One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Detroit lives!

What would martians think if they landed in Detroit?

In the mind of artist Philip Lauri, the otherworldly creatures see a city some people cannot. Gardens instead of blight. Buildings instead of rubble. Redemption instead of resentment.

The result is a highly amusing, delightfully straightforward yet insightful mural at the southwest corner of Gratiot Avenue and Dubois just off Alfred in Detroit. In it, a gang of pink martians jump about, declaring, “DETROIT LIVES!”

Art can have gravitas. But it also can have a giggle.

And that's all Lauri really wants from his mural, painted this past summer on the side of a storage facility for a pickled herring company. (The building contains herring jars and sausage casings for another nearby company; I'm not making this up.)

He wants a few drivers zooming by to take a second glance. To ponder the phrase, “Detroit Lives!” and whether it might be true.

After all, a mural that depicts a bunch of high-fiving, fist-pumping martians probably is the last thing the average Gratiot Avenue commuter expects to see cruising to the city.

Let's take a step back. First, a little about Detroit Lives! itself. Yes, there is a method to the madness. Lauri created the group as a way to spread a good word about Detroit. It has projects, like the mural, and an upcoming film, which highlights the art scene and good people around the city. It has gone through editing, and Lauri is working on getting a local screening up.

Detroit Lives! is a partner with the Georgia Street Community Garden on Georgia at Van Dyke and Gratiot, helping Mark “Cub” Covington improve the area – planting, clearing out areas for a fruit orchard and eventually installing a wall documenting the garden's beginnings.

Lauri and fellow artisans also created a series of handmade prints, photography and apparel with the Detroit Lives! slogan on them – a way for people to show their colors, so to speak.

“Quite simply, DL! aims to tell a good story about Detroit – whether it's something you read, wear or participate in,” Lauri said.

On to the mural. The herring company belongs to Phil Sack, owner of Sea Fare Foods and father of Mike Sack, Lauri's roommate. The city had fined Phil Sack for graffiti on the building, and he had to cover it up. Lauri asked if he could do the honors. After the alien drawing got Phil's approval, the painting began in earnest. He started in June and finished in August.

During his painting, a few regular visitors stopped by. There was Rocko, who peddles at the nearby gas station. Charlie is the neighborhood security guy who protects the surrounding buildings.

At first, Charlie was doubtful. He saw the green background, the little pink bodies, then an outline of the city. The last thing Lauri painted was the text.

“He was all kinds of excited,” Lauri said of Charlie's reaction. “He said, ‘Aw, shit. Now I get it!'”

Lauri had a few painting parties along the way, bringing in other 20something friends to help. They would grill some Koegel Viennas and fill in a few more aliens on the wall. The vacant lot next to the mural site became a place to sit and contemplate Detroit. It was summer. The weather was perfect. There was even a nearby apple tree to offer shade and a place to rest your back.

So how does a Michigan State University graduate with a degree in supply chain management know about aliens? Not much. But when he settled in Detroit, he became one of the city's largest boosters. He started DETROIT LIVES! As a media and design collective whose aim it is to spread a positive message about the city and its people.

There are great things in Detroit – even though the larger population of North America…hell, the world…might not think so.

In Lauri's own words:

“There are so many projects and people who truly believe in this town. … They are out there: from Arthur's Tour de Hood to Mark Covington's Georgia Street Collective to the Yes Farm to The Lot to the Shack and Woodbridge Records. We could talk over coffee about all this stuff for days. Yet we consistently get immersed in the negative. I just think there is more to it than that, ultimately a city capable of real growth and transformation. Most importantly, there are plenty of people, myself included, that genuinely believe this and are doing things to make that happen.”

To meet Lauri and other local artists, check out the upcoming Detroit Urban Craft Fair, which is from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the newly renovated Majestic Theater. (I'll be blogging more about the craft fair closer to that date).

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  • 1

    Thanks for the heads-up on the Detroit Urban Craft Fair........I'll wander downtown and check it out.

