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(NBC News)   Detroit's emergency financial manager says that the city is insolvent. Which means it's actually in a lot better financial shape than anyone thought   ( divider line
    More: Fail, Detroit, insolvent, executive directors, cost reduction, recess, emergency managers  
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905 clicks; posted to Business » on 15 May 2013 at 9:04 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-05-15 10:20:03 AM  
2 votes:
Detroit has some options available to help - some of which have been discussed in the past:

Lease Belle Isle to the state - turning a money pit into an income item for the city.  Yes, the deal was on the table back in January which the city council was heavily set against.  The city council, dare I suggest it, has never had the best interest of the city in mind in their day to day business (I am looking squarely at you Joann Watson).

Reduce the geographical size of the city - break some neighborhoods into their own little villages/towns.  The land area of the city is simply way to big for the population that lives there.  For example, there are multiple locations where there may be 1-2 occupied houses within a multiple city block area.  There are also many areas where there are block after block of no occupied buildings at all.

Sell City Airport or otherwise close it.  How many flights does this field see in a typical day?  5?  10?  If the people using the airport want it to stay around, they would be welcomed to bid for it.  The city can no longer afford to be in the aviation business.

Severely reduce city council staff/perks.  No more city provided car/driver.  No more 4 staffers per council member.   Maybe even reduce the council to part-time.

Unless expected to respond to critical city events (e.g. water main breaks, major fire, etc...) day and night, no city staffer should have a take-home vehicle provided by the city.  Let the staffers use their own personal vehicle and if necessary, give them mileage reimbursement.  If the city must provide a vehicle, it will be something inexpensive and economical like a Ford Focus (no more Escelades).

2013-05-15 09:50:40 AM  
2 votes:

Englebert Slaptyback: In other news, Detroit has an emergency financial manager.

Yup. Detroit does need some of the things that an emergency manager can do, but it's a thorny issue.  No one is really even sure if the managers are constitutional, and there have been something like 6 other Michigan cities that have had managers, and all of them have left those cities in far worse shape than when they started. I'm not optimistic. Neither the city council nor the governor has the answers or I think are really capable of truly finding solutions. They're just playing politics most of the time.

At the moment, there is one simple, seemingly unsolvable problem: There is simply no tax base. Business and industry crashed, crime went up, people left. No one will invest in the 'Baghdad of America' because there's no worker/consumer base here, and no one will move here because there's no business and industry. Both people and businesses are also scared off by the horror stories and stereotype that have grown up around the city. Even raising taxes (which hasn't REALLY been considered and probably needs to be) wouldn't help much, because the tax base is so small for the city's size. It's a vacuum and a total standoff, with people and business each waiting for the other to DO SOMETHING before they act themselves. Add in corrupt city government, predatory Republican lawmakers in Lansing, and a REALLY uneducated voter population, and you have a Gordian Knot of a problem.

It's not all bad, though. There are several business interests that have taken advantage of the low pricing to buy up lots of things downtown and move companies down there. The downtown area is clean, safe, well-policed, and has not a single vacant building. There are businesses everywhere, and housing is being added slowly to the Midtown area. Young professionals (often after graduating from Wayne State in midtown or other MI universities) are starting to move down there. The rot spread from the center outwards during 'white flight' decades ago, but the center of the city has been reborn, before the rot even made it to the edge of the city. That middle ring is where the city is at it's worst.

This gradual redevelopment by brave businesses is probably the only solution in the long run. This is why I get so pissed off when the stupid motherless cum dumpsters who've never been within a thousand miles of this city descend on these threads with their tired jokes about Robocop and Kentucky Fried Movie. The constant jokes and insults have created a impenetrable, nation and even WORLD-wide negative impression of the place. Detroit is almost a byword for 'murder capital of the world' despite the fact that Detroit has never ever been #1 in even the US in crime and violence. If I even tell someone I'm from Detroit, the first thing they ask me about is murders, getting mugged, dodging bullets in the streets, etc. So many people (and businesses) I know as friends would never even for a moment consider even VISITING Detroit, with the same 'well duh' as if you just suggested heading over to Somalia for a beer.
2013-05-15 10:14:21 AM  
1 vote:

Lost Thought 00: Haha, it's so funny when democratically elected officials are thrown out of office and replaced by unelected appointees who have no connection or responsibility towards the peoples whose lives they are now in complete control of.

I'm fine with Detroit not having an emergency manager, however the day do that, all support from the state ends.  No more money from Lansing, no more help underwriting bonds, etc.  The internal politics of Detroit have been a clusterfark that the rest of the state has been underwriting for years.  Corruption, multiple officials in jail due to FBI investigations, "SHREK!", etc.  Bing actually presented a plan to shrink the city that was written by the Detroit Mayor's office and the council wouldn't even debate it because they're a bunch of corrupt farkers who feared even the smallest of impact to their little fiefdoms.  Had Detroit implemented some version of Bing's plan, I'd be against Detroit having a manager, but the way the city council just shot it down with no debate, fark 'em.  They had their chance to take ownership of the process and do what everyone knows needs to be done and they didn't want to enact reforms while shrinking the service footprint, so now it is time for the state to do it.

Personally I hope that Orr will basically be Bing's 500 pound gorilla and just use his authority to enact Bing's plan, but at the end of day something needs to be done.  Detroit being shiatty drags down all of SE Michigan.  If the good people of Detroit don't like Orr, then they can vote for the guy who promises to remove him next time we elect a governor.
2013-05-15 10:01:56 AM  
1 vote:

Pariah.: and there have been something like 6 other Michigan cities that have had managers, and all of them have left those cities in far worse shape than when they started.

That is simply untrue.  Pontiac is much better off than before the emergency manager.  They've had multiple basic services restored.  (Although comparing Detroit to Pontiac is unfair, since Pontiac had assets to salvage)
2013-05-15 09:54:30 AM  
1 vote:

Pariah.: The constant jokes and insults have created a impenetrable, nation and even WORLD-wide negative impression of the place.

It's not the jokes and insults that did that.
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