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The Listening Project

February 2010 - The Region

The February survey featured a series of questions that polled respondents about their thoughts on regional assets and challenges and their longevity in Northeast Ohio.

Below are the February survey questions, and selected responses from the 331 respondents.

Question #1
What is the best thing about living in Northeast Ohio?

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“All of the things that we can do that are close: sports, museums, Lake Erie, the islands.”

“It is my ‘mother state’ - I was born here and I love it! People are kind, honest, open, friendly is best thing.”

“A metropolitan city with fabulous orchestra and theaters, all the major league sports, lots of restaurants and good shopping.”

“The best location in the nation.”

“We live in Sandusky. We watch WGTE and WVIZ (best of both worlds). Like being close to the lake and large cities.”

“The weather from mid April to mid November. Also, our many public parks, golf courses, our lake front and our plentiful supply of fresh water.”

“It’s my home - no matter what its faults are.”

“The hope that I may someday be able to move to North Carolina.”

“The plethora of cultural, educational, and entertainment venues available to the public.”

“Big city amenities but small town life.”

“The people! Generally kind and courteous.”

“It is the easiest major city to get around and enjoy. No crowds or traffic.”

“The foundation for a really great city still exists in the business and arts community.”

“We enjoy a wealth of institutions usually found in places with much larger populations - established when more, richer people lived here, and miraculously still here!”

“Four real seasons, including a summer that does not require central air conditioning. No traffic problems anything like east coast cities. Effectively limitless fresh water. High intensity 3 season wind resource just offshore in Lake Erie, and transmission lines already in place.”

“The direction we are headed. We are truly becoming a green city on a blue lake, great art community, neighborhoods increasingly bike friendly, abundant neighborhood farmers markets, low cost of living and many, many interesting people. I encourage everybody to settle down and live the rest of their life here (if they grew up here they must first live somewhere else for about 10 years).”

“We have many of the cultural assets of very large cities without the hassle, expense, traffic and other drawbacks of living in one of the huge metro areas.”

“The best thing about living here is all the different ethnicities of people that live here. It is fairly easy to experience other cultures - whether it is food from a restaurant, a festival or a music concert.”

“Our potential is unlimited. The cultural infrastructure remains intact from generation to generation (apparently) regardless of wavering economic considerations and waves of ‘brain drain,’ etc.”

“The people who continue to persevere even when its rivers burn, unemployment rising, jobs leaving, education costs rising and funding decreasing and the roly-poly green hills.”

“I believe the change of seasons and low cost of living is the best thing about Northeast Ohio. I think that this region still has the assets necessary to make it a vibrant city. I wish the green city blue lake would come true.”

“The cultural and community activities avail to someone able to afford the time and money to enjoy them. Excellent!!”

“The people. Maybe it’s the hardships we have experienced together but I have found them to be the most honestly friendly and down to earth people I have met.”

“I have lived here all my life and like it better each year that I am here.”

“The natural beauty and access to arts and culture. Also the strong manufacturing knowledge base. Almost anything you want made can be made here.”

“The unbeatable combination of an affordable lifestyle and easy access to a multiplicity of cultural and family-friendly activities in an uncongested, yet lively urban setting.”

“I think the best thing about living in Northeast Ohio is the people. If it weren’t for the friendly people I get to interact with everyday, I’m not sure this would be the place for me.”

“Northeast Ohio is like a microcosm of the United States. We have a little bit of everything here.”

“The variety of peoples with so much character, history to their settlement, modern culture celebrated with all at feasts and festivals is the best thing about Northeast Ohio.”

Question #2
What is the most pressing local challenge or problem for Northeast Ohio?

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“The economy! Creative business opportunities, improved education for city children-need for investment in the poorer areas i.e. East Cleveland and Cleveland.”

“We need to get people back to work. And make the streets safe for all of us.”

“Progressive thinking for politicians to get the county and city moving in a positive economic direction without political corruption.”

