Archive for August, 2007

News on Detroit

Apparently the only thing that happens in Detroit is that pro sports teams play sports. Or maybe it’s that that’s the only positive thing that happens in Detroit? Or perhaps Detroiter’s feel the need to validate their own lives by associating with highly paid, successful, professional athletes? Who knows, I suppose it’s better to obsess about sports than about some movie stars lives, but…

Well, after searching I found some real news, and of course there wasn’t really much that was good. Former city councilman Bates faces up to 41 months in prison for putting family and friends on the city’s payroll, without actually requiring them to work. Michigan had three cities with some of the highest rates of poverty, including Flint, Saginaw, and of course, Detroit, which has a poverty rate of 32.5%. The state’s poverty, as a whole rate, is higher than the nations. Also, the area’s housing prices declined 11%.

Some good news please…anything?

Someone actually read a post!

Woo hoo! I thought I was the only one to read this blog, and today I got a comment from Alberto Cottica, member and founder of the band Fiamma Fumana, which is a band that I’ve really enjoyed since first seeing them in Detroit in 2001. They were so good at the Detroit Festival of the Arts, that we went back to see them a second time a day or two later at the same festival. I also ran many blocks in the humid summer heat to get money from an ATM to buy the first album on the spot!

Pretty cool to get a comment from my favorite economics accordionist! I hope they come back to Detroit again soon.

I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m too up on Detroit today. There’s mixed reports out on Detroit. The good one is the report that the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership has “helped 45 companies either expand or locate in the Detroit region, generating investments totaling $66 million and adding 644 new jobs during the year ended June 30.”

The bad new, of course, starts with the area’s foreclosure rate, which is second worst in the nation, just behind Stockton, California (yuck) and just ahead of Las Vegas, Nevada (again, yuck). What a great group to be in: Stockton the overpriced, overly bland bedroom community of Northern California’s Central Valley, and Las Vegas, overly bland stucco tract housing in the dessert surrounding Sin City, were only the worst of society enjoys a stay.

The second bit of bad news contradicts the first bit (o.k., only bit of good news) of the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership report about business expansion and creation. According to the Detroit News, the state’s economy is stalled, and that business growth in the area fell dramatically in the last twelve months.

When Detroit bottoms out it may become a good investment. Question is when will that be? We’ve got much needed water (if it doesn’t all drain out…), and cheap land. Unfortunately, I think we’re still on the way down…but one day, it’ll head back up (I hope).

Detroit’s art scene sucks even more now than it did before…

Yes, I know. It’s hard to believe. Could Detroit’s art’s scene ever become worse than it already was? Apparently so, says the Detroit News.

There was a debate on this very topic, here, back in June. Funny how people see what they want to see. I’m always told about someone who makes a living from their art. Of course there’s a few here. Unfortunately, we need more than a few successful artists in the area. Just like we need more than a few jobs in the area. Being able to point out one or two successful artists in the area doesn’t cut it. This may seem like a pessimistic view point, and maybe I should see the glass as half full, not half empty.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the local art scene, the glass isn’t half full, or half empty, it’s just plain empty. And that’s not pessimism, it’s realism.