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Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes
AFP ^ | 08/14/05 | AFP

Posted on 08/15/2005 9:59:30 AM PDT by Pikamax

Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes Sun Aug 14, 5:03 PM ET

Rats or lead poisoning. When it comes to the threats from the broken down house next door, Dorothy Bates isn't sure which is worse.

"When it's lightening and thundering you can hear the bricks just falling," the 40-year-old nurse said as she looked at the smashed windows and garbage-strewn porch. "If you call and ask (the city) about it they say they don't have the funds to tear it down."

There are more than 12,000 abandoned homes in the Detroit area, a byproduct of decades of layoffs at the city's auto plants and white flight to the suburbs. And despite scores of attempts by government and civic leaders to set the city straight, the automobile capitol of the world seems trapped in a vicious cycle of urban decay.

Detroit has lost more than half its population since its heyday in the 1950's. The people who remain are mostly black -- 83 percent -- and mostly working class, with 30 percent of the population living below the poverty line according to the US Census Bureau.

The schools are bad. The roads are full of potholes. Crime is high and so are taxes. The city is in a budget crisis so deep it could end up being run by the state.

And it just got knocked off the list of the nation's ten largest cities.

"Detroit has become an icon of what's considered urban decline," said June Thomas, a professor of urban and regional planning at Michigan State University.

"The issue is not just getting people in the city. It's getting people in the city who can become property owners and stay property owners and pay taxes."

Perhaps the biggest challenge to luring the middle class from the area's swank suburbs is overcoming racial tensions, said Stephen Vogel, dean of the school of architecture at University of Detroit Mercy.

"Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

Most American cities have experienced a shift towards the suburbs.

What made Detroit's experience so stark was the lack of regional planning and the ease with which developments were able to incorporate into new cities in order to avoid sharing their tax revenue with the city, said Margaret Dewar, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan.

The fleeing businesses and homeowners left behind about 36 square miles (58 square kilometers) of vacant land. That's roughly the size of San Francisco and about a quarter of Detroit's total land mass.

While a decision by General Motors to build its new headquarters smack in the middle of downtown has helped lure young professionals and spark redevelopment in some of the more desirable neighborhoods, there is little hope the vacant land will be filled any time soon.

In his state of the city address, embattled mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said even if 10,000 new homes were built every year for the next 15 years "we wouldn't fill up our city."

And Detroit is still losing about 10,000 people every year.

One solution Vogel has proposed is to turn swaths of the city into farmland. In the four years since his students initiated a pilot project dozens of community gardens and small farms have popped up.

But first the city has to get rid of the crumbling buildings that haunt the streets, luring criminals, arsonists and wild animals and creating a general sense of hopelessness.

"It's partly a resource issue and it's partly a bureaucracy issue," said Eric Dueweke, the community partnership manager at the University of Michigan's College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

"It takes them forever to find the proper owners of the properties and serve them with the proper paperwork," he said. "They're tearing them down at the rate of 1,500 or 2,000 a year, so they're really not cutting into the backlog in any significant way because that's how many are coming on stream."

Dorothy Bates has been waiting three years for the crumbling house next door to be torn down. There are nine more on her short block along with several vacant lots that are overgrown with weeds.

Bates does her best to keep her five children away from the rat nests, but the lead creeping out of crumbling bricks and peeling paint drifts in through her windows.

The most frustrating part of it, says her neighbor Larry, is that so many of the abandoned houses could be repaired. The foundations are solid. The buildings are beautiful. Or at least, they were once.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: democraticcity; detroit; liberals; onepartyrule; urban; urbancesspool; workersparadise
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To: paul51

I like the idea of clearing off the vacant structures and returning the land to farm land. Now, let's move on to New Orleans and do the same thing there....


101 posted on 12/07/2006 3:35:49 PM PST by snoringbear
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To: paul51

Your kidding right? Who in their right mind would build a damn thing in that screwed up place. The dumbasses that ran it down in the first place will just continue to be in power and no good will ever come of that.


102 posted on 12/07/2006 3:42:49 PM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Defeat liberalism, its the right thing to do for America.)
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To: snoringbear
If we let the Mississippi follow the course it wants to follow, it will flow almost completely into the Atchafalaya basin and abandon NO altogether. The reason the river flows lazily along the levee above the city floor is that it is forced to go down its old riverbed instead of the new one it wants to use. Read the fascinating article by John McPhee here:

The Control of Nature

103 posted on 12/07/2006 3:42:54 PM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: paul51

Your kidding right? Who in their right mind would build a damn thing in that screwed up place. The dumbasses that ran it down in the first place will just continue to be in power and no good will ever come of that.