  • 2

    Interesting posting - thanks for sharing. Never knew there was even a pickled herring facility in the area.

    Check out Grand River/Trumbell for some other decent, alien type murals.

  • 3

    And some (non)readers claim y'all focus solely on negative angles here?

    Refreshing way to nourish The Detroit Blog . . .

    . . . by showing the "half-full" part of our area.

  • 4

    Wow! What a wonderful story!!

    Looks like a 'Case closed', 'No worries, mate', 'That was easy' , 'All's well that ends well' kind of scenario -

    Thanks Time for swooping in, digging into the Issues, and coming up with this 'Awwwww..' story. I feel better about Detroit and the future already!!

    • 4.2

      Whoosh . . . sure didn't expect my point to be reinforced in one minute.

      That's what I call reflexive cynicism at net speed, wily Kioti.

    • 4.3

      No Karen - I not only think that it shouldn't be negative and ugly, I don't want it to be.

      What I do expect is that all content be relevant and mission-directed with respect to identifying, analyzing and focusing upon Root Causes and Real Solutions to Issues, Ills, and on the positive side - extending and replication successes....

      Turning adversity into apricots can involve any or all of:
      1. Fixing' some problems
      2. Preventing reoccurance of those and other problems
      3. Replicating successes and those things that seem to have been and are working

      Yes - I was being just a bit sarcastic and 'cheeky', and I really don't want to appear to trivialize your work - and above all your obvious comittment to the mission you are on - I trust in your profesionalism and recognize and respect all of that... BUT I really feel that the 'core discussions' and 'focused analysis' is just...well, not happening yet, and that the basic precept of "If you don't know what to say, just say nothing ..." is being violated. And sometimes 'Nothing' is better - better than myopia, 'cutsey', or impertainent.

    • 4.5

      This story does not even begin to constitute being impertinent to Detroit's livelihood. People to people action makes all of the difference in the whole, wide world, and without people like Lauri real change would never manifest itself.
      Of all people, I understand where you are coming from with your desire to see every piece contain some profound policy suggestions that are sure to fix all of Detroit's problems. I do, after all, have a degree in Political Science and live and breathe policy.
      However, what I think that you may be missing is that this story provides the secret to not only Detroit evolving into a thriving, happy community, but the world as a whole. People being creative, innovative, and working together as a true community to boost morale will make all the difference. It is all of the little things combined that seep into all of the gaps and fill the holes between government and private industry. It is up to the people of Detroit to breathe life into Detroit-to get excited about the possibility of change, to paint, to talk to each other-and that is exactly what this guy is doing. And, if you don't get that, then I'm sorry. "What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life."

    • 4.6

      karen -

      The Eastern Market and its "looking good" - YES - but 'drill down' into Why. What institutions, processes, factors have enabled this to happen? can they be replicated?

      Home Foreclosures - again, a 'good story'... but is it expansive enough in its scope? HOUSING - and Neighborhoods as a story line - So much vacant land in Detroit, so much need for Housing in the Metroplex, so much Opportunity - given a 'blank chalkboard' - with which to germinate and nuture the Phoenix of vital and dynamic urban neighborhoods (a la Jane Jacobs). Why isn't that land and concept being 'exploited' - (notwithstanding the current economy as ot will change), and What Political, Economic, and Social policies changes/restructuring could occur and suggestions of How? Not focusing on What Is - rather What Could Be, and How?

    • 4.7

      ya know justlife, I've been trying to say that ever since this blog started and Timer Steven Gray said he wanted to figure out why Detroiters seem optimistic despite what the areas numbers say - it's not about dollars, cents & stats - it's the people

  • 5

    Karen -

    OK... For Starters, how about a Mazolv's (sic)Hiearchy approach by (1) Identifying perceived Needs and Wants - as felt & expressed by a true cross-section of Detroit as well as suburban citizenry, (2) Creating a 'gap analysis' that compares the Needs/Wants with the Plans/Actions already in effect or in planning, and then (3) Identifying the Political and Economic structures and processes that would and could support these.

