Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My "Train" Of Thought This Morning!

I looked out the window this morning at the arrival of glorious winter and just shook my head and thought.. "Wow....we sooooo need to expand rail options in this state as there are so many reasons WHY it needs to happen"


Indeed, this is the kind of day I would definitely choose to leave a car at home and hop on a train and not have to worry about all the expenses associated with car ownership, as well as the dangers of driving in this kind of weather....all because of the dogmatic auto-driven ideology of a few people...with the charge of this local yocal agenda now running our state! So many people, so few transportation alternatives makes Ohio look like a joke!

Sorry, but it pisses me off that so many of us are forced to be a part of something (driving) we'd like to greatly reduce. And Kasich wants to bring jobs and keep people in Ohio? The dude needs to get a clue as to how and why rail can help achieve just that!

More statewide fight seems to be invested for getting casinos going that are arguably party to contributing to social dysfunction.... than all of the OBVIOUS socially, environmentally, and economically redeeming fruits that can blossom from rail!

Absolutely, pathetically, and utterly ridiculous!

Off I go into the white blue yonder. Thanks a lot Kasich and any others who are too blind, arrogant, vindictive, or self righteous to see the light! If anything, you may at least be interested in the fact that business traveling people can be more productive in a train where they can use laptops, phones, and other devices to perform business---that sort which cannot be performed---or at least SHOULD NOT be performed while driving! Just think!!! It may result in MORE profit for business--And, I know you cannot say NO to that!


P.S. I love winter, but just not driving when it gets severe and I don't think a transportation mono-culture should cease the day because of it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kasich--Do Not De-Rail Rail, or Joke is On Ohio!

Dear Governor Elect,

I am writing to urge you to re-consider your opposition to passenger rail in Ohio. (3C Corridor project) The following personal feelings are why we must not bypass this great opportunity. I am sure many others will touch on so many issues I have left out, as one letter cannot explain it all, but it is with the strongest plea I ask you to not jump to conclusions about 3C that will ultimately kill a great opportunity for Ohio.

Ohio has for too long had its transportation infrastructure built around the needs of the automobile, rather than the pedestrian. And, part of this has been abandoning a once intricate network of rail lines across the state. Because of the decade after decade steering of transportation funds towards all that is car, we as citizens of this state have been denied the freedom of choice and alternative. To have a freedom of choice, I would think, would be a philosophy you and your party can respect and appreciate....and better yet, help to foster by making the transportation choice a reality.

While I understand that it may be difficult to expect those to fathom any other mode of transportation other than the auto-dependent sprawl model by which they were raised, I want you to understand the importance of a viable transportation alternative from people who DO understand the many benefits and conveniences.

By not supporting this project, we embarrassingly will lag behind other states that will move forward reaping the economic benefits such as job creation and linking our major cities as well as linking markets in our cities with others in the country.

By not supporting it you are driving away the young professional population that will chase and achieve their dreams in other states and cities where rail is an option. Those professionals in my age group 25 to 45 would overwhelmingly support the system.

In your own campaign, you stated that you did not want to see young people leave Ohio and achieve dreams and creating a home someplace else. How then by not supporting this project, do you not see that the results will be exactly what you said you did not want to see?

By not supporting this project, we are faced with an increased cumbersome burden to deal with over crowded highways and a never ending maintenance and construction spending nightmare. The last thing Ohio needs is to make itself more of a slave to road building and/or maintenance. This scene is just making us more co-dependent on oil in a time we need to be reducing it! Few benefit from that. In addition, the added air pollution and other environmental degradation that will have its own set of consequences by being yet another component to fostering an unhealthy populace that will be less productive in our economy. Who can even begin to put a price on that sort of aspect that is never even considered?

On a personal note touching on environmental and personal health---by designing all our transportation infrastructure around the car, you are forcing me to have no choice but to be subjected to the vile emission fumes spewing out of vehicles that are either illegally modified in the exhaust mechanisms, systems that are malfunctioning, or even systems that use a Diesel fuel mix--which to me--is unbearable as it gets sucked right into my vehicle chocking me! And, since your party quite often shuns social responsibility and accountability by wanting less watch dogging on corporate America, I doubt the industries responsible for being party to this this will do the right thing to satisfy those who have not the resources to fight them in court.

By not supporting passenger rail you are denying thousands who do not wish to drive or place themselves on highways and roads---or those who cannot drive---the choice they deserve. By not supporting passenger rail transportation alternatives in Ohio you are essentially forcing many who simply do not wish to drive, to take on all the expenses associated with car ownership and driving. By not supporting the passenger rail you are denying Ohio tourist dollars by those who may be visiting our state wanting to travel it via rail, relax, take their time and take in our state's interesting natural beauty, art, history and culture. By not supporting passenger rail you are forcing many, who cannot afford it, to be a slave to the gas pump.

These funds Ohio was awarded for development of passenger rail cannot be spent for anything else and it would also be embarrassing if another state seized this money gladly at out of expense economically as well as the expense of our integrity and character.By not supporting this project, you may even impair any future federal funding for transportation grants in Ohio.

Do you really want Ohio to be the backwoods laughing stock that closed the door on a major opportunity? Degraded images do nothing at all to attract people to want to remain living here---or to attract new progressive long term investments in Ohio.

All the bad image scene will attract however are those who see Ohio as desperate to take anything...and will simply abuse our state economically, socially, and environmentally---and when they have reaped from us all they can, will move on. Is this the kind of fly by night investment in our state that you really want to see? That which is run by those living someplace else while raping Ohio?

In this wonderful land of choice, you are giving us little to no choice by not supporting passenger rail. And, I, like the thousands of others I know who would open heatedly and overwhelmingly support this service, will likely leave Ohio to seek places where their leadership has far more of a progressive vision as to the countless benefits that can result from this project.

It is for all the above and so much more I urge you to take a far closer look at what you're doing...Look at the undeniable facts about this project so someday you do not look back and say to yourself.. "What was I thinking?...." while other places reap the benefits that will bypass Ohio and leave us in the dust.

One person such as yourself should not have the power to impose your will on a whole state. So, I urge you to not turn this into an "Us versus Them" political ego power and control game. Please do what is right for many instead of satisfying those who simply want to "be right" In a state of 11 plus million, we need a choice. And the only choice should not be to get in your car a drive, period. That in itself is a joke on Ohio.

Regards,
Robert Carillio
Ohio Voter

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gardens Under Glass Re-Source Center: Ideas and Gifts Promoting Sustainable Lifestyles!

The Gardens Under Glass Re-source and Education Center is now open at the magnificent Galleria mixed-use complex in downtown Cleveland! The Re-Source Center is the "branch" of the main tree and cornerstone project at Gardens Under Glass--which is the year-round development of urban agriculture.

In this newly transformed space created with over 95% recycled materials and/or donations of re-used items, you will find a myriad of ideas, displays, and unique gift products which promote sustainable lifestyles. Looking for a really unique gift idea for a loved one? You have got to check out this place! Additionally, everything the center carries helps to sustain local and or independent merchants--which in turn, helps to promote a more economically self sustaining city.

The room features a focus on three components of the biosphere, air, land, and water---and promotes products and/or ideas that when implemented by the consumer, can result in the cleaner and healthier of those three components upon which we depend for our own existence. Whats more, the patron gains an enlightened knowledge of how purchases as a consumer can either have a heavier or much lesser impact on our world--and a more positive one on our local economy.

At the Gardens Under Glass Re-Source Center, there will also be featured events and workshops open to the public that may focus on cooking with seasonal and local produce, self healing through herbs and better diet, hydroponics and aquaponics, and an introductory entertaining presentation about local river and stream habitats, their lesser known fishes....and their conservation through more thoughtful agriculture.


Be sure to visit Gardens Under Glass www.gardensunderglass.net







Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gardens Under Glass--A Whole Lot More Than Gardens!

Its not easy being green, but the Gardens Under Glass project at the magnificent Galleria structure in downtown Cleveland hopes to make going green easy to achieve! The ultimate vision for the initiative is to provide a neighborhood functional retail and business "eco-village" of learning, local food, environmental sustainability, and green product technology that will provide the core city and region with many green products and services to promote lifestyles that are rewarding and leave a much lighter footprint on the earth!

