The Decline of a Once-Great City: Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey, Ep. 1


Sixty years ago, Cleveland was a booming city full of promise, opportunity, and people. Today, the city's population is less half of what it was in its prime and it ranks as one of the poorest big cities in the United States. Hometown hero Drew Carey reflects on how the city became "the mistake on the lake" and wonders about the city's future. Is a Cleveland renaissance possible or is the city doomed to long, slow death?

Reason Saves Cleveland with Drew Carey is written and produced by Paul Feine; camera and editing by Roger Richards and Alex Manning; narrated by Nick Gillespie; music by the Cleveland band Cats on Holiday.

This is the first of six episodes that will air between March 15-19, 2010.

The next episode, Fix the Schools, will go live today at 12 noon ET.

Approximately 5 minutes long. Scroll down for iPod, HD, and audio versions of this video.

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NEXT: When the Cat's Away

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  1. Oh look! Here’s a video with Drew Carey and … something to do with Cleveland. How unusual!

    1. Carey makes a nice prop and says a few words. But how engaged was he with the overall project? If Episode 1 is any portent, he’s just phoning it in. But Episode 1 is really an intro, not an episode. Looking forward to #2 and some substance.

      1. I think the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video (1 & 2) was funnier.

  2. Good morning, Reason!

  3. The weather makes today an appropriate day to release this video. God, what a depressing dump I live in.

    1. Would you prefer a foot of lake effect?

    2. Sunny and a high of 73 here. Of course, it’ll suck when summer gets to Houston, but…

  4. Nice beach day here.

  5. “we travelled the country?” I missed that road trip but I would love to see that video.

  6. I am excited to check out the next episode.

  7. @warty:

    jesuschristonacrutch. If you’re that depressed, MOVE. People who complain about their town, but offer no constructive criticism or solutions, need to shut the hell up.

    1. YES. All the Michigan and California types who came to Nashville because of its low taxes, friendly people, and business-friendly environment can’t help but bitch and moan about the most petty things, and they maintain this air of superiority about them even after they’ve lived here for years and have learned that the stereotypes of the locals are bogus. I have zero tolerance for people like that. If you truly don’t like where you live, nut up and get packing or do something about it.

    2. Go fuck yourself. I love Cleveland.

  8. jesuschristonacrutch. If you’re that depressed, MOVE. People who complain about their town, but offer no constructive criticism or solutions, need to shut the hell up.

    Clearly you’ve never been to Cleveland.

  9. Dud,e that actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.


  10. Why bother fixing this city? It’s like spending all of your time with your worst performing salesperson instead of boosting the performance of your best?

    Fixing Cleveland is as ridiculous as suggesting “no child left behind” would boost our global education reputation.

    Look at great cities like Austin, Denver, Portland, Omaha, etc – let’s make them BETTER instead of trying to make a geriatric feel like a teenager.

    1. No. It’s like trying to exercise when you’re the fat kid rather than *being* the football player.

      It’s a self help guide. And even good cities can benefit from that.

    2. It’s like spending all of your time with your worst performing salesperson

      Coffee is for closers. No coffee for you!

  11. Go fuck yourself. I love Cleveland.

    “Cleveland: the city you love to hate.”


    It’s a beautiful sunny day, here. I’m going to throw the skis in the car, soon. Spring skiing is the best.

    1. “Cleveland: the city you love to hate.”

      Also, the city you hate to love.

  12. Austin, Denver, Portland, Omaha


    Those places all SUCK.

    1. I’m thinking of moving to Austin; what sucks about it, in your opinion?

    2. Omaha kicks ass, my fellow Omahans just need to get more hip to porn and strippers.

  13. I gotta tell ya, I like the Cleveland area. The city itself…nnnngghh…nice to visit, and I’ve been doing some comm svc work there with some folks from work. Otherwise, not so much.

    The burbs I like a lot. All kinds of stuff to do – whatever you’re into – SUPERB metro parks, no traffic, no crime where I am, excellent roads, 10 mins to the lake, 20 mins to work or to downtown…no bad.

    Let’s see what advice Reason has – if the city of Cleveland itself can improve, I’ll just like the area even more.

    1. Which ‘burb?

    2. Also, the National Park and the Summit County Metroparks around it are excellent as well. One of the best kept secrets of NE Ohio is the park systems.

  14. Don’t disremember teh FLATS.

  15. Ep1 – I think the whole country knows about our decline. I’m looking forward to episode 2.
    Drew thanks for the spotlight, I’m anxious to see how much time you spend on how backwards and corrupt our local government has been over the years. I did like that you noted the Kucinich debacle! Can we disown him as a Clevelander? He seems like he would be a better fit in L.A.!

  16. I would love to live in the Cleveland area (west side!) if they had mountains there. The people are fricking awesome and the culture is down-to-earth and sports oriented. And the men are hot.

    1. How you doin’?

      Actually, on second thought, you must have terrible taste. Most dudes here are…let’s say…beefy.

    2. Oooh! Let’s see if I can get a East side/West side shitslinging contest started.

      West siders are effete hippies.

      1. That may be, but East siders are foul joos. Plus, there’s no fucking highway access on the East side, so it automatically loses.

        1. Only in Little Israel. The rest are noble Slavs of various nationalities. Meanwhile, Lakewood.

          And if there’s no highway access, what’s 271?

          1. A horrible parking lot, deserving of carpet bombing. Fuck that highway.

            1. There are two useful things on the West side:
              1. Great Lakes Brewing
              2. Brasa Grill

              They’re probably run by East siders as a way to bring culture to the barbarians.

