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Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:52 AM

Developer pitches $1B commonwealth for Belle Isle (Detroit's special PUBLIC park island)

Source: Detroit News

January 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm
Developer pitches $1B commonwealth for Belle Isle
By Louis Aguilar

This futuristic rendering of Belle Isle is one where it is a commonwealth separate from the U.S. with a unique governing tax system. (Artist's rendering)


Detroit As the broken city thinks big and radically about its future, a developer is stepping forward with a revolutionary idea: Sell the city's Belle Isle park for $1 billion to private investors who will transform it into a free-market utopia.

The 982-acre island would then be developed into a U.S. commonwealth or city-state of 35,000 people with its own laws, customs and currency.

City officials are likely to reject the plan. But on Jan. 21, supporters including Mackinac Center for Public Policy senior economist David Littmann, retired Chrysler President Al Sperlich and Clark Durant, co-founder of Detroit's Cornerstone Schools, will present the Commonwealth of Belle Isle plan to a select group of movers and shakers at the tony Detroit Athletic Club.

Among the confirmed reservations of about 50 people who will hear the pitch are Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and Beth Chappell, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Club, organizers say. It's not clear if they know what's in store.



Read more: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130112/BIZ/301120319#ixzz2HprUs7xg



Is there anybody who didn't see this coming?

34 replies, 5026 views

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Reply Developer pitches $1B commonwealth for Belle Isle (Detroit's special PUBLIC park island) (Original post)
Bozita Jan 2013 OP
Fire Walk With Me Jan 2013 #1
1983law Jan 2013 #4
djean111 Jan 2013 #5
1983law Jan 2013 #16
Scuba Jan 2013 #23
Fire Walk With Me Jan 2013 #17
1983law Jan 2013 #18
Fire Walk With Me Jan 2013 #20
1983law Jan 2013 #21
loudsue Jan 2013 #2
freshwest Jan 2013 #3
djean111 Jan 2013 #6
Historic NY Jan 2013 #7
Festivito Jan 2013 #8
1983law Jan 2013 #19
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #13
Civilization2 Jan 2013 #9
alfredo Jan 2013 #10
djean111 Jan 2013 #11
djean111 Jan 2013 #15
etherealtruth Jan 2013 #12
snot Jan 2013 #14
Deacon54 Jan 2013 #22
happyslug Jan 2013 #25
Bluebiclighter Jan 2013 #26
Scuba Jan 2013 #24
Bluebiclighter Jan 2013 #27
Scuba Jan 2013 #28
Bluebiclighter Jan 2013 #29
Scuba Jan 2013 #30
Bluebiclighter Jan 2013 #31
Bluebiclighter Jan 2013 #32
wordpix Jan 2013 #34
backscatter712 Jan 2013 #33

Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:56 AM

1. Occupy Wall Streeters might differ on this...

 

-The Commons for The People are being turned into privately-owned "public" space in which the owner makes the rules. When it's the rich or a corporation...
-Free market utopia? Haven't we seen enough of capitalism given free reign? $1 trillion in student loan debt, etc.?

And just generally...capitalists want their own moneyland, where they make all the rules? Absolute power corrupts absolutely? How can this possibly go wrong? Go wrong? Go wrong...

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:47 AM

4. Come on.

 

It's just a pitch. Besides, are you asking that the $1B from the investor be donated to pay a stranger's student loan debt?

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Response to 1983law (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:26 AM

5. That pitch would not have been made without behind the scenes backing, in my opinion.

Looks to me like this has been in the works for a while. Just a pitch, my ass.
And no one mentioned using $1B from an investor to pay off student loans - just you.

Rick Scott will probably be looking to sell off half of Florida to private investors, now - he already wanted to give investors free rein in our public parks with no accountability to government. Looks like he just wasn't thinking big enough.....

Fun looking at comments at the link. Well-prepared comments. I think internet commenting is an actual part of a business plan now.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:48 PM

16. Whoa

 

First of all, I never want to be accountable to government for anything. I am accountable to my family, neighbors, friends (and I am religious so you know WHO). I've seen what the ugly underbelly of government and to think it is the solution/protector of rights is just wrong in my opinion. And no, I am not some bullcrap nutjob, just look at my handle.

