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The trailer warns, "What happened in Detroit, is now spreading throughout."

The press materials alarmingly asks:

The woes of Detroit are emblematic of the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base. Is the Midwestern icon actually a canary in the American coal mine?
Detropia is a new documentary by the directors of Jesus Camp. After initial openings in New York City and Detroit this weekend, it will be rolled out into wider release across the country in the coming weeks.

I am a born and raised Michigander, and lived in Detroit (yes, city proper, Cass Corridor) from 1987 to 1993. I couldn't get to this film fast enough. I attended the New York City screening at the IFC center last weekend, which also hosted directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady for a question and answer session afterward.

If you're just joining us, let me inform you the city of Detroit sits on the verge of financial bankruptcy, having lost 25 percent of its population and 50 percent of its manufacturing jobs in the past 10 years. The film paints a picture of contemporary Detroit as seen primarily through the eyes of five diverse Detroiters.

  • CRYSTAL STARR: A barista and video blogger, aspiring poet from southwest Detroit.
  • GEORGE MCGREGOR: President of UAW Local 22. He arrived in Detroit in 1967 during the riots as part of the Army unit dispatched to restore calm to the city.
  • TOMMY STEPHENS: Retired schoolteacher has been in Detroit for over 40 years. He is the owner of the Raven Lounge near Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant.
  • DAVID DICHERA: General director, Michigan Opera Theater. He founded the Opera in 1971 with the help of local supporters and Luciano Pavarotti, took shuttered triple X movie palace and restored it to create the Detroit Opera House in April 1996.
  • STEVE AND DOROTA COY: Visual and performance artists in their late 20s, they are a married couple who have lived in Detroit for a few years.
The faces and voices showcased are overwhelmingly African American, which is entirely appropriate when discussing a city that is 82.7 percent African American per the 2010 census.

I've always felt the lowest form of critique is to criticize a work for not being what it is not.

It is only fair to critique a piece relevant to the artist's intention and how effectively they executed their vision.

So that said, this post does not serve as a review, perhaps more as an addendum, since much of what I will discuss involves ground left uncovered by the filmmakers. And perhaps it's sign of good filmmaking that leaves you wanting more, that sets you afire with all the thoughts and questions that a piece conjures to your mind. By that metric then Detropia is an enormously successful film.

And I should say, as a reviewer, I do recommend it without reservation to this audience at Daily Kos, most of whom I'm sure will find it thought-provoking.  

But I also did find the film was remarkable for what it did not examine, as for what it did. And in that vein, it may be a very effect conversation starter.

So let's start the conversation after the fold: Is Detroit truly emblematic of the future of the United States?

(Continue reading below the fold.)

Crystall Starr, Detroit based video blogger based in Detroit.
Crystal Starr, a video blogger based in Detroit, glances over the Detroit skyline
from the abandoned Michigan Central Station.
In some ways, the filmmakers are absolutely correct to sound the alarm that Detroit is the future of America. They correctly focus in on endemic problems with the U.S. economy; the erosion of a manufacturing base, the erosion of union power and collective bargaining rights, the inclination of big business to treat workers as expendable commodities, urban centers that have burdensomely oversized and ancient infrastructures and collapsing tax bases.

In some ways however it seems alarmist to see Detroit as symbolic. In many ways Detroit represents the outlier edge of many of these problems. That is to say, Detroit's problems are by no means unique but significantly more pronounced. Many other urban centers benefit from significantly less population attrition and a more diverse economic environment. And it's entirely possible the huge boom of the early 20th century industrial revolution was realistically never sustainable for Michigan.

But Detroit's fate does bring into sharp focus the burning question: Can America support itself if it's done actually building things?

This film can be a little frustrating for the elephants in the room it leaves unaddressed. One question in the session afterwards challenged filmmakers why they didn't mention the high crime rate in Detroit? Detroit is infamous for being frequent contender for the murder capital of the United States. This does seems like a significant impediment to robust economic development, if I may employ understatement.

Another distinctively pronounced trait of Detroit that is not mentioned is it is the most racially segregated region in the country (yes, we're counting the South too). Crain's Detroit Business explored the economic effect this has on the region. From "Detroit's divide in black and white: How can region work past racial roadblocks?"

Mistrust and deeply ingrained fears abound, and until they're overcome, say scholars, business leaders and activists, the region can't move forward.

“We have to understand that we need regional collaboration,” said Thomas Costello, president and CEO of the Detroit-based Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. “Our fates are linked. We have futures in common.”

The divide between black and white in the Detroit metropolitan area is very starkly drawn, courtesy of Eric Fischer who has mapped racial statistics from the 2010 census onto a map below. Blue dots represent 25 African Americans, red dots, the white population. To better illustrate the city's position, I've super-imposed an outline of Detroit's city limits onto his original here. (You can see other cities he's mapped for context.)
Racial segregation in Detroit Metropolitan area. Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Yellow is Other, and each dot is 25 residents. Data from Census 2010. Base map © OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA.
Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Yellow is Other, and each dot is 25 residents. Data from Census 2010. Base map © OpenStreetMap, CC-BY-SA. Eric Fischer/Flickr.
The red cluster in the city represents the city of Hamtramck, a Polish enclave, and an independently incorporated city that is entirely surrounded by Detroit. Hamtramck is also the site of General Motors plant that is currently producing the Chevrolet Volt.

This is merely my observation that it's a little strange to have an examination of the economic conditions of a struggling and overwhelming black population without even acknowledging they are surrounded on all sides by an overwhelmingly white, often well-off, even wealthy, population. Is it possible some rungs fall off the ladder of economic opportunity at precisely 8-Mile Road for some odd reason?

The film includes footage of the 1967 race riot, which required National Guard intervention. One can also see the 1967 riots marked as a data point in a presentation on socio-economic and population trends given to Mayor Bing by a consultant. But in the film there is no hint that racial tensions might still reverberate, or have an affect on the options available to the city. Consider that thanks to Michigan's emergency manager law right now, more than half the state’s black population has had their elected officials replaced with managers hand-picked by the (white) Republican governor.

The most significant sidestep, however, is the entire political discussion associated with the how, what, where, when and why Detroit came to be at this place. No one utters the acronym "NAFTA." The few instances of partisan, or politicly charged language are snippets of talk radio that are used as voiceover during montaged chapter segues. As filmmaking it's very effective. You see stark visuals of absolute urban devastation, while the voices of pundits pontificate impotently. Their platitudes of "free market" and "deregulation" (or what have you) seem ridiculously divorced from the reality of the desperate landscape you're viewing. This is Mad Max territory. The problem is clearly not over-regulation.

The film can feel at times that it's bringing a great big basket of problems to your doorstep and just leaving them there in nihilistic surrender. "Everyone's broke, everyone's poor. If you're lucky enough to have a job, the Job Creators™ want you to take a 20 percent pay cut and surrender your benefits or they'll recreate your job in Mexico or China (where workers make $2.92 and 81 cents an hour, respectively). No, you really don't have a hand to negotiate with because the Job Creators™ really don't actually want to keep your job in the United States. They want you to refuse the offer so they can more easily set up shop elsewhere."

The filmmakers were unable to persuade any of the Job Creators™ to appear on camera to discuss their policies, despite good faith invitations and negotiations.

The politics is subtext



To those of us invested in problem-solving, the effect of breezing over foundational policy issues is akin to listing symptoms and declining to offer a diagnosis. The politics is the "subtext" filmmaker Ewing said at the question and answer session, and this is true enough, and a fair artistic choice to make. At times political ramifications are made slightly more overtly, as when bar owner Stephens says, "There's no buffer left between the rich and the poor, the only thing left is revolution."

He is speaking about rising income inequality and the collapse of the social mobility ladder.

But filmmakers leave the viewers to connect the dots that there can be no social mobility without affordable, quality public education, Pell grants, affordable student loans and tuition, affirmative action, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, Medicaid and Medicare, Social Security, unions and collective bargaining rights, among many other highly charged contemporary political issues. And on all those topics there are very clear partisan divides on how the country should proceed going forward, let us not pretend otherwise. The Ayn Rand/Paul Ryan "free market" school of thought has no interest nor intention of supplying anyone with a ladder out of poverty.

Giving short shrift to any examinations of how Detroit got where they are or what solutions are possible, or—even better—exploring what solutions are being implemented and succeeding does make watching Detropia a pretty bleak experience, where remedies seem hopelessly out of reach.

They do provide one tantalizing glimmer of hope: In the last 10 years Detroit experienced a 59 percent increase in the number of college-educated residents under the age of 35 moving to its downtown. This is a trend the New York Times reported on last year. The featured young artist couple is representative of this population, but aside from the couple themselves, we unfortunately see little of this tiny, nascent economic eco-system.

The filmmakers' choice to eschew tough policy talk in Detropia does deliver rewards as well. Not wading into partisan bickering, or the painful, uncomfortable, potentially incendiary examination of lingering racism does make the film somewhat more accessible, and probably more palatable to a larger audience. It allows the essential human stories to resonate in very touching and engaging way that they probably would not had political finger-pointing and assigning of partisan or racial blame been more than just subtext. What it lacks in political policy depth it makes up for by the depth it explores its characters, and many subjects are fascinating, engaging and admirable people.

There's really no question Ewing and Grady have made an important, very interesting, if heartbreaking film. Ewing said their intention was to keep the film focused on illustrating the real life impact these economic trends have on real people's real lives. And by that measure Detropia definitely succeeds.

It will doubtlessly be fodder for many conversations about who and where we are as a nation, and where we're going. Can we change course? Or is it too late?

Your assignment, Dear Kossacks—should you choose to accept it—is to go see this film, and take someone with you. And afterwards lead the conversation and use the opening to connect the dots that Ewing and Grady left as subtext. Consider it a patriotic duty.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's shameful what happened to Detroit (59+ / 0-)

    Once a symbol of the glory of capitalism, today is a symbol of the failure of capitalism.

    Detroit is dying:

    Census data released this week confirmed what we already knew: Detroit is dying. It’s just happening much faster than we thought. From 2000 to 2010, Detroit lost a quarter of its population; 273,500 people. According to news reports, local officials are stunned, including Mayor Dave Bing, who wants a recount.

    After New Orleans, which lost 29 percent of its population in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Detroit’s 25 percent loss is the largest percentage drop in the history of an American city with more than 100,000 people. Just ten years ago, Detroit was the tenth largest city in the country. Demographers at the Brookings Institute now believe it might have fallen all the way to 18th, with just 713,777 people. That’s the smallest it’s been since 1910, just before the automotive boom brought millions of well-paid jobs and turned Detroit into the Motor City. It’s hard to imagine, but up until 1950, Detroit was the fourth biggest city in America. In 1960, it had the highest per-capita income in the U.S.

