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Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:16 PM

OK, born and raised a Detroiter. Over 60, and here's my take on what happened.

I was born in Detroit in 1951. I was raised just blocks over Eight Mile Road, in Warren starting in 1954, when that was basically just farmland (I and a neighbor boy explored that farm at 4 years old and set off a community-wide search for us, but that's another story). Anyway, most of my youth was spent on the East Side of Detroit, the Harper-Chalmers area, with occasional happy excursions to Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe, and Roseville. I want to establish my bona fides, but I digress.

Detroit was the fourth largest city in America post-World War II, but you knew that. Like many other communities, after the war, folks started trickling into the suburbs (like I said, basically farmland across Eight Mile Road). OK, but in the mid-1950s, two things happened. First, the very first urban freeway carved its way across Detroit (the Davison Freeway - you can look it up). Then, the freeways cut into the heart of the city, destroying neighborhoods that were solid and enduring. The Lodge freeway, the Ford freeway, and more - all built in honor of those revered leaders of Detroit, and all a conduit out of town and to the suburbs. I live in DC now (hopefully, not much longer), and the Beltway, for all its problems, at least does not gut the city. Detroit's freeways did that.



And then came the nation's first ever shopping malls, also in the '50s. While Hudson's downtown continued to rule, first Northland, then Eastland, were the first in the nation, and shopping habits changed as a result, and have remained changed to this day. That also drew residents out of the city.



OK, we move to the 1960s, and the population tilts toward Black (and Motown - what a great time and place to be a teen). It was a great time to be in Detroit, but the riots - spurred admittedly by Detroit police abuse - made it a tough time. I had friends who dodged bullets while cowering in their homes on the East Side. Nobody wants that. It was 1967, and it was tough. No denying that.

?w=673

Still, our "Greatest Generation" parents hung in there, and stayed in Detroit. They were in their 50s and 60s as we entered the '70s, and were not interested in moving. Then, came busing. A noble attempt to break down barriers, but not class barriers - no rich kid was going to be bussed, that's for sure. Like the draft that exempted people like Cheney, busing was going to impact the middle class, not the elites. And those parents knew it. I think it would be great today, but in 1970, not so much. And so the white flight really accelerated. If you agree or disagree, it doesn't matter - it happened in Detroit. Period.

The 1968 incredible World Series win by the Detroit Tigers was a bright spot, and brought all of us together.



And then, the '70s, and the decline of an automotive industry that had grown fat and complacent, and produced horrible cars, the worst in history. I had a Chevy Caprice. What a pile of unmitgated junk, and worst electricals ever - that carried over to my 1988 Chevy Beretta. But I digress again. Back to Detroit.



It's tough for me to analyze Detroit in the '70s. I was a student at Wayne State University in the early years (1970 - first Earth Day, then the next week Kent State), and worked for National Bank of Detroit downtown later that decade (long ago swallowed up by megabanks, and just a toenail for J.P. Morgan/Chase now).

Anyway, Coleman Young was Detroit's first black mayor, elected in 1973. He was an absolutely brilliant man, but wasted a lot of opportunities. For example, the Renaissance Center (stupid name) was built on the wrong side of Jefferson Avenue, right on the water (Hank the Deuce - Henry Ford II - had a lot to do with that). It took the city's best feature, the Detroit River, right out of the equation. Then, the Young administration took zero interest in historic preservation, and areas like the street of Civil War era buildings between the business center and Greektown were allowed to rot, then were torn down. Heartbreaking. By 2000, Greektown is basically a casino (still good restaurants, though, and can't wait to get back there).

Lots of folks have tried to bring Detroit back for the last 50 years. Amazingly, it is coming back in some areas: The occupancy rate in midtown (from Wayne State to downtown, on Woodward), is 95%, and they can't build or renovate buildings fast enough to meet the demand. Plus, Comerica Park, Ford Field, the Fox Theater, and the new proposed Red Wings arena are incredible venues. Plus, the restaurants and variety of ethnic food are amazing.

There is no underestimating the poverty, abandoned buildings and violence in Detroit. It's not a story that is likely to have a happy ending. Still, it's been around since 1701, and as its motto says from when it was destroyed by fire in 1805, "We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes".

I am, and always will be, a Detroiter. And always, always, Dancing In The Streets.

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Reply OK, born and raised a Detroiter. Over 60, and here's my take on what happened. (Original post)
Faygo Kid Jul 2013 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Jul 2013 #1
Faygo Kid Jul 2013 #3
liberalmike27 Jul 2013 #61
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #69
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #75
GeorgeGist Jul 2013 #110
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #111
roguevalley Jul 2013 #26
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #70
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #76
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #77
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #79
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #83
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #98
pscot Jul 2013 #2
Warpy Jul 2013 #4
Faygo Kid Jul 2013 #6
Warpy Jul 2013 #11
eppur_se_muova Jul 2013 #99
Heywood J Jul 2013 #22
Warpy Jul 2013 #25
Heywood J Jul 2013 #39
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #71
ag_dude Jul 2013 #88
Heywood J Jul 2013 #95
hfojvt Jul 2013 #100
navarth Jul 2013 #102
DissidentVoice Jul 2013 #103
navarth Jul 2013 #106
DissidentVoice Jul 2013 #109
ConcernedCanuk Jul 2013 #46
ConcernedCanuk Jul 2013 #45
Scurrilous Jul 2013 #5
etherealtruth Jul 2013 #7
Faygo Kid Jul 2013 #9
etherealtruth Jul 2013 #12
Faygo Kid Jul 2013 #20
surrealAmerican Jul 2013 #8
ConcernedCanuk Jul 2013 #49
xtraxritical Jul 2013 #57
ConcernedCanuk Jul 2013 #58
xtraxritical Jul 2013 #66
ConcernedCanuk Jul 2013 #89
Blanks Jul 2013 #63
DainBramaged Jul 2013 #10
Mopar151 Jul 2013 #44
ConcernedCanuk Jul 2013 #50
liberalmike27 Jul 2013 #62
First Speaker Jul 2013 #13
Brigid Jul 2013 #14
kwassa Jul 2013 #41
xtraxritical Jul 2013 #68
7962 Jul 2013 #104
DissidentVoice Jul 2013 #114
sufrommich Jul 2013 #15
Faygo Kid Jul 2013 #18
Holly_Hobby Jul 2013 #16
GreenEyedLefty Jul 2013 #17
WillyT Jul 2013 #19
blm Jul 2013 #21
BornLooser Jul 2013 #34
blm Jul 2013 #53
BornLooser Jul 2013 #87
blm Jul 2013 #91
BornLooser Jul 2013 #96
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #72
BornLooser Jul 2013 #85
blm Jul 2013 #90
BornLooser Jul 2013 #97
pelister Jul 2013 #23
Faygo Kid Jul 2013 #24
FarCenter Jul 2013 #31
deancr Jul 2013 #54
MrScorpio Jul 2013 #27
Spitfire of ATJ Jul 2013 #28
KittyWampus Jul 2013 #29
Vinnie From Indy Jul 2013 #30
SleeplessinSoCal Jul 2013 #32
silvershadow Jul 2013 #33
steve2470 Jul 2013 #35
Arugula Latte Jul 2013 #36
spartan61 Jul 2013 #37
joeglow3 Jul 2013 #38
SheilaT Jul 2013 #40
kwassa Jul 2013 #42
kwassa Jul 2013 #43
dipsydoodle Jul 2013 #47
bluedeathray Jul 2013 #48
NWHarkness Jul 2013 #51
JNelson6563 Jul 2013 #52
no_hypocrisy Jul 2013 #55
LiberalLoner Jul 2013 #56
mountain grammy Jul 2013 #59
L0oniX Jul 2013 #60
The Blue Flower Jul 2013 #64
gholtron Jul 2013 #65
navarth Jul 2013 #67
kentuck Jul 2013 #73
calimary Jul 2013 #74
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #78
kentuck Jul 2013 #80
grahamhgreen Jul 2013 #81
Populist_Prole Jul 2013 #92
Bay Boy Jul 2013 #82
toby jo Jul 2013 #84
Scuba Jul 2013 #86
llmart Jul 2013 #93
mstinamotorcity2 Jul 2013 #94
cstanleytech Jul 2013 #101
7962 Jul 2013 #105
GigiMommy Jul 2013 #107
Noslenca Jul 2013 #108
HiPointDem Jul 2013 #112
emsimon33 Jul 2013 #113

Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:24 PM

1. Thank you for this bit of history, my dear Faygo Kid.

You've really made it personal. That counts for something...

I hope the city will come back too. So much history waiting for a real renaissance.

K&R

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:30 PM

3. Thank you, CaliforniaPeggy, for always being there for all on DU.

We might not win, but we'll go down swinging.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 11:53 AM

61. Gutting of Globalization

Somehow in all of that, save something about being fat and complacent, you managed to miss the reason many of our cities, including Detroit are struggling or falling. Globalization. It was the subject of a tremendously prescient Michael Moore.

Add to that, it didn't just destroy the middle class, and drive down wages of all jobs, not just the remaining manufacturing jobs. It weakened democrats, it weakened Democracy in general, it welcomed in our current Fascism. Almost never mentioned is the levels of debt we have incurred, in our Cities, States, and the Federal Government. Those jobs used to pay taxes, here in America. But not any longer. They aren't supporting any Americans "Dream" these days, they aren't paying sales, gas, state, federal, property, or any other little tax.

I did hear it mentioned, almost in passing yesterday on one or two of the Sunday shows. But the significance was reduced, and it was listed with a lot of other insignificant reasons.

I might add, I don't think we can blame Detroit, or workers for the quality of the cars, or the eventual failure of sales, due to foreign vehicles staying on top of things. These were decisions made at the top levels of the company, to ditch the electric car, and allow Japan to get the lead on that after a promising start, to keep producing giant, gas-guzzling vehicles. Those were top-down problems, not workers "asking for too much." I'm sick of that BS meme. Even with what unions did ask for, it was still but a scarce living for a family. But at least it was a somewhat pleasant, American "Dream"--compared to now, anyway.

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Response to liberalmike27 (Reply #61)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 02:57 PM

69. I agree, liberalmike27

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Response to liberalmike27 (Reply #61)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:14 PM

75. i have always wondered if japan was literally 'given' the small car market. i ran across an

 

academic website once that implied as much, i wish i had bookmarked it.

trade agreements are now 'forcing' market shares for different countries in a similar way (e.g. japan, which is/was self-sufficient in rice, must buy a certain amount of rice elsewhere because of trade agreements)

it just doesn't make sense that in a truly competitive market detroit would have ignored small cars and fuel efficiency in view of the oil crisis.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #75)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 02:28 PM

110. Being a tad older than Faygo Kid ...

I clearly remember 'Detroit' scoffing at Japanese cars as any threat to their empire. Real Americans would never buy little cars.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #110)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 02:42 PM

111. i'm old enough to remember that too. but appearances can be deceiving.

 

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:37 PM

26. I have lived in small towns and rural areas all of my life but the cities were something

amazing to go to and visit. We have abandoned our cities and driven them to the brink. This is an unmitigated disgrace to allow a city to fall. We have to save them and make them liveable again. If the corporations and rich would pay their taxes they could rise again. They have to.

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Response to roguevalley (Reply #26)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 02:58 PM

70. Industry and national trade gave rise to cities.

Without industry, industrial plants and trade within America (not primarily with foreign countries), urban life will become a hell.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #70)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:15 PM

76. looks more like urban life is going to become a gated community, & suburbs the hell. suburban

 

poverty topped urban poverty around 2000 & still climbing.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #76)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:28 PM

77. Depends on how you define "suburb."

But I think the housing crisis destroyed suburbia just as imports have destroyed cities. Nothing is looking very good in the US from the point of view of our economy.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #77)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:39 PM

79. I think there's a standard definition for suburb though. I assume that's the one researchers are

 

using.




“It seems like as the city prospered and got more expensive over the 2000s, poverty crept up in a lot of the region’s older suburban communities,” Mr. Berube said.

“It might not have been people moving from city to suburban neighborhoods per se, but as the region creates more low-wage jobs, and attracts more new immigrants, low-income households that in the past might have located in the Bronx or Brooklyn are now settling in places like northern New Jersey and Westchester County.

“It’s telling that the city’s ‘suburban’ borough, Staten Island, is the only one that saw its poor population increase over the 2000s.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/nyregion/suburbs-are-home-to-growing-share-of-regions-poor.html?_r=0

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #79)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 04:18 PM

83. Interesting. I live close to the inner city. My area is being gentrified, but they want to build a

lot of "low-income housing," to be read as tiny, unlivable cubicles in the middle of an already densely populated, crime-ridden city -- but close to good transportation and cheap dollar stores, oh, and not to be forgotten, an increasing number of liquor stores.

Progress, 21st century style. Of course, we have very little or no water, so we are on water-rationing. It's a pretty ugly future if you want to ask me.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #83)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 09:11 PM

98. i thought those cubicle apts were targeted at 20-somethings who don't want roommates & are

 

being priced out of other housing in e.g. nyc.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:26 PM

2. K&R

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:32 PM

4. I spent much of that time in Boston

and one thing the mayor in the late 60s, Kevin White, did right was cancel a huge Federal highway project that would have cut the city in half, leaving the nightmares of highway engineering in place and encouraging thru traffic to use the stupid beltways, both of them. In retrospect, it was one of the wisest urban decisions ever made. The demolished right of way for that highway became a redone subway line that got rid of a noisy, antiquated and unsightly el that ran right through the majority black area's downtown and allowed that area to revitalize.

Because of that decision, when the Big Dig finally happened and put elevated highways under ground, it was done right, with thought given to neighborhoods and pedestrians and how the city actually functioned.

In the process, they did away with the single scariest driving experience in North America, the Central Artery, but I digress.

I don't think the damage highways do when they go through inner cities can be exaggerated. Urban renewal is bad enough, but those highways can kill whole areas stone dead. Exhibit #1 for me is the Cross Bronx Expressway. It wasn't long after that bastard was completed that the Bronx on either side looked like it had been through months of conventional bombing, partial skeletons of burned out buildings on either side. I don't know if the area has ever truly recovered. I don't see how it can with that noisy, filthy superhighway running right through it.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:35 PM

6. Well said. I forgot to mention Poletown in Detroit.

GM crushed one of Detroit's most vibrant neighborhoods to build its Poletown plant. Polish folks who had lived and thrived there since the '20s were forced out for the plant, which was a failure. That's the kind of mistakes that were made in Detroit.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:48 PM

11. There were white elephants in Boston, too

especially when the city planner was an idiot who had seen paved piazzas in Italy surrounded by Renaissance buildings and wanted to recreate them in Boston, failing miserably and creating only ugly expanses of brick where neighborhoods (and burlesque theaters) had once thrived and making any visitor feel like a bug on a plate when he crossed them if he didn't get heatstroke in summer or fall on his kiester in winter when they became sheets of ice.

Still, the most egregious example of urban renewal was when the poor but vibrant West End was razed and, instead of the multi income housing that had been promised the evicted residents, an ugly complex of overpriced yuppie warrens called Charles River Park went in.

Eventually they learned, and historic facades are being preserved with high rise office buildings being tacked on behind them, a few of the idiot's moonscapes have sprouted trees, and new complexes have to have retail and restaurant space on the first floor facing the street to keep the areas pedestrian friendly.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 11:07 PM

99. I wonder if those urban planners were disciples of Robert Moses ...

Moses, the "master builder" of New York's infrastructure, had a particular conception of highways which influenced city planners throughout the US at the time, and it didn't leave much room for the great unwashed whom he hardly ever even had to see from the comfort of his limousine. Many of the people he trained played a role in the planning of highways in other large cities, which is why so many seem to follow a standard model.

I believe his disciples were responsible for the spaghetti mashup in downtown Pittsburgh (actually pretty mild compared to others) and the elimination of a historic black neighborhood there. Certainly Moses himself was responsible for the gutting of Little Syria and other neighborhoods in NYC to make room for highways.

If you haven't ever read it, this is a great read, if a bit long:
http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780394720241

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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:11 PM

22. What about the instances where that doesn't happen?

All of these roads run through the same deeply-urbanized area with an inner-city population of 2,800,000. None of the surrounding spaces are "stone dead". In fact, the city has the most construction cranes in North America right now.


<---- This one's actually fun to drive contra-flow.



<--- The raised structure is the other side of the freeway.


I'm guessing the truth is more about how the project is implemented rather than its very existence. I think you're more correct that the causes are poor planning, poor siting, and indiscriminately plowing through poor or minority areas. Cost isn't everything and the existing system gives every incentive to do things as cheaply as possible. The job isn't over just because the asphalt is laid down and lined.

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Response to Heywood J (Reply #22)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:34 PM

25. Those aren't going through dense, east coast city neighborhoods.

BIG difference.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #25)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 11:24 PM

39. You're correct. The last three are dense, (vaguely) midwest city neighborhoods in a city founded in

1793, which can't grow outward anymore. Those shiny new condo towers have obliterated the old city blocks on which they now sit, and you can pass things back and forth to people in the right lane of the freeway. The other photos just show the larger setbacks from the surrounding residential areas to keep down the noise and pollution. You probably didn't think someone would build a 20-lane freeway through the middle of nowhere.

My point was to show you that transportation in large urban areas can be done better than it has been in the past. The fact that a system which used the cheapest of methods produced an admittedly bad result in many areas does not mean that no one can ever do any better. Any large urban project like that should, by default, include some kind of plans to ameliorate any effects it might have, whether it be more greenspace, brownfield cleanup, sound barriers, a larger buffer to adjacent land uses, pedestrian overpasses, etc. We can't pretend that there's no need for mobility of people and goods today, especially when housing speculation and increasing land values push people and industries to the fringes of metro areas, but nor can we ignore the need to do it correctly.

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Response to Heywood J (Reply #39)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:02 PM

71. Why not have public transportation -- trains -- instead?

Whey do we need freeways and cars to dominate in big cities?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #71)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:55 PM

88. That's not a blanket answer that works everywhere.

It works great for densely populated areas but once you get below that they become quite inefficient.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #71)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:31 PM

95. Trains are desirable to have as well, but trains only work in certain places.

This former GO-Transit rider would love to be able to take a commuter train to work and be able to read my paper instead of tamping down the road rage. That only works when population density supports it, though, and urban sprawl is a separate issue that deserves to be addressed. Where density makes it practical, I'm all for figuring out a way to make it happen. NYC makes a great example of being able to get around by rail.

Realistically, I think it's going to take some kind of quantum leap to get people out of cars when considering the individualistic culture, the investment already made by individuals who drive, the flexibility it provides, etc. You also have to account for the volume of truck traffic (until you can find a way to end just-in-time shipping), tourists and other long-distance travelers, etc. To be honest, there's an entire industry devoted to selling cars and promoting their use on every TV station, radio station, magazine, Web ad, etc. There's really nothing similar for trains, so the level of consciousness would need to be raised.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #71)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 11:31 PM

100. the freeways are for us foreigners, at least partly

we drove through Detroit on our way to Windsor-London-Toronto, as a short cut to upstate New York.

Lots of people are on the freeways for that reason, it is not just local traffic, although they do tend to get dominated during rush hour, and at other times by semis.

