Cleveland, Do We Really Need Gambling?… Or Kenny!


I hope that since many other casino operations offer entertainment such as live shows, that Cleveland’s will create something similar by offering a chance to see some of the older performers like Kenny Loggins, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes… I noticed Kenny was performing at a casino in West Virginia, recently–and in previous years Harold and his Blue Notes were performing in the Poconos. This is the sort of thing other places offer and draws a more quality clientele. Maybe these kinds of shows can be offered at Quicken Loans Arena.

But entertainment is really not what I am going to focus on….I am more so, as in the past wondering if this whole casino bit is a good idea at all to place in a position to be some sort of benefactor to the city. I am not convinced that this is the best we can do for economic development, and certainly not the most creative, as casinos in this part of the country are becoming as common as another Wal-Mart!

The regional saturation component when standing alone, is enough reason why I feel ultimately the novelty will wear down, and nothing will be special about another casino. Surely not special enough to attract destination travelers with money to burn. We will never be a Las Vegas, nor should we strive to be, because we do not need to be. It is more likely the casino will attract mostly locals with little money, and many go hoke broker than when they came! Still, I hope that in the end, as reluctant as I am about this project, that it is not just about gambling and that other forms of entertainment, like Kenny, will be offered. Gaming can surely be part of some positive elements in a city, but not looked upon as “the savior” in typical Cleveland desperate fashion. We looked at LeBron James in this light, look where that got us…the manufacturing base…look where that got us! Maybe its time to not place all our chips on one number, for a change?

Not only will people be gambling, but so is the city as a governing unit, “gambling” under the daring notion that it will generate so much revenue and cure many ills. Again, this might be true, but the question remains: Should we place ourselves in a position where we have to depend on that which is related to fostering obsessive and dysfunctional habits, for revenue? I say no, let’s not make a habit of relying on these industries.

It is similar to placing the tobacco and junk food industries in a position where they can claim to be some sort of benefactor to a community because smoking (sale of cigarettes) helped pay for a stadium–OR, because Coke, Pepsi, and Frito Lay chuck a few pennies back to the schools where they place their vending machines. We really should think a bit deeper and awaken ourselves to the fact that these are NOT benefactors in the long run. They’re not because we must consider the trickle down repercussions resulting in fostering poor health which has been shown to be a drain on the economy and benefits only few financially. So, where we gain on one side in the short term, we still lose on another.

Gaming has its own associations with fostering bad habits that have people spending what they don’t have in the hope of winning it big, and thus, creating financial chaos in the hoke life–which carries with it all that can affect family because of it. The classic “externality” the industry has removed itself from. The industry proclaims “people should gamble responsibly” Do “gamble” and “responsible” really belong in the same sentence? Such seems a classic oxymoron! Gaming industry’s profits heavily rely upon IRRESPONSIBILITY! But let’s face it, their profits depend upon people making insatiable, spontaneous, gullible, and irresponsible decisions. The profits, indeed, result from the irresponsibility they warn against in the first place!

The same can be said for bad eating habits and smoking, when those industries pass the whole blame on being more personally responsible. While it is certainly essential to learn how to exercise more personal responsibility, what I do not want to hear are industries who profits depend on being irresponsible, telling us we need to be responsible! If we were, they’d lost a hell of a lot of business! But they know that bad habits are hard to break, especially those as in the case of smoking, where knowingly addictive chemicals are purposely added to get you hooked. So any industry that relies on its customer developing a obsessive habit, can proclaim such advice with confidence in knowing that it is unlikely that a grand enlightenment will overcome its followers.

I am straying away from the pointed question, though…. Back to the pointed question in the beginning: Should we place ourselves in a position where we have to depend on that which is related to fostering obsessive and dysfunctional habits, for revenue? Again, I answer “NO”…and follow with more questions that sum up why I say no: Do we want Cleveland to be labeled the fattest and most unhealthy city by traditionally anti-Cleveland publications like Forbes? The last thing we need is to become this publication;s exclusive target and punching bag.

How about the most financially crippled from gaming? Seriously, this sounds absurd, but Forbes has come up with just about every kind of list you can imagine!

Do we want myths about our city and region to be perpetuated even further, or have the myths actually come true which can result in a shunning or disinvestment in the city by potential stakeholders?

Finally, here is a question that just might result in revenue! How about good old fashioned home ownership and fostering neighborhoods that are attractive for such, like focusing on quality of life issues, safety, and clean environment and good schools? I know the gaming industry has posed as a benefactor to schools, but again, I ask….Do we want to have our schools reliant on gambling for the funding they need? We welcomed in junk food and this was just one part of many components that got us to an obesity level so shameful, that that the current generation of children may not outlive their grandparents! What are the costs?

Do we really want the gaming industry, despite the dark side we seldom hear of amidst all the hype, to be in a position to proclaim.. “The schools/city cannot survive without us…so we must get what we want!” (How did the planet survive before Vegas?!) Well, they’re already off to a good start because they got what they wanted with the destruction of the pedestrian oriented city block, to make way for one which encourages less street foot traffic and more driving–that is, unless the design is altered. This might be appealing for the generation of obese we have nurtured.