  •  Beyond a doubt it is. If anyone can go across (19+ / 0-)

    to Mexico for a day trip, go have a gander at what we will be in twenty years. If there is not conflict here. In that case much worse much sooner.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:39:28 PM PDT

  •  Very well done review. Kudos. (nt) (13+ / 0-)

    I can’t decide who’s cuter – the dead guy with the arrows in his chest, or the guy in the ditch with the seeping wound. -- Game of Thrones (Heard on Set)

    by prodigal on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:39:30 PM PDT

  •  The only pragmatic course of action (14+ / 0-)

    is to allow a corporation to build New Detroit, with full political control, and police it with drones and cyborgs.

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:42:08 PM PDT

  •  Census figure? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    Your article is great.
    Where did you get the figure that Detroit was 82.7% African American? When I followed the link
    http://factfinder2.census.gov/...
    it said 22.8%

  •  I heard a report this morning on NPR about (13+ / 0-)

    Greeks returning to the land in small (peasant) cooperatives....we will all be serfs again.

    I can’t decide who’s cuter – the dead guy with the arrows in his chest, or the guy in the ditch with the seeping wound. -- Game of Thrones (Heard on Set)

    by prodigal on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:43:55 PM PDT

    •  I'm glad you said it. The only upside is they (3+ / 0-)

      usually own the land. I wonder who is providing "services" out there?

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:22:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. (6+ / 0-)

      Since mechanical farming produces more, the rich have little interest in owning agricultural property. What will probably happen is they will ignore those people until they want the land to build something, then use mercenaries and the legal system to displace them.

    •  Reclaiming land in Detroit (7+ / 0-)

      and tasking it to farming is among the proposals being looked at.

      A friend of mine inherited his grandmother's house near Tiger stadium. He lived there, and there were so many surrounding empty lots pheasants wandered his yard. Pheasants in the inner city. This was 20 years ago!

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:00:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No one will be able to afford the mega farm (0+ / 0-)

        equipment for relatively small farms. It is easier and more economical to grow corn in Kansas and Nebraska, berries and veggies in CA. Also, Detroit has a lousy climate, relatively. it's a pipe dream to think that farming can become a major employer there.  Who's going to rip out all the freeways that keep close-by neighborhoods separated, so that larger neighborhoods can be "conjoined/rebuilt," keeping  the best of facilties from several old ones, currently bisected and trisected by freeways?

        "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage "MItt is not willing to tithe to his country" Ontario

        by ontario on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:37:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But nobody's talking about mega farms (0+ / 0-)

          in the city. Micro farms are already in operation in a few clusters within the city limits.
          I'm assuming that your username indicates your residence? But it could be Ontario CA as much as Ontario CANADA, I guess. How economical is it really to grow berries and veggies in CA when the shipping and storage costs are factored in? The climate is plenty good for those--so far, if we don't continue to have early thaws followed by killing frosts :(

          •  Microfarms are laudable, but they are not going (0+ / 0-)

            to bring Detroit back. Academics have done studies on this. Heard a long discussion a couple of years ago, a whole Sunday morning, about Detroit, on CBC Radio. Farming potential was the feature of one hour.

            On the larger issue, the time it will take to get together a large enough critical mass of educated, committed people in Detroit, to make Detroit work, will be far longer that it will take for Detroit to fall utterly apart. If 40+% of US voters even think about voting for Republicans, it gives one some idea of the numbers of people who  will be of no use in bringing America's basket-case cities back.

            I happen to think Obama is the right man for the USA. But let's just postulate that he is not. Are there enough people who will recgonize that right man or woman when they eventually come along and then vote for them (President, Senator, legislator, or governor), or have enough guts to acceee the many, concommitant backward steps in their personal standard of living, to allow tax increases and the investment in all the infrastructures - health, education, cities, etc.?

            Sorry for being blunt.

            "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage "MItt is not willing to tithe to his country" Ontario

            by ontario on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 08:25:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  lol the pheasants are everywhere here. (0+ / 0-)

        Sometimes a deer or cayote will make its way down the abandoned sub grade rail road tracks into downtown from the suburbs.

  •  I always thought Detroit's major problem... (7+ / 0-)

    ....was that it was a one industry town.

    No?

    Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:44:42 PM PDT

  •  This isn't the end (25+ / 0-)

    This may seem downright insane of me to say this, but I don't see Detroit as beyond salvation. Because if that's true, then our country is royally screwed. I live in the south (Charlotte, NC) and here, there are enclaves of extreme poverty surrounded by large amounts of wealth. In Charlotte, the second largest banking hub in the US, a full 12% of the population does not have access to banking.

    So what I'm trying to say is that although the challenge is immense, I'm positive the answers are still obtainable. But thank you for shedding light on what is the greatest challenge of the 21st century: reinventing the United States.

  •  No. The woes of Detroit aren't emblematic of (24+ / 0-)

    Detroit let alone the rest of the US. Truth is Detroit is starting to come back. Neighborhoods like Downtown, Midtown and Corktown are in the early throes of a renaissance.........new restaurants and shops are opening up, bldgs getting restored, and new companies are taking up DT office space. Midtown, Corktown and DT all sport apartment vacancies of less than 5%.

    That's not to say the road back will be easy; on the contrary, it will be long and hard but the will is there. If anything, Detroit is emblematic of the American spirit and our ability to bounce back no matter the odds. You watch........Detroit will become the model for urban revival in this country.

    •  Nice to read your affirmation, keetz4! (6+ / 0-)

      But it's going to be a very long road back. So many neighborhoods are blighted and basically on their own.
      Would that there were a genuine, progressive urban policy at the federal level~!

      •  if there were a GPUP, what would it look like? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        llywrch, Odysseus

        It would be so helpful to read a couple non-ideological studies about the components of a Genuine, Progressive Urban Policy, that outlines specific steps that have worked in the past.

        How to stop a decline, reverse it, jump start a recovery. There must be experience out there somewhere.

        Anybody seen anything useful, specific, reality based?

        "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

        by fhcec on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:46:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Stiglitz has done some work on this (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          loretta, divineorder, Scott Wooledge

          for development in 3rd world countries. I wonder if it's transferable or a place to start?

          I wish I had time to get started on putting something together about this topic... maybe in the new year - no time now, but it's been a long term interest of mine, and I've just never done anything about it beyond wishing and dreaming.

          A perfect project for the rainy season...

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:51:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I can't help much but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder

          my BF is getting a master's in urban planning and he says the word sustainability comes up in every class he's taken so far - and not just once in a while, either.

          To me a GPUP would be based on local and regional economies, but it's hard for us in Michigan to let go of ginormous manufacturing conglomerates and the wealth they brought us for so long. In the end, though, the price was too high.

          •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

            I've lived in the Detroit area for 34 years, and this has always been the case. The economic development policy of every governor and every mayor of Detroit has pretty much been "wait for a cyclical upturn in the auto industry, and entice Japanese auto manufacturers and auto industry suppliers to open offices in the area". (This last, BTW, has been pretty successful, which is why I can choose from a fairly extensive array of Japanese ingredients at the supermarket where I shop - plenty of Japanese expat executives and managers living in the Novi/Commerce area.)

            Detroit just can't shake its love affair with cars, and cars just aren't the diver of growth they were up through the 50's.

    •  What is interesting is filmmakers (11+ / 0-)

      said their impetus to make the film was to tell the story of Detroit's comeback. And while they do include the resurgence of the Hamtramk plant, overall "renaissance" wasn't the story they found when they started and completed filming.

      It's overall much darker than that, unfortunately.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:03:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A comeback wouldn't be immediately obvious (8+ / 0-)

        The way I see it, you can't reverse decades of problems in just a few years. And a comeback, if it is to come, has to start somewhere. But you won't see immediate results, so it would be hard to capture the comeback in a snapshot view like a movie.

        Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

        by Linnaeus on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:07:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I keep wondering what could feed a comeback. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, blueoasis, ontario

          Yeah, the auto industry will get better and, maybe now that labor prices are cheaper, the auto companies won't be so quick to shift production elsewhere, but it's still not enough.

          Odd that Detroit doesn't have a great university to feed new industries. I mean, I guess Wayne State is OK, but it's no UM Ann Arbor.

          Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

          by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:12:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hard to say (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peregrine kate, commonmass, joynow

            It would happen in fits and starts. I think the first step is to assess the region's assets (and there are quite a few) and think of ways to best leverage those. I think it would be a mistake for Detroit to be something it's not.

            And even if U-M and MSU aren't in Detroit proper (Wayne State is no slouch, either), a lot of their graduates are still in the area.

            Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

            by Linnaeus on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:16:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, come on, that's a bit unfair. How many U-Ms (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass, dougymi, Brian1066, llywrch

            are there? And more to the point, what precisely do the mega-universities contribute to the communities in which they operate? I ask that question sincerely (and as one with extensive experience as a student and an employee of U-M, MSU, and WSU).

            •  I know in Chicago.... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annan, fhcec, ontario

              ....a lot of U of C grads start businesses in the city.

              UC and Northwestern both have booming medical campuses.

              UC, DePaul, Loyola and some of the smaller schools also attract a lot of students and professors from around the country who choose to stay and subsequently add to the economic and cultural vibrancy of the city.

              Universities also attract outside funding and research grants from various government and private organizations.

              From a sheer employment level, you'd have to say they're a net plus. You yourself worked at several universities!

              I just Googled "economic benefits of universities" and found quite a few studies that document the economic benefits of universities. I didn't read them all, obviously, but the ones I glanced at all showed some benefit.

              None showed no or negative benefit.

              Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

              by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:33:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'd have to take a look. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                divineorder

                But I'm now living in a University town that is in many ways a company town. What the University wants, the University gets. All the University property is off the local tax rolls, with the rationale that you give in terms of econ development, but it still needs many city services for which it negotiates under-market rates. I'm not sure that's a sufficient trade-off.

                •  There's always some friction. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ontario

                  I'm not sure a great city can exist without a one or more  great universities, though.

                  And, you know, in so-called "college towns" it's either the college or the hospital (if they have one) that's always the largest employer.

                  Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

                  by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:28:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  On the other hand (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                peregrine kate

                There just aren't that many "top universities". Consider that if one defines a top university as being in the top 10%, that means cities with universities in the other 90% are SOL.

                And the presence of a top university isn't always a panacea. Stanford is in Palo Alto, & Palo Alto has a number of problems due to extreme inequality. (When people making $100,000 a year can't afford to buy a house in town, how do the average folks working Starbucks or Safeway cope?) Portland, Oregon has Reed College (which I'm told is a nationally rated center of education), yet it has had a minimal impact on Portland's economy -- which, somehow, is otherwise doing quite well. (The city has attracted youngish hipsters for a couple of decades, long before Fred Armisen & Carrie Brownstein's Portlandia was aired -- why, I don't know.)