Some examples aim to promote greener ways leading by example, such as incorporating more recycling and reduction of waste within the facility, more efficient use of existing energy supply.....and even composting! Local food and produce production is the project's anchor focus. But, Gardens Under Glass does not stop at producing local and healthy produce year round through aquaponics and conventional growing methods. For example, local and independent merchants who are already promoting sustainable philosophies, green products and/or technologies, have the opportunity of being consolidated along one indoor street and under one roof---to increase their competitiveness amidst a highly chain and/or franchised business and retail scene these days.

Customers who want to support local and or independent businesses offering something unique rarely found elsewhere, can come here to find many things without wasting fuel driving all over the area. Such stores like galleries promoting local art and handcrafted products, many made from recycled materials. Thrift and clothing stores with garage sale prices---selling not only unique vintage items, but lightly used and like new items all displayed professionally as in a traditional retail store. Need a blender? Looking to decorate your home with an original theme?.....How about a unique furniture item, article of clothing....or even tools? How about an original gift item? You may find something fantastic here for under $5.00! All this within a charming, clean and attractive high end facade in the facility itself. Best of all you will know that your purchase has helped to promote recycling, less oil dependency, preservation of forest and farm around our city's buffers---and thus maintaining a vibrant urban core!

In addition to the above, Gardens Under Glass is currently developing an educational center which focuses on air, water, and soil pollution---and will also promote products, that if used instead of current ones in the home, will result in cleaner air, water, and soil in the outdoor environment. The learning center will entertain and inform groups wishing to implement more green practices in their daily lives, as well as school children who will ultimately inherit this planet. They will learn how to become wiser and greener consumers and stewards of the world by discovering how choices they make in their daily lives can either have negative or positive impacts locally and globally.

Gardening aspects of the project will promote less energy dependent yard care and those which attract hummingbirds and butterflies by using native plantings. You can even discover how to make the most of even the smallest bit of soil in the urban environment whether you plan to grow, or attract backyard friendly wildlife on your rooftop garden!

As you can see, Gardens Under Glass is no cookie cutter idea for any kind of mixed use retail and business center. Its vision is so much broader than growing produce under glass. In the bigger picture, it can serve as a national example for progressive adaptive and functional reuse of a building. The project is ultimately about encouraging and fostering a community of walkable neighborhoods, local foods, products and business---to in turn---help promote self sustaining neighborhoods. Gardens Under Glass can demonstrate that their is an economy and jobs to be created in a healthier environment---and can serve as the regional centerpiece and powerful voice for green initiatives and innovation that can be implemented locally and nationally.

Lastly, if you are an entrepreneur or existing business that believes in the objectives and vision of this project, and would like to join forces by locating here, please contact us to discuss the economic advantages you can gain in positioning your business or nurturing your idea here. Together, we can help "grow" your green idea or business! You can contact Gardens Under Glass at the website below.

www.gardensunderglass.net

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Flaming Ice Cube Cafe--Cleveland!

When you’re in or near downtown Cleveland and want to experience a fresh, healthy and delectable food alternative, be sure to walk down to the Flaming Ice Cube Café… Located at the street level of The Park Building directly across from the soldiers and sailors monument on historic public square! The view of the square is charming and makes for the perfect cafe atmosphere! Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner the Flaming Ice Cube is an earth friendly eclectic vegan café offering selections that appeal to everyone!

Freshly made from scratch soups, sandwiches, and gourmet salads for starters! For quick energy on the go, try one of the many smoothies or freshly made juices. The Flaming Ice Cube also prepares a fine array of home made baked goods, breads, cakes, muffins, and healthy decadent deserts are available.

Top off your meal with a hot cup of one of the Cube’s freshly brewed specialty coffees or teas. So come downtown to the Flaming Ice Cube today. They’re open weekdays from 7:00am to 8:00pm. Just remember "The Cube on the square" right in the heart of downtown Cleveland – The Flaming Ice Cube Café!

Flaming Ice Cube Website: www.flamingicecube.com

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gulf Oil Gush: When will we learn--What does it take?

Anyone paying attention yet?....


I often have wondered what will it take for people to start waking up to the realities of how much our environment is plundered everyday at the expense of, or in the name of profit. I have also thought that what good is the profit, if we have no world left to enjoy the fruits of good life that it supposedly bares in the first place? Nothing has slapped me in the face with these kinds of thoughts more than the Gulf Oil Gush (Hell of a lot more than a "spill") catastrophe that continues to spew thousands of gallons of crude oil into the sea water 'round the clock now approaching a month and a half.

I am completely flabbergasted that for some people, even this event does not seem to spark even a sub-conscious thought in the back of their minds that we really need to curb the oil addiction, NOW. Are cheap happy meal toys, Sprawl-Mart STUFF, green lawns, meat with each meal, allowing the SUV's to idle for moments on end ("S.U.V...."A.K.A. "Selfish Unaccountable Vice!")---and the list could go on and on for many oil dependent acts/products---worth destroying that which sustains life itself? Perhaps we need to do a personal audit on ourselves to see how much our daily lives involve acts that can be connected to a frivolous use of oil, and maybe consider alternatives that would result in less consumption of this finite resource.

A gluttonous and insatiable appetite for such a limited fuel source that took millions of years to form, yet is used faster than it can be taken from the ground, will not be satisfied no matter how many holes we drill in the earth, as long as we waste it on crap we don't really need. The same goes for any energy source. We need to start taking account of how we waste what the earth currently yields. To think we can continue to use oil or any resource with no accountability and recklessly is like expecting a 10 pound capacity bag to carry 50 pounds of potatoes.


What they save, we pay for....


The Gulf oil disaster is brought to you by not only an all too often and unnecessary hoggish appetite for fuel that humans have conditioned themselves to think they need---but also by unaccountable and irresponsible industry types who do not want to play by the rules, and will lobby tooth and nail against measures that demand for better safety and regulation standards that could possibly prevent such disasters as this oil gush---as well as lobby against any further risky fuel extraction endeavors that jeopardize both our future well being---as well as the planet's of which we are connected. What such industries do not wish to pay for now, comes back to cost all of us so much more....economically, socially, and environmentally. Their short term profits become everyone else's long term problems and costs. The classic externality.

You may have guessed correctly that I am thinking of the film documentary "THE CORPORATION"---And, since "the corporation" as so eloquently outlined in that production, wishes to be treated as "individuals" in our community---AND demand the same rights, then perhaps it is time they be punished for their crimes just as anyone else ("individual") would be. With every fiber in my body and setting all news reports aside to use my own conscious, the Gulf disaster somehow violates every natural law of the universe, as well as every environmental law ever written. Yet, I feel in my bones that BP will somehow get away with it and eventually continue as business as usual. The fines will be considered a cost of doing business.

Furthermore, I have also heard the opinion floating around that suggests the incident is being projected in the mainstream news as something far worse than it is. But, while I tend to seek out alternative news sources from those such as "Faux" News, I witness a side that insists it is a lot WORSE than what we are being told. Again, setting all sources aside, I will use my own conscious and place my trust in information that is not orchestrated by a BP PR machine or any chamber driven entity that represents the interest of stockholders and not stakeholders.


How is this poison?....



As an avid naturalist, I do know a little bit about how the earth works myself, and I can tell you...this oil gush is in no way something that will simply cleanse itself in a short while. How it is poison, I describe like this: Just as the human body is one living organism, so is the earth. Just as the human body has substances contained within that are stable; such as what is traveling though our intestinal tract, so does the earth. The human body: Feces. The Earth: Crude oil. If I poke a hole in the human intestine and allow all that foul waste to escape in the rest of the body and contaminate the human body as a whole, then the same is analogous to poking a hole in the earth and allowing the otherwise---stable in its place---crude oil, to escape in the water. Get it?


Money...Money...Money....MONEY!



