Detroit Fire Trucks Dribble Water as Orr Weighs Costs of Safety. Crews at Detroit’s Engine 54 station chase fires on trucks with broken gas gauges, faulty air brakes and, in one, an odometer that reads 183,000 miles.
Budget cuts mean the company, bedeviled by false alarms and arsons of vacant buildings, must cover almost 50 square miles (130 kilometers) on the west side, said Sergeant Shawn Atkins. As he spoke, water splashed on the concrete floor from a truck’s leaking 500-gallon tank. “We want better rigs and better equipment so we can respond and keep ourselves safe,” Atkins said when asked what he’d tell Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.
10 reasons for Detroit's historic failures. By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org The city of Detroit declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Thursday, making it the largest city in American history to go through the municipal bankruptcy process.
On Friday, a judge ruled that filing unconstitutional, but as the city sorts out its next move, here are 10 facts about the causes of Detroit’s financial mess and 10 photos that reflect just how badly the city is doing these days. NOT SO GRANDE: The main dance floor at The Grande Ballroom in downtown Detroit has seen better days. 1. The population has collapsed in the past six decades. Detroit was America’s fourth largest city in 1950, when it had 1.8 million people. Yes, fewer people means a smaller tax base, but the real problem is the city’s government did not shrink along with the population — more on that in a bit.
Mayor shows off new Detroit Public Safety Headquarters. Politifact. Facing an uphill fight to preserve a requirement that police officers live in the city, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is invoking Detroit -- perhaps America’s No. 1 symbol of urban decay.
Milwaukee is one of the nation’s last big cities with a residency rule, but Republicans in control of state government appear poised to change that. Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would free Milwaukee teachers of residency, and a GOP-backed bill would let Milwaukee police and firefighters live anywhere in the five-county area. Barrett opposes both moves, arguing that city property values will decline because large numbers of middle-class employees will move to the suburbs. Proponents -- typically employee unions -- say workers should be able to live where they want to live. The mayor quantified his concern in a Business Journal story in which he explicitly predicted Milwaukee could see a Detroit-style devastation of its tax base if residency rules are ended.
A bit of background first. Detroit’s top fire official, Don Austin, is resigning in wake of botched fire crisis. Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin, who botched the hiring of new firefighters, regularly conceals the severity of the fire crisis and oversaw drastic budget reductions, is resigning at the end of the year, city officials said today.
Residents began calling for Austin’s resignation this summer, saying he’s responsible for an increase in the number of fires that are decimating neighborhoods, jacking up home insurance rates and claiming lives. Since Austin took the helm in May 2011, firefighters’ wages were cut 10%, arsons were drastically underreported and seven fire stations were permanently closed as part of a $24-million reduction in the department’s budget. Most of those stations have since been broken into and stripped over scrap metal. Austin’s resignation wasn’t optional, city sources told us. Fire trucks continue to break down at unprecedented rates, and repairs are woefully slow. Detroit's population from 1840 to 2012 shows high points, decades of decline.
Turning College Sexual Assault Cases Over To Police May Not Mean More Convictions. NEW YORK -- When Marci Robin first read about the questions surrounding a local police investigation of the rape case involving Florida State University's star football player, she felt a sense of deja vu.
Robin remembered "some unfortunate parallels" she experienced as an FSU student more than a decade earlier when she reported her own rape to the same police department. Despite having done what she's "supposed to" as a rape victim, Robin said she never got justice. "I'm not even sure if they did go talk to him," Robin told HuffPost, referring to her alleged assailant. Detroit's biggest crime problem: Lack of police, poll finds. Detroit — Detroiters overwhelmingly feel the biggest contributor to crime is a lack of police on the streets — and they'd gladly pay more taxes to hire more officers, according to a poll commissioned by The Detroit News and funded by the Thompson Foundation.
The finding comes weeks after the City Council refused to put a measure on the ballot to do so. The poll found that 49 percent of residents don't feel safe in their neighborhoods. The results cross most income and gender lines, but generally those who make more money feel safer in their neighborhoods. The survey also found that residents have mixed views of the Police Department, but generally liked Police Chief Ralph Godbee. JPMorgan Chase to invest $100M in Detroit. DETROIT -- Detroit's revitalization hopes are getting a boost from one of the deepest-pocketed players in U.S. finance.
JPMorgan Chase, the nation's biggest bank, will announce Wednesday that it is investing $100 million in Detroit over five years, strengthening the city's redevelopment efforts, speeding up blight removal, helping train city residents for new jobs, and making mortgage money available for home loans. About half the cash will come in the form of loans and the rest in grants. Chase has been working for several months developing the program, which will be announced Wednesday at a luncheon featuring Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Mike Duggan and JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon.