July 8, 2014

Several years ago I traveled with three (3) other guys to participate in the 50th annual Rattlesnake Roundup.  We considered ourselves to be of sound mind although the subject remains for debate.  The annual event is held in Sweetwater, Texas, which is just west of Abilene or about 1,012.12 miles from our east Tennessee location.  Each person drove four (4) hours non-stop, one-way for this adventure.  It took approximately sixteen (16) hours. (Then again, who’s counting?)  I don’t know if you have ever been to Sweetwater but it’s as flat as a table, hot as hell (even in March), dusty as the Sahara and the wind ALWAYS blows.  Even with this being the case, the residents were absolutely convinced the city was the Garden of Eden. “No place I would rather be”, was a frequent comment, even with rattlesnakes in the front yard.  I suppose we all feel that way about our home town.  I certainly do. Well, there are other towns that might not warrant that high praise.  Places more toxic and considerably less desirable.

Forbes Magazine recently published an article called “The Most Miserable Cities in the United States”. They based their examination on the following criteria for the 2013 calendar year:

  • Level of violent crime
  • Unemployment rate
  • Home foreclosures
  • Net migration from city
  • Traffic congestion
  • Local and state taxes
  • Commute times
  • Weather

A fairly complete and meaningful list of specifications for the ranking.

With this being the case, I have listed in reverse order what residents indicate to be the most miserable cities in the United States.  Here we go:

20.) Youngstown, Ohio

19.) Gary, Indiana

18.) Poughkeepsie, New York

17.) Cleveland, Ohio

16.) Atlanta, Georgia

15.) Atlantic City, New Jersey

14.) Milwaukee, Wisconsin

13.) Camden, New Jersey

12.) St. Louis, Missouri

11.) Toledo, Ohio

10.) New York, New York

9.) Lake County, Illinois

8.) Stockton, California

7.) Warren, Michigan

6.) Vallejo, California

5.) Modesto, California

4.) Chicago, Illinois

3.) Rockford, Illinois

2.) Flint, Michigan

1.) Detroit, Michigan

In doing the count, we conclude the following:

  • Three from Ohio
  • Three from Michigan
  • Three from Illinois
  • Three from California
  • Two from New Jersey
  • Two from New York

This list was compiled with no political input considered, just the factors given above.  No Democrat vs. Republican—just the eight (8) items mentioned.  I have been to over half the cities on this list and found them to be nice places to visit.  I honestly feel that when (and if) our economy ever returns to livable conditions and employment improves, turn-a-round will be definitely possible.    Crime remains a HUGE issue with the inner-city.  Gang and drug violence will be forever with us I fear.  I’m not too sure how we deal with that.

FDR was correct when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.  Our politicians need to step up, make something happen, forget their “base”, forget their legacy, forget reelection, throw together for the betterment of the populace, and lose the special interest groups.      They can and possibly should be replaced!   I welcome your comments.


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