I don't think The O'Jays could have said it better. It is a sick and utterly pathetic testament to the de-evolution of the human sense of compassion, ethics, and moral responsibility to be good stewards of this world to have talked with many people about this and hear the concerns only rooted around somebody losing money. While granted, I feel for all the smaller family owned businesses that will suffer from the devastation, I am not about to cry an river of oil tear drops for BP and their stockholders and act as though they are our benefactor. Besides the small and independent local businesses that, again, I DO feel for....What about the scores of innocent animals that are suffering a painful death at the expense of what is ultimately about appeasing a disgusting out-of-control lifestyle that has not learned the meaning of the word "limits"

Our ability to exercise compassion for this world is what should be the one cornerstone and basic attribute that would warrant our position in this world as its care-takers. But when this is thrown out the window because of the dependence on money, I feel we are slipping into an oblivion of regression and chaos. Do we want to be the generation that will be looked upon as the plunderers who could have made a difference but chose not to? Time will tell of the grave repercussions of this disaster. I hope that this is well documented with photos that will say a thousand words. The kinds that may just help people pull the blinders away from their eyes. It will be difficult for any marketing or PR team to hide this one--Even as BP does not wish to have aerial photos taken! Makes you want to say "Hmmmm"



Just one other thought worth the quick mention....



Lastly, and in my extreme editorial opinion....I am in total disrespect and disgust in people like Sarah "Spill Baby Spill" Palin and Rush Limbaugh, who cannot resist the opportunity to turn this into a "Blame Obama and environmentalists" campaign, solely to further their own opinionated agenda. They have proven time and time again which beds they're sleeping in, and that they are more interested in "being right" even if they're WRONG...than doing what is actually RIGHT---"Right", as long as it fills their bank accounts no matter what the expense...even if it is the entire Gulf Of Mexico or beyond. Their arrogance is only exceeded in size by this oil gush! Anyway, maybe Rush can invite Sarah over for dinner at his Florida home and they can dine on shrimp glazed with petroleum sauce...and drink black wine, vintage 10 million years! High tide is here...the oil should be washing in anytime. And Sarah, you'll have plenty of dead animals to stuff. Shame on both of you. Your lies you pass as truth must stop. Maybe we ought to plug the leak with both of them!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Warren Ohio: Not Going Green...Going TREELESS!

After several years of paying close attention to the assault on this city’s once prominent urban forest, Warren desperately needs to implement a better tree maintenance and tree replacement plan. Currently, one does not seem to exist, or if it does, is ignored completely. It is bad enough that on private properties we have seen a fair amount of trees get knocked down from storms, let alone what happens on the public grounds or tree lawns by the city‘s doings.

On private yards the scenario is the following: A few go down or are damaged, then suddenly everyone seems to freak out in fear of their home property being damaged by a future falling tree and hence tree cutting spree ensues. Even perfectly healthy ones--those that can be saved---or trees that pose little to absolutely no threat to personal property or public safety are being removed each year.

Next up, Ohio Edison sends along the tree trimming brigade which does one dandy hack job on city trees along streets. Instead of doing a “V” cut to allow power lines to pass through, trees are butchered in such a way that could eventually result in the death of the tree, and finally, more tax money spent to remove it completely. Worse is the fact that many living and healthy limbs are removed---the few that remain on the tree--while dead ones are not! I understand that power lines must have clearance around them, but does this mean we have to mutilate the tree to allow for that?

Education is an important component in helping to produce a generation that will better appreciate the value of trees in a community. Do we recognize Arbor Day in schools anymore? Perhaps we should so we can be reminded of the many benefits trees provide. Benefits like preventing soil erosion, cleaning air, reducing noise, retaining water, preventing droughts, enhancing the value of property, providing habitat for backyard friendly wildlife---and trees even act as barriers against intense summer heat or extreme winter cold and winds. These are just a few pluses many people take for granted.

For whatever reason a tree comes down, be it a storm, (which the more we remove, the more we contribute to creating the severe storms that take them down in the first place), laziness in not learning how to mulch, compost, or rake leaves---or fear of property damage from falling limbs---when one learns the purpose and many functions trees provide free of charge, it is clear to see the benefits outweighing the perceived negatives.

The biggest disappointment is that too few are replacing trees on private properties in the neighborhoods, nor is the city doing anything that substantially replaces the thousands that have been removed over recent years on the tree lawns or public grounds.

The cost of not replacing them will exceed any cost that has fear of “what might happen“, ruling people’s decision to remove them. There are many places in the world that once had forests like Ohio and later became deserts because of the loss of trees---and they could only wish for such a landscape now, boasting the kinds of trees that took many years to grow to such stately heights, yet see us ripping them down in a matter of hours.

This is an issue Warren cannot continue to ignore or go down the path it has gone down for over 10 years or we will have nothing left of our urban forest. If that happens, and all the tree services cannot make money in Warren, I guess they will have to find a way to make money planting them instead. With communities coast to coast trying to achieve more environmentally sustainable practices, the last thing we need is to have no active tree replacement plan/education.

To sum it up simply, Warren once boasted a stunning urban forest canopy, and now looks uglier as many trees slowly disappear or are dying from poor maintenance practices. Hey Warren city and residents: Try planting some for a change! You might find it a rewarding and feel good activity to do with your children and for yourself! Future generations will thank us instead of looking upon us as the plunderers who just didn’t get it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Plea: Cleveland?...Seek Alternatives To Sports Championships!

I have been a long time supporter of all the Cleveland professional sports teams. In my older years, I have learned to not get so caught up in the drama that can accompany the games, good or bad. I admit, it is addictive and taps into emotions we never knew we had. This past year, just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water with being a part of the high of the spectacular Cavaliers basketball season….and after the they collapsed once again in the playoffs, I admit, the same feelings of disappointment returned that we all felt with past Cleveland sports heartbreaking and haunting moments like “Red Right 88“, “The Drive”, “The Fumble”, “The Shot”, “The Hit”, “The Choke”…….and this latest debacle of a performance against the Celtics that I am sure will be named soon.

For too long---and since Cleveland fans are loyal to a fault---we have seemingly embraced the idea of a professional sports championship (which I admit is long overdue!) as the be all end all cure for erasing our poor self esteem, civic pride and image too many of us have of our city/region---AND---as a cure for the national image as well. Many of us have centered all our hopes, dreams and economic success potentials around the ideology that if our teams are not winning it all, the we cannot be successful as a city/region and that the rest of the world must think we suck! The fact is, the rest of the world probably could care less about what our sports teams are doing if they came to visit Cleveland with a clean slate.

What has all this taught me personally? Well, I have concluded that many Clevelanders/N.E. Ohioans may want to start viewing other ways we can be champions; to stop solely turning to sports and sports figures for our heroes---or their successes or failures to define who we are as a people, city and region. When one turns to this arena for defining who we are, we set ourselves up for major disappointments, as we have seen. And, if we choke in the big one, all life as we know it seems to cease to exist!

I think it is time we set our priorities straight and in an attempt to do so---or at least find out where they are---in a moment, I will list a few questions of thought that many of us die-hard frustrated and tortured Cleveland sports fans may want to do a little soul searching and ask themselves. To assume if we are not winning the big one in sports, we are failures, really underestimates the diversity, intelligence, best-kept-secrets, and dynamics of this city/region.

How can we become champions in other ways?….. How about environmentally, socially, and economically? (seeing that these three categories upon which we have failed in the past, happened to be some of the biggest culprits of damaging our reputation)

Let’s think about it…… Hmmmmmmmmm…………


1. Sports championship, or champions and leaders in a new kind of environmental stewardship that demonstrates a 360 degree turn around from our polluting past---and such that will erase in the minds of everyone…any burning river or “mistake-by-the-lake” joke our city has ever had to endure? How about champions in cleaner waterfront/shoreline, riverbanks, and air?

2. Sports championship or attracting and embracing a new entrepreneurial population that will bring new unique ideas and visions for Cleveland? Champions in attracting new people who discover potentials in our city of which many locals have lost sight, and who will make our city more demographically diverse and attractive to new residents and businesses? How about being Champions in reducing crime and social dysfunction, that to many, is accepted as the norm? How about being champions in reducing rampant obesity? Afterall, a healthy population produces better widgets and is more productive in the economy!


3. Sports championship or champions in creating the finest rail transportation network in the country and greatly reducing the city’s carbon footprint and dependency on oil and creating a whole new host of jobs? How about taking advantage of the new wave effort in the world of achieving sustainability by becoming a world leader in attracting green jobs (green collar jobs!)?

