Archive for the 'moving' Category

More Detroit vs. The Media drama, and What Detroit has, what Detroit’s losing, and what Detroit needs

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This was supposed to have been posted a week, or so, ago. But thanks to my old job, four days out of town, jury duty, and a new job to start, none of what’s here is new. But, since I went to the trouble to write it, I’m posting it anyway.

Detroit vs The Media

The drama never ends for Detroit. NBC hates Detroit, and now ABC as well. ABC’s new crime drama set in Detroit has got some all bent out of shape once again. As always there were some interesting comments including:
“Why must the media prortray Detroit is such a bad light.” - Do we always have to ask this question? Seriously, is there any question as to why the media portrays the city the way that it does? Besides, did anyone complain about Law and Order making New York look bad, or CSI making Vegas look bad? Detroit deserves a break because it really is that bad? If only the media would give Detroit a break, surely things would improve. There were, as always, so interesting comments.

“Perhaps a chat with the directors of ABC would change their mind.” - Doubt it. Why do Detroiters always want to have a chat with the media about the way the city is portrayed? And, anyway how would that conversation go? Detroiter - “Will you to stop portraying Detroit in a negative light?” ABC exec - “No.”

“And I think the promo is wrong in saying that Detroit is the murder capital. I think we are up there, but more like number 3. New Orleans is #1″ - Yeah, take that ABC. They really ought to get their facts straight. Oh wait, according to ABC Detroit was the murder capital in 2008…hmm coincidence or conspiracy to paint Detroit badly?

“Was anything truthful said? Or is it Americas’ loss of integrity personified.” - Huh?

“I’m as sensitive to Detroit’s image as anyone, but I think that viewers will be able to decipher this as fiction.” - One might think so, but judging by reactions, that sentiment is not shared by many others.”

“So i can understand why ABC is doing a crime series set in Detroit.It’s about time. What took so long? I think I’ll send them some story ideas. I have many, too many, & these are all true, nothing make-believe.” - This one makes sense..

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What Detroit Has

What does Detroit have, beyond high unemployment, high crime rates, and bitter defenders? Well according to POP City, Detroit has a few things Pittsburgh ( and presumably, other Rust Belt cities ) could use. Of course POP City is owned by Issue Media Group, which also just happens to publish Model D and Metromode as well, booth of which ardent Detroit boosters. Nonetheless, perhaps there are some good things that Detroit has, that other places could use. According to POP City, Detroit has:

The Greening of Detroit:

I can imagine that almost no other city in the United States has an organization quite like the Greening of Detroit, of course no other city has the amount of abandoned land that Detroit has. I like the Greening of Detroit and what they do.

Tech Town:

Tech Town is a great idea, and I hope some great things come of it. Bringing smart, creative, and innovative people together is exactly what Detroit needs. Technology may make it possible to work in isolation in Bad Axe, but in reality innovation comes from people pushing the envelope, and building on one another’s successes. This doesn’t often happen in isolation. It’s the reason Silicon Valley, Boston, and NYC keep creating new companies, and why they get so much of the investment dollars.

The M-1 Rail Project:

Detroit doesn’t have this yet. It is hoped that construction will begin before the end of 2010. Unfortunately, it takes several years to complete a section of rail through an urban area, and in an area that continues to lose population, it’ll will be difficult to make it happen.

Art:

Detroit does have this, and some good stuff at that. But projects such as the Heidelberg Project are products of an extreme situation that nobody wants. I really like the Heidelberg Project, but I’d rather not have the massive amounts of blight and abandonment that has to go along with it.

A Food Scene:

I can’t comment on Pittsburgh’s food scene, but Detroit’s food scene is decent, but not incredible. I love Slow’s but, even cities with lower populations, such as Denver and Portland, have better food scenes than Detroit. Five or six places…even a dozen good places aren’t enough for an area the size of Detroit.

Regardless of whether or not I feel this list is a good example of what other areas need or not (I don’t), the metropolitan Detroit area does have somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5 million residents. That’s a significant amount of people, who could be customers, and employees or employers. Whether or not the area can capitalize on that depends on the decisions the residents, businesses, and politicians make over the next decade or so. If we were to look to the decisions of the past 40 years the outlook would be rather grim. Perhaps though, the next generation of policy makers can make better decisions than the last.

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What Detroit’s Losing

Unfortunately this is an easy one. Detroit’s losing everything from people to money. What is really bad, is that metro Detroit is losing young college grads. I recently read this article about college education rates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Scroll down to the section titled, “By the Numbers”. My guess is Detroit doesn’t compare very well, even considering Milwaukee’s meager numbers.

