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Old 07-20-2013, 12:56 PM   #41
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If we act like ostriches and try to keep alive relics of another time like Detroit, we are being very stupid, and ultimately will lose out to younger, less encumbered nations. This may be inevitable anyway, but unenlightened political attitudes can make it much more certain.
But what, exactly, is the implication of what you're saying? Surely it is clear you're talking about no bail-out or any such thing, but where should the failure point be, in your scenario? The bondholders, or the pensioners? Or are you talking about disincorporation. (I've got a bunch of questions and thoughts about what would happen in that scenario, but I don't think anyone seriously thinks that's where this is going - right?)
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:04 PM   #42
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Detroit owns $2 billion in art within the Detroit Institute of Arts that is owned by the City and apparently they cant be forced to and don't plan to sell it. Not sure if that's true or not, but based on the stats listed above, do you really think this is the demographic that takes full advantage of stuffy art museums? The City is falling down around them.. They don't need art. Once again, more mismanagement by politicians who are out of touch with reality.
The Detroit Institute of Arts serves the entire Detroit metropolitan area. On any given day, I'm sure that the majority of visitors are from the suburbs. I'm also pretty confident that most of the docents and benefactors also live in the suburbs. The governance of the museum is by a separate entity from the city of Detroit and the museum is supported by a millage on residents from the three surrounding counties. Many of the pieces were donated with a stipulation that the art could never be sold or ownership reverts back to the entity donating the artwork.

After bankruptcy, the city will continue on and the hope is to draw younger and more middle and upper class residents. Would Detroit and the entire region be in a better position to do that with a vacant art museum? To me, that is kind of like burning your seed corn.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:07 PM   #43
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Detroit owns $2 billion in art within the Detroit Institute of Arts that is owned by the City and apparently they cant be forced to and don't plan to sell it. Not sure if that's true or not, but based on the stats listed above, do you really think this is the demographic that takes full advantage of stuffy art museums? The City is falling down around them.. They don't need art. Once again, more mismanagement by politicians who are out of touch with reality.
I heard a news story on the art. My understanding is that the most valuable art pieces were conditionally bequeathed, some with provisions that ownership of the art automatically reverts to the trust or descendants of the donor if the conditions are breached. There are standards of law, such as cy pres, that protect the donor's intent. I could see cy pres used to modify a condition that said a specific donation had to be on display in a certain building to allow it to be displayed in another nearby building, but not to allow a donation to be sold to raise cash.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:15 PM   #44
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It's a real shame. At one time the city had everything going for it: Thriving businesses, good infrastructure and location, cultural/arts attractions, etc. I hope things can be turned around (some places have done it--Pittsburgh, etc). At the very least, Detroit's example can be beneficial for many other city governments and the residents of these towns, especially those in the Midwest. I listened to local talk radio out of Cincinnati this morning (a city with it's own fiscal problems), and Detroit's situation and the lessons for Cincy were the only things people wanted to discuss.

The airport in Detroit is great--clean, modern, efficient. Now I wonder if the money spent there was another nail in the city's coffin.

Travelover, best wishes to you and the residents of Motown.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:33 PM   #45
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The airport in Detroit is great--clean, modern, efficient. Now I wonder if the money spent there was another nail in the city's coffin.
I'd believe more readily that it was one of the better investments, helping mitigate (slow) Detroit's fall, if it has any significant impact.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:37 PM   #46
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A tax-free zone (for 3? 5? X? years) within the city would encourage businesses to move back in, reboot jobs and rebuild a tax base.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:51 PM   #47
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I found this article by Keith Richburg in today's Washington Post a very perceptive take on some of the major factors that lead Detroit to this financial quagmire. I hope Detroit rebounds and finds its way.
Detroit’s demise was decades in the making - The Washington Post
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Old 07-20-2013, 03:14 PM   #48
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The Detroit Institute of Arts serves the entire Detroit metropolitan area. On any given day, I'm sure that the majority of visitors are from the suburbs. I'm also pretty confident that most of the docents and benefactors also live in the suburbs. The governance of the museum is by a separate entity from the city of Detroit and the museum is supported by a millage on residents from the three surrounding counties. Many of the pieces were donated with a stipulation that the art could never be sold or ownership reverts back to the entity donating the artwork.