“Adopting metropolitan government for Greater Cleveland. Replacing all the government officials with good salesman and business to move greater Cleveland to its fullest potential.”

“Reducing the unemployment ratio, and making the transition to a clean energy and medical supply economy.”

“Number one is the lack of school funding and inequities of the quality of education depending on where you live.”

“Downtown Euclid and the fact that the city of Cleveland goes out of its way to tell people to ‘keep out.’”

“Get residents to believe in the area and to speak highly of its many benefits and great features.”

“Jobs by which living, working, and improving life, countered by expenses that we are coerced to pay by private big business, crime, all the taxes, expenses make this area unattractive.”

“We get in our own way and do the same old same old.”

“Restoring economic balance and bring life into depressed and dismal downtown areas. Idea Center and PlayhouseSquare a gem-make the rest of downtown lively.”

“Our collective lack of self esteem (not shared by everyone) and feelings of regional inferiority.”

“We don’t manufacture much of anything.”

“The care of our bridges and underground pipes that are so old. Many very old buildings are a concern.”

“Divisive politics fueled by racial tensions/fears and political balkanization.”

“We need to stop talking and start doing something about revitalizing the job situation in Cleveland. We’re not what we were-we need to move on to what we’ll become.”

“Getting rid of old school existing power structure to make way for new, bold economic ideas and policy.”

“Evolving a culture of civility and optimism. Where there is interaction between age groups and each benefiting from each other’s resources.”

“Our local economy has floundered and no large-scale industry or services have emerged to fill the void of lost manufacturing jobs.”

“Many locals, specifically those who have never lived anywhere else, complain about things yet do not support good change, i.e. bike trails, farmers markets, etc.”

“Addressing the unemployment issue. Employment opportunities have diminished and may not return anytime soon unless some proactive steps are taken to properly incentivize new/existing businesses into the region.”

“Getting things going in the city. People need to quit talking and move forward, as Chicago has done (however, it must be noted that it took them 20 years to rebuild their city!). Need to emphasize our positives, which are many!”

“Sprawl, tax revenues, especially to the inner city and close ring suburbs, as more and more of the wealthy keep moving further and further away from the city limits of Cleveland. Soon there will be no tax base to fund the actual city of Cleveland proper.”

“Somehow distilling, compressing, consolidating our government, our footprint without giving up any of the aforementioned advantages.”

“Creative thought to make ordinary Northeast Ohio buildings, bridges, everything much more innovative: whatever we do we should do to fascinate everyone in the world: architecture that helps heal, think, etc.”

“Getting to the root causes of poverty and expanding our notion of ‘economic inclusion’ to include women. Many of the jobs created by tax investments are in fields where women are severely underrepresented.”

“Regionalism. This is so necessary to reign in financial, political corruption and the maintenance of all the great services we have. Regionalism will allow that to happen and make Northeast Ohio an even better place to be.”

“That Cleveland is one of the poorest cities in the nation and the region has been all too often so poorly—and corruptly – governed.”

“Remaking the economic structure to compete in a world economy. Politicians need to stop bickering over fiefdoms and start working for the good of the city. Reducing the number of municipalities to 4 (a CBD, east side, south side and west side city) would reduce the amount of duplication of services and competition amongst cities.”

“That is easy, CORRUPTION. Can you imagine if all the funds that were misused by our government were actually put to good use? I believe that if anyone took time to investigate this matter, they would find that all the problems with our city from blight to poor city schools to widespread unemployment could have been averted if that money had not been robbed from us. I do not understand why people are not marching in our streets and demanding the return of misappropriated funds.”

“Getting the downtown area to be more appealing to people. I am still surprised at how many people are afraid to come downtown.”

“Finding new industries (technology, etc.) in which to focus for encouraging growth in the area in order to move beyond the ones that have collapsed (steel, manufacturing of goods that has been moved overseas, banks that moved/failed).”

