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Detroit Files for Bankruptcy

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You beat me, a friend who works for Crain's Detroit just posted this on his Facebook.

 

This could play out all sorts of ways.

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That would take a very long time to explain. Mostly it is due to pension obligations, corruption, and a declining tax base.

 

The worst part about it is that every comment about it on most stories is something along the lines of, "Liberals ruined Detroit" or "That's what happens when you let Democrats run a city". As if it is as simple as that.

 

This will likely take a long time, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I wish there was a way Detroit could have pulled themselves out of it without bankruptcy.

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Most comments are along those lines, but there's usually a vocal minority pointing out that conservative policies at the national level had a lot to do with it too.  Of course they'll never admit to it in so many words, but there seems to have been a concerted policy effort to "clean out" liberal union strongholds.  Self-fulfilling prophecy. 

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The worst part about it is that every comment about it on most stories is something along the lines of, "Liberals ruined Detroit" or "That's what happens when you let Democrats run a city". As if it is as simple as that.

 

The issue is that when one party remains in power for so long, political machines are created. People get comfortable. Corruption flourishes.

1962 was the last time Detroit had a Rebublican Mayor(or any non Democrat). It's time for a change.

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Plenty of books written out there about the decline & downfall of Detroit and I've read a few of them.  In a nutshell, Detroit did experience massive job losses as the auto industry splintered off and population losses to the suburbs, but so did many other cities across America & the midwest.  Detroit had terrible leadership which turned a blind eye to crime, white flight, and kept thinking the auto jobs would come back somehow.  They never collaborated with suburbs on regional transit or reigned in public employee pensions or looked at shared services.  They never even got tough about crime and certainly never got serious about creating a land bank to deal with the huge backlog of vacant properties, now auctioned off and owned by individual owners across the city which Detroit can never assemble and redevelop in any organized manner.

 

So many other cities experienced the same problems Detroit did but they adapted, improvised, planned for the future, and reinvented themselves.  Detroit City Council continues to be a sideshow.  They former mayor is in jail.  The police chief recently resigned or was fired for some scandal.  Oakland county, just across 8 Mile road to the north, has attracted businesses, redeveloped neighborhoods and thrived in retrospect.

 

Edit: I believe Detroit has the two longest serving members currently in Congress, John Dingell from adjacent Dearborn and John Conyers whose wife (they are still married) was sentenced to prison for accepting bribes as a Detroit City Councilwoman.  Very little to show for such distinguished career long politicians.

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For all it's problems, Cleveland has had a budget surplus these last couple of years and it's a Democratic stronghold. So it's not the party. Its the people running it and/or the city.

 

And while we deride Detroit for its chronic problems and praise Pittsburgh for its economic progress, we tend to forget that Pittsburgh was teetering on bankruptcy only a year ago and still isn't out of the financial woods.....

 

http://triblive.com/news/2189926-74/cities-million-pittsburgh-state-scranton-happening-mayor-pennsylvania-doherty-employee#axzz2ZSDI4wiJ


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Plenty of books written out there about the decline & downfall of Detroit and I've read a few of them.  In a nutshell, Detroit did experience massive job losses as the auto industry splintered off and population losses to the suburbs, but so did many other cities across America & the midwest.  Detroit had terrible leadership which turned a blind eye to crime, white flight, and kept thinking the auto jobs would come back somehow.  They never collaborated with suburbs on regional transit or reigned in public employee pensions or looked at shared services.  They never even got tough about crime and certainly never got serious about creating a land bank to deal with the huge backlog of vacant properties, now auctioned off and owned by individual owners across the city which Detroit can never assemble and redevelop in any organized manner.

 

So many other cities experienced the same problems Detroit did but they adapted, improvised, planned for the future, and reinvented themselves.  Detroit City Council continues to be a sideshow.  They former mayor is in jail.  The police chief recently resigned or was fired for some scandal.  Oakland county, just across 8 Mile road to the north, has attracted businesses, redeveloped neighborhoods and thrived in retrospect.

 

Edit: I believe Detroit has the two longest serving members currently in Congress, John Dingell from adjacent Dearborn and John Conyers whose wife (they are still married) was sentenced to prison for accepting bribes as a Detroit City Councilwoman.  Very little to show for such distinguished career long politicians.

I know sure what you mean by not getting tough with crime? Short sentences? Not enough cops? Ignoring murders?

