I submitted this OP-ED to The Plain Dealer Commentary Section. 

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

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

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

Please read the entire commentary here:

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 5:16 PM No comments:


To all concerned about litter in the city….

If we can start a “Pick up your Pooch’s Poop” campaign downtown to address the issue of our four legged friends leaving their fragrant all- natural calling cards on lawns, in planters and on sidewalks; which is of course a good move -then why can’t we examine with equal concern, the impacts of litter waste (including cigarette/cigar butts), which makes the effects of dog poop on the environment seem pale by comparison?

Next, I would like to bring attention to another idea that could help reduce some of the more preventable and annoying components of plastic litter waste: the concept of phasing out or completely banning the use of “single-use” plastic grocery bags in retail establishments. I hope Councilman Cimperman will consider this most radical but necessary idea which is less radical than the problems and money plastic litter is costing us all. Like the city of San Jose, maybe Cleveland should slowly phase out use of those plastic bags for groceries and revert to paper and promote re-usable shopping bags.

It has been done before and needs to be done again as this is another unnecessary component of plastic litter that is choking the environment and simply making the place look ugly. These bags end up in trees, on beaches, along roadways, clogging sewer grates, stuck in the throats of animals and so on. This is common knowledge by now and people will gripe if such a measure is implemented, but so what?  They will get over it just like they did the smoking ban and every other change that comes down the pike.

Come on folks, people did not sit around and starve or wonder how to carry something before the advent of these bags and we would see benefits. At least if paper bags become litter, they break down to benign materials quickly. Let’s promote “bring your own”, “re-usable” or paper. Winners will be companies who meet this challenge by offering better alternatives, but the real benefit will be our community-its residents and environment as a whole.. San Jose made such a bold brave and smart move and I am sure we, in Cleveland/N.E. Ohio are just as smart, bold, and brave as our West Coast counterparts. Or not? Have a look:

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 3:35 PM No comments:


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

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 6:13 AM

NO McCrap in Ohio City-Cleveland!

KEEP McDonald’s OUT Of Ohio City in Cleveland

It has been brought to my attention that there is a proposed McDonald’s on Detroit near a funeral home. I am not clear on this but if there is any truth to this, such an establishment in this neighborhood should be avoided at all costs. Here are my reasons/thoughts as to why: First, It was not the greatest choice to allow Wendy’s on Loraine in the past, and with the continued development of the neighborhood—with its architectural heritage, history, culture, culinary class and wide array of locally owned and unique independent food establishments that sets us aside from many other places—a McDonald’s is an utter disrespect and slap in the face to so much of what Ohio City represents or is trying to become.

Secondly, As I try and organize frequent litter sweeps, when it comes to fast food litter, McDonald’s trash makes up an estimate of some 95% of all fast food litter. Bags continually strewn out of car windows and onto the streets by those who seem to think their window in the car is their trash receptacle. I want to add, that a large portion of litter not picked up, ends up in our lake and has many ill-health implications, makes our waterfront appear as though we take no pride in it or have respect for this limited resource—as well as create health problems for wildlife. The reason McDonanld’s makes up a large portion of fast food litter in the urban core….most likely has something to do with their target marketing. Just watch all their ads on television during–and even not during sporting events. You will see that their target market is a lot of inner city youth.

What does this have to do with litter? Well, no matter how much McDonald’s tries to romanticize this ‘hip-hop urban youth thing’ in their whimsical commercials, a good portion of the element associated with that, are those who don’t even live in the neighborhood……who grab a quick meal, and then discard their McGarbage out of the car window. Putting it kindly, since McDonald’s chooses to target this crowd in ads, some of it appeals to a certain element we already have enough difficulties dealing with in the neighborhood.

Simply put, McDonald’s, more so than many other fast foods, is also the food choice of those who chose to be anti-social, thug-like, and have no respect or concept of the visual, physical, or environmental health of the neighborhood. I am tired of seeing their garbage discarded in people’s yards and along curbs or in the middle of the street. Just because you have not immediate access to a trash can does not excuse tossing it out the window. You simple save it until you get to one–again, another basic of common sense, courtesy, and manners when living in a communal setting.