104 posted on 12/07/2006 3:42:55 PM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Defeat liberalism, its the right thing to do for America.)
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To: Uncle Joe Cannon

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL


105 posted on 12/07/2006 3:44:14 PM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Defeat liberalism, its the right thing to do for America.)
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To: Pikamax
...which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

I'm sure the people doing this would not rather be beaten and robbed by white guys, ass. That's not racism, that's reality.

106 posted on 12/07/2006 3:48:59 PM PST by Doohickey (I am not unappeasable. YOU are just too easily appeased.)
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To: Dead Dog

Detroit also has an income tax. Big reason people live outside the city.


107 posted on 12/07/2006 3:55:40 PM PST by Scarlet Pimpernel
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To: Pikamax
Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes

Sounds like we should ahve just moved Katrina's homeless up there and there wouldn't be this problem today.

108 posted on 12/07/2006 3:57:01 PM PST by Centurion2000 (If the Romans had nukes, Carthage would still be glowing.)
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To: Pikamax

"mayor Kwame Kilpatrick"

From the ole' sod, I see.


109 posted on 12/07/2006 3:59:16 PM PST by toddlintown (Six bullets and Lennon goes down. Yet not one hit Yoko. Discuss.)
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To: Caesar Soze
I'd feel comfortable living in downtown Detroit if I had a car and a CCW, but there's many places in Cleveland where I'd feel comfortable even without a car or a firearm. I wouldn't recommend anyone with a family live in Detroit.

I've had occasion to be doing consulting work in Detroit that had me in the city over periods of weeks. It's an interesting feeling walking down the street at times. The fact that Michigan had CCW reciprocity with my state was very comforting

110 posted on 12/07/2006 5:22:14 PM PST by SauronOfMordor (A planned society is most appealing to those with the arrogance to think they will be the planners)
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To: Black Tooth; deadeyedawg
The west coast cities, LA, Seattle and SF are paradise compared to
Detroit, Chicago, DC. I've recently been to all of them, and there is
just no comparison.


Agreed.

And from what I see...LA and SF also are a pair of cities headed in
two directions.
LA improving a bit; SF losing ground.
That's just my opinion, but SF just seems filled with more grime than LA.

But any of the West Coast metro areas are paradise compared to the
wastelands being made of the inner cities of Detroit and some other
areas of the northeastern seaboard.
111 posted on 12/07/2006 5:32:17 PM PST by VOA
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To: Pikamax

I know that thismaybe somewhat off the subject. It appears that the comments being made is mostly about the inner city of Detroit. But what about downtown Detroit, what do you think caused the demise of downtown Detroit in the first place? Was it the "White flight" or J.L Hudson's opening the Northland mall?


112 posted on 12/07/2006 5:40:10 PM PST by Sha in the D
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To: Sha in the D

Sha,

I think that people left Detroit because they didn't want to be robbed or mugged (either by criminals or the government), have their property become worthless, or live in such a depressed area. What we're trying to say is that liberal politics sucked the life out of the city by ignoring crime, decay and by creating excess taxes and regulations. People got sick of being targets and slaves, and left in droves for friendlier places.

It's much more than one store opening or closing, and it's not necessarily racism. I've watched my city go from majority white to minority white, but since there are plenty of jobs, the police arrest criminals, and the city doesn't tax or regulate us endlessly, we stay cause it's a nice place to live. What's the name of this city? Phoenix, Arizona.


113 posted on 12/07/2006 6:08:01 PM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: Pikamax
Typically pessimistic. Some of the 12,000 abandoned home have crack-whores living them.
114 posted on 12/07/2006 6:09:19 PM PST by King Moonracer (Bad lighting and cheap fabric, thats how you sell clothing.)
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To: Pikamax

Detroit is what happens when all tax breaks for the rich are eliminated.. the minimum wage is increased.. and a level played field is created for the homeless..


115 posted on 12/07/2006 6:27:28 PM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole)
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To: Pikamax

I hear what you are saying, but back in the era that I am speaking of Detroit was not in the top 10 cities with the higest crime rate. Crime is in every city but I guess like you mentioned in Poenix the police catch and arrest their criminals.
I have done some research on this subject and back in the 50's blacks were moving into the city for job opportunities from the automotive industry, and as they moved in whites started fleeing for the suburbs. With their flight that took a lot of our tax base. I do understand what you are saying about being tax to death, because as a resident and home owner taxes are outrageous. All of Detroit is not bad there are beautiful areas in Detroit.
I do understand what you are saying


116 posted on 12/07/2006 8:07:48 PM PST by Sha in the D
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To: Pikamax
The problem with Detriot is not so much the abandoned homes, but the homes that are no longer there. This says it all, about a legacy of dysfunctionality. This is from a google map about maybe 2-3 miles from downtown.