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Plenty of books written out there about the decline & downfall of Detroit and I've read a few of them.  In a nutshell, Detroit did experience massive job losses as the auto industry splintered off and population losses to the suburbs, but so did many other cities across America & the midwest.  Detroit had terrible leadership which turned a blind eye to crime, white flight, and kept thinking the auto jobs would come back somehow.  They never collaborated with suburbs on regional transit or reigned in public employee pensions or looked at shared services.  They never even got tough about crime and certainly never got serious about creating a land bank to deal with the huge backlog of vacant properties, now auctioned off and owned by individual owners across the city which Detroit can never assemble and redevelop in any organized manner.

 

So many other cities experienced the same problems Detroit did but they adapted, improvised, planned for the future, and reinvented themselves.  Detroit City Council continues to be a sideshow.  They former mayor is in jail.  The police chief recently resigned or was fired for some scandal.  Oakland county, just across 8 Mile road to the north, has attracted businesses, redeveloped neighborhoods and thrived in retrospect.

 

Edit: I believe Detroit has the two longest serving members currently in Congress, John Dingell from adjacent Dearborn and John Conyers whose wife (they are still married) was sentenced to prison for accepting bribes as a Detroit City Councilwoman.  Very little to show for such distinguished career long politicians.

 

Of course there has been corruption, but you really can't blame the whole thing on Detroit.

 

The suburbs hate Detroit as much as (if not more than) Detroit hates the suburbs. The reason Detroit doesn't want to share services is because they think the suburbs would take that opportunity to control Detroit. The suburbs don't want to accept the poor people into shared services because they see no benefit in it for themselves personally.

 

And the reason the Republicans haven't held office in so long in Detroit is because all of the people who vote Republican (those with enough money to move to the suburbs) moved out to the suburbs. The politicians in Detroit are terrible, but it isn't a reflection of a political party as a whole or progressives/liberals.

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Of course there has been corruption, but you really can't blame the whole thing on Detroit.

 

The suburbs hate Detroit as much as (if not more than) Detroit hates the suburbs. The reason Detroit doesn't want to share services is because they think the suburbs would take that opportunity to control Detroit. The suburbs don't want to accept the poor people into shared services because they see no benefit in it for themselves personally.

 

and you're basing this statement off what?  When I lived in Detroit I had friends who worked for the local SMART regional transit authority in the planning department.  It was common knowledge that it was impossible to do business in Detroit, from the constant pet projects implemented by the council or the lack of budget or simple inability to see a task through.

 

Detroit/Wayne county is currently in the process of auctioning off a partially built jail because it's so overbudget, and no longer needed despite decade of planning....  at least a $100 million loss.

 

The city elected a local tv personality to the head of city council and now he's in exile over some alleged wrongdoings with children....

 

I could go on & on.  It's bad leadership, pure & simple.  Do some reading about Mayor Coleman Young and what his attitudes were during his reign of decline

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Of course there has been corruption, but you really can't blame the whole thing on Detroit.

 

The suburbs hate Detroit as much as (if not more than) Detroit hates the suburbs. The reason Detroit doesn't want to share services is because they think the suburbs would take that opportunity to control Detroit. The suburbs don't want to accept the poor people into shared services because they see no benefit in it for themselves personally.

 

and you're basing this statement off what?  When I lived in Detroit I had friends who worked for the local SMART regional transit authority in the planning department.  It was common knowledge that it was impossible to do business in Detroit, from the constant pet projects implemented by the council or the lack of budget or simple inability to see a task through.

 

Detroit/Wayne county is currently in the process of auctioning off a partially built jail because it's so overbudget, and no longer needed despite decade of planning....  at least a $100 million loss.

 

The city elected a local tv personality to the head of city council and now he's in exile over some alleged wrongdoings with children....

 

I could go on & on.  It's bad leadership, pure & simple.  Do some reading about Mayor Coleman Young and what his attitudes were during his reign of decline

 

The worst as far as Detroit's image goes may have been the "Reverse Rodney King" case of the mid 90s.  Several black woman beat up a white woman for no apparent reason and it was videoed.  All except the ringleader pled guilty.  She fought it and a jury acquitted her.  Mayor Young paid for her defense.

 

Unfortunately for Detroit, the verdict was reached during SAE Show week, which is such a big deal to Detroit they used to expand the "safe zones" at Cobo Hall and "Fort Westin" to include the street between.  Out of towners were incredulous, locals shook their heads and said "this is why.....".  It really was an example of Young and his successors mindset:  dole out cash and favors for votes, with some of it sticking.  Kwame Kilpatrick's track record was easily as criminal as Dimora's.

