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Detroit Versus Metro Detroit

It's the same old story, but now there are new players.

So it seems Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is mad at Detroit Mayor Dave Bing for implying (or outright saying, depending on who you talk to) that the City wants the DETROIT Pistons to move downtown.

Oakland County is one of the richest places is the nation, let alone Michigan. And I understand Patterson's irritation with anyone taking tax base and money out of his territory. But I cannot abide another war between two politicians about the city and the suburbs.

For all of our sakes, can we get on the same page?

Great commentary on the topic in Thursday's Detroit News by Nolan Finley. He outlines Patterson's arguments, which basically accuse Bing of "poaching" the Pistons from Auburn Hills.

"I don't see how moving furniture around on the deck of the Titanic helps this region grow," Patterson said.

"I've worked darn hard to bring economic development to Oakland County, and to keep it here," Patterson says. "I've got a team that pounds on doors all over the world looking for new jobs and growth for Oakland. And I don't appreciate Detroit, Wayne County or anyone else trying to steal them once I've gotten them here."

Guess who helped that iceberg ram into the Titanic, Mr. County Executive? Look, Brooksie, this region is dying. And that includes Oakland County, too. If Detroit goes under, what do you think all of your residents of Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield, Royal Oak and elsewhere are going to do? They're going to leave the state, that's what. No one is going to sit around while their million-dollar home goes worthless, or their business fails because there is no one around to spend any money.

I cannot comprehend (meaning: fill me in if you think you can) why Brooks, Bing or anyone else thinks this is productive. Detroit has to be the focus of all our collective attention. There cannot be any separation between the area's fortunes. We all are dependent on one another now.

Look, Oakland County has its faults and issues too. Pontiac, which is the center of the county, has gone beyond dying into dead territory for the most part. How about we look at fixing Pontiac, Detroit, Flint and countless other cities before we attack one another?

Finley's column also quotes the mayors of Livonia and Warren, complaining about how Detroit "stole" Quicken Loans and General Motors. Okay, about Royal Oak picking up Saab? We could do this all day.

I'm sick of it.

Finley seems on the side of the region -- meaning, he wants growth across the board but not at the expense of the city or the suburbs.

A strong central city provides indirect benefits to the suburbs, but not enough to make up for a devastated tax base. It's not a healthy regional strategy to fill a building downtown by vacating one in the suburbs. And there's certainly no defense in using state tax dollars to do so. The region's revival must be fueled by newcomers bringing in growth. Robbing Brooks to pay Bing will shift around the region's devastation, but won't make it go away.

Sure, that would be nice. But no one is coming here of their own will. Why don't we focus on fixing one part of the problem at a time?

ADD ON: A blog post from today's event "Telling Charge of our (Detroit) Story:

Sugrue: “I'm an advocate of regional cooperation.”

Posted by Louis on March 18, 2010 - 10:41 am

“… The most successful metropolitan regions get together to solve common issues. Detroit is not one of those regions, he says.”

P.S. Sugrue is Thomas Sugrue of the University of Pennsylvania, author of Origins of the Urban Crisis. So there.

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  • 1

    I live in Oakland County and have long felt that Brooks Patterson is an embarrassment to me and others like me who work, recreate, and enjoy our involvement in the City of Detroit. His thnly veiled racism and utter contempt for "them" may gain him votes in the northernmost parts of his feifdom but it represents a sorry history of division. distrust, and suspicion that has gotten us nowhere. He is a relic of the past....a dinosaur but thankfully his time is coming to an end. With luck we'll find someone with vision and hope that can put racism behind and work together to make the region a better place.

  • 2

    thank you, i was waiting to see if you were going to cover this.

    imo Oakland county profits alot form Detroit. Detroiters have to go to the suburbs to get what they don't offer in the city. Oakland county residents very seldom have to come to Detroit to get goods.

    i love the burbs they are beautiful neighborhoods, but i prefer to be in a city. but in the short 29 years i have been in the region, it just seems the burbs dont want to see anything good for Detroit. in thier eyes what is good for Detroit is bad for the burbs.


