Cleveland Reimagined

Submitted by Eternity on Fri, 05/22/2009 - 13:18.


So what can Cleveland do to turn itself around?  That was the same question that many citizens in Atlanta were asking thirty years ago.  It breaks down to the issues and the solutions:


  • Lack of Vision - Citizens groups, NGO's and local leadership fails to conceptualize a unifying vision of their town
  • Sustainable Business - Local leadership fails to institute of plan of action that calls for symbiotic relationship between big business and the local communities
  • Affluent Flight - This used to be know as "White Flight' but in these politically correct times, I suppose Affluent Flight makes more sense.  Those with money, head for suburban bliss.
  • Ineffective Tax Structure - Self-explanatory
  • Culture Bomb - Local leadership fails to leverage the financial implications of not bringing artist and arts organizations to the table.
  • The Stigma of Crime - Whether real or imagined, the city leadership allows the city and populace to be framed as crime ridden
  • Separatism and homophobia - The collective conscious of the city fails to actively pursue a more equitable playing field for persons of all strata


  • Cognition and Clarity - The city must have a vision, beyond hollow rhetoric, which offers tangible methods of growth, development and proactive change
  • Business enrichment - Using programs like Empowerment Zones and Renewal Communities, as well as other means of attraction, the city can bring to fore new business along with existing business to form a sustainable business friendly environment. This increases the tax base, while also working to solve the problems of classism.
  • Cultural Diversity Gains - By sponsoring city wide events that have a national or international appeal, attracting minority groups, women or those disenfranchised, the city can rebrand itself as being a beacon of hope toward attaining the American Dream.  Bringing more money into the city, this strategy also increases the tax base
  • Safety and Cleanliness - In order to have a clean, safe, beautiful city, citizens must get their hands dirty.  Trees of Atlanta as well as Atlanta's Beltline project are just two of the multitude of citizen empowerment activities involving politicians, business interest and educational institutions.  This combined with an improved working relationship between local police and fire departments can help to give a town a more "livable" image
  • Infatrsucture investment - Under the auspices of Mayor Shirley Franklin, 7 years ago the City of Atlanta successfully allied with the State of Georgia to secure $3,000,000,000 in funding for a complete overhaul of the city's sewer system.  Not only did this make the city healthier, but it also increased the value of holding city bonds.  It was and continue to be a huge win/win situation; a gift that keeps on giving.


In no way do I make claim of being an authority of these issues.  I know what I see and I have lived long enough to see what will work and what won't.  Once upon a time, within my own lifetime, Atlanta was a crime infested city with a hideous tax base.  That has changed...big time.  You can't  simply throw money at the problem, that won't work.  Citizens, universities, NGO leadership, politicians and business must be deeply engaged and committed for the long haul.

In Atlanta we still have our fair share of problems, but overall I'd have to say that our town has come a very long way.  It's been a ongoing process, with both setbacks and fabulous results.


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Thank you for your fresh, refreshing voice

It is worth evaluating our status on each of the bullet points you list.

I need to get down to Atlanta to see how it looks there, these days... it has been quite a few years.

Great cross-boundry sharing, much appreciated!

Disrupt IT

  Dream dream dream =

We Create What We Believe

I didn't know Citizen Ed, but from what Susan Miller has told me, he was an awesome guy.  Not only did he dare to dream, but he was willing to put himself in harms way for his dream; a dream that didn't just benifit him, but was extended to the whole of Cleveland.

That's a beautiful thing and so is RealNeo.  And through RealNeo, it seems many positive exchanges are taking place.  But a fantasy and a dream are not the same thing. 

Atlanta believed it could change and with a lot of blood, sweat and tears it did.  One of our former mayors went to prison, and we had to fire a very corrupt police chief along the way.  We've had some very controversial flare ups over gentrification and we've had to deal with more than one drought.  We've also had to deal with the Atlanta Child Murders back in the 70's and we've had to deal with the Brian Nichols affair for the last 5 years.  So, this town is not at all perfect, but compared to 30 years ago, it's a total paradise.

Creating a better city is not pie-in-the-sky.  It's reality.  It's not a fantasy, it's a dream.

It happend for us and it can happen for you.


I know about ten people

I know about ten people personally that moved to Atlanta, since 1970 how many Clevelanders moved to the sunbelt? Theses were not poor people migrating to places seeking work, they were educated people seeking a warmer climate and escaping the affect of migrations of poverty from the south. Its like Florida who in Atlanta is native? You have to go outside the city to know your in the south. I am not being cynical I been invited to come to live there many times and thought about it often.