                There are many factors in creating a great city; strong universities is an important one, but not the only one. One is the depressing fact that only so many cities can be fit into that niche. Location, weather, & local culture do play an important role.

            •  You shouldn't have to ask that about (0+ / 0-)

              UofM. Ann Arbor is the university. And for a while there, Wayne State and the cultural center including CCS is the anchor of civilization and diversity in Detroit.

          •  Wouldn't matter if Detroit did have a good (5+ / 0-)

            university. All the best and brightest coming out of U of M, MSU and other great Michigan schools buy a one way ticket out of the state on graduation day.

            The whole state has a serious brain drain problem.

            Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

            by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:29:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm a U-M grad myself (3+ / 0-)

              I did move out for grad school. I'm sure that a lot of other grads move out too, for a lot of reasons. But they're big universities producing a lot of graduates. Not all of them leave.

              Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

              by Linnaeus on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:33:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Me too Linnaeus (8+ / 0-)

                I still teach at UofM and we have extensive outreach programs in Detroit, with engineering (auto, civil, environmental) with the schools (music, arts, STEM, design etc.).  Our students that go to Detroit to work and teach as interns often stay because they see the need and feel the spirit reviving.  We are getting Woodrow Wilson and Kellogg funds to make this work.  Hold your heads high - we will make a comeback.  I'm going to see this movie tomorrow night at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor - I'll let you know what I think afterward.

                Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

                by moose67 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:52:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I hope you write your impressions of it. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tofumagoo, fhcec, divineorder

                  I'd be curious to hear what everyone here thinks.

                  I really think it hits all the major issues Kossacks care about.

                  Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

                  by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:05:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Sorry we're not going on the same night! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  divineorder

                  I'll be there with my daughter (3L at U-M, who plans to stay in the state post-graduation) on Tuesday.

                  •  Went to see this last night (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    peregrine kate

                    It was dark and depressing with very disjointed video - but the overall message is clear. Manufacturing jobs have been sent to cheap labor countries while we suffer here - as much as 50% of stuff we use to make - is no longer made here.  What's happened in Detroit is a warning to other big cities - you're next.  They did focus on the restoration of the Detroit Opera House, but sadly, they didn't mention Wayne State University, the fine hospitals, the terrific sports venues, the theater district and lots of other positive things going on here.

                    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

                    by moose67 on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:02:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I saw it tonight. Parts of it made me want to weep (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      moose67

                      from frustration and despair.

                      So many of the scenes, even neighborhoods, were familiar to me. (I could make a very good guess about the area where Stephens, the teacher/bar owner, lives.)

                      I really disliked the lack of continuity, and I really disliked the unattributed commentary. Only voice I recognized was Granholm's.

                      On the other hand: There are a lot of really smart people with interesting things to say about the city; some of them were part of this film. I think overall I agree with Scott that this is a worthwhile film precisely because of the conversations that it could provoke. But I also agree that it's problematic because it doesn't talk about root causes. And in my actually pretty well informed and not humble opinion, the problems are of very long standing, and are quite pertinent to the larger set of questions we ought to be discussing about Detroit and other major manufacturing cities of the Rust Belt. The union local president, George McGregor, was right on target with his observations about how much making things has mattered, and does matter still.

                      Please stop by my tribute diary, RIP alliedoc, so that the messages to her family can include yours.

                      by peregrine kate on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:07:56 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Um, no. That's just not true. (0+ / 0-)

              And more than a little condescending to those of us who do stay.

              •  That may be your personal, anecdotal experience (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                divineorder, llywrch

                but the data says that it is indeed true. (And so does my own personal, anecdotal experience.)

                Detroit News, 2009

                Leaving Michigan Behind: Eight-year population exodus staggers state

                People are leaving Michigan at a staggering rate. About 109,000 more people left Michigan last year than moved in. It is one of the worst rates in the nation, quadruple the loss of just eight years ago. The state loses a family every 12 minutes, and the families who are leaving -- young, well-educated high-income earners -- are the people the state desperately needs to rebuild.

                Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

                by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:24:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree that there is an outflux of young (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Scott Wooledge

                  people from Michigan. I'm objecting to your statement:

                  All the best and brightest coming out of U of M, MSU and other great Michigan schools buy a one way ticket out of the state on graduation day.
                  I find it an arrogant and unsupportable exaggeration.
                  •  Oh, my bad! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    peregrine kate

                    I absolutely did not mean to imply that the people stayed where "not the best and brightest." I'm sorry.

                    It was a poorly-worded expression of thought. I was implying the best and the brightest as a whole of MI's population, which I don't mean to sound elitist. I mean it more as the well-educated youth, who might be the ones to drive the next economic wave. Michigan has good schools and it's a shame the state suffers from brain-drain. I'd prioritize finding incentives to keep them in state for 5 years or so if I was in charge.

                    I apologize.

                    I have great respect for those who stay and work to make home a better place rather than flee for greener pastures (as I did, and have occasional moments of regret). I did not mean you're not the best and brightest. Of course, many of the best and brightest stay.

                    Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

                    by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:38:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thanks for the apology; I accept. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Scott Wooledge, hooper, divineorder

                      It did take me aback considering the topic of your diary, since from that I did infer that you are actually in support of people who are trying to make a difference here & wouldn't want to diss them.

                      I agree, the disincentives for staying in Michigan lately are large--but a lot of them come from several years of Republican control and a strategic dismantling of quality-of-life programs and initiatives. Like most things, those decisions are political ones, and I hope that we can turn them around.

        •  The statistic that they've had a 59% rise (4+ / 0-)

          In young college grads living dowtown is hopeful.

          When I have gone back that area is looking nicer.

          I stil mourn the loss of Hudson's though. What a tragedy.

          Hopefully Central Station won't suffer the same fate.

          Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

          by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:26:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think you would find the same thing here (3+ / 0-)

        I'm from Youngstown, Ohio. Our community was decimated by steel industry losses in the '70s. I must say - on the surface - things look a lot better than they have in decades. That's do in part to decay being stripped away, but it's not like they're replacing it with anything useful.

        To me, it's an emptiness. The culture, the ties that bind, the story of the city...it's just different. Of course, there are encouraging signs and the same kinds of creative people in Detroit emerging here (on a much lower scale), but that's just a small slice of life.

        The local powers that be want us to feel good that some large steel manufacturers are working again (indeed they are). But they're making pipe for natural gas drilling operations. Ones that will inevitably poison the countryside. Hell, even a disposal well that caused several significant earthquakes under the city wasn't enough to cause a large amount of skepticism.

    •  True (3+ / 0-)

      But for every neighborhood you mentioned, I can name one that is getting even worse. Brightmoor, the near east side, 7 mile/ state fair, etc.

      The problem is, and always has been, race.

      Note to self, stop before I emulate the habits described in this diary.

      by Rustbelt Dem on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:23:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  preach it brother (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass
  •  What's the answer here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch, condorcet

    The top 1% of global income is $50k a year or so.

    People in China and Mexico are poor and want to live like Americans. They look at most Americans like most Americans look at rich bankers. They care about our problems about as much as we care about what happens to $500k/year Wall Street hotshots.

    Increasingly, Americans are realizing that we have neither the moral authority nor actual physical power to tell these teeming masses of poor people that they can't have what we have.

    One can blame the rich all day, but the rich are just a conduit. Naturally, with global interconnectedness economies are going to equalize. You can pass trade sanctions and tariffs, but they will be even more of a disaster, as we found in the Great Depression. And by the way, American imports more than half of its oil and a number of other critical components, so "going it alone" at this point would be a complete disaster.

     The median and mean global standard of living is rising, sharply, it's just that a lot of it comes at the expense of formerly prosperous places like Detroit.

    I don't know what the answer is here. There might not be one.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:52:53 PM PDT

    •  China and Mexico? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder
      People in China and Mexico are poor and want to live like Americans. They look at most Americans like most Americans look at rich bankers. They care about our problems about as much as we care about what happens to $500k/year Wall Street hotshots.
      And what? We shouldn't mind the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor? Because that's what happened in Mexico. Should we emulate that model because people in China think a $50,000 salary is the pinnacle of success?
      We're not China and we're not Mexico.

      Then you go off on another tangent here:

      And by the way, American imports more than half of its oil and a number of other critical components, so "going it alone" at this point would be a complete disaster.
      Where has anyone in the comments or in this diary, or on this blog, for that matter, advocated for "going it alone"?
      And for your information, the United States is now a net exporter of oil and refined products.
      http://www.bloomberg.com/...
      Your strawmen need updating.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:09:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you're missing the point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, divineorder

        since you're taking a static snapshot of today and comparing it to sparhawk's change over time view. I'm sure you'd agree that average Chinese (and Mexican) standards of living 30 years ago are substantially lower than they are today. That is a direct result of global trade increases. Our loss has been their gradual gain. I'm not sure I have an answer that will satisfy both Chinese peasants and American factory workers.

        Oh, and you should apologize to Sparhawk. We are a net exporter of refined products. It's cost effective for oil to be shipped into refineries on the Gulf Coast and then export that gasoline to South America.
         

        Total net crude and product imports fell 11 percent from a year earlier to 8.436 million barrels a day, the lowest level since 1995, department data showed. Domestic oil output rose 3.6 percent to 5.673 million barrels a day, an eight-year high.
        Last paragraph of your article.

        Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

        by nickrud on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:46:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There probably is no single answer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      auapplemac, commonmass

      The answers we do come up with will likely be a mixed bag, too: some will work, some won't.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:11:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Aside from saying whose fault it is, (9+ / 0-)

      and recognizing the inevitability of the leveling of a global economy, my thought is this: we do also have to recognize America survived and thrived on manual labor.

      Work that is not being outsourced, like auto assembly, supported us all.

      How can we make it profitable to get employers to keep manual labor jobs here? That is the problem to solve.

      I don't accept that's unsolvable.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:14:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with that is that with the out (4+ / 0-)

        sourcing, we have also ramped up the availability of cheap imported goods from places like China. Capital is addicted to cheap foreign labor, and consumers are addicted to cheap foreign goods. As long as this remains the case, we've got a massive problem. Americans must be willing to pay higher prices for American goods. Period. Until we wrap our heads around this, well, it will remain unsolvable.

        I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney. equalitymaine.org

        by commonmass on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:31:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, divineorder, llywrch

          I kinda wish buy "Made in America" was a more prominent rallying cry.

          I can't say I pass up a bargain at Old Navy though.

          Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

          by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:34:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So do I: I recently went shopping for a (13+ / 0-)

            new set of work/winter boots that was made in the US. New Balance, which manufactures shoes in Maine, has an outlet store about 45 minutes from me but I could only find boots manufactured in China and other places. When I asked about this, I was told that they can't keep them on the shelves. So someone, at least in the shoe market in Maine, is actively looking for Made in America, and I'm not alone.

            Oh, and I'll add one to "Made in America": I kinda wish we'd be adding "Look for the union label" to that rallying cry, too.

            I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney. equalitymaine.org

            by commonmass on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:38:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yep - the power of well organized unions (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              loretta, divineorder, gecko

              would make a big difference at the bargaining table and in politics...

              It makes a huge difference in Germany, where unions sit on company and factory boards and participate in decision making about expanding, closing, repurposing manufacturing (something new and more complex to manufacture when traditional products could be made more competitively with outsourced labor.

              An excellent, union-run,  apprentice program would make a difference, too, and make us more competitive.

              Heard the other day that if our minimum wage had kept pace over the years, it would be $22/hour now. $8 is a pittance by comparison, and workers at that level have barely enough to survive, and are in no position to bargain or invest on their own.

              But to have an effective union program, workers would have to adjust their thinking about the benefits of "independence" and going it alone. And that's a switch for Americans.

              Lots to do... to get us back on track...

              "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

              by fhcec on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:07:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I started a gift shop with local and American good (3+ / 0-)

              And I have done very well since I opened. People really do love to buy something reasonably priced made locally or in our country. I do have to make sure my artists and crafters are realistic about what we can charge however. :)

              My dog is a member of Dogs Against Romney: He rides inside.

              by adigal on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:51:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Combination of issues? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, commonmass, llywrch

    I don't know much about Detroit and how it's structured economically or politically.  My knee jerk reaction is that it was a combination of the lost of manufacturing and politically incompetence.  

    Pittsburgh, like Detroit, was once dependent on manufacturing, in their case steel, for the basis of their economy.  Though Pittsburgh went through some hard times (and still is) and is losing population, they did try and make changes to offset the loss of manufacturing.  

    Staying in Pennsylvania, it seems like Detroit is a combination of Pittsburgh with it's reliance on a single industry for a large part of their economy plus the incompetence of Harrisburg PA politicians in handling debt and planning for the future.

    If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid.

    by Senor Frog on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:53:20 PM PDT

    •  I do think Detroit is a perfect storm (18+ / 0-)

      of some of the worst influences of the economic and political conditions this country is facing. More a worst case scenario come to life, than emblematic.

      I am cheering for Detroit's renaissance and hope it eventually comes.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:55:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pittsburgh had a more diverse base than Detroit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott Wooledge, ontario

      While both Pittsburgh and Detroit were big industrial centers in the 20th century, Pittsburgh had a much more diverse base going into the 21st century. Steel was big in Pittsburgh, but it wasn't the only game in town.  A variety of non-steel industrial corporations were headquartered in Pittsburgh, such as  Westinghouse, PPG, Alcoa, Koppers, Dravo, Heinz, and Gulf Oil. Some of these weren't necessarily household names, but they were major corporations and  large employers in the Pittsburgh area.  At one time Pittsburgh had one of the largest concentrations of corporate headquarters in the US.  Some of these corporations, or their successors, are still present in Pittsburgh.  As another comment mentioned, Pittsburgh has benefited greatly from it's Universities.  In particular, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is now the largest employer in the city with 36,755 employees.  The presence of UPMC in Pittsburgh has been responsible for a number of companies starting up or settling in the Pittsburgh area.  Carnegie Mellon University is one of the major high-tech teaching and research universities in the US.  CMU being in Pittsburgh was probably one of the primary reasons that Google put one of their offices in Pittsburgh.  That office now employs over 200 people.  

      A broader economic base is one of the reasons that Pittsburgh recovered more readily than Detroit. The other is that Pittsburgh was never subjected to the political and social dysfunction that has plagued Detroit.  Detroit was the perfect storm of bad things that can happen to a major US city.

  •  Thanks, Scott, for the preview. (10+ / 0-)

    I'm planning to see the movie on Tuesday & would be interested in continuing this discussion then if possible.
    Maybe I'll write a response diary and we can keep moving the topic forward (allusion intended) that way.

  •  It's brain drain - anybody smart enough to get out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auapplemac, commonmass, llywrch

    does.  All that's left is the poor people who can't get out, or stubbornly refuse to get out and then the politicians who exploit racial tensions to make themselves and their cronies rich while Detroit circles the drain (Yeah, I'm talking about the Kilpatrick family).  Only in Detroit can the newly elected mayor give a shout out to his gangster buddies in his inauguration speech.

    Detroit didn't get flooded like New Orleans, but it needs the same level of reconstruction and focus and money.  

    We have a greed with which we have agreed. -Eddie Vedder "Society"

    by Jacoby Jonze on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:55:09 PM PDT

  •  The city of Detroit has been (7+ / 0-)

    losing population since the 1950's. Is what has happened over the past decade fundamentally different from the previous 50 years?

    Historical populations
    Census    City[126]    Metro[127]    Region[128]
    1810    1,650    N/A    N/A
    1820    1,422    N/A    N/A
    1830    2,222    N/A    N/A
    1840    9,102    N/A    N/A
    1850    21,019    N/A    N/A
    1860    45,619    N/A    N/A
    1870    79,577    N/A    N/A
    1880    116,340    N/A    N/A
    1890    205,877    N/A    N/A
    1900    285,704    542,452    664,771
    1910    465,766    725,064    867,250
    1920    993,678    1,426,704    1,639,006
    1930    1,568,662    2,325,739    2,655,395
    1940    1,623,452    2,544,287    2,911,681
    1950    1,849,568    3,219,256    3,700,490
    1960    1,670,144    4,012,607    4,660,480
    1970    1,514,063    4,490,902    5,289,766
    1980    1,203,368    4,387,783    5,203,269
    1990    1,027,974    4,266,654    5,095,695
    2000    951,270    4,441,551    5,357,538
    2010    713,777    4,296,250    5,218,852
    *Estimates [2][3]
    Metro: Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
    Region: Combined Statistical Area (CSA)
    (from wikipedia)

    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:55:30 PM PDT

    •  Exactly so. The suburban pop of Detroit (8+ / 0-)

      exceeded the city-proper pop of Detroit in about 1958. (Metro stats above do include the city.) So in a sense, you are correct that these trends have been underway for a long time.
      The past decade has been bad because more of the social safety net has been eliminated, because the funds for infrastructure repair aren't there, and because (until recently) there's been relatively little interest in doing anything but abandoning Detroit to its so-called fate.

    •  I don't think it's just losing population... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, commonmass

      ....that's the problem.

      Heck, most rust belt cities have been losing population over the past several decades.

      It's that it's become unlivable at the same time.

      Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:16:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since post WWII the suburbs have drawn (7+ / 0-)

        people from the cities. At the beginning it was not white flight for racial reasons.

        People just wanted larger homes, newer homes and a plot of grass for the kids to play on. Maybe a garage for their car. These homes were being built to give the GIs and their new families a place to live.

        At first in Philly a lot of the new building occurred in the NE area of the city. So people stayed in the city and continued to pay taxes. As more people owned cars, they could travel to work from the burbs.

        it's just the way it was.

        People were upwardly mobile within the middle class. The kids of factory workers went to college and worked in offices or started their own businesses.

        They could afford to live in the burbs. Just look at the blossoming of Levitttowns in several NE states. Sure they were considered ticky-tacky by the some snobs, but they were castles compared to the small row houses most grew up in. Now there were trees and back yards and new schools for their kids. If they saved their money, maybe they could get an above ground pool.

        That's how I remember it in Philly. The schools were always integrated, if the neighborhood was. Way back in the 40s and 50s my elementary and middle schools were mixed race.

        When people burn down their own neighborhoods, you've got a major problem. There is no excuse for it. No one came in to rebuild. Would you have invested in rebuilding were citizens burn their own homes and workplaces?

        Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by auapplemac on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:46:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know: My family left the city for the burbs. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tofumagoo, fisheye, auapplemac

          And I'm one of the people who grew up in the burbs and moved back to the city because the burbs were a mental dead zone.

          I guess I'm saying not all of the cities that saw such a drain became unlivable. So why is Detroit different?

          Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

          by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:57:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd say.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, divineorder

            The difference is the economic engine of the region has mostly left the city. Most employers are in the burbs (Southfield, Warren, Troy, Dearborn, etc...)

            And Detroit, the city, is still perceived as being very dangerous (true or not, probably true) so most people aren't yet willing to be urban pioneers for the sake of cheap housing (as they are in other many other cities). Although that seems to be changing slightly, slowly.

            I don't think the commute from the city to most of the burbs is so bad people wouldn't drive it for a great deal on a loft in happening, urban neighborhood. This is especially true since it's a "reverse commute" (the traffic is really only congested in the opposite direction).

            I commuted from downtown Detroit to the office in Troy for a 2 years it was quick and easy. (Compared to what people will tolerate here in NYC to live in the burbs and work in the City.)

            Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

            by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:57:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's not quite accurate to say that race (3+ / 0-)

          was not a factor in the post-war urban exodus. Many suburban communities had explicit barriers against African-Americans (and sometimes against Jews as well) even though restrictive covenants were outlawed in the late 1940s. Plus, GI Bill and FHA subsidies were not as readily available to Afr-Am veterans.
          And you're collapsing a lot of different time periods when you're talking about people burning down their own neighborhoods. What does that have to do with post-war suburbanization?

          •  I was going to say... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fisheye

            perhaps the saw about republicans applies.

            "It's not true that everyone who moved to suburbia is a racist.

            But if you are a racist, you probably moved to suburbia."

            Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

            by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:59:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  there were also federal rules that prohibited (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder

          getting loans to repair/upgrade multi-unit buildings, and subsidies for people moving to the suburbs alongside racial exclusion provisions .

          It has been a complex picture, not simple desire for more space, and amenities. Black families would also be likely to want that, too, but be explicitly excluded.

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:13:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's interesting (0+ / 0-)

          that you should bring up Philadelphia, since in 1950 Philadelphia and Detroit were pretty comparable (Philly pop. 2.07 million vs Detroit at 1.85 million on roughly comparable land areas - 127 sq miles for Philly vs 140 for Detroit). I've often wondered why Philadelphia and Detroit took such different trajectories in the years since 1950 (Philly pop. in 2010 1.53 million and stable or increasing a bit vs Detroit pop. 714,000 and plummeting).

