Man, is he brutal about his hometown in Newsweek.
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I don't know if I'd call it bleak so much as a look at how Toledo seems to have bad luck and bad timing when it comes to "the next big thing" (let's hope the new casino doesn't fall into this category).
But it does mention how immigrants from all over came to Toledo to build a good life, and have for the most part, at a relatively low cost. Mentions the good things in the city in the last few paragraphs.
Worst thing in the online version is the photograph of the decayed bridge--kind of frames the whole story (i.e. "Toledo is a junkyard").
March 11, 2011 Toledo Blade story
For being a very accomplished writer, this piece is very biased and even false in many ways.
The bridge is not in Toledo, most of those companies have been consolidated (not moved or out of business), the department stores have been gone for decades, and labor troubles and riots have occurred all over the country.
Aside from the photo of the bridge, everything he says is true.
He is careful to point out: "but somehow Toledo, with all its busts and flops, managed to provide ordinary people with an ordinary good life. And it still does."
In one page he has defined Toledo more accurately than others have in volumes.
I'm no hater, but it is what it is.
P.J. O'Rourke is an overblown windbag...
O'Rourke's article bears more resemblance to Toledo than the gun control article (2,405 Shot Dead Since Tucson) bears to safety and common sense. But then, how much is that really saying?
I wrote about the article here should anyone care to read - I don't recommend it, but that's just me.
O'Rourke makes a lot of money impersonating a learned man with real delusions of importance. I suppose if someone offered me that kind of money, I might be able to crank out a serious article or two about Toledo, the lousy economy and The Anointed One.
Pretty sure that is a picture of an abondoned rail bridge closer to Waterville. Regardless, if this bridge were in Boston, it'd be call quaint.
"Downtown, the department stores are closed, as are most of the shops, theaters, restaurants, and bars."
What the hell is he talking about lumping bars and restaurants in with the closed department stores and theaters? Has this joker even been downtown in the last five years? The last time I looked, there were lots of bars and restaurants. I would even go so far as to say downtown is Toledo's unofficial hub of bars - there must be at least twenty.
And what has O'Rourke actually done for Toledo? He comes off like yet another 'can't wait to get out' imbecile who would rather bash the town than lift a finger to make it better.
Former residents who stand high atop their soapboxes and spout negative propaganda about our town are persona non grata (unwelcome). I hope the door did not hit you on your way out, Mr. O'Rourke.
"He is careful to point out: "but somehow Toledo, with all its busts and flops, managed to provide ordinary people with an ordinary good life. And it still does."
Sorry, but I don't see that as a compliment. I guess the photo of the bridge made you feel good, too. If I had never been to Toledo and read that column in Newsweek, I would make sure to avoid Toledo at all costs. I never understood why Toledoans who find success in other cities find it necessary to slam their hometown.
I like the picture of that bridge. I've photographed it numerous times myself in different seasons.
I think PJ hit the nail on the head. If it really annoys some of you so much, how about doing something about it. If you're waiting for the assholes on our City Council to change things, you're going to be disappointed. Change will only come for the better when we vote in people that really want to do things that are worthwhile. Most of the idiots have a lunch bucket mentality and absolutely no vision for the future and figure that more taxes must be the answer.
I went to Toronto CA ( POP 5M, largest City in CA) last summer in August. It's not an apples to apples comparison certainly, but some things stood out. People live and work in the City. They actually live there. They dont run to the suburbs. There's no need to flee to a safer or more livable environment. Streets were planted with trees and flowering container gardens maintained by the City. Every residence including apartment buildings had a front garden. Even in the heart of the business district there were trees and gardens. Not tired, thirsty, dry, weedy gardens but truely beautiful ones. City neighborhoods had businesses, shops and restaurants galore. Not toney, touristy stuff but hardware stores and dry cleaners and green grocers and florists shops and little bakeries - you name it. It is a wonderfully multi-ethnic environment. You could get anything you needed walking from your house or apartment and people walked everywhere, going about their daily errands. About 10% of the residents had a dog with them and there was no excrement on the sidewalks. When I saw that I knew what was wrong with Toledo and that it cant be fixed. We dont have the guts, brains, energy, money and vision to make Toledo 'Livable'. It's too late.
The central city, with the exception of those hardy souls who cling to the Old West End, is crime ridden and derilict. It will not ever change for the better. Not ever. The rot will just continue to spread even with the University of Toledo trying to carve out a safe environment by property aquisition. Give it up folks. Game over.
I have been to Toronto Canada at least a dozen times.It is our favorite big city.But to compare Toledo or any other city in Ohio to Toronto is like comparing apples to oranges.Toledo doesn't even have 300,000 people,so why would you think we could ever compete with Toronto?As far as gardens and flowers,Carty tried to beautify the downtown area and all he got was criticism.We really enjoyed the trips we made to Toronto,but it is not a city that we would want to live in.It is much too big for our tastes.Toledo has its faults as do many cities in the rust belt,but it is where we will stay and call home.If one does not like it here you can always move to another city and leave the rest of us to our misery.
