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Love It or Hate It, It's Our City

It's all about contrasts today.

Compare this column in The Detroit News Thursday by Nolan Finley entitled "I pay for the right to gripe about Detroit" to the efforts of Terry Bean over at Motor City Connect, a business networking site.

Bean is leading an effort to have at least 100,000 people pledge their love to Detroit at the same time -- 3:13 p.m. EST Friday, Aug. 13. I learned about the campaign via email Thursday shortly after reading Finley's column in the paper. Read Bean's whole "love letter" here. Bean also is heading Motor City Connect's annual week-long community service project -- Blood, Sweat & Gear (BSG10) -- a partnership between the American Red Cross, Blight Busters and Operation: Kid Equip. Learn more about it here.

From Finley in a column railing against people who say he cannot comment on Detroit unless he lives or went to school in the city. He also takes on those in the suburbs who wonder why they should care about Detroit and its problems, especially the school drop-out rate:

Just because you don't live in the city doesn't mean you can ignore its problems. Just because your kids go to successful suburban schools doesn't mean you shouldn't care that half or more of Detroit's children get washed out of life before they're out of their teens. Everyone has to engage in making Detroit and its schools work. So, no, my birth certificate doesn't say Detroit. Neither does my driver's license or high school diploma. But my tax bill does. As long as that's true, I'm not shutting up until Detroit stops wasting my money.

I'd like to think Finley is showing his own kind of love for the city, although it is a tough love. I truly appreciate how honest he is about the situation, and I wish more people would just say stuff like this. Finley has the moxie to do it. And he'll probably take the guff for it, too. I don't think he'll have a problem with that.

From Bean's email:

What if we could get 100,000 people to focus their love on Detroit for even a minute? It would send a positive ripple through this area that would turn into a tidal wave. How great would that be to ride? Use Twitter, Facebook and whatever else you got and update with whatever loving thought you have for Detroit and tag it #100kDlove.

Check out Bean's Facebook site for the low down on the 100,000 rally here. I plan on joining the effort. It may seem a little simple, but it could be quite effective when combined with the community-service event, which puts action behind it. (P.S. As far as the "Blood, Sweat and Gear" title goes, Blood is for the Red Cross donations, Sweat is for working for Blight Busters to help clean up the city and Gear is for donating books, pencils, backpacks and the like to this awesome organization. For more on Operation: Kid Equip, read here.)

These are two guys whose opinions and efforts I (mostly) respect. But they're typical of the attitudes that affect this city -- in good ways and bad.

You decide which is which.

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