Skip to comments.Detroit: My City Was Gone
Posted on 07/28/2013 5:11:22 AM PDT by Kaslin
A lot of people have been writing about Detroit lately and why the one-time economic powerhouse is now a bankrupt echo of wasted opportunity. Most of it, coming from the usual suspects at MSNBC, is a lie designed to direct the publics attention away from the oil the lifeblood of the Motor City on their ideological hands.
The problems of Detroit are not so much economic one; they were caused, for the most part, by political corruption.
Unlike most of those opining on television and in print, I was born in Detroit, in (the now gone) Mt. Carmel Hospital. I grew up six blocks outside the citys limits and one block on the bad side of 8 Mile Road in a lower-middle class neighborhood called Redford Township. My father drove a forklift for Fisher Body, a subsidiary of General Motor, for 30 years. I went to Wayne State University in Downtown Detroit, lived in the Cass Corridor, worked a roofing job throughout the citys worst areas and, even though I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2001, its still the place on Earth I feel the most comfortable.
Ive never known a thriving Detroit. The economic powerhouse that was once called Paris of the West was long since gone by the time of my first memory, but I heard stories, and the shell of what once was can still be found.
Detroit is not the conservative Utopia Ed Schultz wants you to think, nor is it a place with a government small enough to drown in your bathtub, as Melissa Harris-Perry called it. Its also not, as David Sirota wants you to think, the result of trade policies and the conservative movements larger long-term economic priorities. Detroit is the petri dish in which progressive policies and monopolistic political corruption joined forces to kill what couldve been Americas economic crown jewel.
What once was still is visible in Detroit. The skyline is as beautiful as anyplace on the planet from a distance. Beautiful stone skyscrapers rivaling anything in New York City become husks of urban decay when you get close enough to see every window smashed.
Downtown, which has seen a rebirth of late (relatively speaking, of course, but its quite nice), is encircled by the only non-bus public transportation The People Mover. This monorail was a mistake from the start. Cost overruns, common in any government project, coupled with the fact that it is a single-track, single direction 2.9-mile loop around areas no one lives, exemplifies the sort of government planning that killed the city. If you wanted to go one stop back, the People Mover required you to go all the way around the track to get there. Needless to say, this poor planning made for a lot of moving but very few people. My friends and I would ride if for fun, but it never once came in handy.
But Detroits real problem wasnt the mistakes made by city hall, it was the man who ran it. Much attention is paid to former Mayor and current inmate Kwame Kilpatrick for his scandals and frauds. Justified as that attention is, he was simply the heir to political corruption entrenched in the citys Democratic machine decades earlier.
Since 1962, Democrats have had unfettered control of Detroits government, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This was personified in Coleman Alexander Young, Mayor of Detroit during its critical, then terminal years.
Mayor Young, first elected in 1974, was the first black mayor of Detroit. He entered office with all the promise that could bring to a city nearly 50 percent black. The city was hurting, but it was salvageable. Rather than focus on attracting businesses, Young set about taxing those that remained, driving them and those who worked for them, to the suburbs. Coleman Young was noted for a few things, none more than his mouth. He loved blaming the Racist Mother F*@kers north of 8 Mile for his citys decline.
In national TV interviews, Young couldnt help himself from dropping f-bombs and blaming white people. The city, which was completely dependent upon the auto industry (factories, not offices. Only General Motors has been actually headquartered in the city limits), made little to no effort to attract a diversified business community. It had some at one point. Strohs Brewing and Comerica Bank, to name two, where founded in the city but left when they no longer found it profitable to do business there.
In the meantime, foreign competition and rising labor costs drove the factories of Big Three out of the city and out of the state. No significant effort to make it affordable to stay was made. No company will stay where it cant make money simply out of loyalty because no business is in business to employ people. Coleman Young didnt stop it; he blamed the suburbs. Factories closed.
As he drove out businesses, Mayor Young also drove out people. People follow jobs. You hear the term white flight associated with Detroit, but that doesnt tell the whole story. Yes, white flight happened, but it was soon followed by black flight, Hispanic flight and every other type possible. This rainbow flight was a direct result of Youngs divisive rhetoric and policies, with an ever-growing city tax burden and, like the Kilpatrick administration that came later, corruption, there was simply no reason to stay. Detroit is now a city whose population consists almost exclusively of people who cant afford to leave. Its 700,000 people under un-sentenced house arrest.
What Kilpatrick was convicted for, Young perfected. While the city hemorrhaged jobs and people, Youngs long-time police chief and political ally, William Hart, was convicted of stealing $1.3 million in undercover funds. His business partner and former deputy police chief, Kenneth Weiner, was convicted for defrauding investors of millions. Young only escaped charges through their silence and his pleading the Fifth.