What Detroit Needs

What Detroit needs is pretty much the inverse of what it’s losing, including a young, educated workforce, immigrants, Innovation, and, well…pretty much everything. Recovery seems to be a tricky, chicken/egg situation. Hi tech businesses locate where the talent is. Talent locates where the jobs are. Jobs are found where the hi tech businesses are. With each being a prerequisite for the other, how do you attract either one to Detroit? This is one of the arguments many make against authors such as Richard Florida. Reading what urban theorists such as Florida have to say make many feel that the”in” places, such as Chicago, D.C., and Silicon Valley, have already won. There’s no possible way to beat them if you take Florida’s theories without actually reading far enough. And that’s true to a certain extent. Nobody was able to beat Detroit as the automotive capital for 75 years or so, even with such bad management decisions. However, that didn’t stop Chicago, D.C., or Silicon Valley, and many, many other places, from thriving. Detroit doesn’t have to be Chicago, but it does have to be something other than the same old Detroit we’ve all known for far too long.

Who’s left Michigan? And who’s left in Michigan?

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The other night I had a conversation with someone still living in metro Detroit. We talked about the national economy, and local Detroit metro economy as well. Now that I’ve been, for the most part, working outside of Michigan for the last couple of years, I see things from a slightly different perspective. Those who live in Michigan are, I imagine, feeling a greater weight,  than those of us who live in areas with a better economic outlook. While I’m not viewing the world through rose colored glasses, I certainly see a better national future than did the person on the other end of the line. I believe many regions in this country are well positioned for the future. Unfortunately, where we did agree was in the belief that Michigan, and metro Detroit, is not one of those regions.

For many years now, I’ve been stressing that as bad as things were, I believed they would get much worse for the area. Upon moving back to metro Detroit from Portland, Oregon, I suffered from a pretty big dose of culture shock. The people, the place, and mostly the attitude was completely different. In Portland people, with good educations, often with plenty of experience as well, moved to the area just to be there. They wanted to be around other young, educated, and often creative, individuals. They wanted to be around the kinds of people that start businesses like Resource Revival, Portland Design Works, and River City Bicycles. They wanted to have the chance to work for companies like Nike, Keen, Adidas, Weiden + Kennedy, and Second Story Interactive. I’ve never been able to say the same about Detroit. Though I’m sure there are some who have made a decision to live in Detroit for reasons other than family or a job, I’ve never met any.

Growing up in metro Detroit almost everyone I knew with a lot of money worked in the one industry. If they didn’t work for the Big Three, they had a family business, and it was most likely an automotive supplier, or somehow serviced the auto industry. The pay was often ridiculously high, and the bar was often too low. The pay didn’t necessarily go to the best, but to most well connected. Of course this wasn’t, and isn’t, strictly a problem in one industry, but as the auto industry grew, the problem grew too. At one point in the late 80’s and early 90’s the zip-code I lived in was the wealthiest in the country. This occurred even as the auto industry was in decline. Already almost everyone I knew, around my age, wanted to “escape” from Michigan, and the bloated, insular, and dysfunctional industry that dominated the area. Unfortunately the high pay, and security of the jobs in the industry sucked many back to the state after college, but the foundation for a healthy, innovative, and diversified economy was long gone. As soon as the over heated economy, built on debt, began to cool, the exodus from Michigan moved into overdrive.

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Who has left? Anyone with a good education, or skills that were in demand nationwide, such as software engineers, chemical engineers, and many other high tech and creative workers. They were the ones who could go almost anywhere. If you had a good education, and new you could get a good job anywhere, would you stay in a region whose main city leads the nation in crime rates, unemployment and poverty, suffers from a low level of education, has few cultural and recreational opportunities, bad traffic with no alternatives, and a sprawling and poorly designed metro area? Of course the suburbs don’t suffer as the city does from these afflictions, but let’s be honest, young, educated, creative types like cities. No matter what your middle aged, suburb loving, curmudgeon beliefs are, the younger generation likes what cities offer. Even if they don’t live in the city, they want to be near a vibrant one. They want culture, jobs, variety, choices in transportation, and vitality.

