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Nine Reasons Why Detroit Failed

Nine Reasons Why Detroit Failed
My hometown of Detroit has been studied obsessively for years by writers and researchers of all types to gain insight into the Motor City’s decline. Indeed, it seems to have become a favorite pastime for urbanists of all stripes. How could such an economic powerhouse, a uniquely American city, so utterly collapse? Most analysis tends to focus on the economic, social and political reasons for the downfall. One of my favorite treatises on Detroit is The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Thomas Sugrue, who argues that housing and racial discrimination practices put in place after World War II played a primary role in the decline of Motown. I’d argue that it’s closest to the truth of an explanation for Detroit today, but not quite there. Everyone seems to know the shorthand narrative for Detroit’s fall. But here’s the thing. So why has Detroit suffered unlike any other major city? If ever a city stood as a symbol of the dynamic U.S. economy, it was Detroit. Emphasis added. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

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Amid Scandal and a Potential Break with the EAA, DPS has a Lesson to Learn By Kacy Martin More Mess in DPS: Principal Kickbacks The federal government uncovered an alleged $1 million kickback scheme that involved 12 Detroit Public School (DPS) principals, a district administrator, and a vendor on Tuesday. For the past 13 years, businessman Norman Shy has reportedly been paying bribes to principals and skimming money off the top of exchanges involving school supplies. Shy apparently made a habit of submitting falsified invoices and delivering only a portion of what was ordered while keeping the remaining revenue for himself and the co-conspiring principals.

Root Causes of Detroit’s Decline Should Not Go Ignored Recently Detroit, under orders from a state-appointed emergency manager, became the largest U.S. city to go bankrupt. This stirred predictable media speculation about why the city, which at 1.8 million was once America’s 5th-largest, declined in the first place. Much of the coverage simply listed Detroit’s longtime problems rather than explaining their causes. For example a Huffington Post article asserted that it was because of “racial strife,” the loss of “good-paying [sic] assembly line jobs,” and a population who fled “to pursue new dreams in the suburbs.” Anatomy of Detroit’s Decline - Interactive Feature Mayor Coleman A. Young of Detroit at an event in 1980. Richard Sheinwald/Associated Press

The rise and fall of Detroit: A timeline Sign Up for Our free email newsletters On Thursday, Detroit made history — and not in a good way. Pension Bribery Scandal Leads to More Indictments in Detroit, Including Funds’ Former General Counsel May 2013 The longtime general counsel and a former trustee of Detroit's pension funds are the latest two city officials to be indicted in a bribery and kickback conspiracy that has been under investigation for several years and cost the pension funds $84 million in losses. Ronald Zajac, who served as General Counsel of Detroit's General Retirement System and Police and Fire Retirement System for more than 30 years, allegedly forced people seeking business with the pension funds to spend thousands of dollars on entertainment and other gifts for certain pension trustees involved in the scheme. Zajac also allegedly organized “birthday parties” for certain pension trustees, at which people with pension fund business would give cash gifts to the trustees. In return for directing cash, lavish vacations and other items of value to the pension trustees involved in the bribery and kickback conspiracy, the trustees voted to raise Zajac's salary by a substantial amount.

Detroit Is an Example of Everything That Is Wrong with Our Nation Back on July 18, 2013 the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Detroit is now seeing a little life, but the city is far from where it once was. Once the wealthiest city in America, known as the “arsenal of democracy,” Detroit was the fourth largest city in the U.S. in the 1960s with a population of two million. Now it has become an example of everything that is wrong with the American economy, Detroit has become nothing more than a devastated landscape of urban decay with a current population of 714,000 whose unemployment rate at the height of the recession was as high as 29 percent, and has only decreased due to the rapidly decreasing population. Visiting Detroit is the closest Americans can come to viewing what appears to be a war-torn city without leaving the U.S.

Detroit: Disappearing City? FORTY PERCENT OF Detroit today is considered virtually “unoccupied.” The administration of Mayor Dave Bing is trying to figure out how to move the remaining residents of these areas out, in the name of “rightsizing” the city. Of course he hasn’t revealed any specifics — and the devil is in the details! Residents are wary: without the money to relocate people and the services needed, it’s just another round of displacing the urban poor. Detroit is often compared to New Orleans after Katrina or Haiti, although Chris Hedges’ description of Camden, New Jersey as a “City of Ruins” also comes to mind, “the poster child of post-industrial decay (and) a warning of what huge pockets of the United State could turn into” (The Nation, November 22, 2010, The state of Detroit is not really surprising given the reorganization of the U.S. auto industry, which was the “meat and potatoes” of the city’s work force in the first three quarters of the 20th century.

Detroit Rising: Life after bankruptcy One year after a federal judge approves Detroit's bankruptcy exit plan, progress has been made while looming challenges remain, especially city pensions The City of Detroit has more than enough cash to pay its daily bills. Thousands of busted streetlights have been replaced. City retirees still receive pension checks, and valuable paintings remain ensconced in the gilded halls of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Detroit Race Riot (1967) The Intersection of 12th Street and Clairmount, Saturday, July 23, 1967 Image Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press Image Ownership: Public Domain The Detroit Race Riot in Detroit, Michigan in the summer of 1967 was one of the most violent urban revolts in the 20th century. It came as an immediate response to police brutality but underlying conditions including segregated housing and schools and rising black unemployment helped drive the anger of the rioters.