“The same that it’s been since the 1960s: political stupidity and the complete lack of vision: the failure of the Medical Mart is only the latest example of the area’s “leaders” to actually get anything beneficial accomplished.”

“We need to stop pretending that everything is awful and go toward, not away from the issues.”

“Once Cuyahoga County government gets squared-away, I’m hopeful more businesses will be willing to invest here.”

“Apparently employment, although one would never know that from the many insane drivers on the road.”

“I think it’s a real problem when young people move away. The youth bring vibrancy to a region. They are creative, entrepreneurial and they are the future of this region.”

“Reducing boundaries is the most pressing challenge for Northeast Ohio. The boundaries are physical, like county lines, city limits and neighborhood designation, and metaphysical, like policy coordination, public and private interest, revenue sharing.”

“The Northeast Ohio brand, or what the brand has come to represent. For national media, it tends to mean a net loss of manufacturing jobs, corrupt local governments, metropolitan default, financial despair, and environmental failures. (The burning Cuyahoga over 40 years ago is a stigma we haven’t tried hard enough to shake.) The problem with this media perception is that it’s somewhat still true. Oh, and the weather, too!”

Question #3
How many years have you lived in Northeast Ohio?

February Question 3

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“Still best location in nation. Close to lots but still Midwestern ethics. Great venue for arts/sports.”

“I lived in Los Angeles for 13 years, and I always wanted to come back.”

“We have always been apologetic about living in Cleveland - I don’t feel that way, it’s a great place.”

“What happened to the glory days of ‘downtown’? The ‘up and down’ spirals over the years are disturbing.”

“87 years old + 3 months. Have traveled in Europe, Canada, Mexico: Ohio is best. 2 out of 3 children are Ohioans!”

“I have traveled extensively but would never want to live anywhere else.”

“Continuing, but worsening economically to live and survive here.”

“Downtown parking is a deterrent.”

“Am I friggin’ nuts?!”

“I like our changing seasons, even snow!”

“Once Clevelanders begin to appreciate our strengths and gain confidence this will be a truly great place to live.”

“Unfortunate division between east and west side.”

“I didn’t grow up here, so I’m still amazed that local people complain about Cleveland - our winters, etc. Our winters are not bad at all - Maine and Minnesota have ‘bad’ winters and we just have winters.”

“I love it here, my husband, a native, wishes to leave for a kinder climate with more sun and rigorous economy.”

“I love it here but people have to realize that if the hub is not strong and sound then the outlying areas will not successful either.”

“I was born here, left at 18 to study Architecture. I hit the door running and never planned to move back. Over 12 years later my husband had the opportunity to locate here for work and we realized we could have everything we wanted and more by living here. We are walking distance to the lake, regularly visit our terrific museums and beautiful park system, have short commutes yet can travel to anywhere in the world without getting in the car. So we have been here now over 10 years and it gets better every day. Fabulous.”

“In my 20 years in Cleveland I have come to realize what a special place it is!”

“I enjoy it here - there are many fun things to do and places to explore. I worry though about the lack of big picture planning - as long as I have been here, there is constant discussion of what to do about lakefront development, with lots of handwringing that goes nowhere.”

“I love it here. I am tired of hearing people complain about our weather. Chicago has very bad weather, at times, so does New York. Why are we always criticized? Quit complaining about weather on the local news. We have not had major disasters here.”

“Grew up in Akron, lived out of state for three years in the late ‘70s, have been back here ever since. I used to be excited about and proud of Cleveland. Now I’m late middle-aged and comfortable here, but mostly sad about the way the area works - or doesn’t.”

“Sometimes I wonder why I stay here - but it’s home.”

“I live in Akron, and I’ve seen it hit bottom, and manage to revive. I hope Cleveland can figure out a way to stay vibrant.”

“I really can’t see me living anywhere else. If I were rich and had several homes around the world, one of them would be here.”