          It's not people escaping row houses for the lots of suburbia. Come to Detroit and you'll see that the areas that have been abandoned mostly were occupied by single-family houses indistinguishable from houses in adjacent sections of Warren, Redford, and Dearborn.

          It's not (just) loss of manufacturing. Philadelphia survived the extinction of Baldwin Locomotive and other manufacturing companies.

          It's not (just) white racism. Any city that can elect Frank Rizzo as mayor has nothing to crow about on the racism front.

          I guess the question is why the white middle and working class deserted Detroit in numbers unmatched in Philly (or Chicago, Baltimore, or Boston, to name other cities in the top 10 in population in 1950 that avoided Detroit's fate).

          •  I the early 50's Philly lead by progress city (0+ / 0-)

            planners began to rehab center city. Old warehouse and dilapidated housing were first rebuilt around Independence Hall. A park mall was created. The old warehouses were gutted and turned into office space and other uses. The old row homes were gutted and modernized inside (the exterior had to keep their original historic design.)

            Slowly some middle class high rise apartments were built near the river. The area was gentrified, but still included the China Town area which was a vibrant commercial and residential area although surrounded by flop houses and tap rooms that attracted alcoholics.

            Then slowly but surely the surrounding neiborhoods began to draw people back. Young adults, empty nesters and young families. A member of my family bought a row home and refurbed it. Sold that one and bought another to rehab in which they now live with their kids.

            People like this raised the level of the schools, because they became involved with the neighborhood. Much of center city Philly is now very livable. From the Delaware to the Schuylkill Rivers and spreading both north and south of city hall.

            Other adjacent areas are now blossoming.

            One other aspect to consider. Ethnic pride. South Philly still remains an Italian stronghold as does the Northeast which is heavily Jewish (although slowly changing since many of the Jewish population is elderly and disappearing.)

            Middle class African Americans have moved to previously Jewish neighborhoods of Mt Airy and Oak Lane.

            Maybe being part of the Northeast corridor helped keep Philly alive. There is much blight in other sections of the city, but that will change too over time. Watching the spread of rejuvenation from it's beginnings in the historic district is like watching a living organism overtake the city.

            There are many new office buildings, condos and apartments in center city. New symphony hall, many, many restaurants and major retail.

            I've been back many times over the years and love to go down town just to walk around. it's a busy big city. Lord knows, it has it's problems including financial, but it still lives and for the most part still livable.

            Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

            by auapplemac on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:33:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with the factors you cite, (0+ / 0-)

              especially its location in the Boston-NY-DC corridor. Very important. That, and having a more diverse economic base than Detroit for a long time, local industries notwithstanding. And one more thing: I suspect Philly's population did not explode as suddenly as Detroit's did. The infrastructure in Detroit was shoddy, didn't keep pace; lots of single-family homes seemed like a good idea then but have contributed to loss of population density now.

              Please stop by my tribute diary, RIP alliedoc, so that the messages to her family can include yours.

              by peregrine kate on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:12:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  rate of decline is accelerating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, commonmass
    •  We have huge streets with no traffic on them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      I often find myself with eight lanes to my self. It's awesome. And freeways are everywhere. I can go anywhere in town in minutes. I love living in Detroit. Kind of hard to find a place to buy a pair of blue jeans though. That requires a trip to suburban hell and gridlocked super malls.

      There are no big box stores in the city. Thank God.

      They have broken ground on a Meyers super store on the corner of 8 mile and Woodward, sigh.

      •  Huh, in my old neighborhood. I assume on the (0+ / 0-)

        old State Fairgrounds site?

        Please stop by my tribute diary, RIP alliedoc, so that the messages to her family can include yours.

        by peregrine kate on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:13:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Adjacent. Right on the corner of 8 and Woodward (0+ / 0-)

          Used to be a small neighborhood tucked in there. A few square blocks that have been cleared for years.

          Who knows what they will do with the fair grounds.

          The last year they held a fair, about three years ago, some, turkeys got loose and a hen still lives in the gardens of the homes on my street. :)

  •  OTOH, did you see this: "Manufacturing jobs... (12+ / 0-)

    boom is for real... MI, and Detroit especially have been hard hit by economic downturns, especially the latest downturn.  Your diary and the raises some valid and troubling points. But maybe there's at least a glimmer of hope...

    President Obama last week promised a boom in manufacturing and 1 million new jobs if he is reelected.

    But is the boom for real? For high-paying, skilled manufacturing jobs, it just might be.

    The number of job openings for skilled factory workers has increased 38% since 2005, according to numbers from the Conference Board that measure labor demand across industries.

    More strikingly, the sharpest increase in postings for skilled workers -- 152% -- has occurred in the last three or so years...

     Among the states where demand is the highest for skilled workers are Ohio, Michigan, Texas, California, Illinois and Indiana, according to the Conference Board.

    The employers range from small parts makers that contract with large manufacturers to mid-sized and large assemblers in the auto, aerospace and industrial metals sectors.

    The hottest openings are for machinists, tool-and-die makers, computer-aided machine operators and similar specialties.

    And the jobs pay well...

    I know there is a difference in skilled and unskilled jobs, and that things won't turn around overnight, but I'm hoping it's a start.  And in the midst of the bad news, I was glad to see at least one positive bit of news.  
    •  I know a highly-skilled (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious, Paul Ferguson

      and part-time underemployed die-maker.  In great demand, right?  Not at 56 he isn't.  He's working at Jiffy Lube.

      Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:31:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Anecdotally (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious, Scott Wooledge

      I'm hearing that the Big Three can't find enough engineers in Detroit to hire now that the auto industry is coming back. Skilled trades, not so much.

      •  I know that each individual's situation is... (0+ / 0-)

        ...different, and that sometimes people's personal reality isn't what is reported in the news.  But, even so, for some, it seems that at least there is the chance that things are improving,  Crain's Detroit Business reported in April that:  Companies struggle to fill jobs for skilled laborers..

        Shortage expected to increase over 5 years

        Rising automotive sales and wages in low-cost countries mean one thing: increased manufacturing in Southeast Michigan. Tool and die makers and machine shops are busy again, but that growth comes with a cost, and it's spelled "Help Wanted."

        Manufacturers are scrambling to find skilled laborers in an industry of advancing technology following years of massive job cuts -- from outsourcing early in the millennium and the industry collapse three years ago.

        As many as 600,000 skilled laborer positions remain unfilled for U.S. manufacturers, according to a fall survey by Deloitte LLP and The Manufacturing Institute. The survey revealed that 67 percent of respondents had a moderate to severe shortage of skilled laborers.

        New Hudson-based Richard Tool and Die Corp. needs as many as 20 skilled laborers at its New Hudson and Belleville plants, but it is coming up short...

        •  Then they should hire and train. Instead, (0+ / 0-)

          they expect to see communities to shoulder the financial burden.  We saw this in Austin when high tech moved in.

          How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

          by divineorder on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:56:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  My cousin and his wife (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurious

        are both auto company engineers in Dearborn. They have fortunately weathered this recession, although I do worry.

        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

        by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:00:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  good news... n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurious

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:14:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tragically, yes it is the future of America. (5+ / 0-)

    Auto bailout notwithstanding, neither major party is ready to address this, as both have been captured by the forces of global banking.

    Nothing less than a major re-alignment is needed.

    America is one of the world's workshops, or it is nothing.  If we are to become a cog in the global financial machine, where bankers rule, and Germany makes quality goods and China cheap ones, then we will be split between BMW owners and Walmart shoppers.

    Good luck with that.

    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

    by magnetics on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:59:11 PM PDT

  •  I should see this movie (5+ / 0-)

    I grew up in the area, so I think the movie would resonate with me. I'm not sure about the "cautionary tale" idea; I mean, I think that's useful in some ways, but also suggests a kind of helplessness with respect to communities like Detroit, i.e., they're too far gone, so it's not worth doing anything about it.

    I moved out of Michigan for graduate school, and I've been gone a while, but I've thought about moving back. Maybe it's just conceit on my part that I can do something to help.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:59:55 PM PDT

  •  Jersey has a small Detroit (9+ / 0-)

    Camden. Only a radical down-sizing can save Camden. This would involve abandonment & razing of  entire neighborhoods,   relocation of residents.  But we don't have the vision, means & probably not even the right to do it.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:00:44 PM PDT

    •  I thought Newark was the basket case of NJ? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, llywrch

      Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:06:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Camden has been a sinking hole for years. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DJ Rix, ontario

        Corrupt governance has helped destroy the city across the river from Philly.

        Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by auapplemac on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:51:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Decades. Don't get me started. I've run into the (7+ / 0-)

          white flight émigrés and while they all wax nostalgic about growing up in Camden, they all cleared out for the single homes and quarter acre lots of the surrounding suburbs.  Either kept the Camden properties and became slumlords or sold to speculators/slumlords.  In the late 80s, which was the latest date for which I could get a number, something like 87 percent of Camden residences were rental.  That's a prescription for municipal dereliction.  Morgan Village, which was built as a rental community--and I'd love to know why the city council approved it--shows all the signs.  Home ownership supports community vitality and high rental rates, in most areas, are a bad sign.

          Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

          by CarolinNJ on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:08:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mortgage interest deductability has been a major (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GayHillbilly, condorcet

            factor in flight to the suburbs from urban cores, with all the attendant social, educational, criminal, tax-base, underemployment and urban- decline problems that the exodus brings. The deductability has been a major failure in terms of social policy, but then Americans generally  measure by the "almighty dollah". The USA is a marketplace, while Scandinavia, Canada and others are societies. There is no  "society" in Detroit.

            "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage "MItt is not willing to tithe to his country" Ontario

            by ontario on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 08:03:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In the cities with which I'm familiar, loss of job (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DJ Rix

              bases seems to have been the impetus.  Chester PA, Trenton and Camden NJ.  These are processes that have occurred many times over millennia.  Many areas that were once populated are uninhabited now.  In A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman noted that areas in France, and England,  that were populated before the hundred years war were depopulated because of the war and have never been repopulated.  The Pine Barrens had bustling settlements that disappeared as the iron and glass industries moved elsewhere.  Many a backwater today was a hopping place in its commercial heyday.

              People usually live where they work.  When they can't work there, over time the population declines.  Salem, Clayton, Port Elizabeth, Penns Grove, Pennsville.  Bet you can name a half dozen places near you that have lost substantial population as businesses have moved away or closed.  And once the process starts, often with the main industry/employer, it's only a matter of time.  Attrition.  All the ancillary and dependent businesses.  Declining tax base, declining community services.

              For anyone who has to work for a living, in the sense we ordinary folk use that expression, work very much matters where we live.  The problem, as far as I can see, is that we haven't figured out what to do with large built up areas that no longer support employment.

              Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

              by CarolinNJ on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:02:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Newark is, one might say, (0+ / 0-)

        a tale of several cities.  Dangerous & poor, yes.  But it still has cultural vitality.

        "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

        by DJ Rix on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:04:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Where do you live in NJ? I lived in Camden County (7+ / 0-)

      for years and now in Gloucester County.  In the late 90s, I toured Camden City for a Rutgers Urban Studies course.  With a blue line map from the city engineering department, I drove every street in every neighborhood in city limits.

      I couldn't disagree more.  Camden has been devastated by "urban renewal" teardowns.  What was once a vital and bustling center city shopping district now is weedy fields and a few derelict remnants of what used to be stores.  A friend who grew up in Burlington County took me thru the Cramer Hill section where his parents shopped weekly.  Pointed to the theater where his parents deposited him and his sister while they went shopping.  Unrecognizable now.  The theater building is still there but it's so dilapidated it looks like something out of Robocop.  I had passed the place on my tour and I never took it for a former theater.

      There isn't a street in Camden, not one, without boarded up buildings.  I've never seen so much razor wire, on residences as well as businesses.  Residence after residence has wrought iron grillwork on  every first floor door and window.  In the middle of the day, there were young men hanging on the streets.  Working age men, obviously with nothing to do.  Leveling what's left isn't going to fix any of Camden's problems any more than knocking down what was knocked down didn't fix any of Camden's problems.

      Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

      by CarolinNJ on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:45:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I reside in Elizabeth (0+ / 0-)

        Working & middle class home ownership, especially among Hispanics, has kept this city, or large parts of it, livable. I'm on the edge of a section called Elmora, which has a considerable Jewish Orthodox  presence. They are very good neighbors.

        "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

        by DJ Rix on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:10:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You bet it is... (6+ / 0-)

    ...NAFTA severely hurt Danville, Illinois, a small, working-class city several miles north of the small town where I live, Westville, Illinois. A GM foundry in Tilton, Illinois (a small town immediately south of Danville) closed not long after NAFTA was ratified, and manufacturing jobs have left the area en masse ever since.

    Free trade agreements have destroyed this country. I live in Vermilion County, Illinois, where a smaller example of what has happened to Detroit can be found.

    Joe Lieberman, Mike Madigan, Andrew Cuomo, and Tim Cullen...why are they Democrats?

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:03:19 PM PDT

    •  I guess, but GM didn't set up Saturn in Mexico. (4+ / 0-)

      It set it up in Tennessee.

      Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:09:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  we need to insist that trade agreements (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dfarrah

      incorporate specific mitigations for the externalities of moving lower skill jobs overseas.

      What could our legislators been thinking when they instituted tax deductions for companies outsourcing US jobs? They should have been taxing them instead, in order to build stronger manufacturing and other kinds of development here.

      Where were the unions when this got started? Oh, of course they had been systematically undermined and weakened as the Rs implemented the provisions of the Powell Doctrine.

      Who could believe the Rs could have been so willing to throw Americans under the bus?

      Looking back, it's plain as day.

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:24:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Once Matty Moroun stops blocking the new bridge (7+ / 0-)

    that will be 20,000+ good construction jobs for the area and billions spent in it and on it.  Windsor Canada is already building their new parkway for this planned bridge - US didn't even start yet because of legal wranglings by the current bridge owner - a private owner of the most important international trade crossing in North America.  

    We have a greed with which we have agreed. -Eddie Vedder "Society"

    by Jacoby Jonze on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:04:35 PM PDT

    •  The Ambassador Bridge is privately owned? (6+ / 0-)

      How is that even possible? The mind boggles.

      I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney. equalitymaine.org

      by commonmass on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:41:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wondered about the bottleneck into Canada also (4+ / 0-)

      I visited Detroit in its heyday in the late 1950's.  My HS principal had suggested that I check out Parke-Davis, the drug manufacturer when I had enrolled at Michigan State.  Parke-Davis disappeared from Detroit with the mergers and acquisitions of drug companies that began in the early '70's, but there is still a drug manufacturing base in the city and surrounding area.

      Geography alone will guarantee that Detroit won't die.  I remember when the saying about Seattle, Washington, was:  "The last person out, please turn off the lights."  Look at Seattle now.

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:43:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cheap housing stock (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        loretta, gramofsam1

        Is doubtlessly what is fueling the surge of youthful urban pioneers. (This is what is said both in the film and the NY Times article.) That won't change and has an exponential affect, the more people move in, more people will follow.

        I do think cheap housing stock may save Detroit, as the metro area is quite pricy still.

        Detroit is a relatively easy commute to many metro burbs and that won't change either.

        Eventually companies may also choose to take advantage of the surplus office space.

        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

        by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:13:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          solesse413

          The metro area has plummeted in property values. Our home went for $64,900 18 years ago, and is now worth $40,000 at most. We've lost over 50% value in two decades. Had we sold 5 years ago, we might have gotten as much as $125,000.

          My folks' place has gone from $160,000 assessed by a realtor in 2005, to about $85,000 now based on what's been sold in the neighborhood.

          The house we just bought for $140,000 topped out at $220,000 in 2005.

          Weathering Michigan's recessions since the '70s.

          by jennifree2bme on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:14:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  my grandparent's old lot... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jennifree2bme

            in Brightmoor was for sale two years ago for $250. The house itself was burned out a couple years before that. I thought about buying it just for sentimental reasons because I grew up there, but the real estate taxes were ridiculously high. Plus there'd be landscaping upkeep and me several states away.

            In my old neighborhood, you could probably buy an entire block or more, for $50,000. I took a spin through there last month on a trip back home. It's lush and overgrown, with mostly abandoned, burned out, or poorly kept houses.

            OTOH, we drove downtown by the Ren Cen and Hart Plaza, everything was immaculately kept. Same with over by Tiger Stadium and the Fox Theatre area.

            "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -5.54

            by solesse413 on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 02:52:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I agree about the geography. (0+ / 0-)

        Detroit is a great location, and I'm always amazed at how beautiful the Detroit River is.  It does seem that the city will get back on its feet eventually; there is so much potential there.  But it's so sad to see what it has become.  I say this as one of those brain-drain people; I grew up in Redford (Township), and I bailed out right after graduating from MSU.  I didn't think twice about leaving, at the time, but 33 years later I wonder if I made the right decision.  Although you can buy Vernors here in Houston nowadays!

    •  Please do a diary on this bridge or at least link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott Wooledge, BitterEnvy

      to some good information on it, that you feel tells the true story.
      I am in MI and see the ads, all against the bridge... so we can see the funded side of this!
      I'd had no idea it was a private bridge either
      or why we need a new one
      Failure of educating myself on it, I had just started trying to find the real story but it is hard to know what was hype.

      In this newly all republican state it is hard not to be suspicious

    •  I didn't even know there was a new bridge (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Freakinout daily, jennifree2bme

      proposed. This Toronto outlet says Canada's so hot to see it come they've offered to pay Michigan's costs. Ohio and Indiana state legislatures have passed resolutions supporting it.

      Really does seem it's only one 80-year old billionaire and his spin machine standing in the way. Ridiculous.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:17:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans have controlled MI Legislature for (6+ / 0-)

      a generation now, either in TOTAL control under Engler, or partial control to fuck up Granholm.

       They are now in TOTAL control under Ricktator Snyder.

       WAKE UP, MICHIGAN!!!

    •  Engler didn't always have TOTAL control (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scott Wooledge

      He did have partial control.  Michigan Democrats don't come out to vote in off-years.  So they can't seem to grab a hold on the state senate, which has been elected in off years since (George) Romney.  When Clinton was elected and re-elected, Engler's state house went blue, then it'd flip again during the off-year.  

      Dems had the state senate in the 1970s or so.  When Blanchard raised taxes temporarily during the really bad times of the early 80s, the Republicans did a recall like what happened in Wisconsin and have had control ever since.  Of course, Blanchard's tax hike was part of why Michigan was rolling again by the later 80s, but voters have short memories.  

      •  I used to ring up Gov. Blanchard toiletry needs (0+ / 0-)

        when I worked at a drug store near the capital in college. He used to come in with a entourage including security.

        That was kind of wild for me, as a kid, to see my Governor regularly. Not an especially personal man, as most politician are.

        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

        by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:33:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I will certainly see the film as soon as (9+ / 0-)

    I have the opportunity.

    I was in Detroit for the last time about 18 months ago. I'm not from the area, but did live up in the Pontiac area while attending college in the late 1980's (Pontiac is another city which has been destroyed by the loss of manufacturing jobs) and got to know Detroit very well.

    What strikes me is that Detroit was already in trouble 25 years ago when I was in college (my time there overlaps with Scott's) though not in nearly as much trouble as it is today.

    It's a shame. I knew back in the 90's when NAFTA and other trade deals were signed that being "globally competitive" meant lowering, not raising wages, that the United States as a first world economy with a massive middle class would be unsustainable after auto and other manufacturers moved out of the country in search of cheap labor. I also knew that, because of the unholy alliance between free traders, race baiters and social reactionaries, the very people who lost their jobs or saw their wages dramatically reduced would keep these people in power by voting for the very people who ruined their lives. What happened in Detroit is indeed, in my opinion, simply a prelude to a new America--one with virtually no middle class, a ruthless ruling class and a great mass of people who are in poverty or just getting by, constantly kept at war with one another over issues or race, morality, ethnicity, religion, anything. And I hate to say it, but some of the initial legislation which allowed this state of affairs to develop has a Democratic president's signature on it.

    Sadly, I don't think this genie can be put back in the bottle, not for Detroit or for the rest of the country unless there is a sweeping, radical, and alas unlikely political re-alignment in this country whereby we actually demand accountability from our government, from Wall Street, and from our media. What it will take is Occupy writ large, and sadly, it's difficult to get people to join a revolution when they care more about what Snooki is doing than about what their congressman is doing.

    Thanks for the diary, Scott. This is really important.

    I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney. equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:22:54 PM PDT

  •  Redlining is a hell of a thing. (6+ / 0-)

    Hand in hand with redlining, comes gerrymandering.

    I'm still getting over the fact that the Republican governor is appointing "managers" for Black districts.

    Is this still 2012?

    SMH.....

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:23:48 PM PDT

  •  Hamtramck no longer a Polish enclave (9+ / 0-)

    True, at just over 20% those of Polish ancestry are the largest single nationality in Hamtramck.

    However massive in-migration primarily from countries with Muslim populations over the past several decades has transformed Hamtramck into the "most diverse city in America." I've heard more than half the residents speak a language other than English at home which makes sense because well more than half were born overseas. Huge Bengali population, large Bosnian and Macedonian populations, sizable Yemeni and Pakistani populations, about 15% African American, smattering of Russian and Ukranian. Each serviced by their own small shops and restaurants and all within 2 square miles. Look closely at the number of colors in Hamtramck.

