Peanut Butter Knife

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Do Not "Believe In Cleveland"

One of the things that I most regret not having the time to blog about over the summer was the gushing, hyperbolic coverage in the local media over Cleveland's bid to host the 2008 Republican convention. It looks like all that pandering went for naught, as Minneapolis/St Paul placed first in the sweepstakes. I wonder if City Council president Martin Sweeney (D?) feels stupid now for his "We want you. We need you. And we love you" remark? I can only imagine that he made this statement while kneeling under the VIP table in front of Ken Mehlman.

How can one believe in a city that spent countless dollars trying to woo the convention of a political party whose economic policies of the last 6 years have been a major contributor to Cleveland's ranking as the nation's poorest? Instead of sinking money into revitalizing neighborhoods, improving safety, and spurring the kind of innovative businesses that are needed to make Cleveland attractive to outsiders (I'd say "bring Cleveland back", but when you've been gone since at least the 60s its hard to say what you're coming back from) once again, local leaders place their hopes and dreams on dubious pie in the sky schemes like the convention, casino gambling or placing suburban big box retail on former industrial acreage. Did anyone believe for a second that the GOP would be willing to place its delegates in hotels as far away as Sandusky and Canton? Never mind your political leanings, this thing never had a chance. And while jobs and people flee the area, our leaders expended way too much valuable energy on something that would provide a one-time tax windfall at best (which would probably just be spent on another stupid feel-good ad campaign to cover up for the fact that this city's best years were a half century ago), or a massive headache and 4 more years of torture-loving, deficit spending, theocratic rule at worst.

Don't get me wrong. While I abhor the GOP from the very depth of my soul, Cleveland's Dem "leaders" play a big role in why this region has sunk to the low that it has. That's why the whole "Believe in Cleveland" campaign is so insulting. This town isn't in bad shape because the people who live here don't "believe" hard enough. They don't believe because they've seen incompetent leadership in the public and private sector. They've seen interesting ideas and people who wanted to make a difference turn their backs on the city when they couldn't get anything accomplished. They've seen their manufacturing jobs leave and are told about how "its a new economy", but so many of our non manufacturing corporate headquarters have packed up as well. While other former Midwestern industrial strongholds like Chicago and yes, the Twin Cities, thrive, we have leaders like Jane Campbell going to another photo op in her city owned SUV and making false promises about new housing that will never be built because no one wants to move here.

Finally, I don't want to confuse not "believing in Cleveland" with hating it or not wanting it to do well. But when another generation of leaders comes into power talking a good game and then rolling the dice on another crazy scheme and not accomplishing what they originally set out to do, I have to think: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. No amount of sloganeering will change that.

On a semi-related note: The Republicans were smart to pick Minneapolis for their convention. Located in a close blue state and bordering razor-thin swing states Wisconsin and Iowa, a win in MN & WI would more or less cement their designs on a pre-Fox Mexican style one party "democracy". Will the Dems be just as astute and pick Denver, giving a boon to their rising fortunes in the West, or will they be typically tone deaf and pick NYC? In the end, both conventions will only matter if there is any uncertainty over the nominee going in, not a likely scenario.


  • At 3:02 PM, Anonymous david said…

    I have to agree. I am active in trying to bring positive change in my own inner city neighborhood but am always drown out by these logic free plans that make people feel good. The fact of the matter is that poverty has been the main industry of this local government for a very long time, they will continue to embrace it until City Hall is completely cleaned out.

    Believe in Cleveland may just be fuel to sell a few more schemes. I want my own slogan to be something along the lines of "get r dun Cleveland" referring to these wind bags who accomplish nothing or even impede progress of any kind.


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