“When we first moved here (1976) there were few decent restaurants and not many choices for entertainment. That has certainly changed!”

“Honestly, I love living here - I have traveled a lot but am always glad to come back to this area. My husband was born and raised in New York City and he would not leave for any amount of money.”

“Seems like it’s been the same old thing, year after year. I’ve been here 45 years, and the complaints are getting old. We need to be more progressive in our thinking.”

“I have mixed feelings about where we stand as a region. There are a lot of people tirelessly working to bring about a sustainable recovery, but there is a lot of corruption, misuse of power, and a lack of real leadership.”

“Deteriorating daily. Cleveland looks like a third world country in some areas. Is ugly and dangerous.”

“While Northeast Ohio is very affordable compared to other cities, we wonder if it makes sense to move to another city with growth potential.”

“Despite the offerings, sometimes it gets depressing. The weather doesn’t bother me, but the mindset does; there is too little pride of place and too much seeing it as a default rather than a choice.”

“Northeast Ohio is on a downswing. Too many inner ring suburbs are hurting, and people just don’t seem to care anymore.”

“A transplant from the New York/New Jersey area, I am continually delighted by the openness of people in the area - both to new people and new ideas.”

Question #4
Do you anticipate living in Northeast Ohio five years from now?

February Question 4

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“Can’t sell my house now in the down economy, even I wanted/need to move.”

“Who knows the way this economy is. I’m spending my savings at an alarming rate because everything keeps going up in cost and my social security stays the same!”

“Why would I move? So I’m removed from all that matters to me??”

“We’ve traveled all over the country and can’t find any place to come close to Cleveland’s quality of life.”

“Despite no political or corporate leadership, it is still a fun place to live.”

“I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this area, but I don’t think I could deal with moving yet again, plus I do like my house and neighborhood. I do my best to bloom where I’m planted.”

“This is my home. I’m retired and not going anywhere. I don’t know what the big deal is about Florida or Arizona.”

“This is the best location in the nation, weather-wise. The people are gracious and set good examples for children and neighbors.”

“I will not be in Cuyahoga County!”

“I am afraid economics will push me toward other opportunities - Columbus? Chicago? Carolinas?”

“I own a home here now, so unless there is just a dream job out of town for my wife or myself, I see little chance of a move.”

“Although we’ve considered going elsewhere for retirement years, we will probably stay here because our friends are here and - where else can we live on the lake and have such a beautiful affordable home?”

“I’m considering looking for a better job elsewhere.”

“I would like to move somewhere warmer, and frankly, less industrial. This is purely an aesthetic thing for me. I don’t have a lot of family here, so the ties don’t bind that tight.”

“I will stay in Northeast Ohio as long as my sons can attend good schools and get a good education. I will leave if, by the time they graduate, this city has not managed to turn things around. I have been waiting for over 40 years. I think I have been more than patient.”

“The physical environment, cultural assets and new sustainability movement are attractive enough to make me want to stay in spite of the difficulty in dealing with the potential for being the victim of crime or violence that seems to be becoming part of the character of the urban areas around the city. But it grows more tempting each year to leave my inner ring suburb for the quieter outer suburbs.”

“I spent 8 years in Cincinnati, and always missed Cleveland while I was there. Then I spent 3 years in Chicago, and I saw what a city could become with good planning and perhaps a little luck.  Needless to say, I didn’t stay in Chicago. I came home to be near family and to get away from a city that I felt was too big and crowded. I just wish we could take some of Chicago’s population (but not too many people!) and move them to Cleveland to revitalize our city. I plan to stay here and to be a part of the solution. I purchase local products and shop in mom and pop businesses whenever I can. I live in Lakewood, so this is easy to do. I also support the arts here as much as I can afford to do so.”

“I’ll probably still be in Akron or Cleveland five years from now. Growing up around Youngstown, I always wanted to move somewhere more exciting like New York City when I grew up. But living in Florida for a few years made me look at Northeast Ohio in a different way, and I appreciate it more now. It definitely needs improvements, but I’m more proud of this area than I was before, and I care more about supporting local organizations like WCPN and the parks. I also try to support local businesses more.”

