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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    29 Nov '12 14:03 / 1 edit
    It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

    WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones said all options should be considered — including dissolving the city.

    “If we have to, that is one idea we have to look at. We really have to look at everything that is on the table,” Jones said. “Again, if this goes to federal bankruptcy, every employee down there will suffer, the city will suffer and the vultures will come in and take the jewels of Detroit and they will be gone.”

    etc.

    http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/11/28/state-senator-proposes-dissolving-city-of-detroit/

    It seems plain that Detroit's economic woes go beyond the current economic situation and the apparently plummeting property values, population and lifestyle in the city seems to have been in the works for decades. But is dissolving the city the best way to avoid its debts? Would this cause a ripple effect on the credit ratings of other cities and confidence in muni bonds?

    I'm particularly interested in rwingett's take on this (other than a summary statement about how evil the aristocratic oligarchs are). What should be done about that city's seeming insoluble fiscal crisis?
  2. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    29 Nov '12 14:06
    Originally posted by sh76
    [quote]It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

    WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones ...[text shortened]... ratic oligarchs are). What should be done about that city's seeming insoluble fiscal crisis?
    Let's ask Paul Krugman:

    "You've got to spend! Spend! Spend! Spend! This is the time for Detroit to embark on MASSIVE spending projects! $700 billion is NOTHING! It has to be $700 trillion or it won't work!"
  3. 29 Nov '12 14:07
    Originally posted by sh76
    [quote]It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

    WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones ...[text shortened]... ratic oligarchs are). What should be done about that city's seeming insoluble fiscal crisis?
    Would an entity (Wayne County) want to absorb another bankrupt entity (allegedly Detriot)? Do they have the option to decline?
  4. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    29 Nov '12 14:13
    Originally posted by quackquack
    Would an entity (Wayne County) want to absorb another bankrupt entity (allegedly Detriot)? Do they have the option to decline?
    Cities are functions of the counties and states in which they sit; they're not independent sovereigns like states are. I imagine what you're getting at is whether the County would be required to assume Detroit's debts. That's an excellent question, though my guess would be probably not. Certainly, if Detroit goes bankrupt in Chapter 9, the county and state will not need to pay their debts.
  5. 29 Nov '12 14:20 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by spruce112358
    Let's ask Paul Krugman:

    "You've got to spend! Spend! Spend! Spend! This is the time for Detroit to embark on MASSIVE spending projects! $700 billion is NOTHING! It has to be $700 trillion or it won't work!"
    Now if you want real economic growth, turn that stimulus of $700 trillion to $700 quatromengalatrillion!!
  6. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    29 Nov '12 17:06
    Originally posted by sh76
    [quote]It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

    WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones ...[text shortened]... ratic oligarchs are). What should be done about that city's seeming insoluble fiscal crisis?
    I generally don't follow Detroit politics, so I don't really have any suggestions that fit within the standard political/economic framework.

    As there is quite a bit of vacant property within the city theses days, it would be useful to turn a lot of that into urban farms (which is starting to happen on a small scale). Detroit could be a leader in the integration of the rural into the city, with rooftop farming, vertical farming, etc. It could be made into a model for 21st century ecological cities. But it probably won't happen.

    Sorry, that's all I've got.
  7. 29 Nov '12 18:13
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I generally don't follow Detroit politics, so I don't really have any suggestions that fit within the standard political/economic framework.

    As there is quite a bit of vacant property within the city theses days, it would be useful to turn a lot of that into urban farms (which is starting to happen on a small scale). Detroit could be a leader in the int ...[text shortened]... st century ecological cities. But it probably won't happen.

    Sorry, that's all I've got.
    "I generally don't follow Detroit politics, so I don't really have any suggestions that fit within the standard political/economic framework."

    I can tell, because if you did, you'ld not be so enamoured of collectivist central planning.

    "As there is quite a bit of vacant property within the city theses days, it would be useful to turn a lot of that into urban farms (which is starting to happen on a small scale)."