    Very important to translate the Mazolv's Hierarchy on Needs (thank goodness for Sociology 101) into a Detroit Hierarchy of 'wann'a haves and gott'a haves' that ibncludes not only those who live here - but those who would (and would be wanted) to visit, invest, dine - and consider - living here.

    Also very important to stress that in successful project management, execution of the mission is supported and facilitated by business practices and processes - not the other way around.

    And yes, justlife88 - no doubt that Lauri is changing Detroit - and in a positive way; what's urgently needed in my mind however are those who would, could, and will IMPACT Detroit...

  • 6

    How cool. There is so much in Detroit, that many folks just don't know about.

    As for negative press, my father grew up in Detroit and he said back in the 1940s whites started leaving Detroit for the suburbs. As far as he could tell, this was the beginning of Detroit's downward slog. Yes, my father moved his family to the suburbs in 1947. Over the decades, a half a million folks left the city. How could a great city not suffer when half of its population just ups and leaves?

    Detroit needs more people. It is way too big for the small amount of folks who live here.

    • 6.1

      Yes, Yes... But who has found, or can find out, WHY? And then determine What could have or can prevent more of it?

      And again - for those who could have - WHY NOT? What is right - and how do we obtain the same in greater quanties or other Right things?

    • 6.2

      Thomas Sugrue wrote a fantastic book on Detroit's population decline and how it was the result of a nasty combination of declining industry, public policy, institutionalized racism, and general bad decisions. The book is called 'The Origins of Urban Crisis', and it is the best thing out there if you're trying to understand the 'why' of our city. Prevention is not discussed, although I would like to see the Time reporters look for some of those answers in their remaining 10 months.

    • 6.3

      barebain -

      Thanks for that information; I am going to find a copy for myself...

      Another of the 'must reads' concerning Urban areas and what contributes to their success:
      The Death and Life of Great American Cities - Jane Jacobs

      Also - all of the Root causes that your post notes - irrespective of their being correct or not - have been noted with respect to other cities that have faced adversity - and have bounced back in various degrees. Many examples - New York City, Philadelphia, to name two...

      The secret, I think, is to determine WHAT would make people WANT to live THERE - and HOW would/could we make those things happen...

    • 6.5

      But isn't that what Time is trying to do here? The magazine set itself up for this kind of criticism by claiming it was going to something unprecidented with its 'Assignment'. As somebody who lives a block-and-a-half away from the 'D-House', I have a very keen interest in seeing you all follow through on that challenge.

      As for the blog medium... yes, 300 - 700 words is too short to deal with many of these issues. But I ask, why the artificial limit on the number of words being written? The best blogs do not limit themselves so strictly. They are free flowing, and able to respond as necessary to whatever is being covered. Some days the post might be 300 words, and some days it might be 3000 (some days even more). The best blogs take a very narrow subject matter and expand on it obsessively - be it Michigan sports, local music, local politics, etc. Why can't Time do this too?

    • 6.6

      One more question about intent - does Time see these 12 months as a single body of work or as a series of disjointed articles? The former seems promising. The latter?... kind of not worth it. If it is, in fact, seen as a whole body of work, then why can't each entry into that body be seen as just one chapter of the whole as opposed to an autonomous, independent story of its own?

  • 7

    Perhaps something on why the DEGC believes that demolition of historic and still feasible structures for what is essentially more parking in while an already depleted building stock loses another structure is an acceptable form of "development"?

  • 8

    There's an organization based in Lansing called the Michigan Historical Preservation Network - give them a call and have them connect you to someone who can tell you about the viability and positive aspects of rehabbing historic structures. They just recently put out a 20 page pamphlet that focuses on case studies in Michigan, including the revival of Orchestra Hall. A couple of years ago they held their annual conference at the Dearborn Inn and it was INCREDIBLE. The 2010 conference will be held in Ann Arbor in May.

    Give them a buzz and have them hook you up with someone. At the last conference even DTE Energy was there to discuss how historic structures can be made energy efficient.

