Detroit had filed for bankruptcy protection a while ago. The rationale for this was simple, they simply did not have the cash flow to pay for all their liabilities. They had limited access to debt markets for a number of reasons, and they couldn’t keep cranking up the taxes on residents and businesses in the city to generate revenue.
They were between a rock and a hard place.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Detroit. I went to grad school there. I spent many years going back and forth to the Physics building, and later in our lives, to the various restaurants of Greektown, the theatres downtown, the museums where my wife worked after grad school … .
The city has character. Sort of like the Steve Rodgers character in the recent Captain America movie, you can beat it up and its response is “I can do this all day.”
You root for the big D. You have to.
But, if you’ve lived here as long as I have (26 years now … sheesh!), you were struck by the complete, unabashed mixture of political corruption, incompetence, and everything bad you could possibly imagine rolled up into a city government. And it wasn’t just the city (and county for that matter) government that was the problem.
Thats where this article comes in. In this article, Mr. Williamson lays out the scope of the malfeasance. Its not that hard to understand, and it shows the danger of allowing ideological driven (city) business decisions to continue. This said, his article actually truncates the history of the malfeasance, which extended into the dim and distant past.
While some people of various ideological bents may cheer one group getting screwed over, while demanding that another be made whole … the point about the bankruptcy is it is an object lesson of what to never, ever, do when electing and running a city (or any other) government.
The article is a good read, and hopefully the big D can be revived. Its a beautiful place, even with the ruins.