So who is left? Is it, as this article claims, the strongest that remain? Maybe those who stayed are stronger. Who knows, though it looks like it is the educated who are leaving, and it appears that the poorer, and less educated would like to leave, but find it much more difficult. But, regardless, metro Detroit needs much more than strength. It needs leadership, creativity, innovation, and vision. Detroit needs a new direction. There are a few good signs, as the article points out, but why did it take so long for anyone to take action? What was going on the last 20 years or so? Nothing as far as I could see. I was there. It wasn’t necessarily that no one cared, but that no one cared to see what was coming. Sure there were the few who were planning for the future, but for the most part it seemed as if Michigan was enjoying a party most believed would never end. Now the party is over, and many are pointing fingers. It’s the liberals fault. It’s bad tax policy. Blah, blah, blah… The ship is underwater. Time to stop the blame game.

It’s not that I believe Detroit has no future, it’s just that I think that it’s going to take a long time to attract the people that are needed to turn things around. Maybe a turn around isn’t even possible. Do we even want to go back? What we really need is to move forward. Michigan has waited far to long to face what was the future, and is now the present, but better late than never I guess. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do know that unless Michigan can attract, and keep the types of people that are leaving, the state doesn’t have much of a future.

More of the same, or, why I continue to beat a dead horse…

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I know I say the same things over and over. I guess I just feel I can’t say them enough. One of my favorite topics is the need to make the Metro Detroit area an attractive place to live. The usual xenophobic reaction is to resist any kind of change.  The typical mindset seems to be something like the following: If something worked 75 years ago, it’s got to work now. We didn’t need mass transit, bike lanes, or parks then, so why would we need them now. In fact people only go to cities for jobs, right? So we need to get some big corporation to relocate to our sad, depressed area, and give us jobs.

In reality, highly educated, creative, young people go where they want to go. And guess what? They don’t want to go to Metro Detroit. They want to go to cities they may actually enjoy living in, not just one that provides a job. A good urban area can, and usually does attract educated, creative, and entrepreneurial young professionals, so important to economic growth. And young, creative, educated types start companies, and create jobs. Corporations are also much more likely to locate where they can pick from a large qualified workforce.

The metro area, and Michigan as a whole, has not been very forward thinking. In fact it’s pretty much been in reverse, while the vast majority of the country was in drive. Now, believe it or not, G.M. is planning to cut even more white collar jobs,  we are having to loan G.M. $4B more, GMAC is getting a $7.5B loan, and the automotive industry’s pension funds appear to be on life support.

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And to top it all off, Detroit’s got an image problem, largely due to the darn media. Constantly painting Detroit in a bad light; how could they? If only they new the truth; it’s a safe city, with lots of job opportunities and a bright future… Heck, even I am getting hate messages. Apparently I am a “disgusting human being” for taking photos of abandonment, and I surely “could’ve chosen a different subject matter.” Shoot the messenger. Always a good idea. In fact maybe if we say, “Detroit is good enough. Detroit is smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like Detroit”, maybe the abandonment and corruption will magically vanish, jobs will appear, and the economy and unemployment won’t be the worst in the nation anymore. Maybe I can pretend my house is worth more than my mortgage too.

Detroit does have a future of some kind. Most likely though, it’ll never look like it did 4o years ago. It’ll almost certainly be something very different. Hopefully, at the very least, it’ll look very different than it does today. Some possibilities include urban farming, green spaces, giving away land to entrepreneurs and urban villages. It’s obvious that Detroit can’t provide traditional services to the area it currently encompasses. It is time for a change.

Finally, while I feel very bad for the subject of this story, you just have to ask, “what were you thinking?” or “were you thinking?” It’s not like the Metro Detroit areas outlook suddenly went from promising to bleak overnight.

The truth hurts…

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I wrote this a while ago, so many of the links go to older (well, weeks old anyway) articles, but this one article made me think about actually publishing this post. A quote from the 25 year old report called “Path to Prosperity” that caught my attention: “‘We said we had to either get smart, get out’ of manufacturing ‘or get poor,’ Ross said. ‘We got poor.’” I was considering a new tone at The Motor(less) City, but what the hell; I guess it’ll have to wait.

Sometimes I get angry comments and emails about the content I put on my blog. Often times the comments are very defensive about the Metro Detroit area, and hence angry at me. In the past my rantings were really just the online equivalent of screaming into the wind. Now that some people actually read the blog, I’m confronted with the fact that not only do people not agree with me, but some are really mad at me. Not sure if I’m really comfortable with this, but I guess it’s a little late now. Yeah, the truth hurts.

