Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Hey Martha! Ich bin ein Detroiter! Previous Next
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Swingline
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Post Number: 938
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 3:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nolan Finley has been on a roll lately and on Sunday he published another sharp but restrained column about the reckless and harmful conduct emanating recently from the City Council chambers. The column has the same title as this thread. http://www.detnews.com/article /20090322/OPINION03/903220309/ 1271/OPINION0305

In his latest, he calls out Martha Reeves for her selfish, narcissistic and just plain ignorant public complaining about Jay Leno's decision to host two free comedy performances at the Palace rather than at a venue in Detroit. Mr. Finley's opinion and analysis of Ms. Reeves' isolationism and divisiveness was spot on. In Ms. Reeves' world, apparently only Detroit is being victimized by the economy, and the 90% of Michiganders who live outside of Detroit are doing just fine and don't really need or deserve a little comic relief.

Also, after reading the column, one might reexamine the title and be struck with sadness on a number of different levels. First, inasmuch as Ms. Reeves has repeatedly demonstrated her lack of depth regarding current events, business, politics, and public policy, it is unlikely that she even understands the historical reference in the title (she may not even recognize that the title is in German). What is also sad though is that it is probably likely that Ms. Reeves never actually read Mr. Finley's column on Sunday because she appears to support the segment of Detroiters who believe that the editorial page editor of the Detroit News is simply a racist suburbanite and no self-respecting Detroiter should be reading the blathering of a presumed KKK sympathizer (how dare he, an outsider, criticize Detroiters). But finally, one might also be saddened by the reasonable conclusion that Ms. Reeves has not puzzled over the "ich bin ein Detroiter" reference in Mr. Finley's latest Sunday column because she has never given any indication that she actually reads newspapers, or indeed much of anything else.

Yes, Ms. Reeves' ineptitude on City Council is sad on many levels.
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Big_baby_jebus
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 3:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good read.

Thanks
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Eastsideirish
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 4:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Come on. Are you kidding? Of course she doesn't what "ich bin ein Detroiter" is in reference to. She may have heard of John F. Kennedy, but she certainly isn't educated enough to know about his "ich bin ein Berliner" speech.

That is something which is way outside her world.
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Brownfieldguy
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 5:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Actually, I would wager pretty strongly that most of the autoworkers who have lost their jobs did not live in the City of Detroit. So..... having the event in the suburbs sort of fits. After all, the shebang was aimed at helping out of work autoworkers.

Come on, if your black, you can't be a racist. Just ask them. So Martha is not being racist or trying to create division, she is just an idiot.
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Lodgedodger
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 5:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

She should know to which speech this phrase refers to! She recently gave a performance in Berlin. Every tour guide in that town mentions the, "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.
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Brownfieldguy
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 5:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ah, what a quote!! ".....a very sad symptom of Detroit's disintegration."

I have been thinking and saying this for years, it is total crap to say that the suburban areas need Detroit. No, it doesn't. Nor should it. Its time to say it, too. Best thing that can happen in this climate is that Detroit does get pushed over the edge into a State takeover. Gut the systems in place and throw out those in power for a new breed that in part will not be from the existing political machines.

And as those will call me a racist, guess what? it will include white people, too. And some that look nothing like Monica Conyers.

Detroit needs the suburbs because the people with the money and education are out there and not in the city in any significant number. Those are the sorts that will bring in the cash for redevelopment and also those who can staff the jobs with the companies that bring the tax base to make the system work.

Welcome to reality.
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Detroitrise
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 5:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ok Brownfieldguy. Please tell me who will fill the shoes of all those "successful suburban baby boomers" after they die off in the next 25 years?Young & educated people these days are attracted to huge, bustling cities with vibrants downtowns and Metro Detroit lacks that terribly.
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Brownfieldguy
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 5:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Right you are Detroitrise. A continued problem of Metropolitan Detroit.

Can't see the future, but the current city population has no money to fund any sort of from within revitalization. Got to come from the outside.
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Lmichigan
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Post Number: 4321
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 10:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I find the City Council's determined isolationism a very sad symptom of Detroit's disintegration.



