Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not So Positive About Positively Cleveland's New Branding Idea For Cleveland



RANDOM THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ABOUT THE NEW BRANDING CONCEPT


While I appreciate PC's spirit and enthusiasm in promoting Cleveland through all the flashy videos, it seems to me that the impression of the new branding caters to a narrow demographic; the "easy and in-your-face- sell" demographic, contrary to the idea that such is not an easy target market. 

Cleveland would not need all the fancy marketing videos and material its elected leaders, civic promoters, residents and the rest would just focus on cleaning up the basics and being the best it can be with what it already has.

Example, and while I know this is not the focus of PC, the city hierarchy and residents are its strongest asset and need to focus on improving quality of life issues like crime, excessive noise issues in neighborhoods, street sweeping,  litter all over the city (which is HORRIBLE), maintaining existing parks as best as possible with what resources we have.  The focus should be more on making the city more than a visitor and tourist destination, and rather, a place people would want to live and raise a family.

Guess what happens when you get back to focusing on basics including, but not limited to what I listed above?

YOUR CITY SELLS ITSELF and improves its image via word of mouth.
Videos like the new branding concept Positively Cleveland has unveiled—one which suggests we are “real” and down to earth--and not flashy with egos are contradictory as they still examples of tooting your own horn! The new video and branding concept can be construed as little snobbish in its own right.

At the same time it suggests that we are down to earth, it also exudes an arrogance that is resistant to positive change, and content with complacency. It is the typical and archaic love it or leaves it mentality, not love it or CHANGE it, as maybe it should be. In a way, the new branding concept glamorizes underachievement--And such thinking is why we make stupid people famous on stupid reality shows! 

While I have always felt that making your city look better in pictures or fancy videos than the real thing was not a good idea, I also am not too sure about catering mostly to this demographic by showcasing what is in my opinion glamorized images of a complacent sloppy populace that has lowered standards so low that abnormal and slack is now the new norm and acceptable.

Can't these promotional videos strike a balance which appeals to everyone and in various demographics and walks of life? Afterall, Cleveland is often touting how “diverse” it is in culture and populace.  As I tipped at in the opening statement of this commentary, marketers are always after the easy sell these days and have largely ignored a demographic 35 to 55 which actually spends the most in our economy.

Take notice how Positively Cleveland videos appeal mostly to visitors, young wannabes, students, and business folks. But, what about those who actually live here, could live here, and who want to improve the physical aspect of the city and its daily quality of life? There is little to nothing reaching out to those folks. City leaders and promoters ignore this important component of our existing and prospective population. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of bringing in fresh blood and ideas, but not at the dismissal of existing creative minds that are already here and go largely unrecognized if they are over 35.  

Traditionally, Positively Cleveland has produced some great videos that actually promote and instill an image of more of what Cleveland can and should be which helps to promote more civic pride and a raising of the standards--BUT this should not be so good that when people see the real thing, they are underwhelmed and disappointed.

So, YES, it is important to promote an “as-is” theme as is the new branding idea—BUT, not such that simply accepts everything here as is showcasing beer drinking, sports, and mediocrity. There is a demographic and social scene on which they can focus that is neither overdoing it nor underplaying it, IF, they want to demonstrate a real Cleveland the promotions often fail to recognize as what I described above.  

Still, If we all take part in promoting a cleaner and safer city with a better daily quality of life, the city will eventually sell itself to everyone as such are the basics of determining where we want to live and perhaps even visit.

As it stands now, no matter which extreme direction PC takes, be it the former or latter form of promotion, so much either presents a better image than reality, or now, perhaps an image of nothing that promotes a higher standard than complacency. Thus, we may further the economic and social type-cast that has made us look and feel second rate for decades now. Raise the bar, don't follow a sloppy standard that has not seen any better in years.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

DEAR CLEVELAND: DEMONSTRATE A BETTER STEARDSHIP OF WATERFRONT BEFORE PROMOTING GREATER ACCESS

In a perfect world the idea of "re-connecting" Cleveland's citizens with access to its lakefront--a sentiment often expressed by community leaders, planners and activists--is surely noble and necessary.

However, such "reconnection" must also accompany understanding the significance and importance of the lake's bio-integrity. If not, then the flood gates will open to more abuse and degradation that our once pristine but still recovering Lake does not need.

