By now, you’ve heard that Forbes ranked Fresno as the dirtiest city in the country, a designation based on air quality and water cleanliness. Ya know, science and stuff. Most Fresnans reacting to this news, however, have been using the ranking as a reason to spout off about how dirty the city is in more visible ways, like litter on the freeway. (And they’ve proven they didn’t actually read the story, way to go, guys!)
Since you Fresnans want the other kinda dirty, and Forbes ain’t measuring that, we at The Beehive have culled together 11 other things that make Fresno dirty. Fair warning: Some of what you’ll find below is a tad NSFW and thus, not fit for clean minds. Oh, the filth. Let’s roll around in it.
Forbes put out its “America’s Dirtiest Cities” list this morning, giving Fresno its “booby prize” for being the dirtiest and, in the process, not really telling us anything about our city that we didn’t already know.
Yes, Fresno has poor air quality. Yes, the water here isn’t the greatest — though Forbes uses a 10-year-old example when plenty has been written about the subject since then. From Forbes’ explainer:
The environmental degradation of the Central Valley has many contributing factors. First of all, its geography doesn’t do it any favors. It’s a big, long bowl surrounded on three sides by mountains that trap pollutants from cars and factories and oil fields in an inversion layer. Second, it’s a victim of what brought people there in the first place — rich fertile soils from which grow much of America’s fruits and vegetables. For decades farmers would burn leftover cuttings from their fields after the harvest — dumping massive amounts of lung-choking particulate matter into the air. Burning has been banned since 2004, and the air has gotten cleaner since then, but there’s still a long way to go.
As you may know, I don’t give those rank-the-city lists that call Fresno the best this or worst that too much credence. Most of them, you have to know, are marketing ploys and attempts to get website clicks.
But I do find them entertaining. And Lord knows we Fresnans love to talk about them. So here are a few lists we’ve ended up on recently. Interpret them as you will.
- Fresno is the fifth least literate big U.S. city, according to an annual study from Central Connecticut State University, which measures circulation of newspapers and magazines, availability of libraries and more. The Washington Post explains further. For what it’s worth: Bakersfield was the least literate.
- We’re third on a list of cities most interested in a healthier lifestyle in 2012, says research from MaxPoint Interactive, aimed at helping companies market health-related products. Soooo, we’re good at New Year’s resolutions?
- We’re the second most overpriced city, according to a recent Forbes magazine list. Forbes weighed factors such as cost of living, median salary, housing affordability and, of course, our big ol’ unemployment figure.
Rough economic times always force folks in search of greener pastures. And this fascinating map from Forbes.com shows us where those pastures are.
Unfortunately, they’re not in Fresno. Look at Fresno County, below. Red lines indicate people who left in 2008, while black lines show folks who moved here:
Now, look at Travis County in Texas, home to Austin:
You’ll notice that major Texas cities do pretty well here, leading the AtlanticWire to ponder why people are moving to Texas.
At least one local business is following the trend. Craig and Gena Kirby, founders of parenting resource center Mommy Matters, are leaving Fresno for Austin.