2/16/2011

Are you Miserable? How about you?

It seems that T-town is Movin On Up...on the scale of most miserable Cities in the US.  Thanks to Forbes Magazine, T-town claims the 15th spot on the Forbes list of Miserable Cities.  Should it shoot for being in the top 10?  Nah.

I will admit that it is a pretty dismal city - from the standpoint of weather.  Tis mostly always cloudy - not always raining or snowing, etc....but....cloudy.  A Lot.  And I will admit that the unemployment rate stinks.  I attribute that to a lot of "union" mentality here in the City.  I beg of you, don't get me wrong - I am not union-negative, but when the mentality hits every aspect of the city - and a true entitlement mentality permeates even the private sector - it can be a pretty unfriendly environment for employers in the area (add that Ohio is in the top 7 with unfriendly business taxes - and you can see why so many Ohio cities are on the list).  There is also a dearth of local businesses - unlike our old Kentucky home - which means that chain restaurants and chain stores rule the roost - when there IS a roost - and T town doesn't want to move beyond that.

But I also have to say that the Toledo Art Museum is incredible- and gets Louvre style loans from other museums.  The Zoo is a lot of fun and pretty awesome.  The arts are well funded and our Orchestra is considered World Class.  We are on the "tour stops" of major artists and off Broadway productions.  Our Mud Hens are pretty AWESOME - and are one of the oldest teams in Minor League Ball.  The Walleye - a hockey team named after a not so fierce fish but whatever - satisfy the locals love of hockey - and while they don't lead the league - they don't bottom feed it either.  We don't have a full Pro team here - but the Toledo Rockets seem to do pretty well in football, and we are only an hour from the Red Wings, Lions, and Tigers (and Bears are just 4 hours away for Oz!!)  It is a pretty good place to raise kids with the Imaginarium, the arrival of National Circuses and funky "Sesame Street" Live type shows - and children crime is pretty low.   There are alternative technologies on the rise here (Solar, Wind) that are taking advantage of the manufacturing workforce, and Chrysler is investing in the area as well as GM - given that we are only 1 hour away from their headquarters.  Owens Corning has emerged from bankruptcy and is becoming a force in the area - Dana too, and Owens Illinois has begun hiring in their tech centers signalling a return to more prominence in their industry.  Utility rates are high - but I have seen a pretty good track record over the last year of quick returns from Storm Outages, and such.

I don't call it miserable by any means.  I have seen miserable - and Toledo is far from it.  It isn't Shangrila - but for a lot of folks - it is...well...home.  And that means it has a heart....because that is where the heart is....

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Oh, here is a bit of an ironic thing to chuckle about, when I went to Forbes.com to copy the url to the story, here was the forced advertisement "quote"...  which kind of sums up exactly what is really going on in T-town - interesting huh!

Forbes Thought Of The Day

 What we call despair is often the painful eagerness of unfed hope. 
— George Eliot

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