You know, I read his stuff and just have a hard time stomaching much of anything. He may hit a correct chord, now and again, but it's always purely by mistake. The quote at top is one of those.

The isolationist view of the city by some of the city council members is, indeed, a sad symptom. Problem is that that Finley purposefully ends his thought process, right then and their, our of obvious convenience. He does go into what it is a symptom of, because that'd be far too telling.

For as bad as the isolationism is, it did not start in a vacuum, but more to the point, the seperatism didn't start in Detroit. It started when an entire generation of Detroiters decided they'd rather take their ball and go elsewhere. That was the original isolationism, and it continued from there to evolve into that generation and future generations removed not even wanting to be associated even nominally with the word Detroit.

So, when I hear someone like Finley complaining about the line drawn at 8 Mile, I have the hardest time taking him as an honest broker. I complain as much as the next guy about the a particular thinking in some corners of the city (and among all races, creeds, and colors) that says "you left, and we don't want you back". It's so plainly obvious that this is not sustainable ideology. The problem is that Finley & Co. love to talk about it like it was Detroit, and even that it was Detroit, originally, that drew the line. It's revisionist history of the worst and most destructive kind. It goes along with the long perpetuated lie and myth that those that originally left the city were somehow 'forced' out. I can never get over the amazing amount of gall it takes for those folks and their children who were apart of the original exodus to say they were pushed out when the reality staring them straight in the mouth was that they chose to cut and run.

If the region can't even come to the consensus that the isolationism that exists within some corners of Detroit was a response to, and symptom of, the original seperatist's that up and left the city, how can I look at someone like Finley as holding some kind of key to the solution of the region's problems? For me, he's not a voice of reason in the region, that is to say that he's certainly not be enough in comparison with the others that hold the various region's megaphones. Neither he nor someone like Monica speaks for me, not even close.

It seems only when some loud voice within the city proper stakes a claim to the city that anyone outside of the city proper wants to become a Detroiter, again. Where was folks like Finley before Monica & Co. unleashed their assualt on the region? When and where were they fighting to get back in before the most recent shit hit the fan? Right where they are, now, like half-assing a relationship where you want to keep her at arms length, but then have a coronary when she asserts her independence from you in anyway.

Until Finley admits what he truly and honestly wants out of this (and he's always made it absolutely clear through his writing that if he can't have Detroit exactly as he'd like it, that he wants it to fail; eat your heart out, Limbaugh) he's no more honest a broker or a voice of reason than any other regional ideologue and known hypocrite.

"Ich bin ein Detroiter!", indeed, Mr. Finley. That is, accept when you don't want to be, which is more often than when you want to be. Eating one's cake and then having it, too, is more tricky than anyone could have ever imagined, no?

(Message edited by lmichigan on March 24, 2009)
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Fnemecek
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 11:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I only disagree with one sentence in Mr. Finley's piece.
quote:

But Detroit wouldn't last a minute without them (Suburbanites). The city lives off suburban dollars collected in taxes and spent in its casinos, restaurants and cultural venues.


The inner city really doesn't need suburban tax dollars. Detroit residents already pay more than enough in property, income and utility taxes to support their government. Unfortunately, the City wastes most of those local tax dollars as well as the suburban ones.

Hence the condition of most of Detroit's neighborhoods.
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Stosh
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 11:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

The inner city really doesn't need suburban tax dollars. Detroit residents already pay more than enough in property, income and utility taxes to support their government. Unfortunately, the City wastes most of those local tax dollars as well as the suburban ones.

Hence the condition of most of Detroit's neighborhoods.



I disagree. It's the exact opposite of your statement. The City residents pay property taxes on property that is still standing and productive.

The productive portions of the City of Detroit are forced to attempt to make up what shortfalls there are,due to the fact that vast tracts are vacant, and obviously non tax producing. The condition of Detroit neighborhoods are causing the deficits, not the other way around.

