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Bill McGraw has an excellent editorial about this latest Detroit fiasco HERE.

It sure sounds to me like the current mayor is not only closing these 50 parks as retribution against the City Counsel for not supporting the State takeover plan of Belle Isle, but it also sounds like the mayor is using the failed takeover plan as an excuse for every financial problem in the city. “If only we had the current Belle Isle deal, we never would have slashed the Police pay three years ago..” Yeah – it is bullshit and makes sense to nobody but Mayor Bing.

Many people are angry at the City Counsel for not taking the governors Belle Isle deal. What bothers me is the hard ball tactics that this governor chooses again and again. If the State wants to help Detroit, then just do it. Everything from governor Snyder has strings attached, no negotiations and punishments for failure to comply. The governor has shown his willingness to punish those who do not take his solutions, look at Pontiac. That is not leadership, that is just radical and antisocial. Exactly what I expect when people elect public officials from the corporate business sector, where such uncivilized behavior is often rewarded.

The City of Detroit was offered one single solution from the State of Michigan, a solution whose details remained painfully murky when it came to pinning down the State on exactly what it would provide and what authority Detroit would retain. I wont say it is a good or bad solution, only that it was intentionally left half baked, and no responsible adult should ever sign such contracts with anybody. Because the State kept that contract undefined, I say it was intended to benefit the State over the City when implemented – and therefore was NOT offered in good faith.

Only one solution ? That is what the brainiacs in Lansing came up with for this Belle Isle thing ? I am not impressed at how well these folks are doing their jobs. Not at all. And when Detroit did not roll over – FAST ENOUGH – the State pulls the rug out and says “nevermind”. What ?

Just thought I’d throw that out there, because the City Counsel is taking a hard wrap for this, yet the State does not come to the table with clean hands. Stop playing “hard ball” to force vulnerable municipalities to do your bidding.

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17 Responses to Closing 50 Detroit parks ?

  • I’m certainly no republican, and grew up way down on the lower east side, but giving ANY money to the current city government in Detroit without extremely strict conditions/oversight is sheer folly. No matter the conditions or vagaries of the Belle Isle deal, it would be better to save the island as opposed to letting it go down to irretrievable with the rest of the ship.

    It seems that trying to save the city has become something akin to throwing a life preserver to a drowning man who continually throws it back because it is the wrong color, was thrown with a perceived poor attitude, or might even indebt the man in the water to his rescuers should he be saved, etc. ad nauseum.

    The powers that be appointed a functional illiterate to head the school system because he could better relate to the many citizens who were also educationally challenged!? When discovered to be one who enjoyed masturbation during meetings with women, some members of the council actually defended him!? When Walmart wanted to take a chance and open a store in D, they had to finally give up after the council threw impediment after impediment in the way, including the concern that the traffic generated would adversely affect quality of life in the surrounding bombed-out neighborhood!? And then we have the argument that ‘white money’ invested could possibly raise property values which is somehow perceived as racist!?

    Racism IS the problem, but it is black racism which in Detroit is somehow immune to the same criticism as racism between any other groups. I have been a victim of this and speak from experience. Let us not be so liberal that it blinds us to glaring truths, as uncomfortable as they might be!!

  • Moving pictures, when did you take them?

  • Suburbanobserver; would you honestly advocate that anyone ever sign such a vague contract with unknown liabilities? I would guess that you wouldn’t. I’m no fan of city council, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, and this was theirs.

    On a side note, trying to have a discussion with someone who just wants to play the name-calling game (clowncil) is just stupid.

  • Why did it need to be in writing? Belle Isle is not a “jewel,” and neither is anything else in Detroit these days. And again, what is the harm the state could do by executing a lease? This is a question that nobody has actually addressed or given a rational answer to. A poll showed that 70% of Detroiters supported the lease deal, maybe the clowncil should have listened to their constituents for once. These fear mongering morons keep spewing rhetoric about how the state wants to “take control of our valuable assets” but guess what? None of these “jewels” are a tenth of what they once were or could be. Have fun with the status quo, and in the meantime, the vicious cycle of neglect will continue as even more parks close.

  • as much as i hate city council for their uselessness, i wouldnt have voted on that shit either.

  • Instead of closing the parks in Detroit, local churches can adopt a park. Churches have enough revenue. In return, the parks can be named and maintained after that specific church. If the churches do not want to do it, then it should become a law. If you can operate a business within the city, why not support the city.

