SEARCH BLOG: DETROIT
General Motors has gotten all of the negative headlines recently, but in Michigan there is another entity that is chronically the most corrupt and mismanaged: Detroit.
- The city, like General Motors, has been losing "market share" for decades.
- The city, like General Motors, has had a series of dubious "leaders."
- The city, like General Motors, neglected its "product."
- The city, like General Motors, has needed government "bailouts."
- The city, like General Motors, needs a bankruptcy proceeding and massive reorganization.
What's the answer... the solution? The answer is that Detroit has been in decline for 1/2 a century and any turnaround must either be based on a total change in government... or a turnaround will take at least 1/2 century given current government processes. The solutions are myriad... and painful.Of course, no such action was contemplated or taken and the situation continued to deteriorate. Detroiters continued to elect a mayor and council full of corruption and nepotism. Hey, what's the big deal? Everyone does it!
- confiscation of vacant and abandoned property
- rezoning from residential to public and forced buyouts - creation of green zones
- closing of 20% of schools, renovation of the rest, and a takeover by the state
- reduction by 30% of government employees and state supervised restructuring of departments and processes
- creation of tax-free "enterprise parks"
- establishing a tax structure that is "competitive" with suburbs
Last year I wrote:
It is time for change...What has happened since then?
What's the likelihood of such change? Somewhere between zero and zilch.
- change at the state level to fiscal responsibility and pro-business policies
- change at the city level to addressing problems rather than cultivating racial power
- change at the personal level to realizing that "stupidity has its own rewards" and not being so damn stupid
That makes it even more likely that ultimately the city will have to be split up into new, manageable pieces. As I also wrote in 2005:Another radical approach would be to reduce Detroit to a 5 mile radius from the foot of Woodward Ave and then create several new cities along the outer ring or let existing cities annex adjacent areas. This would create a more manageable central area that could focus on high-end businesses and more affluent residents. The outer areas would be more traditional smaller cities that could focus on small business and the needs of its residents.What do economists call that... creative destruction?
Crowd gasps at deficitUnemployment in Michigan was at 12% in January, 2009, and rising. Unemployment in Detroit was at 22% and rising. Nothing is improving; everything is deteriorating. Yet Detroit plods on in its old way.
Financial manager shares plan for cuts
By CHASTITY PRATT DAWSEY
FREE PRESS EDUCATION WRITER
Surprise, disgust and uncomfortable confrontation marked the meeting Thursday night when the state-appointed emergency financial manger for Detroit Public Schools discussed a historic $305.8million deficit and stood up to board members who want more power than the law allows under a state takeover.
Occasional gasps broke the silence in a crowd of more than 100 people as Robert Bobb described how Detroit Public Schools racked up the deficit.
“Could that number change next week?” Bobb asked. “Very well could. We’re still working.”
Bobb outlined his plan to close up to 50 schools and lay off thousands of workers over the next two years in his first public presentation since he took over the $1.1-billion budget last month.
He said he will present the school closure plan next week. DPS has shuttered more than 65 schools since 2005, and currently has nearly 200 schools open with about 95,000 students. Demographers project the school system could drop down to 65,000 students within five years.
Conyers’ son and niece got jobs, tooThe residents of this city apparently don't give a damn. It is time that Detroit, like General Motors, gets taken by its collective nose and marched into bankruptcy and reorganization... into a much smaller city.
Brother’s hiring causes a storm
By M.L. ELRICK and JOE SWICKARD
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS
Three relatives of Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers — including a son and her brother — received city jobs after Conyers took office.
Conyers hred her teenage son, John Conyers III, as a legislative assistant under a 1-year contract, at a rate of $15 an hour, city records show. It’s unclear whether he served the full year. The contract ended last June.
Her niece, Ellen Conyers, a lawyer, was hired around 2007 in the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Commercial Development. Her salary was $63,000 in 2008.
But it was the hiring of Monica Conyers’ brother, Reginald Esters, that ignited the latest controversy enveloping the City Council president.
Amru Meah, director of the city’s building department, said Conyers lobbied him to hire Esters, a convicted felon.
Conyers denies trying to influence her brother’s hire.
Esters was fired for what building officials characterized as chronic absenteeism. He has a court hearing April 17 on four felony weapon charges.
If not, the only answer will be liquidation.