Mind you, I don't disagree that they spend money foolishly a lot of times, but really, if it weren't for the casinos,and entertainment venues which bring in money to the downtown, it would be far, far worse fiscally than it currently is.
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Firstandten
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Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 11:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well said Lmichigan !
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Alan55
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 12:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Finley is in a weak position to criticize; he is the reverse mirror image of Reeves. He is playing to his base just like she is, only instead of black Detroiters, his base consists of angry white suburbanites.
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Zrx_doug
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 1:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No, his base consists of people who are thinking rationally as opposed to viewing everything through some sort of racial filter.
I'm neither angry, nor suburban..but Nolan nailed it as far as I'm concerned.

My city is rotting, and the folks who are running it are more concerned with political posturing and that the folks who repair the rot "look like them" than they are with the actual repairs..
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Haikoont
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Username: Haikoont

Post Number: 145
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 1:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe the clinical term for Martha's condition is "still cutting with rounded scissors."
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Lmichigan
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 1:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

No, his base consists of people who are thinking rationally as opposed to viewing everything through some sort of racial filter.



That is ironically hilarious from end to end, from the part about him being rational to the part about how he views the city and its inhabitants. Have you actually ever read the guy's columns outside of his recent ones, or know where he's from and which decade he still seems to be stuck in?

Again, when he's right (much like those he criticizes on the other side of things) it's only because even a broken clock is right twice during the day.

To me, the entire premise of his column went out the window when he spoke of a symptom without identifying its cause, and that's really the type of commentary many conservative writers and pundits deal in. Nolan would make one hell of a talk radio host, that's for sure.

Nolan is part of the regions problem, and has been for years. He's an old-school wingnut that couldn't pay the city or its residents a compliment if he tried. When it's not about how stupid or crazy he thinks the city and its citizens are, it's how stupid and crazy he thinks Granholm is, or how stupid and crazy he thinks Obama is, or how stupid and crazy, or how stupid and crazy Democrats are, or how stupid and crazy...well, you get the picture. That's the definition of a hack. He's Michigan's very own Bill Kristol.

Finley never wanted to even be associated with Detroit (and you can see that in how he has talked about the city, even region, and states for decades) until Monica and Friends claimed that it was their's. Nolan has never been honest with his readers and support base, but more importantly, Nolan has never been honest with himself.

(Message edited by lmichigan on March 25, 2009)
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Zrx_doug
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 1:52 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So what you're saying is that he reports the news rather than makes it?
What "cause" did he fail to identify, in your opinion?
I've been reading his columns (along with the rest of the bird cage liners that pass for news in this town) for some time now, and I find that he's right far more frequently than your broken clock analogy would lead one to believe.
Why all the passive-aggressive defense of Detroit's more foolish leaders, L-Mich?
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Lmichigan
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 2:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

First off, he's not a reporter; he's an opinion columnist and a decidedly right-leaning one, at that. Secondly, I indentified the cause of the symptom in my first post in the paragraph directly after the second one.

Lastly, my own view of Finley's work is not passive-aggressive defense of Detroit's more foolish personalities. It's recognizing and calling out that Finley is one of those foolish personalities. Which means that he has absolutely no firm ground on which to critize his fellow foolish personalities from without looking silly, himself. The pot and kettle better learn to get along, because they both look like stone-cold fools when they have the gall to try and claim they are above the fray.

If you're part of the Fox News, set, though, I could see why this guy would look like a voice of reason and sensible, though. lol Finley's a hypocrite, and unless he makes a conscious decision, otherwise, will always be one. Finley criticizing Reeves is like a junkie criticizing a drunk.

If you want me to more manually deconstruct even more clearly than I already have why I think this most recent Finley column is just as vapid and intellectually honest as most of his other ones, here:

quote:

Speaking as someone who has never lived inside the city limits but who very much considers himself a Detroiter, I find the City Council's determined isolationism a very sad symptom of Detroit's disintegration.



I already went over why this point is so ironic in my first post.

quote:

If more suburbanites identified themselves internally as Detroiters, it might put an end to our infernal turf wars.



