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Finding a Smidge of Hope Here

Is it a drop of water – or is Detroit's glass starting to feel a little more full?

This is what I'm wondering about the $5 million auto supplier giant Lear Corp. is giving the city as announced Wednesday. It is a 10-year grant that will fund new parks, equipment, a school-based mentoring program and more.

Personally, my feeling is the tide is turning. I'm particularly enthused by this quote from Mayor Dave Bing as heard on WWJ-AM:

“What I'd like to do today, not only thanking them for their support, but use it as a challenge to other business groups that can do some of the things that Lear has stepped up to the table to do,” Bing said. “So I'll be going out, as I have been, to other business relationships that I've been able to formulate over time and use this as an example of how we work together to bring this city back.”

To me, Bing's quote is a prime example of why this mayor is the right man for this job.

He's got business clout. He's got some cred with his peers. And he's calling ALL of it in. Why not? There is no mission as large as Detroit for someone who likes to fix things, who likes to see things done right, who has a tick for working out every little thing. Bing has such a thankless job. I'm happy to see his business acumen is helping him smooth some paths.

Face it: There is not enough money to fix this monster, this beast of a city from the tax base. We need charity, grants, foundation money, whatever it takes to make a tide of change. Some might see $5 million as a drop of water; I see it as one more bucket being poured into a growing reservoir.

Oh, and Lear is opening a plant in the city, which should hire about 200 people. Again, a drop of water when it comes to jobs. But add that to the thousands arriving thanks to Quicken, Blue Cross and others and you've got something.

I'm hopeful. There, I've said it. I have hope for Detroit. And that hope is growing stronger.

From The Detroit Free Press:

"I know that Lear isn't looking for accolades, but they deserve more than a pat on the back,” Bing said. “We want to use this as an example for other business leaders. Detroit is a city worth saving and a city worth investing in."

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  • 1

    I wish the mayor good fortune in these endeavors. As the business community comes back from horrible times, it's good to have someone who has the bridges built to bring them further into the effort.

  • 2

    I say......WATCH THE MONEY !
    Not pointing any fingers or accusing any one of anything. However, Detroits' history with grants and monies recieved for help, has been to let the money dissapear into the hands of anyone who could get away with it.
    Yes, we need the help but let's keep the funds where they belong, in Detroit and used for Detroit.
    We don't need any more "Help Yourself" polititans.

    What could we do with the 80 MILLION that dissapeared during the "Kaume Kill-Detroit-Patrick" administration?

    Thanks for the help, we need it and plan to use it correctly. For if we don't, the grants and giving will stop. After all, if others want to help someone, they will help the people who use it correctly and wisely.

  • 3

    Non-profit organizations located in the metropolitan area comprise a large community. These organizations would be more effective if they were able to locate and employ people with skills in grant writing, fund raising, the recruitment and management of volunteers, program evaluation and performance measurement, strategic planning, and financial management. Foundations and others are reluctant to give money to organizations without a proven track record of effectiveness and accountability.

  • 4

    And what is Lear Corporation to do with the abandoned & closed plant on Nanct Street, east of Ryan, in the McNichols/Ryan area of Zipcode 48212. Since it's closing a few years ago, the area has went down further than it was already.

  • 5

    Here's a thought Karen; How about TIME magazine publishes a positive 10 page article about the virtues of Detroit complete with full page cover titled, "The True Spirit of Detroit" with color photos of our River Walk near Ren Cen, Lake Shore Dr. in Grosse Pointe, the Fox Theater, Comerica Park, the Fisher Bldg just to name a few. You know, the complete opposite of the one sided Oct. 5, 2009 TIME issue that so viciously slamed Detroit.

    Think how some positive publicity would encourage 'charity, grants, foundation money' and just plain outside investment.

    You people at TIME might also give a thought to how much damage you have done to Detroit's image, our business climate, our tourism industry, our real estate values and our tax base.

  • 6

    I hope that this project continues and is facilitated in the proper manner, with no misappropriations of funds, and no abrupt halting of the redevelopment promises. There needs to be strict and rigid oversight of this project.
    The reopening of a factory is most encouraging. I hope that this trend continues.

  • 7

    I see some signs of hope as well, but I wonder: Has the mayor outlined his vision for what he wants the city to look like? Where is he taking us?

