Well I'll complete the line of discussion from my first posting, and then move on to a number of items that have caught my eye in the news. As I stated in my earlier posting I am new to the world of blogging so I've been researching how to add links and what not to make my space a little more interesting. With this session we will see if I have learned anything!
Annual Holiday Gathering of the Literay Sistas
The Sistas and I had a grand time this weekend! Rave reviews were offered for the offerings to which I reply a very humble "thank you". After a meal of Cornish Hens, Wild Rice and Sweet Potato Souffle we had one of our liveliest discussions in a number of months. The book of the month was "Raising Fences: A Black Man's Love Story"
One of the major points of contention was whether or not this was a love story and that debate went back and forth with the final conclusion being it was about one man's search for love on a number of levels - familial, intimate and community. There was a strong undercurrent of dislike for the main character, Michael Datcher, who was seen as one filled with a great deal of arrogance by one of the Sistas, but in general the other Sistas sent props to Datcher.
Another interesting line of discussion involved when should one feel they have lived long enough to publish a Memoir? Is this something based on age, or is the level of measurement your accomplishments? The response among the Sistas was mixed, but I am curious as to what others think.
Why has East Cleveland been left out of regionalism discussions?
Anyone familiar with northeast Ohio is familiar with the many woes that have plagued the Cleveland suburb of East Cleveland for the last 20 years or so. Once the summer retreat of John D. Rockefeller, East Cleveland has fallen victim over the years to white flight and the greed and mismanagement of politicians. With the coffers empty and businesses flocking to greener and whiter pastures this once beloved home of Rockefeller hit hard times that have clung to this suburb like the 26-year-old who refuses to leave the nest. In January a new administration will take the helm just as many communities in northeast Ohio grapple with the proverbial political "hot potato" of regionalism. Some communities have already begun the regionalization of some services particularly emergency dispatch centers as recently chronicled in the Plain Dealer. One of the cities regionalizing dispatch centers is Cleveland Heights, which neighbors East Cleveland yet denied this kissing cousin access to the regionalized dispatch center. Curtis Jackson, a lieutenant in the East Cleveland Fire Department questioned the reasoning behind this snub in a December 1st letter. Jackson questions whether race played a role in the decision, which I agree to some extent, but on a larger scale I believe it was economics albeit myopic economics. The purpose of governments sharing resources is to eliminate much of the repetitious services ofcommunitiesommunites that in many instances share streets, but because of an invisible boundary one prospers while the other fails. Cleveland Heights sits on its laurels looking down at East Cleveland while many of the problems that placed the black sheep of the family in its present predicament are knocking loudly on their door. The poor and disenfranchised citizens who fled Cleveland in the 70's and found East Cleveland as a welcoming community have now flown further east to Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and beyond. When communities join forces they accept the benefits along with the risks, but many of the elitist politicians in the suburbs don't seem to get that just yet. It would really behoove them to sit down with their counterparts in less fortunate communities to offer advice and maybe just listen so that they aren't in the same predicament 5-10 years from now.
Travel through Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights and you will see that in some sections of these communities that reality is not far off. You can see the areas that have been neglected - where the housing codes are not being enforced and officials are turning a blind eye to the needs of their constituents.
It was interesting to note that just days after Jackson's letter was published the Plain Dealer published a story on this same issue, but neglected to mention East Cleveland, the snub or the letter printed in their own publication.
Jackson's letter did interest a North Olmsted resident who denounced race as an issue, but also stated to regionalize is to share the good and the bad. It's interesting how the average citizen gets the picture, but those elected to serve and guide continue to remain clueless.