4. Sports championship or making Cleveland a world destination city with many attributes and attractions for all?

5. Oh...and here is something that just might be a bit thought provoking: Sports championship or champions in creating a world class public school system that will turn out bright, critically thinking youngsters who will evolve into the kind of citizens the world respects--and who can help solve (instead of being so much a part of, for a change)...a world crisis such as climate change?


Indeed, all the above can be done even if the sports teams fail. All can help to raise the lack of self esteem that plots Clevelanders often, as its own worst enemy by creating the pervasive "woe-Is Me" and nobody likes us persona. If the sports teams go in the dumper, then it won’t matter that much because we will have so many other elements to offer that will make us a great place...and feel better about ourselves. Guess what? Cleveland already has many great attributes and more to come in the future, but because we often gets way too caught up in sports addiction, we fail to recognize the special or important things we take for granted here. Listing them all is for another article, another day.

So, back to the important lesson: Here is my plea: Cleveland/N.E. Ohio, instead of banking all life’s happiness and your perception of our area on whether LeBron stays or leaves.....whether or not we win a championship in sports and risk feeling miserable if things don’t go our way, why not take the time to discover the many other reasons we should be celebrating? (You are not the only city in the world with problems...or sports teams that have had bad luck!) Afterall, there are many ways we can be champions! Let’s take the time to discover just how many ways in which we can. I just listed a few ideas of my own in how I would like to see our city excel---or ways in which I feel it is already making important strides in the right direction. As for the sports, it will happen when we least expect it!

If you're still preferring the sports champions to many ideas I have mentioned in how we can be champions...OR, if you cannot think of an original idea of your own, then such a decision would only reaffirm my belief that many of us have a serious priority and sports addiction issue here!

I have finished slaughtering this sacred cow! Now, Cleveland... Go be a champion!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

MY EXPEREIENCES WITH WARREN, ITS GOVERNMENT AND DECLINE IN QUALITY OF LIFE--A DIARY ESSAY

What was……


Once upon a time, not too long ago….Warren, Ohio was what I describe as a “satellite/moon city”…OR “bedroom community/far eastern suburb-like” burg to Cleveland. It had its own historic New England style town center featuring a spectacular court house----And neighborhoods that were complimentary. The streets were clean and lined with beautiful trees, the homes were well maintained and sidewalks, many of which were of the natural sandstone type, all were among the many positive attributes of this small city. It had a local flair of independent and locally owned unique businesses as well….with one of a kind restaurants. The schools were respectable and integrated with a perfect balance. In the neighborhoods, Eventhough the late 50’s through early 70’s craze of covering up ornate older homes with aluminum siding was pervasive, the neighborhoods were still solidly maintained and the people were generally caring of the community and friendly--as well as healthy in appearance.


Times have changed…….NOISE is a major component of decline and a result of decline…



An unsuspecting visitor well versed in American history and The Connecticut Western Reserve knows that Warren is its capital; the first settlement in this land purchased and surveyed by the Connecticut Land Company for American expansion to the west. That in mind, one might expect to experience a rather progressive Massachusetts-like town--and at one time, such was the case. But how times have changed and that image is barely witnessed.


Welcome to Hoonsville!


To date, while some features of this place such as historic buildings and homes have been restored to their former and original appearance---And while there are still many solid neighborhoods, most every aspect of this town has plummeted into what might be the point of no return. Many Neighborhoods have become blighted with litter, have been cleared of our beautiful, healthy, air cleaning and noise reducing trees---and then inhabited with what I refer to as “feral beings” (and they are found in the "nice neighborhoods" as well) who would rather shine up an obnoxiously and illegally loud Harley motorcycle before getting themselves or their homes in a healthy condition---or illegally modify a car to be equipped with audio weaponry that unleashes horrible and relentless acoustic terrorism on a helpless public.

As I write this essay, I will refer to excessive noise a lot, for I was forced to become well schooled in how it is a major component in ruining a community. On the physical fitness scene, we have been invaded by an army of morbidly obese who make this town look like the sick bay of the whole planet, and probably knock it off its axis. Take note as well to the many able bodied who don disability tags in their car windows as though they are proud of it. I wonder what this sick public will cost society in the future. Its simply disgraceful.

In the so called “nice neighborhoods” where visually, they appear to be safe and well maintained, many residents have chosen to engage in destroying the quality of life that could be experienced on a beautiful spring day. For example: After a long winter hibernation and when we’re all ready to break out of our cocoons for a nice walk, what you are immediately greeted with are NOT the fresh fragrances of trees and flowers that once filled he air, but rather a plethora of toxic chemical odors from cancer linked lawn chemicals that nearly 85% of the residents have been duped into thinking they NEED to apply to their lawns because lawn chemical companies have them convinced that anything other than a blade of grass in their yard is taboo---and that the only definition of a lawn is what looks like a putting green or baseball field playing surface!

Add to this, in the “nice neighborhoods” the incessant noise you are greeted with by those who think they are doing the neighborhood a favor by obsessively operating gasoline powered yard tools. Most are too lazy to use hand tools anymore. The noise is constant and hearing natural sounds of spring is a fleeting moment as the din loud motors is dominant; and their fumes permeating. More specifically, let’s not forget the guy who stirs up a torrent of dust with dirt blowers which send a host of polluting particulates into our ambient breathable air such as animal feces, lawn chemicals, mold, pollen, rubber, road grime, stones, etc. This dust storm, which spreads some 75 to 100 yards while blowing in the wind, makes it nearly impossible to open a window on a spring time day, or have a picnic outside. Who wants bird droppings seasoning their potato salad? “Honey??? … is this “green” paprika on top of the potato salad?” The dust also makes your car and house/windows, and lungs filthy. All this because someone thinks that the sidewalk needs to be antiseptic. If only he would look above his feet and see the bigger picture.

Let’s not forget the continual and especially irritating noise and fumes created by these horrible machines that simply rearrange dust. Use of them is futile. How is this a good thing for quality of life in any given community? According to my investigations, other communities agree---at least 400 across the nation---and a ban on gas powered ones in L.A. When kindly and tactfully attempting to educate such a person as to what they are contributing to in spoiling the right to reasonable peace, you’re greeted with selfish disinterest, and indifference. This is a testament to the decline in what a real caring community is all about, as it has given way to nothing but selfishness and an absence of common sense and courtesy. Because of situations like this, I feel Warren is NOT a community. Rather, it is more of a selfish every-man-for-himself collection pf people who happen to live in the same area.


Accompanying all the above are the more familiar and dramatic crimes that have invaded Warren such as drugs, (much linked to the boom car craze that has been lingering around since 1990) prostitution, robbery, absentee landlords, dangerous speeding through streets and other bad behavior. Indeed, there are a host of problems, but while other neighboring communities in the region at least make an attempt to do something about these issues that destroy quality of life and eventually the value of the community---And send the brain trust of the city packing to live someplace else---Warren settles for status quo and mediocrity. It seems to be in denial of how severe problems are. Sadly, the powers that be do not realize how all the above contributes to making an undesirable place in which to live---and in fact, many are probably a part of the problem because they engage in the same practices. Warren’s problems are in fact, disproportionate to its size.

Let me refer back to Mr. Dirt Blower, standing in the middle of the street blowing up road dirt. Many fail to realize, for example, that although the good intentioned dirt blowing guy may think he is doing the neighborhood a favor, he is actually becoming just another irritating problem by polluting the air and sound scape---and noise, according to the US Census Bureau, is among the top reasons people move out of a given community. Warren’s own safety director has admitted to me that it is the number one complaint. The noise issues in this town alone are enough to send people packing--and the noise ordinance is largely un-enforced. Police, like most across the nation claim, lack resources to deal with many of the town‘s problems.

But, in Warren, whether their was an army of officers or not, these issues will go largely ignored because they fail to realize how, left unabated, these “small issues” end up becoming the larger issues they say they don’t have enough resources to deal with. So, maybe its time they change their philosophy in how they are dealing with problems to a philosophy of prevention and nipping potential big problems in the bud. But they can only start doing this when law enforcement has it sunk in their heads how small things become big things through the broken window theory.