 

In Cleveland, the GOP has had enough recent mayors to be a factor.  Plus the Dem party is factionalized enough to spur some competition to get things accomplished.

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A few points of clarification.  Mayor Young paying for the defense was a conspiracy theory put forth by the woman's personal attorney, but was never shown to be true as far as I know.  But if you read the race-baiting sites, it will be represented as fact.  The other women pled no contest.... they did not plead guilty.  The alleged ringleader took the case to the jury, which (just like Zimmerman and the cops involved in RK) found that the State failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.  She 'most likely' was guilty of taking part, but the video and witness testimony did not conclusively establish that beyond a reasonable doubt.  If you want that standard applied in 'certain' criminal cases, you have to accept it for all criminal cases.  You also forgot to note that this happened around the same time when a surbuban doctor was acquitted of pointing his shotgun at a black youth while saying  "I don't want you people going near or touching my car" (a Jaguar parked in a surburban parking garage).

 

 

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There's no doubt Detroit had a series of clowns as mayor, and a one-party lock on power which is never a good thing.  Still, there are larger forces at play.  And Detroit is hardly the only city that's been wrecked over the past 30 years.  It's just the most egregious case. 

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Detroit's economy was too large and not diversified enough to deal with the massive and continuing loss of manufacturing over the last half century which occurred when the 'job creators' realized they could maximize profits by building plants overseas and when the rest of the world caught up with our manufacturing machine.  Everything negative about Detroit (including its abysmal leadership) can find its roots there.

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Several points, only partially related:

 

(1) Yes, Detroit was a one-party Democratic machine.  But for a long time after 1994, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history was Orange County, California, a Republican stronghold.  Orange County remains #3 on the list, with Detroit now #1 and Jefferson County, Alabama now #2.

 

(2) Bankruptcy is not always the end of the line for corporations and it is certainly not the end of the line for municipalities.  Indeed, it might be better if it *could* be the end of the line for municipalities, as one of the most durable long-term options for dealing with Detroit would be dissolution (which would almost be a form of regional consolidation by default, at least out to the county line).  The bankruptcy judge likewise doesn't have the power to unilaterally approve tax increases; the bankruptcy courts cannot short-circuit the democratic process like that.  Bankruptcy will, however, give the city the ability to shed a lot of its current and legacy union obligations and bond debt, i.e., a large part of the $18 billion overhang, which will then no longer need to be serviced going forward.  It may (though even I don't know all the ins and outs of this) make it easier to divest municipal assets, both to raise money and to shed maintenance obligations, too.

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The last paragraph hits close to home.

 

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2013/07/detroits-bankruptcy-was-inevitable-although-its-tempting-think-otherwise/6260/

 

"Some of these small projects and stories were inspiring, but they could never add up to something larger than the city's systemic problems that were decades in the making. That doesn't mean hopeful stories about Detroit haven't been (or still aren't) worth telling. But to the extent that we've let any of them lull us into thinking that the city could recover through the force alone of some really determined people – in the absence of employment, in the absence of functioning government, in the absence of democracy – we've been avoiding reality."

 

 

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Several points, only partially related:

 

(1) Yes, Detroit was a one-party Democratic machine.  But for a long time after 1994, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history was Orange County, California, a Republican stronghold.  Orange County remains #3 on the list, with Detroit now #1 and Jefferson County, Alabama now #2.

 

(2) Bankruptcy is not always the end of the line for corporations and it is certainly not the end of the line for municipalities.  Indeed, it might be better if it *could* be the end of the line for municipalities, as one of the most durable long-term options for dealing with Detroit would be dissolution (which would almost be a form of regional consolidation by default, at least out to the county line).  The bankruptcy judge likewise doesn't have the power to unilaterally approve tax increases; the bankruptcy courts cannot short-circuit the democratic process like that.  Bankruptcy will, however, give the city the ability to shed a lot of its current and legacy union obligations and bond debt, i.e., a large part of the $18 billion overhang, which will then no longer need to be serviced going forward.  It may (though even I don't know all the ins and outs of this) make it easier to divest municipal assets, both to raise money and to shed maintenance obligations, too.

 

Except that the others bankruptcy's were the result of certain events such as the serer sytem in Jefferson county and the malfeasance of one individual in orange county.  Detroit's is the culmination of decades of corruption.  You can mention other things, but they all tie back to a corrupt city government. 

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Detroit's economy was too large and not diversified enough to deal with the massive and continuing loss of manufacturing over the last half century which occurred when the 'job creators' realized they could maximize profits by building plants overseas and when the rest of the world caught up with our manufacturing machine.  Everything negative about Detroit (including its abysmal leadership) can find its roots there.

