In the June issue, 'What do you think' contained a criticism of this community's Five Year Strategic Plan conceived by the Cleveland Bradley Chamber of Commerce. The main beef was that it was concocted without the input or support of ordinary citizens and did not relate to them or benefit them. It was 'of the chamber, by the chamber, for the chamber.' But funded by the people. Just like the new airport.
Good ol boyism at its best.
Now we have the 25 Year Strategic Plan. Still conceived by the Cleveland Bradley Chamber of Commerce, but this time they may have learned something about what it means to be community minded. This time, extreme effort has been expended to involve citizens in the process. I would like to believe the movers and shakers at Cleveland Associated Industries (Good ol Boys) have finally realized that times have changed in Bradley and its people are not stupid hicks waiting to be screwed. There are many intelligent community minded people here that could, if allowed to, add to Cleveland's prosperity with fresh ideas. Ideas that could consolidate wealth within the community and benefit everyone, including Cleveland Associated Industries and the good ol boys.
It would have been nice to have public input from the outset. Meaningful input is difficult after most of the planning has already been completed. The 25YSP already has a committee appointed, a consultant, growth scenarios, evaluation procedure, infrastructure needs, capitol needs, and impact on public funding. A great deal of input has already come from somewhere. Still, it is never too late to change your ways. Lets hope new light is shining in the direction of the ordinary people that make this community what it is.
At present, people are unhappy with the direction Cleveland is headed. At the top they are happy but I have a feeling that won't last either. This new desire to include citizens in their future is probably coming from outside. Closed minded leadership may be convenient when competition is controlled but our city has now been marked for development by international industries who will not be impressed by a group of small town hucksters who hold power through intimidation. Cleveland will be under attack from greed motivated growth and its leadership will not prevail without support and cooperation from all segments of the community. Continual conflict between disenfranchised citizens and self serving leaders not only spreads a negative image to the outside world, it exposes internal weakness to anyone looking for an advantage. Everyone will lose, only most will be lost by those that at present have the most.
This new found spirit for public input may be the only saving grace Cleveland has from the marching masses from overseas. Even Volkswagen and WACKER will not enter a community which is hostile to them but they will brush aside unhelpful politicians and local leaders that don't have public support.
I don't personally believe the idea that a city must continually grow to survive. On the contrary, growth through greed is guaranteed fatal to any community, leaving only an urban jungle no one wants. It is my belief that Cleveland should not grow as expected by the 25YSP and that local leaders should sacrifice some lucrative growth in favor of community spirit and stability. Managing Bradley's natural resources using the public's good will is essential to stave off uncontrolled growth. Without the public behind them it will be impossible for local leaders to prevail. Because most decisions are made without consideration for the people those decisions affect, the citizens will become more and more irritated and vocal. This can not be good for business.
Presently, local unrest does not show confidence in our local leadership's ability to guide the community in the right direction. Genuine pleas for help may be the first step to gaining the public support now lacking. I sincerely hope the pleas are genuine and not just to meet some legal requirement imposed by the state. If they are genuine everyone should pull together for the benefit of the community as a whole.
If they are not. Cleveland does not have a bright future.
That's what I think. What do you think?