Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

On Detroit Bankruptcy, All Three Networks Skip the Sky High Taxes, Dem Control for 50 Years

Liberals never seem to be able to deal with economics very well.
Check it out:

Abandoned Buildings
All three networks on Thursday night and Friday morning avoided key factors in the bankruptcy of Detroit, skipping the city’s astronomically high tax rate and ignoring Democratic dominance for the previous half century. (Detroit’s last Republican mayor left office in 1962.) Instead, ABC, NBC and CBS acted as though the bankruptcy, what Brian Williams called “the slow-moving tragedy of decline,” was something that just happened.

On Good Morning America, Betty Liu gently summarized, “What happened here? Well, people have been leaving the city for years. Back in the 1950s, you had almost two million people, at the peak, living in Detroit. Now, just 700,000. So they’ve lost half their population.” She added, “When you have fewer people living in the city, you’re collecting less income and property taxes.” Why are people fleeing the city? Lacking curiosity, Liu didn’t bring that point up.

On Today, Gabe Gutierrez insisted that Detroit has “been in financial decline for decades.” Like Liu on GMA, he offered the raw data, noting, “The tax base dwindled as the population plummeted from about two million in the 1950s to just 700,000 today.”

But Gutierrez also claimed, “Many people saw this coming, but it still hurts.” Why did people “see this coming?” The NBC journalist wouldn’t offer an explanation.

Although the Today segment did not identify a clip of Democratic mayor Dave Bing, an onscreen graphic did note that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is a Republican.

The previous evening’s Nightly News and World News offered similar sounding reports. On July 18, Jim Avila related:

JIM AVILA: But the Motown glory years of fast cars and soul music are long gone. Now the homicide rate is at its highest in 40 years. Dubbed murder city with 78,000 abandoned buildings, 63% of its population gone. So empty the city of Paris could fit inside the vacant space. And today the Michigan Governor announced the unavoidable. Bankruptcy.

The World News segment featured no mention of the Democratic mayor or the 50 years of one-party rule.

CBS Evening News blamed Detroit’s insolvency on “its manufacturing base shrinking and its population declining.” Anchor Scott Pelley didn’t wonder why.

The Detroit News highlighted the city’s high taxes:

Detroit ranked first among the 50 largest U.S. cities in taxes and last among property values in a 2011 study by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass. Detroit taxes on a $150,000 house were $4,885, twice the national average of $1,983.

On CBS This Morning, Norah O’Donnell at least wondered, “…Isn’t this really about pensions and retiree benefits and how many working-class people will – will lose a lot of their retiree benefits?”

Highlighting what the city owes, Mellody Hobson pointed out, “Twenty thousand people, who are counting on these pensions, are going to say, ‘we’ve already paid in. We were working and paid into the system. We’re owed this money. We’re owed this health care.'”

A transcript of the GMA segment, which aired at 7:11am ET on July 19, is below:

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JOSH ELLIOTT: We’re going to turn now to the motor city, a city in crisis this morning. As Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the largest American city ever to fold. Bloomberg anchor, ABC news contributor, Betty Liu, is here with more. And Betty, we’re talking about a city that, for decades and decades, was the symbol of American corporate strength.

LIU: It is incredible. There’s been no event quite like this, no city as big as Detroit that’s filed for bankruptcy. What happened here? Well, people have been leaving the city for years. Back in the 1950s, you had almost two million people, at the peak, living in Detroit. Now, just 700,000. So they’ve lost half their population. When you have fewer people living in the city, you’re collecting less income and property taxes. But you still have to pay the police, the fire department, you have got to pay into the retirement fund. Now, what does this look like? $18 billion of debt in Detroit. 78,000 empty buildings. And get this, Josh. Half the street lights, almost half the street lights in Detroit are not even working.

ELLIOTT: That’s hard to believe.

LIU: It is incredible. And city officials had to make a tough choice yesterday. They were running out of money. So, they said, we need to make the choice to file for bankruptcy.

ELLIOTT: And it will be felt nationally as well. Very quickly. This is all happening as the Dow soars every higher.

LIU: This heat wave is affecting stocks. Opening at all-time highs again. There’s two reasons here. One, earnings are doing well. Companies are benefitting from low interest rates. At the same time, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, he’s going to continue to baby-sit this economy. And if he’s going to do that, t’s time to buy stocks.

ELLIOTT: Good news for some folks. Certainly not there in the state of Michigan. Betty Liu, thank you so much.