    International hub of America and a great place to eat.

  •  I was born in an orphanage in Detriot. My birth (12+ / 0-)

    mother was an AC spark plug machine operator, from available records, so the Motor City is in my blood.

    As I grew up, my adoptive family would visit my aunt, uncle and cousin, who lived there. The city was booming and full of life throughout my childhood. Then when I attended college in Ann Arbor, I got a close-up view of the decline beginning to moulder at the core of the city.

    At present, the city is a wasteland. But the talent that fueled earlier prosperity still exists, and is a great basis for the present renaissance. It will take decades of doing to restore what has been undone. But Michigan's population is a sleeping giant that will awaken one day. I'm hoping that day comes sooner, rather than later.

    By me, the Motor City isn't dead yet. I'm hoping this film will wake up some Michiganders and move them to action.

  •  You should post about Lemonade:Detroit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, fhcec

    It's another film in the making about how individuals are doing their part to make Detroit thrive. It's the second film by Erix Proulx, director of the original Lemonade film based in Massachusetts.

    http://www.lemonadedetroit.com/

  •  "Global Economy" is a myth, a fantasy (3+ / 0-)

    Its simply another dodge by cheap labor corporations and banks wishing to drive down wages.

    China is becoming hostile towards Japan

    Suddenly, we're worried about the growing size of China's military.

    "Mitt Romney is Dick Cheney with more charisma"

    by Betty Pinson on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:29:03 PM PDT

    •  Rightttttttt (0+ / 0-)
      Suddenly, we're worried about the growing size of China's military.

      How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

      by divineorder on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:03:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  rare metals (0+ / 0-)

      mined in Africa, shipped to China to be put into electronics and sold throughout the world. One example.

      Yep, no global economy.

      Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

      by nickrud on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 08:33:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If I was a CEO of a company any where (9+ / 0-)

    south of the 35th parallel I would be buying large parts of Detroit right now, if for no other reason then the access to WATER.

    "Behold the Turtle, it only makes Progress when it sticks it's neck Out."

    by vzfk3s on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:56:25 PM PDT

  •  US manuf has been the one bright spot. (5+ / 0-)

    The rise in US manufacturing has been the one bright spot in the last three years. It's up nearly 20% since mid-2009. However, increased worker productivity has decreased manufacturing jobs over a very long time.

    Better question: Is the increased production due to increased extraction of raw resources (mining, drilling, farming) or producing finished goods? Are we really making stuff, or are foreign companies stripping us and hauling are basic resources away?

  •  Take a trip (5+ / 0-)

    Start at the Renaissance Center on Jefferson, and drive it northwest out of downtown. After you leave the area just barely propped up by suburban sport fan money an adequate services, take a look at the real Detroit. See the poverty and desperation of a people that were in many ways abandoned. See a community of people crushed the day they were born, made worse by no real gun control and a blossoming heroin trade totally not benefitting from our Kipling-esque adventure in Afghanistan.

    Then cross Alter road, the name change from Jefferson to Lakeshore doesn't happen just yet, but it might as well. Look at the immediate difference, then try to tell me there is no such thing as white privilege.

    Note to self, stop before I emulate the habits described in this diary.

    by Rustbelt Dem on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:02:56 PM PDT

    •  Alter Road has been a dividing line for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rustbelt Dem

      a long time.  I remember back in the 60s and 70s, driving down Jefferson, and the abrupt change fron Detroit to Grosse Pointe once you passed Alter Road.  As a kid I didn't understand how that was possible; it was like there was a fence or a gate separating the two, except that there wasn't.  A virtual fence, I guess.

  •  I vote "too damn late" (5+ / 0-)

    I truely believe Americas future is set in stone. It will decline into a society of wealthy 'haves' controlling the lives of the majority 'have-nots'. The system has been gamed to such an extent there is no going back. The decline of the middle class has been going on since Reagan without resistance.

    Now the oligarchs have control of both political parties, the police forces and the media. They have a supporting majority of the populance including a militant portion who will willingly oppress their fellow Americans on behalf of the ruling class. Add to that a new and imposing technology that can and will track and stop any dessent.

    The short lived "American Dream" is over folks, sorry. It began with the advent of the unions and lasted until their demise. A period of maybe 75 years. Now the USA will go back to its historical roots wherein the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:05:27 PM PDT

    •  I wish I could find disagreement with you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cacamp, GayHillbilly

      I will only say, I hope you're wrong about it being too late, but you've diagnosed the problem well.

      Unfortunately the oligarchs are too stupid to realize their greed is killing the geese laying their golden egg.

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:46:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope I'm wrong too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scott Wooledge

        My hope lies in demographics. If left to their devices white people would turn the nation over to the oligarchs with whom they identify. The good thing is that the minority population is growing and coming to power at a fast rate. Minorities support unions and progressive policies in the main part, they desire the American Dream. If the present 40% of white voters stay to the left and minorities continue to grow there is a chance of a turnaround... let's hope.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:22:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you zoom into the map of Detroit (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cacamp

          you can see the downtown area where they kids are homesteading is about the only racially diverse part of the city. Really very diverse.

          It's good reason to hope the next generation will not allow race baiting tactics like "welfare queens" and "food stamp presidency" to manipulate them into voting stupidly against their own interests. We can move past that.

          But the oligarchs are good. When the one one is not so effective, they'll find a new wedge won't they?

          Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

          by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:29:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  sincerely hope you're wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Harkov311

      I have a dream about the arc of justice and I expect to keep working for it the rest of my life...

      "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

      by fhcec on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:55:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  me too, for my G'kids sake (0+ / 0-)

        I've spent my life doing just that and as an union organizer I want to be wrong. It don't look good to me but the future is not always fathonable. We'll just have to wait and see.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:27:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  giving up then? -nt (0+ / 0-)

      Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

      by nickrud on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 08:37:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  White flight! (0+ / 0-)

    If white flight had not taken place IMHO the money would have remained in the city and Coleman Young would not have remained mayor for 23 years, too long for any one individual to lead any city.  The money moved to the burbs.  

    Integration and busing had a huge influence on the demographics of most US cities.

    •  Cart before horse? WHY did the money leave (0+ / 0-)

      in the first place?
      I have no idea what you are talking about by referencing integration and busing. It didn't happen in Detroit/metro area.

      •  I should clarify--not across city lines. Big (0+ / 0-)

        lawsuit, whose name I forget at the moment. Might have made a difference if it had.

      •  It's happened all over the US! (0+ / 0-)

        Detroit more than other cities.  The flight to the suburbs led to less investment in the cities.  AA's did not have the kind of money that it takes to build and maintain the cities and under the same leadership for 23 years things became stagnant; no matter who's in charge that's way to long.

      •  The whole Detroit metro area (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Char, divineorder, peregrine kate

        was on the front lines in the busing dispute. More perception than reality, probably, on the part of those opposing it, but Irene McCabe (from Pontiac) sure grabbed her share of the headlines, along with some seriously vandalized school buses.

        The racial tensions in Detroit probably originated in the factories, where poor white southerners (my dad was one) came up to find work at the same time that poor black southerners did. They worked together but didn't get along very well. When busing came along, it lit the match on what had been a powder keg for at least a decade, probably more.

        •  I agree, busing was a huge, polarizing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fisheye

          issue for Detroit and suburbs. But in the end, cross-district busing, which even in the 1970s would have been the only way to achieve racial integration, was ruled unlawful. Unjustifiable by the USC ruling in Milliken v Bradley (sorry, can't provide the link now).

          •  Intra-district vs. inter-district (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peregrine kate

            Very good on Milliken v. Bradley; I'd forgotten about it. SCOTUS held that inter-district busing couldn't be used to integrate a school system unless the segregated school system deliberately drew district lines to keep minorities out.

            But the way I remember it when I was there, the big dispute in Detroit was intra-district busing; in the early 70s Michigan's industrial cities had sharply drawn black and white neighborhoods with school demographics to match. Even before Milliken was decided, busing made the segregation worse, because all of the whites left town. My parents weren't as racist as our neighbors, but in 1970 that's all people were talking about. We were 60 miles from Detroit and there was still buzz that my siblings and I would be bused there. Here's a good Detroit News historical piece about Irene McCabe and NAG (I had forgotten about NAG):

            For-sale signs mushroomed in the white neighborhoods. A record 600 homes went up for sale, one third more than at the same time a year earlier. Most of the white exodus took place at the start of busing in 1971 when the district lost 11 percent of its students. Since then the net loss has stablized to about 1 percent a year.
            Pontiac was a small city and couldn't afford the loss. It never really recovered.

            This post has been a big trip down memory lane for me.

            •  Between the two of us, we'd cover the issue (0+ / 0-)

              pretty well, it seems. ;)

              I think it's possible, in other words, for us both to be right to some degree. The internal divisions within the Detroit School District were already segregated--but to achieve real parity, it would have been necessary to include some of the inner-ring suburbs since there was already a majority-black student body within the city. I can't say anything about dynamics in other, smaller urban areas in the state, but what you write doesn't surprise me.

              Were you in Pontiac or farther north? I was in S. Oakland County myself, Royal Oak to be exact (yes, the home of Fr. Charles Coughlin). I was in high school in the early 70s and dearly wanted cross-district busing to go through so that I could attend Cass Tech! I have friends who grew up in Pontiac in that era; it would be fascinating if you knew each other. Pontiac is only 30 miles N of Detroit, btw; I remember making the trip up Woodward relatively often as a child, but much less often as an adult.

              Irene McCabe was a piece of work. She accomplished what she wanted, alas, because she had lots of backers.

              I just Googled the case to see what I could find about it. To my surprise and amusement, I found a recent senior honors thesis in history from U-M supervised by an excellent faculty member there, Kevin Gaines. The thesis itself is OK, but what's really interesting to me (and might be to you) are the sources which offer a very good overview of late 20th c. Detroit history.  

        •  That's why all the down river suburb towns end (0+ / 0-)

          in "-tucky". The southerers fucked up the Paris of the Midwest like champs.

  •  Detroit is a symbol of the deliberate hollowing (6+ / 0-)

    out of America's consumer classes.  The process goes on and after 30+ years of it, the result is visible.  

    A broad and prosperous middle class isn't something that just happens by itself.  It takes strong and determined direction by government to implement public policy that supports labor and establishes minimum wages.  It takes government to keep the predatory privileged few on a leash with taxes and business regulation.  It takes public policy that invests in the future with infrastructure, education and training.  Without intervention we would revert to the era of robber barons or even feudalism.  That's just the way it is.  The privileged few always have advantages for themselves and the ability to disadvantage others for their own benefit.

