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Cleveland's Elite & Their

Penchant for "Preferred


Richard Herman
Immigration Lawyer, Counsel to World-Class Individuals & Companies

Do you get the sense that the Center for Population Dynamics at
Cleveland State University is the public relations arm of Global
Cleveland-- and that Albert Ratner is the one pulling the strings? GC has
spent so much time and money trying to decide what it wants to be when
it grows up, who it will serve, and why it is even needed.
First it was boomerangers.
Then it was refugees.
As the attached and other articles suggest, now it looks like the focus is
on high skilled immigrants --- who, incidentally, don't really need a
multi-million dollar non-profit bureaucracy to provide them a "civic

support system that can tap them in locally." It's like a money-sucking,
amorphous civic initiative breaking bad -- vying desperately for
attention, trying to prove it's relevant, but in the end, wasting precious
oxygen and doing more damage than good.
Regardless of its changing target population, GC remains constant on
one thing: working to ensure that Cleveland does not "appear"
xenophobic and unwelcoming to immigrants, despite the nativist
leanings of its Mayor and local Democratic Party leadership.
Why are they so desperate to "appear" inclusive of immigrants (at least
of the segment that is not of the "lower skilled" kind)? Because
Cleveland is an outlier on immigrant inclusion and economic
development. Check out Pittsburgh's new immigration
blueprint,announced last week. Steel City joins progressive immigration
initiatives championed by political, business and philanthropic leaders
in Detroit, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus,Buffalo, St. Louis, Syracuse,
Utica, Philly, Lansing, and so many other cities. You will find nothing
like this in Cleveland. These other rust belt and midwest cities are not
creating a focus on high skill immigrants. They see value in welcoming
and integrating ALL immigrants. They know that creating such a caste
system, sounds, well, Un-American. In fact, the country was founded, in
large part, to escape the rigid elitism and social class system of Europe.
As Trump attacks Mexicans and other immigrants, Cleveland continues
to carve out SOME immigrant demographics it likes, while leaving out
the others. To many, this is divisive.

Particularly at a time in our nation's history when immigrants are the

most vulnerable, are the objects of ridicule and disenfranchisement, and
even violence, these other cities know that it is critical to work hard to
include and integrate ALL immigrants--- not just the PhDs working at
the local university or hospital.

It's not just about "grow[ing] our head count and fill[ing] our empty
It's about creating ONE community.
This article, written by the director of CSU Center for Population
Dynamics AND an Advisory Board Member of GC (although the article
seems to omit this association), misses several points.
One is that immigrant inclusion is not just about economic development,
it's also about building equitable, inclusive and culturally dynamic cities

-- regardless of the pedigree, diplomas and bank accounts of the foreign

born. Is Cleveland a welcoming city for immigrants? If so, WHICH
immigrants--- only the rich, famous and highly-educated? Ask the tens
of thousands of working-class immigrants living in Cleveland, some
without papers, whether they feel that the city is "open" to them.
Second, from an economic and neighborhood development standpoint,
an over-emphasis on the highly educated, leads to what management
guru Peter Drucker calls a "healthy brain in a dead body" and a disregard
for the "no-tech" entrepreneurship that is needed at the base of the
economic pyramid, that shapes whether a community is truly
entrepreneurial, or not, and therefore equitable, or not. The article fails
to highlight the amazing innovation, job-creation, and neighborhood
revitalization power of immigrants without a college diploma.
Peter Drucker's 1985 book, "Innovation and Entrepreneurship" which
talks of the dangers of ignoring demographic patterns.
In this book, Drucker also criticizes public policies that seek to centrally
"plan" entrepreneurship and innovation (as opposed to a "decentralized"
and "autonomous" entrepreneurial ecosystems) and that seek to build
high-tech and high-tech alone ("a healthy brain in a dead body")
Passages from Drucker's book help illuminate:
On the Development of an "Entrepreneurial Society"
"The first priority in talking about the public policies and
governmental measures needed in the entrepreneurial society is to
define what will not work -- especially as the policies that will not
work are so popular today.

