Baumhower: Extreme Miserable Makeover neededWritten by Jeremy Baumhower | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Too bad Ty Pennington is no longer in the business of “Extreme Makeover” because Toledo needs a “Miserable” one ASAP. Forbes’ annual list of Most Miserable Cities was released recently and once again Toledo made the Top 20, coming in at No. 11. Detroit was named No. 1 Most Miserable, with Flint, Mich., placing No. 2 and Cleveland getting the nod at No. 17. If you are a “half full” kind of person trying to find the good out of the list, Toledo somehow improved three spots from last year’s No. 8 ranking.
Am I the only one who is concerned that a national magazine that covers the world’s monies and finance just called my hometown a “miserable” city to live in? Where is the outrage from my fellow citizens? Where are the press conferences from our elected officials disputing the study or announcing a plan to fight the miserability?
Has Toledo, a city that was founded and formed with fight, backbone and strong work ethic, given up? Have we rolled over? Did we quit? Why did we just let someone call us miserable without answering with a punch?
Forbes used nine factors to formulate the results: violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes (income and property), home prices, commute times, weather and the recently added “net migration” which measures whether or not the residents feel a community is worth living in.
After reading the criteria used in the study, can anyone honestly blame Forbes? I think the reason why Toledo was lowered three spots to No. 11 was because of the mild winter we had last year.
When global warming and climate change are the only things positively affecting how miserable we are, then Toledo is doomed.
Toledoans may feel Forbes is picking on us as a city, perhaps even bullying. Judging by our complete lack of a reaction, we may just be adhering to some old motherly advice, “ignore the bullies … and hope they go away.”
Toledo can no longer ignore Forbes’ Most Miserable Cities List. We have to look the problem in the eye, self-evaluate and try to fix ourselves from within.
Want to know who does not ignore studies like these? Companies looking to move or expand and families looking for a new place to call home. If we could immediately improve these two factors we would eliminate our city’s name from this list.
The city’s leaders, both elected and business, have got to formulate a plan of attack. I fully understand how hard it is to think out of the box, especially when your days are consumed with legislating pit bulls, saving old buildings, balancing the budget and monitoring the Lucas County Board of Elections.
In other words, politicians need to stop trying to impress a man who fled the city and moved to Pittsburgh, while still making them sing and dance via the Blade Phone … I mean, Bat Phone. Imagine how much easier it would be to balance the budget if we had an insurgence of new jobs and tax base in the area. You are all in a box and it’s time to find a new one or ways to think outside of it.
“M*A*S*H” is no longer the No. 1 show on TV and Toledo needs to stop acting like it is.
Many people love to criticize former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and his tenure here running the Glass City … but not I. Carty would be the one person holding a news conference, throwing verbal punches, challenging Forbes to visit our city. Hizzoner’s personality and character perfectly fit the community he served with fight, vigor and a constant desire to make our Toledo better. He spoke before he thought, he believed when no one else would and his heart was always filled with hope. We need a new, younger Carty or Cartys Toledo needs hope.
Joe Napoli and the Toledo Mud Hens cannot be the only ones telling the outside world how great Toledo is. Toledo needs a game plan.
We need to start having some real discussions on how to improve our public image, and those talks need to happen with fresh voices with different perspectives.
If companies see a city willing to fight to improve its rankings on Forbes’ Miserable list, than maybe it will see through the dusty facade and identify our depth of character, our strong work ethic, cheaper housing and family values.
We have everything companies look for in a city, we just need to show them.
To friend or follow someone who still believes in Toledo, please find Jeremy Baumhower on Facebook or Twitter @jeremytheproduc