117 posted on 12/07/2006 8:17:59 PM PST by Torie
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To: Torie

Have you ever looked at the satellite images of the border between Detroit and the first of the Grosse Pointes? Damning.


118 posted on 12/08/2006 7:16:17 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: deadeyedawg

Have you tried to buy a home in LA, DC, Seattle, or San Francisco? Good luck. It's a little more expensive than Detroit.


119 posted on 12/08/2006 7:20:20 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: deadeyedawg

Sorry, didn't realize that post was 16 months old!


120 posted on 12/08/2006 7:22:28 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: Blue Jays
This is what happened to people who invested in Hoboken and Jersey City, NJ or Brooklyn, NY twenty years ago...

That's true, but New York has inherent advantages over places like Detroit. Maybe you're right and someone will hit the jackpot by investing in real estate in Detroit, but I know that before I'd cough up several hundred thousand dollars of my hard-earned cash, I'd want to see a definitive plan that the city has for turning things around; frankly, I just don't see that.

The only thing that Detroit has going for it is that it is in the Midwest (no major natural disasters) and next to a Great Lake, so it's got plenty of water. But seriously: what has Detroit got going for it? What is going to bring people back? What is going to bring businesses there?

121 posted on 12/08/2006 7:27:56 AM PST by Publius Valerius
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To: Redbob

Taxes alone higher or lower are not going to save Detroit... fact is the Jobs aren't there... there is more housing than there ever will be people again, the story is no different than hundreds of other cities and towns across the rust belt that the only difference is they are much smaller in scale...

I am not going to argue liberal politics have not exacerbated Detroits problems, but the facts are very simple, at one point there were jobs a pleanty and people needed places to live to be near them, now the jobs are gone, the people are leaving and the remnants of the past wealth lingers in vacant buildings that no one has a need for.

10,000 people PER YEAR are leaving.... all the tax breaks in the world won't stop the flight.... JOBS are why people move.. JOBS are why Detroit was a destination.. now lack of them is why it is a place people leave.

And all the tax breaks in the world will not create enough jobs in Detroit to rebuild its tax base to what it once was.


122 posted on 12/08/2006 7:31:30 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: Torie

Sorry, while it is true lots of homes are no longer there, the abandoned homes are a huge problem. Unless you have actually been to detroit you can't remotely comprehend it. The scale and scope of abandoned and deteriorating properties, both homes and commercial is incredible... it literally looks like a war raged in the city and no one cleaned up afterwards.

In fact when people in Seriavo (who actually had a war happen) saw photos of parts of detroit, they asked if a war had indeed happened there.


123 posted on 12/08/2006 7:35:44 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: VOA

Sorry SF is a dump... covered up by highly colorful flags.... I'll walk the streets of Chicago anyday over SF. Junkies everywhere, bums living in bus vestibules, homeless accosting you every other step. Every building in the downtown area has graphiti on it....

SF is a dump, makes a pretty postcard picture from far away, but once you walk around and actually spend some time in the city, you rapidly see what a dump it is.

Its like a rustbucket that puts a new coat of paint on itself regularly...


124 posted on 12/08/2006 7:38:31 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: Redbob

It was hillarious, the way the author pulled every ecsuse he could think of out...except the two you mentioned. LOL.


125 posted on 12/08/2006 7:39:08 AM PST by patton (Sanctimony frequently reaps its own reward.)
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To: Publius Valerius
Kickin' it old school and bringing back a thread from August 2005! Sweet!
126 posted on 12/08/2006 8:03:15 AM PST by Blue Jays (Rock Hard, Ride Free)
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To: Sha in the D

I'm glad, Sha. I hope you enjoy FreeRepublic. I have learned a lot here... there are a lot of smart people on this site. Welcome aboard!


127 posted on 12/08/2006 11:28:55 AM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: Sha in the D

Oh and I was born in Chicago and have watched that city being destroyed from within by both liberal politics and the deadly effects of racism. My family had lived in the city since the 1870s, but I would never live there now. It's heartbreaking to look at the ruins of Detroit... you can tell it was a nice place at one time.