  • 3

    I am Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's media and communications officer. I find the comments in this blog about my boss very troubling and inflammatory.

    Let me begin by emphasizing that the relationship between Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is one of admiration and respect. But a good relationship does not mean you always agree. Indeed, the best relationships are built on working out differences.

    The words Mr. Patterson expressed earlier this week regarding the Mayor and the Pistons are not the first shot in “another war between two politicians,” as this blog puts it. In fact, the county executive continues to develop a relationship with Mayor Bing that will benefit both Detroit and Oakland County. Our administration embraces the Mayor's effort to right size city government.

    The blog says, “Guess who helped that iceberg ram into the Titanic, Mr. County Executive.” One can infer you are blaming the decline of the city on Oakland County. That somehow, Oakland County has taken advantage of Detroit.

    It is the policy of this administration that we do not seek out businesses from the City of Detroit, or even our other neighbors. In the past 10 years, a total of two businesses from the City of Detroit relocated into Oakland County with the assistance of our Economic Development Department. Those were instances where those companies sought us out.

    In fact, Mr. Patterson has started some of the most successful regional programs that include Detroit. Here are a few examples:

    • Automation Alley is an initiative that began in Oakland County to identify and promote high tech companies to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley, and other technology corridors around the nation. The program has expanded all over southeast Michigan through eight counties, and includes the City of Detroit.
    • Courts Law Enforcement Management Information System (CLEMIS) is the largest crime data-sharing consortium in the nation. Started in Oakland County under Mr. Patterson's administration, hundreds of law enforcement agencies in southeast Michigan now share information to help solve crimes and to try to keep residents safe everywhere.
    • Oakland County has helped to create and will manage four Urban Search and Rescue teams that will be the first in the state to be able to respond to natural or man made disasters that topple buildings. This consortium includes the City of Detroit.

    Sounds like a man who is just ready to throw in the towel on the City of Detroit, doesn't it? Oh, wait.

    As for the follow up bloggers who say Patterson lacks vision. You could not be more wrong. His Emerging Sectors program has identified 10 areas of economic growth and opportunity to transform from a manufacturing to knowledge-based economy. His Medical Main Street is leveraging the great health care assets of the region to promote Oakland County and beyond as the place to be for the life sciences. And he is on the cutting edge of delivering government services with the most current technology. Oakland County's IT Department recently garnered the highest recognition of any county in the nation by the Center for Digital Government as the most digitally-advanced county.

    As for the remark that Patterson is a racist, is that the best, most intelligent argument you can make? What makes him a racist? That he vigorously defends Oakland County? That he tells it the way it is no matter whom it might offend? Those who call my boss a racist never have a cogent argument to follow it up. And in this case, why don't you put your comments behind and realize no one is doing more than Mr. Patterson to make this region a better place.

    • 3.1

      ...Hey billu..,... OOps !...I mean Brooksasskisser1... Who STOLE THE PISTONS IN FIRST PLACE(?) Don't include Fort Wayne...yuks!... WHO STOLE THE LIONS?>>>who stole SSKresges..Ad nuaseum... Hey, By the way...,Good job of keeping K-Mart AFTER THEY BOUGHT sears! They moved to Chicagoland!.....Brooksie thought himself THE PERFECT FOIL for Hizzoner Mayor Young..Ya' know kinds' like the kindly. yet superior -bred o'seer!.....Very Patronizing! Ps Who cost 'THE REGION' many millions THE DAY before ground-breaking on Detroit's Superdome?! .. Oakland County Head-Hunting Jobs-Stealing Landowners, Highway execx.,..etc., etc.,..New Orleans THANKS-YOU! every game they play in OUR STADIUM!!! Don't forget Taubman's -Like proteges who coaxed an outmatched Hudson, Jr. into building Northland, westland, Oakland Mall..Stores from the "Avenue of FaSHION" INTO sOMERSET ma...cOLLECTIONS 1&2...

