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.