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.

I think, as I’ve written before, however, that the national criticisms of this city have some merit, are worth considering on an intellectual rather than emotional level, to the extent that is even possible. What would alleviate my pretty deep concerns about the city is if there were something resembling consensus that we could do better than we are doing right now. And the defensive reactions mostly claim we are already ok, thankyouverymuchohbythewaygotohellMiami/NewYork. Which gets me down.

Anyway one of the favorite of these defensive reactions is the “but we have a great art museum!!” response. And I understand it too. Cleveland has a right to be proud of its art museum, which is indeed one of the best in the country. (It is WAY better than Columbus’, my home town.) The whole art museum defense strikes me as a little odd though. Because people mostly don’t judge cities by the quality of their art museums. Who knows how good Kansas City’s art online cialis museum is? Or San Diego’s? What I’m trying to say is, I think we tend to overstate the importance of that detail to our general reputation.

Like, think for a second about your impressions about Denver. I’ve never been to Denver, but I’ve generally heard positive things. Clean? I think that’s one stereotype about that city. Pretty/mountainous? Vaguely http://cialisonline-incanada.com/ prosperous/semi liberal? Anyway, those are what I’ve vaguely gathered, having no special interest in the city and having never visited. Even so, I don’t think I’m too far off base here. I don’t think our collective impressions of Denver are horribly wrong or skewed. In fact, I think our stereotypes about most cities are generally correct.

New York? Expensive? Check. Snobby? Check. Diverse and interesting? Check. Some people like New York more than others, of course. But who would argue that it’s down-to-earth and boring? Or affordable?

Anyway, my point is though, Cleveland’s art museum may be treasured by locals and recognized by museum buffs, how does viagra look it doesn’t rise to the importance of defining us on a national scale, I don’t think.

What are some of the stereotypes about Cleveland? Poor? Check. Segregated? Check. Blue collar? Check.

Anyway, I think what really defines Cleveland, Cleveland’s place in the scheme of things, lies what does viagra cost just outside the art museum: very poor and segregated neighborhoods. So poor, so segregated, that they rise to being nationally exceptional. And while it’s ok to take pride in our art museum — great even — it doesn’t give us a pass on something like that. It’s odd to insist it does, IMO.

I think there might even be sort of a direct tension there. The art museum just raised $350 million for a really beautiful renovation. I think it’s easy addiction to viagra for them to do that in part because of the prestige we imagine it affords on us personally, as Clevelanders. This is especially true for rich folks, I think, Cleveland’s titans, the ones who give money. Because being important in Cleveland is one thing, but if Cleveland isn’t a city that matters in the scheme of things, what does that say about our important people?

Anyway, sometimes I like to idly wonder how far than $350 million would have gone toward fixing what’s wrong with Glenville and East Cleveland, although I’m pretty confident the money would have been much more difficult to raise. Could it have helped solve some of the problems that have come to define us?

We’re about to get a chance to vote on a “sin tax” that will raise hundreds of millions for Cleveland’s three major sports stadiums. Another major fundraising project, albeit slightly different in nature. Again, the focus is on large institutions, how they define us as worth visiting. One of the leaders of this campaign, GCP’s Joe Roman told the Plain Dealer I want Cleveland to remain a “major league city.”

My question is to what extent do pride and ego compel us to invest in these kind of monuments? Does it call on us to ignore despair right nearby? Is there even, perhaps, a relationship?

I went for a bike ride a few weeks ago, on a cold night in February through downtown Cleveland with some of my friends. The guy who was leading the group took us on this out-of-the way route and we went past the new convention center, and then down past the Brown’s stadium and around past the Science Museum and the Rock Hall. The streets were a mess, and we had to constantly watch for potholes, going those collective hundreds of millions — billions? — in public investments. The whole area was deserted, at about 8 pm on a Friday night except for us. Like somebody had turned the lights out and closed it down.

Those big investments were what we poured our collective civic aspirations into over the last few decades and they were meant to make other places take us seriously. We got IM Pei to design the Rock Hall — because we’re a BIG LEAGUE city, goddamnit, we can afford to hire the most in-demand starchitects, the ones that make buildings that are more sculptures than practical buildings. It’s like a monument to civic insecurity.

Here we are again, doubling down. “Keep Cleveland Strong” say the guy who want us to pump millions more into three professional sports stadiums. I wonder if we have learned anything. Is it the same sense of wounded pride that calls us to ignore some of the roots of our problems that prevents us from soberly examining our past mistakes?

–Angie Schmitt

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