Second, the student loan comment I made was in reference to what I saw in a post. I didn't think it a straw man argument, which I now see it was. And what does Rick Scott have to do with Detroit? Is he one of the investors trying to take over that Belle Isle?

I hate arguing this since I think we want the same conclusion, just for different reasons. I want Detroit to make it, I really do. So much history and some fantastic people.

I do find it realistic that a private person is going to buy a massive piece of public property to pay off debt. Kinda like that business a few weeks ago about selling off Alaska to pay off the national debt.

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Response to 1983law (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:50 PM

23. "I've seen what the ugly underbelly of government and to think it is the solution/protector ..."

"I've seen what the ugly underbelly of government and to think it is the solution/protector of rights is just wrong..."

You sound just like Ronald Reagan. Who is going to protect your rights if not government? A corporation?

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Response to 1983law (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:51 PM

17. Zuccotti park in NYC was the home of Occupy Wall Street. It was learned the hard way

 

that "public property" may be owned by the very rich, who will then make their own rules even against court rulings otherwise. And the mayor's girlfriend was involved with the company which owned Zuccotti. And the mayor made his money on Wall Street. Combine these things, and cops come and beat people bloody.

Giving public gathering areas to the very rich is just more of the same. I've been to Belle Isle; many have great memories there. Turn it into a capitalist utopia and I'll wager it won't be very nice for anyone but the rich.

"Democracy" translates to "The will, or voice, of The People".

Student loans are a capitalist scam barely regulated by the government. It requires deep scrutiny and massive change.

The Rolling Jubilee Strike Debt offshoot of OWS are addressing the debt problem through turning the collection system back upon itself, and are purchasing default debt and forgiving it. This is an amazingly beautiful thing, as debt is slavery.

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:58 PM

18. While I disagree with your

 

narrow view of the entire issue with Zuccotti, as well as find it largely irrelevant to the issue at Belle Isle, I just do not see this purchase endeavor as legitimate. If it turns out to be the case, then the whole country might as well be up for sale.

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Response to 1983law (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:04 PM

20. They've been attempting to privatise everything for years. Nothing's new.

 

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Response to Fire Walk With Me (Reply #20)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:06 PM

21. Touche

 

But who is "they"?

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:04 AM

2. These fools are looking more like 1930's Germany more every day.

They're friggin' crazy.

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Response to loudsue (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:39 AM

3. And it's all legal. The voted the Koch brothers to take over in 2010.

All because people blamed it all on the government of we the people and many of them are going to benefit from this. I'm sure that none of the poor will be in this development, it'll be like the foreign cities that only the rich and famous can visit. The upscale version of Glenn Beck and David Barton's planned development with its own set of laws in Texas.

This has been happening with big money in several states and they are taking over public infrastructure and restricting it to the use of the rich, by asking for tolls on the roads that working class people can't afford. Their own security and services have nothing to do with the public service and properties that they are starving. so that they become unusable or vacated to buy up cheap. This is a global pattern.

And it's happening here because the layers of society below them see that they may get some crumbs and they won't work with others to get anything done. A pretty complete job has been done.


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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:35 AM

6. Gee. Now the rich could basically pay no federal taxes, have no federal regulations,

and still squat within the protection of the United States.
For only a billion dollars! Much cheaper, really than buying politicians and lobbying, to be sure.
Anyway, is it legal to basically secede? Would they then control the water and air space around them?
Koch wet dream.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:43 AM

7. Detroit could cash in with a heavy toll on their little drawbridge to no where.....

they have to pay to leave.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:39 AM

8. Yup, they get benefits and don't have to pay the costs.

Military service -- not for their kids.

Controlling politics -- Citizens United.

What would the extradition treaty look like.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:59 PM

19. I like the last thought.

 

nt

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Response to djean111 (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:11 AM

13. Not entirely true

US citizens owe income taxes no matter where they make the income. The entire issue with the Cayman and Swiss banks is about disclosure

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:04 AM

9. The 1% aready have their PRIVATE Yacht Club on the island!

 

http://www.dyc.com/

This has been their since the 1800's and is a separate island off the side of Belle Isle,. it has a small bridge that is guarded to keep out the people. Now they want to move the guards to the main bridge of the island park and keep the people from their public park too! Belle Isle is the Central Park of Detroit, it is the bulk of parkland in the downtown core, giving it to the 1% for their private sub-amarica would also be taking the public space from the public,. wrong on so many levels,. .

