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The Sound of Ideas

Concern over West 6th Street

Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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Concern over West 6th Street Cleveland's Warehouse District is a happening place: You can enjoy a fine meal, cry in your beer as the Browns play across big screen TVs or dance the night away in a packed club. But rowdy behavior, bad publicity and a perception of racism threaten all that. Business and political leaders are trying to keep the district safe and thriving so it doesn't suffer the same fate as the Flats. Can they succeed?

Tags

Economy, Regional Economy/Business - News, Government/Politics, Other, Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement

Guests

Terry Schwarz, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
Jeff Johnson, Cleveland City Council, Ward 8
Joe Cimperman, Cleveland City Council, Ward 3
Mack Danzey, Proprietor, Tequila Ranch
Joseph Carey, Proprietor, Club Lust
Blaine Griffen, Director, Community Relations Board, City of Cleveland

Additional Information

Warehouse District struggles with popularity, race issues and the legacy of the Flats, Robert L. Smith, The Plain Dealer

Leave a Comment

Please follow our community discussion rules when composing your comments.

Molly Fiedler 9:13 AM 9/22/10

I totally agree that W. 6th is turning into the how the flats were.. out of control crowd of young “kids”. I am 32 years old and the flats was never my scene when I was in my 20’s. I loved the “young professional” feel of W.6th. I live in Marietta, Ohio now but visit Cleveland often.  I was up there in June of this year. The bars were closing and me and my friend were waiting on a cab, i felt something hit my head and next thing I was bleeding all over the place! A crowd of black kids were fighting and me and my friend could not get away ...one must have elbowed me or I was hit by a beer bottle. I ended up getting 11 stiches in my head. The Warehouse district is definately not what it was!!!  I was there for St Pats of this year and I was amazed at how many young out of control kids there were.. white and black. Its not a racist thing. The Warehouse has definately turned into how the Flats were.

----------anmys-------- 9:36 AM 9/22/10

(as a bartender in the wearhouse district) its not about race it is a lack of respect especialy with the younger crowd (21-31)they ,not all, can be quite rude do not care about athority this is also females not just men. when alcohol is involed it’s like their senses are turned off

Don 9:38 AM 9/22/10

I hate how everyone hates the police, that is, until that particluar person needs that police officer.  It is ridiculous to say the police should have stopped doing their job once the “knuckle heads” got on the street.  They are the police, it is their job to remove people like that in order to protect the public’s well being.  And, the police have a right to protect themselves, I fully support their actions in that video.  They did absolutely nothing wrong as far as I am concerned.  Let’s stop hating the police and let’s support them as they do their job.

Concerned 9:51 AM 9/22/10

I want Jeff Johnson to sit and observe how patrons act outside Warehouse bars at closing time and the police reaction to any problems that may occur.  He is naive as to what is really happening down in that area.

Travis Barker 9:51 AM 9/22/10

Contempt of cop is not a crime. Many officers have a bad attitude when they approach a citizen. Often times the citizen also has a bad attitude. The difference is, cops are paid and trained. If someone on the street argues with a cop, the cop needs to bend over backward to be nice unless there is a crime. Otherwise the public’s attitude toward cops will continue to go south.

Joane Johnson 10:04 AM 9/22/10

What the councilman said is true. Most white people just don’t get it.  Let me get away from the district.  My son and his wife own a home in Old Brooklyn.  They are responsible, upward moving, upper middle class, no children couple.  My son is 37.  He has been stopped backing out of his drive or two houses from home by this same cop to ID him.  They have lived in this home for over 10 yrs.  They are well liked and respected by their neighbors.  They may be the only black people on their street, I’m not sure.  Why is he stopping him?  Yet, we are to take it.  They can abuse us and our sons and we are to take it. Incidents such as this put me, automatically, wrong or right in prof. Gates corner.  We know the history.  It isn’t pretty.  There is a double standard.  Has been forever.  My daughter found it out at BGSU.  They had a club, mostly black, that had a fight on campus.  it was closed and never allowed to reopen.  The white club had multiple fights, underage service, drugs.  They would shut it down and it would reopen in a matter of days.  You tell me if race isn’t involved.  I respect police officers.  They’re in my family.  Yet, I tell them, also, when one over steps his bounds.  From an officer, the problem my son has is considered ‘harrassment’.

