I'm your typical quit-procrastinating, start-exercising, eat-better resolution kind of guy.
Sure, I put off starting my New Year’s transformation until after Jan. 1 (you know, all that football to watch and food to eat), but I begin with the best of intentions. Most of us do, as we pledge to quit ______ (insert bad habit), to start ______ (insert life-changing regimen) or to improve ______ (insert skill/role) in the New Year.
But filling in the blanks is a lot easier than fulfilling the promise. It’s like that for the city too, as this month we welcome Frank Jackson as the 56th mayor of Cleveland. The first populist mayor in a generation, Jackson has made heavy the scale against which his term will be weighed: “whether the least of us is better off because of what I do.”
As someone who came from the least of us, Jackson seems all too aware of how easily promises can be broken, explaining to associate editor Erick Trickey, “All I’m trying to do is make what we say and what we do the same thing.” (See “The Populist,” page 78.)
We hope he succeeds. The city needs a string of accomplishments, goals set and met, small or ambitious, to generate momentum and carry us forward.
With that in mind, we at Cleveland Magazine would like to suggest some resolutions for 2006 for the new administration and our residents.
Let’s strengthen our schools. Educating our children must be our first priority. It begins with the right choice for schools CEO and must serve every child.
Let’s put City Council on a diet and reduce its size from 21 to 11 members. With a goal of being more efficient, the fitter body should also be less parochial and better focused on broader issues.
Let’s quit giving people excuses to stay in the ’burbs. Encourage people to come downtown, suggests managing editor Jim Vickers: That means dropping talk of extending parking meter hours in nightlife districts (if the bad idea ever emerges again) and absolutely no more intersection cameras.
Let’s invigorate downtown with more people living, working and playing here. With new construction and former warehouses being rehabbed into apartments and condos all the time, living downtown is becoming cool. And as more amenities arrive, we should consider what else we can do — such as finding a regionally unique retail tenant for the former Higbee’s location on Public Square.
Let’s go green. No, we’re not talking eating more veggies here, but making Cleveland heathier by becoming more environmentally conscious in our business practices and our lives. Last year, Cleveland hired its first sustainability programs manager, Andrew Waterson (he’s one of our “Most Interesting People,” see page 96), to spearhead sustainability within city government and with like-minded community groups.
And yes, you can do something about this too, suggest Trickey and assistant editor Amber Matheson: Walk and bike more, use cars less. Long walks, bike rides and trips on the Rapid all clear your mind better than driving, and they clear the air around Cleveland, unclog its arteries and get blood pumping through under-exercised parts of town.
Let’s experience the whole city. It will help remedy our notorious inferiority complex and make us better promoters of what makes Cleveland special. Be a tourist in your own town, suggests associate editor Monica Arjev: Visit the brand-new money museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (see page 22) or the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Check out the latest exhibits at the Rock Hall, Great Lakes Science Center or HealthSpace Cleveland.
And let’s do better for ourselves by doing better for others, suggests associate editor Jacqueline Marino: Listen more. Let the words of others resonate once in a while. Don’t rush to fill the silence. Read more. When you engage with the written word, it sticks with you. It informs, connects and helps you find solutions. Volunteer for something. There’s no substitute to actually giving your time to a cause you believe in. Try to be the solution.
Because a better life and a better city is what we all want for the future.