But for Detroit, it seems like there is no good way to get to Windsor without going through the center of the city.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #100)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 12:11 PM

102. You have two ways to get to Windsor from Detroit

You have the Ambassador Bridge to the southwest, and the tunnel under the river, accessed downtown. I recommend the tunnel; I've always found it charming. The bridge is always heavy traffic: international trade by truck.

If it's rush hour, of course....you will have heavy traffic. Personally I would be taking the scenic route and get off the freeways, but I know my way around. Sorry if you had a tough time getting to Windsor, our neighbor city and the birthplace of my Grandmother.

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Response to navarth (Reply #102)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 04:53 PM

103. If you don't mind taking a slight detour...

Go to the ferry crossings at Algonac and Marine City.

http://www.walpolealgonacferry.com/

http://www.bluewaterferry.com/

I sometimes use the Marine City ferry when I know the Bluewater Bridge is backed up.

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Response to DissidentVoice (Reply #103)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:28 PM

106. That is more than a slight detour to get to Windsor

but I'll bet they're both beautiful rides.

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Response to navarth (Reply #106)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 02:21 PM

109. They are

They take more time, because you don't link to an expressway, but the Ontario side of the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair is quite a nice drive. Plenty of small towns along the way with mom-and-pop eateries to break the monotony of fast food as well.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:35 AM

46. Only thing that is different Warpy is that TO is not on the coast.

 

.
.
.

CC

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Response to Heywood J (Reply #22)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:32 AM

45. Wow! - 400, 401 - Don Valley Parkway, even snuck the CN Tower in there!

 

.
.
.

Yep, I know Toronto when I see it.

Lived there.



CC

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:32 PM

5. Great post.

K & R

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:36 PM

7. I was born 11 years after you and grew up 3-4 miles north of you.

Thanks for the great post

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Response to etherealtruth (Reply #7)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:42 PM

9. Hoping to complete the circle, and retire back to Michigan next year

Not Detroit, but TC. But I'm worried sick about the DIA's fate. It's my favorite museum, and I'm here in DC where the Smithsonian museums rule. I still like the DIA best.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Reply #9)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:58 PM

12. The DIA is still incredibly wonderful!

Fear for the DIA is warranted.

Petoskey is where my heart lies!

I lived in Alexandria and Fredericksburg for years ... nice, but were never really home, for me

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Response to etherealtruth (Reply #12)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:57 PM

20. Love the Perry Hotel, and everything Petoskey

Including Petoskey stones, of course.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:36 PM

8. What a sad irony.

According to you (and I don't doubt this is true) it was cars, and the roads and shopping centers they spawned, that built and ultimately killed this city.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:48 AM

49. Detroit ain't "killed" - just struggling

 

.
.
.

Oh yeah, it will never be "Motor City" as it was for decades, but most of the fault for that is that the "Big 3" never got it through their heads that small cars would be popular -

Started in the 80's - Japan came out with the Honda - Big three laughed, the Datsun (now Mitsubishi), Big 3 laughed, and so on.

I started working on cars in the 60's - licensed by the mid 70's -

Most of my life has been working as an auto and/or truck mechanic.

I noticed in the early 80's a huge increase in imports I had to work on.

By 2000 and on, more imports than domestic - and even then,

"domestic" vehicles have more of it's parts made in places like China, Mexico, Korea, Japan and so on.

I think part of the demise of Detroit is that the millionaires running the automotive companies had their heads stuck up their collective asses.

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #49)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 10:45 AM

57. My first car was Honda civic, great front wheel drive.

 

Great in snow.

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #57)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 11:16 AM

58. Took the North American auto industry decades to catch on

 

.
.
.

Includes Canada.

Too little too late, I see more Hondas, Toyotas, Kias, and other imports on the road than Fords, Dodges and Chryslers.

We blew it.

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #58)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 01:58 PM

66. I watched it happen.

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #66)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:59 PM

89. I saved some "Detroit Metal" though

 

.
.
.

Have a 1979 F150 4x4 extended cab I bought in 1990 for $3000.

Still drive it. I'm a retired mechanic, and I can fix this thing. Everything now is computerized, but that ole '79 has only 2 electronic parts - the ECM (Control Module) of which I have 2 spares - one bolted right beside the existing one for a quick switch should it fail, and the pick-up coil inside the distributor. (got a spare for that also)

Everything else is just plain old nuts and bolt stuff.

Live in the bush in Northern Ontario, so a 4x4 is pretty much a must, and haul wood, water, propane and so on, so a small SUV wouldn't do the job.

Besides - for the price of new stuff - I figure I can keep this thing on the road for the rest of my life at 20% of a new one - well, as long as I don't plow it into a tree or something. That won't happen though - I know what my F150 can and cannot do.

Learned the hard way, but I learned.

back at ya

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #49)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 12:09 PM

63. Detroit was damaged by its economic model.

I think it was more than the fact that the auto industry execs were stupid, as a community it didn't have the economic diversity to weather a downturn in auto demand. That's just my opinion as an outsider, I realize that I don't have the insight into it that you do.

Good history by the way. My wife and I vacationed in Detroit a couple of years ago and I was amazed at the nice houses that are available for dirt cheap. Beautiful empty schools sitting on as much as twenty acres that sit idle. It breaks the heart when we have such excusite structures and real estate sitting vacant because it is considered of no value.

I think Detroit would benefit from tearing down a lot of stuff and rebuild with a more diverse economy based on sustainable energy sources and locally produced food, but I think that about everywhere - so there's nothing surprising about that.

I hope it turns around and manages to preserve its rich history. Thanks for sharing your story. I remember when everyone had written off New York City in the '80's. New York recovered, I expect Detroit will pull through as well.

Whatever Detroit does going forward is bound to serve as a model for so many of these older cities hit by the manufacturing downturn of the past few decades.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:48 PM

10. What an amazing story




If I wasn't born in NJ I'd have been born in Detroit I am sure of it.


Woodward Avenue, GM, the Superstock years in the 60's, it's where I wanted to be but my spirit dropped near NYC.




One of my favorite cars was a '77 Caprice Classic two door. One of the prettiest cars I ever owned.




Maybe next time.


Tank you for sharing.

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Response to DainBramaged (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:04 AM

44. Thanks, as well, from a fellow motorhead

The Motor City went well beyond Michigan - my Dad worked at Bryant Grinder (VT), who did lots of work for the auto industry. A lot of our domestic machine tool business imploded right along with Detroit, for some of the same reasons.

Hey, Vegas wer'nt that bad, once you fixed a few things - like throw the aluminium engine on the can pile and stuff a V-8 in it - a nice, mild one (327-300ish) so as not to rip the car apart. I had a couple friends had Cosworth Vegas - put 2 Weber 45's on 'em, they go all Italian on you, like an old Alfa. Yes, GM has built worse cars (I'm a former dealer mechanic) - like Chevettes and early Citations.

