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PoliCon
03-17-2010, 10:11 AM
Cleveland leads a slew of Midwestern towns on our annual list, but thanks to high taxes New York and Chicago make it too.

The city of Cleveland has had a colorful history. The Cuyahoga River, which runs through the city, famously caught fire in 1969 thanks to rampant pollution, and it wasn't the first time. In 1978 it became the first U.S. city to default on its debts since the Great Depression. Cleveland sports fans have had to endure more anguish than those in any other city. The city has been dubbed with a less than endearing nickname: the Mistake by the Lake.

This year Cleveland takes the top spot in our third annual ranking of America's Most Miserable Cities. Cleveland secured the position thanks to its high unemployment, high taxes, lousy weather, corruption by public officials and crummy sports teams (Cavaliers of the NBA excepted).

Misery was on the rise around the country last year. Sure the stock market was up big, but so were unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcy filings. Meanwhile housing prices, the U.S. dollar and approval ratings for Congress continued their downward spiral.

The widely tracked Misery Index initiated by economist Arthur Okun, which combines unemployment and inflation rates started 2009 at 7.3 and rose to 12.7 by the end of the year thanks to soaring joblessness. That is the highest level since 1983.

Our Misery Measure takes into account unemployment, as well as eight other issues that cause people anguish. The metrics include taxes (both sales and income), commute times, violent crime and how its pro sports teams have fared over the past two years. We also factored in two indexes put together by Portland, Ore., researcher Bert Sperling that gauge weather and Superfund pollution sites. Lastly we considered corruption based on convictions of public officials in each area as tracked by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

We expanded the list of cities under consideration this year to include the 200 largest metropolitan statistical areas (in years past we've examined 150), which led to a shuffling in the ranks. Any area with a population of more than 245,000 was eligible.

Cleveland nabbed the top spot as a result of poor ratings across the board. It was the only city that fell in the bottom half of the rankings in all nine categories. Many residents are heading for greener pastures. There has been a net migration out of the Cleveland metro area of 71,000 people over the past five years. Population for the city itself has been on a steady decline and is now less than half of it what it was 50 years ago.

Cleveland ranked near the bottom when looking at corruption. Northern Ohio has seen 309 public officials convicted of crimes over the past 10 years according to the Justice Department. A current FBI investigation of public officials in Cuyahoga County (where Cleveland is located) has ensnared more than two dozen government employees and businessmen on charges including bribery, fraud and tax evasion.

CONTINUED WITH PICTURES, LIST, and VIDEO (http://www.forbes.com/2010/02/11/americas-most-miserable-cities-business-beltway-miserable-cities_2.html)

noonwitch
03-17-2010, 10:23 AM
Detroit is ahead of Flint?

Gingersnap
03-17-2010, 10:30 AM
Haven't most of those places been run by Democrats for decades?

NJCardFan
03-17-2010, 10:38 AM
Haven't most of those places been run by Democrats for decades?

Bongbongbongbong! Give that woman a cheroot. I have an additional theory but some would deem it racist so I'll digress, for now.

And I didn't realize that Ohio was so crappy. Especially Canton which I went there last year and thought it was rather nice but I don't live there so what do I know.

PoliCon
03-17-2010, 10:44 AM
Haven't most of those places been run by Democrats for decades?

You noticed that too? There are a couple I'm unsure on - I'll be checking later to see if my suspicions hold true . . . .

NJCardFan
03-17-2010, 10:45 AM
You noticed that too? There are a couple I'm unsure on - I'll be checking later to see if my suspicions hold true . . . .

I know Philly hasn't had a Republican mayor since the 50's.

PoliCon
03-17-2010, 10:48 AM
I know Philly hasn't had a Republican mayor since the 50's.

I'm not sure about Toledo, Canton, Modesto, and some of the other small cities . . . .

noonwitch
03-17-2010, 12:31 PM
Bongbongbongbong! Give that woman a cheroot. I have an additional theory but some would deem it racist so I'll digress, for now.

And I didn't realize that Ohio was so crappy. Especially Canton which I went there last year and thought it was rather nice but I don't live there so what do I know.



There are deeper issues involved than party politics, at least when it comes to Detroit. When the white people left, they took the money and wealth with them. Everyone thinks the problems in the auto industry started in the last decade, but they really started in the late 70s and early 80s, which complicated the issues resulting from the white abandonment of the city.

I can't speak to other cities' issues, because I didn't witness what happened first hand like I did with Detroit. It's easy for white people to blame blacks or politicians. The jobs and wealth went to the suburbs with them. It's easy to sit from a comfortable home in Southfield and say "look at what they've done to Detroit, which used to be our city". It's a "we've got ours, f-you" attitude, and it's not what this country is supposed to be about.

I'm not saying that the people who took over leadership of the city bear no blame whatsoever, but there are two sides to every story. To say that poverty and race are not connected in this country is to live in denial. To blame solely the black poor for their situation is heartless and cruel, and just makes the division even worse. It isn't fair to "blame whitey" either, but as long as everyone plays the blame game, nothing will ever be changed. This is an issue that I have seen from both sides, as someone who's Detroit relatives all ran out in the early 70s and someone who lived in the city from 1989 to 2001.