 

Manufacturing in the USA is not as bad as you think.  Even foreign firms are manufacturing in the USA.  Mercedes, BMW, Airbus.....but they went south. 

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Several points, only partially related:

 

(1) Yes, Detroit was a one-party Democratic machine.  But for a long time after 1994, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history was Orange County, California, a Republican stronghold.  Orange County remains #3 on the list, with Detroit now #1 and Jefferson County, Alabama now #2.

 

(2) Bankruptcy is not always the end of the line for corporations and it is certainly not the end of the line for municipalities.  Indeed, it might be better if it *could* be the end of the line for municipalities, as one of the most durable long-term options for dealing with Detroit would be dissolution (which would almost be a form of regional consolidation by default, at least out to the county line).  The bankruptcy judge likewise doesn't have the power to unilaterally approve tax increases; the bankruptcy courts cannot short-circuit the democratic process like that.  Bankruptcy will, however, give the city the ability to shed a lot of its current and legacy union obligations and bond debt, i.e., a large part of the $18 billion overhang, which will then no longer need to be serviced going forward.  It may (though even I don't know all the ins and outs of this) make it easier to divest municipal assets, both to raise money and to shed maintenance obligations, too.

 

Except that the others bankruptcy's were the result of certain events such as the serer sytem in Jefferson county and the malfeasance of one individual in orange county.  Detroit's is the culmination of decades of corruption.  You can mention other things, but they all tie back to a corrupt city government. 

 

The political corruption there is staggering. Here is a good doc on Detroit.

http://www.deforcemovie.com/

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^^In 1970, manufacturing was nearly 1/4 of GDP.  It is half of that today.  Over the past 12 or so years, domestic manufacturing has cut nearly 1/3 of its workforce.  I'd consider that pretty bad, but I'm not arguing that it was not inevitable with globalization and improvements in productivity/technology.

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Detroit's economy was too large and not diversified enough to deal with the massive and continuing loss of manufacturing over the last half century which occurred when the 'job creators' realized they could maximize profits by building plants overseas and when the rest of the world caught up with our manufacturing machine.  Everything negative about Detroit (including its abysmal leadership) can find its roots there.

 

Manufacturing in the USA is not as bad as you think.  Even foreign firms are manufacturing in the USA.  Mercedes, BMW, Airbus.....but they went south. 

 

For German firms, the southern US is like Mexico-- weaker environmental laws, no unions, no obligation to provide for workers' health or retirement, or even to pay a living wage.  So Germany keeps its domestic system in which benefits are not debatable and labor has a voice in management, meanwhile squeezing "magnanimous" US workers for all they're worth.  That's not the south winning, that's Germany winning.

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^^In 1970, manufacturing was nearly 1/4 of GDP.  It is half of that today.  Over the past 12 or so years, domestic manufacturing has cut nearly 1/3 of its workforce.  I'd consider that pretty bad, but I'm not arguing that it was not inevitable with globalization and improvements in productivity/technology.

 

That's just it.  Improvements in productivity (mostly improvements in technology, and also some process innovation) have let American manufacturing output rise steadily (finally faltering only with the recent crash, and it's started to tick upward again) long after employment in the sector started to decline.  And the decline in manufacturing as a percentage of GDP doesn't mean that it was shrinking, it means that other sectors were simply growing even faster--the IT sector in particular, which barely even existed in your initial year of 1970, but also health care, education, finance, and others.

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In many ways, Michigan is far more 'conservative' than Ohio and anti-urban. It was more Detroit versus Michigan. It is a classic boom and bust town, just on a much larger scale. It is more Youngstown writ large.

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I really don't think much needs to be read into this beyond the obvious economic story surrounding Detroit and the auto industry. But feel free to blame the suburbs or the Democrats or whom/whatever.

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Detroit's economy was too large and not diversified enough to deal with the massive and continuing loss of manufacturing over the last half century which occurred when the 'job creators' realized they could maximize profits by building plants overseas and when the rest of the world caught up with our manufacturing machine.  Everything negative about Detroit (including its abysmal leadership) can find its roots there.

 

Manufacturing in the USA is not as bad as you think.  Even foreign firms are manufacturing in the USA.  Mercedes, BMW, Airbus.....but they went south. 

 

For German firms, the southern US is like Mexico-- weaker environmental laws, no unions, no obligation to provide for workers' health or retirement, or even to pay a living wage.  So Germany keeps its domestic system in which benefits are not debatable and labor has a voice in management, meanwhile squeezing "magnanimous" US workers for all they're worth.  That's not the south winning, that's Germany winning.