On noise alone, each month in the US someone is either shot, beaten, or stabbed over a noise issue left unanswered. Most of the time it is the noise maker who assaults the person who kindly asked them to lower the levels at 12:30 at night! Warren law enforcement failure is not solely the fault of officers themselves. Their ineffectiveness has to do with their poor leadership in a Chief who apparently does not want to do his job either. So, this lack of interest and lack of properly educating officers on why it is important to enforce quality of life issues, trickles down through the whole department. The result? Most officers don’t get it!

Another part of the problem in not solving these problems lies in a city council, law department The law director is rude and will double talk to get out of crafting a law that can work in Warren. He will do anything to throw cold water on progressive ideas because he many just have to work for a change. More reasons why problems seldom are solved in Warren is because council ignores citizens pleas. They ignore those who present possible viable solutions to any given problem and instead, send the message of “How we cannot do this” Never does anyone hear “How we CAN” Instead of taking ideas to the table and hashing out a doable solution to a problem, efforts simply stall---and citizens are given the run around that involves excuses such as: “We’ll, you have to go talk to this person” Then when you do talk to “that person“… He or she tells you that you have to go talk to “That person.“ And the insane cycle continues. It is a clear example of pass the buck and being given the run around. I personally feel that powers that be do not know how to solve a given problem---even if someone gives the answers to them on a silver platter, they don’t know how to take it to the next level.

The whole of city government has become nothing more than a good ‘ole boys club run by many who have simply hung on to these jobs for too long to the point they are complacent, oblivious, careless, rude, and stagnant and ineffective. In the countless council meetings I have attended, never have I heard council propose some progressive idea to attract new businesses in Warren’s historic downtown---the one thing it has going for it---that just may create a new functional non-auto-dependent town center to attract or lure back in residents who are attracted to such town environments. I passed this idea along and how to achieve it, but that was ignored as well. Most are there simply to collect a paycheck and go home. They could care less about anything else.

So as a result, anyone with any progressive ideas and true interest in the improvement of Warren, who has gotten involved, provided ideas and solutions to try and better the place, ends up getting frustrated, leaves and seeks out a place where their efforts will not be futile, but rather , welcomed. This is called “brain drain” on a community, and Warren suffers from this sickness in the worst possible way. When those who can contribute leave, Warren is left with a concentration of incompetence in not only government, but in a populace who is largely ignorant as well. Just ride down some of the city streets and observe closely at signs of failure. The scenes are pathetic and self explanatory. The final result is that we witness a seen of dysfunction in a city that has been led by a dysfunctional government. Laws are not enforced on quality of life, so the message is sent to remaining residents that it is Ok to behave like anti-social hoons

I have done a lot of assuming in this article. I know that. But I am just writing on my many years of personal experience with this place and by witnessing what others have gone through. I am sure that if you take the time to experience Warren as well, and attempt to get involved, you will come to many of the same conclusions. For Those who already have, and for those who get it about some of the noise issues I have mentioned (and I did not mention the worst of them!), you will likely be reading this and shaking your head “YES” to so much of what I say. You are the ones who GET IT! Anyone who blows the whistle on failure in Warren is often labeled a “naysayer” or “negative” simply for acknowledging reality.

Another important thing to note is that Warren has blamed the loss of its manufacturing base for too long for many of its shortcomings and has greatly neglected to re-invent itself and capitalize on its rich historic past to become something new---and to draw new interest and new kinds of jobs centered around the kind of art, history, and culture that cannot be found in newer suburban areas. Until there is a clean sweep in government and law enforcement, and it attracts people who actually care, it will continue to slide down the toilet.

Finally, As you may have noticed, I used noise as a prime example of why quality of life and value in this town slipping fast. It is connected to creating so many other problems---and in hard times, if there is one thing we all need and one thing our city can boast at the least, is reasonable peaceful communities. No one should have to be forced to move because of excessive and obnoxious noise invading the privacy and safety of their own home caused by those who never had the message delivered that such behavior is not acceptable.

Sadly, Warren could be a great kind of community I mentioned that is was at the top of the page, it still has the infrastructure for such, but as I said, only a clean sweep of the deadbeats in government and law enforcement, and an ushering in of a new element that understands how small problems can become big ones, will offer a chance at redemption

Conclusion: Warren equals “HOONSVILLE”… “YAHOOVILLE”…..”DODGE!” utterly pathetic and obnoxious has it become.


Worst of all
....Complaceny!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NO-BAMA...NO OIL!

I always thought it was naive to think that by placing our lives, values and trust in the hands of one person, that we would all live happily ever after....but hey, I always make sure I vote! So, when I voted for Barack Obama, I voted for the kinds of changes I would like to see in this country. Regarding this nation's energy issues, I am not satisfied with the President's recent push for off shore drilling.


I wrote an article about why I felt off shore drilling would not fix the US energy woes during the McCain/Obama election race so I won't go into what I discussed in the past other than saying that we use oil at a rate in this nation faster than we can pump it out of the ground---and no amount of holes we drill in the ground will satisfy what should be curbed---and that is, our insatiable addiction to the oil habit.


It just seems to me, however, that the President is somehow caving in and trying to attract support from the Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin, and oil lobby club--all who which were adamant opponents of his ideas on energy policy. But rather, than getting to political, I would like to focus more on the idea that the US as a nation, needing to take inventory, responsibility, and accountability for how we presently use the oil we have.


To me, it is not worth leaving our dirty footprints on what are some of the earth's last high quality environments---all life support systems, providing for free, some sort of sustenance for our very own lives. To me it is not worth polluting the last breath of air and last swallow of water for the sake of sustaining the kinds of economies that have our markets flooded with cheap Chinese plastic goods like Happy Meal toys we really don't need in the first place.


Instead, why don't we take a look at how we can find much of the fuel we supposedly need, in the fuel we waste on a daily basis as individuals. Let's ask ourselves many questions how we use fuel daily, and if we really need to be using it the way we are using it. Some questions that pop up in my mind are the following.....


In terms of transportation: Do we really need to own a vehicle that gets a whopping 7 MPG in the city? Do we really need to add a gas powered motor to a bicycle? Do we need to let our cars idle for moments on end on a weather perfect day while waiting for someone? I am sure most are smart enough to figure out sensible alternatives if they put their minds to it and stop letting mass marketing tell them what they need to drive and how they need to drive to be a satisfied customer!


How about how we approach yard care? Do we really need to have a lawn treated with carcinogenic petro-based chemicals because we have been conditioned by companies like the one that rhymes with SNOTS---that a lawn has to be a colorless, fragrantless, sterile, lifeless and mono-culture patch of green turf that isn't even used for a sporting event? I liked the neighborhood better when it was a peaceful, fragrant and colorful scene---especially after a long winter's hibernation! Do we really need to keep all 20 acres of our rural property mowed? Why not plant a wildflower meadow on half of it instead? Furthermore, do we really need to mow the lawn 3 times a week just for the sake of making it look like a groomed carpet?


Do we have to use gas powered filthy emissions producing dirt blowers that just rearrange dirt and create a storm of ambient air pollution just because we think a driveway has to present the illusion of being anti-septic?
Thanks for covering my house, car and lungs with filth. Try a broom; it is much more social and far less polluting.


How about how we carry groceries or other products? Paper or plastic? How about neither? Why not use something re-usable.Besides, ever notice how much these plastic bags are turning up in our environment. They are literally choking lakes and oceans.


These are just a few questions that address how we may be wasting oil on a daily basis that we may totally be taking for granted and never making that particular action's connection with oil consumption. All involves the use of oil in either using it directly, or in the manufacture process of what product we are using that we do not really need to be using. Try and think of many more ways you may be using and wasting oil on a daily basis that you may not have considered--such as leaving the computer on for too long!