    On their website you'll also find a link to a nine page that offers brief snapshots of programs some other places are implementing to address vacant property.

  • 9

    Right now, the "right" medium is around the council table and in the mayor's offices. As you have seen and will continue to see, there is a lot of the right stuff happening at the grassroots level. The right dialogue is happening online. The *engaged* citizen is well aware of the issues affecting Detroit and, contrary to some beliefs, understands how a "real" city ought to work. The grassroots community organization is a medium that works well and flourishes in Detroit - probably due to the lack of any coherent and decent policy coming from city hall or regional political stakeholders.

    Nonetheless, these initiatives and individuals need support from city hall - support in the form of a predictable business environment and the growth that follows, reliable services and a competitive tax structure. Such can only be implemented via the political process and promulgated through competent and capable department heads. And, back we go to the council table and mayor's offices...

  • 10

    Stuff like this mural is just so cool. THIS is what I love about Detroit. Just, fun, interesting, weird, little things.

    I love that there's a real art culture here (beyond just the DIA, although it's fantastic). I think something about this shell of a city is just so interesting, and it draws the most interesting's one of the things that makes the Detroit that I see so unique. Plus, it's a small community, so it's easy to feel welcome if you join!

  • 11

    Still waiting to see a post of Time's official vision/mission for the whole Detroit Blog project.

  • 12

    Writer mentions the Georgia Street Community Gardens on Georgia near Van Dyke. I once lived in that area. It was a densely populated area with one of the largest concentrations of retail variety within the region up until the early 70's. At the corner of Van Dyke and Georgia was Fortuna Music Studios, a place where thousands of east-siders learned how to play a musical instrument, tap or ballet dancing,or sing opera. The ower Mr. Otto Fortuna even briefly had a TV series called Uncle Ottos that featured the talents of neighborhood youth. It's ashame that most of Detroit's neighborhoods were destroyed over the next three decades.Other cities were metamorphisized as new ethnic groups or cultures changed the urban stylstic of an area without near complete destruction and then abandonment.. Visit, then visit St.Cyrils on this site for a history and pictorial of part of this once propsperous piece of the city.

  • 13

    Topic suggestion:

    WJR last week began an interactive feature called “Breaking The Cycle”. Hosted by station Pres./GM Mike Fezzey, it spotlights (on air + online) success stories of individuals and businesses in our region . . . and invites audience 'nominations.'

    “We need to break the cycle of being our own worst enemy and thinking less of ourselves,” Fezzey says []. “We need people to move to our communities with excitement and encouragement. It is our job to be their guide and show them how great the Great Lakes area truly is.”

    And catch what sparked this:

    "I have a new neighbor. He just moved here from Chicago and he's excited about the move. So my neighbor goes to the dry cleaner and tells the woman at the counter that he just moved here. "Why would you do that?" she says. He goes to the supermarket and the same thing happens."

    WJR's interest in breaking a cycle of self-inflicted wounds seems like a mission worth monitoring.

  • 14

    My big concern is the thousands of Detroiters I see in my professional capacity that grew up on welfare and are now the 3rd and 4th generation welfare recipients. They start having babies at ages 14-17 years old and have several apiece. the highest number I've seen is a mother in her 30s with 12 children and 4 grandchildren, with the oldest child being 22 years old.

    This very extensive welfare class has existed for decades in Detroit, despite one-time plentiful jobs, despite trillions of dollars being poured into job, school and economic programs, and despite other people coming here from bad circumstances (such as from other countries with no English) and making it up the ladder without killing substancial numbers of people on the way.

    There is little desire in most of the children and families I have seen to get an education and jobs. Many wind up in the prison system, especially the men, for good reasons, such as armed robbery.

    Starting farms in Detroit, or making Eastern Market pretty is not going to change the impact this large group of people have on Detroit. Seriously, I don't see them wanting to do manual labor, as they did not do it when there were auto jobs. The males are looking for fast big money.