I think I met one of the Packard heirs backalong - Henry Bourne Joy IV - who was trying to become a rally driver with middling results. He appeared to have deep pockets, a big estate in Northern Michigan (they held pro rally stages on the property), and a huge, puppy-playful Great Dane.

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Response to DainBramaged (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:59 AM

50. Speaking of pretty cars, this was mine

 

.
.
.






66 Chev Impala 283

put a 4bbl on it, dual exhaust, took out the 2-speed auto "slushbucket" and put in a 3-speed turbo-hydramatic.

It ROCKED !!!

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #50)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 12:01 PM

62. I Used to Drive

My mom's 1966 Chevy Bel Air, which I believe was very similar to this car, perhaps on the same chassis. It was a pretty good car I thought.

My mom still buys Chevy's, has a 1996 Caprice, and if she manages to buy another one, it'll likely be an Impala. I have a Cobalt, first year model. It's pretty fair, had to have both headlights replaced due to wiring, which they did for free, had a small leak in the AC inside on passenger side, which they did for free, and the Steering electric motor stopped working, which made it drive like a tank. It took some phoning, but they covered that under the 5 year drive-train (happened at about 45,000 miles), for free. Then later, they recalled it.

It sounds like a lot, but it has been a pretty sound car otherwise, and I expected some problems. But the company has been honorable at fixing what went wrong. So I can't complain too much.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 06:59 PM

13. I lived in Southfield in the 50s...

...just a baby, but I remember Northland, Mom taking me there, at the age of two...funny. Even at the time, at that age, it seemed funny to me--a "shopping center"...maybe because my family were New Englanders, and town centers were in my DNA somehow... LOL. Look at New England *now*......
Then Dearborn a few years later...(Dad worked for Ford.) I was still just a kid, but I remember how *vibrant* the whole thing was...taking rides on Outer Drive, Briggs Stadium and Al Kaline, Howe and Mahovlich, going downtown to Hudson's...visits to Grosse Point, and Governor Williams' house--he was a friend of the family--well, it was good in those days. Then we moved to DC, and I haven't seen the city in 50 years. It hurts to see it like that now...... (By the way--I spent a week in TC last summer. God, it's beautiful...you're very lucky......)

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:01 PM

14. Ah, the Chevy Vega.

I haven't seen one since at least the late '70's. They practically rusted in the showroom. A symbol of boneheaded management at the Big Three that tried to play catch-up with Japan and failing miserably.

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Response to Brigid (Reply #14)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 11:39 PM

41. Quite honestly, I really liked my Vega.

I had no problems, and enjoyed the car.

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Response to Brigid (Reply #14)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 02:54 PM

68. It could be worse, it could have been a Pinto!

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #68)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 07:53 PM

104. My ex brother in law still has his Pinto!

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Response to 7962 (Reply #104)

Fri Jul 26, 2013, 12:09 PM

114. I'll never forget the Pinto

I grew up about 10 miles from where the fatal Pinto rear-end crash happened.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:05 PM

15. I grew up in the western suburbs of Detroit.

Westland,specifically,a town named after a shopping mall. I agree with everything you've said although I wouldn't call Coleman Young brilliant.

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Response to sufrommich (Reply #15)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:51 PM

18. Actually, that comes from people that knew Coleman well

Top-notch, silk stocking lawyers who told me stories of his steel-trap memory and analysis. Doesn't mean he was effective, though.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:13 PM

16. East Town Theater, Cobo Hall, Joe Lewis Arena, etc.

I made the trip to Detroit on the weekends for live music, from Toledo. I could make it from my parent's home in 42 minutes with my '69 Olds Cutlass. I actually found a job in Detroit and was packed up moving there when the tranny went out in the Olds and stranded me in this dead-end town for the rest of my life. I'd live there now if I could budge my husband out of town.

Thanks for the great post.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:31 PM

17. I grew up in the Flint area, and now live near Detroit.

The story of Flint's decline is very much in common and along the same time frame as Detroit's only on a much smaller scale.

The decentralization of the downtown area due to the building of freeways and regional shopping centers, the rise and fall of the auto industry (economic dependence on one industry and one company is hopefully a cautionary tale for cities in similar circumstances). The destruction of historic landmarks to make room for the ultimate boondoggle, Autoworld. Not to mention greed and corruption in city government...

My fear for Detroit is that its "revitalization" will only benefit the elites, who stand to gain the most from the city's bankruptcy.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:54 PM

19. K & R !!!


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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 07:58 PM

21. China(mid70s): GHWBush, Prescott Bush, and Jackson Stephens plot with Chinese industrialists to move

US manufacturing base to China. Jackson Stephens puts Walmart on the table.

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Response to blm (Reply #21)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 09:04 PM

34. Googled the Bushes and Jackson Stephens...

There are vast connections that will piss anyone off to no end who digs just a little bit. It ain't pretty, and it runs intra-party, to this very day. Good folks here won't like who's involved, shatters any faith I had for those who would be for representing Us. This needs to be OUTED, BIG TIME.

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Response to BornLooser (Reply #34)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 09:24 AM

53. It was the trade-off that paid off....for Bill.

I think he figured that it would be worth it.

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Response to blm (Reply #53)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:20 PM

87. Brought into the fold. Vetted, controlled and owned by Bilderberg_Carlisle, etc.

The IN Club. They win, we're SOL, as usual. Infesting our Democracy from the inside~out for over 100 years...and counting. I'm finally getting it. I think..

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Response to BornLooser (Reply #87)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:29 PM

91. Wait till you realize what a dog and pony show the whole Whitewater 'investigation'

was by all involved. Jackson Stephens was Rose Law Firm's biggest client. All his deals went through there. Stephens is the crony of GHWBush who helped bring BCCI bank into the US.

You think they were really looking for criminal activity at Rose for two years? They were scrubbing Jackson Stephens' files, and every now and then they'd come up with a reason to attack the Clintons to keep both bases fired up and locked into offense or defense mode, but, definitely distracted from what was actually happening.

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Response to blm (Reply #91)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:39 PM

96. I've seen it and much more cover being given...

From the '30s to this day. Too bad America can't and won't handle the truth, right there would be a whole lotta "change to believe in". The T word is etched in my mind for these posers.

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Response to BornLooser (Reply #34)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:06 PM

72. google stephens & the clintons as well. stephens (now jr) has tentacles in both parties.

