Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Detroit _ The State of the City Address.

Detroit is more than an hour away from me by car and most of the time it seems like it's much farther away than that. It seems to rarely impact my life in anyway but in reality it does. Detroit's size alone makes it a "bull in a china-shop" when it comes to the politics and economics of this state. Its numbers make it almost 10% of the state's population and is overwhelmingly union and Democratic. It is also both an economic engine and sink-hole. As goes Detroit, sadly all too often, so goes the state.

That means that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's State of the City Address has relevence even as far away as I live.

Now he did say some very good things:

"We have come to a point in our community where this is no outside conspiracy doing this to us," he said in a State of the City address to a ticketed audience of about 2,200 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.
"This is us killing us. This is mostly African-Americans killing African-Americans and we, as a community, have to stop it now. Nobody's coming to save us."

He is right. Many point out that the majority of convicts in black and that it is a scandal, but part of the scandal is that the vast majority of their victims are also black. If any community is going to be prosperous it needs to be safe and if the people of Detroit are not safe in their own neighborhoods, who is going to be? A safe and prosperous Detroit would make the whole state of Michigan a better place.

He also talks about neighborhoods. Now I think a neighborhood's quality depends as much or more on the people who live there as it does the mayor of any city. A good police force and good schools help, but so do well kept homes and shops and simple courtesy towards neighbors and strangers alike.

As important, in fact critical is his decision not to raise taxes. He speaks of a One Billion Dollar bond issue instead. That will create a short term debt by the city but will give them, currently unavailable, capital to make the improvements the city needs.

It was full of good words and ideas. Now we need to see if the Mayor has the backing and backbone to do it. My wellbeing depends on that city.

Update: Forgot the link. Here it is.



Anonymous gunz said...

Here in my humble little city, when there is a major drug bust or a major crime that involves both drugs and murder, they almost always are out of towners and from mostly from Detroit. I'm not kidding...

Somewhere in WV.

And black. They get around.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

"Its numbers make it almost 10% of the state's population and is overwhelmingly union and Democratic"...

I'm coming to the realization that as long as I live in this state voting for Republicans is against my own interests. Michigan is a blue state, and are always ignored at the federal level. Their revulsion of unions will always pit them against our state.

The other thing that bugs the hell out of me is that we pay more in federal taxes than we get back, while red states down south scream about their taxes but get more federal money than they send to Washington. If they hate taxes so much, why don't they say no thanks to the federal money? It's easier for them to take money from us than to increase their own state's share of the burden.

Kwame seems to be trying some Republican tricks. 68 mil deficit? No problem! We will cut taxes and float a bond. Let the next Mayor figure it out. Yes, he has admitted (finally) what all of the white suburbanites have known all along: Whites are not killing blacks in Detroit, they are killing each other and any white people who happen to be in the crossfire. Whites are not to blame for the decline of Detroit, either. After the riot, whites decided to leave the city not out of racism, but self-preservation. Also, any white person wanting to do business in Detroit gets the message crystal clear that they will be working with a hostile city government that is always accusing white suburbanites of trying to "steal the city's cultural jewels". It is totally a no win scenario.

I think that the only hope for the city is a large infusion of federal cash, and that WILL NEVER HAPPEN if the Republicans are in charge. Hell, we can't even get them to give Detroit a tax stimulus package to attract business there.

Still, there are a lot worse places than Detroit. I'm sitting in the Syracuse airport typing this, and let me tell you Detroit has a long way down to go before it gets this bad. Youngstown Ohio is another dead city. It makes Flint look great by comparison.

Still, he is doing what all politicians, black or white, republican or democrat do. Talk endlessly while changing very little if anything at all.

Where are the leaders of today? When will the next JFK, FDR, or Reagan emerge to lead us with capable, charismatic leadership.
We wait...

11:35 AM  
Blogger gawfer said...

Interesting. I thought unions were supposed to be the end all be all of the American middle class. It's funny though, that by wanting more than we have, we will never be satisfied. And so goes union labor. Contracts are negotiated to insure the average Joe has above average compensation, while the over-achiever business owner acquiesces to the demand of organized labor. People’s desires are insatiable.

The irony in my comment is I am still a member of a local union that has substantial strength in Northern California. I currently have a 401A and a pension thru that local, yet I support the small business owner, the entrepreneur who puts his life savings on the line for the American dream.

America, Detroit, Used to build the best cars in the world. Now the 3 majors are struggling to keep up because of the cost of labor. More 'US' cars are being built in Mexico and Canada, and the City suffers for it. I in no way hold Republicans responsible; it is far more complicated than pointing a finger at a political party. It goes to the core of human behavior, and the lack of acknowledging a few basic principles: Thought Shalt not Covet. Or, desire that which you do not have. Here's another one: The love of money is the root of all evil.

Sorry for the monolog ‘Rat, but I’ve been thinking about this idea for a while.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Detroit, like Youngstown, Lima (Ohio), and any countless number of other cities made one huge mistake. They all basically had one industry supporting them, and when that industry slowed down, so did the cities.

Cheerleading from the industry bigwigs, and union honcho's that things would get better turned out to be crap, and now we have dead cities because folks refused to accept that the auto (tire, steel, etc) industry could possibly have it this bad.

It's a three pronged monster in Detroit, government never tried to attract any other business, the automakers (management) didn't respond to what buyers wanted, and unions didn't respond to the price crisis with American cars.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

BTW, Tim, you need to get a new avitar, Capt. America got waxed in the latest issue.

8:36 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

gunz Problems from Detroit ofen come this way too.

tim I belong to that den of thieves called the UAW and am revolted by it as well.

gawfer Your rant is fine with me.

CP I live on the edge of auto-country and it is really bad. They had one goose that laid a golden egg and they BBQed it.

10:14 PM  
Blogger pete in Midland said...

Ah, good ole Detroit. It's sad when a single location offers nothing to it's state besides a sinkhole for welfare, and control of politics. The population density, even as it keeps decreasing, outweighs the 'red state' status of the rest of the state.

Tim thinks we're ignored by the Feds. Not so, they pump lot of money in, while continually getting ripped by the pondscum elected in Detroit - especially Commie (errr Carl) Levin.

I'm not sure what cultural jewels Detroit has to offer ... casinos? Big Deal. Government? Heh! The INS (I guess they're ICE now?) building in Detroit looks somewhat like government buildings in communist countries - bunkers surrounded by security fences.

Where are the leaders of today? I'm not sure I understand the question, Tim. If the folks living in Detroit and New Orleans keep electing guys like Kwame and Nagin ... why is it up to the JFK/Reagan type of leaders to solve the problems? If these people really cared about their deteriorating cesspools, they'd be electing Rudys instead of Kwames and Rays!

A city that makes Flint look good? Hmm ... wonder why it's not higher than Flint on the "most dangerous cities" list then. For some reason Detroit, Flint and Saginaw always seem yto make the list ... and the nightly news.

And while I place a great deal of blame on the UAW for the current state of Michigan ... I place much more on the negotiators for the Big 3, who sold out the workers and the consumers by consistently giving the UAW (and Buzz over in Canuckistan) whatever they asked for. I'll let my wallet vote for me on cars any day of the week .... I'm driving a 9 year old Toyota ... because it's cost me almost nothing in support. Can't say the same for my F150.

3:54 PM  

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