As Detroit prepares to enter chapter 9 bankruptcy, the Vox Populi can now be heard. Many city residents, union leaders, and pensioners are crying foul. The state that emergency manager Keyvn Orr has not negotiated in good faith. A federal bankruptcy judge agreed; nonetheless, Detroit was given the green light to begin developing its restructuring plan. While there is plenty of blame to go around, Detroiter's need look no further than their own mirror. We have been asleep at the switch. Historically, Detroiter's have shown little interest in voting. Only 10-12 percent of registered voters bother to show up at the polls. As a result, Detroit has been plagued with poor leadership. Leaders who have for decades refused to make tough decisions needed to put Detroit on the right track, choosing instead to make deep cuts in education and public safety while kicking the can further down the road. For instance, city council passed a $1.2 billion budget (2012-13) which called for $250 million in cuts to police and fire departments, EMS, and parks and recreation. There was no mention of new revenue. Significant changes to the police department included police responding to 700,000 serious crime runs in 2012-13 as opposed to the 971,000 runs the previous year. With fewer officers on the street it is almost certain that crime will increase, yet the plan failed to elaborate on this and the Vox Populi remained silent. Additionally, there was no mention as to which serious crime calls the department would respond to. It should come as no surprise that the city has recently hired its third police chief in a four year span. Despite what many see as doom and gloom, many young Detroiter's are feeling hopeful. They see bankruptcy as a fresh start, one that would relieve them of the sins of their fathers. New investment is already happening within the city. Students are doing better in school as evidenced by the significant increase in the MEAP scores and school attendance. These young people are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past, and as such, are keeping hope alive for the city.
December 9, 2013