It’s Not Just Detroit – Try Gary, Indiana

As we have been trying to convey to our readers, Detroit is far from being the only American city to suffer the cataclysmic slide downward that has been filling the news, particularly since the erstwhile “Motor City” filed for bankruptcy. The fact is that a number of American cities are in similar straits. The only difference is that  the others have not been as dunderheaded as Detroit, and did not get the publicity. We won’t go through that whole megillah again, but we do want to call your attention to Gary, Indiana — another American urban basket case. A city “battered by decades of industry layoffs and racial friction that caused waves of suburban flight, shrinking city coffers drastically.”

The New York Times of August 15, 2013, (at p. A12) brings us the sad news of Gary. Steven Yaccino, A Chance to Own a Home For $1 in a City on the Ropes. From a steel town with a population of, 180,000 in the 1960s it’s down to 80,000 people, with 10,000 abandoned houses. A third of all city homes are unoccupied. In the past, Gary tried such crackpot redevelopment schemes as building an independent league baseball stadium, hosting the Miss USA beauty pageant, and proposing a Michael Jackson museum, but for some strange reason, none have worked out and that museum never got off the ground.

So the latest Gary shtick is that if you have a threshold income of $35,250 the city will sell you a house for $1 — that’s right, one buck. But the problem with that, point out critics, is that the available houses are in need of repair, and the folks at that income level don’t have the money to  bring them up to code, which is required. Catch-22 all over again. So the city plans to demolish one-third of those vacant houses, which will still leave it with thousands of derelict structures.

PS – if you want to see what’s it like in Gary, click  on

It just dawned on us — sometimes we write before our morning coffee — that the Daily Mail is a British newspaper. So how come we get this news from the Brits, but not from the good ol’ American press? Just wondering.