Warren on suicide watch

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A scientifically significant sample of local residents reveals that our collective assessments of Warren’s current condition and future prospects are exceedingly grim. If you had a friend who felt this way about himself you’d be keeping a close eye on him and his pills in a locked box.

From the middle of May 2011 through January 6, 2012 Warren Expressed collected opinions on a variety of topics related to Warren as a place to live, work and raise a family. Here are some of the low-lights:

  • A stunning 87.2% of people disagree with the statement: “Warren offers an economic environment that attracts and retains talented people.”
  • If that sounds bad, an even greater percentage – 91.2% — disagreed with the statement: “Warren provides an environment that attracts and retains young people.” Nearly two-thirds – 63.5% — “strongly disagreed.”
  • Why do people feel this way? Well there are many causes but 89.6% disagreed with the statement:  “Warren’s physical appearance creates an image of a prosperous and growing community.” 61.3% “strongly disagreed.”
  • Everyone knows that prosperity depends on the availability of good jobs, so it is especially unnerving to learn that 73.1% of people disagree with the statement: “Warren offers a good environment for both starting new businesses and growing existing businesses.”

We also don’t think we’re very good at working together to solve problems, we think the schools are doing a poor job of educating our children and two-thirds think our political and civic leaders are ineffective.

Nearly 90% of us think the city’s image is poor, and over half think it is getting worse – not better. Over 60% of us are pessimistic about Warren’s future and nearly 70% are dissatisfied with it as a place to live.

It isn’t all bad; we think the health care in Warren is pretty good, and we are relatively happy with the recreational, cultural and arts offerings.

There is much more detail available to anyone who is interested. You can download a PDF of the full results here: WarrenExpressed Survey_January2012. The full report includes more than 20 pages of verbatim comments from people who completed the questionnaire and offered additional comments.

This study was overseen by a PhD with more than thirty years of research experience and was conducted within long-established research guidelines. The aggregated demographic profile of responders is also in the PDF, but I will tell you that responders were a little older, whiter, better educated and more affluent than the average Warren resident; however this is almost always true with internet-based studies.

These results make it exceedingly clear that a change of course is required and that there is little time to waste. No city can expect others to appreciate and invest in it when residents feel so negatively about it.

But what to do? I have my own opinions and plan to offer them here soon enough; but I’d like to know what you think. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 under Life in Warren, Vision, Warren strategic plan.

18 comments

  1. Nick Bellas says:

    Well it was decades in the making and it will take a generation or more to improve, if ever! There are many fine people who call Warren their home, but for most of those, leaving is not an option due to economic constraints.

    It is unfortunate that the foundation of Warren’s economic past, manufacturing, will never return and new visions for the city remain myopic. An aggressive private-public partnership must be cultivated and maintained in order to spur new business, improve government and enhance community development. Warren’s sustainable tax base is forever shrinking and new long term investments are desperately needed.

    Warren also is plagued by a very unforgiving climate, with little to no sunshine and winter being the dominate season. Aesthetically, Warren has few points of interest, with the more traditional and preferred home owner neighborhoods now being officially displaced by rental neighborhoods. Study after study supports the fact that rental neighborhoods offer an externality of problems, including increased crime, a lack of neighborhood pride, and as the article intimates, suicidal ideation.

  2. Bonnie Bailey Ulam says:

    I’m not afraid to speak up, it’s just so hard to figure out a way to speak truthfully without being insensitive. Growing up in Warren during the 50’s and 60’s was a wonderful, delightful exciting time. It’s hard to believe my parents would actually let me take a bus or sometimes even walk downtown to shop, go to the movies, attend swim team and church youth groups by myself at a very young age. What’s even more surprising is that it was such a safe envirornment and I’m not really sure I ever got the “Danger Stanger” speech – but that was a long time ago and perhaps my parents warned me about taking candy from stranger, I just don’t remember. The mall moved in and the town changed – it basically disappeared. Sportland closed, the movies closed and most all the individually owned businesses closed also. I worked for 5 years downtown in the middle 70’s and it was a skeletal vision of it’s former self. Now that all the plants have closed, and so many people are unemployed or have left for “greener pastures”, it seems a herculean effort is needed to restore Warren to its former unique self. I will do whatever is asked of me to help achieve this goal.

  3. The residents of Warren have been traditionally negative towards their hometown. We seem to enjoy wearing our negativity like a badge. I would think judging the health of our community cannot be decided by a single survey. How many of those surveyed actually live here? Thirty years ago when we lost manufacturing jobs, there was an exodus of new graduates. The same attitudes circulated then too. Last time I checked we are stilll alive.
    Please keep up your efforts, and maybe you can persuade others to see our city in a more positive light.

  4. 53% of respondents said they live in Warren; 78% in Trumbull County. 71% said they’ve lived here 20+ years. All this detail and more is available in the download.

  5. I think it is more likely to be a large number of small positives steps that will make Warren a better place.

  6. It’s going to take people becoming actively involved in the process at much higher rates than exist today in Warren. There are too many people who think the government or “the other guy” is going to fix things.