Speaking of the truth hurting, it seems that people from the area, even the defensive ones are going to have to deal with some uncomfortable facts about the state, and city…and the region. Everyone (I hope) knows that Michigan’s unemployment rate is 12.6%, and Detroit’s is 22.8% (and future estimates even worse), but of course that’s not surprising. I think many in the area want to pretend that Metro Detroit is better than it is, and in fact often point out only moderately unique aspects of the area as proof of greatness. “We’re a great sports town”, people often say, or, “we’ve got great architecture.” There are two really good professional sports teams in Metro Detroit (and two pretty bad ones), and there are some very nice buildings in Detroit (the Penobscot, the Guardian, etc), but so what. What major city doesn’t have a couple of good sports teams, and some good architecture? And, really, neither of those things makes the area a good place to live.

I think this is becoming exceedingly obvious as people flee the state at a record pace. As the article clearly points out, the “young and college-educated” demographic that is leaving, is exactly the demographic that is needed to save Metro Detroit. As the population becomes older, the costs that will burden those that actually work will go up. The fight will continue over taxation, investment, and education, but it’ll all be for naught if we can’t figure out a way to attract people who create jobs instead of just those who need jobs. We aren’t going to be able to convince enough companies to come to the area to make up for all of the manufacturing jobs that have been lost, but we can make the environment more inviting to those who are the job creators.

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Some other painful truths:

The Big Three are mostly to blame for their problems. It is not just a symptom of the recent economic crisis, that no one could have seen coming. And the people in charge have not been the right ones either.

The problems in Detroit are very complex and deep rooted. Our past still haunts us. Lowering taxes isn’t a magic bullet.

The entire state is hurting, not just Metro Detroit. A quote from the article: “Michigan’s dependence on low-skill, high-paying manufacturing jobs is driving the state to the poorhouse, a new study shows.” I was a “bad” person for saying this recently.

It’s still one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

The citizens of Detroit constantly elect crooks. This one is not often disagreed with.

Good news? Well, there may be. It depends on your political persuasion.

There are some young entrepreneurial types that are doing their part to keep their own demographic from leaving the state.

The large tax incentives given to film productions in the state appear to be attracting larger and larger productions, bringing some jobs with them.

Immigrants could be the area’s future if we are open and inviting.

Stimulus dollars may help with high speed transit between Detroit and Chicago.

Everyone wants to live somewhere else

This shouldn’t be a surprise:

Pew: Almost half of Americans want to live somewhere else

Surely the grass is always greener somewhere else. Though I do have to agree that Denver is a much better place to live than Detroit. Detroit wouldn’t be last on my list, but there are certainly plenty of other places that would appear higher on my personal list of places to live. Gary, Indiana is probably lower on my list…actually, probably all of Indiana is lower on my list. As would be the entire Southeast, and Southwest sections of the country. But that’s just me.

As I’ve said before, Detroit’s problem is not it’s location or weather. And if you don’t know what it’s problems really are, then you probably are the problem…at least partially.

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Preaching to the choir…

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A discussion with my sister-in-law, regarding the inevitability of change, facing change, and dealing with change, somehow made me think of Detroit. Detroit’s like some people I know who refuse to face up to the fact that change is inevitable. And not only that it’s inevitable, but that you’d better prepare for it, and make the most of it. Once change is accepted, it can become an opportunity. Anyone who knows me, is well aware of how irritated Michigan’s, and Metro Detroit’s, resistance to change makes me.

As an individual, I, like so many others, had to face up the reality that the opportunities that my previous career choice, and my location in Metro Detroit, offered were limited. I mourned the loss of what I once had, and moved on. I learned new skills, used my spare time to build up some experience in my new industry, and, along with a move to a new, more economically viable location, am making a good living in an industry with a lot more current and future potential.

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For Metro Detroit, it’s time to mourn and move on. The past is past. It’s time to look towards the future. Time to figure out how to become relevant in the 21st century. When I talk with friends,with similar sensibilities, I always realize how we are simply preaching to the choir. More and more, people are coming to the realization that we are in the midst of a dramatic shift away from our industrial past. When will a Critical Mass emerge, that will force the change upon the area, that is necessary Detroit’s survival? Talk is cheap, and as these articles suggest, there’s plenty of talk…plenty of preaching to the choir. How can we convince the skeptics that change is not only inevitable, but necessary, potentially the best thing that can happen to the area?

New Detroit: A Radical Vision of America’s Greenest City

Immigrants in the 313: This is where the future begins

Essay: Is mass transit in Metro Detroit for real this time?