Gingersnap
03-17-2010, 12:39 PM
There are deeper issues involved than party politics, at least when it comes to Detroit. When the white people left, they took the money and wealth with them. Everyone thinks the problems in the auto industry started in the last decade, but they really started in the late 70s and early 80s, which complicated the issues resulting from the white abandonment of the city.

I can't speak to other cities' issues, because I didn't witness what happened first hand like I did with Detroit. It's easy for white people to blame blacks or politicians. The jobs and wealth went to the suburbs with them. It's easy to sit from a comfortable home in Southfield and say "look at what they've done to Detroit, which used to be our city". It's a "we've got ours, f-you" attitude, and it's not what this country is supposed to be about.

I'm not saying that the people who took over leadership of the city bear no blame whatsoever, but there are two sides to every story. To say that poverty and race are not connected in this country is to live in denial. To blame solely the black poor for their situation is heartless and cruel, and just makes the division even worse. It isn't fair to "blame whitey" either, but as long as everyone plays the blame game, nothing will ever be changed. This is an issue that I have seen from both sides, as someone who's Detroit relatives all ran out in the early 70s and someone who lived in the city from 1989 to 2001.

You make some goods points but not all the white people who left Detroit were wealthy. A lot were just working class people who followed the jobs away from the city. Traditionally, that's what people do when the jobs go away.

You can make the argument that people who stayed were either entrepreneurial geniuses or incapable of adapting to new economic circumstances.

PoliCon
03-17-2010, 02:30 PM
Another good question is - WHY? Why did they fee from cities like Detriot? Taxes and crime are generally the culprits.

Constitutionally Speaking
03-17-2010, 06:43 PM
In 1978 it became the first U.S. city to default on its debts since the Great Depression.




Any guesses as to who was Mayor of Cleveland in 1978????



Buehler




Buehler???









The wonderful Democratic Underground fave Dennis Kucinich!!!

noonwitch
03-18-2010, 08:20 AM
Another good question is - WHY? Why did they fee from cities like Detriot? Taxes and crime are generally the culprits.


The taxes in Detroit now are high, but in 1968-1975, that wasn't the case. The white flight happened for several reasons, starting with:

1. The 67 riots. The riots were precipitated by years of an all-white police force mistreating black citizens, and erupted after a particular brutal police shoot-up of a hotel, in order to raid an alleged "blind pig" party.

2. The jewish merchants stuck around for a while, and lived in the northwest corner of the city before moving into Oakland County in the late 70s and early 80s. When they tried to sell their businesses to their black employees, the banks wouldn't loan money to black people who didn't make much money-why would a Ford worker want to buy a corner store or butcher's market? The only black people who made enough money to get loans were already working at good jobs.
The chaldeans and arabs starting coming in the the late 70s and early 80s, and they had cash. They bought all the stores from the now elderly jewish merchants, and they never lived in the city. They settled in Dearborn.

3. Most of the white people who fled the city sold their homes at fire-sale prices to rental companies/slumlords, because they just wanted to get out. My grandparents stayed until 1978, when Grandpa retired. Their neighborhood went totally downhill by the time they left. None of their neighbors owned their homes, anymore, it was all rentals. My grandparents couldn't bear to sell their home to a rental company, so they sold it to a couple of teachers for a lower price. The house still stands, and it still looks okay, but I don't think the same owners still live there. As far as mortgages go, the same issue with the banks and the wages of the average black Detroiter applies here that applies to the business loans.


There are still plenty of good things left in Detroit, though, despite the ruins that you see on the youtube videos. There are thousands of children, if nothing else. Belle Isle is still a beautiful park, even if the zoo and aquarium are closed. There's a great playground for kids. There are some well-preserved buildings from deco days, like the Fisher Building or a couple of the downtown skyscrapers like the Penobscot building. The mexican neighborhood is full of cheap and good restaurants, and the cops all eat there, so it's safe. The areas around the casinos are well-patrolled by private security and the cops. There are some really interesting apartments just east of downtown, where a lot of the complexes were designed by famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Albert Kahn. The Capuchin monastary on Mt. Elliot has a really interesting history and still serves the poor of Detroit to this day.

There are amazing churches, both buildings and congregations. All those immigrants in the early 20th century built a lot of catholic churches in the neighborhoods. There is a polish one next to my office, it's just incredible in scope and beauty. When I stand in front of my office, I can see 3 catholic churches within 3 blocks, and 5 within about 2 square miles. All are old, all have stained glass windows and awesome architecture. There is a baptist church in Greektown and a congregational church near Wayne State that were both final stops on the Underground Railroad.

There are some really cool churches in the area just south of Highland Park that used to be temples. One of them on Holbrook and Brush has stained glass windows with the menorah and Star of David patterns. The old temple Beth El on Woodward is now part of Little Rock Baptist Church's property, but the words of the prophet Jeremiah are still engraved along the top border "A House of Prayer for all the Nations", or whatever the exact quote is.

My dad's family church still stands, the church my parents got married in and I was christened in. It's not in use, but someone is maintaining it well.

There are some churches with awesome choirs around. Greater Grace Temple, Straight Gate Church, Perfecting Church, Bailey Temple all have produced some of the more famous gospel singers out there, like Fred Hammond and the Winans, or the Clark sisters.

This is my city, even if I now live just over 8 Mile RD and in the suburbs. I've loved it since I was a kid and visited it to see relatives and go to Tiger games. God has put me here to love the city and it's residents, it's what I do.