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All Puffed Up About Detroit

Not sure what to make of Detroit City Council's public hearing on the new ABC television show “Detroit 1-8-7.” Is it a sign that the city has grown a spine and is tired of taking everyone's guff? Or it is just another chance to preen and complain?

The council Tuesday held a special session to talk about the upcoming police drama. As The Detroit Free Press reports, the show did not send a representative. That makes me think the producers are not too concerned about A) City Council B) Detroit's worries about its image or C) Much at all.

But here was something refreshing: Karen Dumas, chief communications officer for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, told the Free Press that the “1-8-7” team met with the administration early on and expressed their interest in working cooperatively with the city. The story goes on to say: “She added that Detroit and Michigan might not reach their full potential if city leaders continue to overreact.”

Interesting…this from a mayor that tends to carry on about what the national media thinks of Detroit. (Good Lord, don't they read this blog? I'm all puffed up with love most days.)

As an aside, I like that Councilman Kwame Kenyatta wanted a resolution asking show to change its title. As previously noted, “1-8-7” is an old police code for murder. I respect that the city's representatives don't like to be thought of in such a depreciating way. But you have to admit: We have a lot of untimely deaths around here, and a nicely worded TV show title isn't going to change people's opinions.

But I digress.

The producers “could have -- and still can -- move this project to any other city and film it without our input or approval,” Dumas told the newspaper. “While it is admirable that there are those who are concerned about the interpretation of our city from fictional television show, the efforts would be better served towards improving the city we see and live every day.”

Good golly. You want us to DO something? Care about something? Try to change things? I like it. I'll try it. But you've also got about 4 million other people to convince.

Here's a little something I read the other day on The Detroit News' web site. It comes from a cool Detroit neighborhood blogger named (of all things) Michael Happy:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is how we fix Detroit. Six, 8, 10 acres at a time. Find places (parks, churches, rec centers, etc.) that really matter to people across Metro Detroit and then start grassroots efforts to rebuild or refurbish those spots. A rally cry brings people together for a common good -- saving places that made us who we are.

Yeah. What he said. And then some.

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  • 1

    The most lethal images of the city do not come from the mouths of folks outside the state but inside the city and its suburbs....How do you fix that??? I doubt acres of veggies is the blueprint..

    • 1.1

      ...Agreed...But it does show people , sometimes, that at least think about not dropping trash RIGHT HERE or someone MIGHT get P----d off. By the way, I love those commercials(Credit Card?/...Bank...I guess they aren't THAT good) that show that cool dude from Harlem, I think , That started to reclaim his burrough, literally, 1 block at a time!! Great 'Stuff: Perhaps Detroit?

  • 2

    Interesting article but with all the enormous, systemic problems in the Detroit Metro Area one would think that any negative press from a TV show would not make any difference. It has always astonished me how the people of the area continue to simplify or worse ignore the source of the area's problems, origins of which can be traced back over 100 years. If you are familiar with the ruins in Detroit you probably know of the Ransom Gillis House on the corner of John R and Alfred Street. I have traced the history of this structure back 150 years. Its story has a lot to say on how Detroit got where it is and maybe some insight on how it can be turned around. See

  • 3

    Say-- I wonder if the producers of the show could be convinced to take on the costs of blowing up the old Train Station in the season finale. Seriously. Here's the scenario-- a mysterious mad bomber starts targeting abandoned buildings throughout the city, and the countdown is on for stopping him. Several rickety structures will get the "boom-boom-pow!" on a recurring basis throughout the season; we only see the culprit in shadow or behind their back. When the remains of innocent squatters are found in the rubble, the charges are upped from Property Destruction to Murder.. Clues eventually reveal that the culprit sees his vandalism as rebellious works of art, and his "piece de resistance" will be detonating the Train Depot. The heroes race down Michigan Avenue, confronting the villain, but he has his hands on the killswitch.. and in the final seconds..
    3-2-1.. 'baroooooooommm'.....
    who is buried alive? who's just buried?
    stay tuned next fall!

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