    It also takes engaged citizens.  The great Progressive leader of a hundred years ago, Robert 'Fighting Bob' LaFollette wrote, "Democracy is a life and involves continual struggle."  Unless you are one of the privileged few, you must struggle and never quit struggling just to maintain your position.  

    Why do we need government and citizens who take an activist role for public policy tilted to favor the many over the few?  Our system depends on it.  Capitalism is supply and demand.  It's not the hierarchy imagined by Reaganistas 31 years ago, with a Job Creator God above and subservient consumer classes below, waiting for benevolence.   Capitalism is a free market system where supply and demand conduct mutually beneficial transactions.   The 'free' in free market is represented by the array of choice that should be available to all actors.

    Needless to say we've gone way off the rails to get something like Detroit where circumstances combined to amplify destructive trends.  The heavy reliance on a single industry and the curse of racism were visible in Detroit in the 1960s.  My personal belief is that progressivism began running out of steam after Nixon was elected in '68.   Disillusionment in the 1970s paved the way for Reagan to be able to proclaim in his first inaugural in January 1981 that government isn't the solution to our problem, government is the problem.  

    What could this kind of nihilism do?  It negates everything that progressives believe.  Is it any wonder that we find ourselves in a diminished country today?  Or that it will diminish further if we allow the same kind of nihilism to continue?

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:09:23 PM PDT

  •  you mean like civilizational collapse? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm quite sure our entire global civilization will not collapse within the next 12-20 months.  I'm willing to bet 2-1 on that.

    5-7 years out, even money.

    2020 and beyond:  I believe the whole thing is going down the global shithole.

  •  thanks for a great article (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, divineorder

    Detroit is the future/present/recent past for some of us.

    This summer I spent a few days in Binghamton, NY. Man, is that place depressed. Just another little rust belt city, left behind in the sweep of history.

    Without a national commitment to protect manufacturing jobs, this is what happens.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:23:46 PM PDT

  •  Time to revisit Roger and Me. (6+ / 0-)

    Flint, Michigan has troubles similar to Detroit.  It's lost about half its population since 1960.  Infrastructure is impossible to maintain when every other house is empty or gone.  Taxes go up.  Both cities are talking about planned contractions, abandoning infrastructure in some neighborhoods and encouraging folks to bunch up in others.  Seems like a good idea, but maybe it's unrealistic.  
    Incidentally, I live near Calumet, Michigan, which at one time was the hub of copper mining in the US.  The population of  Calumet went from 25,000 to almost nothing when the mines closed.  Many folks moved to Detroit and Flint to work in the factories.

    •  The film covers this: (0+ / 0-)

      and illustrates this very well:

      Both cities are talking about planned contractions, abandoning infrastructure in some neighborhoods and encouraging folks to bunch up in others.  Seems like a good idea, but maybe it's unrealistic.
      At a city planning meeting, it sounds like a good idea.

      But when you go to a town hall, you see you are asking people to abandon homes they've lived in for decades, maybe even generations. How can anyone be persuaded to leave their family home?

      And one resident says it sounds like racial segregation to her, and handful of attendees agree. Which is actually kind of ironic, given she's choosing to live in a city that IS still racially segregated.

      And it doesn't strike me her objections are based in reality.

      But, it goes to demonstrate the government can't tell people where to live without really striking a nerve at the heart of human's core. I think citizen's first instinct when the gov't tells you were to live is, "Oh Hell no! This is the land of the free. I live where the fuck I want."

      Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:55:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cheers to you in Calumet! (0+ / 0-)

      My best friend's dad grew up there, & he & his wife moved back when he retired.  Totally the opposite of the Michigan retirees moving to sunny Florida!  I always marveled at their stories of how deep the snow got; he used to cross-country ski around town.

  •  I can't recommend detroitblog enouf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, ChemBob

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:42:11 PM PDT

  •  The auto industry (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, Scott Wooledge

    The auto industry ran around with a bag over it's head after the muscle car era. From about 1972 to 1990 all Detroit (automakers) made was the worst type of crap.
    Anybody who had been in upper to middle management in that time period should have been let go.
    Those people ignored trends and pushed the Japanese to make better product, because by comparison anything but a Yugo was better than American cars.

    At long last the the dead wood at the top of the car companies is dying or retired.
    Now the industry can move forward.

    “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” Conan of Cimmeria via Robert E. Howard

    by roninkai on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:02:55 PM PDT

  •  It's a declining city (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    This doesn't mean the US is a declining country.

    Basically, in the 1800s, it was the Erie Canal system that led to rapid growth of cities in the northeastern US.  Detroit, with access to Lake Erie via the Detroit river, was part of that.  Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo; if you were going to do manufacturing at that time, you wanted to locate in these cities, as this was the only really competive way to move goods.  

    Ironically, it was the emergence of the automobile in the early 20th century, followed by the creation of the interstate highway system in the 1950s, that began the decline of many of these cities.  Trucking became the quicker and more efficient way to move goods.  But Detroit, because it became the seat of the auto industry, obviously thrived.

    But as technolgy continues to change, it no longer makes as much sense to locate major industry in Detroit.  And, prior to the invention of air conditioning, it used to be more comfortable to live in cooler climates; you couldn't cool but you could heat.  Today, people prefer warmer climates.  

    Since many of these factors are things out of control of city management, it might make the most sense to accept that you will have a declining population, and plan appropriately.  Good planning might mean finding ways to downsize gracefully, while maintaining quality of life.  

    •  Ironically, global warming may create (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChemBob, Freakinout daily

      northern flight to cities like Detroit. I have read a number of articles that suggest that. The south may be the Dead Zone,

      My dog is a member of Dogs Against Romney: He rides inside.

      by adigal on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:57:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More irony: (0+ / 0-)

        Detroit once had one of the best street car systems in the country.

        Of course the car companies dismantled that so people would buy cars.

        Now, lack of a decent public transportation system is a big problem there too.

        Not that the city could right now afford to maintain a street car system now. They can't afford buses.

        But if it had been in place in the 1970s, it might have helped stave off the city's slow drift into irrelevance by providing a benefit that the suburbs don't have.

        Many other major cities in America that have undergone resurgences: they have a regional competitive advantage of having a decent public transportation infrastructure. Detroit doesn't.

        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

        by Scott Wooledge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:26:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've been thinking about this for a while. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jennifree2bme

        I'm a native Detroiter who bailed after college, and ended up in Houston.  Financially, it's been great (please, no cracks about Texas), but the summers are brutal, and getting worse.  Drought has been a big problem too.  I told my husband we need to consider retiring Up North, because the climate will be milder than when I grew up, plus there's all that fresh water in the Great Lakes!  Maybe that will be a selling point in Deteoit's revival?

  •  Fascinating diary, thanks. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, jennifree2bme

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:08:59 PM PDT

  •  Also see "Searching for Sugarman" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, thomsirveaux

    I saw both this summer at the Traverse City Film Festival.

    Loved "Detropia" and we had a fascinating Q&A after the film with the film-makers and Crystal Starr.  I'm not from Detroit, and it's always been my impression that Detroit, unlike other rust belt cities, never developed a Plan B.  Pittsburgh, Cleveland and other cities looked to other ways to survive when the manufacturing jobs started to decline, but Detroit stayed dependent on the auto industry.  Those other cities are not thriving, but they are a little better off than Detroit.

    During our Q&A, one questioner asked about how Detroit could come back - since the manufacturing jobs are gone forever.  The filmmakers and Crystal responded that Detroit will never rebound if they try to re-make the past.  Yes, those jobs are gone, and Detroit has to figure out other ways to build an economy.  It remains to be seen whether they can look past the auto industry and find a different future.

    The film is tough to watch, but it does give me hope that there are Detroiters who are resolved to stay and re-build their beloved city.

    "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all." — Oscar Wilde

    by chicagobama on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:21:46 PM PDT

  •  I'm not giving up. (4+ / 0-)

    I moved to MI in 2003 and now own a house in the historic district of Pontiac. We go to Detroit all the time and things have improved during the time I've been here.

    There has been lots of removal of blighted properties along the Detroit River and it has been replaced with parks and a riverwalk that connects to the Eastern Market. Many of the storefronts have been redone; hi-rise condos are being built within the old office skyscrapers. The revered Hudson building property now has the huge Compuware building on it and houses the headquarters of Quicken Loans. The population might have fled Detroit city, but the entire SE MI area is really Detroit in spirit and there are lots of people there. Many are beginning to move back into the Motor City. From Wikipedia:

    The Detroit Urban Area, which serves as the core of the Metropolitan Statistical Area, ranks as the 12th most populous of the United States, with a population of 3,734,090 as of the 2010 census, and an area of 1,337.16 square miles (3,463.2 km2). This urbanized area covers parts of the counties of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb.[1] These counties are sometimes referred to informally as the Detroit Tri-County Area, and had a population of 3,863,888 as of the 2010 census with an area of 1,967.1 square miles (5,095 km2).
    And Oakland Co., just north of Wayne Co. and Detroit, is one of the richer counties in the country. It used to be in the top three or four, I was told. Don't know about now.

    I'm not giving up. None of us who are up here are giving up!

  •  Detroit has problems, but maybe it can turn around (0+ / 0-)

    I'd say that the main first thing is to find a new industry that can settle there.  For too long, Detroit put too many of its eggs in the one basket of motor vehicles.  In the post-WW2 boom, this was great for them, but after the late 1960s the reliability of that industry to create more and more demand every year basically ended.

    The first order of business, I would say, is to get investment to modernize or replace the old buildings as much as is feasible, and try to attract new, growing industries, such as alternative energy.  There's no reason those assembly-line workers couldn't make turbine blades.  Sadly, however, if cities near me that have revitalized (Richmond, Baltimore, DC to some degree) are any indicators, it will probably take a LOT of investment from outside tax revenue, and it will almost inevitably gentrify many parts of the city.

    No revitalization plan is perfect, but other cities have done it, and I think Detroit could come back too.

    All your vote are belong to us.

    by Harkov311 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 06:50:02 PM PDT

  •  Detroit is a great place to live (0+ / 0-)

    One of, if not the coolest city in America. No place like it. Shhh, don't tell anyone or they'll all come and spoil it.

  •  NAFTA is a dirty word in democratic circles (0+ / 0-)

    given that ex-president, the ex-president who is still popular for reasons which I completely fail to understand, Clinton was such a promoter thereof.

    and now we have our very own neo-liberal president who can't prosecute banksters leading us to the river of free trade.

    another example of how the democrats fight for republican ideals.

    big badda boom : GRB 090423

    by squarewheel on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:25:34 PM PDT

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