    I have been trying to get an answer to this from many sources. I get called a racist for bringing it up but yet the destructive path of these 100s of 1000s of people continues in Detroit (and millions in other cities but we are discussing Detroit.) Everyone defends them as poor little disadvantaged souls, but they make choices and frankly, have ruined Detroit and continue to do so.

    I realize there is a progressive school for teen mothers in Detroit, etc, but nothing has really impacted this source of crime and misery. Most teen mothers go on to have 2nd children within 2 years, despite access to contraceptive. It is a way of life, and we enable it.

    Instead of name calling, does anyone have a global solution for this? Without completely changing the cycle of dependency on welfare, WIC, section 8, food stamps, ADFC, etc etc etc, nothing will ever change. And Detroit will remain a crime-ridden wasteland full of condemned houses and people dependent on the government. Everyone talks around this problem, but until this large group of people decides to change, Detroit, and other cities, will remain blighted.

    We can accept it as a given, but then none of these good ideas will make any difference, so don't waste another trillion dollars. And until I began working with them on a daily basis, I did not understand the extent of the problem. It's huge, and has ruined Detroit, with no real hope in sight. Little remedies will not help, nor will government money, which at this point is almost counterproductive, as it fosters the dependency.

    • 14.1

      You do have a point, grewupindetroit. I don't have an answer, nor has anyone who's studied the "welfare trap" (as a place where people get "stuck" sometimes for generations, including a loss of desire to change their circumstances in some cases) -- from any angle.

      My thought was that a truly charismatic leader might have a chance -- someone to whom all the people look up -- Coleman Young seems to have had a fair piece of that personality, but he used it to divide people and strengthen the divide between City and Suburbs, and between Blacks and Whites (and everyone else) - he used his charisma to lead the people in a negative and ultimately self-destructive direction. Detroit could use someone with that kind of pull and influence -- to pull in a new and better direction.

      But I know that is pie-in-the-sky. You can't just sit around waiting for the Second Coming of some Miracle Worker.

      I think part of the problem, for me anyway, is that there is a cultural divide which makes it very hard for a white middle-class person (from a white, educated-but-poor background) to really understand the situation from the perspective of those in it -- because it is from someone who truly understands that perspective that the solution must come.

      Here's my example of coming hard up against that cultural divide: My mom used to work as a baker at a cafeteria in the Detroit area. Nearly all the workers were uneducated African-Americans out of the city proper, while all the management were white, middle-class, middle-aged males (mostly from Indiana). The management were jerks and treated the staff poorly, while many of the staff were nuts (someone who chases another person around with a meat cleaver and tries to cut them is nuts in my books) or on drugs (not all of them - my mom made friends with some good people while she was there too). But it was the first time she'd spent extended periods in daily interaction with folks from this very different culture. She told me, from talking with the many young, unmarried mothers she met in this work, that from their perspective, they didn't use birth control because they WANTED to have children -- it was a mark of being mature and grown-up to have a baby (or two) -- so when girls reached that age when they first start making the move from child to adult, they were eager to show they were adults -- so they got pregnant on purpose. Now, she didn't do a scientific study, but this is the story she got from the small sample of girls and women with whom she worked.

      Likewise, I remember a conversation about the poor black people who did not evacuate when Hurricane Katrina was on the way in New Orleans. She said, you have to remember, that in their culture, you do not trust The Man (i.e. government, police or any other white people in authority) -- The Man is just trying to get you to leave your homes so He can take something away from you. (Plus there are areas outside New Orleans where people don't have indoor plumbing, let alone television to get alerts and get an idea of the scope of the storm -- they've lived through many before, and so, this is just another one). My mom knew an African-American lady who came into the cafeteria fairly often -- an educated lady, a lawyer, but who had grown up poor in the New Orleans area, who held that very same attitude.