The abuse of which I write about is courtesy of the filth that nearby visitors and many residents leave behind. The current lack of understanding or care for such matters is clear every time I am close to the waterfront. Our waterfront is visually filthy with debris--and all coming from human activity and disregard for our environment as well as our everyday fellow citizens.

A quick survey finds tobacco litter of all sorts--particularly cigarette butts and plastic tip cigar butts, plastic soft drink bottles, cans, junk food wrappers, dirty diapers, and plastic bottle caps and rings, fishing string and bait containers-and this is just a partial list.

This form of pollution is detrimental to both land and aquatic wildlife and is so very much preventable if lakeshore patrons would simply learn how to exercise caution, and what a garbage can is for, or better yet, use a recycle bin when appropriate. Going one step further, imagine if visitors re-learned what people used to know about re-usable containers that do not end up in the waste or recycling stream, at least not after a "nano-second" of use.

It should go without saying that this litter is visually shameful, disgraceful, and should be an embarrassment to every Cleveland and Greater Cleveland resident. This condition also sends a loud and clear message that we simply do not care. But we all need to start caring, NOW! When I bring a guest from out of town to our waterfront, they are bewildered how such a beautiful and limited resource can be taken so much for granted and abused by the locals.

Unless people become more informed about being proper stewardship of this delicate and precious resource, then perhaps they are not simply entitled to it. If no one had any inkling how to drive, would we give everyone a car and just let them get behind the wheel, simply because it was their "right"? Same for the lake: Until Cleveland and its citizens--and ALL patrons learn why we must do our part in not polluting it, then perhaps we do not deserve greater access to it until we pass the test!

We will know when we have passed the test when we see a great reduction in the above said issues--with the as is access it currently has. Greater access could spell greater trouble--And, oddly enough, the limitations of access now, may be the only thing protecting it from more litter abuse.

Its not just big industrial polluters, farm or urban/suburban lawn chemical/fertilizer runoff or exotics (i.e. Asian Carp, Zebra Muscles brought here by human activity) that threaten the resource anymore. All that is bad enough and needs attention too. But compounding these problems is every individual who encroaches on our shoreline and leaves their mess behind.

Fixing this problem does not warrant a host of meetings, grants, studies and so on. It is this simple, Cleveland: Be responsible! What you take in you take out, and that means everything. Your shoreline is not a garbage can! It is baffling as to why many who have enough curiosity, appreciation for natural beauty and smarts to visit the place...seem to lack the common sense brains to keep it clean!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cleveland/Akron -- Youngstown/Warren Missing the Bus and Train on Being linked through Public Transportation

Northeast Ohio needs a united regional people ground transportation network which would serve Cleveland/Akron-Canton, Youngstown/Warren.


All of these cities are within an hour or so drive from each other--and in the regional sense of thinking, form one tri-metro region of roughly 4 million. However, all are drastically under served in people transportation options when it comes to linking them together.

Once all connected by rail many years ago and united in their economic power, are now mostly divided. So close, yet so far, indeed! We need to have more sustainable options in stitching these places together---other than being forced to drive or own a car. A region with this many people having largely the only choice of a car to get around--and to and from each of these cities is insane and extremely taxing on the environment. What is more disturbing is the complacency of many people who seem to think this is normal and acceptable. Oh how things have changed from a time some 70 years ago when one could get almost anywhere in this region without a car--to a time when you can virtually get nowhere without one!

Federally and state wise, for the last 50 years or more, had we invested our tax dollars in promoting and improving our public transportation networks rather than putting most of the money into creating an automobile dominant and dependent society by building a maintenance intensive road and highway system—maybe it would have helped shaped the way more people chose to get around.

Still today, a largely ignored demographic that would prefer to not spend their money driving and on all other aspects of expenses associated with driving such as insurance, maintenance, fuel costs, risk of getting tickets, and so forth---includes some who cannot drive for health reasons---and moreso, the growing number of those who simply do not want to be living their life strapped inside an automobile—AND, who do not wish to own one for that matter. This sector includes many people young and old who want to live car light and who seek regions in which to live that offer either extended bus or rail services. Many are bright minded folks who will take their talents and monies elsewhere where such services exist.

Case in point of the dismal state of alternative transportation options that could link all N.E. Ohio....