 

and in the libertarians. club for growth is rand paul's biggest donor, & it's led by jackson stephens jr.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #72)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:13 PM

85. I'm reading the docs, statements, quotes, old news reports, etc.,

I haven't the words.

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Response to BornLooser (Reply #85)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:25 PM

90. I have: Global Fascism. Corporate empires ruled by powerful elite.

So long democratic republic.

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Response to blm (Reply #90)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:42 PM

97. For a long time now...keep 'em distracted with gadgets, gimmicks and guile.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:28 PM

23. Missed a big point...black people in Detroit

I am sorry to say but you missed a very big reasons for the decline of Detroit.
RACISM!!!
After the riots white people started to move out of Detroit by thousands. With decline of white population the "white" companies moved out of the city. Most auto and auto parts manufacturers moved out of the city. Officially there are over 83% blacks in Detroit and only 10% whites which is the reverse of the 1950's and 1960's statistics.

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Response to pelister (Reply #23)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:31 PM

24. I think you missed my reference to that. And welcome to DU.

I clearly noted white flight. But thanks for visiting.

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Response to pelister (Reply #23)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:52 PM

31. Some racism was brought up the Hillbilly Highway

The Appalachian people who migrated to Detroit (and in smaller numbers to Flint) in order to work in the automotive plants gained an identity distinct from the one that they possessed in their home state. In their home states, people saw themselves as distinct from those living in other parts of the state, or in a different part of the South. Once they migrated to Michigan, they were lumped together as southern white laborers, and a group consciousness based on that label emerged. Migrants from all over Appalachia began to feel a social solidarity with each other, preferring to work and live beside other Southerners than with Northerners. It was believed that the Appalachian migrants assimilated less rapidly than Northern rural migrants because of their group consciousness and the persistence of certain southern regional attitudes, and an acute awareness of the difference between themselves and other native-born white Americans. Because the Appalachian migrants had no cultural context for situations they encountered in northern industrial cities, their reactions were dictated by their rural southern lives and attitudes. During holidays and lay-offs, most of the migrants went back to their old homes. During lay-offs in Flint, MI, as many as 35% of the migrants would return to their old homes


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillbilly_Highway

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Response to pelister (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 09:40 AM

54. Yup, racism

Great post by Faygo, but stone racism was the prime mover in white flight. I too was born in Detroit city. Our family joined the white flight in 1962, from Schoolcraft and the then new Southfield fwy to Livonia. My father was in real estate, school busing was on the table, and he saw the patterns of evaporating white neighborhoods. We forget the commonality of racism at that time. The n-word was used without qualms. Racism just was.
Later, federal law prevented discrimination in housing which further accelerated white flight. With whites went the tax base, with the tax base went any hope for Detroit's viability.
Now we have Snyder the plutocrat selling off what is left of value in the city. Sadly, latent racism in our demographic is such that his actions re Detroit seem to be considered a positive. Smart little pip squeak he is though a sociopath by any other name.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:40 PM

27. Once a Detroiter, always a Detroiter nt

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:40 PM

28. I tell people to go to a radom spot in Detroit and then in Windsor. It was intentional.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:43 PM

29. Brilliant and thanks. Maybe low rent/artists will help bring it back?

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:51 PM

30. Thank you for the story!

I hope Detroit fares well.

Cheers!

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 08:58 PM

32. The way the Detroit politicos are playing this is telling

It's the same here on Orange County where the OC GOP has a plan that won't be stopped, even by members of their own party who have concern for people and keeping the city's business out of the hands of businessmen. That's what has happened. And most successful businessmen think bottom line, not poverty line or bread line or soup kitchen.

Detroit will be a grand experiment that they'll try to make a blueprint of. I only hope that there are enough Republicans who'll stand up to them as they are trying to do in Orange County, CA and put some balance into place. I doubt it though. They won't be stopped by mere people.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)


Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 09:19 PM

35. great thread, thanks ! nt

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 09:29 PM

36. Interesting. Thanks for your insight.

I've looked at Detroit on Google Earth and it is kind of amazing. You can see downtown and then move just a tiny bit out from there and you start to see the vacant lots and the ghostly outlines of former buildings.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 09:39 PM

37. Thanks you for this post, Faygo.

(I wonder how many readers understand your User name.) Although I left the Detroit area after marrying my New Englander husband whom I met at MSU, I still call it "home" after all these years. It is so heartbreaking to see how this once beautiful city has fallen. In my mind Detroit will always be the city of my youth. That's how I want to remember it.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 11:08 PM

38. One thing nebraska has right is annexation laws

I live in omaha and we have our problems. However, our city is not being killed by suburban cities within omaha's county (annexation cannot take place across county borders). All neighborhoods that sprung up in the 60's and 70's have been swallowed up.

The biggest issue we had was that school districts couldn't do the same thing. Thanks to a great state senator (Ernie chambers), we now have a learning community that brings the suburban school districts into a common funding pool.

Sadly, too many cities and states don't have these options.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 11:34 PM

40. Thank you for that lovely overview.

I just got done reading Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff, and the single thing that most struck me was that the Packard Plant closed in 1956, and remains abandoned to this day.

In nearly 60 years it's not been torn down, not been repurposed, which is itself a tragedy, but to me the telling point was that even though the plant closed at a time when Detroit was still more or less at its peak, absolutely nothing was done to or with the property. That implies to me that the roots of the decline are at least that old.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #40)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 11:45 PM

42. excellent insight!

The roots of the decline are exactly that old, and the Packard, which was the most luxurious auto manufactured in the US in its prime, was a symbol of that loss.

here is a Packard from the '30s.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Sun Jul 21, 2013, 11:58 PM

43. Born in Detroit, 1952, dad worked for GM ...

lived in Huntington Woods, still have many relatives there, and in the Northwest suburbs.

I visited the GM building as a child with my dad.

I worked there in the late '70s on industrial films for the auto industry, the city was scary back then. I did this job in Highland Park, where the old Ford plant had been abandoned nearby. It was pretty bad there.

My dad's friend was mugged in the doorway to the main GM building. At the end of my dad's career, he worked for Cadillac at the Clark Street location. They had armed guards accompany people to the parking lot.

During my childhood, though, we moved around the country working for different divisions of GM.

and the truth is, I was growing up in a segregated environment I didn't know was segregated. I have no recollection of ever meeting a black person, as a child, in the Detroit area. Later, as an adult, and back in the area, it was much different.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:37 AM

47. Rec'd for a post which is really well put together.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:48 AM

48. Born in William Beaumont hospital

In Royal Oak. Recent pictures I've seen of the area are depressing.

But you're right. We'll fight hard. If we go down, we'll go down swinging.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:19 AM

51. Regarding freeways...

I think you have missed one important part of the story in your otherwise excellent post.

