Detroit: How Now Brown Cow?

The basic dispatch of the day is that Detroit has emerged from bankruptcy, “but not out of the woods,” in the words of the NY Times. Monica Davey, N.Y. Times, Dec. 11, 2014, at p. A18.

“Even with a clean financial slate, questions remain about how Detroit can shift its fate, stop the exodus of taxpayers and bring jobs and improvements to the hardest-hit neighborhoods in a city with a footprint designed for a population that was once more than twice as many as the approximately 700,000 residents¬† here now”


To get into this dubious condition (and in the process reduce its debt by $7 billion) the city is popping $1.7 billion “to remake its dismal city services over the next 10 years.” The city has been billed about $177 million by lawyers and other bankruptcy mavens, to say nothing of the $504,000 paid to the “emergency manager” who ran the city during the pendency of the bankruptcy proceedings.

So after all that, how fares Detroit? For that you have to read another NY Times article, John Eligon, Detroiters’ Good Intention Are Tested by Blight, Dec. 13, 2014, at p. A1 (above the fold). What you will find there isn’t pretty. For all we can tell from reading that article, it’s the same ol’ Detroit story of blight, ineffective city response, red tape entangled procedures, contradictory information given to neighbors of a demolished home who want to buy the lot on which it sat, etc., etc.

Do read that one. Although written mostly as a human interest story, it provides an insight into the unreliability and incompetence of municipal functionaries dealing with the “problem” of a cleared city lot sought to be bought by its neighbors, which, one would think would be easy.