Example: If you do not wish to drive: Try searching options to go from Warren to Cleveland. Well, there is the first and obvious option of trying to find a friend to get you to Cleveland....

But what if you cannot find anyone?

Their is the option of taking a cab, of which Warren hosts no legitimate cab company—just a couple guys who stick a taxi cab magnet on the side of their car and viola, instant cab! Oh, and the cost is only $150.00 dollars one way!

How about the Greyhound Bus? ...Uhhhh.... Nope... does not stop in Warren anymore. Has Warren become so scary that even a Bus won't stop there anymore?  

Now, how about a shuttle from Youngstown Regional Airport... Nope...

This brings us back to feeling forced to drive... Ok, so  how about  a car rental?

Yes, but make sure you do not chose this option on a weekend or you are screwed as I had discovered they are all closed or with very limited hours! I

"Hey...WAIT!"....is their a commuter rail service?" An out of towner asks who is used to a diversity of transport options.  

Uhhh.. No. Not since the late 70's, early 80's.

Ok, so its back to Greyhound...
Uh yes, there is the itinerary to travel only about an hour within our N.E. Ohio tri-metro area...  At last, I have found it!!! Get up at 6:00 AM and walk to Courthouse square....take the WRTA Warren express to their most beautiful Youngstown station (Sarcasm)...then take the 9:15 Greyhound to Cleveland via Akron and get to downtown Cleveland by 11:15 AM.

I really did not mind doing this as it proves one can get around without the car if they had too... BUT, for such a close distance, the itinerary could not be more indirect and just plain goofy! And, if time is of essence, this option is not likely. Other areas in N.E. Ohio actually do offer transportation options for further transport out of their cores, although in need of their own extensions.

But, why cannot we find a way to partner these transportation groups to connect the dots between Cleveland/Akron and Youngstown/Warren, more directly in our region?

Rail economy instead of fracking.....


We should have rail and light options too! And, while this topic is up for a moment, rail will bring REAL and respectable jobs to N.E. Ohio with all that encompasses the development and fostering of it—yet at the same time, costs far less to maintain two steel rails than thousands of miles of roads. Hey, we could save tax payers money, but the guys who have road repair contracts will not like it. So what, they can get off the stage and find a new job with rail! This maintenance intensive "road only" option has drained tax dollars for far too long. Its time they get off the stage and fall by the wayside just like whale oil did! It will result in cleaner air and offshoot economic development in and around stations. Such could be the benefit of rail development and a more energy sustainable future would be promoted.
BUT ALAS.... instead, we opt for economic development containing all the false hype and promises of a fracking industry who takes advantage of the ignorance, desperation, and gullibility of so many people around here who jump on the hype bandwagon as long as the word "JOBS" is attached. We opt to have our water and environment contaminated and with a future price tag to clean it up—if it even can be---placed on the shoulders of the public. Cancer in water instead of cleaner air and water. We chose the promise of jobs at any cost. And, no matter how few people actually benefit short term in the long run.

 
So far we have seen jobs outsourced, energy products being extracted and taken elsewhere--while these companies leave our land and water polluted for taxpayers to pick up the tab not only with future costs of clean-up, but the untold costs on public health. Goodness, don't we have high enough cancer rates around here?  I thought we learned a lesson when the heyday of heavy industry left our waters and air contaminated. I guess not. Fools flock to promises of the fracking propaganda as if it were the california Gold Rush. How foolish are we?

Let's go FAT-MART!!!


Yes, this the choice: A mostly polluting economic development instead of reaping benefits of a cleaner greener economic development that could result from developing a better public transportation network via rail and bus. Yes, indeed...this is the best we seem to do and add to this, fuel to sustain an economy of 24 hour Fat Marts selling crap we don't need.... and even chop shops who install noisy illegally modified equipment on vehicles which break laws---or call for more money spent to revamp local noise ordinances! Oh, and add fast food joints and wing shacks which help foster the obesity plague. Oh God...we surely could never have transportation alternatives which may actually involve a bit of walking! No, never.... we need to walk less, not more here, right? We would never want to promote ideas that could actually promote a healthier environment and populace, body, mind, and soul. That would be too difficult, then, for the fracking industry to sell their bill of bull shit to the resulting dumbed down public.

Don't miss the bus....or train!.....