“I’ve been out of work for six months. There’s only so long I can stick around. Don’t worry, I’ll send money home like a proper refugee.”

Question #5
How do you rate this region as a place to live?

February Question 5

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“I have lived in NJ (New York City suburb), Syracuse, NY, Washington D.C., Canton NY, and Long Island. Have liked them all, but Cleveland area beats them.”

“What we have to offer is great with all of the things to do. But we need to make Cleveland and the surrounding places safer.”

“Despite the problems this has always been a good place to live when you confront the challenges - you can’t do anything about the weather but you can cope with it.”

“Right now it’s fair. We have so many assets we don’t capitalize on; such as lake front, hospital systems, and not favorable in bringing in business.”

“We need more cooperation among communities and for God’s sake and the sake of our future will somebody please fix Cleveland schools and politics!”

“I love being close to Lake Erie, but I wish there were more upscale restaurants and public access on the lake front.”

“Who can you trust? Where can one go to live and not lose your shirt?”

“When (and if) downtown is transformed, it would merit the ‘excellent’ rating.”

“Midwesterners are solid, good, hardworking people. They are real. Family and friends are important.”

“Northeast Ohio has so much promise and culture, however, we are splintered, always waiting for someone to do something while we fight - more interested in our personal status.”

“Cleveland’s most important resources are its hard working people and its wonderful parks and vast supply of fresh water.”

“No matter where you live, there are problems.”

“I can’t say excellent. What place is? It is a good place to live based on its blue collar/ethnic past.”

“Cleveland seems to be a dying city, with no real plan to reverse that.”

“Manufacturing base has been lost. Families have to help raise and educate children; not just the school and job. Giving schools more money doesn’t do it.”

“Low cost of living, arts and culture, education and medical care are top notch. But too much of the city seems ‘stuck’ and depressed economically.”

“The horrendous winters are a given, but I worry about my neighbors, many of whom have lost their jobs - and have few prospects. It is tough watching my community grow poorer each year.”

“There is not enough growth to accommodate the current population let alone the children who will enter the job force in 10 years.”

“Moved here in ‘96 and Cleveland was hopping. Pretty much dead now downtown, and spreading. Same great fundamentals.”

“Would be hard to find another place in the country with this combination of assets and low cost of living.”

“I wish I could ride my bike to work but it is not safe to drive through the city without bike lanes. I have always been sad about how difficult it is to access the lakeshore.”

“The excellent stuff is outweighed by our awful local government and the stupid things they do, like the medical mart. If there is any way they can screw something up (Medical Mart, Euclid Corridor, whatever), they will.”

“It’s a great place to live; we just get a bad rap. We really need to focus on our strengths and show the rest of the county what is so great about us instead of wallowing in our sorrows.”

“Northeast Ohio is too cliquey… too preppie… cities, as small as they are, are too isolated from each other (even east & west side are isolated from each other). There is little that unites all or segments of Northeast Ohio.”

“The answer totally depends on an individual’s situation. For some of us it’s excellent and for others poor. For me personally it’s good but that’s because of my own needs and abilities.”

“Good assets, but we need more educated young people, and need to build connections between the scattered destination areas (Univ. Circle/Warehouse district/Tremont/etc.) so that they’re not all isolated pockets surrounded by rundown areas.”

“Northeast Ohio won’t be an excellent place to live until we get people and businesses back in downtown Cleveland, and create a much better public transit system. A recent visit to Portland, OR showed me that a smaller city like Cleveland can be just as vibrant as New York City if it has things like light rail, affordable, good-quality housing and shops people actually want to patronize. We have a long way to go to be as nice as Portland, but I think we can get there.”

“No doubt, it’s better than some metro areas, but it’s not the most compelling place to live, either.”

