Orderly retreat
Posted by aogFriday, 26 February 2010 at 09:58 TrackBack Ping URL

I have very mixed feelings about this story which concerns the Mayor of Detroit’s effort to have an orderly retreat of the people of Detroit, rather than a general collapse.

The big thing is that this is a result of how badly the city and state economies have been handled for the last 20 or 30 years. This end was clear at least that long ago and the response of the city government and the voters was to keep on partying until the money ran out.

On the other hand, when ⅓ of the buildings in a city are abandoned or turned in to vacant lots, you’ve got a problem that needs to be dealt with and the Mayor’s plan doesn’t seem so outrageous given the existing situation. I do wonder, though, why he’s not pitching it as “green”, i.e. more concentrated housing with green corridors, the standard sort of watermelon style city planning.

I liked this bit —

he’s already facing opposition from activists such as Ron Scott, who said he is “adamantly opposed” and believes the business community is pushing Bing to get cheap access to large tracts of the city.

“Sounds like reservations to me, it sounds like telling people to move,” Scott said. “The citizens of the city of Detroit who built this city, the working class, didn’t create this situation. You are diminishing the constitutional options people have by contending you have a crisis.”

I was unaware of any Constitutional “option” that guarantees city services. I would also object on the basis that the citizens of the city did, in fact, create this situation by repeatedly electing crooks, looters, and incompetents to city office.

Finally, I am a bit puzzled by the Mayor resorting to eminent domain. One would think he should exactly the opposite, and un-domain the non-viable sections of the city. If they’re not part of the city, there’s no requirement to provide services, which is what the Mayor claims is the problem.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
erp Friday, 26 February 2010 at 11:37

Creeping socialism comes to a screeching halt at the bottom of a cliff. No surprise here.

Hey Skipper Friday, 26 February 2010 at 14:08

I have very mixed feelings about stimulus spending.

However, I can’t think of a better use for it than to spend it on selective demolition. With something like half the people Detroit once had, the existing infrastructure is unsupportable.

Even better, unlike much stimulus spending, it doesn’t leave any ongoing spending requirement in its wake; moreover, it would actually cause a decrease.

Finally, I am a bit puzzled by the Mayor resorting to eminent domain. One would think he should exactly the opposite, and un-domain the non-viable sections of the city.

I am not sure there is any such thing as un-incorporation.


[thin ice]

Is there any black ruled city in the US (or anywhere, for that matter) that has not been run into the ground by crooks, looters and incompetents?

[/thin ice]

erp Friday, 26 February 2010 at 16:31

Skipper, you’re on to something. Let the city incorporate the areas that are unsafe as a separate entity and then let individuals settle the area in the same way the west was settled, first come, first served. After five years, title passes to those who’ve kept up the taxes and/or improved the property.

Why thin ice?

Facts are facts. It’s not pigmentation, but politically correct politics that caused the phenomenon. Black leaders were elected and re-elected because they knew how to play the system. Blaming whitey, making deals with the unions and Democratic politicians, extorting money from businesses …

They live the good life while their constituents continue down the tubes into welfare and drugs and prison or an early violent death for those pesky young males.

Black leaders who speak up are smeared and trashed – see Bill Cosby and the cycle won’t stop until we care enough to stop it by telling the truth.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 26 February 2010 at 20:23

I admit that I was originally going to blame this on standard Democratic Party politics, but as much as I loathe not seeing the MAL as uniformly incompetent failures, I did live in Pittsburgh for a number of years around the tail end of its time as Iron City. There was an economic hit even worse than what Detroit suffered yet Pittsburgh, even with a Democratic Party city government, mostly pulled through. It had some real problems but it certainly did not have large sections of the city being abandoned. Housing prices had cratered but were coming back around the time we left. So it’s possible, which makes the failure of Detroit more significant.

Ali Choudhury Saturday, 27 February 2010 at 11:18

I was going to suggest Atlanta but it appears the prosperous part of the city region is trying to split from the poor, run-down black parts of it.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 28 February 2010 at 12:32

Atlanta it is. Southern municipal politics could make a book. My granddaddy was a successful local leader of a municipal reform movement in T. Roosevelt’s time, known as the Des Moines Plan. Even the worst-run Southern municipality today, even Birmingham, is not as bad as under the rule of the white bosses a century ago. Think Crump, think Prendergast.

It is not entirely clear how you decide which Southern cities are “black run.” A lot have mixed regimes. Once, some 25 years ago, I was watching a television news program about some matter of policing, not race related. The program switched to police chiefs around the country, and the chief from Charleson, South Carolina, was presented, and it was a black guy, and I was a little surprised; and then the show switched to Houston, Texas, and it was another black guy, and I was shocked.

I thought to myself: The South really is changing.

cjm Sunday, 28 February 2010 at 23:02

i don’t know if a single city in any country that is well run. maybe they are out there, but i haven’t heard of them.

rather than shrink detroit, maybe they should raze it completely and relocate the remaining residents to other parts of the country.

erp Monday, 01 March 2010 at 09:16

cjm, well-run may be a stretch, but NYC under Giuliani was as well run a city as is possible given decades of ingrained implacable and virtually unchangeable conditions.

Ali Choudhury Monday, 01 March 2010 at 13:01

Does newark count as a black-run city? The new guy there, Cory Booker, is doing allright.

erp Monday, 01 March 2010 at 13:55

Newark is the poster child for government interference and was a guinea pig for every social engineering scam to come down the pike. My brother in law worked for Western Electric when they tried some Great Society tax abatement program to make work for local unemployables. The experiment was a disaster and only lasted a few years.

Newark’s proximity to Manhattan should make it an upscale bedroom community, but unfortunately it went the other way. I haven’t been around there in a long time, but would be glad to hear it’s on the upswing.

cjm Monday, 01 March 2010 at 18:55

newark is where you put the nozzle in.

erp: giuliani got some aspects of nyc running ok, but not the schools and other bureaucratic fiefdoms.

erp Monday, 01 March 2010 at 20:33

cjm, NYC schools and fiefdoms would require divine intervention.

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