Friday, July 26, 2013

City Council fiddles while Detroit burns

From Robert Laurie at the Detroit News:
Detroit City Council has finally proven its worth. Not content with their image as a gaggle of worthless, backbiting has-beens, it members have stepped up to the plate and done. . . something. Let the record show that, when the chips were down, the Council was there – ready to make the tough calls. 
On Tuesday, with a unanimous vote, they supported a resolution supporting an NAACP petition demanding that federal civil rights charges be filed against George Zimmerman.

Sure, the city’s in bankruptcy. Detroit is flat broke. Pensioners are about to lose their livelihoods, and Southeast Michigan has sailed over the precipice of financial ruin. All of this happened while the Council continued, for decades, to squawk at each other.
It's mind-boggling. As Laurie points out in his piece, the politicians running Detroit are the masters of the blame game. Every problem faced by the city has--for decades--been blamed on someone else, on outside forces beyond the control of the local leaders.

With Kevyn Orr now largely running the show in Detroit, it's true that the City Council doesn't have a great deal to do. But its nine members are all still drawing a salary (of around $74,000 a year) and Orr is prepared to let them help, even wants them to help bring the city back from financial ruin.

And how do they help? By spending the week talking about the Zimmerman trial and--finally--unanimously agreeing to support a Federal investigation into the Zimmerman/Martin incident, an investigation based on the idea of retrying Zimmerman for violating Martin's civil rights. Nevermind that most legal experts see no path forward for such a case, the Detroit City Council still found the issue important enough to discuss and support. Because after all, these folks clearly know what they are doing, as evidenced by how awesomely they have led the City of Detroit. Right?

In the first six months of this year, Detroit had 153 murders. That's only one fewer than New York City, despite Detroit having a population equal to less than 10% of New York City's population. In 2012, Detroit had the second highest murder rate in the nation, trailing only its neighbor, the also-close-to-bankruptcy-and-equally-decaying Flint, Michigan. Yet, the Detroit City Council finds it important to deal with a legal situation in a distant State by jumping on a bandwagon that has no chance of going anywhere and has no impact on the City of Detroit, whatsoever.

And why? I don't have an answer, other than resorting to name-calling. But if the citizens of Detroit want to blame someone for the mess the city is in, they should start with their own leadership...and the people who voted these clowns into office. Harsh medicine, I know.

Cheers, all.


  1. In fairness, Orr cannot dissolve City Council, nor should he. They are still elected officials. Only now they get to decide weightier matters, like the Martin/Zimmerman case. One can only hope that down the road they decide to provide input into other important national matters like how much more information NSA can collect on American citizens without cause, or which groups the IRS should target next.

  2. Actually Haggis, I think Orr did momentarily suspend the Council's duties and powers, then reinstate them the next day. Some kind of procedural move.