Thursday, February 12, 2009
Rating the Suburbs
Maybe it just seemed like June yesterday, especially with the 60 degree temperatures.
But, alas, it's only February ... and yet, I appeared on WMJI with Lanigan & Malone, Mix 106.5 with Brian & Joe and 90.3's Sound of Ideas with Michael McIntyre talking about our June Rating the Suburbs issue. The dust-up came after Mayor Martin Zanotti of Parma Heights sent a letter on behalf of the Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers to the magazine. "We hope that you will recognize that the time has come to end this rating system and consider a better way to highlight the communities that contribute to the Greater Cleveland lifestyle."
McIntyre picked up the item in his Monday Tipoff column a few weeks back and then followed up again this week.
We're continuing to work on gathering the information we need for the issue, but it was energizing to use the issue as a jumping off point for a larger discussion about what makes a great place to live and how we can continue to improve our region. As I mentioned on WCPN, it used to be that the most difficult question I received about this issue was East vs. West. We've moved well beyond that now, even if there aren't any easy answers.
"Suburbs are middle-class family values expressed in stucco, brick, and carpet grass," writes Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley in the Jan. 26 Newsweek. "They're all the things that America's noisy, diverse, striving, poor cities are not. But the suburbs as we think of them are vanishing."
Clearly, this is a challenging time for many suburbs. So we're going to continue talking with the mayors, even if we're not going to discontinue our ratings. Check back here for updates or wait until the issue comes out -- in a few more months.