128 posted on 12/08/2006 11:31:33 AM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: HamiltonJay

See the link in post 73 for a tour of the ruins of Detroit. It's an amazing web site. My condolences for the demise of a once-great city.


129 posted on 12/08/2006 11:35:57 AM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: Torie

Whattaya think the city property taxes are on one of them vacant lots are? My guess is pretty high. I wouldn't move into that city if the 'city fathers' gave me the lot, a new house, AND a job. The problem is sane people left it because the urban cities are controlled by racist alarmist extremists who think that they can tax whitey till he bleeds....


130 posted on 12/08/2006 11:37:15 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Pikamax

Ironically enough, Census Bureau headquarters is in Prince George's County, Maryland, which looks VERY similar to Detroit.


131 posted on 12/08/2006 12:31:15 PM PST by YourAdHere (Buy My Book, "Bradypalooza," from Amazon. Com.)
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To: Pikamax

Sounds like a wonderful place to increase the population of muslims from throughout this country.


132 posted on 12/08/2006 12:40:47 PM PST by aShepard
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To: Publius Valerius

I know that Detroit is not Chicago or New york but we are in the process of rebuilding this city. We have things to offer. No our downtown area is not what it use to be but it is on the upswing. With new businesses opening, Hardrock cafe', the compuware building, we have our summer festivals, clubs, restaurants, The Fox theatre, our beautiful riverfront. Not to mention ice skating downtown at Campus Martius, the Casino, Our sports arenas i.e.Ford Field, Comerica. We are trying to improve our city it may take a while but I have faith that it will happen.


133 posted on 12/08/2006 1:20:21 PM PST by Sha in the D
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To: Gaffer
Exactly, let the place rot!

""Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year...""

When former residents move the bones of their ancestors you know they have written off the city. This is a city that should be written off.

134 posted on 12/08/2006 2:22:01 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Sha in the D
As someone who has lived in downtown Cleveland, I've heard a lot about "revitalization."

Ball parks don't do it. Restaurants don't do it. Bars certainly don't do it. It takes people living there and it takes big businesses being headquartered there. Sports arenas, bars, and restaurants don't do that. They bring people downtown for a few hours and then they get in their cars and drive back to the suburbs.

It takes a serious, serious commitment to turn around a downtown--and, more importantly--it takes continuous commitment, especially in a place that isn't a "natural" population center (i.e., not New York, Chicago, or LA). Take Indianapolis, for instance: the city put in a lot of effort to bring back the downtown, only to let it go, so to speak, once the downtown had made it "back." As a result, the city is beginning to slip again.

I think Detroit (and Cleveland, for that matter) need major attitude changes before the city will become prosperous again. I frankly don't know how that will happen in either one because the voters are heavily democratic and the candidates who win elections will continue to deliver the same message that wins them election year after year.

And--seriously--this isn't a Republican vs. Democrat issue; I really don't care WHO it is that is going to make the hard choices that are required to turn around a major city, but it just has to be done and there is NO incentive to do so when people continue to win elections with lip service.

The definition of stupid is continuing to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Welcome to Cleveland (and, I expect, Detroit).

135 posted on 12/11/2006 7:09:29 AM PST by Publius Valerius
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To: Redbob

That's part of it.

Also might have something to do with the grit, grime, economy, crowded, crime-filled streets, the smell of the air...I could go on.

I heard a comedian once comment on Detroit's crime. The comedian himself was black, saying "You know, I think it's hilarious when black people in Detroit blame crime on being oppressed by white people. How the f*** is that possible? There ain't no white people in Detroit!"


136 posted on 12/11/2006 7:11:25 AM PST by RockinRight (Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. He's a Socialist. And unqualified.)
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To: BenLurkin

So Devil's Night was actually an excercise in caring for the city? ;-)


137 posted on 12/11/2006 7:14:29 AM PST by RockinRight (Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. He's a Socialist. And unqualified.)
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To: Disambiguator

For me the crime rate and all that matters, but I like my open spaces. I'd rather have a home on a half acre of land on a quiet street than live in the city with the traffic, dirt, grime, AND CRIMINALS, and be so close to my neighbor I could touch his house from my bedroom window.


138 posted on 12/11/2006 7:16:52 AM PST by RockinRight (Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. He's a Socialist. And unqualified.)
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To: Publius Valerius
Ball parks don't do it. Restaurants don't do it. Bars certainly don't do it. It takes people living there and it takes big businesses being headquartered there. Sports arenas, bars, and restaurants don't do that. They bring people downtown for a few hours and then they get in their cars and drive back to the suburbs.