I don't doubt they will get away with it though, as the city is already been pillaged of most wealth by the evil scheming banksters,. the 1% parasites. The game they run, is having their "representatives" (since they clearly do not represent the people), run up endless debt, that is charged endless interest,. and then claim they have to sell off all public property to the same private for profit 1% that holds all the debt. It is an endless feedback loop that simply takes wealth from the people and hands it to the 1%.

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:26 AM

10. Let em do it, then sock it to them for water, petrol, and electricity.

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:57 AM

11. That newest "free trade" treaty?

If I recall correctly, companies who are not American can sue if they are held to American regulations that keep them from extracting the most profit. Koch dreams indeed.
Charge tolls for a bridge? Bet anything that the fine print says not.
There is always always fine print that bites worse than the headlines.
Like private prisons being guaranteed a certain number of inmates.
Right now, even denizens of a private yacht club still must follow state and federal laws.
Just think what could be done if there is no accountability to anyone but themselves, right out in public.
Can they pollute the waters at will? Actually, where would they get drinking water and fuel?
Bet that is already carefully taken care of.
Be interesting to see which politicians have already signed on.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:39 AM

15. Okay, I see they will become a seperate state or something. Still American.

But it still reeks, to me.
Their own currency? Is that constitutional? Or are they trying to be something like Puerto Rico - a possession, but different laws?

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 09:02 AM

12. Of course ...

Take what is essentially the last (and only) beautiful green-space in the city ... and sell it to the 1% ... yeah that is what this city needs. The Detroit River can serve as a moat keeping the commoners off their utopia. Blech

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:16 AM

14. The ultimate gated community, only better: it's moated.

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 06:23 PM

22. The selling of Belle Isle

This was given to the citizens of the city of Detroit by Joseph Campeau, which I am a descendant. At what point do those who think they can take ( and I don't care if they are willing to pay) that which is part are the commons. What next buy up all the fresh water rights, Yellow Stone, or perhaps just the government? (oh wait they've already done that) It really is time to put a stop to this type of raping of the rights of citizens just because of those with the most money think they can. They wanna go all John Galt, I say fine but but they only get to buy private land not public!!!!!

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Response to Deacon54 (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:16 AM

25. What were the deed restrictions on the original grant?

Many of these grants of land retrain deed restrictions, that if violated returns the land to the grantor and his heirs (i.e. his heirs). This came up in regards to a Public Park in the South, donated to a City, but only for "White People". In 1966 the US Supreme Court ruled that such a restrictions violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and therefore was the Park had to be opened up to non-whites.

Subsequently, the heirs of the grantor demanded that the park be returned to them, for the park had been donated with that restriction and with the city unable to enforce that restriction, the park reverted back to the heirs. This second case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and this time, 1970, the Court upheld the right of the heirs to get the park back, even through the only reason for the reversion was that the City was unable (but willing) to keep the park white only. i.e. The restriction was enforceable by the heirs as a reversion to them.

Please note, in the late 1940s, the Supreme Court ruled that deed restrictions, restricting property to "Whites only" were unenforceable by any court but that is NOT the same as a reversion. In such cases, the deed restriction is viewed as legal, but any action by a court to enforce it would violate the 14th Amendment (i.e. it was illegal for any court to enforce such restriction, but if people want them, they can still put them in deeds).

1966 Decision:
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/evans.html

1970 Decision:
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/abney.html

Just a comment, to look into the grant and see if Detroit CAN do this, i.e give someone else the land. In th above Case the Supreme Court relied on State Law as to the rights of reversion, thus you may want to look into Michigan law as to reversion.

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Response to Deacon54 (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:32 PM

26. You're related to Joseph Campau?

 

I'm sorry, but there seems to be a difference in the spelling of the name. If you were related to Joseph Campau your family could have deeded Belle Isle to the City of Detroit. But in my searches no one with the spelling of your family's surname gave anything to the City.