"Planning" as the term is commonly understood is actually

incompatible with an entrepreneurial society and economy.
Innovation does indeed need to be purposeful and entrepreneurship
has to be managed.
But innovation, almost by definition, has to be decentralized, ad
hoc, autonomous, specific, and micro-economic. It had better start
small, tentative, flexible.
Indeed, the opportunities for innovation are found, on the whole,
only way down and close to events.
They are not be found in the massive aggregates with which the
planner deals of necessity, but in the deviations therefrom --- in the
unexpected, in the incongruity, in the difference between "the glass
is half full" and "the glass is half empty." In the weak link in a
By the time the deviation becomes "statistically significant" and
thereby visible to the planner, it is too late. Innovative opportunities
do not come with the tempest but with the rustling of the breeze...
It is popular today, especially in Europe, to believe that a country
can have "high tech entrepreneurship" by itself... But it is a
Indeed a policy that promotes high tech and high tech alone ....and
that otherwise is as hostile to entrepreneurship as France, West
Germany and even England still are --- will not even produce high
tech. All it can come up with is another expensive flop, another
supersonic Concorde, a little gloire, oceans of red ink, but neither
jobs nor technological leadership.
High tech in the first place -- that this is, of course, one of the major
premises of this book, is only one area of innovation and
entrepreneurship. The great bulk of innovations lies in other areas.

But also, a high-tech policy will run into political obstacles that will
defeat it in short order. In terms of job creation, high tech is the
maker of tomorrow rather than the maker of today... "high tech" in
the United States created no more jobs in the period 1970 -85 than
"smokestack" lost: about five to six million. All the additional jobs in
the American economy during that period -- a total of 35 million --- were created by new ventures that were not "high tech" but
"middle tech," "low tech," or "no-tech."
Above all, to have "high tech" entrepreneurship alone without it
being embedded in a broad entrepreneurial economy of "no-tech,"
"low-tech," and "middle tech" is like having a mountaintop without
the mountain.
Even high-tech people in such a situation will not take jobs in a
new, risky, high tech ventures. They will prefer the security a job in
the large, established, "safe" company or in a government
But the other innovative ventures are also needed to supply capital
that high tech requires. Knowledge-based innovation, and in
particualr high-tech innovation, has the longest lead time between
investment and profitability. The world's computer industry did not
break even unitl the late seventies, that is, after thirty loss years...
The French are right, of course: economic and political strength
these days requires a high-tech position, whether in information
technology, in biology, or in automation. The French surely have
the scientific and technical capacity.
And yet it is most unlikely (I am tempted to say impossible) for any
country to be innovative and entrepreneurial in high tech without
having an entrepreneurial economy.
High tech is indeed the leading edge, but there cannot be an edge
without a knife.
There cannot be a viable high tech sector by itself any more than
there can be a healthy brain in a dead body.

There must be an economy full of innovators and entrepreneurs,

with entrepreneurial vision and entrepreneurial values, with access
to venture capital, and filled with entrepreneurial vigor."

I am fascinated watching Albert's handiwork in driving Global
Cleveland WHILE working so hard to protect his political brethren in
CLE who believe that an influx of "lower-skilled" immigrants will: a.)
take jobs away from African Americans; b.) will redefine what
"minority" means in Cleveland; 3.) Will carve-up a political pie that is
enjoyed exclusively by white and black politicians.
In watching the gymnastic turns and hamster wheel spins that GC and
Albert perform, and the maze of interlocking non-profit "associations"
that keeps everything afloat, I can't help but ask myself a few questions.
One, what would Albert's immigrant parents, who arrived in the U.S.
from Poland without college degrees or overflowing bank accounts, say?
Two, if the lamp besides Cleveland's door is truly extinguished, then
how did we get to this point? How could a recipe that worked for
centuries, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free," be so roundly rejected by a city so in need of
new energy, fresh eyes, and the entrepreneurial burst of neighborhood
"'Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!' cries she."