Urban Decay-The Decline of the Inner City

It was with great interest that I read the feature “Can We Save Our Neighborhoods?” in the Plain Dealer today. The focus was the rise and fall of Cleveland’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood over the last 70 years and how this community’s roller coaster status is reflective of the entire city and region.
I found the article to accurately reflect the trends in this metropolitan area, but what continues to be missing from articles of this nature are answers to the deeper sociological questions. Why did one lot of people in large numbers develop or react to dire straits in such hard and callous ways?
Many scholars and experts will take you back to the Middle Passage and slavery, but that appears to be the simple and easy response. If in fact all problems were rooted in slavery – why then have some descendants excelled and others have not? Wouldn’t this theory impact each descendant in the same way?
Well of course not! Just look around you and you will find siblings who share the same DNA, same developmental environment, but have extreme outcomes on both ends of the spectrum. During a conversation not long ago – one of Cleveland’s “movers and shakers” further simplified the source of urban decay when he said, “It’s poverty. The lack of jobs has led to an indifference.” I would disagree that this represents the totality of the problem. Blacks have been impoverished since the Middle Passage, yet many have found a way out of poverty. Those that did not find a way out of poverty had something more purposeful and that was pride. With that sense of pride was also a faith in something larger than themselves and an abiding hope for a better tomorrow.
What are your thoughts on the decline of the inner city? Respond to the poll on the right as we continue this discussion.
Also check out the “backstory” on this issue. The Plain Dealer has presented a full multi-media package on this issue and it can be found here.

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Fire Safety & Winter Cold Spells

As the mercury drops residents of the midwest and northeast portions of the country are fighting to stay warm and often the measures they take are fatal.
In just that last two weeks, Clevelanders have heard horrific tales of house fires as a result of electric space heaters or other such devices to keep their homes safe. The most tragic was the story of the three sisters who succumbed after their home went up in flames as a result of a problem with an electric baseboard heating system.
These tragedies have prompted me to ask all to become more familiar with these devices before using them in your homes, and to take all necessary precautions to prevent these scenes from repeating themselves.
For more information on electric space heaters and safety check out the site referenced here.
Our prayers and condolences are offered to the
Ogbuji family as they continue to mourn their loss. A fund has been established in the memory of the girls at KeyBank.