Most of the people that I know that left Cleveland, I would say hundreds, all did because they said it is easier to just go to what they want than to attempt to make it what they want. We are still loosing people, the young people go to other cities and think I cannot go back.

Cleveland does not really embrace diversity it embraces its poverty, it does it with blind ignorance. It does not mentor and lead it placates it and takes advantage of it, we are the poorest city in the nation and we also have some of the richest suburbs.

We have corpses everywhere in the city, dead zones rotting away. While one city grows and prospers the other shrinks and dies off. Did or are you aware of the historical relationship?

An Identity of Our Own

To Dengus:

The natives in Atlanta -- in Georgia -- tend to know one another; as I suspect, is the case in all towns.  So, if one is getting information from a transplant, it will not at all be like the information coming from a native.  I am a native.  Atlanta is filled with natives.

Georgia and Florida are not at all alike.  Comparing Georgia to Florida is like comparing California to Oregon.  They share a common border, but they are very different states with completely different economies, ethnic makeup, social graces, architecture and cultural traditions; not to mention the fact, as is the case with Georgia, that Georgia was one of the original 13 Colonies.

You asked about a historical relationship?  I know of no historical relationship between Cleveland and Atlanta.  I have never been to Cleveland, but it is on my list of places to visit.

I like RealNeo and I like the people I've been fortunate enough to meet online through this site.

Obviously you guys care about your town, otherwise this site wouldn't exist.  So that says to me that there is not only hope, but opportunity for growth and change.

Don't underestimate your voice -- your power.


Thanks for your encouragement, Eternity

It is significant to hear your outlook from Atlanta here on Realneo.

And I agree with you (any many others of us here on Realneo) that sincere, intelligent reporting and dialoge has POWER.

Personally,  I believe the Realneo Community will improve Cleveland and NEO. 

From the smell coming out of the County and the City right now, I can tell it will be a task comparable to cleaning the Augean Stables.





Thanks RealNeo

To Jeff, Susan, Norm, lmcshane, Tim and all the rest,

Thanks for creating RealNeo, and thanks for welcoming me into your wonderful Community.  It's always nice to feel wanted.

Ya'll got a good thing going on here.  Keep up the good work!

- Eternity



If and when Atlanta is ready, we could help you to launch realAtlanta, too under the model. It could be a wild ride, but it might turn out to be an alternative to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. How many stories are not told there? My uncle was a career pressman for the Constitution after WWII arriving home each morning with blackened fingers. But now the papers have long since merged. I'm sure there are numerous bloggers in Atlanta. Maybe someone is not yet being heard by others there... we found it to be true.

American Solidarity


You're absolutely right, the Atlanta newspapers are woefully inadequate.

If I weren't already the editor of Art Digital Magazine - the moderator of this blog - this preservation site - this other preservation site, and few other sites.  And, if I weren't actively engaged in turning one of my inventions into a business, while also up to my neck in the ongoig battle of getting my own artwork front and center in a major museum, I would certainly take you up on that offer.  Norm made a similar suggesstion about a month ago...that I start a RealAtlanta.  It's a brilliant idea, and quite frankly we need it in a big way.  But as I said to Norm, once some of these other issues in my life find their way to a place of peace, I would totally be down with learning more about what it would take to launch such a (sister) site.

Anyone that know me knows that I'm deeply committed and rediculously thorough.  So, I would want to give such a site my undivided attention.  For me, now is not the time to take on another major commitment, but don't rule it out...say, in a years time?

Cheers to my sisters and brothers in N.E. OHIO!

Talking point are good, but

Talking point are good, but you spelled my name wrong.

If you come to town do not be surprised at people not saying hello to you as they walk by, we are not that friendly.

Maybe all the growth in Atlanta is native? Something in the water? That’s when you have it, maybe it all happens stuck in traffic, something to do?

When you come to town check out the monument on public square, there is history it is the north and the south.

Built fast that city was and it has a huge heat sink, it actually has its own weather do to that. I have been there it’s a nice city, over crowded though and the whole peach thing get on ones nerves after a while.

My Great great grandfather was a Sgt in the Union Cavalry, a good chance he was in Atlanta at one time.


Nice Art!

 I do love your work, Eternity. Very fun, very creative!

Welcome to Cleveland, virtually. There's definitely something in OUr water, too...