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Identifying Detroit's Problems

Some more stuff to think about when thinking about Detroit.

On Monday, three top business leaders met with the Detroit Economic Club to discuss what issues are holding the state back -- big surprise, one of the problems is government.

A highlight:

(Speakers were) John Rakolta Jr., CEO of Walbridge construction company; Anthony Earley Jr., CEO of DTE Energy; and David Brandon, CEO of Domino's Pizza. All are members of Business Leaders for Michigan. In presenting a broad outline of the plan, the three men placed the lion's share of blame for the state's ongoing financial woes on what they called a the lack of leadership and will in Lansing.

"We have a plan," Brandon said. "I spend a lot of time up in Lansing and they don't have a plan."

The panel emphasized long-range planning -- such as adopting a budget that would span two years or more, as opposed to the current year-to-year blueprint -- and a fundamental review and restructuring to bring state government and public spending in line with its resources. The CEOs also emphasized that the state must reorganize its economic priorities to make job growth the priority.

Read the whole story here.

Also, a Web site called "StreetGangs.com" rates Detroit as one of the five worst cities for urban youth. Here's the listing:

The motor city presents a dismal high school graduation rate of 38% according to America's Promise Alliance; it too is struggling with the same educational challenges as Atlanta, Baltimore, and Cleveland. According to the most recent executive summary of juvenile statistics published by the Michigan Department of Human Services, Detroit's Wayne County is at the top of the list of counties identified for targeted intervention due to a high juvenile crime arrest rate over a period of 5 years, and high prevalence of arrest in the most recent year of documented juvenile justice data. Statewide, African-American youth comprise almost 50% of arrested juveniles. Detroit is also known to be one of the most violent cities, rated as the nation's murder capital by Forbes. The FBI reports 17,428 instances of violent crime out of a population of 905,783, in their most recent published data on U.S. Crime. Michigan Higher Education Land Policy Consortium reports that Detroit has an infant mortality rate of 15.4 per 1000 live births. The city's unemployment rate stands at a staggering 17.3%. For Detroit's zipcode of 48201, more than $20,000,000 in Recovery Act funds has been received, with only 67 jobs having been created.

It is a serious Web site. Here's how it describes itself: "The initial purpose of this web site was to share information about the history of gang formation in Los Angeles which is key into understanding the scope of the current gang situation. Some of the historical research on gangs was published in Territoriality Among African American Street Gang in Los Angeles. The information on this web site is useful for parents, educators, and at-risk youth in understanding how the geography of gangs has had a major impact on the residents of Los Angeles and the surrounding communities."

The site's author is Alex Alonso, "who has been researching gangs in Los Angeles, the United States and abroad since 1993 and has developed a unique perspective on gangs through his ethnographic/geographic approaches. He is familiar with the active gangs of New York during the 1970s, and he has studied in depth the structure and history of organized crime in New York City and New Jersey. Most recently he has written on the social history of Los Angeles' contemporary gangs and is publishing a comprehensive book on Los Angeles current gang crisis."

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