After bankruptcy, the city will continue on and the hope is to draw younger and more middle and upper class residents. Would Detroit and the entire region be in a better position to do that with a vacant art museum? To me, that is kind of like burning your seed corn.
I would draw a lot more of my friends to my house if I had a theater room, a giant swimming pool, and a basketball court but I cant afford those things. If you declared bankruptcy, would you expect to keep your Bentley (if you had one) under the theory that you couldn't get a job without a car? The City of Detroit cant afford an over the top art gallery. How about they start with a quality police force, streets without giant holes in them and street lights that work. They cant buy new fire trucks (even if they could afford them) because the avg fire station is 80 years old and new fire trucks wont fit in them. Younger and more middle and upper class people aren't coming back to Detroit until basic city services are restored. Art museums can come when they can afford them.
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Old 07-20-2013, 03:38 PM   #49
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There is absolutely no way that Detroit can be resuscitated. It my be un-American to say, but Detroit is toast. The only strong manufacturing, in Detroit and the area, is artificially propped up by political favoritism and a strong union along with political allies managing to somehow keep the auto plants from leaking into right to work southern states.

Boeing here in Seattle has historically been a fortress of strong unions and highly paid jobs, many requiring only moderate skill levels. Whoops! No matter that the Democratic governor turned handsprings to keep airplane manufacturing in Puget Sound, much of it has gone to South Carolina and it looks like South Carolina will be the driver of future expansion. Washington unionized workers have always been highly skilled for the jobs that demand high skills, but they have also been hard to get along with whenever they have had the drop on management. Even all the problems with the 787 won't slow down a movement as committed as a river running toward the sea. If the SE US is skilled enough for Mercedes and BMW, it is certainly skilled enough for US automakers.

When push comes to shove, the weak players get shoved, and this will happen as world economic conditions tighten.

The article about rampant crime- where would the tax money come from to pay for police presence capable of making a dent in this? Years ago (70s) NYC was skirting bankruptcy, and it has made a spectacular recovery. But Detroit is no NYC.

Ha
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Old 07-20-2013, 04:39 PM   #50
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........ Younger and more middle and upper class people aren't coming back to Detroit until basic city services are restored.
I agree

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Art museums can come when they can afford them.
I disagree, but this will be decided by the courts and it is not an either or proposition.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:24 PM   #51
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Several things led to where we are in Detroit. Listing them would eventually bring on Porky as many would like to deny the (root) causes. (Suffice to say "You can't fool Mother Nature.") But, honestly, the only surprise is that it didn't happen sooner. I spent some time in the city back in the mid 80's. Even though the FEDs were pouring billions into the down-town, it was clear that no one planned to stay (working out from the down town). I got pulled over by a cop who advised me that I shouldn't be driving in that area (heading out to Tiger Stadium from downtown!!)

I can only hope that Detroit's fate can be avoided by the USA. As the "resident pessimist" my (cheery) prediction is that America will go down the same road. Just hope I'm either wrong or else long gone by then. Unfortunately, I think my kids will see it. But, then again, YMMV.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:32 PM   #52
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I am reminded of the line, "Take him to Detroit," from the 1977 film "Kentucky Fried Movie." Even though it is exaggerated humor, the line suggests that Detroit had a certain reputation as far back as 35+ years ago. Was it a premonition of things to come?

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Old 07-20-2013, 05:51 PM   #53
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The only way Detroit can pay off it's debts is if they were to annex/join with the suburbs that surround it. That would be a difficult thing to do as I doubt the suburbs would go along with it.

I think they are screwed and will have to declare bankruptcy. Although it is possible the state/federal gov steps in to take on the debts. I don't think that is very likely.
That is very true and may be for future Detroits
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:13 PM   #54
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From this website, many have been abandoned (along with other buildings): Detroiturbex.com - Locations
I looked at many of the photos in this essay, and felt so depressed. Abandoned buildings were looted or left so decayed there was nothing left to fix. In one subdivision, some new homes were looted while being under construction. Crime rate is that bad!

It would be far less expensive to wreck them all, and start all over. These relics were beyond hope. But where's the money to even bulldoze the eyesores? From the news, I saw that they did not even have the money to level some of the smaller abandoned single homes, so that they cannot serve as dens for the drug addicts/homeless, despite the pleas of the remaining home owners on the block.