  • SuburbanObserver – the only no brainer would be signing an ill defined contract. The City shouldnt do it, and you should not either. (If you think it is a good idea, I got some ocean front property in Kansas Id like to sell you, and a bridge in Brooklyn too) If it such a “win win” put that shit in writing or shut up. The State wouldnt put their obligations in writing for a reason.

  • I would completely disagree. I’m sure you’ve been to Belle Isle just as I have, and it’s an absolute disaster, and it’s a damn shame at that because it has to be one of the most large and beautifully situated urban parks in the U.S. The state pulled the deal because the incompetent and moronic city council literally can’t make a decision on ANYTHING, nor do they have the will to. This is inertia at its finest folks, most of these slobs do nothing more than point fingers, play the race card, and collect their fat paychecks and perks. What could’ve gone wrong from the Belle Isle deal being “vauge?” It was a lease, not a sale, that the city could opt out of ten years from now if it so chooses. There’s literally nothing short of hitting it with a nuclear bomb that could possibly make it worse, so the deal should have been a no brainer. The state incurs the expenses of operation AND maintenance of the park at least marginally improves. But of course, all the city wants is for the state/suburbs to hand over a blank check and leave it to its own devices. Yeah, we’ve had enough of that. Maybe if Detroit’s public officials weren’t poorly educated thieving sacks of shit, we would be able to entrust them with the city’s operations. But alas, this has been the case for the last forty years. This isn’t just a racial issue anymore, hell, even the African Americans with means are moving out, and who can blame them? The state literally needs to make Detroit’s decisions because the city is being run in a childlike, unaccountable way. This is about a broken, corrupt and incompetent city government that has failed to give Detroit the stability it needs to instill confidence in the prospective businesses and residents that it so desperately needs. And until that happens, count on the 95% of the city that isn’t Downtown, Midtown, Boston Edison and a handful of others remaining a desolate wasteland, at least in my lifetime.

  • have you heard of the detroit mower gang? check them out if u havent. (they are on fb)

  • Thanks Barbara. The site photos are journalistic in nature, and I prefer newspaper and magazine work professionally as opposed to studio photography. Im not really a photographer, I have a painting degree – so I end up telling stories with the pictures.

  • I’m a relative newcomer to the politics of The D – although my husband was born there, and we’re moving BACK THERE in a couple of months. I’m also a photographer, though, and I’ve started on an unofficial mission to show others what’s beautiful about this city: street art, architecture, even just empty spaces. Such a complex, challenging place, but one with such promise. This post blew me away, dfunk, not just because of what you’re saying, but because you punctuate your argument with those images. It’s why I do what I do, too. People can talk until they’re blue in the face, but show someone a picture of what’s really there, what’s actually at stake… more effective than any well-crafted speech. Aw, man, you know. Keep up the excellent work. And thank you.

  • Kevin – yes.

  • Seems to me everyone is to blame here. Yes, the Bell Isle “deal” was half baked and yes, the state doesn’t appear to be offering any real solutions to anything. Having said that, the government of the city of Detroit isn’t a shining example of a functional government. If they had any real solutions of their own, wouldn’t the have implemented them by now? Are they even capable? The council fights with the mayor, the mayor fights with the council, the council fights with each other and they mayor blames whomever deflects the attention off of him, and the good people of the city of Detroit pay the price.

  • seems to me there is more money in circulation than there ever used to be, so there appears to be a different problem happening.

  • politics as usual.
    it used to be that no one cared. however, lately it’s not working because there isn’t enough money to smooth things over.
    in short, folks are watching every move politicians make.

  • Thanks stanman – I think my point of view is not a popular one on this issue.

    It is too easy to pile on the City Counsel, and call them names like “City Clownsel” and everything else people say. Some people think leaders in Detroit are all indeed crazy or incompetent, but I often just wonder what the hell makes people think the leaders in Lansing walk on water in comparison ? Because they are predominantly white ? I do not participate in that point of view, if that is the case. The people at the State level can offer finances, but they can not pretend to be smarter at what they do. The whole Emergency Manager philosophy seems to be based on “we are smarter than you and therefore we will fix it for you without your help”.

    Financial loans, grants, debt forgiveness and oversight of those tools. Thats what the State should offer in way of helping Detroit. Maybe a few more State Police sprinkled around the expressways too.

  • Well said, dfunk. The deal as offered was intentionally half baked. By all rights, the Council should be lauded for turning it down, yet they have been and will be vilified by those who only have knee-jerk reactions about Detroit based on lopsided reporting from outlets like the News. Would any individual sign such a vague contract? If they did they would rightfully called idiots.