Regardless of size, to remain viable, a city needs people who will work there and live there. You can't do either in much of Toledo. The jobs are gone and the neighborhoods are rotting. "Flowers and trees" are the tiniest part of the equation. They make it pleasant to live and work but they don't make vibrant neighborhoods or provide much in the way of jobs. Kind of the frosting on the cake. We have no damn cake.
All I hear in this thread is a lot of needless pissing and moaning. Toledo is what you make of it. If you have a job here and can't find anything "fun" to do, you would probably feel the same way anywhere. And when I say Toledo, I mean the greater Toledo area. Cities don't make the people what they are, people make the cities.
There are plenty of people all across the country who live in smaller and more crime ridden towns that remain happy. Stop looking at external factors to determine your happiness.
If being close to family is such a huge concern (as I have heard before on this board) then move within a reasonable driving distance to shed the Toledo image. Ann Arbor, Bowling Green, Findlay, even Cleveland are all close enough for a daytrip.
"a city needs people who will work there and live there" - Last time I checked there were plenty of people still living and working here. Admittedly it is not as many as it once was, but that does not mean there is a downward spiral effect going on. This is the same mentality that in a busy, bustling, city complains about travel time, cost of living, house prices, etc. Move, quit complaining, or change it yourself. Government cannot fix the problems without the support of the public at large. Even then, the solution would be speculative. Last time I checked, Government Center was not overrun with thousands of concerned citizens. There is just too much good reality TV on, I guess.
How much does a house in Toronto cost that is within walking distance to the central business district? A lot more than a pessimist from Toledo is willing to pay for.
And don't get me wrong, I'm no diehard Toledo supporter. I had already come to terms with moving out of town and away from family when I lucked out and ended up in my current job. I find happiness in the people I care about, my job, my health, being on the positive side of my bills, and minding my own business. It's a happiness that no amount of flowers, small shops, bars, dog walking people, and restaurants can make up for.
brainswell - Have you actually been to Toronto? Because if you had you should have seen that your cost of housing question doesn't apply. Housing proximity to the central business district is not a necessary goal. The seemingly endless neighborhoods that surround the central business district are each self sufficient and sustainable with small shops and businesses and without the need to commute to the central business district. Housing in those neighborhoods is affordable and plentiful. It's a minor commute to the big enterprises downtown. Vehicle parking is however, extremely difficult. In fact parking anywhere is a real chore. They will boot you in a heart beat.
I've been to Toronto. It's a nice, clean city and I enjoyed myself. They have a public transportation system that actually works, they have a low crime rate and the metro area thrives.
Comparing Toronto to Toledo is not like apples to oranges. I'd use the analogy of an ancient IBM manual typewriter and a modern laptop with MS Word. Toronto is a fairly recent development and all the facets were carefully planned out. You can't just buy property and erect a building in Toronto like you can in any other city in the United States. Your building must conform and the government must believe the building is needed by the city. You also have the Canadian government and the attendant social services - like free health care for everyone. That means taxes, which are reflected in the high cost of living in Toronto. Go out on the town and get some sticker shock over the cost of a drink if you don't believe me.
Yes, Toronto is a nice place. I wouldn't live there.
I have not been to Toronto. Would like to get up there sometime to visit tough.
However, a little searching reveals that about 8 miles out from downtown Toronto the going rate for a 3 bedroom townhouse is about 350k plus. Definitely not a starter home, and quite a purchase when about 60% of families in greater Toronto make less than 70k per year, according to 2001 figures.
Holland, I beg to differ on Toronto housing prices. Have you ever watched House Hunters on HGTV? They do a lot of episodes in Toronto and its suburbs, and from what I've seen, for the most part, it has some generally high prices compared to Toledo - kind of like a Chicago or east cost city like Philadelphia. Depending on what people are looking for (house, condo, townhome, high-rise, etc.), central city properties seem to go for anywhere between $400,000 to well over $1million. When people are looking in the suburbs, single family homes that would be on the serious low end here (older, outdated, nothing fancy) are going for $400-$500,000 easy. The average house costs about $125,000 here and I'm not sure what that would buy a studio apartment in Toronto.
I stand corrected. Last August we did not look at housing, although we did look at the home prices listed in the Toronto Sun. Below is an excellent article about Toronto housing and some of the reasons it is more expensive. Number 1. Urban development is tightly controlled, which leads to pent up demand. Number 2. Housing didnt tank with the financial crisis we experienced here. While housing in the US took a terrible dip in value, housing values actually appreciated in Toronto, in one period as much as 118%.
Although it's a big city, especially compared to Holland, OH -Pop 2,000 I could live there. There is just so much cultural enrichment that I would love to partcipate in. Why not move there at least in the summer? If I could afford Canada it would be the west coast in Vancouver. Incredibly beautiful, wonderful climate, but the cost of living there is astronomical. We've looked and it's no can do.