              (No East side help? I’m from Cuyahoga Falls, fer Chrissake, nowhere near Cleveburg. I’m just doing this by proxy.)

              1. Yeah, I’m not really feeling it either. I’m from another fucking state. I mostly just hate Cleveland Heights.

                1. Originally from another fucking state.

                2. I’m originally from the hinterlands between Akron and Canton, so I’m technically not a native of Connecticut* either.

                  Anyway, you’ve got Parma, which is quite enough to be ashamed about. Cleveland Heights ain’t that bad.

                  * The Western Reserve, which some say was never ceded to the Northwest Territory or Ohio (but the Wiki says it was).

              2. One good thing about the East side – Calvin and Hobbes – Chagrin Falls. Calvin could never build all those snowmen if he lived on the West side.

  17. You can live directly in the Cuyahoga River valley and kinda sorta get the mountain effect, such that it is.

    1. The best part was when the river caught on fire.

      1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one.

        -1. Unoriginal.

  18. What sucks about Austin?

    It’s in Texas, and it’s full of hipsters.
    What *doesn’t* suck about it?

    1. Well, it has a great economy, no income tax, its in the middle of a fuckton of natural beauty and outdoor activities, and nine months of the year it is covered up in UT coeds.

      That’s what doesn’t suck about it.

      1. Austin’s highways and roads are complete disaster and embarrassment. I live here. I have to suffer with it all the time. I have visited a lot of cities over the years. Everybody thinks traffic in their city is bad. It’s actually the truth in Austin.

    2. I gotta go with Dean on this one. Hipsters I can deal with, they’re in every city.

      1. Yes, unfortunately, the hipsters are also what has kept the highways as bad as they are.

        In a council election last year, I had two very bad candidates to deal with. I picked the one who actually owns a car. The other one does not own a car. For that reason, he will never have my vote.

    3. A lot of hot ass womens.

  19. I’m gonna have to come in on the side of the guy who said this:

    “It’s in Texas, and it’s full of hipsters. What *doesn’t* suck about it?”

  20. I lived in Columbus, Ohio, for six years. Trust me, a whole lot of people have already left Cleveland.

  21. Years ago, myself and some associates trekked to Cleveland in order to witness face-melting super metal (Dream Theater). We could have seen them in D.C. but naivete’, poor coordination, and general stupidity put the kaibosh on that more favorable option.

    While in Cleveland, I saw three types of people:

    1-People going into, coming out of, or already in the Rock and Roll hall of fame. It was a safe bet that most of these people were yahoos like myself from out of town who wanted to see if Cleveland did in fact Rock. (Answer: No it didn’t rock, but it did smell).

    2-People going to the same concert as me. Generally a nerdy, out of shape group, who latched onto music sane people would enjoy only with the varied cocktail of meth, pot and jack daniels in their systems. So, most of us were/are mentally unstable and say 30% from out of town.

    3-Overwhelmingly, most people I saw in Cleveland were homeless, or didn’t bathe and liked to dress like homeless people. When leaving the venue we were assaulted with so many Zombie like utterances of “Change…Change..CHange…”, our fight or flight instincts took over, and we sprinted toward providence (located someplace not named Cleveland). Several years later, a South Park episode depicting the homeless as shuffling zombie-like hordes reminded me of my Cleveland experience.

    The thing that baffled me the most was the sheer number of people roaming the streets in the middle of goddamn February. In South Park, they all went to California– land of milk and honey.

    I wish Cleveland the best because I like a good underdog story. If you live there, I do not mean any disrespect, just wanted to share my biased frigthened frozen adolescent view of the mistake on the lake. The homeless problem is unfortunate, but I have sneaking suspicion Cleveland’s own policies exacerbated the problem instead of mitigating it. Go Browns…

    1. “I have sneaking suspicion Cleveland’s own policies exacerbated the problem instead of mitigating it.”

      1000 times THIS.

      1. Indeed! We native, old-time Clevelanders know you are right.

        Busing – a liberal do-gooder idea, as Drew points out – both divided and depopulated Cleveland. And the anti-business Democratic administrations of Kucinich, Stokes, White, punitive tax rates, byzantine zoning restrictions, etc etc drove away many national corporate HQ’s.

        Cleveland has a long, long road back.

        1. And Dennis the Menace keeps getting re-elected on bringing the steel jobs back.

  22. Cleveland – America’s Butthole

    1. What brings you here?

      1. Timon– That Sirk wasn’t me. I would never say such a thing about my beloved hometown.

        1. I kinda thought that was weird, but then, YOU’RE often weird, so…

          Slos of the world unite! (except for June 18th)

  23. It’s funny how decrepit cities generally have bad football teams: Cleveland, Detroit, Oakland . . .

  24. What if all reason viewers or libertarian minded peeps crusaded to Cleveland. Swell the population with sensibly minded Americans.

    We could make it a libertarian success story and a model for the rest of the nation to recover from the inevitable economic collapse from the policies of the last few decades.

    The 21st century can be the century of libertarians!

  25. “That may be, but East siders are foul joos.”

    Oh shit! How’d I end up on Stormfront?

  26. Great work! This is exactly the kind of thing America needs more of: positive, entertaining, non-wonky, politically moderate messages of practical hope in the face of real problems. I don’t remember the word “libertarian” being used a single time, which means that Reason isn’t just preaching to the choir. I love it!

  27. I like your point! It is of wisdom.

  28. Good video. But I think they will get nothing. Stella from mahjong club.

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  30. etown hero Drew Carey reflects on how the city became “the mistake on the lake” and wonders a

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