Friday, July 19, 2013

Detroit’s Bankruptcy Was Destined to Happen

Detroit’s Bankruptcy Was Destined to Happen, I have not lived in Detroit for many years. I left the city three days after being mugged in front of where I lived. That was in 1981. The building was razed to make way for nothing but open fields, along with dozens of others in a neighborhood not far from the decaying gentility of wealthy Indian Village. That abandonment of mine, which matched the abandonment of thousands fleeing the city, foretold this day was coming.

It was a great city once. That apartment building I lived in spoke to its former grandeur. It had marble floors and stairs in the lobby and hardwood floors in every apartment. All of that grandeur from the earlier part of the century is gone. The days of Henry Ford and automation, which gave unskilled workers decent-paying factory jobs, are gone. With those lost jobs, so went tax base of the city.

Am I surprised that this bankruptcy is the result of years automotive decline, high unemployment, high crime, and some -- of course not all -- corrupt mayors and officials who were going to enrich themselves at the expense of the city's residents? I didn't need a psychic to predict this. When officials are corrupt, and everyone knows it and tolerates it, morals in general decline, and crime skyrockets. The attitude of everyone becomes, "I am going to get mine, let other people get theirs," so a great institution like Detroit was bound to fall.

I still visited the city after leaving and still will. It has one of the great art museums of the country. It has an equally impressive and beautiful public library. It has a botanical garden and aquarium on Belle Isle, and a great ball park in Comerica Park. The sculptures alone in downtown Detroit are impressive. So much is right about Detroit that the city is worth saving, and I hope it can somehow be restored to its former greatness. It needs the management of someone who not only sees what it was like, but also who sees what it could become.
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Title: Detroit’s Bankruptcy Was Destined to Happen
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