Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

Detroit

Detroit (Photo credit: Ann Millspaugh)

 

Installment 1 on a series that affects so many and is quite sad. The PRIDE of our country now stands in shambles. If you are a GenXer or younger, you probably wouldn’t consider Detroit the Pride of America. Installment 2 will show you why this city was so great. I shared a  few bullet points (both good a bead below).

 

It is so sad to watch one of America’s greatest cities die a horrible death.  Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was a teeming metropolis of 1.8 million people and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  Now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole of about 700,000 people that the rest of the world makes jokes about.  On Thursday, we learned that the decision had been made for the city of Detroit to formally file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  It was going to be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States by far, but on Friday it was stopped at least temporarily by an Ingham County judge.

She ruled that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing violates the Michigan Constitution because it would result in reduced pension payments for retired workers.  She also stated that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing was “also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy“, and she ordered that a copy of her judgment be sent to Barack Obama.  How “honoring the president” has anything to do with the bankruptcy of Detroit is a bit of a mystery, but what that judge has done is ensured that there will be months of legal wrangling ahead over Detroit’s money woes.

It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out.  But one thing is for sure – the city of Detroit is flat broke.  One of the greatest cities in the history of the world is just a shell of its former self.  The following are 25 facts about the fall of Detroit that will leave you shaking your head…

1) At this point, the city of Detroit owes money to more than 100,000 creditors.

2) Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.  That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.

3) Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had thehighest per-capita income in the entire nation.

4) In 1950, there were about 296,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit.  Today, there are less than 27,000.

5) Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.

6) There are lots of houses available for sale in Detroitright now for $500 or less.

7) At this point, there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

8) About one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.

9) An astounding 47 percent of the residents of the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.

10) Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.

11) If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

12) Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, but over the past 60 years the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.

13) The city of Detroit is now very heavily dependent on the tax revenue it pulls in from the casinos in the city.  Right now, Detroit is bringing in about 11 million dollars a month in tax revenue from the casinos.

14) There are 70 “Superfund” hazardous waste sites in Detroit.

15) 40 percent of the street lights do not work.

16) Only about a third of the ambulances are running.

17) Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 mileson them.

18) Two-thirds of the parks in the city of Detroit have been permanently closed down since 2008.

19) The size of the police force in Detroit has been cutby about 40 percent over the past decade.

20) When you call the police in Detroit, it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond.

21) Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

22) The violent crime rate in Detroit is five times higherthan the national average.

23) The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.

24) Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.

25) Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

Next up –  Installment 2: Detroit, The Pride of America circa 1960.

 

Not Afraid

Not Afraid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

E- My favorite rapper. The guy can write. He is a lyrical artist who paints a story with each rhyme. This quote describes his life. Now that he is a made man, he is free. He grew up very poor and his life had many limitations. There was no outside world – nothing outside of Detroit, anyway. Now he is a world traveler. Now, he does’t have to beg, borrow or steal to get the things he wants OR more importantly provide for his family. No doubt Haley is quite spoiled now.

This goes beyond money. He is free to come and go as he pleases. There is a thresh hold in wealth management at which point, if one lives within a certain means, he does not have to report to a shitty job for the rest of his life.  That, to me is the epitome of freedom – or the pinnacle of wealth. I can not image not having to worry about work, not playing politics with the boss, having a reasonable schedule or not commuting. (It would be glorious.)

No, I wouldn’t be lazy and sit around and watch whatever is on during the day. There are too many things to see and do out there. There are parks and beaches and services where I could volunteer time. There are classes to take on cooking and art. There are markets that need to be explored, garden that need to be grown, fish that need to caught and animals that need to be hunted. The kids have school events, sporting events, and could also lend a few hours to provide some civic service. Someone has to drive the bus. I find myself living 200 years too late. The life I lust after is somewhat akin to an mercantile aquatic nomad – a pirate. Someone who isn’t bound by rules.

Today I write because, like Eminem felt during his years on the other side of the tracks, I feel trapped and burned out. Stuck in a career now because the money isn’t there in what I would rather be doing. And I sure as hell can’t do all those things I just listed and not be employed.

Here’s to you, Eminem. I celebrate and applaud your freedom to come and go as you please and the ability to say what you want to say.

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