Tyler Leary 10:29 AM 9/22/10

The last commetn made by Jeff Johnson, i believe, about black patrons at restarants not being good tippers… well, everyone, including black waiters and waitresses, agree that more often than not(sorry Mr. Johnson, you are an EXCEPTION), black people do not tip very well, if anything, and they are overly demanding, and have their server running around all over the place.  This isnt an “urban ledgend”, this is “how it is”. i am not a racist, but i dont think overlooking whats going on is very conducive to any kind of beneficial result. Those kids were drinking, the bar was closed, the cops were moving people out, the kids decided to argue with the cops, get aggressive, and got punched.  thats what happens.  Thats whats happened to me, when i was belligerant in the same situation.  Yes, Mr Johnson, we DO have the right to argue with cops, but i think its best to save those arguements for times when we havent been drinking or in a bar type atmosphere, where things tend to be more “charged” so to speak.

Playing the race card evertime a black person does something that the rest of us arent allowed to do is rediculous.  You should be held accountable for your actions regardless of what color you are.

thank you.

Jessica Lewis 10:40 AM 9/22/10

Hello:

Thanks so much for, daily, opening up a forum for discussions that almost never take place in Cleveland.

I found both in-house guests to be open, with very little finger pointing or name calling taking place.

However, I was truly dis-heartened to listen in, and find that many of the valid discussion points lead to a discussion of justification of what clearly is misconduct.

I found that the moderator did a poor job. He was not only clearly partial on many subjects, the callers who tuned in, added nothing to the discussion.

This is a discussion that should take place again, but with another moderator. Perhaps one who wont lose focus of the goal: resolution.

Rob Mihaly, Lakewood 11:52 AM 9/22/10

I listened to your discussion this morning about problems in the Warehouse District. When Joe Cimperman stated that “...the city is growing...”, a not-so-little voice in my head said, “WHAATT???” Surely he misspoke of a city that’s been shrinking for more than half a century. Perhaps he meant that the district is growing, but that’s not what came out. Every area that’s reinventing itself has had its teething problems. The Flats succumbed to theirs. But it seems the greatest issue in the Warehouse District is loitering by crowds of people too young to be allowed entry to the establishments. If they know they can’t get in, why are they there? Doesn’t it seem that maybe we haven’t gotten the real story? Would anyone want these crowds in their neighborhood in the early AM hours?

Jay 11:53 AM 9/22/10

The reaction of Councilman Johnson to a previous caller is proof that people like him AND the NAACP ARE the problem.

They are quick to accuse, play the race card as they did do immediately, and then when they’re proven wrong with facts, they make excuses, deflect attention and do anything short of apologizing for their baseless accusations.  In this case, a video was released that disproved the baseless accusations immediately slung by the race-card players of the Cleveland NAACPP and Jeff Johnson and Zach Reed and that’s all they’ve been doing—including this morning.  They are always quick to accuse the police of wrongdoing.  THEY are an embarrassment.

This is why people in Cleveland do not have these race-card players seriously—after all, they make money from crying racism when it does not exist.  If someone accused me of racism, they’d find themselves in court so quickly, their head would spin.  And Mr. Johnson is no stranger to the courtroom.  I hope the police file a lawsuit against LIARS like Jeff Johnson, Stanley Miller and the rest of race-card players at the NAACP

George 11:55 AM 9/22/10

I suggest the exchange that we just witnessed between Councilman Johnson and Director Blain is a good example of what’s wrong with this community.

Why does someone have to be wrong!  Why can’t they work better together in solving issues instead on focuing on whose wrong and who has or has not done what.

James W. Adams, Columbus 11:56 AM 9/22/10

Another side of this is the police riot in Virginia Beach in the late 1980s against black students at a “Greek Week” gathering at the oceanfront.  This sort of stuff ramps up racist issues.  These students were not knuckleheads and had done nothing to offend anyone.  The cops rioted and sprayed so much tear gas that months later tear gas powder was still blowing around the streets.