By the way, I have my check written to become a citizen of this commonwealth. Let Michigan, Detroit and all the rest charge us for gas, water, sewage, etcetera. We will send it out for bid and probably end up buying the utilities from a fellow commonwealth, Her Majesty's province of Ontario.

Clowncil won't do anything with this tract of land and it deserves to be reinstated to its glory.

I strongly suggest that you also look into the Scott Fountain and review its history. It's at the west end of the island and is the first piece of property that a 1%-er has taken (or given) to the city on Belle Isle.

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:52 PM

24. Another terrible idea from some rich pricks who want to avoid paying their taxes.

I'll bet they'll want the US to provide them with protection against invasion.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #24)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:33 PM

27. Socialism works until you run out of my money

 

Mayor Pingree got it right.

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Response to Bluebiclighter (Reply #27)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:44 PM

28. Can you please clarify your comment re: socialism and running out of money? And ...

... are you referring to Hazen Pingree, Mayor of Detroit around 1900?

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Response to Scuba (Reply #28)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:04 PM

29. Yes.....

 

It was just a quick blurb but in a 1965 book that focused on him, there is a large comparison between the solidarity movement of that time period and Pingree's time in office. It reviews the impact of funded social programs, the potato farms of earlier generations and if you give the people a will and opportunity to fulfill a need by gainfully working to accomplish a goal for the greater good, people work hard.

Though it was a government back program, the Detroit potato farms turned a profit and continued to reinvest in programs that benefit the less fortunate.

That is the direction that south east Michigan needs to take in order to protect its citizens. No matter how much the self serving elected officials of Detroit, Wayne County, Oakland and Macomb say otherwise, the 4.3 million citizens rise and fall based on the actions of the city.

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Response to Bluebiclighter (Reply #29)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 05:36 PM

30. Thank you. Pingree sounds like an interesting guy.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 06:03 PM

31. Suggested Reading

 

Reform in Detroit

Hazen Pingree Speech to City Council Septemeber 1889

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Response to Scuba (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:03 PM

32. What about HiGhland Park

 

Looking at the historic aspect of Detroit elitism, lets all take Highland Park into consideration. It was designed to be a city of what you would call 99%-ers.

Henry Ford procured and developed the land as a city for and by Ford employees. The original vision was a community of like waged and minded people. Yet it would include the assets and services found and require by any major community.

Eighty years later, the community is under financial review and management with evey forward move interrupted by Robert Davis.

This goes to prove that a city cannot be with out haves an have nots. If Highland Parks economy had experienced diversity from manufacturing, they might not be in the dire financial situation they are.

If the Commonwealth of Belle Isle were to come to fruition, the "citizens" are diverse enough to weather any economic collapse. If you look at your 1% the wealth comes from a diverse set of industry...from service to manufacturing to technology.

Unless the economic collapse was equated, including inflation, to the Great Depression, the commonwealth would still be strong because it would have to depend on an international citizenry or ex-patriots.

Upon review of economic stability, we, as an global society must also take into consideration the economic impact of both the development and the contiunued support of a community of this nature

The development of this billion dollar city state will contribute thousands of construction and development jobs immediately. These thousand of jobs buy gas, food, necessities and clothes which will require the growth of the service industry within Detroit's city limits almost immediately.

After the development is complete, the Commonwealth of Belle Isle will require a large support staff that will be extremely well paying. In example, the 1% on the island will not be eating dollar burgers from the nearest fat food establishment. They will dine in higher priced establishments that, though they might only pay the $2.65/ hr the tabs will increase the standard tip rate to an amount equivocal to $25.00/hr.

That $25.00/hr is about $51,000 annually. That $51k is twice the average income of a city resident. If you were to consider the service based employees as middle class, the city of Detroit could experience a growth of the middle class again.

I could be much more specific but I'm doing this from an iPhone and don't have access to a white board and scientific calculator.

Before anyone bashes this concept as a 1% elitism grab for property from the poor, look at how well Highland Park turned out and also how well the city of Detroit is fairing, you might want to reconsider your views and opinions on how ideas like this impact the 99%.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #24)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:29 PM

34. +10000 and they want US water, a bridge, and other infrastructure/services

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Response to Bozita (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:12 PM

33. It's Delta City from Robocop!

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