Businesses and home owners would never come back, given the crime rate and the state of mind of many residents there. Detroit is doomed.
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:04 PM   #55
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I don't know if Detroit is toast. It has had some success getting movies and TV shows there. If you think about it is the perfect setting for gritty police dramas, zombie apocalypse, plus things like Godzilla vs Giant Alien Death Robots. You can actually charge movie companies money for the privilege of blowing up buildings.

Thereby eliminating the need to bulldoze city blocks.

More seriously many companies come out of bankruptcy in an improved competitive position hopefully it works for Detroit.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:27 AM   #56
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The only way Detroit can pay off it's debts is if they were to annex/join with the suburbs that surround it. That would be a difficult thing to do as I doubt the suburbs would go along with it.
Not as difficult as you think...they did it in Pittsburgh....kinda. They destroyed all section 8 homes and homes that weren't maintained and started to look like the ones in Detroit. Gave the owners of the homes a sum of money the city thought it was worth. THEN, they moved the people living in the houses and the sec, 8 places to different parts of the county. The county built more sec 8 in the suburbs to move the people to. Peeved the suburbs off but the county didn't care.

THEN the county let us vote whether we wanted taxed to help build a new fb stadium and it was a majority vote NO. Don't know why we voted because they ended up taxing us anyhow. So the Rooneys are making all their money with the help of us.

As far as the art goes, the gov. already said they will have to keep it because it is one thing that draws people to Detroit.

To help bring "working" people back to Pittsburgh, they made a law that you now have to live in the city if you want a gov. job. The ones who already have a city job but don't live there are grandfathered from the law.

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I hope Detroit's physical infrastructure doesn't undergo the problems New York City's did in the late 1970s and into the 1980s following its near-default in 1974-75. People who travel in NYC are still feeling the effects created by years and years of deferred maintenance
But you were stopped from going bankrupt, look at it that way.
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:13 AM   #57
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I don't know if Detroit is toast. It has had some success getting movies and TV shows there. If you think about it is the perfect setting for gritty police dramas, zombie apocalypse, plus things like Godzilla vs Giant Alien Death Robots. You can actually charge movie companies money for the privilege of blowing up buildings.
Speaking of movies, remember the movie Robocop, it was about city of Detroit in the future when it decayed into a lawless getto...life imitates art?
TJ
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:44 AM   #58
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The only way Detroit can pay off it's debts is if they were to annex/join with the suburbs that surround it. That would be a difficult thing to do as I doubt the suburbs would go along with it.
Not as difficult as you think...
I agree. More over, I don't think the suburbs have much choice in the matter. If Detroit effectively disincorporates, then that third of Wayne County simply becomes an unincorporated portion of the county - where else would it go? Detroit ceasing to exist isn't going to float the city out to sea or sink it into Lake St. Clair. Incorporation simply sets a city aside from county control; disincorporation would just reverse the process.

Here in MA it would be even more direct, since we don't have integral county governments.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:12 AM   #59
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Disincorporating the city and moving people around the county would work somewhat, but not as much as you think. Detroit suffers from one of the most extreme cases of suburban sprawl, the suburbs within Wayne county are in fact, mostly, the poorest of the "Detroit" suburbs, though they are certainly not as badly off as Detroit itself. For example, look at a city data map of county incomes:

Wayne County, Michigan detailed profile - houses, real estate, cost of living, wages, work, agriculture, ancestries, and more

You can see that there is mostly only yellow on the far NW and NE corners. Relocating people to those corners would simply solidify the long time invisible boundary that already has existed at 8-mile. The change that occurs when you cross over 8-mile is pretty dramatic. Also, the number of poor with section 8 level of incomes greatly outweigh the number of yellow areas within the county, possibly on the order of 10:1.

The reason the Detroit Museum gets a supporting tax from the surrounding three counties is because those places are where the professional jobs have gone.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:30 AM   #60
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I think we need to distinguish between the mechanics and whether the end-result will be good or not. Projecting, though: If Detroit ceases to exist, and therefore that burden falls onto Wayne County, could it legitimately cause the county to go bankrupt? They say this whole situation is going to be messy, but I wonder if the mess will just keep getting spread out in this manner, until it falls into the hands of an entity (probably the state of Michigan) that will have enough size that the burden can be spread far and wide enough without causing the entity to fail entirely.
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