DAN HARRIS: So many questions right now about the future of the motor city, once the symbol of American industrial might. Detroit has now filed for the largest bankruptcy in its kind in American history because of $18 billion in debt. During its restructuring, city employees could face layoffs. Pensions of city retirees will likely be reduced. And there might be scaling back of services like trash collection and snow plowing, although the mayor is vowing that will not happen.

Read more:

Detroit Bankruptcy – This Is What Happens If You Vote Democrat for 51 Years


Scott Shackford
Detroit’s call-it-anything-but-bankruptcy budget crisis drags on and the city government is unable to provide the most basic of services, residents have discovered an alternative to lawless anarchy: cooperative anarchy! A number of experiments in spontaneous order are popping up in Motor City, and both the rich and the not-so-rich are pitching in. The Associated Press reports:

“When the system fails us, you have to become the system,” said Mitch Logan, a 48-year-old film producer who is part of a self-dubbed “Mower Gang” that mows neighborhood parks after they’ve finished their own yards.

In addition to the landscaping, a church group is boarding up vacant houses in the Brightmoor neighborhood, one of the city’s most distressed, to keep criminals out. And several neighborhoods are now hiring security to patrol their streets, supplementing an undermanned police department.

On the wealthier side, the philanthropic Krege Foundation coordinated with automakers and local businesses to purchase 23 new ambulances and 100 new police cars. Okay, perhaps providing equipment to the municipal government doesn’t fall under cooperative anarchy. But at the rate the city’s going, they’ll probably all be driven by volunteers any day now.

Of course, this is all a drop in the bucket for the city’s problems, but even that much self-management and tiny amount of voluntaryism has Katherine McFate of the Center for Effective Government (read their anti-austerity argument here) worried:

“The idea that we are now outfitting first responders through charitable contributions should be very concerning,” she said. “There are certain functions that you want government to perform that should not be at the whim of individuals or charities.”

Well, let’s see what functions the government of Detroit is engaging in that is so much better than the “whims” of individuals and charities, shall we? It seems Detroit is protecting the citizenry from the scourge of unapproved, community-created bus-stop benches. Thank heavens! Via the Detroit Free Press:

Armed with a sander and reclaimed wood from demolished homes, [Charles] Molnar recruited several students from the Detroit Enterprise Academy to help him create a bench than can seat a half-dozen riders, equipped with a bookshelf to hold reading material to help pass the time for riders as they wait.

Several nails and wooden boards later, the first bench was placed at a Detroit bus stop Thursday afternoon.

But it might not be there for long.

Detroit Department of Transportation officials are saying the bench was not approved. If it is affixed to a bus stop, the bench will have to be removed.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Molnar, 22, who recently finished his junior year at Wayne State University, where he is an urban studies student. “Now there’s not going to be a bench there. Let them take that away from the community. A community that built that bench. A community that put their blood, sweat and tears in it. That’s all they wanted, a bench at the bus stop.”

Benches are the government’s job, Charles! We can’t just have people going around building them willy-nilly!




Detroit officials have until Thursday (what’s with Thursday deadlines?) to rescue their ailing city from financial insolvency or a state takeover.

“A deal backed by Mayor Dave Bing and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, would grant the city the power to void contracts and slash costs but not provide state funding or loans to bail the city out of its financial problems,” CNN Money reports.

But fierce “opposition from unions — in a city that remains a bastion of labor power — has so far stymied efforts to pass a rescue package,” the report adds.

If the city council doesn’t get its act together and come to an agreement on the deal by Thursday, Gov. Snyder has announced that he will (legally) appoint an “emergency manager” to take over the day-to-day operations normally performed by the mayor and city council.

“The city council is under pressure from the public and city unions to reject the deal with the state [emphasis added],” Money reports, “At the same time, it would lose its powers if Snyder goes ahead and names an emergency manager.”

And with all these massive fiscal problems, the only action the council has taken this week was to double the city’s corporate income tax to 2 percent.

“Years of decline in population and businesses and a shrinking of the tax base have pushed Detroit into a deep financial hole despite a recent resurgence in the U.S. auto industry,” CNN Money reports.

“Without more cost cutting, the city will won’t be able to pay its bills come June. An estimate in January, the most recently available, was that the city would be down to $20.9 million in the bank by the end of this week,” the report adds.

So let’s say the unions have their way, the city council can’t come to an agreement on the Bing & Snyder deal, and the governor appoints an “emergency manager.” What powers would he/she have to save Detroit? If it comes to that, an “emergency manager” would have the authority “to void contracts with both unions and vendors” and sell off city assets.

Void contracts with unions? Whoa. If the unions don’t like the rescue package, they’re going to hate a Republican-appointed “emergency manager.”