There was, of course, resistance to building the freeways, and a lot of controversy over where they would be placed. Naturally, the neighborhoods which swung the least political weight were the losers in that fight, and so they ran right through the heart of long established, stable black neighborhoods.Hastings Street, the historic black entertainment district is the best known example.

The residents of those areas had to relocate into other ethnic enclaves, which caused those groups to move, and beginning the vicious cycle of white flight.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 09:16 AM

52. I'm right there with you FaygoKid!

Amen! I'm a motor city girl to the end!

Julie

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 09:51 AM

55. In the Fifties, Robert Moses pretty did the same thing to the Bronx.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 09:52 AM

56. Great post! Thank you so much!

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 11:17 AM

59. Governor George Romney, father of the evil spawn, Mittens..

was gov during the riots. I think Gov George started the decline of Detroit.

Good post, thank you for the pictures and insight.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 11:47 AM

60. Many good times in Detroit. Cobo Hall, Masonic Temple, Ford Auditorium concerts

OMG Motown. ...and don't get me started on the history of rock from Detroit ....people just don't know how much Detroit had to do with rock ...to say Cleveland was the center of rock was naive.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 12:51 PM

64. That photo of Northland

Is exactly how I remember it from my elementary school days in Oak Park (50s) when I'd ride my bike there. I also remember that it was adjacent to farmland then.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 01:29 PM

65. This article almost brought tears to my eyes.

I too was born in Detroit. I lived on the Westside. I live in Chicago now. I remember going to Windsor when all you needed was a driver's license and sometimes they didn't even ask for that. Course this was post 911. I remember sliding down the giant slide at Belle Isle when I was a kid. I remember the Boblo Boat taking us to Boblo island course it's a community now. I remember Edgewater Park on 7 mile road which is no longer there. I remember Motown studio on W. Grand. I remember the Thanksgiving parades down Woodward ave and getting a coney island and a Verners at place on Griswald. You ask for a coney and Verners in Chicago, you will get funny looks. Last by but not least, Going to the Eastern Market on Gratiot. Thanks for the memories.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 02:50 PM

67. Well since all the Detroiters are checking in.....

I'm from the Goode Olde East Side as well, also born 1952. Grew up near Detroit City Airport in a lovely neighborhood. I will NEVER forget the beauty of 'The Green Tunnel'. For those non-Detroiters reading, The Green Tunnel refers to the cathedral effect created by the wonderful Dutch Elm trees that lined all the neighborhood streets. They created such a beautiful atmosphere with the way they shaded the streets. Then the Dutch Elm Disease, a true manifestation of Pure Evil, deforested our neighborhoods. I've always said the Dutch Elm disease did more to hurt our city than any racial rebellion.

I also lived for a long period of time on the far east side, East English Village to be exact. It was just plain wonderful in the 80's and 90's. But my favorite all-time place to live by far has been Midtown. As Faygo mentioned, it is doing very well. I didn't know it was 95% occupancy rate! That's even better. In my opinion Midtown Detroit is the hippest address in Michigan and I hope to live there again.

Detroit music has been mentioned in this thread by the noble Loonix whose posts I enjoy on a regular basis; however I must add that, as usual, mention of Detroit music seems to be egregiously neglecting to mention the great tradition of top-level jazz musicians that Detroit is famous for in the Jazz World. You can look it up if you're curious. Blue Note and Prestige records are populated by musicians primarily from Detroit and Philadelphia, with Pittburgh getting honorable mention. Any jazz musician worth his or her salt will get a faraway look in their eye if you mention Detroit because of all of the great musicians that come out of here. I made my living as a jazz musician for 30 years and I can tell you that the world of jazz is the one place where Detroit gets great respect. I could also make mention of Motown, but everybody already knows about that, and besides, Motown musicians were jazz musicians first. I know because many of them were and are close friends. I shared the stage at Baker's Keyboard Lounge with many fine jazz musicians that had made their living recording Motown hits. But perhaps I digress....

I am a Detroiter to my bones and always will love this city as I love my own Mother. The sad thing is this: I'v always said it and I say it now: Detroit will be successful again; it just won't be mine. I fear that whatever they do to 'fix' it will destroy it's soulfulness, and that will be a great loss. If you have to ask me what soulfulness is, I probably can't tell you.

We should have a Detroiter forum on DU. Is that possible? I also occasionally harbor a fantasy of getting together with Detroit DUers for a beer. I believe Detroit is well-represented on this board.

Faygo, you touched on just about everything I could say. Thanks for doing this. Thanks for keeping the faith.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:12 PM

73. kick

and rec

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:12 PM

74. History! Great stuff, Faygo Kid!

Love this! Thanks for posting it.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:33 PM

78. I personally think there were underlying factors that were more important than the ones in the

 

op, though not saying the ones in the op weren't important. But they were 'pushed' to a great degree by underlying factors, which basically add up to disinvestment in Detroit which affected the lower economic tiers earliest, then moved up.

For example, automation & outsourcing of production started before the 80s (which is when it became pretty obvious to everyone), and affected black workers first:

http://books.google.com/books?id=OI30dauNztQC&pg=PA87&dq=detroit+outsourcing+unemployment+black+workers+1960s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t4ftUayNEMPvqQHFwYBA&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=detroit%20outsourcing%20unemployment%20black%20workers%201960s&f=false

And that played into the riots.

Investment of big capital into suburbanization, redlining and discriminatory loans are other underlying forces. All aiding in disinvestment in detroit, as if it were planned. Which I believe it was.

Popular media usually focuses on the surface phenomena but gives short shrift to the underlying 'push' factors. For example, in ghetto formation, it often focuses on the type of housing (high rise v. low rise e.g.), as if it were the kind of housing that created ghettoes -- but of course people with jobs can live in any kind of housing & that housing will not become ghettoized, and people without jobs can live in any kind of housing and it *will* become ghettoized.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:42 PM

80. Just curious?

What did your friends and native Detroiters think about the "hillbillies" from Kentucky moving into Detroit in such huge numbers in the 50's and 60's?

Did they think they were somehow the cause of many of the problems with Detroit?

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:43 PM

81. Um, I blame it on the war on unions and the working class and outsourcing, but, whatever,

maybe it was the freeways that cut through every city in the world.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #81)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:47 PM

92. +1 n/t

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 04:15 PM

82. Hudsons downtown at Christmas was amazing...

...for me as a kid. So many toys, so much hustle and bustle. Everything decorated so festively. I recall going to the Westland Mall too but I don't have any great memories of that place.