Other cities who offer comprehensive transportation options reap the rewards of attracting bright individuals who have money to spend in the economy. We are losing this opportunity by not offering what they want and look for in transportation. In particular, places like Warren. And even Amtrak does not make a stop in Youngstown anymore. By passed from a smarter, cleaner, and greener economy are we. In a time when we need transportation alternatives the most, we have them the least... and in a time when we needed them less, we had them more. The public, and elected officials as well, need to wake up and realize the utter dysfunction of this region not linking together to join economic integrity, diversity and stability! Revamping our transportation networks would be a great start!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Should Have Been Posted In July! Fireworks Madness!

Cacaphony, obnoxious, idiotic, excessive, acoustic anarchy, illegal, obscene, intrusive, selfish, arrogant, unnecessary, dangerous, and invasive are some common adjectives which describe the incessant and ongoing fireworks noise that took place near the 4th of July weekend in Warren, Ohio. Celebrations for which the true meaning of the holiday has all but been forgotton in what has become a perverted interpretation of America's "Independence Day"




Fireworks products which would only be available for commercial and professional exhibitions in recent years are now in the hands of every drunken ignorant human lifeform that one can imagine. Hospital ER's are clogged with either the stupid, or the victims of the stupid who should not even be allowed to breed much less posess explosives! Someone who really needs a Doctor has to wait for treatment of the irresponsible. I witnesed a group of good 'ole folks allowing a child, which had to be no more then 5, light extreme bottle rockets!



I fail to see the excitiement in what is really a minority group of feral people in numbers, unleashing what has become a form of audio-terrorism on a helpless public. Innocent babies and animals, young children, elderly, and even veterans of military services are forced to hear this crap long before the 4th of July, ON the night itself, and beyond! Some fools posessing fireworks just do not seem to know ehen to STOP! Such begs the question of what is so special about seeing any local organized event of fireworks anymore when similar products are now in the hands of a general public?



Most people, especially many police, (especially in Warren) do not understand--nor are informed as to the negative impacts of this type of noise on the community, psycologically, socially, economically, and environmentally; how it can lead to major issues to which they claim need most of their attention and resources. IWhat goes on in Warren, Ohio--or any other city or suburb, is a shameful violation of one's right to peace, safety and comfort in their OWN home and represents yet another example of the erosion of any higer standards relating to quality of life issues in neighborhoods across the country. The right to "domestic peace and tranquility" guaranteed by the US Constititution all the pseudo-patriotic zealots say they love so much, seems so conveniently forgotten! If this abuse and excessive indulgence of fireworks is not abated, we may as well have open gunfire in the streets too! Who would know the difference anyway?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Idling Engines Wasting Fuel--Is this REALLY always necessary?

I have noticed a seemingly increasing unnecessary and wasteful act in the general public today. It is the increasing tendency to allow vehicles to idle for moments on end. A reason I can overlook an idling vehicle: A hot day where senior citizens with breathing problems are an issue or anyone else with one for that matter where excessive heat may exacerbate a breathing condition. OR, the opposite in cold weather conditions or emergencies like being stranded, where heat or cooling may be necessary for staying alive! After this I have to ask why I see--mostly young people on the kind of beautiful days where you would love to park under a tree, roll the windows down, read and enjoy a breeze--sealed up in a vehicle letting it run?

In a nation where we are destroying the environment for the sake of oil and gas energy which will be mostly used in an economy to produce excessive  "STUFF" we simply do NOT need, the last thing we should be doing is something like this. Every little bit of energy wasted simple contributes to the total sum of energy used and wasted for no legitimate reason. Additionally, allowing engines to idle for moments and hours, simply contributes to the conditions that result in weather extremities from which we are trying to shelter ourselves to begin with!

I would have thought we would have already learned such environmental ABC's and basics in the 70's, but it seems we have all but forgotten, and need to be trained all over again. And, this kind of collective waste that adds up to be a lot does not stop here...two other most preventable forms of energy waste are the use of plastic shopping bags and littering! But, these are stories that need separate attention. Maybe in a future post.

Meanwhile, to those young people with NO health issues sitting in cars letting them idle for moments at a time, get off your rear ends and out of the car--and go for a walk! Don't become a future drain on healthcare or the environment!

Hey Media...Stop being a PR Conduit for the Oil and Gas Industry!