“Northeast Ohio needs a new brand - a new, cohesive identity. The area is suffering from an identity crisis and no one has stepped up to offer engaging solutions.”

Question #6
What organizations contribute to making the region a better place to live?

Respondents to this question created – with their written responses – a lengthy list of regional organizations. Here’s a sample of organizations mentioned:

• Bainbridge Community United Church of Christ
• Baldwin-Wallace College
• Beck Center
• Case Western Reserve University
• Chagrin Falls Rec Center
• City Mission
• Cleveland Art Museum
• Cleveland Browns
• Cleveland Cavaliers
• Cleveland Chamber of Commerce
• Cleveland Clinic
• Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation
• Cleveland Food Bank
• Cleveland Foundation
• Cleveland Growth
• Cleveland Indians
• Cleveland Institute of Music
• Cleveland Metroparks
• Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
• Cleveland Museum of Natural History
• Cleveland Orchestra
• Cleveland State University
• Crawford Auto Museum
• Cuyahoga Community College
• Cuyahoga County Public Library
• Cuyahoga Valley National Park
• First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland
• Great Lakes Science Center
• Kent State University
• Lake County Metro Parks
• League of Women Voters
• MAGNET
• Mentor Senior Center
• MetroHealth
• NASA Glenn Research Center
• NOACA
• Oberlin College
• Parkvue Place
• PlayhouseSquare
• Red Cross
• Salvation Army
• Sierra Club
• St. Peter’s Church
• United Way
• University Circle
• University Hospitals
• University of Akron
• WCPN
• Western Reserve Historical Society
• WVIZ

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“Not sure I can pick any specific one… they all add their colors to the mural.”

“From a recreational standpoint, you can’t beat the Cleveland Metroparks and all of the museums, most notably the Cleveland Museum of Art. The major employers are also instrumental in making the region a better place to live (Cleveland Clinic, UHOC, CWRU, Progressive, etc.), not just because they provide jobs but they also support many community programs and activities.”

“The media, especially lately, has been a great source of causing change in local government, which will need to happen if the local economy is to improve.”

“I am an active volunteer with AFS, the leading international student exchange organization and I watch students and families live and learn together every year making huge strides in intercultural understanding and maturity. Tri-C changes lives dramatically giving hope and structure and a path for so many. WCPN is my source of interesting info. There are so many more!”

“Not many. Most organizations are wrapped up in their own survival. The tightest circle of friends is the only organization you need.”

“Well, and I believe this: WVIZ and PBS do so much to lift our community. Also, local talents and artists that play a role on our local world.”

“Any organization that helps tutor or provide activities for the Cleveland Public Schools. Children are very necessary and we need more of them.”

Question #7
How can ideastream help assist in making the region a better place to live?

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“Emphasize and lift up young students and the good they do and ideas they have as role models. Reward them and support them.”

“I feel we need to promote more what Northeast Ohio has to offer. Make things more affordable for families and the blue collar working man.”

“A forum for helping new businesses and business ideas. If we create a great job base crime will go down-people will not be as desperate and resort to desperate measures.”

“You are! I love watching the programs about our local areas, museums, the lake, etc. Plus PBS has the best educational and informative broad-based programs on TV!”

“Broadcast local ethnic and cultural events that make our area unique.”

“Tackle some of the really tough problems and pin down our officials to answer: corruption in city/county politics, why can’t city schools get better? (not just money), why not more programs for mentally ill and support for their families?”

“Sponsor/facilitate symposiums for all government, union, and non profits to work together on goals.”

“Take a few of the many studies on Lake Erie to develop the Lake. Use your bully pulpit and P.R. abilities to fund a project to actually do something to set the ball rolling.”

“More programs like ‘Applause.’ Visiting various small communities and televise the inside of shops and businesses and art studios, interviewing students at our colleges.”

“Just keep informing and reminding people that this is a great area to live and raise a family!”