Moved again…

After five months in D.C., an opportunity to move to Denver, Colorado presented itself. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to try out a city we’ve always thought would be great to live in, we packed up on short notice and drove the Budget rental truck to Denver. We liked D.C. The area had more than enough job, and cultural opportunities, but is just a tad expensive, and slightly hot and humid. Our plan was to stay longer than five months, but some opportunities are too difficult to pass up. Denver is a city with a feeling similar to another city we’ve lived in; Portland, Oregon. Granted, the weather is completely different, as is the geographical location, but the progressive, easy to live in feeling one gets in Denver is the same one finds in Portland. The recreational opportunities, diversity of small and medium sized businesses, and the entreprenurial spirit, also is shared between the two cities. Denver, however, beats the pants off of Portland when it comes to weather. Over 300 days of sun, and nice dry weather combine to create one nice place to locate a city.

The move, new work, new recreational opportunities, and great weather have made it difficult to post much to the Motor(less)city. Additionally, living away from Detroit for any period of time, makes the anger and frustration, which spawned this site, simply melt away. The problems the area faces are arguably worse now than they were when we left in February, but now seem more distant, and frankly, less our problem, and more there problem (and possibly if you are reading this from Metro Detroit - your problem). The Big Three are in more trouble, the real estate market, the job market, the mayor is going to prison (that’s probably actually a good thing in the long run), and the overall health of the economy seems even worse,  but they don’t seem to make me quite as angry anymore. That’s bad. Not for me, but for Metro Detroit. I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way either.

Metro Detroit is our home. Our family lives there, and we own a house there, but our commitment to the area is disappearing. We got angry about the reliance on one industry, the lack of foresight on issues such as transit, urban planning, anti-smoking legislation, and recreational opportunities for the state. Our anger on these issues (and others) angered others in Metro Detroit. They wanted us to love the area un-conditionally. “It’s a pretty good place to live” we were always told, as if we were supposed to ignore the glaring poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and absolutely no plan for the future. Ignoring Detroit (and Michigan’s) problems is like ignoring the addiction of a loved one. You may be able to convince yourself that all is well, but it doesn’t change the reality of the situation, and eventually the price will have to be paid.

Leaving Metro Detroit, and eventually losing my anger towards the area, is like giving up on an addicted loved one. It’s better for me, but it’s worse for the one left behind. Eventually you realize that it’s not your responsibility, and the anger subsides. Unfortunately, so does the desire to force change. When enough others find themselves in the same situation as myself, Metro Detroit will have lost the very people it needs to enact the change that is necessary to make the area into what it needs to be in order to survive into the future.

So if my rants are fewer and far between, or less angry, it’s because I just don’t care as much anymore. Sure I hope it turns around. And I hope that one day I have the desire to return and start up a new business in the area, but right now, it’s just not my problem…

On the other hand, I’ve been contacted by someone at least as angry, who has also experienced the possibilities great cities offer, and who would like to get a little bit of frustration off their chest. Hopefully, they’ll be able to put some interesting thoughts on this site.

Do what Cleveland does…

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After watching Making Sense of Place: Cleveland, I was reminded of something I’ve said over and over. Metro Detroit is in competition with all of the other metropolitan areas in the country for today and tomorrow’s young and educated population. At one point in the episode it was stated that the city had two choices: “entice this desirable demographic with the ammenities and lifestyle they desire, or hand them suitcases,” because if Cleveland couldn’t provide them with what they wanted, they’d head elsewhere.

Metro Detroit is facing this same problem, and until everyone gets on board…the decline will continue.

One of the most interesting aspects of the episode was the continuing cycle of building and abandonment. Newer, outer ring, suburbs always think they are going to be immune to the problems of the city, or now, inner ring suburbs. But the fact is, it catches up eventually. What was once the new hot place, eventually becomes a struggling area of despair. It is one of the reasons commutes continue to grow. Living in Lake Orion, and working in Dearborn makes no sense, but people do it. But tough times and crime know no borders. Someone always has to buy your old place before you move to your new place. It’s unsustainable. Now outer suburbs build massive high schools. Tomorrow, those same communities are trying to close schools, and condense their school system due to a declining school population.

New infrastructure follows the ever outward migration, paid for by the general population’s taxes. The infrastructure continues to require maintenance regardless of the ability to fund it.

So what do we do? So many think this cycle is just as it should be. But it’s incredibly expensive. It’s wasteful. It makes it hard to create real communities. It creates dangerous social divisions. The rich live here, and the poor live there. Running from our problems is not a solution to the problem. It is the problem.