“As the debates, negotiations and lawsuits raged this week, they did so without Bing, who was recently released from the hospital after serious intestinal surgery and won’t return to work for two weeks,” CNN Money reports.

“Both Bing and Snyder say they want to avoid a state takeover, which in itself could be the first step toward the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history.”

Detroit Moves Against Unions

Mayor and Schools Chief Leverage State Law to Force Change, Close Budget Gaps

DETROIT—A new state law has emboldened the Detroit mayor and schools chief to take a more aggressive stance toward public unions as the city leaders try to mop up hundreds of millions of dollars in red ink. Robert Bobb, the head of the Detroit Public Schools, late last week sent layoff notices to the district’s 5,466 salaried employees, including all of its teachers, a preliminary step in seeking broad work-force cuts to deal with lower enrollment.

Earlier last week, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing presented a $3.1 billion annual budget to City Council in which he proposed higher casino taxes and substantial cuts in city workers’ health care and pensions to close an estimated $200 million budget gap.

Mr. Bobb, already an emergency financial manager for the struggling and shrinking public school system, is getting further authority under a measure signed into law March 17 that broadens state powers to intervene in the finances and governance of struggling municipalities and school districts. This could enable Mr. Bobb to void union contracts, sideline elected school-board members, close schools and authorize charter schools

Mr. Bobb, appointed in 2009 by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and retained by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, pledged last week to use those powers to deal decisively with the district’s $327 million shortfall and its educational deficiencies. Mr. Bobb raised the possibility of making unilateral changes to the collective-bargaining agreements signed with teachers less than two years ago.

He is also expected to target seniority rights that protect longtime teachers from layoffs and give them the ability to reject certain school placements.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers will likely fight him on these issues. The union couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Bing, a Democrat, doesn’t have additional authority to break union contracts and circumvent City Council, but under the new law Mr. Snyder could invest this authority in municipal chief executives such as the mayor of Detroit. That possibility, and the further threat of a state takeover, is giving Mr. Bing more clout to push for major changes.

Democrats and unions generally opposed the law bolstering power of state-appointed managers, calling it an infringement on collective-bargaining rights and violation of the principle of local elected rule. Republicans largely argue the law is the only way to keep the financially threatened city from collapse by forcing unions to scale back their costly wages and benefits amid declining revenues and escalating health-care and pension costs.

Mr. Bing spent the first two years of his term trying to restructure the city’s finances to reflect its dwindling population, which fell 25% in the past 10 years, according to Census data. All along, the mayor has sought in his first two years in office to impress upon residents and workers the urgency of Detroit’s fiscal crisis, while reassuring them that the restructuring would proceed methodically, with their input.

But in his public comments last week, the mayor signaled that he had little time left for negotiation. He pressed council members to act on his budget proposal or prepare for a fiscal collapse.

If municipal unions fail to agree to new terms, he warned, the city’s budget gap would balloon to $1.2 billion by fiscal 2015, all but assuring the city would go into default and the state would take over.

“I’m not afraid of an emergency financial manager being named,” Mr. Bing told a gathering of urban-affairs experts in Detroit last week. “Because what it does is right-sizes a lot of the obstacles you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

He added: “With a financial manager on the scene, he or she almost becomes God and can do whatever is necessary to bring financial stability back.”

Labor representatives are already opposing the mayor’s proposed cuts, and casino owners came out against the plan in a joint statement Friday, saying, “Detroit’s gaming industry is already the highest taxed industry in the state.”

Union representatives couldn’t be reached for comment.

In the schools, meanwhile, Mr. Bobb last month identified nearly a third of the district’s schools that could be closed or turned over to private charter operators. Seventy organizations showed up at a bidder’s conference hosted by the district last week to review rules for becoming an authorized charter school. Bids are due May 2. The elected school board has no official role in approving the plan.

Detroit Federation of Teachers officials called the initiative a poor idea, in part because nine of the schools slated for conversion to charter designation or closure were recently given new dispensation to relax work rules and haven’t had enough time to demonstrate their progress, they said.

Mayor Pushing Police To Live In Detroit

DETROIT – These brave women and men already work in the city of Detroit — and now, Mayor Dave Bing wants police officers to live in the city as well.

Bing has been vocal about his desire to get police officers to move back into the city, and now he’s taking action by announcing a new incentive plan to get them to live where they work.

Currently, 53 percent of Detroit Police officers commute to work from the suburbs, and Bing says the number is even higher for firefighters.

As part of a pilot program called “Project 14″ Detroit cops and firefighters who live in the suburbs will be offered renovated homes in the city for as little as $1,000.