    That is a pipe dream (crack pipe). The so called prairie sections of Detroit are huge, but they contain urban infrastructure including electric power lines, gas lines, and sewers/septic and storm drains. They formerly housed industrial plants, gas stations, and other neighborhood businesses. The EPA regulations for reclamation would be staggering. These old neighborhoods had not only paved streets and sidewalks, but alleys bordering the back yards, all to be removed for farming. I've looked at some prime riverfront property and questioned why it hasn't been redeveloped, and can only conclude there are too many environmental obstacles in the way.

    Detroit is nearly the east most part of Wayne County. Only the Grosse Points and Harper Woods are further east, and rumblings are that they want to join Macomb County. Wayne County west of Detroit is quite affluent compared to Detroit, and the further west you go, the more opposition to any connection with the city you'll get.

    To give others an idea of the dysfunctional nature of Detroit politicians, last couple of years sidewalks have been improved with pretty brick ramps at street corners making them wheelchair friendly. This stuff isn't cheap and easy. And I've seen it being done in some prairie type neighborhoods, or near prairie neighborhoods, where few if any people live, and nobody in a wheelchair is going to venture. This while the threat of layoff to cops looms.

    Standard mayoral promise is to raze the vacant, burned out homes in neighborhoods. A few get torn down, but they aren't keeping up with the arson. Often the razing isn't complete, and the basement sits open for months before being filled in.

    The relations between city council and the Mayor are a joke, and threats to bring in emergency managers are fought in court as racist. No parent in Detroit, who can afford to send his kids elsewhere chooses Detroit public schools? Why would anyone intentionally move into such a place? Why would any other entity take over such a mess?

    A few attempts at "urban renewal" or ongoing. Most seem doomed to failure, as new homes both stick built, and prefab manufactured, go up in areas where the old buildings haven't been removed, and which are crime ridden. Often the new homes end up vandalized before being completed.

    It is a problem which has to be eventually solved. The old adages of an anchor city being vital to a regional economy simply do not apply here. For decades state and county money has flowed into not out of Detroit, and the regional economy suffers from the stigma of Detroit around the rest of the nation. To be fair, this is not so entirely different from other large American cities, but of the ones I've visited, Detroit is the most gentrified, racially segregated, decayed, and politically incompetent and dysfunctional.

    To ask western Wayne county folks who typically have half million dollar homes to take on funding Detroit isn't likely to get a positive response.
  8. 29 Nov '12 18:24
    Originally posted by sh76
    Cities are functions of the counties and states in which they sit; they're not independent sovereigns like states are. I imagine what you're getting at is whether the County would be required to assume Detroit's debts. That's an excellent question, though my guess would be probably not. Certainly, if Detroit goes bankrupt in Chapter 9, the county and state will not need to pay their debts.
    Even if by some means Detroit's debts are forgiven, that will not create a functioning or functional entity. And as much as people would blame suburbanites for racism with regard to the "takeover", it would be the racism of the black population expressed by their city council which would derail any dissolution. A small scale example of this would be the reaction of the city to a "financial manager" to run the bankrupt school system. They have fought the reforms tooth and nail, not giving a wit about the thousands of kids who have no other place to go to school.

    My suggestion, is that the State and County wash their hands of Detroit, and let the city stew in its own juice. Take away County and State aid. Let the politicians do whatever they want, and take the blame or credit for the results. Detroit politicians are not rebellious children, but irresponsible adults who have for decades blamed others for the failure of their decisions.
  9. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    29 Nov '12 18:33 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by normbenign
    "I generally don't follow Detroit politics, so I don't really have any suggestions that fit within the standard political/economic framework."

    I can tell, because if you did, you'ld not be so enamoured of collectivist central planning.

    "As there is quite a bit of vacant property within the city theses days, it would be useful to turn a lot of that i lar homes to take on funding Detroit isn't likely to get a positive response.
    You don't have to search very hard to see that urban farming initiatives are springing up all over Detroit. Just google: urban farming detroit. Instead of coming up with a million-and-one excuses why it can't be done, you ought to be lending your support to the idea. But I think you're actually enamored by the thought of Detroit going belly-up.