“Promote more positive aspects of the region.”

“It already does this quite well! The ideastream concept is one that would do well in all locales.”

“Unique places to see in Ohio. It would be nice to take family members on tight budget.”

“Develop occasions that bring various neighborhoods together. Set them up.”

“More small scale coverage of live events on the web: use media tech to get more content from local events.”

“Show Cleveland Cultural Gardens as the scenes between the shows (as you have done with Lorain’s Lakefront Park, Chagrin Falls, etc.) It would expose this hidden gem!”

“WVIZ now is fantastic, offering so many choices in programs. Keep up the great job!”

“There used to be a lot more jazz on WCPN. I miss that.”

“The children’s programs are great. Keep out the crime programs as well. There are too many violent programs on mainstream media.”

“Profile volunteer organizations and ways people can help - city, suburb, hospitals, theaters, etc.”

“Zero in on communities. Feature one each week-let residents tell some positives about that community.”

“Highlight educational programs for unemployed or underemployed citizens.”

“Lighten up with a little more humor.”

“ideastream is already doing a terrific job for all ages.”

“Work with newspapers to make all public office holders responsible for their policies and actions. Promote real leaders, even if their ideas are unpopular in the short term.”

“You should do programming on Cuyahoga County/Northeast Ohio/State in crisis. In this way, the public will be more informed and can vote the crooks out of the office.”

“Emphasis on regionalism, education. How about a program on fragmented school systems in Ohio - that would take guts.”

“Be a leader in getting republicans and democrats to work together, fight gridlock.”

“Striking a balance between being a champion of Cleveland and a constructive critic. We have much to be proud of, but much more to do.”

“I value ideastream’s commitment to presenting a balanced view of the challenges faced by this region and all who reside here. Keep up the good work!”

“Provide programs that educate and inform the community on how to be a better consumer on topics such as avoiding marketing scams and online/web security.”

“Be the voice, eyes and ears of the region - be positive when you can; realistic when you need to be; and angry when you should be.”

“Bring in those guests who are active in making the community stronger; give them a place to talk to the rest of us; encourage them to provide specific suggestions to the listeners about how we can help. Continue to provide a place for open debate about the issues and opportunities for our region.”

“There are many talented writers in this area who are not big names. Give some of them a chance to be heard.”

“Give more air time to the good things happening in our communities so we don’t become overwhelmed by the bad.”

“Keep both sides of any controversial topic balanced when it is presented and discussed. It helps both sides be heard and helps both sides understand each other so they can come closer together to find solutions.”

“Keep doing what you are doing; ideastream is truly one of the region’s assets.”

“Build a sense of community with programs events that encourage people to see how much we have in common.”

“I think ideastream could be a major force in bringing green technology to the area. Why aren’t these industries being actively pursued? What is the mayor doing? What is our governor doing to help this region? Our president was just here (in Lorain), it seems all where hear is talk about how they know how bad it is, but nobody is doing anything!”

“Promote discussions on the big issues facing the area and ADVERTISE so those who don’t usually listen to/watch the public stations will do so for those events.”

“Provide forums where residents can have input into the decision making process, for example the forum that Dan Moulthrop moderated where the Public Square options were presented & discussed.”

“Reach into Northeast Ohio communities with programs that allow residents to learn more about the issues affecting us all, provide a forum to raise their voices so public and elected officials hear them; give innovative thinkers and inventors an outlet for their ideas.”

“This will sound negative to an extreme, but I really think we need to stop looking at what’s right about Northeast Ohio, and really look carefully at what’s wrong and why and how can it be fixed. Cleveland has had a terrible inferiority complex for as many years as I can remember, and taking a public forum to stand up and say ‘We’re a great city’ is like kids in school chanting ‘I am somebody’ over and over. It just doesn’t work. People aren’t respectable because they say they are; they’re respectable because they earn it. Cleveland will never become a great city again by declaring itself to be; it needs to rebuild the schools, throw out the city council and county commissioners and start over, define how it can integrate all the great things in this region to create a user-friendly, citizen-based area where the political and business moguls must produce what they keep promising. What is it about cities like Pittsburgh and Chicago and Chattanooga that are attracting business and new residents and tourists, and whatever it is why have we not done it here?”