Finally, as a nation, we have been accustomed to using a certain level of oil and thus, we think we actually need this much. And, so drilling for more while ignoring the fact that we need to seek alternatives and conserve what we are already using--- would only increase the dependence and addiction. Such is analogous to buying an alcoholic more to drink or a fat lady the all-you-can-eat buffet! We make up a small portion of the world population, but use most of its resources and demonstrates a total imbalance in how we live with the rest of the world. We really don't need to be using this much oil. We use it because of selfishness, greed, and for some....a choice to remain oblivious---and because many of us have never been taught that resources aren't limitless. It is time for a change...the real change I thought I was voting for. So, please...NO Bama...No oil drilling, for the fuel we think need can be found in the fuel we waste. Don't cave in to the short term profit driven greed of a few.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CURB THE JUNK MAIL WASTE STREAM TO YOUR HOME

For as long as I can recall I have hated junk mail. Credit card offers, coupons, catalogs, insurance, grocery ads, or just anything I did not solicit on my own. I have no problem of being informed from time to time about a product, service I have shown an interest in----or a worthy cause I have supported. However, in recent years, the stream of unwanted mail that goes above and beyond the occasional update, has seemed to escalate to the point it has undermined any effort I took over the years to curb its flow.

I used to call every sender of junk mail that I would have never solicited and requested that I be removed from their lists---and---EVEN tried to create a mailbox that would only allow for standard sized envelopes to be delivered. That worked for a little while until the carrier started leaving junk mail elsewhere. Most recently, I wanted to take a stand to curb excessive junk mail once and for all when I discovered a whole new heap of it in my mailbox from sources I could not possibly trace to any purchase I made or submission of personal information. No matter how hard I tried to connect the dots as to how this mail could have found me, I could not. Maybe there is someone out there who does not like me and thought it cute to give my name to a supplier of urinary health and control products for the elderly, as well as a manufacturer of an electronic cigarette! Who knows?

How ever this mail must have reached me, it was either going to be recycled, burned or pitched as I have always done--and to be truthful, these are tasks I wish to not have levied upon me by a relentless direct mail marketing industry, or our very own post office management which must seem to feel it is ok for the public to serve as their dumping grounds. I called the post office and spoke with the manager on how to best deal with the new wave of junk mail assault. I was given a few numbers to call for those “do not mail” services that are supposed to stop the flow, (I have already tried this in the past and have had marginal success) but after the manager offered what she must have thought to be helpful tips, I had to wonder about their interest to curb it at all when she then tells me how much they depend on the delivery of junk mail these days to keep the US Postal Service functioning!

The manager insisted their funding from the government has reached an all time low. I immediately thought that if they would find a way to stop being the sole conduit for mass mailing from advertisers, perhaps they’d save quite a bit of operating cash that goes out to simply deliver unsolicited mail which most, the moment it is received, ends up in the trash can! I also had to wonder just when has the sole purpose of the US Postal Service become about serving the needs of advertisers sending unsolicited mail?

Sure, I can understand mail order business being of value to them due to the growth in internet usage which has all but eliminated anyone ever sending a real letter anymore---But I am not talking about the USPS serving the needs of customers who have ordered products/goods/services through mail; rather, I am talking about downright plain and simple unsolicited mail. I have little pity for the struggles of the USPS if in fact, their main function and source of revenue now depends upon them sending people garbage they don’t need or never asked for!

Because of all this, I have read a lot of the latest information about how to curb the junk mail. What was so illuminating to me was being reminded of the staggering and alarming waste of natural resources that goes into this whole direct mail marketing industry from the forest that produced the trees that supplied the paper, to the journey to the landfill where most of it still goes, and all the oil used throughout the production, delivery and disposal processes.

Even if some of the junk mail is recycled, such a process still consumes energy that did not have to be wasted in the first place. So, again, if delivering junk mail is the main source of sustenance for our postal service, perhaps they need to find a new sustainable and productive function in this day and age. Think about it: From life giving forest….to paper….to junk mail….to delivery…..to garbage can…to landfill! What a futile waste of natural resources. The act, in my opinion is about as productive as bailing water out of a boat with a bucket full of holes!

The postal manger I spoke to basically justified the junk mail delivery for the sake of job preservation and her "just throw it away" attitude was a sad testament to the wasteful attitudes pervasive today. Her comments reminded me of the sentiment of the whalers of the 1800’s how they justified the endless slaughter of whales in the name of preserving the whale oil/product industry. The only difference is that we slaughter forests as the living entity. The old “destroy much to save little” ideology! (The end of the hey day of whaling didn’t give way to any kinder of an industry, but that is another story!)To top it all, the manager added that any junk mail returned or left behind is NOT recycled by USPS! The question I left her with was simple: Do you really think this is a wise use of limited resources? Well, if she didn’t think of today, maybe she will think of tomorrow and her children.

Finally, I want to take this time to pass along helpful websites that I have discovered to be very helpful in curbing the stream of waste and environmental destruction caused by junk mail. Here they are:

1. STOP THE JUNK MAIL MONSTER: http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/index.cfm#step7

2. 41 POUNDS DOT ORG: http://www.41pounds.org/

3. DIRECT MARKETING ASSOCIATION: https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/home.action

(Oh, by the way, here is a little tip too…. Just save all your junk mail in a box, black out your address on all articles….then send it back to the post office or the last or most frequent mailer of junk mail with a note that states: “YOU ARE THE WINNER OF THIS MONTH’S JUNK MAIL AWARD!”…. No, just kidding... seriously, don’t try that at home folks!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CLEVELAND IS NOT AN ASHTRAY?--A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!





The top photo was taken at Edgewater Beach near downtown Cleveland. This condition has existed for a long time now and appears to be getting worse. Obviously many residents and city leadership think this condition is acceptable, or are not thinking about it at all. The photo below is of a public service announcement recently displayed in The Sydney Morning Herald, in Sydney, Australia.

Obviously the problem there was enough to warrant needed attention---and truth be told, for a metro area of over 5 million, their 100's of miles of local beaches are virtually litter free, in contrast to just 50 yards of beach that cannot even be maintained properly at Cleveland's Edgewater Park. I think this is a pitiful testament to the lack of regard for the environment these days. Sure, all the "going green" and "sustainability" propaganda suggests otherwise, but pictures speak a thousand words.

I think our city should employ the same public service promotion as Sydney--as the message for cigarette butt litter ALONE desperately needs to be sent here. DCA could maybe consider making this a part of any downtown signage themes in which they're involved, like the "Change Where It Counts" and "Junk-In-The-Trunk" campaigns. Afterall, if we can say something about junk-in-the-trunk we can surely say something about litter on the streets in making for a safer; more sustainable, desirable, and healthy city.

It is alarming to realize that to many, seeing cigarette butts or black and mild tips laying all over is perfectly acceptable---or that there is nothing we can do about it. It looks as though Sydney, Australia, on the other hand, IS trying to do something about it and maybe Cleveland can learn something from such an example. Maybe such a message will help to seed the beginnings of fostering a new populace, many of whom just might learn learn why tossing butts on the ground is unacceptable.


photo sources: Sydney Morning Herald/Christopher Hubbard

Monday, March 15, 2010

IPOD-itis---A New Social Disease Common On Public Transportation

Do you ride public transportation and enjoy the opportunity it offers to read a book, newspaper, have a moment of thought or a cup of coffee whilst watching the world pass by through the window? This is one of many benefits I enjoy about public transportation, however, there is one relatively new social disease that appears to be running rampant on trains and buses that threatens this one little fleeting opportunity during the day to enjoy a bit of reasonable solace.

The disease, "IPOD-itis", is especially prevalent in people ages 18 to 30 and basically demonstrates symptoms of a self indulgent nature of an insatiable need to fill one's ear canals with some sort of sound---and never being able to go a moment without the device we call "ipods" dangling from their ears! The addiction is strong and the individuals who have the disease are so used to hearing some kind of sound that the moment the plug is pulled, they go through withdraw symptoms that seemingly have the sound of silence become intolerable.

Not only does the individual who engages in the ipod habit threaten their own hearing, the volume is often so loud that you can hear it from the other end of the bus or train, thus offending other people around the affected person. I try and be understanding to this sickness and think that just maybe, they are trying to cover up sounds they don't want to hear, and while this is understandable, I have to ask....What about the rest of us who are forced to hear what they are hearing? This is where I have to draw the line because the right to fill the ear canals with sound, stops at where my ears begin.