Detroit to get mass transit?

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I have to admit, I got a little excited when this Model D newsletter appeared in my inbox. I’ve written letters, made calls, and hoped for years that the dream of a reliable, user friendly, form of mass transit would arrive in Metro Detroit. Of course I was always told the standard line, “Detroit’s the Motor City…we’ll never get mass transit.” And of course L. Brooks Patterson once said on Michigan Public Radio, “we can’t afford to spend a dime on an experiment like mass transit…” Never mind that this “experiment” has been successful all over the globe, and most desirable and economically prosperous metropolitan areas have some form of this “experiment” also known as mass transit.

I’ve followed the debates, and the ups and downs of possible mass transit in Metro Detroit for more than ten years now. Now that the Michigan and Metro Detroit mass exodus of highly educated, motivated, and entrepreneurial people has hit a peek of sorts, and gas is expected to hit $4 per gallon, more Metro Detroiters than ever are asking why a mass transit system doesn’t exist.

Of course many people in the area would never step foot on public transportation in Metro Detroit, and would rather move than have their tax dollars support such a thing. I’ve had acquaintances tell me, “I’d never ride on public transportation here. Who would?” Of course when I was young, some people were afraid the criminal element may use mass transit to escape from the inner-city, come out to the safe haven of the suburbs, and still their refrigerators. Criminals apparently could steal refrigerators, but not cars…

So now here we are in an enlightened time in Metro Detroit. We’re ready for a regional mass transit system. Right? Ok, maybe not. It’s Kwame after all. Remember the police station in the abandoned train station plan? Is this just another “plan” that actually has less than a snowball’s chance in Hell? Time will tell. One problem may be the need for local dollars. The “plan” calls for a light rail system from downtown to the State Fair Grounds. Which of the two communities in which the light rail will pass through have any money. Neither Highland Park, nor Detroit has enough money for schools, libraries, or basic public services. The other problem is getting any other community on board. After all, it’s not going to be successful if it’s just a line from downtown to the State Fair Grounds. A successful plan has to include the communities to the north such as, Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Birmingham. Of those three the most likely to commit to such a plan would be Ferndale. Regional agreements have never been Metro Detroit’s strong suit.

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Even if all does work as planned, it’s stated in the article that nothing would happen in this decade anyway. And anything beyond Detroit hasn’t even been discussed. So Metro Detroit is once again going to fail to become relevant anytime in the near future.

Megan Owens, executive director of Transportation Riders United, states “It’s better that they take it slow and do it right,” Owens says. “The worst thing we could do is spend a bunch of money to do it quickly and build a bad system.” Unfortunately Detroit doesn’t have time. It’s already too late to the party. In fact the party’s pretty much over. Detroit needs something, and they need it yesterday.

Picking on Detroit?

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I’m occasionally accused of only pointing out Detroit’s flaws. It’s mostly true. I do have a “glass is half full” kind of attitude about Detroit. Actually my attitude is more of a “glass is empty” sort of attitude. But this isn’t elementary school. I’m not a bully, and Detroit’s not a little school child. I’m one person pointing out why droves of the most desirable people are leaving Detroit. And I do point out what I think needs to change. Detroit can take it.
And I’m not alone. Lately Detroit’s daily paper’s have taken up the cause as well.

The Free Press is reporting about the Nation’s cities, and what needs to change in order to keep them safe, vibrant, and economically viable. While this series does not focus solely on Detroit, it does point out what Detroit faces, and what it needs to do in order to recover from the depths it’s reached.

The News is reporting about the horrible state of the Detroit Public Schools, and right or wrong, presenting a way to fix it.

The Free Press compares Detroit and Pittsburgh. Detroiters often defend Detroit, pointing out how it’s so different from other cities. Of course it’s not that different. And the solutions aren’t that different either.

And here’s something I’ve mentioned and complained about before. Some idiots still refuse to get with the times. Banning smoking, in public spaces, is within State’s rights of protecting public health, and does not ruin local economies.

An article in the Free Press about how Detroit’s biggest problem is providing basic services to it’s residents.

A Free Press article about Michigan’s over supply of homes.

The area still can’t get it’s act together on the convention center (goodbye Auto Show?).

Some will say that all this misses the good things happening in the area. That may be the case, but reporting about the lipstick on a pig, doesn’t prevent anyone from recognizing that it’s still a pig. Detroit and the Metro Area, won’t get better until a majority of the residents look in the mirror and realize the area’s failings, of which there are way too many.