Mayor Bing said this is one step in a plan to revitalize Detroit.

“Project 14 is one approach that my administration is deploying to take two challenges facing Detroit — public safety and vacant homes — and turn them into an opportunity for neighborhood revitalization,” Mayor Bing said.

“There are steps that we can and must take today to improve the quality of life for our citizens. That’s why I am announcing Project 14 — an initiative designed to encourage Detroit Police officers to live in the communities in which they serve,” Bing said.

The project is targeting homes in Detroit’s Boston-Edison and East English Village communities. Bing says funding for the project will come from neighborhood stabilization funding, HUD and partnerships with local banks and credit unions.  No tax dollars will be spent.

In 1999, the state legislature revoked a controversial rule that required Detroit police officers to live in the city.

Detroit See How the Democrats, Black Power and the Unions Destroyed It.

Detroit Porkulus Dump: $49 million for Laptops

by Michelle Malkin on Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Detroit Public Schools are overrun by corruptionviolence, and incompetence.

Test scores are rock-bottom.

The teachers’ union sabotaged classroom instruction and denied schoolchildren an education through an apparent illegal work stoppage.

Yet, Washington went ahead and forked over $530 million in federal porkulus funds to reward yet more Detroit government school failure and bail out the reckless-spending boobs who mismanaged the DPS budget and engineered a fiscal crisis.

Today, we learn that $49 million of that money will go toward…laptops and computers:

Detroit Public Schools will spend $49 million in federal money to push technology in the district, including distributing 40,000 new laptop computers to students in grades 6-12 for use in class, as well as more than 5,000 new desktop computers.

…The district already has started distributing the computers and expects to deliver them all by the end of this school year, said Kisha Verdusco, a DPS spokeswoman.

The massive technology infusion totals 50,000 pieces of equipment — including 4,300 printer/scanners and more than 500 HP desktop computers for the 138 early childhood classrooms in the district.

These technology infusions have turned out to be gesture-driven boondoggles and political payoffs that squander precious educational resources — and withlittle, if any, measurable academic benefits.

More on the laptop boondoggle here and here and here, via reader Robert.


“After seven years, there was literally no evidence it had any impact on student achievement — none,” said Mark Lawson, the school board president here in Liverpool, one of the first districts in New York State to experiment with putting technology directly into students’ hands. “The teachers were telling us when there’s a one-to-one relationship between the student and the laptop, the box gets in the way. It’s a distraction to the educational process.”

Liverpool’s turnabout comes as more and more school districts nationwide continue to bring laptops into the classroom. Federal education officials do not keep track of how many schools have such programs, but two educational consultants, Hayes Connection and the Greaves Group, conducted a study of the nation’s 2,500 largest school districts last year and found that a quarter of the 1,000 respondents already had one-to-one computing, and fully half expected to by 2011.

Yet school officials here and in several other places said laptops had been abused by students, did not fit into lesson plans, and showed little, if any, measurable effect on grades and test scores at a time of increased pressure to meet state standards. Districts have dropped laptop programs after resistance from teachers, logistical and technical problems, and escalating maintenance costs.

…Those giving up on laptops include large and small school districts, urban and rural communities, affluent schools and those serving mostly low-income, minority students, who as a group have tended to underperform academically.

Matoaca High School just outside Richmond, Va., began eliminating its five-year-old laptop program last fall after concluding that students had failed to show any academic gains compared with those in schools without laptops. Continuing the program would have cost an additional $1.5 million for the first year alone, and a survey of district teachers and parents found that one-fifth of Matoaca students rarely or never used their laptops for learning. “You have to put your money where you think it’s going to give you the best achievement results,” said Tim Bullis, a district spokesman.

Everett A. Rea Elementary School in Costa Mesa, Calif., where more than 95 percent of students are Hispanic and come from low-income families, gave away 30 new laptops to another school in 2005 after a class that was trying them out switched to new teachers who simply did not do as much with the technology. Northfield Mount Hermon School, a private boarding school in western Massachusetts, eliminated its five-year-old laptop program in 2002 after it found that more effort was being expended on repairing the laptops than on training teachers to teach with them.

And now, $49 million down the drain in Detroit for more of this high-tech profligacy.



Perfect: DPS says teacher tried to pawn laptop

And remember this: Philadelphia school uses laptops to spy on children at home

65 years later

What happened to the radiation that lasts thousands of years?

We all know that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed in August 1945 after explosion of atomic bombs.

However, we know little about the progress made by the people of that land during the past 64 years.


What has caused more long term destruction – the A-bomb, or U. S. Government welfare programs created to buy the votes of those who want someone to take care of them?

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