Tag Archives: West Side Market

Privatize it! (The West Side Market, that is.)

Below is a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Dear Editor,

Gretchen McKay writes in her 11/18 piece about her travels to Cleveland that my hometown has a “landmark public market.”

The West Side Market is filled with great vendors, is in a growing part of town, and located in a beautiful building. What makes it a landmark, at least to me, is that it is a landmark example of how not to run a market.

The aptly named chief of staff to the Mayor, Ken Silliman, defends the city’s continued reign over the market because Cleveland is “about service, rather than profits.”

Reason magazine’s Nick Gillespie hit the nail on the head when he recently asked “How the hell exactly are you about service if you’re not even open three days a week? That’s not putting people first – it’s maintaining control at the expense of your constituents.”

I love my hometown team and am happy that, for the second time in so many years, our team beat yours.

Cleveland was indeed derided as the “mistake on the lake.” These days it is still making mistakes, and operating the West Side Market and a golf complex miles outside of the city limits are but two of many examples.

If you make a day trip up to Cleveland next year for a game, definitely make a point to visit the market. Never mind, the West Side Market is not open on Sunday. Service isn’t available, and neither are profits.

Jim Swift
Alexandria, Virginia

Privatize the West Side Market

West Side Market, Cleveland

To the Editor:

Leslie Firestone wrote in your 7/17/12 Letters that “If they keep charging [for parking] … people are going to stop coming [to the West Side Market]” and “There are so many farmers’ markets around now, with free parking…” While Leslie and I disagree about paid parking — I think it’s perfectly normal to use price to allocate a scarce resource — we do agree that there are a lot of alternatives.

Should the City of Cleveland be in the business of running farmers markets when, as Leslie points out, there are so many alternatives? One West Side Market vendor told Reason Magazine’s Nick Gillespie: “They’re letting the place fall apart.” Another, when asked if she was satisfied with the city as a landlord, replied “no.” Drew Carey and Gillespie made a wide variety of helpful suggestions for a beleaguered Cleveland. One of which was privatizing the West Side Market.

This Ignatius grad loves the West Side Market, but 100 years of city ownership should come to an end. As should Cleveland taxpayers’ foolish subsidy of my golf habit at Highland Park. Cleveland has more important things to do, like worry about retaining jobs and residents, having recently lost more people than any other top 40 metropolitan statistical area in the country.

Can Reason save Cleveland?

Jim Swift

Shaker Heights, OH / Alexandria, VA