Eight Modest Proposals

Commentary by Brian Davis

     With the introduction of the restrictive panhandling legislation, it seems that we are now attempting to legislate improvements Downtown. The panhandling legislation will have no impact on reducing panhandling, but will make businessmen feel like something is being done in an election year. So, NEOCH is suggesting other potential legislation that would bring tourists and shoppers back that may have some impact on revitalizing the downtown.

1. Ban Parking Meters. Legacy Village does not have parking meters and neither does Crocker Park. Parking meters are universally despised, yet every American City has them. Get rid of the meters and attract people from all over the country to see Cleveland’s unique and meter-less landscape.

2. Ban Ticket Writing Parking Attendants. Ticket writers are even more despised than the parking meters and they leave a negative impression of the city for weeks. By eliminating parking tickets, the City will send a signal to the suburbanites that they are welcome to shop downtown. The marketing potential for this strategy is amazing.

3. Ban Traffic Jams. Everyone hates waiting in long lines of traffic, especially because of long lights or idiot drivers. City Council should pass a law that if a driver has a sustained speed of less that 10 MPH for more than 10 minutes, they get a free “We Love Cleveland” T-shirt. 15 T-shirts entitles the individual to a park bench named in their honor, and 25 T-shirts is a free ticket to the publicly financed Brown’s stadium (on non-football Sundays).

4. Ban Mean People from the Central Business District. It is so difficult to shop downtown when people are rude and inconsiderate. Police should be allowed to issue citations to mean people in the heart of Downtown.

5. Ban Pollution in the Downtown Everyone claims to hate pollution, and therefore if it were made illegal, it is hoped that people would come back to live and work in the Downtown area.

6. Ban Empty Store Fronts. They are unsightly and a sign of depressed times. If an owner keeps a store vacant for more than 3 months, they must start paying the City to “beautify” the storefront with historical representations of famous Clevelanders.

 7. Ban All Dead Flowers from Downtown. This is one that my 9 year old daughter thought was important, so I am including it, but there could be some room for compromise.

8. Ban television reruns in the Central Business District. Reruns are universally despised during the summer and winter break in December. City Council should force the television stations to put local original programming on the air in the Downtown area in hopes of attracting residents and visitors.

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue 72 August 2005 Cleveland, Ohio..