Going Out of Our Minds -- For Detroit
If you read this blog regularly (and why wouldn't you?), you know my love of top-secret knowledge. I always want to know the skinny, what's behind the scenes. So today's read in The Detroit News that previews a new book about the General Motors bankruptcy blew my skirt up (figuratively).
Oh, and after the jump, I have a few links of interest for y'all.
Here's about the book: The newspaper got a preview of the book by Steven Rattner, who served as President Obama's auto advisor in 2009. He helped supervise the government's bailout of GM and Chrysler. This is Rattner's account of the events, and it has no confirmation from GM or the feds. Here's the good stuff about Detroit…When GM proposed moving its HQ from the Ren Cen to its Warren Tech Center, the government officials went nutso (my words, not Rattner's).
“Are you out of your mind?” Rattner quoted (White House aide Brian) Deese as saying. “Think what it would do to Detroit.”
Henderson proposed donating the iconic headquarters on the Detroit River to the city. Detroit received $20 million in tax revenue from GM. The White House even commissioned an outside analysis of the impact a move would have on Detroit property values, Rattner wrote. The answer: an estimated “double-digit hit on already deflated real estate prices.” Leaving the RenCen “made a lot of strategic sense,” Rattner wrote. But Michigan native Gene Sperling, a U.S. Treasury Department official, was one of many who fought the idea.
“It's over for Detroit if you do this,” Sperling yelled in a meeting, Rattner recalled. “Don't do this to (Detroit Mayor) Dave Bing... He's a good man trying to do a good thing.”
Wow. Not quite as good as what happened to JFK, but I'll take it.
Here's some interesting links to check out.
* James Poniewozik of Time magazine gives his take on what “Detroit 1-8-7” will bring to the city. He grew up around these parts, and he is willing to give the show a chance. He also gives some very interesting context as to what “The Wire” meant to Baltimore. Good read.
* Well-thought-out blogs from Kerry Doman over at Metro Mode. According to the site: Doman is the Founder and CEO of After 5 Detroit,a website that highlights events, hot spots and information targeted at young professionals who wish to fully experience the Detroit lifestyle. She also founded a spin-off business, Connect After 5,that develops after-work events and activities for local companies that seek to build morale, engage their employees within the community and increase retention amongst their staff.
* There is a push by the Woodward Avenue Action Association to preserve the Ford Highland Park. This building, now abandoned, housed the first automotive assembly line. Check out their work and add your two cents here.
What's interesting though, is that it seems all of this positive press in the New York Times is having a general effect on outsider opinions of Detroit. On a recent visit to New York to try and get some of the DL! merch in shops over there (a shop and gallery space in Brookyln called “By and By” is now selling some pieces!), it's very clear that people's opinions are changing. When presented with the Detroit Starter Kit and a general explanation of what DL! is, there was a lot more “oh yeah, Detroit is the new place to be” than there was “Eeek! Detroit is a shithole, isnt it?”— which is great. That feels good.
* If you're at a newsstand, pick up the latest edition of Next American City and read the work of Francis Grunow. The story, called “The Future of Detroit's Past,” looks interesting, but you can only get the first few graphs online. Francis, nice work!
* If you need a good deed this weekend, check out the Walk4Friendship. Friendship Circle, a not-for-profit organization that creates friendship in the lives of children and adults with special needs, will host its annual Walk4Friendship on Sunday, Sept. 5, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Walk4Friendship is Friendship Circle's 5th annual fundraiser. An estimated 7,000 metro Detroiters will gather in West Bloomfield for a 5k walk in honor of individuals with special needs. There is no cost for registration, participation or food. All participants will receive a Walk4Friendship 2010 T-shirt. The Walk4Friendship donation goal this year is $500,000. Following the 5k walk, Friendship Circle will host a complimentary carnival for all participants at the Applebaum Jewish Community Campus at 6600 W. Maple Rd. in West Bloomfield. The featured entertainment is the Chicago Boyz Acrobat team, which is a professional gymnastics troupe.