      Now I want to be clear. I am not saying this is correct, or that what I describe above is "black culture" in America. I suspect that there are many "black cultures" in America, just as there are "white cultures," "affluent cultures," "immigrant cultures," "criminal cultures," etc etc. My point is merely that these ways of thinking are entirely alien to me (and I suspect they would be to my educated African-American friends, all of whom I got to know in college or working in Higher Ed. Aside from a few fellas I know who dig football and who work on housekeeping or grounds, I can't claim to personally know any lower income African-Americans) -- and because the whole way of thinking is so alien, so utterly incomprehensible to me, any solution that I might propose stands a good chance of falling flat on its face for lack of understanding of that very different culture.

      So my (non-)answer is -- the solution has to include people who have grown up in that culture to bring ideas and perspectives to the table which will insure that this issue is addressed in a way that stands a chance of success.

      My opinion only, of course.

    • 14.2

      I think your experience of nobody providing answers to your repeated questioning stems from the fact that you already appear to be 110% certain of what the answer is.

      I would also like to suggest the probability that people consider you racist because much of your rhetoric is filled with prejudice. (see "they ruined Detroit", blanket claims of laziness, etc.)

      Having said that, I would like to point out an apparent inconsistency in your line of questioning. On the one hand you say that the problem is due to individuals making individual choices, and yet on the other hand you blame the "cycle of dependency". Which is it?... Because it can't be both.

      I'm not sure of your professional capacity, but in my experience (having spent three years building houses at Habitat for Humanity), I met literally hundreds of people who chose a path towards a more stable life by entering the Habitat program. These people had all sorts of backgrounds, and the vast majority were single moms who had made poor choices early in life and were trying to makes things right. They succeeded only because of charity, goodwill, and, yes, welfare.

      I also saw people almost get all the way there, even to the point of moving into their new home (no easy task), and yet still failed once they'd moved on to the next step. These folks were few, but it goes to show that sometimes life is more than just intentions. They wanted a better life. Spent years of effort and hard labor getting to that point, only to fall behind at the last second. Sometimes it was luck. Sometimes it was bad circumstances. And sometimes they just didn't have it in them.

      I find it hard to blame any of these people for the state of their surroundings, and I was bolstered by their obvious need to escape it. I also find it hard to draw a line in the sand with "welfare class" on the one side and "working poor" on the other. Maybe you see a more desperate side of life in your work, but remember for every person out there not doing their part, there are many more trying to do the best they can, and they are using the welfare system doing it.

      That being said, I do not believe that this state of affairs has always been so. You claim that the "welfare class" does not want to work. I ask, at what point do you think this mentality began? You seem to believe that it goes back generations, but I counter with the point that these peoples' forebearers were part of a huge movement to the north precisely to find work. A hundred years ago, people came en masse to work in those plentiful auto jobs you speak of. They left their lives behind and their family. They did it to escape the extreme discrimination that was their previous life. Whatever that movement was, it was not built upon laziness or a lack of desire. I ask you again, can you be 100% certain that these people were given a fair shake in that deal?

      I cannot. I would say that many people were not given a fair chance to prove themselves, were marginalized in the worst jobs on those factory floors, and were not given a chance to work their way out. This is not conjecture, it is well documented fact.

      Given these circumstances, how long do you think before apathy and malaise sets into those workers? How long before that transfers to their offspring? How long before we find ourselves in the situation we are in now? At what point do you say, "Oh yes, that's when 'they' ruined it all", because it seems to me that there is a tremendous arc here not defined by any individual, or socio-economic group, but by everybody who took part. By every foreman who would not look past skin color. By every desperate person who couldn't pull it together long enough for a job interview. By every well intentioned person who thought that just throwing money at the problem without any form of nurture or structure would do the trick. By every person who thinks that there's just no hope left, so we may as well give up.

    • 14.3

      we're united. we aim at each other.

  • 15

    I think the churches are trying to initiate some change in outlook.

    I am not sure that the teen mothers and fathers perceive their lifestyle as a problem, so change does not appear imminent.

    And there seems to be a drop-off of church involvement from decades ago, so the influence is not as great.

    TV and video games also reinforce the lifestyle, as do some sports stars, not all though.