Oh, I must apologize for calling it "sound" or "noise" but the reality is that for those who did not ask to hear this "music", such really does become NOISE---and noise by definition is simply "unwanted sound" The need to have the device so loud in the first place is likely a testament of the fact that those infected with ipoditis, have already damaged their hearing, so the need to bump up the volume a few more notches is likely necessary. I better invest in the hearing aid market in the future because I'm sure to make a boat load of cash.


It would be nice if users of ipods on public transportation would exercise the common sense and courtesy to indulge in this activity at a level that respects others, but common sense is not so common anymore, and the more some people's ears are continually plugged up with acoustic sewage, the more numbed down their brains will become, and the number the mind, the less likely it is that these individuals will be able to exercise the critical thinking skills necessary to understand why it is inappropriate to force everyone else to engage in their addiction to ipods.

Is there a cure for ipoditis? Well, I guess the answer to that question depends on whether those infected with the disease will ever take the time to discover other things to get excited about in life. In the meanwhile, the disease seems to be getting worse---and is contagious as we witness the symptoms and continue to see ipods growing like cysts or tumors from the ears, necks and chests of the ill. I wonder in dollars and sense what kind of costs ipoditis will levy on society when we sire a growing generation of hearing impaired by the time one is 20! Hmmmm..... it does make one wonder.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Film Documents Invasive Threats To Great Lakes

If anyone has ever thought zebra muscles were somehow a benefactor to Lake Erie by buying into the common misconception that "they cleaned-up the lake".... nothing could be farther from the truth.... Check out this great new video available on the following website "Green Planet Films" (also a clip) entitled: "Lake Invaders: The Fight for Lake Huron" The same threats are posed for lake Erie. The website also contains many other great environmental film documentaries seldom seen on television or available in stores.

http://greenplanetfilms.org/product_info.php?products_id=698

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

THE CLEVELAND/N.E. OHIO INFERIORITY COMPLEX

THE LEGEND OF THE CLEVELAND/N.E. OHIO INFERIORITY COMPLEX.....


I am currently overseas in grand old Sydney, Australia. I recently have been house hunting for another place to lease in Cleveland as I am to return in April. I began searching the net, the local newspaper, etc. So goes the hunt until I decide to purchase a home to renovate. Eventually, I found and responded to an advertiser who had a place for lease and have been corresponding about the possibilities. But low and behold, it was only a matter of time before the "we're not good enough" " Cleveland/Northeast Ohio Inferiority Complex" stuck again with the following statement/question:

"BUT, why pray tell, does a person want to move from Sydney Australia to Cleveland, Ohio?"

SIGH!!!!...... Let me start by saying that I feel I need to make a example of such repeated lowly civic pride sentiment spewed by locals in order to help them realize just how miserable it is from the outside looking in. I will do so by writing it on a big chalkboard much in the same fashion as Mr.Hand did in the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High, when he asked John Spicolli why he was late---And Spicolli numbly replied "I DON'T KNOW"

I will echo Mr. Hand and write: "BUT, why pray tell, does a person want to move from Sydney Australia to Cleveland, Ohio?"

If I had a dime for each time I heard a statement like this, I'd be retired. Seriously, friends....How does such question strike you if you have never been to Cleveland/N.E. Ohio and were possibly going to be there for whatever reason? Would it make you think good thoughts or hurry of and pack your bags because you cannot wait to get there to see what all the negative hype is about? Probably not! Yet, that kind of question is often asked by many when encountering newcomers who actually might have chosen Ohio as their place of work and residency!

I have lived my entire life in the Cleveland/N.E. Ohio region and have come to the conclusion that such "Why Cleveland?" questions take root in and are a product of what I have officially unofficially dubbed as "The Cleveland/Northeast Ohio Inferiority Complex" (and probably most Ohioans are afflicted with it for that matter)

ROOTS OF THE INFERIORITY COMPLEX.....

Where did it start? Hmmmm.. Great question. Here is my opinion: The complex may be a byproduct of years of what can be considered a phase of economic re-invention from a manufacturing base to a more high tech and service/business economy---which through it all---many have witnessed and endured great hardships of survival that result from losses of jobs or population, or degradation of the surrounding natural or urban environment. Whatever the source of this social civic pride disease, we've got it bad!

The typical N.E. Ohio inferiority complex: How many of you have experienced it in the attitudes of Clevelanders? Of all our challenges in this region, I feel the inferior attitude is our biggest hurdle and challenge to overcome, and is by far making OURSELVES our worst enemy! And to think most Clevelanders think their worst enemies are the pro-sports championship drought, The EPA, the closing of a mill/or bar, or Dennis Kucinich causing their every problem from bad wieners at Progressive Field to their erectile dysfunction!

Yeah, no kidding!!! We have the inferior complex so bad that we have economically and socially typecast ourselves as aspiring to be a sports, manufacturing, and blame- it-on-Dennis or the EPA, town! For those of you who are actually trying to make Cleveland better/great, believe we can be more then just leBron James and casinos.... and who have researched enough history to learn how our city has---for the most part of its history---been a success and great contributor to shaping the nation in so many ways---and for those who are familiar with all the attractive attributes about N.E.Ohio that are taken for granted---HOW OFTEN do you hear such a question of: "Why did you come to Cleveland when you lived in...?" floating around like a fart in the wind---and again, especially directed to newcomers? 99% of the time I hear it, it radiates from the locals! It is almost as if they were taught by their parents, who were taught by theirs, to hate their city and state!

Some with the complex tend to think everyone on the planet thinks bad things about Cleveland, when in fact, few people think negative about Cleveland unless we give them reasons to---and nor do they have the time to do so, or even CARE about us! If people walk around thinking terrible thoughts about Cleveland, perhaps a lot of that has to do with the old idea of something being unconciously repeated so many times that people conciously start to belive it! Such self doubt, lack of civic pride, confidence, etc. naturally, exudes negative things such as negative thoughts/perceptions of the city, and hence Cleveland is condemned to death row before it even has a chance to speak! For certain, the typical “Why would you want to come here?” question is amongst the biggest red flags this region has in its self perception.

Being a realist, I am also an optimist, and I have a better idea in helping to shape better opinions locally and nationally about Cleveland/N.E. Ohio. Let's start like this: Instead of asking that kind of "Whys did you come to Cleveland?" question to a visitor or newcomer, or returning resident for that matter, maybe we should be asking.... or say something to the effect of.. "Oh, well what brings you to this part of the world?... We will do our best to show you the best of what we can…. and by the way....WELCOME" Instead, when placed in a position to ask such a question, we're often offered the pathetic Shchleprock 'woe-is-we, wousy, wousy, wooo...wooo' reply.

HOW DOES THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER NOURISH THE CLEVELAND/N.E. OHIO INFERIORITY COMPLEX?

Looking further, our local paper has done nothing to help improve our city’s perception of itself, and instead has done mostly what feeds and fosters Clevelanders poor self image by starting every article that should be something focusing on a positive or strengths of the city, with some negative anecdotal connotation of something negative such as ”Cleveland, a city that is terrible, horrible, struggling, poor, continues to fail, lose population, and so on (you know their drill!)..…has attracted new interest in downtown revitalization”


Don't get me wrong, I am not saying we should sugarcoat or downplay truths about problems here or feed people all that is light and fluffy on the menu. However, we should not solely deliver stories about Cleveland---which are supposed to be covering something positive---and sneak in the usual negative approach that cancels out the positive. Those who have consistently read The Plain Dealer and who care about this city, know what I am talking about: The sensationalistic/dramatic and non-matter of fact delivering of news. I can just hear the violin and organs playing when I read that paper. Why can’t we just say something like “Cleveland attracts new interest in downtown revitalization” full stop, with no added: "but people still scared to come downtown!" Yep...they even go a step further and make people afraid of their own city! Such writing styles we have witnessed in what I now call The “PAIN” Dealer are not clever or creative. Rather, they are tired and lazy----and drone on like a depressing church chorus! Some of us are really over it!