 

Well I have relatives in SC who work for BMW and seem to be paid handsomely.  Much more than a "living wage" - whatever that is.  And decent benefits too.  The only thing missing seems to a union.  And a Union is just a miney making business in and of itself.

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Detroit's economy was too large and not diversified enough to deal with the massive and continuing loss of manufacturing over the last half century which occurred when the 'job creators' realized they could maximize profits by building plants overseas and when the rest of the world caught up with our manufacturing machine.  Everything negative about Detroit (including its abysmal leadership) can find its roots there.

 

Manufacturing in the USA is not as bad as you think.  Even foreign firms are manufacturing in the USA.  Mercedes, BMW, Airbus.....but they went south. 

 

For German firms, the southern US is like Mexico-- weaker environmental laws, no unions, no obligation to provide for workers' health or retirement, or even to pay a living wage.  So Germany keeps its domestic system in which benefits are not debatable and labor has a voice in management, meanwhile squeezing "magnanimous" US workers for all they're worth.  That's not the south winning, that's Germany winning.

 

http://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/BMW-Manufacturing-Corporation-Spartanburg-Salaries-EI_IE17733.0,29_IL.30,41_IM811.htm

$30,000 to $70,000

section leader makes $78,000

 

Same hourly rate for assembly work at Honda in Indiana.

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$30,000 is better than a stick in the eye but it's hardly middle class.

 

One might wonder why the home countries of Honda and BMW haven't followed the red state model.  Instead, their model is much more similar to old Detroit and they're doing reasonably well.  I just don't think there's a partisan story to be told in the wreckage of Detroit.

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In many ways, Michigan is far more 'conservative' than Ohio and anti-urban. It was more Detroit versus Michigan. It is a classic boom and bust town, just on a much larger scale. It is more Youngstown writ large.

 

Detroit also has been the largest city in Michigan by a huge margin.  Ohio's always had three major cities, so there's always been counterbalancing between the three.  I can think of any other state with more than two outside the Sun Belt.

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I really don't think much needs to be read into this beyond the obvious economic story surrounding Detroit and the auto industry. But feel free to blame the suburbs or the Democrats or whom/whatever.

A million times this.  I'm astonished how many people refuse to believe that complex events (recessions, housing busts, regional decline, etc.) have incredibly complex causes, only some of which can be effectively influenced by public policy.

 

The last paragraph hits close to home.

 

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2013/07/detroits-bankruptcy-was-inevitable-although-its-tempting-think-otherwise/6260/

 

"Some of these small projects and stories were inspiring, but they could never add up to something larger than the city's systemic problems that were decades in the making. That doesn't mean hopeful stories about Detroit haven't been (or still aren't) worth telling. But to the extent that we've let any of them lull us into thinking that the city could recover through the force alone of some really determined people – in the absence of employment, in the absence of functioning government, in the absence of democracy – we've been avoiding reality."

Ehhh, I understand why this hits home, but anyone who is surprised that a large rotting city like Detroit is filing despite all the stories about plucky, grass-roots efforts at improvement, and downtown business activities is kind of an idiot (and I mean that without harshness). But at the same time, anyone who thinks that Detroit's filing means that all those plucky, grass-roots efforts at improvement, and downtown business activities, etc. are a total waste or don't "work" is also an idiot.

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I really don't think much needs to be read into this beyond the obvious economic story surrounding Detroit and the auto industry. But feel free to blame the suburbs or the Democrats or whom/whatever.

A million times this.  I'm astonished how many people refuse to believe that complex events (recessions, housing busts, regional decline, etc.) have incredibly complex causes, only some of which can be effectively influenced by public policy.

 

It's one thing to spread blame around, another to suggest that public policy isn't the primary issue here.  There is no reason to have any form of government, any organizing principle for society, if 2013 Detroit is to be the result.  Some people made this happen, others allowed it to happen.  But it did not just happen and it was not the only possible outcome.

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Judge orders withdrawal of Detroit bankruptcy petition

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-detroit-20130719,0,2838698.story

 

DETROIT (Reuters) - A Michigan judge on Friday ordered Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager to withdraw the federal bankruptcy petition he filed for the city on Thursday.

 

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina's order said the 2012 Michigan law that allowed Governor Rick Snyder to approve the city's bankruptcy filing, the largest municipal bankruptcy filing ever in the United States, violated the Michigan Constitution....