Third, such institutions only help to further the problem of obesity in this country, which is making sick populace. Their profits depend upon people making poor and uninformed food choices. Perhaps we should welcome more entities that try and educate people on making healthier food choices–and to debunk the common chamber driven and perpetuated myth that fast food is convenient, cheap–and that it costs a lot to eat well. That notion is rubbish to say the least, as world renowned chef Jamie Oliver of England blew that myth out of the water. He has illustrated that around the world in similar cultures, other than in the US, some of the poorest people actually ate the healthiest foods. Why not produce a healthier populace, body, mind and soul, who will be more productive and happy in the work place, thus benefiting our economy….who will be less of a drain on health care in the future. (taking less sick days, less diet associated diseases, etc) Those who will learn better, be more peaceful. (See the Movie Super-Size me about what improving diet did for ill-behaved, and learning challenged youth)

Lastly, such sets a bad precedent of inviting other establishments of the sort to the point we lose our unique identity. McDonald’s in the suburbs is somewhat less harmless, but in the inner city, this food addiction simply preys off those who have been conditioned to think this sort of product is all they can afford, or is somehow good for them. Placing a McDonald’s in areas where we have a lot of people with very poor eating habits, and who are very poorly informed on the topic of nutrition, is like placing a bar next to an alcoholics rehab establishment. The temptations are strong and very conflicting. Something those in such condition do not need—and such the temptation would depend upon the patron making the wrong choice.

So, if you don’t want to see increased trash in an neighborhood already struggling with such, increased transient element we do not want to see hanging around the neighborhood… aside from the dietary factors and it being a slap on the face to all the art, history and culture integrity this neighborhood represents–then please shun away this place. There is already one on Detroit up the road a way—and I invite you to go look closely at the surrounding area, the building itself–the litter, trash, etc. Is this what you want the heart of Ohio City to be?

Part of the reason I moved here in the first place was because of the intrigue on the limit in seeing chains and fast food clone zone establishments. I also invite you to look closely, the next time you see fast food litter, take notice that 8 or 9 out of ten times, you see McDonald’s as the originating source. I know, because I, and many others have cleaned it up for years and cannot babysit their irresponsible patrons anymore.

A more fruitful venture would be to continue to promote places like farm markets, the WSM, a Food Co-op, Local Food Cleveland and City Fresh to help wean people away from this harmful toxic waste packaged as food so we can produce a healthier populace which will result in a higher competitive gross domestic and national product. Several studies are available to illustrate the correlation between good health and a better economy.

Robert Carillio

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 6:46 PM



I have a story idea that needs attention drawn to it:

How about the litter/trash/debris problem all over all the corridors into the city on the highways. In ditches, under embankments, bridges, waterways, along shoulders, in medians, and the list could go on. This cost Ohio 3 to 4 million last year to clean up—mostly because people have still not learned what a trash/recycling can is for. Should have learned that 38 years ago when the Indian cried on the commercial.

If we have not even learned how the above situation leads to a declining quality of life, property value, bad images, etc. then its hopeless. The burning river cast a grim shadow on our city in the past—we know the struggle it has been to take years to shed this image, as much of it still exists—so why are we inviting, and leaving go unabated, yet another legacy of community and environmental abuse that will secure another 50 plus years of Cleveland bad mouthing?

C’mon people, pitch in and get with it! C’mon PD…ADDRESS this issue and offer solutions. All those who participate in clean-ups once a year is not enough. To make this problem better, we need to make keeping after it a lifestyle–and maybe start reminding people that dumping/littering in OHIO is illegal–and Cleveland is not exempt. While the problem is pervasive, can we spare the complacent comments like “Weeelll.. its everywhere” and at least do OUR part to clean up our corner of the state?

This problem is among the first things people will notice when coming into our region/city… and it casts a strong message about where the civic pride has gone and a lack of respect for the environment as well–at a time when we should darn well know better to at least be able to curb this very preventable problem. It is quite embarrassing.

Is this the image we want to project of ourselves to all who come here—especially during the Rock Hall inductions? It is bad enough we have to continually clean up after people in neighborhoods who find it convenient to pull up along a curb and dump their McDonald’s trash onto someone’s tree strip, let alone all the crap that does not adequately get cleaned up on the main streams into the city.

