro sports teams.
This was taken in East Cleveland. Paid supporters of the “sin tax” have been plastering Cleveland’s vacant lots with these signs, urging people to “Keep Cleveland Strong” by renewing the tax.
Keep Cleveland Strong. Man, the gall behind that statement.
That’s the narrative Cleveland’s political and business establishment is always pushing. I heard someone from this campaign say if Cleveland’s sports stadiums start …

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[8 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]
An Art Gallery and Neighborhood Change

Right now I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a neighborhood called Northside. It’s about a 15-minute drive north of downtown. From my bedroom window I can see a pizza place, hair salon, a couple tax centers, a rad art-collective-space called Chase Public, and a boutique shop I’ll never venture into. I think if I lean I can see a chile place on the corner. Largely, the area is populated by long-time locals, but many (like myself) have moved here after a bit of redevelopment and renewal. While this renewal, on …

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[3 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]
The Big Road Solution: A Critical Look at the Opportunity Corridor

The Opportunity Corridor is a $331 million road through the east side of Cleveland that has been presented to residents as an economic development project. The residents of these neighborhoods, such as Kinsman, are struggling with poverty (median household income $13,300) and serious health issues, including high rates of asthma and infant mortality rates worse than Zimbabwe.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) believes that neighborhoods have declined due to poor highway access, stating “by the middle of the 20th century, trucking had become more prominent in transporting industrial goods. This …

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[31 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
Tolerating Hate Speech and Misogyny on the News Websites

My friend, a beautiful, intelligent native American woman, wrote a column this weekend in the Plain Dealer explaining why she thinks the Indians’ Chief Wahoo is offensive. It was brave, and respectful and well written.

To the surprise of no one, the comments section immediately devolved into a cesspool ignorance and depravity that has come to characterize commentary on local news issues — particularly when there is a woman or minority concerned.

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[28 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
Roldo on The Pro-Sports Subsidy Machine in Cleveland

Venerated Cleveland reporter Roldo Bartimole wrote the following item about the “Sin Tax” up for renewal this May in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County. The tax would provide some $300 million for the city’s three professional sports franchises, for facilities upgrades and repairs. Citizens groups have raised questions about the fairness of this tax, which is issued on cigarette and alcohol, and is paid disproportionally by poor people, contributing to the profits of billionaire sports team owners. A powerful political, business and media coalition is pushing for the tax, even though there has been little analysis or public debate about the spending proposals. Roldo, one of Cleveland’s most knowlegable and sophisticated political observers, says they are pulling out all the stops to delude taxpayers:

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[20 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
Traveling Through Pennsylvania by Train

I shot these on my trip from Cleveland to D.C. Tuesday, out the window of the cafe car on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited route.
Pennsylvania is such a beautiful state. It’s really fun and interesting to travel at ground level through tiny communities like you get a chance to on Amtrak.

My journey took me 10 hours and left at two in the morning. But it only cost me $130 round trip and I was able to sleep for more than half the journey anyway. When I do this I take the savings …

Economic Development, Education, Featured, Headline, Labor, Politics, Public Education, Sprawl, Urban Planning »

[14 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
Ohio and the Fate of the “Big Eight”

The 2010 Census produced mixed results for America’s “legacy cities,” that is deindustrialized cities located primarily, but not exclusively, in the Midwest and in the Mid-Atlantic states. While east coast cities like Newark and Philadelphia actually posted population gains, Midwestern Rust Belt cities generally continued their long slide down in terms of population growth. This proved especially true in the state of Ohio, formerly a key manufacturing hub and once arguably the heartland of Industrial North America. For not only have Ohio’s major cities continued to shrink, their population loss …

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[13 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
The Possibility Corridor: What if We Downgraded I-490?

I-490, the 24 year old stub of a highway between I-90 and E55th, has seen recent interest as a connector via the proposed Opportunity Corridor. Advocates for the Opportunity Corridor cite its value as an “Urban Boulevard” in contrast to the limited access highways that had been blocked by the “highways revolts” of the 1960s. With this is mind, it seems appropriate to reconsider I-490′s role in our region. 
Having been meant to merely form one link in a continuous limited access network of …

Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, The Environment, Urban Planning »

[7 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
Lansing Area Logistics to “Go Green”

Scheduled to launch in Greater Lansing on Earth Day, 2014 (Tuesday, April 22nd), Go Green Trikes, LLC (Facebook webpage link) is the brainchild of local green business entrepreneur, Yvonne LeFave. Utilizing heavy-duty electric-assisted cargo trikes capable of carrying loads of up to 600 pounds, Go Green Trikes will provide prompt and sustainable delivery services throughout the urban heart of Greater Lansing – essentially an area bounded by I-96 on the south and west, I-69 on the north and Van Atta Road to the east. Here’s a maplink of the service area.
These are …

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[6 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
A “Major League City”

Every time some national magazine calls Cleveland “most miserable” or some iteration thereof, it is followed by an equally predictable round of shocked defensiveness. Even a more minor slight against the city can provoke pretty profound anger, I have learned in my five years as a Clevelander.

On some level I understand it. We all have things we love about home, and cities — our city — can be highly personal. There’s a fuzzy line between putting down Cleveland and putting down Clevelanders. If you’ve lived in Cleveland your whole life, that could be not just you, but nearly everyone you know and care about.