Joane S. Johnson, Cleveland 11:57 AM 9/22/10

What the councilman said is true. Most white people just don’t get it.  Let me get away from the district.  My son and his wife own a home in Old Brooklyn.  They are responsible, upward moving, upper middle class, no children couple.  My son is 37.  He has been stopped backing out of his drive or two houses from home by this same cop to ID him.  They have lived in this home for over 10 yrs.  They are well liked and respected by their neighbors.  They may be the only black people on their street, I’m not sure.  Why is he stopping him?  Yet, we are to take it.  They can abuse us and our sons and we are to take it. Incidents such as this put me, automatically, wrong or right in prof. Gates corner.  We know the history.  It isn’t pretty.  There is a double standard.  Has been forever.  My daughter found it out at BGSU.  They had a club, mostly black, that had a fight on campus.  it was closed and never allowed to reopen.  The white club had multiple fights, underage service, drugs.  They would shut it down and it would reopen in a matter of days.  You tell me if race isn’t involved.

John 11:57 AM 9/22/10

Let’s be honest. Depending upon your age, you are more comfortable with cultural trends. Part of the issue is what is perceived as hip hop culture, ie. Oversize clothes, sagging, large jewerly, music seen as hypersexual or violent, and loudness. Many caucasians are threatened and annoyed by this or downright afraid. When you are going to establishments that are quite expensive and don’t want to deal with perceived uncivilized behavior.

John in Cleveland 11:59 AM 9/22/10

I don’t think this last incident involved banking “executives”.  These guys may have worked at a bank, but I’ve never heard of a 22 year old being an executive at a bank and if I did, I wouldn’t bank there.  I think they were labeled as such to sensationalize the story.  These were merely two young black men with a job that did not know how to behave downtown, period.  Come downtown, but behave and leave the hood mentality at home.  Public behavior messed up the flats, not the bar owners.

mikeincleveland 11:23 PM 9/22/10

jeff johnson just wants to run for mayor (again) so he’s picking his opponent (Jackson) so he has someone to stand up against and make his face visible again in front of the cameras- specifically the east side residents and the preachers.
As for Mayor Jackson being M.I.A. in front of the cameras to show some leadership- like he said himself on WCPN, “It is what it is...”

Brown Bartender 6:50 PM 9/29/10

I have mixed feelings about West 6th & Cleveland area bars in general. On the one hand I know & have experienced firsthand racist or intolerable behavior from club owners & club managers but from a different angle; as an African American bartender. If you are an African American bartender & you are applying for a position anywhere on West 6th or anywhere in Cleveland that doesn’t have a Hip Hop night or that has a majority Caucasian crowd you will not be hired. It doesn’t matter that you are attractive, experienced & they have an opening, if you are African American the club owner or manager will find a reason not to hire you or won’t call you for an interview at all. This reminds me of the many bouncers who look for reasons to not admit African American patrons. I went online & applied for a position at a very popular West 6th club & was called within 3 days for an interview. Well when I got there & the manager got a look at me all of a sudden he told me in so many words that I wasn’t what the club was looking for. As I mentioned before I am very attractive & as far as what the typical bartender I am everything every other female bartender on West 6th is; pretty faced, top heavy, long haired & scantily dressed with years of experience. Another example is the strip club in the flats that told me they were not looking for bartenders when I showed up looking for work & this is after one of their current bartenders (who happens to be Caucasian) told me that they needed bartenders. Funny one day later a blonde acquaintance of mine was able to go in & was told that they were still looking for help.
This being said on the one hand I feel sorry for the patrons & bar owners who have to deal with the rowdy crowds & I will be the first to admit that you are disrespected & under tipped more when it comes to the African American crowds than the Caucasian crowds but on the other hand when I reflect on what I’ve experienced as an African American bartender I lose my sympathy & wouldn’t care if West 6th ended up like the flats. It would serve every bar owner down there just right.
The city was so adamant about closing down business that catered to African American crowds such as Moda & the Mirage but they never took into consideration that African Americans are still going to go somewhere to party & unfortunately for so many it was your precious Warehouse district.

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