Just because times are tough, just because there is poverty, and just because people may be stupid……does not mean we have to look as though we play the part perfectly; being slobs! Hey Cleveland… Get this.. CIVIC PRIDE is FREE!!! Doesn’t cost a DIME to embrace it and start using it, no matter what walk of life you come from—but it costs all of us millions when we DON’T exercise this pride!

Adopting such pride again means we foster a populous that will not allow the kinds of things to happen that end up tearing down a city and region in the first place; the kinds of things people spend all day winging about on these posts, but offer to do NOTHING about, and instead become a part of the problem by telling everyone how they cannot wait to take the next train out of here!

Please cover the trash/litter, illegal dumping issues, PD.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 8:39 AM

Do You Have a Problem With School Kids Littering? Here is a letter I wrote to a local public school administrator

Hi Elizabeth,

I am following up on the litter discussions we had. I have been really busy with arranging clean-ups of litter in the neighborhood, writing to council to see that state laws are enforced more effectively, especially on illegal dumping, I have contacted McDonald’s to do their part to remind patrons to not litter (seeing that the majority of fast food litter is from there), have contacted the mission-like places in the neighborhood asking them to do their part and have spent countless hours every week picking it up all over with some block club help.

Simply treating the symptom by cleaning it up, however, and not addressing some of the causes is simply not enough. There are several constituents of litter and many sources. If we can reduce the input from each or many of the sources, we will have made a difference–because collectively many people/sources become a part of creating the problem, and so this is why I feel many can be a part of collectively reducing the problem Among one of the contributors to neighborhood litter is school kids. Junk food wrappers and sugar drink bottles lay everywhere, each day.

Originally when I contacted you I was a bit vague in what I wanted to achieve when explain it, but in my mind I knew exactly what I would have liked to see done. What I want to see done is for you or someone else who can spread the message of this letter to the students via school newsletters or public announcement—and ask students while walking home that they not discard rubbish of any kind onto people’s yards or anywhere else—and that they should wait until they get to a proper trash can for proper disposal. I have people who live in the neighborhood all the time telling me what they witness students doing and I have seen it as well.

Many see litter as a trivial issue but it is far from one and in fact the complete opposite–and something we should have evolved past not doing by now as more and more recycling is promoted. Ohio spent 4 million dollars alone last year retrieving litter just from around highways. Litter devalues property and the environment and harms its wildlife—here, especially harming Lake Erie and its wildlife and swimming areas, our biggest economic asset. It creates a health and public safety issue as well by attracting unwanted pests. Additionally, it degrades the curb appeal in any given area contributing to scaring off businesses that sustain neighborhoods with jobs—many of which could be for these same school kids in the future. Litter is a part of the broken window theory, which basically suggests if you let decline of any kind start in a neighborhood, it will only lead to and promote more—with bigger crimes to follow. Littering is among the first symptoms that foster this theory.

Considering the fact that it is against state law to litter for very valid reasons…. is reason enough to pay attention to this issue. Fines of up to $500.00 can be imposed locally and state wide. I think it is time we start paying attention to this law, so that when it is enforced, people will not look at the police like they are from Neptune.

Not that I think it will solve the problem–as more causes of litter are more deeply rooted—BUT, I do think it will show the schools are doing their part to exercise more social responsibility on this very important matter. I would still be interested in attending any meeting we discussed, but truthfully, I am very busy myself and would like to see the schools show some simple initiative on this issue by getting the word out. It does not take a host of meetings and debate to simply remind your students that littering is not acceptable. Then later, we can work on educating them as to why it is not acceptable. All common sense and all seemingly y lost on this issue.

As the new school year approaches and with the litter that will fall like rain from students, I would appreciate your assurance that you will get the message out. It should be announced daily. At least I can respect then… that like other places I have contacted have agreed to do their part to help, the schools also have done their part.

Robert Carillio
Ohio City

P.S. I still think we should have the guests I was talking about attend an appropriate meeting in the future, but until then, announcements about littering are a start. With all of the neighborhood issues on my plate, I cannot go from school to school, Principal to Principal, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 8:12 AM



Shocking Show On Litter – 60 Minutes Australia

If this is what we are doing to the oceans…can you imagine what is happening on the small Great Lakes?

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 12:53 PM