 

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I really don't think much needs to be read into this beyond the obvious economic story surrounding Detroit and the auto industry. But feel free to blame the suburbs or the Democrats or whom/whatever.

A million times this.  I'm astonished how many people refuse to believe that complex events (recessions, housing busts, regional decline, etc.) have incredibly complex causes, only some of which can be effectively influenced by public policy.

 

It's one thing to spread blame around, another to suggest that public policy isn't the primary issue here.  There is no reason to have any form of government, any organizing principle for society, if 2013 Detroit is to be the result.  Some people made this happen, others allowed it to happen.  But it did not just happen and it was not the only possible outcome.

 

Sure, but we can accept that and still accept that there was a point of no return which was passed decades ago. The time for better policy was during the period before, up to just after, manufacturing started to collapse. Not diversifying the city's economy was the single most important failure of public policy. Correcting that mistake was impossible by the time it became clear what a huge problem it was.

 

I would definitely say the blame is to be spread around, since I don't think anyone was ideologically pursuing a non-diverse economy. It was just a terrible oversight. But the blame is not to be aimed at failures of ideology, failures of recent policy, nor current/recent policymakers who had no role in decisions during the critical era.

 

I think people just thought the industry and the city were indestructible. It was a collective failure to understand or predict technological evolution, globalization, and how these could come together and totally disrupt the status quo in a short period of time. That evolution and innovation can destroy as quickly as it can create.

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I really don't think much needs to be read into this beyond the obvious economic story surrounding Detroit and the auto industry. But feel free to blame the suburbs or the Democrats or whom/whatever.

A million times this.  I'm astonished how many people refuse to believe that complex events (recessions, housing busts, regional decline, etc.) have incredibly complex causes, only some of which can be effectively influenced by public policy.

 

It's one thing to spread blame around, another to suggest that public policy isn't the primary issue here.  There is no reason to have any form of government, any organizing principle for society, if 2013 Detroit is to be the result.  Some people made this happen, others allowed it to happen.  But it did not just happen and it was not the only possible outcome.

 

Sure, but we can accept that and still accept that there was a point of no return which was passed decades ago.

 

Totally totally totally disagree.  If you look at Detroit's finances, yes it's been a steady decline but there was easily a recent point of turnaround, as late as 2007.  They still had good bond rating, there was actually investment in the city, economic development was occurring....  sure, they got leveled when the economy collapsed but they also had a corrupt mayor who was wrecking the debt capacity and bond rating.  Read up dude...  freep.com has it all. 

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Totally totally totally disagree.  If you look at Detroit's finances, yes it's been a steady decline but there was easily a recent point of turnaround, as late as 2007.  They still had good bond rating, there was actually investment in the city, economic development was occurring....  sure, they got leveled when the economy collapsed but they also had a corrupt mayor who was wrecking the debt capacity and bond rating.  Read up dude...  freep.com has it all. 

 

I do agree better leadership could have pushed off bankruptcy for some period, but I guess I just see that as another symptom of a long intractable decline (not so much a calamitous collapse, in of itself).  I'm very skeptical there was a point of real "turnaround" in 2007, though, but I guess it depends what we all mean by that term.

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You can't financially sustain a city that is 40% smaller than what it was built for, especially when so much of that infrastructure is crumbling but can't be abandoned because areas are not quite 100% vacated.

 

The most recent city plan has identified the need for planned shrinkage. Frankly, there are some neighborhoods that are beyond hope and should just be returned to a natural state to await future development or be retained as green space. When you start talking about forcibly moving people out of neighborhoods so they can be completely abandoned and no longer serviced or maintained, it gets a little touchy. I think the hope is that it is a battle that can be won by attrition.

 

You can, if you start planning for it early enough.  Nearby Flint Michigan rolled out it's Landbank program back in the late 90's before the mortgage crisis or whatever.  Proportionally, Flint has probably seen even greater population loss than Detroit and they are managing without bankruptcy.  You noted the "most recent plan"....  how about recognizing a problem existed 20+ yrs ago and trying to get arms around it.  Identify what neighborhoods are worth saving & fight to save them.  Probably tough to do considering Detroit elects all it's council members at large, so nobody is directly responsible for any specific ward... 

 

Edit:  Do you see a pattern here of terrible leadership decisions made in the last 20 years?  Of course Detroit was dealt a shitty hand from the auto industry but they also have a ton of assets that they barely capitalized on.  They are right on top of one of the busiest trading points with Canada.  They have an underutilized waterfront.  They have a well built infrastructure. 

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