  7. How does a small group self chosen respondents qualify as “scientifically significant?” There are a lot of people and organizations in Warren who are working every day on issues that affect our city. I would like to see Warren Expressed highlight more of these efforts. This type of information can be inspirational to others looking to make a difference. Concentrating on negative issues and using negative stock images does not present a complete and true picture.

  8. I can not explain the math but we had the help of a PhD with 30 years of research experience advising us and she assures us that the survey is accurate within +/- 4%.
    Regular readers of Warren Expressed know that we regularly feature people and organizations actively engaged in positive efforts in the city.
    Holding up a mirror is not an act of negativity.

  9. Janet Hazlette says:

    Warren is no different than any other US city or town. Thirty of forty years ago even New York was in trouble. Historically people in the US abandanded their cities and towns. A hundred years ago we abandoned all those little crossroad villages in the countryside that had general stores, blacksmiths etc. Those folks moved to the bigger cities and sixty years ago we started abandoning them. If you took this survey in most any city in the US you would get many of the same responses. What needs to happen is a realistic view of what is and what can be and that reality can be great and probably unexpected.

  10. Brian Angelo says:

    @Bonnie–

    “it seems a herculean effort is needed…”

    You’re correct. And a lot of us together add up to Hercules.

  11. Brian Angelo says:

    I can confirm the statistical significance of the sample size, and the margin of error. That the group is self-selecting may be important in the judgment of the data, but it does not change the margin of error.

  12. Bonnie Bailey Ulam says:

    I know Warren will never again become Mayberry where Opie grew up in, but as I was thinking of a nearby downtown area that seems to thrive , I thought of Sharon, PA. Why ? Possibly because Ryers draws shoppers (especially us women shoe lovers), Quaker Stake & Lube ( a great wing dive) and Kraynaks ( a holiday fantasy land ) along with some original speciality wedding stores along with Winners. The only place that drives me downtown to shop is TAG. That makes me think that we need to draw in a major business difference maker that would magnetically draw people to our town. We need a great place like Trader Joe’s that is hip and trendy and a great place to eat that is not available within an hour’s drive, and a speciality shop that is big enough to draw attention and unique enough to bring in the masses. The hard part is HOW? Dialouge definitely needs to remain open and everyones’ ideas and opinions need to be expressed. Everyone counts or nobody counts. And yes, I know that baby steps are needed before gigantic changes can occur – so reliance and resilience is needed. You need to be committed for the long haul.

  13. Thanks for the info…Thanks for the time & effort…We must look forward and not backwards…We are in the present and going into the future. We must make changes in our government, too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. People are getting paid and not being supervised. People are getting salaries and there are no check and balances. People are using the system and the double dipping is unaffordable today. I’m an independant agent and not an employee. I have never had anyone pay towards my health insurance, 401K, pension, or any other benifits that employee have come to expect. We must cut the fat! Everyone one should contribute to their own insurance & retirements. We must be able to support the budget, not brake it! Start trimming & start balancing the budget at home & at work and in government. Don’t expect that someone else is going to take care of you…too many expect it! I’m tired of people taking advantage of the systems. I don’t get a free cell phone or free trips to the Dr’s, or vacation days, but I put in a 60 hr. work week. Money is being spent on too many top exects and not on the middle class. Let’s grow the people and the towns in stead of drain them! Congrats to the neighborhood groups that are helping their neighbors and neighborhoods. They are volunteering, not getting paid or getting benfits! They just give a damn! Others should follow such examples!Dar

  14. I have to agree here: many small efforts taken together will produce capital “C” change. I hope that this forum will be a venue for intelligent and productive discourse. Thanks for your efforts.

  15. I appreciate the support.

  16. Dawn Fobes says:

    Just found this site after a friend on Facebook posted that an organization she is part of was mentioned. Do you have an email newsletter or a way for us to know when things are posted? (I’ll be on here as much as I can)

    Those who complain never seem to want to do anything to help change things. They say things need to change but then when asked to do it make excuses on why they can’t. I would love to help Warren become a more positive place to live. I have grown up in Warren and still live here.

    Unfortunately I always hear of things after the fact due to not getting the paper or missing the news which sometimes never tells of anything good going on in Warren. I don’t get the paper because even though the Tribune is in Warren they tend to share about things after it happens. They also love to print the negative and not as much of the positive things that happen. There has to be a way for residents to know of things before it happens and for those who want to be a part of things to know in advance instead of the day before. Most who want to be a part of things can’t join in with only a day or two notice.

    Warren is also bigger than just downtown and we need to work on making the outer part of Warren come alive so that people want to continue driving into Warren.

    Looking forward to seeing what Warren Express continues to do.

  17. We don’t have a newsletter but if you “friend” us on Facebook you’ll know when there is a new post.

  18. Dawn, and anyone else interested in getting involved, this site has a Community Calendar Page (Scroll back up). Dennis from this site and Christina Andersen from Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership work together to include everything they are made aware of.

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