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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

Is Cleveland Dying?

John A. Begala - Executive Director, Center for Community Solutions

Friday April 18, 2014
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Google "Dying Cities" and Cleveland comes up a lot.

People in other deep south states who could be embarrassed by statistics of misery - from illiteracy to poverty - used to say "thank god for Mississippi." In Cleveland perhaps it's "thank god for Detroit" - but that is hardly consolation for some of the trends. Choose an indicator. The population fell from 478,503 in the 2000 Census to 396,815 in the 2010 count, and continues to fall. Departures for sunnier (literally and metaphorically) climes are not offset by immigration: immigrants come to Cleveland at much slower rates, relative to its size, than almost all other cities. Like Buffalo, Detroit and Pittsburgh, the education level of Cleveland's residents continually falls further behind national norms. The foreclosure crisis hit Cleveland long before the 2008 crash, and in spite of the fact the city had no housing bubble. Cleveland has one of the highest rates of abandoned homes in the nation, Cleveland's employment statistics have yet to recover from the Great Recession, and throughout Ohio private sector jobs vanished during the decade of the 2000s. Bread is harder to afford and as for circuses - lets not talk about the sports teams.

As the economy and population shrinks the tax base shrinks, and capacity to deliver public services declines as well. Cleveland elites have loudly proclaimed a "quiet crisis" since I moved here more than a decade ago. Is there any sign of successful response?

There is no clear definition of a "dying" city, because there is no agreed definition of a "dead" one - short of a ghost town. Cleveland has a ways to go before becoming a ghost town with no inhabitants. Yet there may be little reason to expect any of the trends to improve. What then?

As Executive Director of the Center for Community Solutions, John Begala leads the Center's efforts to research trends and advocate for improvements. Join us for a frank discussion of perils and prospects.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest

John Begala is an executive, strategist, and community leader with a wide range of experience in both the public and nonprofit sectors. He has had a multifaceted career as a leader in public policy, an executive of health and social service organizations, and an educator.

Mr. Begala, who served as Executive Director of The Center for Community Solutions from 1998 through 2004, returned as Executive Director in July, 2008, after several years of retirement. Through the organization’s partnership with Cleveland State University, he is also a Senior Fellow at the Urban Center, at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, a member of the adjunct faculty of Baldwin-Wallace College, and a lecturer on health policy at the Cleveland Clinic/Case Western Reserve University Lerner College of Medicine.

Prior to joining Community Solutions, Mr. Begala was senior vice president of The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, one of the nation’s largest public hospitals. He has held leadership positions at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Greater Cincinnati Hospital Association, and the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. In addition to his public service career John. Begala served three terms as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and one term as a member of City Council of Kent, Ohio.

Mr. Begala has served on numerous public and nonprofit boards and commissions, including the Ohio Counselor and Social Worker Board, WKSU public radio’s community advisory board, and the IngenuityFest Board of Directors. John Begala teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on American health care at Baldwin Wallace College and received outstanding teaching honors in 2007 from students in the Health Care MBA program. He is often called upon to speak on health and social issues, and has written a number of articles for publication. Mr. Begala has written that, “stripped of all trappings, health and social services are fundamentally acts of love, and there are few better ways to make a living.”

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

April 25: Pope Francis: So Far. With Paul V. Murphy, Professor of History and Director, Institute of Catholic Studies, John Carroll University
April 14, 2014

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to:

Upcoming Events

Want to Change the World? Start with YOUR City

Lee Fisher, former Ohio Lt. Governor, Ohio Attorney General, and Mandel School Alumnus, Wednesday, April 16, 3-4:30 pm, Mandel School, 11235 Bellflower Rd., Cleveland, OH.

Fisher, who currently serves as CEO of the national nonprofit CEOs for Cities, will discuss factors driving the success of cities in 21st Century America. An advocate for robust civic engagement, he is not shy about asserting the importance of individuals in making cities more effective in bringing about community change. His presentation also focuses on how understanding a city's distinctive qualities can maximize its potential in a global economy.

Globalizing Counterinsurgency and Policing in the Middle East

Laleh Khalili, Ph.D., Professor of Middle East Politics at the University of London’s School for Oriental and African Studies and Jillian Schwedler, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Hunter College, City University of New York, Wednesday April 30, 2014, 7:30 p.m., The Happy Dog, 5801 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102. Sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Consortium on Middle East Studies (NOCMES) and The City Club of Cleveland.

For more than a decade, wars on terror, popular protests, and security crackdowns have dominated news from the Middle East. How does policing operate in such a context? What has become of counterinsurgency? And how do these tactics affect our own communities?

April 2014






































About the Friday Lunch Newsletter

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