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Detroit under debate

There is a great back-and-forth going on at between two Detroit-area residents. One is my friend and former colleague, Shikha Dalmia. Shikha is as fierce as Beyonce -- only in a more intellectual way.

Check it out here and also here.

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  • 1

    I realize this project is just getting off the ground, but I came to it hoping to read material and have discussion with people who weren't local and were open to learning about the metro area. When I want discussion with locals and expats I turn to the far more open and free-wheeling forums like

  • 2

    I'm just going to ignore anounceofaction, who apparently lacks "an ounce of sense."
    I find it odd that Ms. Dybis only mentions her friend in the intro., and not the "opposition," Ms. Bushnell Owsley. A wee bit biased, dear? I think Ms. Bushnell Owsley is just as fierce - and more intellectual - than Beyonce and Ms. Dalmia.
    P.S. I grew up in the Detroit suburbs. Hardly a local. As for "ex-pat," you (anounceofaction) used the term incorrectly. Get a dictionary!

  • 3

    Shikha Dalmia article made some good points but I'd like to point out that Archer was at first against Casinos as a way to re-build the city. He caved to public pressure. Killpatrick did not pick the locations of the Casinos, Archer did.

    Now after almost a decade of the casinos being here we all can see that Archers' first position on the casinos was the right one.

    As for all of the hype about the Artist Village over the last year one of the things all of the articles seem to miss is that there have been artists here for a long time. There have even been movements in art that have sprung out of the Cass Corridor.

    Detroit for decades has been home to many, many artists. Artists have been helping create neighborhoods here for decades; Tyree Guyton's Heidleberg Project, the galleries along Michigan Ave developed by groups of artists, the Pioneer Building on E. Grand Blvd., the artists that live in Woodbridge and Corktown, help make those neighborhoods great places to live, then there are the artists that have set up shop in Hamtramck and Highland Park. Detroit has a very lively art scene that was happening long before the Artist Village started, we are home to some artistic geniuses that rarely get national coverage; Charles McGee, Gordon Newton, Tyree Guyton (well maybe he gets some national attention) Jerome Feretti, Rico Africa, just to name a few. The artistic potential of this city holds me here but the truth is we need so much more then just artists to help re-build the city. Which Dalmia does mention.
    My point is that these three artists that get all of the national attention are actually coming in late to the show and when future articles are written about the artistic community of Detroit newly transplanted artists should not be the first people that get interviewed.

  • 4

    At the outset, let me say this is a great idea. Kudos to the editorial leaders at Time for devoting significant resources and energy into covering Detroit with a real emphasis on Detroit. I am going to use this forum to highlight from time to time the real stories of Detroit that will point to our city's coming rejuvenation. Notice I didn't use renaissance, a word that has failed to adequately capture the essence of Detroit in over 30 years. I hope others will do the same because out of this great idea, surely something else can that will have a tranforming effect on Detroit.

    However, on to Ms. Dybis' somewhat startling fighting words piece that features a 'so-called' debate of what will be the catalyst of Detroit's much needed comeback.

    As a Detroiter (i.e., I grew up in the city limits since 1974), I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and its current downturn notwithstanding is one to cause enough consternation and concern that the President took the most outrageous measure ever and took over both GM and Chrysler. Whodathunkit? As a transplanted New Yorker, it is with a great level of disappointment and sadness that the city in its' latest incarnation is indeed, seemingly, in a death spiral.

    As a result of all the things that are wrong about Detroit, I am inclined to agree with Ms. Nalmia, for a number of disparate, yet similar reasons.

    For starters, no one can argue that what is wrong with Detroit is really wrong--double-digit unemployment, a proliferation of the crack economy that continues to wreak havoc on Detroit's neighborhoods, a sub-standard public school system, significant holes in its', public health delivery systems, an ineffective public safety strategy compounded by real violent crime that continues unabated, and the continued blight that no one can stop, it seems. All of this combined with our region's serious racial divide promises that it will require more than just hopes and dreams to make Detroit a better place to live and work again. And this is just a preliminary list of the wrongs I have known and can reference about Detroit my entire life.

    And while Ms. Owsley is nice to discuss some of what is beginning to be right about Detroit, unfortunately, it is a long way off. In the mean time, the artists must be given room to grow their experiments with life in Detroit's roughest hoods. I commend you. I mean, it's cute, and all, but is it really going to create and or replace the 20-50,000 new jobs that were lost in the Big 3's most recent fire? Is it going to reverse the currently absurd foreclosure rate predicated by one of the most rapid job declines in recent memory? Is it going restore local control of the public school system (of which I am a product)? Is it going to reverse the very negative images that continue to come out of a city that is currently giving up on itself? So before we go and give Ms. Owsley her props for a nice essay, let's not lose sight of the facts of what brought our town to its' current situation, and why it is going to take a whole bunch of effort, both within and externally, to bring it back to basic respectability. By respectability, I mean socially and economically, let alone politically.

    As I have told anyone who knows me, when the city gets to these starting points of reversing the negative, I will be right there to help the city I love in anyway I can.

    Electing Dave Bing Mayor is a great first step. He can get the ear of powerful business leaders like Roger Penske and others to kick off the major capital reinvestment the city and the region so desperately needs to get back on the road to recovery. Keeping school control in the state's hands, even temporarily will also help with reinstituting some accountability among teachers, adminstrators and students to restore the system back to a competitive level with other districts in the state first. Cities and their economies cannot recover uless the educational infrastructure can sustain any potential growth. Most importantly, GM, Ford and Chrysler's unified commitment to green cars and an improved global business model will provide dividends of the seeds for renewal in Detroit, only, and this is big, only if the residents of the city insist upon it. Finally, with all the engineering wizards our great state and city possess, can't we finally go green with a zeal and passion surpassing that of T. Boone PIckens? Forcrissakes?My friends in Southfield, Ferndale, West Bloomfield, Dearborn and yes, the Pointes will have a part to play, but a true rejuvenation will be born of the people of Detroit.

    It's still a great place. Hollywood is coming to town in a big way. Hung is one of the funniest things HBO has done in years. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Get Clint Eastwood abd Alexander Payne to shoot some spots on the cinematic virtues of Detroit, a la Robert De Niro here in New York. Maybe then the filmmakers will use more than shots of the old train station and Mack Ave. for background intro shots. make sure the Ilitches bring champions to town soon. Last year almost killed me with the Red Wings. This is the October that we can really make a push against the dreaded Cardinals and Yankees. (Wish me luck, I'm 5 minutes from the Bronx and the hated Yankee Universe.) I could go on and on, you get the point. These things that are right only

    Wow. There's lots going on in the D and in NYC....I had a lot on my mind and the authors of those pieces brought it out.
    Go Tigers and Go Green!!!!

  • 5

    OOPs...In next to last para, I meant to say.."These things that are right only prove to me how nice the rejuvenation will be."

  • 6

    [...] since we all love a good debate, I want all my fellow LionsDetroit fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

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