Sunday, February 18, 2007

Columbus is Best, Cleveland the Worst
In BET's Best Cities for Blacks Rankings

The BET minority network recently surveyed American cities and ranked them for how good they are as places for black people to live. Cleveland came in dead last among 22 cities. "The Lake Erie city has high poverty, especially among its youth. Salaries lag the nation, and the unemployment picture for blacks is off the chain," it noted. The best place, according to BET? Why, that would be Columbus, which even beat out Washington, D.C. (at #2), a veritable mecca for blacks.


At 9:25 PM, Blogger Tim Ferris said...

One problem might be that an information source here in Cleveland for BET was Sabra Pierce Scott--they need to upgrade their pick list.

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Chris Thompson said...


Thanks for highlighting this. We cannot hide are warts if we're to improve. The Fund for Our Economic Future is working with others throughout the region to identify ways to grow our minority business community. There are a few projects in the works, but if anyone has ideas, I'll take them at

At 9:58 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for stopping by, Chris. And congratulations on the new job. I know you'll inject a whole new energy into this vital work.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Ed said...

1. Ramp up inner city entreprenurship. Goal: Teach entrepreneurship in every Cleveland HS by 2010. Leverage E-City and National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

2. Accelerate development of career pathways in manufacturing, health care, and construction: focal points for our workforce development efforts. Adopt an aggressive Drop-out prevention program through either the National Dropout Prevent Center or Comunities in Schools, a successful national model.

3. Commit aggressively to innovation zone framework adopted by the County this month.

4. Expand micro-finance initiatives (look to Buffalo).

5. Engage in Initiatives for a Competitive Inner City, Porter's initiative. Milwaukee has embraced this approach. Bob Schmidt has been recognized by this group, and he has been committed to building the career pathways with inner city high schools.

6. Expand Fenn Academy, a remarkable STEM education initiative that has been flying without much foundation support (but with corporate support).

7. Define an aggressive economic development strategy for Greater Cleveland. The GCP strategy is muddy and confused with a broader regional agenda. (Greater Cleveland is not Northeast Ohio) See recent efforts in Milwaukee and Detroit.

8. Expand business involvement in early childhood. Buisnesses increasingly see early childhood development as smart economic development. In Cleveland, the business community still sees it as a social program.

That's just a start. There's a long list of doables.


At 11:21 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That sure wouldn't be a bad start, Ed. And I did indeed immediately think about John Zitzner and his E-City as I read this piece. I hope readers will wander over to the E-City website and consider getting involved:

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Derek said...


Your suggestions make lots of sense. But if the parents of these kids can't find work, whether it be criminal backgrounds, lack of jobs in certain fields, lack of experience or good ol' American variety institutional racism (yes, it's still here...), these kids might not make it out of high school. While there does need to be more self-reliance by way of entrepreneurship, it's not a panacea.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No, you're right, Derek. Sadly, there are no panaceas (in this case as well as in life generally). But as I keep learning and relearning in my own life, you just have to take those first steps and keep right on going if any change is going to come. Dividing a massive job into bite-sized and thus more doable pieces always seems to be the right way to go.

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Ed said...

Success in economic development comes from constancy of purpose.

We have no long standing commitment to revitalize the inner neighborhoods of Cleveland beyond the old 1960's formulas of brokering federal money.

That game is over. (It's been over for at least a decade.)

Yet, Cleveland's business leadership has not led the city in a clear new direction. There are some promising whispers of new possibilities, but little in the way of meaningful commitment to build inner city wealth, in my view.

At the same time, they undercut and confuse their case with self-serving proposals like casinos and convention centers.

We need a relentless commitment to inner city innovation and entrepreneurship. The list above provides as good a start as any.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'd say that constancy of purpose is the foundation of success in just about everything, Ed. Of course, that's easier said than done. And pushing for casinos as a regional economic fix is obviously an absurd distraction.

At 8:59 PM, Blogger Ed said...


Here is yet another idea. In Wyoming, foundations are establishing an endowment for business school students interested in working directly on entrepreneurship activities that benefit Wyoming’s economic development.

Why not focus the same idea here in the neighborhoods of Cleveland?

You can read more here:

At 10:13 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's a wonderful, innovative idea. Are you listening, Fund for Our Economic Future? Just a tiny portion of the giant budget for the Voices & Choices program could support such a thing.


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