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Thursday, March 05, 2009


Bad Times in the Land of Cleve

I have never lived in Cleveland. But I grew up not far from it and went to college even closer. Close enough that Cleveland was the best option when there was a movie out which was indie enough that it wasn't coming to the strip mall cinemas in Kent.

I spent some time, then, in Cleveland, watching movies or going to the art museum or visiting one or another person I knew there. I worked as an extra on a movie there. (The movie is not good and I'm not even slightly visible in it, so please don't interpret the link as an endorsement of what is truly not a great way to spend a couple of hours.)

What I'm trying to say here is that, while I don't have any claim on Cleveland as a home town or even anything remotely like it, I like the place. It's scrappy. It's underrated. It's full of people with enough heart to dearly love teams that haven't won a championship since Rush Limbaugh last saw his penis.

It's a good place and it saddens me greatly to see what's happening to it.

I read last year about the situation in Youngstown, which is much, much closer to where I grew up. The leadership in Youngstown--faced with a population that has continued to spiral downward since the steel mills which had made the town what it was closed in the late 70s and early 80s--decided that drawing new citizens to the town was a hopeless cause and, instead, focused on shrinking the town, actually tearing down neighborhoods of abandoned houses, giving their police fewer vacant buildings to try to keep safe. A shrinking city seemed like a truly bizarre idea. And yet, it looks like something similar is going to be happening in more cities around the country. Cities hit hard by foreclosures. Cities like Cleveland.

These are scary, scary times, folks. I've got friends in Cleveland. I'm hoping things start to take an upturn before the town is overrun with C.H.U.D.s and roving gangs clad in leather vests and feathers. But what's the solution? I sincerely believe that President Obama is doing his best to try to turn things around, but even if everything he's doing works perfectly, it's still going to be awhile before the situation gets better. How can places like Cleveland keep from drowning until the worst is over? What can be done? Anyone? Anyone?

i lived in cleveland when i first immigrated into this country. 1980-1982. i liked it, even though , then, it was the butt of jokes. but fuck it, harvey pekar lived there and so...

you worked on a movie w/Grodin and i directed his show on CNBC years ago. i have a soft spot for Grodin. his opening monologue on his short-lived cable show was always awesome. he just winged it for 8 minutes. every fucking day. i gotta respect that.
I want to stand up and defend Cleveland. Now, I live in a suburb that is about 20 minutes from Cleveland proper, and so far, living in the burbs is like living in a different world. Many of my friends and I seem to be sidestepping the unemployment problem and hence also the foreclosure problem right now.

The article states somewhere, though, that Cleveland's foreclosure rate was overtaken by other cities, and is no longer number one. That is bullshit. The only reason we don't have the highest rate anymore is because we simply RAN OUT OF HOUSES to foreclose on within the Cleveland city limits. So I just wanted to defend Cleveland's honor and say here that we still are, in my opinion, the foreclosure capital of the world right now. AND we may be edging up on the U.S. unemployment #1 as well! I would argue that while some places may currently have worse rates, that we are in the worst situation right now...nothing to be proud of, for sure.

This just in, though: with no factories running, Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River are insanely clean!! So it's a great time to live here...
Baby Bro, there is nothing to be done...we have to ride it out. And, you think that's bad...Salem is in a world of shit. On the other hand, you can get a great big house pretty cheap..wink, wink, nudge,

Love you guys,
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