    • 3.2

      How is that "wireless Oakland" thing coming?

  • 4

    I am tired of political types like Bing & Patterson both leave a lot to be desired...

    With regard to calling people racists I think where it is appropriate folks should be called racists Patterson has mastered the art of speaking in codes ...

    White audiences also are very receptive to code whenever race in is play l they have mastered the art of listening and speaking in codes especially when Blacks are not in the room or public statements are made...

    Black folks in this region know who is a racist in the political domain.... Fact is for Black Americans part of our cultural dna requires us to have a racial radar and a racial antenna it comes with the package of being Black in this region and in our nation given our twisted and vile racial legacy as a nation...

  • 5

    How sad that the focus is on money.
    What about sustainable development? What about what is best for the region?

    Oakland County profits from sprawl. Why must we develop more green space when Detroit and the inner suburbs already have the infrastructure and plenty of vacant space for redevelopment?

    I love the Palace but the placement was ill thought and misguided; based almost entirely on tax incentives. This is no way to run a city or a region.

  • 6

    This is an important thread and it brings to mind the Both Orville Hubbard in Dearborn and the Metropolitanization of Toronto.

    Orville did his damndest to keep Black people out of Dearborn so now we have the Islamic center of North America.

    Brooks is actually trying to do something similar and Downtown Birmingham would become the new White Downtown Detroit except for a guy named Jack who I listened to on the Union Steps.

    Certainly the excitement, commotion and traffic jams in Downtown Birmingham on the weekend evenings have that mix that used to make Downtown Detroit so great.

    Racism led to a diaspora. And then we have been in diaspora phase II where the educated and affluent Blacks have moved on out as well and in so leaving the rest of the city to the poor except for a few enclaves.

    Yes there was the abandonment and then people began to see that this was very destructive. Pierre Heftler talked Henry into doing Ren Cen. Others are trying to talk companies back into downtown and this is noble and great.

    Bing wanting the Piston's back is perfect. It is where their Home is. It is where they belong. The Illiches are not so dumb as to move on out. They have made great investments here, and they used Architecural Restoration, not demolition to create some fine things.

    More of this sort of thing and I'll be entirely in his camp.

    Tear down that blind (windowless) and Stupid Joe Louis Arena, Put up a wonderful New arena, call it Joe II, up near the sports belt just above the necklace.

    Then expand Cobo so that it's totally world class.

    And have Dave grab Mary Sue and say, it' time to return down in the City. Don't you have classes in Urban Design and City Planning? Let's put them where the real challenge is. Let's get some lively, idealstic, young people in here.

    And while that rant about how great Brooks may bring a raise or a beer, is seems to forget that he Inherited George Skrubb, the Planner who built the Oakland County Planning Commission (the finest in the US), Who wrote the Planning enabling legislation, who wrote the initial State Board Tests and who held the certificate numbered #1, who created the greatest maps and who kept track of the County population carefully and who helped layout I-75 and who Brooks saw undermined and finally laid off.

    Surely the Automation Alley stands as one of the greatest rapes of fine residential land that ever happened in America. Look how those companies have leveled that beautiful rolling and wooded country side with magnificent views. You know there are people who actually care about ecology and the land and landscape in the grand sense and clearly this has been a rape of incredible proportions.

    Brooksie is a sort of hut, hut good ole boy like Kwame, sometimes of no redeeming virtue at all.

    He sure does like to pop off though, revealing his narrow and selfish interest.

    Toronto went through a difficult time of Metropolitanizing itself and it was successful and it sure preserved the City as a great one.

    The Selfish, racist histrory, and divisive, snarky Republican attitues have served to go a long way to destroy Detroit. It's a form of suicide.. hair shirt thing.

    And Karen is absloutely right. If Detroit goes down so will the rest of the Region.

    And now, how to get things back on track and not the BS 3 car lightrail thing that really has not purpose at all.


  • 7

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

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