Below, is a letter I sent to a reporter, or should I say "repeater" who is one of the thousands who have become a whore to the oil and gas industry:


Dear sir, I have worked with stream ecology for many years. The damage to our water from fracking is clear. Why would Dick Cheyney, in '05 push to ram through an energy bill that EXCLUDED the oil and gas industries from the federal clean water laws? Why? Because they knew this degree of fracking would indeed greatly harm water resources, When you pollute ground water, which fracking can and does, that's it..water is pretty much ruined. It will be the tax payers who bare the cost of this problem in the future if it ever becomes addressed at all. All people hear is industry and chamber driven information about this activity.

The unreported harms and horror stories have been for years an continue to be covered up by a powerful oil and gas lobby/influence. The paper's job is to seek the facts as best as we know them and this means not just regurgitating to an ill-informed and gullible public what industry gurus and those who will financially benefit, want us to hear. Any economic benefit from this procedure is short lived, serves a few, yet will bare a far greater cost and impact down the road. We will look back someday and wonder what in the hell were we thinking?

What have we become as a society when we reach the point we are willing to throw our own Mother into a pot of boiling water, think that it is OK, just because a few people make a few bucks for a short time. There are many other cleaner ways to develop a sustainable economy and reduce dependency on oil or foreign energy, and this is NOT one of them contrary to a desperate and demoralized public largely in denial is duped into believing.

It is time to Stop this insanity. We do not need this energy as it is mostly being used to sustain things we simply do NOT need in what has become an insatiable 24 hour FAT MART society of sick people! Stop listening to the hype, marketing and PR of the oil and gas industry and start reporting the unheard story they do not want the public to hear. This IS afterall, a true democratic media's responsibility.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

BOSTON BOMBING--Hardly "Terrorism"

Witnessing the sensational reactions of the mainstream news media as well as all the flags flying at half staff over this so called "Terror In Boston" it seems America just loves to throw pity parties for itself and behave in such a way that suggests our pain is always the worst. This isolated incident in Boston, has been molded into some kind of "attack on America" Immediately following the event, news screens on television posted in epic style fonts, headlines that resembled a Towering Inferno movie poster! It played like a bad script that once again, many gullible, self-centered Americans will embrace as a reason the world should feel sorry us--or worse, possibly a reason to wager an invasion on another country! The song "Dirty laundry" by Don Henley comes to mind.

I am waiting for the next chapter to somehow connect this incident with the Middle East, or "Terrorism!" WHY is this being called "terrorism?" Is it because the rating hungry conservative corporate owned media knows this word--which has been repeated a billion times over ten years--seems to resonate so well with paranoid Americans who stand a better chance of being eaten by Jaws in a gold fish bowel than being attacked by a terrorist? Calling this "terrorism" is like calling a blood type needle prick a fatal stabbing!

Let's forget about the hundreds of thousands killed daily here and abroad over unspeakable atrocities, or how corporations pollute our environment daily with products that should be banned--but are allowed to exist under the guise of "commerce" and "Free Enterprise"--and instead, let's create a 911 style atmosphere for a few casualties in Boston. Such daily incidents in Iraq courtesy of US occupation are called "Collateral Damage" and contain such horrors involving innocent people of all ages, that are conveniently hidden from the American public's eye. Are we so arrogant, blind, and myopic that we actually believe "they" do not matter?

As I see all the attention given to this incident with the flag waving and news coverage--and how it has been blown out of proportion much larger than any bomb, I cannot help to think that such reactions are playing right into the hands of the perpetrators and doing EXACTLY what they want. When will America, the land of the so called brave with so many gripped in fear, will ever learn how they are played like a fiddle.

My heart goes out to the families who have either had anyone injured or lost in this terrible incident, but let's still keep it in perspective. Let's ask if anyone here crying over this outside those families has ever cried a tear for this kind of incident which is a daily occurrence somewhere else? Do not call yourselves 'compassionate" or tell me I am being heartless if you have not!

Being from Ohio, I also have to ask if this incident would have been made into such a major deal if it happened in Cleveland or maybe Detroit? OR, do we have to do as we are told and cry for our precious New Yorks or Bostons? We have become such a delusional nation that has also become so "UN-critically" thinking or questioning....and its time we stop running from our own shadow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSdRNDbB27E