    Personally, having so much contact with this population does not make me optimistic about the possiblility for real change. That makes me think that Detroit and other cities going are not have a good future, regardless of government money or small scale projects such as urban farms. My friend was a founder of this farm movement and when I ask him about the big picture, he just laughs. He and his friends have no larger solution, until there is a reason for change from within.

    Any thoughts from TIME magazine writers?

  • 16

    Hi Karen, post suggestion:
    Can you please share some blog visitor statistics with us? I am curious what % of your readers are from outside the state of Michigan. Are you stories reaching beyond the Metro Detroit area?

  • 17

    Does TIME try to track the location of IP addresses, which is not always that specific, but can be done for some users? (It is, of course possible to buy blocking software, if you want to protect your privacy). I think in many cases it is very general, such as one's country. Interesting topic.

  • 18

    grewupindetroit- My thoughts exactly. Web analytical tools like Google Analytics allow you to easily slice the data by metro region/state/country, etc.

    • 18.1

      I think TIME has given up on this topic on the blog. I have noticed that whenever welfare and teen moms, dads and crime, etc etc, are brought up, there is little discussion.

      Except for 1 time, Darrell D. answered that bankers were the problem, not youths in Detroit who drop out of HS at an alarming rate, as part of the welfare cycle. Truth is, we could use more bankers in SE Michigan, since Comerica moved out.

      I would very much appreciate their thoughts about the "welfare class" but they will ignore this thread and my concerns, since it is not a PC topic! Although very pertinent to Detroit, and other cities, as well.

      So I would take your questions about demographics to another thread, as I killed this thread with welfare concerns!

    • 18.2

      According to another blog posting from "The Detroit House", increased spending on Health and Human Services is the answer to Michigan's plight, as - to paraphrase - "Michigan is balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable."

      So, there you have it - throw more money at the problem and it'll go away and everyone will be happy. Glad there is a special, unique, cutting eduge assignment like this to make such assumptions.

  • 19

    And the response from TIME journalists about the effect of welfare families, teen mothers and fathers with repeated pregnancies on Detroit and other cities, and the relationship of these to crime and middle-class fight from Detroit?

    Influence of chronic welfare families on the unemployment rate, even when there were jobs, crime, blight, school drop-out rate, etc etc etc?

    Any thoughts from TIME about that, or are we back to beautifying the Eastern market?

  • 20

    I think that these comments got out of order in time they were posted.

    Per barebrain: I am trying to find an answer to how to break the welfare cycle, which began with the Great Society, under LBJ, and which even some black leaders warned against, as it could have legitimized behaviors and reinforced dependence on the government, which these entitlements have in some cases.

    Until these behaviors of teen pregnancies, penalizing marriage by reducing benefits, dropping out of school, joining gangs, etc. are not reinforced by either peer groups OR entitlement structures (different causes in different scenarios), then cities will continue to struggle with large groups of people who take far more than they give both fiscally and in the work force.

    It is not only cut along racial lines, of course, there are millions of welfare recipientswho are white and Hispanic, whom I have referred to.

    It is not a healthy way to live, and throwing more and more money at it to pacify people is not a good environment. And I don't think that Detroit or other similar cities will ever turn around, not in the least bit, until this is confronted and changed in a macro level. Far more than farming will do, or pretty markets or art galleries. To me, this is the crux of Detroit's problems, and until it is changed from within, not much else matters.

    • 20.1

      I certainly agree that what's been done to try to solve the problems isn't working 40+ years later. That being said, what did we do wrong? I have personally seen people use the welfare system to help them pull themselves up their own bootstraps as some like to say. You have seen people who've become entitled and entrapped by the same system.

      Before I am ready to fully acknowledge the politically charged ideal of the "welfare class" you speak of, I want to know the facts. Before we completely dismantle this system, we need to know what worked, what didn't work, and what mistakes did we all make along the way that led to the system as it is known today.

