I sent in an editorial article to our local paper here in Cleveland, but it has not been published. It's regarding the current economic situation gripping the city and some input on my behalf. Here's the rest:
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Greater Cleveland area has problems and something needs to be done about it. Jobs are on the way out with Hugo Boss leaving in April and American Greetings on the bubble at this time. Many other companies have had to lay people off because of economic slowdown. The city is not terminal and there are still signs of life.
Cleveland and its neighbors have already taken the first steps to recovery by voting out the old county leadership for a new system. Now, somebody new needs to be voted into the county executive position, not an existing figure who knows the ins and outs of regional politics, but somebody new. We need a business-minded person to do this job, somebody who can offer up ideas and make sound decisions. Hopefully there will be signs of progress in this area.
Also, as another sign of improvement, the entire state (who suffers from a similar problem as Cleveland) finally voted in favor of casino gambling. The reason is not completely clear why at the moment, but it could be because it was realized that the opposition to this issue had nothing more to offer than, "NOT casino gambling," which is not a solution. This is a good start for the area, but a long way off for the comfort of many and not the perfect solution either. In the mean time, more must be done.
1. The Medical Mart project should be moved from downtown to University Circle where the hub of Cleveland's medical industry is currently located. This makes more sense than putting it downtown, far away from CWRU and University Hospital. Let's showcase what we have.
2. This area needs new leadership. When it comes to city and county politics, party doesn't matter, it's all about ideas. The city needs to turn to business leaders and fiscal managers to attract new industry, new businesses and jobs to this area. The original industries are no longer a viable option, we can't afford to keep them on life support.
3. Cleveland is not a city that goes from Lake Erie to Brookpark Rd. to the south. The suburbs depend on Cleveland and vice versa. It is time for a meeting of the leadership of the city and suburbs to discuss what can be done. If not a full merger of the suburbs into Cleveland, at least a partnership that would be mutually beneficial for everybody.
4. This area needs to focus on its strongest points such as culture (the orchestra and Playhouse Square), medical research technology and the natural beauty of the Emerald Necklace. These are all valuable assets to this region that we need to sell.
5. Education is key to any great city and that is something that is severely lacking. Dr. Sanders needs to be given a chance and the school district needs to be consolidated due to lack of population. He looks to have a plan and his reasoning on the school closings appears to have merit.
6. INPUT! What the city really needs is input from the writers, business owners and residents. This region doesn't belong to the politicians, it belongs to all of us and we're all in this together. We need to freely share our ideas and we need the leadership to listen and respond and take action. It's perfectly fine to criticize ideas, but do so in a constructive manner. Don't just tear down ideas, add to them, come up with alternatives and be courteous to each other in the process.
Ladies and gentlemen, our city is falling to pieces right before our eyes and nobody seems to be doing anything to save it. This is not a Cleveland-only issue, nor is it a Democrat or Republican issue. This is an issue for everyone in the area, from Westlake to Solon and Lakewood to Broadview Heights. Write to the Plain Dealer with your ideas, go online to Cleveland.com to submit ideas. Don't keep these ideas, put them out there and let people read them and act on them. I watched this city fight for a football team, now we need to fight for its life.
I was really hoping to see it printed in the paper, but alas, I will have to try again. Maybe it was my opposition to the current Medical Mart site in downtown Cleveland. Maybe it was because I went over the 700 word limit by one word (total: 701). Whatever the reason, I will have to try again soon.