At the beginning of all this , I mentioned that I hope the gaming scene will at least offer some quality entertainment at the Q. Yes, despite all the above skepticism, maybe a song by Kenny Loggins will make it all a bit more easy to digest. Perhaps “Celebrate Me Home” to remind us of how much establishing a good home life can contribute to making a great place in which to live and raise a family, and for that family to do the same! It happened before deals with gaming industry, tobacco or junk food, and I am confident it can happen again without them. Cleveland should not be so desperate as to whore itself out to anything in the name of “economic development” that comes along. Development at any cost can be costly! Maybe the last song can be Kenny’s “I’m Alright” to remind Cleveland it can be alright without gambling!

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 11:20 AM No comments:


I have no problem acknowledging the convenience attributes of today’s mobile phones. I use one myself. What I cannot and will not acknowledge, however, is the incessant over use and abuse of this little piece of technology. Such a culture has demonstrated great rudeness to me; and another example of an ever increasing erosion of personal human contact.

Why do I arrive at such a broad opinion? Well, let’s see, life experience has to count for something! I will share mine….

How many times have you been in a meeting, at work, in a classroom , or just standing in line somewhere and suddenly you are forced to listen to a rather loud and obnoxious rung tone?—After which, the dramatic conversation begins!

Did I really need to hear that ring tone or the conversation? Did the speaker at the meeting need to be interrupted by the ring tone?

Additionally, do we really need to be dragged against our will into the someone else’s dramatic conversation?

If people are going to do engage in personal conversation in front of everyone else, the least bit of manners they can exercise is to excuse themselves away from the rest of us in a corner somewhere. Prior to the call, though, the ring tone going off is the epitome of RUDE! Hey you! Ever hear of silent mode? Chirp or vibration perhaps my friend?

Cell phones going off all the time and people engaging in personal conversation is one thing about lack of etiquette in using a mobile phone but I am no where near finished…

How about the scenario that has 3 or 4 people (teenagers play a part in this rude breach of the mobile phone code of etiquette) talking on their phone while ignoring the company they’re presently with? Is the company in person/people with the phone user not stimulating enough? In the case of teens using mobile phones at school, I cannot justify the need for carrying such a device. If they need to be contacted, then the parents can call the school–and the student can be paged to take a phone call at the office. How many times have I heard stories from teachers who hear these devices going off in the classrooms during tests, despite school rules prohibiting them! Rude….Rude–And unnecessary!

I know there are a lot of parents who have actually been conditioned to think they need the phone—and have lost all concept that such a device is really used out of convenience, not a need. A convenience for most people, unless you are on call or in a situation, or have an occupation that requires you to be contacted immediately somehow.

School kids, and soccer Mom’s I am not sold on the paranoia that they’ll enter dire straits without their phone! Not a necessity to have a mobile phone, but instead, a conditioning of the mind to mistake it as a need, rather than the convenience it is. Funny how not very long ago, my friends and I never needed to rely on such technology, and we played plenty of sports and had near perfect attendance at school.

Uhhh yes, those were the good old days back in ancient the 80’s and 90’s when we toughed it out, indeed. How sad to think these kids are so brainwashed to think that a mobile phone is something which they cannot do without! Unfortunately, the children of some of the parents who are mobile phone junkies are also now conditioned to think they ‘need’ a mobile phone.

Well, I guess this is the result when we allow ourselves to become so co-dependent on technology to do everything from spell, wash windows, clean the yard, blow our noses or wipe our butts! Sure, parents always want better for their kids, but the question we need to ask these days, is ‘more’ better? Or is creating an ever increasing co-dependence on gadgets something that is conducive to nurturing critically thinking self relying population? Is spoiling or making everything easier necessarily a good thing. These questions would be posed by those who are thinking—but has the phone become another culprit to the dummying down of a population who will NOT think?

Still more rude and inconsiderate uses of the mobile phone have now taken to the road. How many times do we witness what has become the standard American pose: The proverbial soccer Mom, driving alone in her gas guzzling tank, totally oblivious to the traffic around her–one hand on the wheel; one hand to the head holding the phone. (rude AND dangerous to other drivers and what has become the standard American pose!) Isn’t anyone doing what they’re supposed to be doing anymore without involving the phone? I wonder, what aren’t we doing these days while driving? Everything BUT driving! The mobile phone… and driving, don’t mix. If you must, why not take advantage of the hands free options.

Finally, I have to laugh at the guy walking down the street talking to himself (How it looks before I knew about the blue tooth) while walking his dog. Isn‘t the old dog good enough to give all his attention to? Please, stop the above nonsense…..turn off the phone, put it down, leave it at home for a change. If you’re not available, someone will leave a message. The convenience of having the phone in hand all the time simply results in a lot of unnecessary use and abuse of this product. It was not intended to be glued to your hand or head. Through such abuse of the mobile phone, we have seemed to forget what it me and to enjoy or respect all which surrounds us in a particular moment—because whoever is on the other end of our phone, has obviously become more interesting or a priority. If you have witnessed any other form of rude, excessive use, or abuse of the mobile phone, please share your comments!

Posted by Angry Man In The Basement at 12:29 PM



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