Because of the constant focus on the negative by media who helps shape public opinion, we are left with a populace that is largely and poorly informed about their own region having anything good happening, or about how they can help make something better by getting involved in their community. It is as though the ONLY objective is no longer to inform, but to sell papers at any cost. Maybe the formula these days is to sell to frightened suburban populations who are irritated with life and need their 'the sky is falling' attitudes and opinions their city validated in ink—-and the results of such tabloidish news delivery styles simply keep the money rolling in.


NOT SO BAD HERE AFTERALL!


No matter what The Pain Dealer or the N.E. Ohio Inferiority Complex says, Ohio is actually a unique and diverse state boasting a lot of natural appeal and diversity---as well as boasting a “smaller, larger” urban appeal, so to speak. Sure we have problems here in Cleveland/N.E. Ohio, but they are not endemic to ONLY here as many seem to think---And maybe it is time for the major papers, instead of continuing on their tired and boring path that creates an ever growing ignorant population, to start hunting for the enriching stories happening daily, which have something socially, economically, and environmentally redeeming to offer in the message. Unless we change our frequent and pitiful attitude about our city/ state, we will never be anything more than what is the limited scope of small thinking--and right now, the thoughts I am talking about which hurt our area are not conducive to bettering it environmentally, socially, or economically.

As alluded to at the beginning of this story, I am currently in Sydney, Australia and have had the opportunity to see many parts of this wonderful city. With all the much touted splendor, however, I have learned that there are a lot of social, economic, and environmental challenges facing the people. Homelessness, crime, neighborhood decline, racism pollution, unemployment, etc--all of which are issues many Clevelanders seem to think are exclusive to their city alone. Still, somehow, it has not seemed to erode the civic pride and proud feeling/attitude people have about their city--And if I were to say to someone here that I have come from (and I have to say New York, because we all know how overrated new York is!)New York to be in Sydney, never would I hear such a reply that asks with astonishment and wreaks of negative vibes, something like we'd hear in Ohio that would say: "Oh, why did you come here?" Same would be if I were visiting a much less touted Australian town. The people are proud of their home and speak well of it and instead ask how I like it, what sites did I see, and welcome me with positive vibes.


Finally, Cleveland/N.E. Ohio can learn much from Sydney in the way of civic pride and what it does for images and perceptions. Generally, the people here are well aware of their fair city’s problems and challenges, yet unlike too many Clevelanders seem to be well informed and aware of all the wonderful attributes of their city, and are glad to be here. I wish I could bottle people's civic pride here, and sell it to Clevelanders in the form of a pill for the quick fix 'change with no effort' they seem to expect too often. Maybe if we had such pride and involvement, we would not possess the kind of populace that allows their city/region to be dragged down by the kinds of destructive elements that have people winding up on Cleveland Dot Com bitching about---but doing nothing else to change a thing in their community! I have shared my ideas about it, but wherever, or however the Cleveland/N.E. Ohio inferiority complex begins, it needs to vanish because it plots Cleveland against a very adamant and diabolical self-destructing foe: Itself!---And holds it back from all that it can be! So then....C'mon Cleveland/N.E. Ohio, I challenge you to begin to shed your negative self-image skin and go out and learn about your region's art, history, culture, nature, significance and role in local and international history, and peoples--Don't be embarrassed to say you're from Cleveland---And don't worry, no one is thinking poorly of you until you give them a reason to!


To footnote this article, I believe there are also many Clevelanders/N.E. Ohioans who do not have the image tainted complex and I would like to include a letter from such a person which was published in the local Cleveland Scene newspaper. Please click below....

http://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/here-and-loathing/Content?oid=1520954

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

GET ON BOARD WITH RAIL TRAVEL, OHIO!

Next stop.... YOUR street! There was a time, not too long ago,not even 60 years, rail transportation in Ohio was no stranger to the lifestyles of its residents. It was widely depended upon to get from point A to point B, and Ohio had an intricate rail network reaching all corners of our state.

As the use of the automobile gained more and more popularity with the lure and seduction of independence from confinement and not having to plan around the schedules of the trains, so followed the expansion of a highway network that would eventually see to the decline of rail transportation. Add to this, the spending in marketing of the automobile and air travel as the chief modes of transportation, coupled with government subsidy for such, the final nails were driven into the coffin of rail travel in Ohio.


Out of the above, was spawned the more relaxed and open scene of the suburban living model landscape---which replaced the former higher density urban-scapes. To date, these types of areas have evolved into becoming almost entirely auto dependent to get to and from any destination. If you pause and think about it, the old urban designs were actually much more walkable as they were built around the transportation needs of two legs rather than four wheels! Such a design also is more conducive to modern efforts in conservation to use less energy and to produce less pollution.

Back on topic with rail.......

Ohio, and America in general have reached a point that the availability of rail transportation service, both in large urban areas and rural areas has hit an all time low. It is virtually non-existent in some places like Ohio. I cannot believe in a state that is home to nearly eleven and a half million people and six major metropolitan areas, that rail travel and transportation options are so slim! I think this is a sad scenario that in the land of so-called "choice", America, Ohio in particular, has the false sense freedom of transportation choice--- because you are free as long as you drive! All this at a time when the public needs to be offered a viable real alternative to the automobile.

In Ohio, I have a concern that too many people in our state, having been fed a steady diet of mainly auto-only transportation options for the last 50 years or so, have totally forgotten just how convenient, environmentally friendly, desired by many----and just how far behind the rest of thew world we are in terms of offering a viable transportation rail alternative! Whats more, some people cannot even fathom how to utilize such a transportation option the way their grand or great grandparents did a mere lifetime ago, as alluded to at the beginning of this article.

If Ohio is going to economically strengthen itself, it must join hands with all of its major metropolitan regions so that they may create an economic synergy between one another---and part of building this strength is re-linking ourselves with rail. I would hate to see our state become a laughing stock as the rest of the nation moves forward with rebuilding our rail networks as President Obama has promoted.

If we want to attract new talent and businesses we must acknowledge the idea that many individuals who are a part of this new economy will come from many places around the globe---Places that have transportation options like rail! The people who ride rail are used to getting on the train, reading a book, preparing for a workday on a lap top, watching the scenery, taking a nap, having a coffee, all while going to work, or traveling for business or pleasure (none of which you can do in a car!. Also note that rail riders all are potential money spenders in our economy. Moreover, those who want and will use rail are used to saving money on fuel, maintenance, insurance, and auto payments--all of which is sort of an economic slavery of which we are imprisoned when we have only one option--and that is, being forced to live our entire lives in a car.

For others who have never so much as witnessed a train, let alone a passenger train pass through Ohio, perhaps it is time they become familiar with the many positives rail travel can offer---and I can make a safe bet that if rail had the luxury of the promotional spending and/or subsidy that accommodates the promotion of cars and planes, we'd see more people discovering and riding rail.

On the job creation front,I am not at all concerned about anti-rail interests harping about jobs being lost in the auto or insurance sectors. A few riding the rail, compared to the droves of cars on the road would hardly put a dent in such businesses for years to come---and besides, hasn't the insurance and all surrounding the auto industry gotten enough of your cash? It is time for a change. Let's usher in the new rail era which can create a whole new plethora of jobs surrounding that industry.

I am tired of virtually being forced to own a car and feel it is time Ohio start to drop the bad auto-only habit. To be attractive in the years to come, our transportation network needs to offer the kind of choices and diversity that appeal to a diverse population. The thinking that produces this auto-only choice environment, is merely a product of the suburban model that has helped to foster it for 50 or more years--and cannot open it's eyes to no other way. On the other hand, I am optimistic the trend can reverse, however, seeing that we have been exposed to rail transportation in the past--and the cycle back towards those roots is inevitable, be it a slow process.

Finally, it is very refreshing to go to a city or region in the world where there is a real sense of freedom in having a transportation option, where you're not stuck in traffic---where you don't have to worry about fines, accidents or other potential auto-related expenses, and where you don't feel rushed. Right now, I feel bullied into owning a car. That's not freedom to me.

As our state government is granted millions from the federal government for the purpose of expanding our part of America's rail network, please support rail transportation options in Ohio. We cannot afford to become a transportation joke! Don't blow the whistle our chances for rail to make a much needed comeback in Ohio--everybody climb all aboard and rediscover what has been a major part of our transportation heritage!