At Hudson's I remember they had these 1000 piece cowboy and indian playsets all set up with forts and horses and everything. It looked like something you could jump into it was so realistic.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 04:49 PM

84. 'Nother rust-belter. Cleveland - Akron - Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh took a huge hit and just fell down back in the '80s', but has come back big time. A great city, if you get the chance, walk the streets, they pop. And no more pollution from all the old steel plants.

Akron lost all the rubber manufacturing from Goodyear, Goodrich & co. but came back through Akron U & its' chemical & engineering which has set off business markets. And no more pollution from the rubber plants - god it was bad stuff.

Cleveland fell last, lost manufacturing and car plants, unions, too. But the city has a great revitalization going. Alot cleaner there, too. I remember going downtown to visit grandparents and the smog was just killer.

And we got the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, so no naivety on board, guys. Cleveland rocks. Check it out. Great arts and parks, too.

Detroit'll manage. With all the big dicks gone the smart ones can reinvent.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 05:15 PM

86. Great post Faygo, thanks, and thanks to those who added.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:55 PM

93. I've called the Detroit area home for 21 years now.....

but I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland a couple of years older than you are. Detroit was our "sister city" so to speak because all we had back then was AM radio and we listened to CKLW nonstop!

Cleveland was on the brink of bankruptcy in the 70's and made a tremendous comeback during the mid to late 80's and has fallen on hard times once again during this last great recession. I think Detroit can do it too. It will never be the same as it was, but now that we're both seniors we know that nothing stays the same as it was when we were young, nostalgia is incredibly bittersweet to wallow in. My siblings and I find ourselves doing it more and more.

I just wanted to say that I still live in the northern suburbs of Detroit and have been to so many wonderful places. About three weeks ago I was attended a show at the Fox Theater and spent most of the night just looking around and up at one of the most beautiful historic venues I've ever been in. I've shopped at Eastern Market, walked the River Front. Do I go to downtown Detroit often? No, but I think you'd find the same problems in Cleveland.

I guess I'm just rambling here but I want Detroit to thrive in whatever new shape or form it takes.

Oh, and Traverse City is beautiful! I know it's not even near Detroit and off topic, but those of you not from Michigan should know that we have so much beauty in this state and come plan a vacation here sometime.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:03 PM

94. I guess there is no need to say much Faygo Kid!!!

Coming up I was a northend girl. And I loved it. The Legendary Phelps Lounge. I played in the sand hills of the Chrysler freeway as a shorty. Westminster avenue was the spot. The 20 grand was jumping. Funny you talked about the 1967 riots. It was started in two spots of the city. The first was over on Woodrow Wilson, the gambling house was raided by police and they ended up killing all six people in the joint. The men were Black. The second problem came from Bewick and Mack. The riots were just getting underway and police yelled to a Black man to stop and he kept walking. so they shot him. He was DEAF. Funny people say let Detroit go Bankrupt, we are. But understand when we go we will be taking a bunch of folks with us.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 09:23 AM

101. I wonder if they could lessen some of the poverty by converting some of the abandoned buildings back

into empty lots and letting the people plant and grow their own food while donating a % of it to food pantry's and or homeless shelters?

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #101)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 08:09 PM

105. I believe there was a plan to do just that not too long ago

but I'm not sure if they did it or not. I guess a trip to google might find it. Also, something else i havent seen mentioned here is the vast area that Detroit covers compared to other cities

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:48 PM

107. Mixed messages going on

Detroit's broke. Barely any city services provided to its citizens. Snyder and Orr claim bankruptcy and try to screw the Pensioners. YET, Mike Ilitch is going to build a new arena/entertainment complex for the Red Wings.

http://www.annarbor.com/sports/mike-illitch-proposes-new-hockey-arena-with-hopes-of-drawing-to-downtown-detroit/

Dan Gilbert is gobbling up Detroit real estate.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2013/06/19/billionaire-dan-gilberts-7-6-million-square-foot-stake-in-detroit/

and today, it was announced yet another new development...

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130723/NEWS/130729957/-55-million-rivertown-development-to-include-housing-retail#

I've lived here all my life and I never remember seeing so much activity going on in the Downtown/Midtown area. There's a major plan going on but I fear the current citizens of Detroit won't be a part of the spoils.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 11:47 PM

108. No Mention of Redlining?

As I posted earlier today on Facebook after seeing a couple of HuffPo articles - one about a proposal to build a wall around Hamtramck to keep other Detroiters out, and a second about the history and present of the Birwood Street wall:

//Another brick in the wall...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/23/wall-to-keep-out-detroiters-hamtramck-detroit-segregation_n_3637284.html

Missing from nearly all explanations I've seen for Detroit's slow descent into the abyss is the role of walls around much of the city's perimeter designed to separate the races - and to deny financial services, including mortgages, home improvement, insurance and small business loans to those living within it - mostly the city's Black or lower-income residents.

It's called 'redlining' - an official policy given the stamp of approval by the FHA back in the late 1930s. Redlining happened in pretty much every American city. Few, however, bore as visual a 'redline' as Detroit. Eminem rapped about the most famous wall along 8 Mile near Wyoming. There were others.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/detroit-race-wall-birwood-black-people-art_n_3192373.html

Despite federally legislated attempts to eradicate the practice, redlining didn't disappear in any meaningful way until the mid-1990s. It's still in force, spun on its axis into 'reverse redlining' - the practice of charging higher interest rates or premiums to individuals living or investing in formerly redlined neighborhoods - or charging unfavorable rates based upon external factors such as race or gender regardless of income or ability to pay.

One Detroit blogger recently questioned whether the entire Rust Belt, almost none of which has reasserted its former prosperity since the collapse of manufacturing began over 30 years ago, isn't somehow being redlined as well...sentenced to a long anguishing death.

Thinking back on the once prosperous city I grew up in, and the struggling place it is now, I have to wonder as well.//

I'm disappointed to see freeways, suburban shopping malls, school desegregation, riots and poorly-made cars cited as reasons for Detroit's demise while the Federal Housing Administration, banksters and insurers continue to escape culpability.

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Response to Noslenca (Reply #108)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 02:45 PM

112. also low-interest & racially-targeted loans for homes in the suburbs v. the city.

 

the financial sector was one of the push factors in the abandonment of cities, for sure. it would be interesting to see what banks are doing now re the gentrifying cities.

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Response to Faygo Kid (Original post)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 11:20 PM

113. I now understand your ID: Faygo Kid

I used to take cases of Faygo back to a friend in San Diego (who grew up in Detroit) when I would visit the city.

Yours is a beautiful tribute and also insightful.

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