    I sense that people are willing to do a lot to bring the city back, and willing to chip away at it without easy, quick solutions, if they feel that it's part of a cohesive, long-term plan. I'm not sure I've heard that, and if not I worry that the bits of good news won't gel into a coherent whole. The drips of hope will just splash on the table unless they're falling into a glass that keeps them all together.

    I just wrote about this in a bit more detail on my blog:

  • 8

    Thanks for your response Karen. Although I said, "You people at Time ...", I did not mean to include you. I'm convinced that had you been given the assignment to write that Oct. 5, 2009 issue, at least it would have been balanced.

    I don't hold much hope of convincing TIME Inc. or any other members of the national media to amend their attacks on Detroit. Admitting to their biased, one sided, negative perspective would be contrary to their objective which I believe to be the total dismantling of Detroit.

    Strong words and shades of conspiracy, I know. But the attention has been too negative and too sharply focused for me to believe otherwise.

    It didn't just begin with TIME's Oct. 2009 issue. It began in the early 80's when California needed a replacement for their fading defense industry. An alliance with the Pacific Rim, the California beach head established for the U.S. headquarters of the Japanese auto industry and the importation of Japanese cars through the Long Beach port of entry, were just the beginnings of the attacks on Detroit's auto industry and on Detroit itself.

    Detroit's auto industry is the cornerstone of our economy. To weaken it not only attacks our economy, but threatens our sense of pride and undermines our very identity. The national media's destruction of our image completes the project - perhaps the final slap in the face, the final insult. As planned, outside investment dries up. Businesses leave. Jobs leave. People leave. We have a weaker voice in Washington. And we can't stop them when the parched South and Southwest come after our water.

    Detroit is now just a shell of what it once was. As I have said in previous posts, I don't minimize Detroit's complicity in its own decline but I also recognize the role played in that decline by the national media and their unrelenting negative attacks. I can't seem to convince anyone on this but I don't intend to stop trying either.

    • 8.1

      jeff9809, I actually DO believe in the California-Japan Alliance theory(FACT!)..You got the sense of exactly HOW real when THE GOVERNATOR Came to Detroit trying to rip off THE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW, take it back to L.A. Also This whole Pacific Rim 'thing' gained favor after '74 gfas crisis.. Very few thought USA 3 Cars were inferior to ANY mass produced cars. The Artificial Gas Crisis, GAVEaway25% of USa3 share, overnight. Go to any current car show, and a person will instantly see how FAR Superior, the Falcons, Darts, Corvairs, 6 cyl. Mustangs, On and On...Ramblers...Novas...Were than anything the Japanese could come up with for at least 10 years...Isn't it funny that despite the world-wide(Western Allies-wide) gas shipping boycott Not ONE Pacific Rim---JAPANESE Auto Factory EVER closed!! ..How many HERE cLOSED??...The TESLA start-up 'garbage'...Hell Delorean had made more cars , after this long time W/O ANY USA aide! Rich connected Californians were going to show The great unwashed Factory "rats" how it's done! What A Joke! Fisker(?) tesla, et al Silicone Valley start up car cos. are ready to fold EVEN with the 1 $$ bilion they got from US.. Those rim cos., got almost 30 % of funds to develpo efficient cars...WAY more than GIANT USA 3 per employee! Both houses ruled by CAs. Reps. CA. leveraged its political might to tryand gain millions of auto and auto related dollars and jobs....Toyota eventually Bought into what,..Fisker?..Tesla ?? for a paltry $50: million Toyota now has $500 million of US tax payer dollars! ..I submit to you if that Americans, notoriously Non-History proficient , Had The New W. A. M. type of experiences, this would NOT have happened!! Calif. is $50 BILLIONs IN debt, with NO prospects!! It Has TO STEAL JOBS wherever it can!!

  • 9

    Right on the mark, davebailey. It's reassuring to know that at least one other person is aware of what's going down.

    There is an episode called "Westward Ho", one of 11 such episodes conducted from California by John McElroy's Autoline TV show. Access the website at It pretty well defines the California superiority complex, their claim on our auto industry and their contempt for Detroit and Michigan.

    There is so much more material supporting my position, but there is neither the time nor the space to include it all.

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