At the same time, Young, a self-professed black activist, was found to be involved, with Weiner, in a secret business venture that bought and sold Krugerrands, the gold coin of the then-apartheid government of South Africa. It was illegal to deal in Krugerrands at the time, and something a principled civil rights activist would never touch, but Young did.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in Youngs legacy. He left office in 1994 a wealthy man, and when he died in 1997 the city mourned as if it had lost a hero.
The city had lost a hero the city itself. A city founded in 1701 as a trading post that became one of the strongest in the world. A city that manufactured the means by which the world defeated fascism was taken out by the economic ideological cousin of that philosophy.
If theres one silver-lining in the tale of my hometown its that it now has a chance to start anew. With large swaths of land vacant, in many ways its a frontier town again. If done right, and thats a big if, there will be nothing to hold back Detroits potential. But the progressive Democrat machine politics still have a hold on the remaining population; victimization and race-baiting politics of us vs. them still sells in the city. Gov. Rick Snyders appointment of Kevyn Orr as the citys emergency manager is the best hope it has.
But it will never recover, nor should it, until it sheds the progressive model of high taxes and cronyism. I say that in the way only you can make a joke about your mother out of love. Detroits biggest problem isnt businesses, suburbs, flight or any other of the laundry list of excuses. Its itself. When I read the news of Detroits bankruptcy I knew my city was gone, but I also knew it was the only way it was ever going to come back.
If the issue is “abandonment” then all those $500 and $1000 houses should have just filled right up and that would be that. Those houses did not sell, they cannot give them away. Even the dumbest leftists (I repeat myself) know better than to take a free house in Detroit. The reason people and jobs moved out is the same reason that the commies built the Berlin Wall. Socialism is a PRISON. Socialism is a boot stomping you in the face, forever. Socialism requires sniper towers and barbed-wire. Socialism requires victims to blame for the rot that socialism cases. Detroit was abandoned because it did not build a wall and sniper towers, it is that simple
I wish FR had a LIKE button.
The only good that can come of Detroit is to make it farm land.
probably has too much lead in the ground, maybe only the locals should be allowed to eat it - like the Chernobyl region.
If the issue is abandonment then all those $500 and $1000 houses should have just filled right up and that would be that. Those houses did not sell, they cannot give them away. Even the dumbest leftists (I repeat myself) know better than to take a free house in Detroit. The reason people and jobs moved out is the same reason that the commies built the Berlin Wall. Socialism is a PRISON. Socialism is a boot stomping you in the face, forever. Socialism requires sniper towers and barbed-wire. Socialism requires victims to blame for the rot that socialism cases. Detroit was abandoned because it did not build a wall and sniper towers, it is that simple.
But of course you are correct. Communist cities end up in the desultory condition of Detroit. Somebody warn London or Naples or the other places in the west that have voted FOR communists. It’s suicide.
Yep, looks like Japan toasted it alright
“no business is in business to employ people”
hear that obama
The Free Republic button predates like by at least a decade
Except for an illiterate, dependent, crime ridden populace with the same politicians and unions. Detroit's done, stick a fork in it.
The rest of the country should just announce Detroit has seceded and start building a wall ourselves.
Detroit is a vision of our future.
No the Chinese bought up all the lead so they can sell it back to us in products it’s a sure way to get us to eat it.
There's also the "Click Here to Donate By Secure Server" button.
Math is Mean!
I second that.
Socialists killed your city as sure as national socialist killed 6 million Jews in concentration camps and another 6 million innocents through their campaigns of deceit.
Math is Mean!
hee hee hee
And math is Hard. Or would be for people like Trayvon’s friend Rachel Jeantel who cannot read cursive well. (cannot talk or think well either)
I talk frequently about Cleveland.
I was a child of the “50’s” ,born and raised in Cleveland.
I saw the destruction of that city.Euclid Ave at Christmas was absolutely wonderful.All the stores,Higbee’s May Co,Halle’s ,Sterling Linder.Everyone went downtown dressed, it was civil.Then the decline.Stores moved out,white flight.
My church is gone,my childhood home bulldozed,(in fact much of the neighborhood)I recently went with a friend to where she grew up in Alameda,Ca.Her schools,homes,places she hung out,are all there.
I wanted to cry.
Detroit, liberalism’s urban removal.
The ignorant black crooks running Detroit couldn’t even spell Socialism.
Portland, OR and Madison Wisconsin are run by real socialists. Both are nice places to live.
Try again. It’s not that hard.
Henry Ford doubled the wages of workers and established the 40 hour work week. He used to visit workers who fell ill. He established the safest and most effective manufacturing workplace at the time and implemented ideas from anyone who could show how to make the process better.
Along came the union and government to improve the plight of the working man - and it was all down hill from there.
The best quote in the article:
"A city founded in 1701 as a trading post that became one of the strongest in the world. A city that manufactured the means by which the world defeated fascism was taken out by the economic ideological cousin of that philosophy."
... a must read on how to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs for many generations of common folks!