I do not remember when I first started using the Detroit-on-the-Catawba phrase to capture where Charlotte was headed. A couple years ago, at least.
Now comes Forbes magazine to relate that we are inching closer. Detroit is ranked as the mag’s Most Miserable city in America.
Charlotte comes in at #9.
The magazine calculates a misery score based on commute times, income tax rates, Superfund sites, unemployment, violent crimes, and weather. Any honest Charlottean has to know those measures will not bode well. Forbes itself had been captured by the Uptown crowd spin, however:
The biggest surprise on our list is Charlotte, N.C., which is ranked ninth. Charlotte has undergone tremendous economic growth the past decade, while the population has soared 32%. But the current picture isn’t as bright. Employment growth has not kept up with population growth, meaning unemployment rates are up more than 50% compared with 10 years ago. Charlotte scored in the bottom half of all six categories we examined. It scored the worst on violent crime, ranking 140th. … As home to banking giants Bank of America and Wachovia, Charlotte could see an uptick in unemployment, thanks to the problems at those banks.
Don’t you just love the “N.C” touch? Center City Partners is in orbit right now.
Worse, none of Charlotte’s actual Southeast peers are on the list — no Atlanta or Nashville. Or other similar sized cities like Austin or Kansas City or Fresno.
What is it gonna take to convince some people we are headed in the wrong direction? Why do we insist on doing exactly what has failed other cities — like Detroit?
For once I would like a straight answer.
Update: The Uptown paper of record has taken note of the Forbes ranking and is looking to talk with folks unhappy with Charlotte. Go nuts people.