“I listen more and more via the Internet. Appreciate being able to take things with me on my iPhone, available at the time of my choosing.”

“Provide a regular forum for rational, open discussion to occur regarding hard issues facing Northeast Ohio that includes broad base of community decision makers - elected officials (Democrats and Republicans); CEO’s of private sector companies (most important - these are the people investing money and creating jobs); non-profit executive directors (they create jobs as well); academics. Then broadcast discussions as broadly as possible - YouTube, website, Twitter, TV, radio, Cleveland Magazine, The Plain Dealer, Sun Papers, etc. There’s a lot of innovation happening here, and people need to know about it.”

“More ‘What You Can Do To Make A Difference’ kind of stories that don’t just report a problem but offer perspective on how big a problem it really is and how one person can make a difference. We are bombarded with bad news, issues, problems and not given perspective (how likely is an earthquake, how many people have actually developed brain tumors from cell phones, how many children are kidnapped by strangers) and then not given ideas on how to work toward a long term solution.”

“I would be more interested in local programming that wasn’t so political and/or artistically focused. It would be nice to hear about ‘regular’ folks who achieve some pretty extraordinary things.”

“The news programming that provides information on local, regional and state issues is so important. I don’t think I would know what bills were being discussed in Columbus if it weren’t for WCPN. People can’t get involved in these issues if they don’t know what they are.”

“During local programming, WCPN could try to broaden the scope of its stories, which tend to be very Cleveland-centric.”

“Somehow expand listening audience. We have friends who should be listening – NPR News is so much better than the other stations - how can we spread the word?”

“You ‘preach to the choir.’ People who listen to ideastream already are pretty much actively engaged in the community. Need to figure out how to reach those who are not.”

“Continue its mission to provide access to great programming for the general public, for FREE. It’s the only channel worth watching.”

“The problems of inner ring suburbs have to be discussed more - Cleveland isn’t the only area hurting.”

“Perhaps by producing media such as video documentaries that are designed to be viewed outside of Cleveland/Northeast Ohio. If people in Boston, New York, Atlanta, or LA could watch a documentary about this area that’s informative and engaging, ideastream could play a role in painting a new picture about this area.”

“Doing more research like this can really help ideastream get to know their publics.”

“If it would be possible to showcase or list more of the activities and programs happening in the region, that would be great. I also would like to see more of a focus on people, business or institutions that are making a positive impact on the region. I hope that this would help show residents of Northeast Ohio that there are a lot of wonderful things here for them. They don’t have to travel to other cities for world class museums and music. They don’t have to move to another city to start up a business venture. There’s so much here if people would just take a look beyond the past and the prevailing negative attitude.”

Question #8
Have you responded to any of these prior Listening Project surveys? (choose all that apply)

February Question 8

Here are some thoughts from respondents to this question.

“Glad you’re promoting these for meeting community needs and wants.”

“I haven’t been to your website before. Was just looking for school closing list this morning and got sidetracked.”

“Would be interested in learning what ideastream is doing to promote itself and the region in ways which benefit all concerned. (Hint: It should be in membership pitches.)”

“ideastream needs to continue outreach and increase the number of listeners.”

“Be careful not to have the feedback support a pre-formed conclusion. I saw this in early workshops.”

“I respond whenever asked.”

“I appreciated the program coordination of ideastream and the Plain Dealer on depression. Please do something similar on childhood obesity, successful charter schools and recent tie-ins to public schools.”

“I appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinion.”

“Bravo on covering the essential problems and ways that they are being dealt with in our Northeast Ohio (region) /state or national areas.”

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