    Edit: Besides, your objections only address standard urban farming. Vertical farming and rooftop farming, which primarily use hydroponics, would be exempt from any concerns about soil quality.
  10. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    29 Nov '12 18:43
    Originally posted by sh76
    [quote]It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

    WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones ...[text shortened]... ratic oligarchs are). What should be done about that city's seeming insoluble fiscal crisis?
    Indianapolis in the late 60's and early 70's had a deserted, largely wasteland downtown where trash and the occasional dead body would be dumped in the dry White River canal.

    Then came 'Unigov' which united city and county government into one. Unigov was proposed by then mayor later Senator Richard Lugar. The rejuvenation took many, many years but the results have been amazing. New shopping centers, stadiums, a convention center, canal walk, hotels, museums, and rehabilitated neighborhoods have all followed.

    Cinncinnati is another notable Midwestern city which like Detroit did not adopt this sort of solution and which maintains a huge slum in the heart of its downtown as a reward -- the OTR district.

    Good leadership -- that's the key, folks. Elect good leaders and good things happen.
  11. 29 Nov '12 19:27
    I didn't realize there was anything left to dissolve.
  12. 29 Nov '12 19:35
    Originally posted by whodey
    I didn't realize there was anything left to dissolve.
    Newsflash!

    Citizens of Detroit run for the Canadian border.
  13. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    30 Nov '12 06:02
    Finally...some truth from an elected official.

    Bing Said City Workers Feel ‘Entitled,’ Says His Job Second Only To Obama’s

    November 29, 2012 4:20 PM



    Filed under
    Daily J AM, Local, News, Syndicated Local, Syndication

    Related tags
    Christy Strawser, cnn, dave bing, Detroit density, Detroit politics, downtown Detroit, midtown, riverfront, Trending

    DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Managing expectations is his day-to-day position against people who believe the mayor can solve all of Detroit’s problems is the hardest thing he deals with every day.

    That’s according to an interview Detroit Mayor Dave Bing did with CNN where he talked about the community’s deep problems and how he plans to solve them.

    “We are in an environment, I think, of entitlement, we’ve got a lot of people who are city workers, who for years and years, 20, 30 years, think they are entitled to a job and all that comes with it,” Bing said.



    He added: “Nobody wants to go backwards, but in order for us to move this city forward we’re going to have to take a step or two backwards — and then, I think, all of us have to participate in the pain that’ s upon us right now.”

    But the real bombshell may be Bing’s sense of the hardest jobs in the country.

    “(My job is) to make the hard decision so this city would have a future, but it’s probably the second most difficult job in this country behind the president,” he said.

    As part of managing expectations, he said people have to realize “Detroit’s not going to be what it was,” adding, “We’ve got to look at it differently.”

    He thinks the downtown will be strong in the future, as will Midtown and the riverfront. But parts of the city will have to disappear from the need for services.

    Bing said he wants to convince people in largely abandoned neighborhoods to move to more populated areas so there’s density and a sense of a tight-knit community again, saying, “So we can bring people and families together like it used to be.”
  14. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    30 Nov '12 11:41
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Finally...some truth from an elected official.

    Bing Said City Workers Feel ‘Entitled,’ Says His Job Second Only To Obama’s

    November 29, 2012 4:20 PM



    Filed under
    Daily J AM, Local, News, Syndicated Local, Syndication

    Related tags
    Christy Strawser, cnn, dave bing, Detroit density, Detroit politics, downtown Detroit, midtown, riverfront, ...[text shortened]... knit community again, saying, “So we can bring people and families together like it used to be.”
    I agree with the last three paragraphs. They should cluster people into several tighter units (which could be broken off as separate cities), and then guess what they could do with all the vacated land? Go ahead, take a guess.
  15. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    30 Nov '12 14:21
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I agree with the last three paragraphs. They should cluster people into several tighter units (which could be broken off as separate cities), and then guess what they could do with all the vacated land? Go ahead, take a guess.
    Suburban sprawl?