It's easy to become despondent reading the news, whether it's about crime or the economy. It's easy to name the challenges we face as a community, whether prevalence of prejudice or the state of education. It's easy to write off Youngstown as a lost cause and turn your attention elsewhere. But there's a problem, too: Youngstown isn't going anywhere.
Youngstown is still the seat of Mahoning County, and though that kind of designation might have been fluid a hundred years ago, that's not changing now. There will still be thousands of jobs downtown related to government administration and related sectors. And Youngstown's situation will continue to affect its surrounding townships, whether they choose to work with the City to improve its lot or turn their backs and ignore it.
If we had leadership at the County level that talked up regionalism and worked to build coalitions for the advancement of policies that strengthened the region, starting from the center and spreading outward, that would be an important step in moving us forward collectively.
Right now, we have a mayor crying in the wilderness, to the disdain of his counterparts in the suburbs. Ironically, however, by being unwilling to give up any control over their situation, they will lose it all.