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It's quite simple. It's actually already been done in Phillie, New York, and the entire province of Ontario: Abolish as many of the local jurisdictions in the Detroit area as possible, including Detroit proper. The resulting super-municipality would look great in national city rankings. This would help the suburbs, they'd no longer be "a hi-rise bolted on to the ghetto" to paraphrase a quote frequently attributed to their dear leader. It would have a tax base, there would be one guy whose entire job was to ensure blacks and whites stopped arguing about stupid bullshit that happened in the 70s, and it would have much better numbers then every other rust belt city.

Crossposted from my blog. Part of a series.

The basic structure would not be what they did in Ontario or Phillie, but NYC. Boroughs will be necessary because nobody wants to give up significant elements of autonomy, even if the autonomous unit in question is a glorified tax-dodge (I'm looking at you Grosse Pointe Shores). The new Boroughs would take on a lot of the functions of their local Board of Education. They'd also retain most of the powers of the local cities. The City-County of Detroit gets police departments, County Government functions, functions the cities have already sent to multi-government agencies. Transit, for example, is by and large a fief of SEMCOG.

The pros for the City proper would be twofold. First: with no shitty headlines about how Detroit is worst at everything it would be a lot easier to convince people to move to the City Proper. Second with access to the entire region's resources we might be able to get a handle on crime. Get a handle on crime and Auto and Homeowner's insurance rates fall, since Detroit Auto insurance alone typically costs an individual $1,000 more then if he lived in Dearborn, this makes it much easier to stay in the City. If those things happen property values go up, which means property tax receipts go up, which means the schools district can afford to stop sucking...

The advantage for the rest of the region would be less, but would still be important. First, it would mean suburbanites gained a measure of control over the Detroit-brand. They had no say in whether Kwame got fired, but they definitely suffered when he did his thing. Second it's really hard to convince people to move to suburban Detroit from outside of the region when your entire sales pitch is "this tiny little suburb you've never heard of is not a hell-hole, unlike that nasty City of Detroit." Third a lot of them actually want the things that can only be provided by a real Metro Government, like mass transit

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Comment Preferences

  •  Never going to happen. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, FG, Bronx59

    Too great a divide between city and suburbs. At least not in my lifetime but then I am 70.

    •  In some ways this is true... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      But in a lot of ways that's because we've specifically designed the City and the Suburbs to fight each-other. Brooks Patterson is the King of the Suburbs, and therefore King of the Whites. He does battle against various Detroit Mayors for business, residents, etc.

      Black people know this is stupid. They know perfectly well that when black fights white black loses, therefore black needs white allies, therefore having a region designed specifically so that the Anti-De-Segregationist can fight with a black guy is incredibly bad for black people. Since King Black is designed to lose, but he's also designed to be the Headline Guy that everyone in the rest of the country pays attention to; therefore in the long term it's bad for whites as well.

      I suspect that if somebody pointed out how dumb this was to the average Oakland County resident they'd be strongly in favor of at least considering redesiging the region.

  •  Interesting idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59

    Indeed, Balkanization seems to be a fundamental part of the problem and this would provide a way to start solving that.

    But I'd assume some of the more affluent suburbs would resist despite the fact they owe their position to the working people of the city.

    [Not a sigline. You are hallucinating.]

    by koNko on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 02:04:45 AM PDT

    •  If you did it right that wouldn't matter... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      Under the Michigan Constitution a County Charter is subject to a majority vote of the people who live in the County. Mergers, border-changes, etc. are also subject to majority vote.

      If all of Detroit, and half of white-working-class Downriver signed on then the Wayne County you'd have 48% of Wayne County's vote. If you add in black, working class Inkster you're at a majority. If you've got half of Downriver, you have a decent at getting a majority of Macomb.

      Which leaves Oakland County. In some ways Oakland would be incredibly difficult. It has repeatedly re-elected a guy who started his career as a re-segregationist, but it's also the heart and soul of Michigan's gay community, voted Obama twice, etc.

  •  sorry to go negative, but here goes (0+ / 0-)

    Detroit Is Coveted By The Wealthy. It Has The International Crossing, Well Constructed Homes, Safe From Natural Disasters And A Beautiful Riverfront.
    Black People Have Been Deprived Opportunity After Opportunity. The Rich Whites Have Swooped In And Picked Off Many Gems For The Low Low Price. Barriers Are In The Way To Keep Detroiters From Getting Jobs. Regionalization Has Only Opened The Coffers To Outsiders. When We Talk About Jobs, It Is Always Attracting New Talent, Not Employing Existing Residents.
    Any Blog Comments Following Articles In The Majot Papers Regularly Refer To City Residents In The Most Vile Racist Comments Imaginable. The City Suburb Divide Will Always Be.
    We Need A Federal Urban Agenda That Prioritizes The Needs Of The Residents That Will Make Them The Tax Base Needed To Grow. I'm Not Saying That The Suburbs Aren't Needed For The Success Of The City. I Am Saying That Before We Open The Flood Gates To All Outsiders, We Need To Focus On Lifting The Existing Residents First.

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