There was a study last summer that showed Detroit is now a "bedroom city." More people work in the city of Detroit than live there -- it actually gains population during the daytime.

Detroit has potential to improve but the city "leaders" have GOT to get out of the way. End the ridiculous red tape and taxes on small businesses in the city, straighten out that sorry excuse for public school management, rip Coleman Young's legacy out by the roots, and stop trying to rip off the suburbs by forcing them to pay for the city water Detroit residents use and WON'T pay for.

Sorry, but as a former Oakland County resident, Detroit still stinks like an open sewer.

139 posted on 12/11/2006 7:20:56 AM PST by Kieri (A Grafted Branch (Rom. 11))
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To: Sha in the D
I have done some research on this subject and back in the 50's blacks were moving into the city for job opportunities from the automotive industry, and as they moved in whites started fleeing for the suburbs. With their flight that took a lot of our tax base. I do understand what you are saying about being tax to death, because as a resident and home owner taxes are outrageous. All of Detroit is not bad there are beautiful areas in Detroit.

A lot of the "white flight" may have racism in it's core, but the flight had a lot to do with *money.*

Real estate agents, knowing how to make a quick buck in Detroit, terrified residents with lines like, "a black is moving in next door, what do you think it will do to your homes' value? If you sell now, you'll lose less money than you would later!" The homeowner sold, the agent made a profit, turned around and sold it to a black family who couldn't afford it, turned around and sold it again as a foreclosure. This is why there are now very stringent laws about race and housing.

My in-laws grew up in Detroit during the late 40's and 50's. My MIL worked at a Sanders ice cream parlour in the evenings, closed it at the end of her shift and walked home! Many older former residents remember the Detroit they knew and are still grieving at its loss.I just wish I'd been taken to the downtown Hudsons building while it was still open. To see it demolished...it just made me cry.

140 posted on 12/11/2006 7:27:32 AM PST by Kieri (A Grafted Branch (Rom. 11))
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To: Redbob

AND the crime rate.. They are always in the top ten for Murder Capital.


141 posted on 12/11/2006 7:34:04 AM PST by pinkpanther111 ( We can do this ..We must do this...Donald Rumsfeld)
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To: Charles Henrickson

i am white...i grew up in the suburbs of detroit...i later lived in the city...in the suburbs(warren, hazel park ect.) blacks are referd to by the n word and are veiwed as stupid lazy criminals...i’ve seen police in royal oak harrass blacks and say they needed to go back across 8mile...in the city you can find things such as “no whites” spray painted on the sides of buildings...the crime in detroit is because of the poverty...the poverty because there is not much in the way of work esp for blacks...i worked at a machine shop on e.seven mile in detroit and the employees were 100% white suburbanites...if a black came to apply we were told to say we were not hiring even if we were...that was in 1999...even as i read these posts i hear echos of the racism i grew up around...


142 posted on 07/03/2007 10:53:49 AM PDT by cvdt
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To: cvdt

Is that you Eminem?


143 posted on 07/03/2007 10:55:42 AM PDT by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Still Championship U)
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To: Pikamax

bump


144 posted on 07/03/2007 10:55:52 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA

Must be “Resurrect Old Thread” day.


145 posted on 07/03/2007 10:56:42 AM PDT by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Still Championship U)
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To: Pikamax

Can’t be any worst than Baltimore, with blocks of row-homes abandon.


146 posted on 07/03/2007 10:57:54 AM PDT by Trueblackman (Terrorism and Liberalism never sleep and neither do I)
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To: Pikamax
Bricks have lead in them?

Carolyn

147 posted on 07/03/2007 11:22:13 AM PDT by CDHart ("It's too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the b@#$%^&s."--Claire Wolfe)
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To: Pikamax
"The issue is not just getting people in the city. It's getting people in the city who can become property owners and stay property owners and pay taxes."

Nobody fitting that profile would voluntarily live in Detroit. That's like asking a sheep to voluntarily live among hungry wolves.

148 posted on 07/03/2007 11:23:26 AM PDT by RockinRight (FRedOn. Apply Directly To The White House!)
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To: maestro

More accurate.

A “home” implies someone lives there. A house is a building.


149 posted on 07/03/2007 11:24:27 AM PDT by RockinRight (FRedOn. Apply Directly To The White House!)
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To: Pikamax
"There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

A new low for liberal lying academics: dead people can now feel fear!

150 posted on 07/03/2007 11:27:53 AM PDT by relictele
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