      I realize that there are those out there who would say that Detroit during the 60's was a terrific place to live and raise a family, and it would be hard to argue the point with those folks. Of course there are thousands of others who would disagree. Detroit in the 1960's was also a pretty toxic place with very little hope or future for a vast number of its citizens. We all need to recognize that point before deciding that "they... ruined Detroit", when in fact, it is clear that everybody has played a role in its demise. We will never be able to move forward until that point is recognized.

      I haven't seen that happen yet.

  • 21

    I would appreciate it if someone would analyze the positives and negatives of welfare and other entitlements, especially vis a vis Detroit. But no one here really has, including the TIME journalists, who would rather review an art gallery or restaurant than look at this major issue which also eats up a lot of tax money and burdens Detroit immensely.

    Do I expect the TIME journalists to be capable of this? Maybe, maybe not, they seem to deal selectively with issues that can be more fluff or cutesey one-liners, without in much depth analysis. Like trying to be "just folks."

    TIME may just be the wrong publication to be able to deal with an analysis of real economic or social issues. But it was tempting to give it a try.

    Can any of you suggest any publications or books that treat welfare and its ramifications in a balanced way, with an eye to modifying it fairly for both recipients and taxpayers?

    • 21.1

      Go read Flat Broke with Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform by Sharon Hays

      and don't come back until you're ready to stop whining.

  • 22

    Why don't you give me a synopsis, as I am very busy with my work with teen mothers and their children this week.

    That way, you can be part of a solution, and help the good people of TIME who are searching for art galleries, and Republicans to be snooty about. Thanks so much announce!

    • 22.1

      Actually, why don't you focus fully on your admirable, important work with teen moms and their offspring . . .

      . . . rather than reading bloggers you don't value and lobbing loogies dripping with smug cynicism.

      You may been RaisedInDetroit, but clearly never grew up.

  • 23

    Because there are some cogent commenters that that present some good points, and one can find those buried among some of the usual undereducated comments.

    Replying without any thought about a topic, or making fun of a name with an intent to insult, does not deter me from trying to find an answer to the real questions of what plagues Detroit, which are crime and uneducated people.

    I think that maybe TIME editors will one day really examine this blog and see that the "journalists" they sent to Detroit are biased and not very analytical at all. They certainly do not represent a variety of opinions or outlooks, which will only deter selling the magazine. I predict TIME will be out of print within 5 years.

    And not many people would pay for this blog content, it is very superficial, biased and emotional, such as Darrell's rants about his agenda, which are not very useful at all, and only serve to alienate many people. The other content is largely fluff. I look at this for the occasional comment which has any sense to it. This would be defined differently for various people. Obviously there are some who make fun of my name or whatever to try to belittle me. So be it. I just lump them in with the problems in Detroit, examples of why the city is such a mess and will likely stay that way, if this represents the best and the brightest.

    • 23.1

      [ "The 'journalists' they sent to Detroit . . ." ]

      . . . have been here for a lifetime, in the case of bloggers Karen Dybis and Darrell Dawsey.

  • 24

    [...] tip to Philip Lauri (mural painter to the stars) for finding the [...]

  • 25

    [...] the first time online, The Farmer and the Philosopher, by Philip Lauri. Watch it here. When you're finished, vote for it to air nationally on Current TV. Also, it will [...]

  • 26

    [...] Woods neighborhood. Spencer is a noted jazz guitarist; Barbara does photography and other medias. Philip Lauri showed us his mural. And I loved the Scarab Club with its artists in residence. And who could [...]

  • 27

    [...] met Lauri in 2009 to see his Gratiot Avenue mural – a mix of whimsy and social message. I had heard about his newest public-art project, and I was [...]

  • 28

    [...] Lives! has captured the attention of media ranging from Monocle to Time. And no wonder: Detroit Lives! constantly finds bold and imaginative ways to create a positive vibe [...]

  • 29

    January Birthstone...

    [...]Detroit lives! - The Detroit Blog -[...]...

  • 30

    [...] since we all love a crazy story, I want all my fellow Lions football fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

  • 31 Check out Jordan Dunbar Photography, a Central PA & State College Wedding, Portrait, and Event Photographer

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