Another piece of hypocrisy and irony. He's spent most of his years as a columnist letting his suburban readers why they shouldn't want to be associated as being from 'Detroit', but all of a sudden has had some epiphany that surburban Detroiters should more often refer to themselves as Detroiters? Sorry, most of us have been saying this for years that suburbanites (especially those in the central three counties and in the inner and middle-ring particularly) should say that they are from Detroit.

quote:

And we'd have more folks who gave a damn that Detroit is rotting away, that it's under siege by the worst forces of urban life, that it's been neglected and abandoned and nobody outside our small corner of the world cares.

Instead, the council is advocating the very black-white, city-suburban divides that are responsible for Detroit's decline.



Again, oh, the irony and hypocrisy. The bloc on the council he's talking about is far from the only regional bloc in Metro Detroit that advocates for the "very black-white, city-surburn" divide. The even greater irony is that he's always delt in, and fed this, divide in his writing, if even more subtley than some more brash vocies. And, the whole part about giving a damn about Detroit is just rich. Where has Mr. Finley been but right in the middle of the drama all of these years? And, now he's supposed to "give a damn" about Detroit? Give me a fuckin' break.

The next part about how supposedly self-sufficient the suburbs are has already been addressed, and has already been shown to be nowhere near as one-sided as he pretends the relationship to be.

quote:

Detroit needs more suburbanites willing to ignore the meaningless boundary lines that Reeves sees so vividly and channel John F. Kennedy in Berlin, shouting defiantly, "Ich bin ein Detroiter."



Here he goes, again, with his convenient and newly-found (read: fake) civic pride, again, and his continued reluctance to admit he's been playing those 'meaningless boundary' lines in his writing from the start.

I hate his fakeness; I hate his corwadice in refusing to call all offenders out. The day he starts calling everyone out in near-equal frequency will be the day he becomes relevant to me. Until then, he's just another perpetuator of the lie and the myth that it's Detroiters who are the isolationists-in-chief of this region.

(Message edited by lmichigan on March 25, 2009)
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Haikoont
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 2:05 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Why all the passive-aggressive defense of Detroit's more foolish leaders, L-Mich?



Because Lmich is correct even less frequently than a broken clock.
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Tkshreve
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 3:27 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

all the misdirection in here..... one could get lost.

Wait... what thread is this .....
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Drankin21
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 11:02 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think LMich is Republican
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Crumbled_pavement
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 11:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think I understand where Lmichigan is coming from. The problem is that most people tend to think when they see two people arguing that one person automatically is right and the other person is wrong. It never occurs to them that both may be right or both may wrong. What Lmichigan is saying is that both the city and suburbs are going about regional relations wrong. However, how can two individuals or groups in a disagreement both be wrong? It doesn't jive with human nature.
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Detroit_stylin
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 11:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There are three sides to every story....A's side, B's Side and then the Truth...
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Goat
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 12:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So what if Findley is a part of the problem or not. Is his article correct or isn't it?

I agree that his argument is spot on! His past or his views hold no argument on the article he submitted. Why the spin doctoring? it is what it is and that is absolute truth!
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Fnemecek
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 1:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I disagree. It's the exact opposite of your statement. The City residents pay property taxes on property that is still standing and productive.


Actually, a decent number of vacant properties are still paying property taxes.

From personal experience, I looked at 3 vacant commercial properties (all 100,000+ sq. ft) last fall in the Eastern Market and Midtown areas. Each of them was current in their property taxes.

However, even if one were to assume that no one is collecting any tax revenue on half of the properties in the City, there would still be more than enough tax revenue coming in to support basic operations. Unfortunately, Detroit has a leadership that would rather spend $19 million on the Harmonie Park/ Paradise Valley project; $15.3 million to support the 9 member City Council as well as a host of other stupid moves.
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Firstandten
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 1:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It is important that if Finley is a part of the problem and I believe that he has been. It seems rather self rightous to make the statements he has made lately. He's is right about Martha.. no argument there. Martha is a poorly performing councilperson.. no argument there either.

But people like Finley and others of his ilk help to create the perceptions that Martha has, and on many levels she is as right in her comments as Finley is with his and I believe this was the point that Lmichigan was making.
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Goat
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 2:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What is Martha so right about? She spouts nonsense and then goes ahead and sings outside the boundaries of Detroit.

How is Finley helping to create these perceptions? It seems to me that the perceptions are self-induced. Since when have the 'burbs tried to take more of Detroit?

Face reality people, the 'burbs truly do not need Detroit to succeed! That has been proven. The only thing needed is the name Detroit, other than that they have been quite successful while Detroit continues to fail.
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Stosh
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Username: Stosh

Post Number: 195
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 2:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Actually, a decent number of vacant properties are still paying property taxes



I'm not talking about tenantless properties. I'm talking about city owned vacant lots, the ones that houses once stood on. City government is still being based on the assumption that the city tax base is the same as it was when a lot more properties were actually there and productive.

While I agree that the administration and CC have wasted money, the bottom line is that it's actually nowhere near the systemic shortfalls Detroit has now. 300 million dollars?
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Crumbled_pavement
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Username: Crumbled_pavement

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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 2:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Originally posted by Goat:

the 'burbs truly do not need Detroit to succeed!



Then the suburbs should stop complaining. Sounds like they are living in paradise and I see no reason to be upset when everything around you is beautiful, harmonious and prosperous.
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Alan55
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 2:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Goat: "How is Finley helping to create these perceptions?"

Well, Goat, how's this for starters -

"Many [suburbanites] would love to see a 10-foot fence surrounding the city, with no traffic in or out. And the hard truth is they could live very well like that."

Great. Finley's idea is to erect a new Berlin Wall. Not exactly a regional consensus builder, is he?

Reeves, Conyers, and other Council Members are failures and need to be replaced. Their opinions are hurting Detroit, and the region as a whole. Finley in turn is gleefully mirroring the opposite image in order to sell newspapers, and is in turn also hurting the city and region with HIS aggressive, polemical rhetoric. Instead of letting stupid comments like Reeves die quietly, Finley greedily stirs the ashes in order to ignite the indignation of his readers and flog a few more papers. Jounalistic standards the New York Post would be proud of.

Finley should say "Ich bin ein Martha Reeves."
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Locke09
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 2:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You certainly cannot prove that the suburbs don't need Detroit as long as Detroit still exists. Which suburbs in the tri-county area rely on nothing that has anything to do with Detroit? That includes water!

No, what you have to do is create a plan for eliminating Detroit first. And no fair building a 10-foot fence. We know that is not possible. Detroiter's will find some way to escape and infiltrate the suburbs anyway. And some surburbanites will find a way to sneak in, just for the thrill.

So, those who think Michigan can survive without a Detroit, please share with us your design for a brave new Michigan. And don't forget to tell us what you do with that land mass we now call Detroit.
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Goat
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 3:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Alan55, I don't think Findley is that far off the mark do you? Why shoot the messenger?

I think most suburbanites would rather not come to Detroit. The only reason they seem to is for sporting events. If those businesses moved back to the 'burbs what would be their reason for going?

I am playing devil's advocate here.

Locke09, better yet. Why do they need detroit other than for water?
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Tkshreve
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 3:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Goat-

Always one step ahead of the game. You make very simple and logical points.
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Locke09
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 3:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Locke09, better yet. Why do they need detroit other than for water?



No, no, no. I issued my challenge first:-)

Since it's so easy to be rid of Detroit, what's the plan.

OK, I'll at least say you have to deal with water, sports, culture, people (the isolated people are not going to stay within their borders), will you have sufficient hospitals without the Detroit hospitals, tourism, (plus are you prepared to run the gauntlet through this isolated city to get to Canada). That's just for starters.

There are myriad economic, quality of life and social issues that would need to be addressed before you could completely say "bye-bye Detroit". That is why a message like Nolan Findley's loses its potential impact. It's burdened by some of the same rhetoric he calls Martha to task for.
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Alan55
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Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 - 6:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Goat: "Alan55, I don't think Findley is that far off the mark do you? Why shoot the messenger?"

If the messenger is doing his best to fan the flames of racial division for his own selfish purposes, he needs to at least be kicked in the ass.

As far as Finley's remark being accurate: You may also say that David Duke's race comments also accurately represent the views of many, maybe most, southern whites. Do we need those "accurate", bigoted opinions played and replayed in the media just to stir up emotion? I don't think so.

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